mountainous terrain of central Pennsylvania is a rugged
place. The woods are thick and dark. The sun
barely penetrates, even on bright days. Pine
needles cover the forest floor like a soft sleeping
bag. Streams snake through ancient rocky beds.
After a heavy rain, streams move and create a new bed
overnight. Flooding at the drop of a hat is common
place. The updrafts from mountains often hold in rain
and snow storms for weeks at a time. Coyotes howl at
night on top of the mountain ridges. Many hunters
and fishermen have told stories of strange
sightings. Some have seen cougars, which the Game
Commission denies, so as not to start a public
panic. Others swear they have seen Bigfoot, demons
As one old timer said, “You never know what you’ll see in these woods.”
Such was the terrain around Rockpoint Prison. There were some agricultural fields that were worked by trustees close to the prison grounds. However, the woods began just outside the open fields like a thick green ocean. In the prison fields, trusted inmates grew and cultivated Christmas and fruit trees. They cherished their time in the sun, outside the walls of “the Rock.” Occasionally, one or two foolish inmates would decide to make a break, thinking the woods would give them plenty of cover. Inevitably, they would turn themselves in to law enforcement officers within two or three days. Cold, hungry, and hopelessly lost, they learned that the Pennsylvania woods were not a place to take lightly.
There was, in fact, one escapee who had seen something so horrible at night, that he had lost his mind. His name was Ernie Jacobs. Ernie was just a kid when he entered Rockpoint. He had accidentally shot someone during an armed robbery. He never meant to pull the trigger, and he was horrified when the gun actually went off. He stood motionless as the victim dropped to the ground before him, and even waited for the police to arrive and arrest him. However, Ernie’s second and greatest mistake in life was to attempt to escape Rockpoint. He had eventually become a trustee. It was easy to slip away while the guards were on the far side of the field. Ernie simply jumped off his tractor, over the electric fence. , he was found by an Amish farmer, stumbling along route 64, jabbering nonsense about a winged beast. After getting him back to the prison hospital, he had begun to speak in a slightly calmer manner. Still with horror in his voice, he described a large figure he had seen at night in the deep woods. It walked on two deer legs, had the body of a man, but the head of a goat. It was huge…over 7 feet high. It also had broad, bat-like wings, and horns coming from the top of its head.
Ernie never fully regained his sanity. Day in and day out, he jabbered about the beast to anyone he could find who would listen. He swore the beast had tried to make him its servant, but he had managed to escape. Poor Ernie’s death was also a Rockpoint mystery. He had died in his cell from a broken neck, but he was still laying in his bunk, covered with a blanket. The floor of his cell was covered with odd, bloody hoof prints. Nobody had heard a sound, or seen anything, or anyone, entering Ernie’s cell. The security cameras showed nothing. Little did anyone know, this was the work of Belial… the winged demon of the Pennsylvania woods. (Paul Nelson. firstname.lastname@example.org, teacher)