Weird Georgia: Okefenokee Vortex
The Okefenokee Swamp is one of America’s most beautiful and mysterious natural wonders. Covering an area of 700 square miles in southeastern Georgia, the swamp is 40 miles long from north to south and 20 miles wide from east to west, and penetrated by few roads. The Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge, established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937, contains 445,000 acres.
The Okefenokee’s wildlife is extremely varied, with hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, fish, and mammals. The most famous inhabitants are the fearsome alligators, equipped with big teeth, powerful jaws, and dangerous tails. Although measuring up to fifteen feet in length and weighing as much as 700 pounds, they are surprisingly swift.
Since humans first arrived in the region, few have had the nerve to venture into this vast, foreboding swamp. For millennia stories have circulated about supernatural beings, bizarre creatures, eerie craft, and ghosts lurking in this primeval wilderness. The tales are still told, and new ones are generated by those who dare enter the Okefenokee. Here is one of the strangest.
The witness reports that the encounter occurred around two a.m. on June 1, 1973, near Folkston, and lasted three to four hours.
“I left home in Macclenny, Fl, and drove north on Route 23/121 into Georgia around 2 a.m. I came to a crossroads just outside of Folkston Ga. It had been raining and was extremely dark. At that time I was still on time, when I came to the cross-roads. I took the same turn I always took onto Route 252 going towards Brunswick Ga. I drove this route many times on my way to Kingsport, N.J., to make deliveries. I was driving a tractor trailer and was loaded with shower bases.
“As I drove up Route 252 something seemed to change; things got really quiet. The night seemed to become still and black; my head lights were not going out as far as they normally did, I couldn't see very far in front of me, and the amount of distance I could see seemed not to change. All of a sudden I came up to a sign in the road; it was the same one I had turned at about a half hour earlier. I thought that it might of been a different cross-road, so I took Route 252 again, and drove for another half hour or so then I came to the cross-roads again.
“Then I figured that someone might of changed the signs, but I knew that I turned the right way, but that direction wasn't doing any good; I kept coming back to the same cross-roads. I stopped and looked at my map and picked a different route to Brunswick, I decided to take Route 40 to Kingsland then take 17 up to Brunswick, I turned onto Route 40 and headed east on 40 for about half an hour and came back to the same cross-roads.
“It seemed strange that I hadn't met any other trucks or cars in all this time, I didn't know what to think; at first I was worried that I wouldn't make my drop in time. Now I was worried that I wouldn't be able to go anywhere and that I might be stuck in some kind of time warp or something weird like that. I tried the other routes from the cross-roads and they all led to the same place, the cross-roads.
“I really don't know how long I was in this loop but I was scared. I stopped the truck and got out; it was really strange because I could barely hear the engine running on the truck. It was as if it was muffled, and all around the truck was lit up. It didn't seem like it came from a ‘light.’ The area around the truck was light enough to see the asphalt and the texture, but I could only see to a distance of about 20 feet, then it was as if there was a wall of darkness outside, and it felt threatening.
“I was scared enough to kneel down on the road and pray that God would get me out of there. The tears were running down my cheeks as I prayed. Then I just got in the truck and started to drive. This time things started to change. My lights started to light up more and I could start making out things that I could remember. I headed up 252 and got into Brunswick, pulled into the truck stop, and knew I was running late. As I walked in the waitress said hello as if nothing was wrong, I looked at the clock and it said 3;00 o’clock, right on time. I wasn't behind at all.”
This story was reported to the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC).
Jim Miles is the author of two Weird Georgia books and nine books about the Civil War. See Jim’s books.