The 13th Floor

Beware “The Thing That Stalks the Fields”

Today’s creepypasta originated with an anonymous poster — whose identity remains unknown to this day — over the years it’s developed a reputation as one of the scariest legends to circulate through Reddit, 4chan and more.

According to most theories, the story came in the form of an unsent letter found crumpled near the side of a rural road. The letter was addressed to a friend or family member of the original author, whose name is also unknown.

The writer apparently lived alone on a modest farm in a remote location, separated from the nearest highway by miles of dirt road. He owned three horses, and had recently baled a large quantity of hay, which was drying in the fields.

Image Credit: iStock/Xavier Arnau
Image Credit: iStock/Xavier Arnau

The letter begins with a description of something peculiar happening in the fields during the night: someone had apparently moved the bales further from the house.

Dismissing it as the work of pranksters, he thought little more of the matter… until a few days later, when he woke to discover that the unseen intruders had moved the bales all the way to the perimeter of his land, almost touching the barbed wire fence that bordered the property.

Finally fed up with this annoyance, the farmer spent several hours moving the heavy bales back toward the house, and resolved to be more watchful in the nights to come… but he wasn’t prepared for what he saw out the window the following morning.

All three of his horses were dead.

As if that discovery wasn’t horrifying enough, the horses’ heads had apparently been messily torn off. The perpetrators seemed to have carried out the entire horrible deed while the animals were still in their stalls… and the severed heads were nowhere to be found.

All at once heartbroken, furious and terrified, the farmer did his best to clean up the grisly aftermath of the crime, and dug graves to dispose of the horses’ remains.

It was only after this process that he realized the bales had been moved again. They were back at the outskirts of his land, just as before.

Image Credit: iStock/czekma13
Image Credit: iStock/czekma13

The farmer conveyed his horror in the letter, in which he also wrote that he would be standing watch that night from his front porch, his trusty 12-gauge shotgun across his lap.

He was on the verge of nodding off from exhaustion when he heard the rustling in the woods beyond his fence. Gun at the ready, he steeled his nerves and strained to identify the perpetrators in the darkness.

What he saw made his heart pound and his blood freeze.

He couldn’t make out any features, but the thing’s silhouette was enormous; its long, spindly form seemed taller than a man, but impossibly thin and twisted, scarecrow-like. In his writing, the farmer described the thing as looking more like a tree than a man or animal.

Image Credit: iStock/InHausCreative
Image Credit: iStock/InHausCreative

Whatever it was, it apparently didn’t know he was watching it as it stooped to pick up one of the bales, lifting the massive roll of hay into the air with no effort whatsoever.

Stepping delicately through the field, making hardly a sound beyond the crunching of dry grass, the thing moved the bales one by one into a new configuration. The farmer said it looked as if it were considering each move carefully before placing the bales in position.

Frozen in fear, the farmer watched the thing complete its mysterious task… after which it slowly, deliberately strode back into the woods, its dark shape blending with the tall trees.

The author sat awake the entire night before continuing his letter, in which he described the events that transpired.

Image Credit: iStock/Gregory Dubus
Image Credit: iStock/Gregory Dubus

That morning, he dared to venture out into the fields again… and saw what the thing had done.

The bales were arranged in a deliberate pattern, which looked to the farmer like a circular formation, with a distinct line leading from center of the design toward the woods.

He couldn’t be sure, but he felt somehow that the thing was trying to send him a message.

The following morning, the bales remained in the same pattern. The next day passed, and they remained untouched… and then another… and another… each time, no sign of any more visits from the dark intruder.

He began to realize the thing had accomplished its task… and that his prior attempts to intervene had triggered a violent reprisal. It wanted him to know that it was aware of his presence… and that interfering with its task was a deadly mistake.

Image Credit: iStock/AGrigorjeva
Image Credit: iStock/AGrigorjeva

One morning, he heard an approaching vehicle on the dirt path. He wrote of experiencing a rush of adrenaline when he saw the car winding down the road toward his farm… and a single frantic thought flashed in his mind: ESCAPE. Flag down that driver, get in the car and get the hell out of there.

He never had the chance.

The car had just passed the outer row of bales on its way past the farm when the thing leaped from the forest… carrying an axe.

It intercepted the car, leaping onto the hood, and brought the axe down into the windshield. The only sounds louder than the smashing of glass and wrenching of tortured metal were the horrible screams as the man was hacked to death.

The thing picked up the mangled torso and slung it over one shoulder like a bag of laundry, walking deliberately back to its hiding place in the woods, the bloody axe swinging in the other hand.

It was then, the famer wrote, that he realized the nature of the thing’s message: the thing could have destroyed him as easily as it did the unknown driver… but it wanted him alive, and it wouldn’t let him leave.

Was he being used as bait for unsuspecting visitors? Or merely a pet for the thing’s amusement? He apparently never found the answer, but he did know one thing: he had to warn someone.

He may have had this letter with him when he disappeared, or perhaps it was taken from the house… but either way, it never reached its destination.

Image Credit: iStock/Oliver Kelkar
Image Credit: iStock/Oliver Kelkar

The letter’s final paragraph was short, confusing and desperate.

“I’ve been thinking hard for the last few days,” he wrote… “and I might just make a run for it…”