Meechum Forest is a forest located in Pennsylvania which will appear in my story The Forest. As many things in RIU lore, Meechum Forest is shrouded in mystery. But there are some stories that have persisted throughout the years attempting to explain the forces that work within its borders.
Two stories are the most common that are retold.
One is that the forest was part of the area that the northern Algonquin Indians resided. During the 1500s when they were at war with the invading European armies, they would capture, torture, and kill enemy soldiers. A particular band of Algonquin Indians had come upon what appeared to be a small detachment of soldiers moving with their families. They ambushed the company, taking the women and children hostage. Two weeks later, the leaders came to the decision to appease the demonic spirit they called wendigo and held a ceremony where all of the women and children were sacrificed and left for the wendigo.
However, these children, women, and men weren’t military families but Christian missionaries. The Indians’ brutality did the opposite of what they wanted to accomplish, unleashing the demonic spirits to haunt the forest. The small tribe began disappearing one by one and were soon totally eliminated. The forest is said to be full of these same dark spirits that prey on unsuspecting hikers, campers, and others foolish enough to enter into its confines.
The second story is a bit later in history during the late 1600s. The Salem Witch trials had sparked a hysteria that took the lives of twenty-eight people. New England citizens were being accused of being witches and operating in opposition to Christianity which was the dominating religion. These people were brought to trial. Those who admitted, true or not, that they were witches, were not sentenced to death. Those accused but refused to admit were executed. Though much of this took place in Massachusetts, word of the trials and the hysteria itself spread all the way to the Midwestern United States.
In a small town in Pennsylvania, a woman named Athaliah Brown was allegedly caught performing black magic ceremonies. An investigation was launched and as it progressed, townspeople began getting sick from strange maladies and dying in unusual circumstances. Miss Brown was arrested, accused of crimes against God and sentenced to hang. She was brought to Meechum Forest for her execution. When asked if she had any last words, she looked with a malevolent countenance at the crowd and proudly confessed she was a witch. She then cursed the families and informed them that she had prepared for her death by invoking the spirit of Diana to avenge her by haunting the forest she was killed in and seeking revenge on non-believers. Since that incident, people venturing into Meechum Forest have disappeared or been found dead, some with no apparent explanation.