Welcome to Happy Valley! Est. 1809. Population: 666.
Greg Seymour saw a flyer stuck to his Jeep seeking a few recruits to join a group of paranormal enthusiasts on a nature hike just a few miles up the road. An amateur ghost hunter who was new to the area, Greg decided to take a chance at meeting some like-minded friends. When he arrived at the meeting point, a crowd of other curious and anxious travelers were corralled into groups, all packed with gear that was well-beyond Greg's level of expertise. He knew these guys were the real deal.
After traveling down a weathered path for what seemed like hours, the group found themselves standing in the midst of an old, abandoned town called Happy Valley – a simple community once known for its mining, farming and nuclear power plants. Mountains of rusted barrels remained piled up and strewn about, their contents still dripping into the Earth. As they wandered into a barren field, they saw a lonely, tattered scarecrow that stood nailed to large wooden beam sprouting from the ground. A hush fell over the group as they carefully maneuvered around it, almost as if trying not want to wake it from a slumber.
Once they were a distance away, Greg felt a sudden inclination to look over his shoulder. He felt he was being watched. It’s not what he saw that scared him, it’s what he didn’t see. The scarecrow.
Darkness was falling, and fast. They were surrounded by a dark wood when suddenly a sharp cry rang out from the group. Before he realized what had happened, Greg saw one of the group members swaying from a noose more than six feet off the ground. His eyes followed the rope up high into the branches. That's when he saw it: The scarecrow.
"RUN!" He screamed to the group.
Greg sprinted away to hide behind a large oak tree as the group scattered throughout the brambles. Now separated from his party, Greg crawled into a hollowed out tree trunk and waited. All he could hear was the faint rustling of leaves, his own heartbeat and a series of percussive SNAPS!
After some time, there was silence. When he thought the coast was clear, Greg peered out from the tree trunk. He saw nothing but bodies, all swaying in the light breeze, each with a noose around their neck. Before he could let out another breath, he felt his body lifting from the ground as his lungs began to collapse.
So many people forgot about what made Happy Valley so infamous. It wasn't the mining disasters, the famine or the increasing rate of birth defects due to biohazardous waste - it was the Wicked Woods.