A Year in The Deepwood

Deepwood: J.R. Westermont

In the summer of 1882,
Jonathan Reginald Westermont
millionaire philanthropist
and big game hunter
bought several parcels of land
containing a dense forest
in the American Pacific Northwest.

The next Spring,
he hired a team of
former military men,
adventurers and survivalists
who he took into the woods
on what he called,
“a kind of training exercise”

That night,
while the team made camp,
he told them a story,
one about an endless forest,
with creatures no one
had ever seen before,
a place that defied size and nature,
with some lost civilization at its heart.
Most of the men laughed at this idea.

The next morning Westermont was gone.

Abandoned, the team tried
to find their way out of the woods,
but upon discovering their markers destroyed,
quickly became disoriented,
the forest’s natural features
seeming to have shifted overnight
or in the case of many trailheads,
simply disappeared.

The team’s journals end there.

The only survivor, Tobias Briar,
a civil war veteran and surveyor
emerged six weeks later,
emaciated and half mad,
raving about a creature
that had hunted the men down
one by one as they tried to escape.

The man had been in the woods
for less than two months,
but claimed that he’d been lost
for over a year.

The incident was pinned on Westermont,
whom no one has seen or heard from since.

The papers put a heavy emphasis
on his time spent in an asylum as a youth
and his obsession with hunting,
one Boston publication going as far as to say:

“Westermont could not be happy,
unless he was hunting the most dangerous game.”

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