Shady Grove is a scary story written by Jerod Blake Lasater. It’s about a terrifying creature that is said to haunt the woods of Azle in Texas, USA. This tale was originally titled “Beyond the Darkness”.
So, I hear you kids like scary stories. I’ve been on this site for a long time and I’ve almost read every story. I’ve read many urban legends and creepy tales about vengeful spirits, evil creatures and crazed killers. Those stories are great, but there is just one problem. I don’t believe any of those stories actually happened.
If you really want a good spook story, then take a seat and I’ll tell you a tale that is 100% true. Many people in my hometown of Azle, Texas talk in hushed voices about a place called “Shady Grove”. Not many people post things on the internet about Shady Grove, so consider yourselves lucky… You’re about to get the full story.
Are you sure you want to know about it? I don’t want to have you crying for your mommy in the middle of the night when you wake from a horrible nightmare. If you are sure you can handle it, then read on and I will tell you all about it.
They say there is a mysterious creature that stalks a patch of woods near Eagle Mountain Lake. It’s a place that all of the residents of Azle know only too well. It’s a park called “Shady Grove”. Nobody knows just how it got its name. Some say it came from the many shady characters who skulk around the area after dark. Others say it’s because of the fact that when you look at the woods from above you can’t see a single shred of ground due to the trees being so thickly-packed. Nobody can say for sure.
Many deer and raccoons that call the woods home have fallen prey to the strange creature that haunts the area. Many people have found half-eaten carcasses and strange bite marks. Most folks blame it on stray dogs scavenging for food, but experienced hunters know the tracks the creature leaves behind.
They have a name for the creature. They call it The Night Stalker. The name comes from the way it hunts. If you’re lost in the woods at night and you’re unlucky enough to cross its path, the creature will attack. At first, it will just bite you and then run away. You start wandering through the woods and the poison slowly sets in. It causes disorientation, weakness and ultimately death. It follows you, stalking through the undergrowth, waiting until you are weak enough and then it strikes.
Most people have enough sense to stay out of the woods at night but you get the occasional idiotic adult or stupid teenager who goes out there to drink and such. The Night Stalker is fiercely territorial and will stalk anything that invades its habitat, whether it be a large animal or the occasional human. There is one disturbing case that is rather nasty to tell. It is the legendary Independence Day Incident. It serves as a example to all as to why NOBODY dares go into the woods when the sun goes down. I warn you. It is not for the faint of heart…
The Independence Day Incident is the personal Testimony of Daniel William Matcherson regarding the events that occurred on the evening of July 4, 2012 near Shady Grove Park in Azle, Texas.
This is the account of Dan Matcherson. None of these details have been modified or censored in any way. This is his sworn testimony detailing his encounter with an unknown creature that he refers to as “The Night Stalker”. It is allegedly responsible for the death of two of his friends, Matt Richards and Trinton Wadley. It is described as being a bipedal reptilian that moves quickly and has a strong neurotoxin delivered by a single bite. It is about four feet tall, six feet long, and is recognizable by it’s glowing eyes. As it’s name implies, it is a nocturnal predator that bites it’s prey and stalks it until it gets the perfect opportunity to strike. Some say he was under the influence, others say that it is evidence of an unknown creature, or cryptid. What you choose to believe is what you choose to believe.
“Me and Trinton were at a friend’s house that night. We were just playing video games and talking about the things that teenage boys normally do. It was around 10:30PM when Matt came up with the idea. He wanted to take a little late night hike in the woods near the lake. He said that he knew a special place where we could hang out for a little while and get some “rest and relaxation”.
I was a bit nervous since there was usually police in the area to watch for drug addicts and things like that after dark. The park gates were closed at 11:00PM and it was 10:58PM when we left Matt’s house. We packed some food, bottled water and a couple of flashlights. Matt brought a pack of cigarettes that he had lifted off his dad and his prized Zippo lighter. The park wasn’t too far from his house so we walked.
The park gates were closed when we got there, so we looked to make sure there was no one else around, then hopped the fence. We saw a car coming so we quickly made a mad dash towards the tree line. We kept low until the car had passed. We found a trail and followed it for a few dozen yards. The tree coverage was so thick that it blocked out the full moon and the entire forest was black as coal.
We turned on the flashlights and even then it was still pretty dark. I began to feel a little uneasy as we went in deeper and deeper. The only thing we brought for protection was Matt’s old pocket knife. It wasn’t much but Matt claimed to be a skilled knife fighter and that was good enough for us. The forest seemed to consume us as we walked.
Matt had never been through those woods at night and he had trouble staying on the trail. Trinton had put some bad batteries in the flashlights so they went out not too long after we turned them on. We had to use Matt’s lighter as our only source of light. We hiked deeper and deeper until we didn’t know where we were. Matt started to get a little worried when we couldn’t find the spot we came to see or even the way out. We decided to rest on a fallen tree and figure out what we were going to do.
That’s when we started to hear the noises. It sounded like soft footsteps in the brush around us. It must have been stalking us or something. We looked around but we didn’t see anything. Trinton said he swore he saw two small lights moving around in some brush about fifty yards away from us. We brushed it off as nothing and continued on our way.
I knew we must have been pretty deep in there because I couldn’t hear the sound of passing cars anymore. I knew Matt had no idea where we were going so I suggested that we just turn around and head straight back since I felt like that would lead us out of there. We ate some granola bars that we had packed and that left us hungry and a bit thirsty. I lost my appetite when I heard the noises again.
This time they sounded a little closer. I got a glimpse of the lights Trinton had seen and they didn’t seem like lights, they seemed like glowing eyes like from a wolf or something. Matt was getting frantic and he pulled out his knife and looked around like he was waiting for this thing to strike. I told him to calm down and tried to convince him that there was nothing there and it was all in his head. He was still a bit on edge.
We kept up a jogging pace. Matt wanted to get out of there as quick as he could. The rest of us wanted to do the same. We were relying on pure instinct to guide us through the darkness. We kept hearing the noises all around us. Whatever it was, it had to be following us. That only made us more frantic and we started to run as fast as we could.
As we were running, Trinton tripped and head his head on a rock and he was rolling on the ground in pain. Matt was yelling at him to get up but he was in too much pain to hear him. We had to pull him to his feet and sit him down on a log so he could rest. As he regained his senses, Matt lit a cigarette and leaned against a tree. We were there for about thirty minutes when Matt had to use the bathroom so he went on ahead a little ways to give him some privacy.
That was when the woods grew quiet. No crickets, no cicadas, just silence.
A few minutes went by and then we heard Matt scream. He was shouting for us. Myself and Trinton ran back to find him. He was on his knees holding his arm and rambling on about how something had bit him. He said it looked like a big lizard or something. Matt had what looked to be some kind of bite mark on his wrist and it was bleeding pretty bad. We didn’t have a first aid kit or anything with us so we tried to find our way out.
Trinton took his Zippo lighter and used it for light. Just then, we heard footsteps and the noises seemed to be coming from all around us. We couldn’t exactly pin it down to a particular spot. It was like it just floated around. The only way I could describe is that it just traveled. Matt was sobbing in terror and Trinton was doing his best to try and calm him down. Matt said that the pain was getting worse by the second. We knew we didn’t have much time.
We noticed that Matt was moving more slowly and he seemed to be getting less and less attentive. He began to lose his balance and after a while, we pretty much had to carry him. We stopped at a clearing to catch our breath. I drank the little water I had left and sat down for a few minutes. Matt lit another cigarette to try to calm himself down but his hands were shaking so bad that he couldn’t even hold it.
Trinton suggested that we wait until morning before going on. “We’ll have more light then”, he said, “It’ll be a whole lot safer.” I didn’t want to be in the woods with that thing for another minute, but I didn’t have a choice. Matt was begging us not to stay but we ignored him and settled down.
Trinton gave Matt some of his water and he calmed downed a bit. I made a comfortable spot on the ground and relaxed. I was just about to doze off when Matt woke me up. He had his knife out and he was pointing it ahead of him, his face frozen in a look of terror.
I turned to see where he was pointing and spotted a pair of huge glowing eyes peering through the trees. I was extremely frightened and shook Trinton awake. He ran out at it and whatever it was ran off. He convinced us that it was just a curious deer and I went back to sleep.
I was fast asleep when I was woken up by a strange noise. It sounded like somebody was tearing leather apart or something like that. I looked up and I was horrified at what I saw.
Some kind of hideous creature was EATING Matt alive. It was tearing the guts of out of his belly and devouring them. I was so terrified, I could barely move. I managed to reach out and shake Trinton awake. This thing looked me dead in the eye and let out the most frightening screech I’ve ever heard.
In the blink of an eyes, myself and Trinton scrambled to our feet and ran out into the darkness. We didn’t stop to look behind us. We just kept running. We were both screaming out for help at the top of our lungs. We knew no one could hear us but we did it anyway.
Suddenly, we both tripped and fell into the river. We were a bit dazed and we climbed out of the water and paused to catch our breath. We couldn’t hear the weird noises anymore. The only thing we could hear was the crickets and the pounding of our hearts, almost ready to burst out of our chests.
Trinton suggested that we follow the river since it lead us straight to the lake and back to the park. We walked along the river’s edge and talked about what we would tell Matt’s parents. As we were walking, we heard the noises again on the other side of the river. We could hear something moving around very slowly.
The creature was stalking us.
I was getting desperate. I was hoping that the river would lead us the right way. My heart stopped when the woods grew quiet once more. Me and Trinton froze in our tracks. We didn’t dare to move. We hardly even dared to breathe. We slowly stepped backwards back into the woods. We could hear this thing’s horrible screeching and we saw the eyes again.
Trinton was fed up with the situation. He turned to me and told me that if he didn’t come back in fifteen minutes that I was to go on without him. I reluctantly agreed. I didn’t want him to end up like Matt. I had known Trinton and Matt all my life and they were my two closest friends. I cried for the first time in my life. I heard the screeching again and then heard Trinton yelling for me to run and I took off as fast as I could.
His screams faded as did the piercing screeches. The calm sounds of the night returned to the woods. I ran for what seemed like an eternity until I saw the lights of the park. A police officer saw me and asked me what I was doing wandering around the woods that late. I fell to my knees, exhausted and told him that my friends were all dead.
I told the officer everything that had happened. He didn’t believe me and took me into custody, thinking that I was under the influence of drugs. Down at the police station, I begged them to listen to me, but it was all in vain. I was arrested on suspicion of murder.
They never did find the bodies of Matt and Trinton. I’ve come to call that creature by a fitting name. A name that still haunts me to this day. I call it a Night Stalker.
(Weeks after this account was written, Daniel William Matcherson committed suicide in prison. He was plagued by nightmares and his mental health grew worse and worse until finally, he couldn’t take it anymore. He said that this creature not only stalked him that night, but it pursued him on many other nights afterwards, in his nightmares.)