The Bear Mountain State Park is a breathtakingly beautiful nature reserve on the west coast of the Hudson river in the state of New York. The winding roads, the wilderness, and the mighty Hudson cutting across the stunning terrain offers much relief to the tired longing eyes of the city dwellers. Spread over 52,000 acres of land, the state park has much to offer including hiking and bike trails, museums, picnic spots etc. I have been living in Connecticut for a little over 2 years now. So, if I have to travel to anywhere outside the state, I have to go through Bear Mountains. Over time I have encountered some strange occurrences which my rational and logical mind cannot fathom.
Before I start with my mysterious experiences in the area, a little trip down history lane. The Hudson valley is believed to be a highly active paranormal, spiritual, and extraterrestrial energy zone. You can feel a strange energy tingling down your veins. The area has a plethora of ghost stories, mystery and alien encounters to share. In fact, the area witnesses maximum UFO sightings in continental US. Are the alien attracted to the strange pulsing energy that the area radiates, or they just find the expanding wilderness to be a perfect parking spot to land their spaceship, we will never know.
Adding to the layers of mystery, the state park is also close to the ghost-friendly neighborhoods of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown. Sleepy Hollow featured first in the now world renowned 1820 gothic novel by Washington Irving called “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. The novel describes the supernatural aura of the area.
From the listless repose of the place, and the peculiar character of its inhabitants, who are descendants from the original Dutch settlers, this sequestered glen has long been known by name of Sleepy Hollow … A drowsy, dreamy influence seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere.”
— Washington Irving, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
One can feel a certain stillness in the air, as if you are being watched by eyes unknown and something eerie lurking in one of the dark corners across the street. Irvine writes about the ghosts that frequent the area; particularly a headless horseman who rides his galloping horse in the wee hours of the night in a quest to find his phantom head. The town also came into limelight when it was featured in a namesake Hollywood movie starring Johnny Depp. Tarrytown also has its fare share of hauntings. To know more about the two ghostly towns, check out “The Chronicles of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow” by Edgar Mayhew Bacon (You can find it on Amazon. Check it out here).
I love to travel. Every now and then, I gather my friends and we hit the road together without any particular destination in mind. We mostly frequent the Big Apple, New York City during the weekends. It is just under an hour’s drive from where I live. The drive down to the city is great with uninterrupted scenic beauty throughout the length of the journey. Over the years, we have visited the famous cemetery at Sleep Hollow which fun fact houses the grave of Washington Irving, the author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”.
Let me tell you this, I am not a fan of horror movies and neither am I into paranormal stuff but I do like mysteries. The area just seems to have this magnetic force which I simply can’t resist.
Anyway, during one of our first ever weekend trips to NYC during Christmas of 2019, we were on our way back at somewhere around 10 p.m. The road home was unusually empty given the holiday rush. We did not think much about it. We were having a gala time with the stereo of the car blasting away our favorite holiday tunes.
As we started approaching the Bear mountains, the roads were literally empty and pitch black. Not a single pinpoint of headlight behind us and no red of tail nights in front of us. We became a little worried wondering if we were heading in the right direction. The blackness of the road ahead occasionally interrupted by the glaring of the road signage as our headlight flashed on it. We were obviously relying on Google Maps to get us home. We were all on the edge of our seats by now.
Suddenly all our phone lost network connection. We were just coping with this when bad became worse when we took a wrong turn in the round-about while trying to make sense of the unending darkness around. Now, with no network and no sense of direction and Google Maps making no efforts to reroute and show a new way to get back on track, we parked. We parked on the side of a one-way road far away from civilization, surrounded by woods and hoping no oncoming crashes into us. Darkness engulfed us. Only the tiny lights scattered here and there on the car’s dashboard shone. We dared not to switch on the cabin lights inside the car to avoid unwanted attention from living creatures and that of the dead.
We tried everything, but we simply could not find a way ahead of us which merged onto the road that leads us home. With no way out, we just decided to drive in reverse, up until the round-about and simply try another way. We were driving this nightmare from which there was no escape. The problem with this round about is that it opens into four routes, heading in four different directions. The road signage was not very helpful. We went with our gut instinct and took the next exit.
Lucky for us that was the right road! Finally, we saw the toll booth and some sort of civilization ahead. Never in my life had I been so happy to pay road tax. After around some 50 minutes of tense driving with deafening silence inside the car, we made it home. We were happy that nightmare of a trip was over. Never in our lives were we going to take that route. Or so we thought.