If there is one thing you should know about me, it is that I have a certain fondness for travelling. I mean, I have been around the world literally. I’ve been to the brightest places and I’ve been to the darkest places. I’ve been to small places and I’ve been to large places. You could say that I visited almost everywhere in the world from North America to Asia, and yes India as well. What do they all have in common? I have been there. There’s nothing much I can do at home. Especially as I work as a cashier at your local fast food restaurants while I do my application for college. So why not just pass the time?
I do a lot of research into the places I aim to travel to. I record them in my logbook that I call Travels. Yes. Maybe I could have thought of a better name, but in the end, what is all this about? Travels. That’s what. I have returned from most of these “trips” in a calm state and have seen nothing out of the ordinary. That’s because almost every trip I have been on has been supervised by either friends of mine or local guides that are kind enough to volunteer to help me out. The food I eat, what I drink, animals I see, scenery, and even the sicknesses I contract while I’m at that certain place. Yes. That all goes in what y'all could call Travels. I don’t have any plans to publish anything soon though.
At night, I was skimming through travel locations that would indulge some particular interest in me. You see. I’m also very picky when it comes to travelling. If there is nothing interesting in that location, I don’t see any goddamn reason to go there. I mean, what can you actually do there aside from watching scenery and eating food? Exactly. That’s the point. Anyhoo. I was looking into lists of locations when I turned on my TV. A horror movie was playing. Now that I think of it. It was a movie about a family getting trapped in a haunted hotel and having to endure ghosts and shit. It was pretty cheesy according to me. As the movie was playing, I had an idea.
Horror is something that makes you extremely interested. The jumpscares, the suspense. It is enough to make your blood freeze. And you just enjoy the experience. Well, unless you have a faint heart. I really loved the idea of a horror hotel and I would love to write down an experience like that in Travels. Imagine what a sensation it would cause. So that’s when I grabbed my laptop and searched up Top 10 Haunted Spots In The World. But that’s when I hit a speed bump: These haunted spots were visited by almost thousands of people. Even if you went there and told your friends, they would be like “Oh ok.” and shrug their shoulders like that. I needed to go deeper. After a while of searching, nothing came up so I finally decided to go to Germany for a week. Maybe check out the concentration camps like Auschwitz or Buchenwald. See what the Nazis and Hitler did to the Jews there. I had heard many stories regarding the Jews and the Nazis. Now that I think of it, I remember a friend of mine telling me a story about a location that nobody had ever heard off.
I forgot to introduce myself by the way. My name is Dylan. At least two years ago, I was sick with pneumonia at the time and was extremely tired. My friend Matthew, whom I have known for a while came to visit me and told me stories. There was one particular story of a location that I heard from him. Here’s what Matthew told me:
Ok Dylan. I’m pretty sure you know about the Nazis and what they did to the Jews. You may have heard about the camps, but I am also pretty sure you know about the gas chambers where many of them were shoved into trains that brought them there. However, there is one place that very few survivors speak off. It was a place located in a large jungle called the Black Forest in Southwest Germany. It was said to contain a military base embedded into the forest. Very few Jews were singled out randomly to go there. My grandfather was one of them. The thing was that while the trains carrying the prisoners went towards the camps, the selected prisoners boarded a separate train cart that had the codename of Sklavin. They were taken to this place in the forest and it was actually dangerous there. Very few survivors managed to escape that place. My grandfather was one of the survivors who was selected to go to this base. When I asked him how it was, he said this to me:
“Kindeleh. Ich hätte lieber in den lagern gelitten, als an diesen gefürchteten Ort zurückzukehren.”
That was all I remember as he was visiting when I had pneumonia that I thankfully recovered from. The problem was that he did not tell me what the name of the place was, but he didn’t seem to want to talk more about it as if he had been through it, not his grandfather. I was curious and determined to find out about this place.
I woke up at 2 AM and grabbed my packed up stuff including two suitcases with enough clothing to last me for a week. I carried a backpack with binoculars and my Travels journal. I had brought my plane tickets online and printed them out. I called an Uber to come get me and while on the ride, I began to read about Hitler and the Nazis. After an hour of driving, we reached the airport and he helped me unload my baggage. He then drove off after dropping me at the Terminal.
A beep came on my phone. It told me to rate my ride. I pressed 5 stars. I took my luggage and headed into the Terminal. The check-in went smoothly and I looked at my watch and saw that the time was 4:30 AM. Boarding would be soon. I passed the time by sitting down and continuing to read. My eyes were red and welled up. I was really tired. As I read, a loud voice echoed through the airport.
“Ladies and gentleman. A reminder that Flight 798 to Frankfurt is now boarding. Please proceed to Gate Number Nine.”
I grabbed my stuff and headed to the gate. At 4:50 AM, I was in the front of the plane with a window seat. I had been upgraded at the last minute to first class due to my frequent flier miles. It was lucky for me because meals were only served to first class passengers. I couldn’t help, but feel guilty for those back in the economy class. Once we took off, we would be in the air for almost 8 hours. Unholy.
I asked the flight attendant for a blanket and opened up my TV to see what shows and movies were available. Nothing about Nazis though. I would have watched something after the Captain made the introduction and the safety video played, but instead I let sleep consume me and I think I slept for almost the entire flight. I didn't even wake up when the plane landed.
Waking up was almost painful. I slept like a log that whenever the cabin crew came to assist me, I was fast asleep. My body was so rigid and my back was hurting due to being in a sleeping position for a long time. A passenger next to me had to rouse me to get me up and let me tell you, I was annoyed. I grabbed my stuff and headed out into the Federal Republic of Germany. I went through the immigration process and when the Germany custom officer asked me what the purpose of my destination was, I simply replied, “Travel purposes.” He stamped my passport and handed it back to me. I headed to the baggage collecting area and got my suitcase that I had placed in the plane’s cargo. Once that was done, I went to a counter to look for hotels. I wanted a day to unwind and then start planning my adventure.
I managed to set my sights on a small inn that had a pool and sauna. It was perfect for me to unwind. Once I booked a room in that hotel, I sat down in a café and began to write my log in Travels. Then, I drank some hot chocolate and called an Uber. The ride was very smooth and I had a good time and made it to the hotel.
The first place that I tried out was a restaurant. They had the best pizza there. There were a couple of Germans in the area so I decided to ask them. “Excuse me sirs. Do any of you know anything about the war?”
They pretty much told me to fuck off.
The reply was basically the same with everybody else. It seemed like nobody would want to talk about it to me at least. A few actually saw that I was an American and told me to leave the restaurant. At this point, I knew I had screwed up very bad. I took their hint and I left. I headed back to the hotel, feeling glum. Maybe I had made the wrong visit to the wrong country. I guess I would never learn what my friend was trying to tell me. I was so lost in my thoughts that I did not look back.
“HEY! YOU! YEAH YOU AMERICAN BOY!” I turned around. Another German man was walking up toward me quickly. I remembered seeing him at the bar. He looked like he was going to punch me. I braced myself for it when instead, he spoke again.
“Quite a scene back there. Wonder what really interests you?”
I was about to ask my question when the man extended his hand.
“Donald Fischer. You can trust me. Your name?” he said. After a moment of pause, I took his hand and shook it. After a pause, I decided to try my luck again and asked him about the war. Just as I had predicted, he went pale. Then, he told me to take him to my hotel and find a private area so we could talk. I felt odd bringing a total stranger into the hotel. However, if he knew something, than I guess this was a good chance.
I went with him back to my hotel in silence. I led him to my room and kept the door slightly open so in case he attacked me or threatened me with a weapon, I had neighbors to yell for to help me. Inside, I let him sit down and finally began to ask him my questions till I told him the one that I had been dying to know more about.
“Were some Jews randomly selected and taken somewhere far worse than the camps?”
Fischer looked at me and took a breath. Then, he spoke in a heavy German accent.
“This is a heavily guarded secret. Most of the government in Germany has kept it confidential. The thing is. Most of the Jews were indeed sent to concentration camps where they were tortured by the Nazis. During this time, Hitler continued to reign as the Fuhrer. Everybody was led to believe that there was nothing more dangerous than the camps, but very few knew the truth.”
“What truth?” I asked. Fischer paused again.
“Apparently, the commanders, including Eichmann, performed a selection on the prisoners. The purpose was left to be unknown, but apparently, those who were “chosen” were carried away on a separate train by a few guards. The train had the codename of Sklavin. This train did not lead to a camp, but instead to a dense jungle where a military base lay underground. The Nazis and Jews called it Base Number: Vile. It is said that many Jews were subjected to secret and dangerous experiments by the best scientists of the Nazi Regime. Very few came out alive, but most of them are dead now.”
“What kind of experiments were performed?”
“Human. They were said to tear them apart or merge their body parts. To create something. Something ugly, something gruesome. Something Vile. It was considered to be worse than any kind of experiment Eichmann or any Nazi doctor did on the Jews.”
I couldn’t help myself. I piped up. “Where was this located? This military base?”
I burst into excitement when I heard Fischer say The Black Forest. I told him about what my friend said and his grandfather’s experience. But, that’s when he stopped me.
“If you know what is good for you son, then you will stay away from that place. Nobody knows where it is and either way, it is left to merge with the surrounding forest. You probably will never find it. Forget it.” With that, he got up to leave. I stopped him and did something I would regret badly.
I pulled out six 20 dollar bills from my pocket and told him that he could have it.
“Just till there sir,” I said. “Please.” Fischer seemed to contemplate what I said. I also felt the same way. I was giving away half of my money away to some random German stranger who could very well be a Neo Nazi. Before I could open my mouth, Fischer snatched my money and stashed it into his pocket and walked out of my door. I thought that was it when I heard his voice.
“Tomorrow at 2:30 PM, meet me at the entrance to the Black Forest.”
I was already there before time. I had carried my Travels journal to record anything that I might have found. I also brought a pair of binoculars. I left most of my stuff in the room except for my backpack which I had now filled up with water bottles. Apparently, the base had extremely high temperatures. I needed to stay hydrated. Of course, I also brought my favorite Nazi book with me. I skimmed over to the section about the scientists and read about many of them including Joseph Mengele, whom the Jews called the “Angel of Death”. I was reading until I saw somebody approach me. I looked up to see the form of Fischer grow larger. He was also dressed in what you could call “outdoor wear”, except he had no backpack.
“Are you sure about this?” he asked.
“Absolutely positive. I paid you. Could you please show me where it is?”
“Fine. Your wish.” He led me ahead. We walked on for hours. I stopped for bathroom breaks and water drinks. Fischer seemed to keep going on. He might as well have been an athlete. He certainly had the stamina.
After a very long time, at 5:30 PM, we reached the destination. It was a metal door that was in the middle of a small hill. On both sides, green grass mounds curved down and surrounded it. The door was covered in roots and leaves. It looked almost a century old. When I turned around to ask Fischer what to do next, he was gone. I was left all by myself.
So much for a random German to lead me here. I thought. Anyway, I found what I was looking for. I pulled out my Travels journal and moved on. The door turned out to have been rusted into the earth and I had to push it with brute force in order to budge it. After a few minutes, I finally did it. After pushing the door open, a mound of dust collapsed onto my head. I barely avoided it. I coughed a lot. It was like swallowing a sandstorm. After clearing myself, I noticed a reddish gold sign on the top of the door barely covered with grass.
Base Number: VILE
(Below it was the Nazi symbol)
I walked inside and soon, the sun that I had been accustomed to outside began to fade away and be replaced by nothing more than pitch black. A smell of chemicals and earth reeked from the inside. It was enough to tell me that I was about to enter a laboratory.
There were a lot of rocks lying on the ground. On the wall, pipes were left open with liquid dripping out of them occasionally and falling to the ground. They formed puddles on the ground and the color was unrecognizable. It definitely did not look like Mercury to me. It was clearly a liquid. As I closed my mouth, a crunchy feeling overtook my sense of taste. It felt like I had taken salt rocks. That’s when I remembered that some of the dirt in my mouth still remained. A little bit of water would easily do. That was better.
The pathway seemed to lead on forever. That’s when I came across a stairwell. It initially had a straight downward path, but soon spiraled in a circle. Below was pitch black and nothing recognizable. It was worth going down there to check out what lay below. That’s when I noticed that the stairwell was also covered in rocks and glass shards. If someone came in here barefoot, it would be very unlucky and the pain would be unimaginable. Thankfully, a traveller like me came prepared. I was already wearing my finest hiking boots and covered from head to toe in a sweatshirt and sports pants. No risk of injury here. I took the stairwell down. The spiral path felt like I was moving in a circular path. It made me feel a bit dizzy. One thing you should know is that I have never been a fan of rollercoasters. Most of these turns seem to make me unwell. I thought I would vomit, but I managed to keep myself stable. The rest of the journey downstairs into pitch black had nothing interesting. It was when I reached downstairs that I saw the massive hall that lay ahead.
It was a gigantic area. There were scattered tables and what appeared to be lab equipment and apparatuses. On the side of the walls, trees were sprouting and their leaves and branches were hovering above the area. On the ground, more glass shards and rocks. Everything was in a state of massive decay. The one thing that confused me was how trees were growing. In utter blackness. I looked at my surroundings, trying to find something that I could salvage. But no. Most of the equipment was broken glass and test tubes. Some apparatuses were shown with a brownish patch of something that I could not recognize. I looked for signs of life. There was none. It seemed as though nobody had been there for ages. This place was a living relic of the past. Many secrets lay buried here.
Moving on, my nostrils were struck with another odd smell. The smell of dried up chemicals. Broken test tubes and glasses. The entire area seemed to have only this. On the wall, I shined my torch on a large poster depicting Adolf Hitler himself. The Fuhrer. He looked very majestic with his body in a straight posture. I could see that his left hand was almost out of sight. He had Parkinson’s disease to compensate for that. The one thing that really intrigued me, however, was his eyes.
I guess some sick Nazi dabbed his eyes with red paint. To make him look like the Devil. It really added something shivering to the atmosphere of the place. On either side of the poster were golden glass panes, but I could not see the outside. The light was artificial and seemed to be coming from another area.
After a while of going through this area, I came across another stairwell. This time, it was only spiraling down. Down it went and soon, lights began to flicker. It appeared that some electricity still existed here. Maybe I could salvage something to leave. At the bottom of the stairs, I noticed that the hall was more narrow and longer. This time, it looked like a cellar. There were doors on either side and a rotting stench hit my nose again. I once again managed to swallow my vomit. Using another bottle of water, I rehydrated myself and proceeded on. I took out Travels and began to record any observations.
I noticed that most of the doors appeared to be rusted like the starting one. Except this time, they needed to be pulled. There was a door that had a similar sign like the one I saw at the entrance of the base.
Except, it was titled Room Four.
There must be something interesting in here. I thought. I prepared to apply a great amount of force that shove down the door and when I did, I fell flat on my face as the door proceeded to swing open in a 90 degree angle before hitting the brick wall on the side and staying put. I managed to get to my feet and observe the room.
The inside of the room was more or less like a surgery room. A smell of dried chemicals reeked just like the previous laboratory hall. It was a cubicle area with a surgery chair, fully reclined in the middle. On the side of the walls were almost empty shelves. Almost.
I noticed a few dried up bottles. One of them appeared to be an old bottle of alcohol. By what I saw, it was almost a colorless mush. Taking it down, I opened up the bottle. Turns out it was completely mushy. After all, it was nearly 75 years old. The other bottles appeared to contain some sort of greenish substance called Chemical Green that did not look like alcohol. It was reduced to such a state of mushiness that it almost resembled Jell-O. It was almost laughable imagining why surgeons used green Jell-O to experiment on Jews. But then, I remembered the bottle of alcohol and put two and two together and concluded that this “Jell-O” was a liquid. At least 75 years ago it was.
The ground was covered in mold and more dirt. Next to the operating chair was a table that had ancient rusted tools that a surgeon would use. On the side, was the same reddish brown patch that I had almost become used to. I picked it up and tried to examine it. I’m no scientist, but I could tell, it was somewhat manmade.
I pocketed it for further investigation. Maybe I would take it to a Forensic Scientist back home.
The room did not have anything else special aside from these artifacts. Maybe this was an area where the doctors had helped their soldiers. Yet I did not understand why there was the need of a green Jell-O. After further investigation, I did not find anything else so I left. I proceeded down the hall hoping to find more doors.
There were no external sounds coming from the surroundings, but I could hear the occasional drip of a pipe. The mood was almost exactly as an ancient place that was left to rot. Excitement pumped through me. I was ready to see what more I could find. That’s when I came across another room. Just like the entrance, it had a metal name plate on it.
I prepared to brush my hand on the door handle, but stopped for a moment to give some thought. I imagined a room called The Pit to look like an area where the Nazis dropped their unnecessary tools or objects in. I was expecting many relics. Hopefully, I could go down there and collect some. Either that, or it was simply a bottomless pit.
Holding my breath, I pushed the door open and walked inside. This room was much smaller than Room Four. It only had a rectangular flat area and ahead, a drop. I presumed that it was the Pit. Turning on my flashlight again, I aimed at the abyss below and when I did, I felt the urge to vomit. This time, I let go. Because of what I saw below me. Skeletons.
Hundreds of skeletons lay on top of each other in the Pit. The skin was completely gone and I noticed that some of them were missing arms and limbs. Those that did, had their limbs barely hanging on by the small bone.
Most of the skeletons were adults according to me, but I could see at least four that resembled children. Immediately, I ran to the door and slammed it shut. Nothing could clear my mind over what I saw. No concentration camp would leave these bodies unaccounted for. In fact, come to think of it, I noticed before the Pit in the flat area, smear marks. There were also dirtied handprints. Their pattern seemed to show that they were forced into the Pit.
Who? The Jews? I thought that was more reasonable.
Pushing forward, I moved down the hall, ignoring multiple doors that continued to display random signs. I already knew what lay beyond there. It was no point seeing more corpses. Corpses reduced to skeletons and ash.
But I needed to see something else beyond these doors. I had to take photos to show the outside world. That the Nazis were more than just sick monsters. They were committing a different form of manslaughter than the world knew.
That’s when I saw another door. It was marked The Products.
At this point, I felt a mixture of feelings. It was a combination of fear and curiosity. In the end, curiosity got the better of me. I wish it was fear. So I could get the fuck out of this place and never come back. Show the rest of the world the truth. But no. Curiosity encouraged me to move forward and once again brush my hands on the door. It opened immediately. I turned my flashlight on. There did not seem to be anything special here. Just tables with papers everywhere.
Then, I saw something standing in front of me.
I couldn’t tell whether or not it was a person. It was still and motionless. I flashed my light in its direction. It did not move.
It did not even react. I called out to it. Insulted it. Cursed it.
I decided to push my luck and approach it. The closer I got, the more worried I became. When I was standing two feet in front, I flashed my light and let out a scream.
Standing in front of me was an abomination. So putrid. So disgusting.
It appeared to be falling apart. I put it to be at least 10 feet tall. The arms were disproportionate and different sizes. Its body appeared to be made out of slimy substances. It was hunched over like a primate and motionless.
That’s when I noticed it was missing a head. Like a headless chicken.
When I shined my light further, I discovered that I was in a hall that stretched out. On either side of the walls, were more abominations. Each one of them were at least 10-13 feet tall. They were all missing heads. Their bodies were almost identical. They stood motionless down the hall as if they were museum sculptures.
I looked in horror at these things. But then, why was there a lack of heads? I moved forward down the hall watching these abominations stare at me like attacking monsters, but not making a single move. At the end of the hall, on a table, I saw another gruesome sight.
A massive squashed head. It was extremely slimy and was rotting. Its teeth appeared to be nothing more than grey nails and its hair was simply dirt and roots falling from the above ceiling. That’s when I realized that there were other tables on the side. They literally had an arm and a leg. They all appeared to be covered in that reddish brown patch.
The patches that I saw in the upstairs laboratory and Room Four.
There was also a note on the table with the head. It consisted of a passage written by who I thought was some twisted scientist. I picked it up to read. It was in German though.
Sie fallen auseinander. Die Haut ist zu schwach. Die ärzte müssen mehr Chemisches Grün produzieren, um es zu stabilisieren. Die schwachen Sklaven können in die Grube gehen, wo Sie verrotten werden. Die starken bleiben. Bisher haben wir viel Haut verloren. Es wurden Aufträge erteilt, mehr Chemikalien zu schaffen, um die Haut zu stabilisieren. Dann gibt es den Kopf. Sie sind immer noch hirntot, also brauchen wir intelligente Sklaven. Bald wird die Arbeit der Generationen abgeschlossen sein. Heil Hitler.
I don’t speak German so it was hard to understand what was actually written. That’s when I noticed that the word Sklaven was common. I remembered Matthew telling me about that word. This was too much.
As I turned away from the monstrous bodies surrounding me, I noticed a figure sitting in front of me. Again, it did not move. I approached it.
It was the skeleton of a doctor. I could tell that he was a Nazi because of the insignia on his coat. Cobwebs and roots (why so many?) were covering his body. Inside his pocket, was another note. I grabbed it and read it. Just like the previous one, it was in German, but shorter and covered in dirt.
Sie kommen. Sowjets. Es ist vorbei. Ich werde unter Ihnen sterben. Ich werde mich dem Zorn wiesenthals nicht stellen. Heil Hitler. Sieg Heil.
On the side of the doctor’s coat was a bottle of green dried up Chemical Green. I suppose that he killed himself with it or he tried to drink it and become strong, but died of its after-effects.
Whatever he did, I did not care. All I thought of was running. I ran out that room without staring at the monstrous creations. I ran past Room Four. Up the stairwell. Through the laboratory covered with patches and glass. Up the stairwell.
I ran. I kept running till I reached a door. Quickly, I pulled it open and felt the walls.
Instead of grass, I felt a brick wall. The same brick wall in Room Four and The Pit. There was no sun. Only darkness. That’s when I remembered something my friend told me about the Base. I was mad because I did not listen. Why the fuck was I sick? There had been a big detail I missed out. It turns out that Base Number: VILE is not embedded within the Black Forest.
It is the Black Forest.
It’s everywhere. There’s no way out.
Written by Stephen Allan