Morbid Deaths, Missing Time and Mysterious Stairs: An Interview with Horror Author, SARwoods

A rather fitting image. “Stairs To Nowhere” in the Forest of Dean, UK. Built by Bruce Allen as part of a commission for the  Sculpture Trail  in 1988.

A rather fitting image. “Stairs To Nowhere” in the Forest of Dean, UK. Built by Bruce Allen as part of a commission for the Sculpture Trail in 1988.

SearchAndRescueWoods (aka. SARwoods) appeared on Reddit with their first story back in August this year, on the popular “NoSleep” sub-reddit, where authors are able to share their original horror stories. What ensued was a whole series of stories (still ongoing), written from the viewpoint of a US Forest Service Search and Rescue officer, detailing his encounters with various strange phenomena, as well as those reported by his colleagues. I say “strange,” though utterly bizarre and terrifying would probably be more apt. The real draw, however, was that the stories were believable. Despite the extraordinary subject-matter, they were not so far out there that they were impossible. And if you have some knowledge on the missing people phenomenon, or are acquainted with David Paulides’ books, then you know that such stories are more than merely possible.

The stories completely blew up on Reddit, gaining instant popularity overnight (literally). Comments left by redditors were tallying up into the hundreds, people excitedly interacting and contributing their own experiences, while others begged to hear more (the first installment of the stories even won the NoSleep monthly contest for August). I guess people always love a good mystery. Missing people, some found dead, some never found (and some found alive, though always under curious circumstances); chilling encounters with seemingly other-worldly creatures; frighteningly grotesque freak accidents; and then, of course, there are the stairs. The mysterious staircases that randomly appear in the forest, only to never then be found again. At this point, the stairs have become somewhat synonymous with SARwoods' stories – you’ll find fan-art online, as well as numerous blog posts and forum discussions (and even a ridiculous article by a “psychic,” who apparently managed to psychically figure out why the staircases exist…I guess she didn’t get the memo that they were fictional).

We had the absolute pleasure of interviewing SARwoods this past Sunday, giving us the exclusive opportunity to pick this author’s brain; and, of course, ask for a Top 5 list! So, as promised, here it is:

SARwoods’ Top 5 Horror Books/Stories

1. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
2. Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
3. The Long Walk by Stephen King (under the name Richard Bachman)
4. Lord of The Flies by William Golding
5. “A Perfect Day For A Bananafish,” by J.D. Salinger, from the 1953 short-stories collection, Nine Stories

Honourable Mention:
Bastard out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison (“one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read, it is written so wonderfully”).

For those of you that might like a little further insight into SARwoods' inspiration, check out David Paulides and his Missing 411 books. Of course, don’t forget to check out SARwoods’ stories for yourself, either via Reddit or the dedicated Tumblr blog.

And for anyone that didn’t manage to listen live, here’s the recorded interview for you listening pleasure!

As always, Spread the Love and Spread the Word! Peace.

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Posted on December 2, 2015 and filed under SUM2.