I'll start off by saying I don't scare easily and I had never experienced anything 'psychic' before this. I still don't really know what happened - it could have been my intuition or it could have just been a coincidence. Who knows? But since this happened to me, I have never ignored a nagging feeling.
In the 1990s, I was living in the Midwest attending college, but I took an internship in Washington D.C. One summer. I was an avid runner, sometimes going twice on weekend days, and I always went the same route while in D.C. - along M Street in Georgetown and into the woods along Canal Road. There's a great trail that goes through the trees and leads to residential areas, and I would see kids using the trail all the time during the early evening as a shortcut from school. Has to be safe, right? But even in the day, the tree cover makes it so that it's kind of dark and damp. Nice if you're trying to cool off but kind of scary if you're alone and easily freaked.
Every day that summer, I went after work and I tried to go during daylight, but if I got started late, there would be times it would be kind of dusky once I got to the woods. But I never went when it was completely dark.
Toward the end of the summer, I think the first week of August, I decided to go kind of late on a Saturday. I did the same thing I always did -- same route, same everything -- but once I got past the shops on M Street and closer to the wooded trail, I started to get this really weird feeling. That's the only way I can describe it - a weird, nagging feeling that I shouldn't be there.
I was quite obsessed with finishing my run, though, so I kept going. I turned off the Walkman I was carrying so I could listen to my surroundings (thinking that would make me feel better) but the feeling only got worse. At this point, I told myself I was being silly. I took maybe two more steps and this feeling of dread completely took over, to the point where I stopped dead in my tracks and OUT LOUD said "OK, I'll turn around." I swear, this happened. It sounds like an embellishment but it's not.
Again, I'm not easily scared and I never considered myself a 'new age' kind of person. This behavior was strange for me.
On the way home, I laughed at myself. By the time I got home, I had convinced myself that I had only turned around because it was getting a tad dark - maybe I just knew I shouldn't be running that late. It had been maybe 8:00 or 8:30 when I stopped and turned around.
And then I completely forgot about it.
The next day, a Sunday, I went running that morning, same trail, without incident. No weird/nagging feeling that time.
Then I tried to go again that night around 5 p.m. (I didn't have much of a life that summer I guess). By the time I got to the trail, I saw that there was yellow police tape wrapped around the area. I felt sick. I walked up to a cop and asked what was going on and he said "We've got a dead girl here." I'll never forget it.
I remember walking home and feeling like I'd been hit in the gut. The whole time, I kept thinking that maybe this victim had OD'd on drugs in the woods or something like that - that she hadn't met any violence. Or maybe if she were murdered, the killer did it somewhere else and dumped her there and even if I'd been running there, it would have nothing to do with me.
I felt guilty that I was thinking about myself so much. I still feel guilty.
I walked into the apartment I was sharing with another intern and she said I looked like I'd seen a ghost. Pale white, freaked out. We turned on the news and they were talking about it. The girl who'd been found had been ID'd - she was an intern, too, in her 20s. She'd been raped and beaten to death while walking through the woods around 10 p.m. Saturday - an hour and a half after I turned around (but close enough to scare me!) Some joggers on the trail had found her about 1:40 p.m. (Sunday afternoon) and called the police.
They didn't solve her case for years, but recently, I read that there's a rapist serving time for other crimes and apparently his DNA matches.
I think about her all the time.
My catholic mother thinks a guardian angel was looking out for me (why didn't this girl have one too?) and my dad thinks that my subconscious registered the fact that the woods were totally quiet - maybe the killer was there, and all the little animals that normally chatter away in the woods were silent because they felt something was amiss.
I don't know.
Like I said, I feel guilty even telling this story as something that 'happened to me' because this girl is dead.