A few nights ago we had a Super Moon. That is what it’s called when the moon’s orbit brings it the closest to earth. This one was also a full moon and, because of its proximity to earth, the moon appeared enormous and otherworldly . My husband and I sat outside in the dark and watched it fill up the space between the branches in the trees. It was awesome and very beautiful and got us reminicing about the night we thought there were Satanic Rites happening in the woods behind our house. We chuckeled about it and then my husband said “Don’t tell anyone that story. They’ll think we are wacko.” So of course, I have to tell the story.
We are not in agreement about when it happened or even exactly how the whole thing came about, so we’ll go with my version (which I am absolutely sure is the correct version and, even if it’s not, it reads better).
It was early fall a few years ago. There were still lots of leaves on the trees but the air had turned chilly in the evenings. That night was clear and crisp and there was a wind that rustled leaves and swayed the branches in the dark. We were locking up for the night. I switched out the kitchen lights and went to check the back door one more time. Something caught my eye out in the woods back behind the barn. Lights, lots of them. Yellowy-orange lights flickering through the trees in the distance.
“Honey”, I called, “can you come here a moment?”
“Just come here and look at this, will you?”
My husband came and stood behind me and together we looked out the door at the woods behind the barn.
“What is that?”
“I don’t know. That’s why I wanted you to look too.”
“It looks like people carrying torches or a bonfire or something.”
“Who would be doing that? At this hour? In the woods?”
“I don’t know but I don’t like it.”
“Where are you going?”
“I’m going to get the shot gun.”
“You’re not going out there are you?”
But he was already headed upstairs to our room to get the loaded shot gun he keeps in our closet. I stood there and watched as the lights moved back and forth between the tree trunks. I was sure I could see shadowy figures as well. The hair on the back of my neck was standing up. I had always thought that was just a saying, but here were my neck hairs, at attention.
My husband returned. He’d pulled on his jacket and put his head lamp on his baseball cap. He had the shot gun in his hand. I had a bad feeling.
“Don’t go out there.”
“I’ll be alright. I just want to see what’s going on. Stay inside. I’ll be right back.”
He went out the back door and down the garden steps. I watched the beam from his head lamp as he headed up the rise to the barn. I saw it move into the woods and then it disappeared. I waited. A minute went by, then another. I cracked open the door and peaked out. Only the wind and the sound of rustling leaves, like the sound of some hideous demon moving slowly, determinedly through the trees.
I think we all have seen enough stalker/slasher/witch project movies to know we had already made the First Two Mistakes: 1) Victim I goes out to check what the strange noise/sights were; 2) Victim II opens the door to look for Victim I. And I was about to commit Mistake Number Three: I stepped out on to the back step and closed the door behind me. I stood there, shivering with my arms wrapped around me. I still couldn’t see my husband’s head lamp, just the weird lights. I was expecting to hear a shot gun blast or blood curdling screams any moment. If the local neighborhood owl had chosen to hoot just then, I would have had to change my underwear.
Then I saw a small, white beam of light headed back towards the house. “Thank God”, I thought, “he’s OK.” Then I remembered Mistake Number Four: Victim II sees what she thinks is Victim I headed toward her only to discover when it’s too late that it is actually the Demon/Slasher/Stalker. I reached back and took a hold of the doorknob just in case I had to make a quick retreat. As the light came closer I called out, “Honey? Honey?” No answer. “Ok”, I’m thinking,” now I should go inside, lock the door, call 911 and hope they get here before someone makes a vest out of me.” I tried one more time.
“What was it?”
“I have no idea. I couldn’t find a thing.”
“But I can still see the lights.”
“Well, there’s nothing out there. I walked way back into the woods and I couldn’t find anything.”
The light was getting closer. Maybe the demon was mimicking his voice. Maybe I should play it safe and GET INSIDE! The garden gate was opening. Too late, a real demon could be on me in a second. I heard a bang and a muffled “Shit!” Nope, I’m OK. That’s my husband.
He joined me on the step and we looked out at the strange lights which were still there.
“I don’t don’t get it. What are they?”
As we stood there watching, the lights started to change. It seemed like they were getting higher in the trees. Then we saw it, rising up. The moon. The full, giant yellow-orange Harvest Moon. Our devil people were just the tree limbs moving in front of the rising moon. Duh. “Shit”, said my husband. “Thank goodness I didn’t shoot at anything”.
We went inside and locked the back door. But just to be safe we looked outside one more time and then double checked the lock. This is New England you know.