This header image is of an art installation in the Forest of Dean, UK. But apparently people have sometimes reported odd stairs in the middle of the deep forest. The stairs come in all shapes, all sizes, and all materials. The only consistent elements are that they all lead nowhere — and you must never touch them.

This reddit thread, and others like it, are weaving a series of eyewitness reports of strange stairs, usually deep in the wilderness. Often they are pristine, without any leaves or debris on them, but sometimes they are weathered and old. Most people who see stairs experience a strong feeling of dread and leave immediately. I’ve found two reports of people who climbed them. One said that he lost all hearing and had an overpowering sense of being hunted, then he ran away. The other lost consciousness, and woke up miles away with cuts on her arm.

Apparently the stairs are a well-known phenomena in the forest service, and rangers tell their new trainees to ignore the stairs and never, ever step on them. No explanations are ever given. Probably because they don’t have any. It’s just tradition among those who work in the wilderness to warn their colleagues away from mysterious stairs in the woods.

It isn’t every day you hear about a new paranormal phenomenon, especially one that seems to be commonly known in certain lines of work. I don’t think I’m ever going to go camping again. But if I do, I’ll keep my eye out for stairs.