The History of Stairs in the Woods

Don’t read any further if you are easily spooked. This is all the warning you’ll get as we dive into the territory of equal parts fascinating and creepy mystery. However, this article is a must-read for you if you are a fan of campfire stories.

Roughly four years ago, the testimony of a Search and Rescue (SAR) Officer set the internet ablaze like the wildfire that consumed Stannis Baratheon’s ships at the Battle of The Blackwater. This SAR Officer had stumbled upon stairs in the woods that led nowhere. Ordinarily, it would not be worth our attention if not for the warning – “Don’t go near them!” Since then, there had been numerous theories, stories, and sightings of random stairs in the woods.

It’s 2021, and some of you are looking forward to exploring the woods again after extended periods in lockdown. Before you hit the trail with your gear, it’s probably best you read about what to do if you encounter a mysterious set of stairs in the woods.

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash

Why Are There Stairs In the Woods?

There is a piece of history attached to an old property you find anywhere, and the same can be said of old structures you see in the woods. People did want some distance from others hundreds and thousands of years ago. Self-isolation was a thing way before the pandemic made it famous again.  Individuals and groups built houses and palaces in the woods for self-preservation, hiding, protecting their families, or pursuing a grander objective of starting a community.

To illustrate one of these reasons, ‘Ironboy21’ on Reddit narrates how he and his army pals found a random staircase in an open field. They investigated and found skeletons of what once belonged to a family that was probably hiding from war.

Some random staircases in the woods are reminders of such times. Times a lot of us know nothing about . . .  until these stairs attempt to tell their own stories to a worthy few.  Though I wish I could tell you they are happy stories, most of them tell sinister tales and mysteries that send shivers down your spine. I have curated some of the most curious ones on the internet for your enlightenment and enjoyment.

Lost For Five Years on Stairs in The Woods

Photo by Sébastien Goldberg on Unsplash

This happened in the Philippines, on a random set of stairs in the woods. They call it ‘‘The Staircase of Missing Time’. The individual involved was a forester running for safety when chased by a terrifying stray dog during a routine patrol. Forester ‘X’ had no time to question why there was a random stair in the woods; all he knew was that he had to escape from the canine that would have him for lunch.

When all was quiet and he felt safe, the man climbed down and found his way back home after what he believed to be a couple of minutes. Less than an hour.  He and the people he knew got the shock of their lives when he returned. Forester ‘X’ had been gone for 5 years! He no longer had a job. Talk about a plot to a great series. Probably inspired the TV Series Manifest? Who knows, right? Moving on.

Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash

Phantom Stairs in The Woods

Whether you are spiritual or not, there is something symbolic about stairs. In many works of literature, stairs are used to symbolise a spiritual passage, a connection between heaven and earth, or between our world and another realm. This probably gives some context to random stairs in the woods explained in the encounter with the phantom stairs.

From a Reddit post since removed, the story goes that on a family walk through the woods on a bright summer day; a young girl had seen staircases in the woods. For anonymity, I’ll call her Haley. The stairs were about 100 yards ahead of them, and she ran on to climb them. What was strange about the stairs was that it was clean and polished with no traces of dust. Haley, who narrated this ordeal as an adult, says it got really dark really quick when she got to the top of these stairs. But this wasn’t the only strange thing that happened.

She looked back in the hope that her family was close behind her. It was at this moment she was gripped by deep terror. Her family was almost 200 yards away, still coming towards her. It felt like the stairs had transported her on an escalator further into darkness despite the sunny day. She ran as fast as her legs could go back to her family.

When she got to them and gestured back to the stairs, they were gone. It was as if they were never there. Phantom Stairs!  One of her uncles appeared familiar with this kind of encounter and sternly warned her to stay away from stairs or any other random structures in the woods. Things are not usually what they seem in the woods.

Photo by Geran de Klerk on Unsplash

An Old House

Typically, we would link random old staircases in the woods to old derelict houses. So, no surprise here when two friends found stairs in the middle of the woods with traces of what used to be house furniture littered around. There were no walls and no house, though, but the stairs were standing. Pieces of furniture around the area suggested whatever house that used to be there must have been built in the ’50s.

Like everything else embraced by the woods, the stairs had growths of moss and mould on it. Our brave adventurers decide to climb the stairs to investigate their surroundings. They safely make it to the top, roughly 8ft off the ground, and that’s when the trouble starts.

For clarity, I’ll call the friends Patrick and Ben. At the top of the stairs, both Pat and Ben were engulfed by a powerful, eerie feeling and oppressive presence. Patrick became so nauseous that he threw up violently, lost his balance, and fell to the ground. He let out a scream as he hit the earth, breaking his leg. And that wasn’t the end of it.

When Ben got to Pat, the woods grew dead silent, including Pat. They both would have waited to do some first aid if they were not terrified to death by what happened next. Pat’s scream repeated itself at about 60 feet away. Then the scream came again at 30 feet out but with a deeper sinister pitch.   It seemed to be coming towards them. Of course, they ran for safety.

Photo by Stefan Widua on Unsplash

Truth or Fiction?

As I investigated the mystery of random stairs in the woods, I found a common trend. There’s almost always an unearthly feeling during or after the encounter. Some other stairs in the woods have some plausible story behind them, like being passages to old shrines. Yet, approaching random stairs in the woods call for caution. You’ll be protecting yourself and protecting a treasure – if it turns out to be one.

The people who narrated their encounters know what they saw. It’s not for me to say if they were true or not. It’s their truth, and they are probably lucky to be alive to share their stories. SAR does recommend that you do not climb any random stairs you find in the woods, especially those with unseen or unknown destinations. It could lead you to the doors of heaven or straight in the opposite direction.

Have you had a weird encounter with stairs? Please do tell.

Debbs O'Malley

A Parent, A Dreamer and Coffee lover.

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