Unfortunately, I missed part of this week due to an illness. However, I did write another piece for my project.
With a history as extensive as Kings Wood, it’s no wonder it has its share of ghost stories. From old wives’ tales to first-hand accounts of the paranormal, could you stay the night?
On 21st of August 2013, that’s what a group of teenagers decided to do. After hearing the stories floating around their school, they decided to prove that the stories weren’t true. The group consisted of 16 year-olds Josh Macon and Will Burnett, and 17 year-olds Zahra Patel and Nick Foster.
The four set out at 7pm on the evening of the 21st and pitched their tents in the heart of the woods, the closest path being Hannah’s Trail, a walk designed for children, which was 120ft away from their makeshift campsite.
After eating their dinner, consisting of 2 minute noodles and bags of crisps, the four were feeling confident enough to start drinking. Each of them had a beer apart from Zahra who, due to religious beliefs, did not consume alcohol. They group of friends chatted about schoolwork, their futures etc until long past the sun went down.
It was around midnight that Josh began to feel uneasy.
“I don’t know how to describe it,” He began, “I just felt I was being watched. We only had a few beers each so we weren’t drunk. I remember looking at my phone to see what time it was and it had just gone midnight. That’s when it all started.”
Reportedly, after telling his friends of his discomfort, Zahra voiced her own concerns.
“I know it’s easy to blame what happened on alcohol but I hadn’t touched the stuff. When Josh said he felt like he was being watched, I was sort of relieved because I had been feeling the same thing all evening. I just didn’t want to scare them. The best way to describe what I felt was to think of someone standing behind you and you can just sense them. You know they’re there.”
After hearing this, the oldest of the group, Nick Foster, tried to calm down his friends by claiming it was just their minds playing tricks on them.
However, it didn’t take long for him to change his mind.
The youngest, Will Burnett, began to speak quietly, cradling an empty can of coke, “I saw something earlier. A shadow. Not just once. I keep seeing it. We aren’t alone.”
At this point, everyone began to panic.
“It was if someone had flipped a switch, Zahra and Josh were both freaking out. Saying we needed to leave.” Nick told us. “But I wasn’t having any of it. We were in a supposedly haunted woods in the pitch black, of course we were gonna see things. That’s how the mind works. Fear changes to paranoia. Your mind plays tricks on you!”
Both Zahra and Josh began to argue with Nick whilst Will sat by the fire, his knees to his chest.
“I tried to reason with them but Josh wanted to have a look around to make sure no one was pranking us. So he went to go and get the torch we kept in the tent. It’s a bloody massive thing, couldn’t miss it.”
However, when Josh came back out of the tent empty handed, citing ‘It’s gone,’ Nick had had enough.
“He yelled at us to sit down and stop panicking. He went into the tent to go and look for it but came out empty handed. He checked the other tent, even though all of us knew it wouldn’t have been in
there and once again, returned with nothing. He kept muttering that we must’ve left it in the car but all of us remembered bringing it. Will had kept flashing it in our eyes on the way here.”
After searching the entirety of their makeshift camp, they concluded that their torch was gone.
“We all brought spares, smaller torches just in case but they were gone as well.” Josh said, “So we had to use our phones which could only light up maybe 5ft in front of us.”
When they decided to set out to scout the area, Nick, Zahra and Josh all turned to get Will, however, he was gone.
“I remember my heart just dropped. He was gone.” Zahra told us, gnawing on her bottom lip with watery eyes.
“I began screaming his name,” Said Josh shakily, “My best friend of 11 years was just gone.”
“He wouldn’t have just wondered off. Not with everything that was happening.” Nick said firmly, shaking his head.
The three began to search the campsite for him, over turning their tents, ringing his mobile and screaming his name so loud, their voices went hoarse.
After they had searched their camp from top to bottom, the three once again had another argument.
“Josh and I both wanted to go looking for him. He must’ve gotten lost and not had any signal. But Nick wanted us to all go back to the car and wait for Will there. Said that Will knew where the car was and he couldn’t risk the three of us getting lost with him.”
“I wasn’t gonna leave him,“ Began Josh, “I just couldn’t.”
“I knew that our phones had signal by the car. I said that we could go back to the car and call the park rangers. They would know what to do and they would have better luck finding him than three teenagers wondering blind.” Will said.
Nick eventually convinced Zahra of his plan but that still left Josh who was adamant on searching for his missing friend.
“In the end,” Nick sighed, “I just grabbed him and started walking.”
“Nick’s a strong, tall guy and once he had me over his shoulder, I couldn’t get down. In hindsight, in must’ve looked funny. A 6ft4” muscly guy carrying a scrawny 5ft8” kid over his shoulder.” A ghost of a smile touched Josh’s face for a split second before it was gone again, replaced by the tired, sad expression he had been sporting the past few hours.
With Josh on his shoulder, yelling profanities and calling him every name under the sun, Nick and Zahra focused on getting back to the car.
“We knew where to go. Go left of the camp and walk until you find an old cut down tree trunk, then follow the line of tree just to the right until you find the path. Follow the path and then you’ll reach the carpark.”
However, things were not that simple.
The two plus Josh on Nicks shoulder, kept walking until they found the tree trunk.
“I told Nick to put me down multiple times. But when he actually did, I was shocked. Until I saw what he was looking at.”
A thick red substance covered the trump, dripping off the sides and forming pools in the dirt. The torch illuminating the liquid, creating a shine that almost looked pretty.
“Both Josh and I began crying, Nick just stood in shock, looked like he wanted to throw up.” Zahra murmured, playing with her hands, a single tear sliding down her face.
After this discovery, Josh was squatting on the ground, his hands over his face as he wept. Zahra had her hand over her mouth, wide eyes producing never ending tears. Nick gulped before he moved closer, treading carefully. His eyes scanned the pool, praying to find a feather of something that would indicate a bird or animal had met its unfortunate end instead of his friend.
It was then, he saw something. He abruptly stumbled back, eyes the size of saucers and he proceeded to bend over and throw up his dinner.
Zahra found his reaction strange, Nick wasn’t squeamish in the slightest. She moved forward slightly and saw it.
“It was three of Wills fingers.” The young girl told us, her arms wrapped tightly around herself as she began to cry.
“Will always wore this onyx ring. It was his Uncles. They were really close and when he died, he left it to Will. That ring was on one of the fingers.” Josh said, blinking rapidly in an attempt to get rid of his unshed tears.
After seeing the dismembered fingers of her friend, the girl immediately ran to her younger friend in an attempt to shield him from seeing the awful sight.
“We didn’t see…it when we first looked as we weren’t close enough. They were all covered in blood and I could see the ring he wore. I didn’t want Josh to see but it was too late.”
“I wish I hadn’t seen it but I did. I just couldn’t stop screaming.” He stuttered.
The three teens embraced in a hug after what they had just witnessed.
However, they were ripped apart when they heard a loud, piercing scream.
“It seemed to echo from all around us. It was fucking horrible.” Nick whispered.
The three spun around, all looking for the source.
Then, a branch snapped right behind the large oak tree opposite them. A melodic laugh was heard before a disembodied voice shouted ‘RUN.’
“All three of us heard it, right on our ears.” Zahra shivered at the recollection.
The three sprinted in the direction of the lines of trees that would take them to the car park, their thoughts consumed by fear.
“Zahra was in front, then me, then Nick. We ran for our lives. We really did.”
They kept running the route they knew to the carpark until Zahra suddenly stopped, forcing both of the boys to do the same.
All of them, then, began to scream.
“He was strung up in the tree, his clothes were ripped and he was covered in blood.” Zahra sniffled, “His stomach had been cut open and his throat has been slit. It was Will.” She then burst into heart-wrenching tears once more.
“His fucking intestines were coming out of his body.” Nick said in disbelief as he leant his elbows in on his knees with his face in his hands.
It was found out later in the autopsy, that Will also had had his eyes and tongue cut out ante mortem.
“To be honest, I’ve tried to block it out of my memory.” Josh told us, a defeated look on his face. “I don’t want to remember him like that.”
“Josh broke down when he saw Will like that. He just fell to the floor, screaming in pure agony. Nick was trying to pull Josh away and get him moving even though he was shaking from crying.” Zahra said quietly, wiping her eyes.
“I kept saying ‘We have to go!’ but it was no use. I had to physically pull Josh down the path and towards the carpark.”
“I kind of froze when I saw Will like that. It didn’t fully register in my mind until afterwards. But when I heard Nick yelling at Josh to move, I was thrown back into the situation, I guess.” Zahra said.
Nick pulled Josh down the path, the younger boy screaming and fighting back the entire time. His gut-wrenching sobs and broken-hearted screams were enough to push the other two teenagers into action.
“At that point, neither me nor Nick could mourn for our friend. We couldn’t wrap our heads around the situation. We just focused on Josh and getting him out of there.”
When they eventually found the car park, the three were shocked yet relieved to see the police. Reportedly, people in the nearby houses heard screams and called them. That was when the three broke down and let the fear, grief and pure exhaustion take over.
William Edward Burnett’s funeral was on September 6th 2013. His cause of death was said to be blood loss after the torture inflicted upon him. To this day, his killer has still not been found. The three survivors have faced a lot of media scrutiny, calling their story ‘fake.’
“I lost my best friend that night, anyone who says we’re lying about what happened or that we made it up for attention is sick.” Josh said firmly.
Whilst all three of the teenagers were investigated by police, all were removed as suspects.
Josh Macon is now in college and hoping to go into the Police Force. Nick Foster is now studying to become a Doctor at University. Zahra Patel has just started University and is hoping to become an artist.
“After what happened to Will, it put a lot of things into perspective. My parents wanted me to be a lawyer and I always went along with that to make them happy. But now, I want to pursue my passion of being an artist.” Zahra told us.
A computer block at their old school has now been called ‘W Block’ in honour of Will who loved playing video games.
For this piece, I took inspiration from the film Blair Witch Project. The film follow three film-makers as they make a documentary about the legend of the Blair Witch. The film slowly progresses with off-screen terror and leaves the horror to your imagination as the three slowly lose their minds. I really wanted to include elements from the film in my piece. For example, in the film, one of the characters goes missing and his friends find ear and tongue. In my piece, one of the characters goes missing and his friends find his fingers. I wanted to write a piece that left the horror to the readers imagination and I believe I have achieved that. However, this is only a draft and is due to change.
Through genre conventions (which we learnt about last week) I was able to emulate some of the tropes. It is very common in horror pieces for a group of teenagers to go into the middle of nowhere and then make stupid decisions. I worked with the ‘teenage’ trope but made them act fairly logically, in my opinion anyway.
I also created a mood board for my project. This is designed to create an aesthetic look for my work. (References will be uploaded once I have them sorted out.)
We also worked on InDesign. I will leave a link to my piece of work I made on that program. Using InDesign was really interesting and opened up a new world to create my work in.
Blair Witch Project – American Independent Horror Film
InDesign Work (Will be linked once finished)