Gwyd and the Ungrateful Turtle- Misadventures with Wildlife

Locally, I have a bit of a reputation as a person who knows all about weird animals. I can identify them, have a storehouse of information on them, know their temperments and how they react to human interference. I was not surprised when I got a call last Thursday to come check out something that crawled underneath a friends car. They didn’t want to back out and squish it. They had called me before for snakes, salamanders, spiders, wierd bugs, a shrew…
All of these I would capture and relocate to a place that would be safer for the animal. The area I am in has a huge migrant population and these folks are from areas where it seems that everything is poisonous. They see a snake, lizard or weird bug, they are very likely to kill it without any hesitation. It took me years to get them to stop and at least call me first so I can get the critter, do a little education and save the beasties life. When they call, I get there quick!
This was the first time they had ever called me about a turtle.
I arrive on the scene and look into the dark under the car just as it was starting to rain. There it was. A massive brute of a turtle. I could see the outline of the shell (At least 18″ long and 9″ high) and the face. It seemed to be standing up more on its legs than most turtles. It’s shell was completely off the ground and the legs were more like hooves then the webbed claws I was used to seeing on turtles of that size. From the size of it, I first thought it must be a snapping turtle of some sort, but from the hoof-like feet and the fact that it was holding itself up off of the ground, I changed my thoughts a little…Perhaps it was some sort of tortoise. It was warm enough that it could have been a sulcata tortoise that someone had released into the wild, but it was really too dark under the car to see. I grabbed a stick and waved it in front of the face to see if it would react at all. It ignored it completely.
Ok…Not a snapper.
I was just reaching under the car when one of the many gathered to watch said “I wouldn’t have called you for a turtle, but it had such a weird tail.”
“Weird tail?” I asked, pausing for a moment.
“Yeah…it has these weird spikes…”
I yanked my hand back just as the head rocketed forward.
It was indeed a snapping turtle. I had messed with these fellows before. They stay very docile until they are sure they can get you and then WHAM! You are missing fingers. I just didn’t expect to find one in the middle of a parking lot, in the dark, under a car.
There was about 2″ of clearance between the top of the shell and the bottom of the car. I told the owner that she could back up very slowly and the turtle would be ok.
She pulled back and the monster was revealed. His four inch wide beaked mouth was gaping at me as he stood his ground. I looked at him carefully, checking the carapace for cracks or wounds. There was a leech attached to it that I removed from behind while distracting it with a stick. This was a beautiful tough old turtle. The feet had looked like hooves because most of its toes had been bitten of and so it stood funny.
It was about a half mile from the nearest body of water, and there were roads between it and safety. I was going to have to transport a very surly animal quite a bit of distance.
I had someone fetch me a box. It was fairly tall with an open top. I figured I could set it down in the box, throw it in the back of my car and drive it the short distance to the lake.
I set the box on my back seat and started to pull out. I turned around to look behind me, and that is when I noticed the giant turtle head peeking out between my seats and looking at my elbow in a non friendly fashion.
Have you ever seen someone jump out of a car in a state of panic because there was a bee inside?
Yeah. It was kind of like that except that a turtle that size could bit off my elbow.
It had overturned the box and was now set on defending its new territory. The back seat of my car.
I managed to wrestle the snapping flailing turtle from my back seat and held by the sides at arms reach. It was stretching out its neck over its shoulder trying to grab my fingers and missing by centimeters. There was no other way to do this but walk to the pond, holding the turtle so tightly my knuckles were turning white. Each time it snapped at me, its whole body jerked violently and it was slowly wearing me out. The rain picked up at the point into a downpour.
I walked the 1/2 mile to the lake in the rain with a berserk snapper flailing in my hands. I got to the steep, grassy, leaf covered bank to the lake, my flat soled Vans type sneakers squishing with water.
Flat soled Sneakers on a wet grassy leaf covered bank.
I landed on my back with a “Woomph!” sound, throwing the 20 lb turtle high into the air. I had just half a second to think “Ooh…That hurt!” before the gigantic 20 pound turtle landed on his back in the center of my stomach with a second “Woomph!”
This apparently was the turtles cue to begin break dancing as it tried to right itself. It’s rear feet flailing, its neck stretching out jaws snapping frantically for purchase…something, ANYTHING to grab on to.
I pushed the turtle one way and rolled the other. I landed in a low crouch backing away as the turtle, now having righted itself was literally charging at me, mouth agape.
I screamed and dove to the side, a frantic push with my foot sending it spinning down the bank into the lake.

He looked up at me once, and then swam off like nothing had happened.

Ungrateful little twit.


Alone on Beaver Island…A Gwyd the Unusual Adventure!

By popular demand, another “Things that happen to Gwyd” post. I guess that it is the fall weather, the leaves and thoughts of bonfires that push me towards the “spooky” stories in my life. So, today will be the tale of my stay on Beaver Island and those odd things that happened there. As always, this story is the absolute truth as I¬†perceived¬†it.

Tomorrow, a potentially offensive rant on body issues ūüôā

Here we go…

It was early spring of 2002 when I left for Beaver Island. I had lost my sole source of income late in 2001 due to a downsizing at the company I had been working at. I had a Wife and two children and we were reaching the end of our financial rope. I had been offered a job laying a hardwood floor in a cottage on the shore of Lake Michigan. The job was scheduled for two weeks, ending just before the start of tourist season on the island.
Note that this was before the tourist season. The winter population of the island is scant at best considering that the only way to get back and forth to the island is by a two and a half hour ferry ride  or private boat. Not a practical solution for Lake Michigan during the blizzard months. This was mid May. Still cold but little chance of snow. The only real population outside of the main town were folks like me, coming up to prep the properties for their owners.
The ferry ride was a bit rough but uneventful. I arrived on the island at dusk under cloudy skies.
After stopping at the small store for some supplies I headed down the South curve of the 13 mile long island, cursing at myself for having written my directions in pencil…Nearly impossible to read by the dome light. Even as simple as the directions were, finding the right address in the dark where the street signs may or may not be there was difficult.
Finally I saw the reflector that marked where the end of the driveway was and turned in. Finally I saw my destination some 500 feet from the waters edge. I shut down my car as the motion sensing light turned on, got out and let myself in.
The place was amazing. Cobblestone floors in the entrance and kitchen, a fireplace, rough hewn wood furniture…But the most striking feature was the windows. Floor to ceiling all along the water side of the cottage. Of course, being night now and with the lights on inside the cottage they were now merely 10 foot tall black mirrors showing nothing but the inside of the house and my own reflection.
I selected one of the rooms, dropped my bags and crashed for the night. I would have a much better opportunity to explore my surroundings tomorrow.
The first couple of days passed¬†uneventfully. I found my building supplies alongside the house where they had been delivered the week before and set to work. I would empty a room, tear out the old flooring and then put in the new…Rough dirty work but of the sort that made me happy.
Between bouts of work I ate, watched TV and explored. The phone was not functional as they only turned it on during the ¬†months they were actually there but there was satellite¬†TV¬†and a DVD player. During the day, the view through those windows was spectacular. At night…I found them a little off putting. I don’t like situations where I can’t see what can see me.
So  the third afternoon I decided it was time to do some exploring by car. I needed to get some supplies and figured I would just keep driving around for a while to see what else there was. I had heard about some nice small lakes and some state owned areas where I thought I might get to see the coyotes I had been hearing or perhaps some deer.
So off I trundled into the dark in my lil minivan. It was a dark night with only a sliver of moon covered by clouds.

I should probably mention that I had watched “The Blair Witch Project” the night before on DVD.
I know…a lot of people say it is not a scary movie. My response is this- Try watching it alone, when you have not seen another living person in two days, in a cabin on a near deserted island with 10 foot high windows at your back in the dark.
Much scarier than you might think.

Keeping that in mind…When my minivan blew out a tire out at the Southwestern tip of the island…I was not thrilled. When I got out of the car and saw that I was in the middle of a massive Birch forest… Ghost White tree trunks in all directions… I was even less thrilled.
When the coyotes I had been looking for decided to let me know that I was now directly in the middle of their happy place by starting to howl on all sides of me at once… I was downright grumpy.

So I changed the tire, having to turn my back to the coyotes and their yips as they came closer and closer. I could hear their footsteps mere yards away.
I can only imagine what sort of “prey” signals I was sending out to the winter starved beasts. Crouching against a large object (the car) sweating with exertion but not going anywhere, grunting in my efforts to loosen the lugs, blood dripping from one of my knuckles from where I had banged it against the tire rim.

Yep. Prey.
I’d be disappointed in them if they weren’t considering eating me.

So…I am a little freaked out by the ghost white woods, I am miles from anyone, I have a flat tire (And no cell phone), I am bleeding and am slowly being circled by hungry coyotes. I have nothing besides a tire iron…

A tire iron and the vocal power of a trained¬†Shakespearean¬†actor…

Have you ever seen a video of a silverback gorilla  charging around the jungle banging sticks and things together just to show how big and awesome he was?

I did that.
“Rawargh!!!” I stood suddenly, banging my tire iron against the rim of the tire. “Raaaaaargh!” I beat my cupped hands against my chest.
The yipping stopped and I heard quick coyote footsteps fading away.
I never finished changing a tire so fast.
Did they leave because I seemed like a a great and mighty primate?
Or did they leave because they don’t eat crazy?
I went back to the cottage and spent the rest of the night staring at the huge black windows.

I took the weekend off from my labors. The construction had been going well, I had over half the job done and hadn’t managed to cut off any limbs while unsupervised with power tools.
Time for more exploring.

I had been eyeing the beach for some time. It was far too cold to swim but it seemed a pleasant place to walk. So that is what I did. I took my camera, some snacks and a big walking stick and set out.
Well…If you know me or have read any of my¬†previous¬†entries, you know that nothing good happens when I set out for a walk. You would think I would have learned by now…
I went too far and missed my point of no return. In a plane, that means you have flown so far you do not have enough fuel to turn around and go home. You have to continue on.
In my case, I had walked too far to make it back before it got dark.
I mentioned that the moon had been a sliver earlier in the week? It was gone now. No moon at all. No stars either because of clouds. No light pollution because I was on a freakin island in the middle of nowhere.
I had left a light on at the house so I would at least not walk by it in the dark…but it was still a half hours walk distant when night truly fell.
I made my way along the shore, my left foot occasionally splashing into the surf, my right foot sometimes tripping over driftwood. When I ran into a place I thought seemed rough, I would take out my camera and take a picture, using the flash as a momentary light. The half hours walk turned into an hour and I was concerned that the light had somehow gone out and I had missed it entirely.
Finally I saw the little yellow bug light from the porch of the house. There was a good path that ran up from the beach so using the flash, I found the end and started walking up. It was still pitch black but at least I had a beacon.
Of course, it was at this point, I heard something. Footsteps of some sort off to my left. I paused, they paused. I moved, they moved. I slowly raised the camera to eye level and aimed it to my left. I pushed the trigger.

I looked intently where I heard the noise from ¬†when the flash went off. I saw nothing. I laughed quietly to myself thinking “Squirrels in the dark” and chiding my timidness.

Then I looked at the display of the camera. It was showing the last image taken. Some low lying pine trees, some scrub brush…Nothing out of the…
Just outside the range of the flash, barely visible through the pine branches I could see two points of light. Two points of light at my eye level. Anyone who has taken a picture with a flash before would¬†recognize¬†this… eye shine or ¬†red eye. There are even tools to remove it in any photo program.
In the dark, there was something causing eye shine at my eye level and it was just 12 or so feet away.

I backed my way the last 50 feet up the trail to the house.

The next morning I went to check out where I had seen the camera flash lit eyes.
Just behind the pine tree was a slight rise…A foot or so. On top of that rise I found (Much to my relief) deer tracks.

So…Even I can spook myself given the right set of circumstances:)
The rest of the time on the island was uneventful. I finished the work and came home. Two weeks as a hermit was both surprisingly easy and surprisingly hard.
Would I do it again? Sure…But I would bring a friend.

It was creepy!

My near mugging in Atlanta -or- I am the terror that strolls in the night…

So I was recently in Atlanta Georgia for a week. As is my habit, I did not rent a car as my schedule was packed and I would not really have any opportunity to do any recreational traveling anyway. I do just fine on foot and using public transport (Atlanta’s MARTA system is top notch and can get you pretty much anywhere you need to go in the city). As a result, I wound up walking a lot in the evening to go get something to eat.

I am not a particularly timid traveler. Never have been. I have some faith in my fellow man, believing that 98% mean me no harm, and the other 2% ¬†generally don’t see me as a target as I am just shy of 6 foot, weigh a little under 200 lbs and do not look like I am particularly flush with cash. Most folks on the street assume I am a biker.

So one evening after having a pleasant meal I was walking back to my hotel. I passed through a “questionable” area… Empty field on my right,¬†graffiti¬†littered warehouses to my left, a bit of trash here and there but not a soul in sight.
I was a bit distracted due to one of my core weaknesses- I was looking for critters. I may have been in the city proper, but I had seen all sorts for things we don’t get up North. Saddleback Caterpillars, Flying Squirrels… I was hoping that I might get lucky and see some other creatures as dusk was falling. The field to my right was perfect. I was walking slowly and scanning for tiny movement.
It was because of this that I did not notice someone approaching from behind. He came up suddenly between myself and the field.

An African American youth…somewhere in his late teens/early 20’s. Dressed in white shorts, a white tank top and hi-top tennis shoes. He was thin…Maybe 140 lbs at the most and around 5’9″. ¬†Please do understand, I only mention his race as I believe it was the weapon he was depending upon for the task he had at hand. It was the only one he had,

“Hey man…You gonna give me 10 bucks?” as he fell into step beside me.

I turned my head to look at him. “Um…No. I don’t even have $10 on me…And even if I did, why would I give it to you?”

He stepped quickly in front of me, turning to look me in the eye. I stopped short, just a foot in front of him.
“To make sure you make it through this neighborhood safely…”
I did my best to assess the situation. I had seen no one else in this stretch. He was alone…I was sure of that, otherwise he would already have backup at his side. If he had any sort of weapon, I would have seen it or at least the outline of it through his clothes. He was unarmed.

I took a deep breath before looking slowly to my left, then to my right.

“I don’t see anything around here to be scared of…” Then I took a sudden step forward with an alpha male chin jut. This brought me abruptly about two inches from his nose.

I growled “Do you?”

He stumbled backwards, tripping a little over his feet. I took another step forward.

“I don’t think I’m the one who should be scared…” My voice was low, quiet and very controlled as I rolled up the sleeves of my T-shirt ¬†still walking towards him.

He was backing away at a more rapid pace and starting to turn away. “F*** you man…Just F*** you…”
He turned fully, walking away at a fast pace. He swore at me in Spanish, half under his breath.

I laughed quietly before calling out : “Habla Espanioles, Idiota…v√°monos…” as I continued walking towards him.
Two steps later he was actively running. Soon he was out of sight.
I breathed a sigh of relief.

Now…What did I learn from this? What did it remind me?

1- Even I need to be more aware of my surroundings. No matter how cool the critters are.

2- Always stay calm and assess the situation. Stay calm and you will make it out ok. Panic just makes things blurry.

3- I can still give people nightmares when I need to. It was good to be reminded of that. I forgot how good it feels.


YOLO…You only live once.

I wrote this a while back but was just reminded of it. Welcome to a Gwyd Rant.
YOLO (You only live once)
I saw this beneath a photo “YOLO…LOL!” of a girl holding a beer in one hand while making duck lips and a gang sign.
Really? You proclaim “You only live once”, a very powerful statement, because you are having a drink? This is your celebration of life? I had a beer last night and at no point did I find the need to say “Well, you only live once”. I had the need to think “Hey…This beer tastes good and I am no longer thirsty” but it was certainly not a significant life altering event.
I have seen a lot of other examples of “YOLO” being tossed around very cheaply. Can we try to save it for things that actually have a real impact on your life like…Bear Wrestling? Suddenly packing up and moving to Fiji? Trying something where you have little chance of success but dangit…You are going to try anyway?
I am pretty sure that finishing the beer while making duck lips may have been challenging but in the greater scheme of things…YOLO? Really?

Gwyd and the Supernatural part 2 plus the tale of the Roo Roo

Following my post yesterday…Which was the second time I felt instinctual terror in my life, I felt it necessary to detail the first. ¬†This was an¬†occurrence of a different nature. Extraterrestrial?

So…The short story of how Gwyd went for a walk in the middle of the night and came home at a screaming run.

I was a country teen. I rode a bus an hour and a half a day to go to school. Not because it was that far away…Just 12 miles, but because there was so much distance between students it took forever to pick up enough of them to fill a bus. It was about 4 miles to the nearest paved road.
I never really had a curfew, not during the summer at least.  I had to have the car at home by a certain time, but never really a set time I had to be back at the house and in bed. After all, there was not much trouble I could really get into. I spent a lot of time at night out in the woods or just walking (A habit I keep to this day).
So…I had a friend crash at my place while my parents were out of town. We were jamming on guitars, eating pizza and discussing things that we were absolutely sure no one had ever discussed in quite this fashion before. Typical teenage “Oh my gosh…we are sooo deep” sort of stuff.

Things were winding down a bit around 3 am but neither of us was particularly tired. As it was a pleasant summer night, we decided to walk the mile and a half to the girl¬†next door’s house and see if she was up.
We knew there was absolutely no chance of this. None at all. To a couple of 16 year old boys however, it was indeed possible. Well worth a stroll to find out.
So we left on what we indeed knew was a futile mission.

We had walked almost exactly one and a quarter miles under clear skies. The moon was out and near full, all around we could hear crickets and peeper frogs. There was a little wisp of fog from one of the watering hole ponds that the cows drank from. We could even see some cows huddled up a few hundred yards away.
Then we saw something else. At first I thought “Ooh…Fireflies!” ¬†but then it struck me that fireflies are not red or blue. They also don’t slowly gain brightness over a 10 second period and then fade out like they were on a dimmer switch.

I looked closer and saw that they were appearing in front of a black background. I know…Night sky…That is a black background right? No. This was a black area covering the night sky with a defined edge. It was roundish. Slightly elliptical and moving slowly. As it moved, the fading in and out red and blue lights moved with it, as though affixed to its surface. As it moved you could see stars slip behind it and it would block them out until they reappeared on the other side.
My perception was that it was a large, flat object about 15 feet across with independently fading lights randomly attached.
We both stopped and watched while it slid behind a lone tree in the cow field.

We stood still for another moment, then without a word, turned and started walking back towards home. We didn’t speak, we didn’t rush, and we never once turned our heads back towards what we had seen. We walked in absolute silence as the crickets and peepers had decided that we had the right idea and now was not the time for conversation.
This went on until we had almost ¬†reached my driveway. Many of you, not accustomed to country driveways would now say “Ah…safe then! Just pop into the house!”
Not so much. The driveway alone was the length of two football fields. This is when my friend said “You saw that…right?”
“M-hmmm…” I replied, not turning my head.
“You noticed that it is all quiet around here…right?”
“Yep…” I replied.
“You think that maybe that is because it followed us home?”
It is at this point that rational thought went on holiday.

We did not, in fact, turn to see if the christmas light flying disk from beyond had indeed followed us home. Did not bother to turn our necks a single degree to check if it was hovering inches from our¬†shoulder blades¬† just waiting to extrude a pseudopod to extract our memories…None of this was a concern.

It seemed to my non rational brain that the priorities were now running and screaming with some flailing for good measure. I envision myself as a terrified kermit the frog- Arms raised, hands flapping loosely at the wrists, mouth open with gibbery noises coming out running knees to chest from the thing I was absolutely sure was moments away from turning me into a pod person.

We got through the door of the house, slamming it behind us. I sprinted up the stairs to my room and strung my bow.
Yes…My bow. You work with what you know. I gestured my friend towards the antique Daisy bb gun.
Cause…You know…Aliens hate flying pointy sticks and little balls of metal that can’t pierce cardboard.

And there we waited until morning.

Towards morning we both wrote down exactly what we saw without discussion. What we wrote matched up pretty well.
And we never talked about it again.

Is this a little easier to explain than my previous entry? A blue and red weather balloon accidently filled with fireflies, lit by the moon’s reflection off of Venus crashes behind a tree due to a low pressure zone caused by swamp gas?
I can go with that ūüôā

Bonus tale- The Legend of the Roo Roo. The tale that proves all things are possible.
The first cryptid I ever attempted to validate was the Roo Roo. Don’t bother looking it up. There is nothing about it anywhere. The Roo Roo was never seen alive…only heard.
This happened when I was about 13 years of age. We were living in a trailer while we built what was to become our house. It sat in a field at the edge of the woods, a fairly large woods at that. Some of it was privately owned, some of it was state land but it ran on for miles along the banks of the Black River on the East side of Michigan. These woods were my favorite place in the world and I would spend every second I had to spare there.
The evening the Roo Roo came, I was not home. I was spending the night at a friends house several miles away. When I returned, I was met by my father asking if I had done it.

I had no idea what he was talking about! He went on to describe what had happened. He had been out walking Bonnie Longears, our basset hound in the middle of the night. He heard a crashing noise from the woods along with some grunting. It sounded like something big. Not the sort of crashing you would hear from deer but more of a trees being toppled and logs torn apart sort of crashing. Bonnie the dog listened carefully, staring at the spot the crashing was coming from. Then the creature made a different sort of noise. A low growling Roo sound that repeated…


The dog tensed.

Louder “Roourou!!”

The dog bolted towards the house and my father followed.

Over the next hour my family sat, listening to this large beast crashing through the trees mere meters from the trailer. All the while it uttered its strange cry…


And their only explanation the next day was that it had been me. I hadn’t even gone through my puberty voice change yet! There was no way I could have made that sound!

Thing is, we knew all of the local types of critters. Nothing any of us knew of would make that noise. Perhaps a bear…but the sound was too consistent. Bears kind of talk when they growl. Not the same sort of call over and over again. We had an unknown creature on our hands.

It happened one time after that, also when I was away. And it was then dubbed the Roo Roo.
It became a family joke. “Take a stick…There’s Roo Roo’s out there!” “Go get the eggs before the Roo Roo collects them…”
“Lock up the Ducks so the Roo Roo can’t get ’em!”

We finished the house and moved in. Many years later my parents got their first computer. They had the Encarta Encyclopedia with video and sound and every thing. This was the first time I ever got to use a computer that didn’t load from a¬†cassette¬†player and I was excited! Audio and video files? I could play them on the computer?
I browsed the cd’s (There were about 8 of them I think) looking for files to play. I found one I thought might be interesting and I clicked…
This is the sound I found:
My dad ran into the room.

That was the sound. The sound of an annoyed badger. The sound of the Roo Roo.

I have not met many people who have seen a badger in Michigan. I was outside all the time at all times of day and had never seen or heard one. I didn’t think they even lived in the area.
It was something outside of what I knew and as such had taken on mythical properties. It was something that was not supposed to be there so as a human, I filled in the blanks.
Now I know it was a badger.
But when I see one at the zoo, I still call it a Roo Roo.

Gwyd and the Supernatural

A lot of folks lump me in with the atheists. Generally, I am ok with that. I am not an atheist but I do tend towards science and facts more than anything else. If I am shown scientific proof of something that contradicts with what I believe, I will always defer to science.

That being said, I think that there is a lot of science out there that has yet to be proven.

  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Arthur C. Clarke

In my relatively short span of 43 years, I have seen things that I cannot explain. I claim them to be in the realm of the supernatural only in that they cannot CURRENTLY be proven via conventional science. I believe that these things did occur but that a rational explanation has yet to surface. So for the time being they will be placed in the category outside of conventional nature, the Super- Natural.
This is not a new concept. History has played out this scenario many many times. Sea Serpents, The Kraken, Gorillas…all thought to be mythical creatures.

I remember watching a show several years ago- “Legends Revealed” or some such nonsense. In it, they promised to reveal how sea serpents never existed. I was intrigued and had to watch. They¬†proceeded¬†to show an Oarfish.
You know…an Oarfish….A long skinny silver fish with feathery barbles trailing from the skull and reaching a potential of 17 meters long? The one with the dragon like head and ref fins down the length of its back?
They then went on to say “See! There were never any sea serpents…Just this long giant fish that matches the description perfectly!”

I took the absolute¬†opposite¬†path- To me, they had just proven that sea serpents exist. All they had done was given it a more sciency name and said that it doesn’t actually eat people.

Have a look at this article. It shows a drawing of a sea serpent and then three guys holding a small specimen of a recently dead one.-

Bloody right that is a sea serpent!

There is no such thing as a Kraken! Just Giant (And now Colossal) Squids! (Sure looks like a Kraken to me!)

Even gorillas…They weren’t classified as a real animal until 1902! They were on par with bigfoot and now we have them in zoos!

So…Here is a tale of one of my journeys into the supernatural. Did I see ghosts? Was I stalked by nefarious creatures from the underworld? Was I at a place where the veil between this world and another was worn thin? Was it simply a weak spot between dimensions that will some day be explained by science?
I don’t know.

It is simply what happened to me.

Names and locations have been changed as needed.

I had just graduated from High School and turned 18. As a celebration, I and 5 of my school friends (2 other fellahs and our girlfriends) decided to take a week long camping trip into Northern Indiana- Amish Country.
We had a campground surrounded by corn fields, all owned by members of the Amish community. They were friendly enough though they kept to themselves. We did the same.

We did the usual teens on a¬†camp-out¬†things. Bonfires, cuddling in sleeping bags, smoking a few cigarettes…we had even managed to score 6 wine coolers. Yep…Bad kids. One wine cooler each the entire week. We would go into town every now and then…even saw “The Lost Boys” the day it came out in the theater. ¬†We bought breads and cookies from the¬†Amish¬†produce stands and generally relaxed.

Half way through the week we started getting restless and decided to play some hide and seek in the corn by the light of the full moon. We had been out for a while when the girls got bored and wanted to go back to the camp. We walked them back and then went out to resume our fun. As we walked out to where we had been running the rows, we saw a tall figure with a traditional Amish hat standing at the side of the road. We stopped and watched as he turned and walked into the corn.
We were three friendly, outgoing guys with a sense of adventure. So far the Amish had been civil to us but not really what we would consider friendly. We wanted to change that. One of my friends called out to the figure we had seen, hoping he would respond positively. He did not respond at all.
So, we followed him.
We walked back through the cornfield several hundred yards until we came to a clearing. The moon was clear and bright and the air was calm. On the other side of the clearing we saw a black shape about the size of a large raccoon. In fact, that is what I thought it was.

Until it stood up.

Stood up is really not the best description. It rose up. More like it was extruded from the black shape than unfolded from it. It wore an Amish hat and light glinted off of something metal in its hand.
I have been struck by instinctual terror exactly 2 times in my life. This was the second. I went from cheerful fellow out looking for the nice Amish guy to “IneedtorunIneedtorunIneedtorunnow!” in the space of a heartbeat. I pushed my two friends backward out of the clearing to run ahead of me. I knew I was not the fastest and did not want to slow them down. They ran,¬†apparently¬†on the exact same wavelength as myself. They needed to run NOW!
We crashed towards the road, my nearest friend screaming run over and over again, mixed with some choice and otherwise untypable words.
I spared a glance over my shoulder and the hat wearing fellow was right behind me. His eyes shone red in the moonlight as he gained ground. The hand carrying the blade snicked out to take a bloody connecting swipe at my shoulder. I could immediately feel blood welling down my back. Seconds later we all tumbled onto the road.

We ran for another hundred feet before we paused, sensing we were no longer being pursued. We turned to look as the figure, standing as he had when we first spotted him, turned and walked once again into the cornfield.

Needless to say, our sense of adventure was significantly diminished.

Now…I am sure that some of you reading this are thinking ¬†“Children of the Corn” or perhaps even “Jeepers Creepers”. That is a fair thought. Looking back I do see similarities. When this¬†occurred¬†I had not seen or read Children of the Corn and Jeepers Creepers was still 14 years or so away.

And looking at it all logically (Which I truly am prone to do) it can all be explained within the bounds of reality. The only really out of this world thing is the figure rising up out of the shadow instead of standing like a good rational psychopath. Even this can be explained as a trick of the light.

But I promised supernatural. Read on.

There were three distinct instances from the rest of that night that stand out as not normal and more difficult to explain.

The first- As we sat about the fire, relating what we had seen and what had happened (And while I bandaged up my shoulder with some butterflies and tape) one of my friends was smoking a cigarette. The smoke was trickling down. The smoke from the fire went up, the smoke from the cigarette went down and pooled around his feet. It pooled. Not right at all.
When we finally noticed it, we all scattered back. My friend kicked up some of the smoke as we fell back. It clumped in the air then fell back to the pool. Over the next few minutes, that smoke disappeared…sinking into the ground.

The second and third- My smoking friend and I walked a bit away from the camp towards one of the barns nearby. It was lit and seemed that there was some sort of a party going on. We were hoping to talk to someone who knew the area and get some of the things we had encountered settled.
As we walked down the road (It was about a mile or so away) we saw that figure again, on the left side of the road walking through a pasture. We stopped and watched it approach. My friend called out to it and it stopped, raising an arm towards us. Then it melted into something else…A lone horse, staring at us from behind the fence. This¬†occurred¬†no more than 10 feet away over a period of seconds. Nerves? Another trick of the light?
We decided to keep moving forward towards the lit barn on the horizon.
We went on for another five minutes until we stopped and strained our ears. We heard buzzing. Quiet at first but getting slowly louder. From a tree at the right side of the road we saw a cloud streaming from the trunk. A swarm of bees. Bees swarming in the middle of the night (It was at least 1 am at this point). The moon was to our back at this point so we could clearly see the tiny moving shapes as they clustered now, flying in the center of the road. They moved into the shape of a face. It had a mouth that appeared to slowly open in an angry scowl. We started backing away.

Trick of the light? Perhaps and probably. It was however too perfect..I saw a face dammit. And since when do bees swarm in the middle of the night?

Our reverie at this strange sight was interrupted by a clattering of hooves coming down the road at high speed from behind us. ¬†We looked and saw a wagon with two horses barreling towards us. We flung ourselves to the side of the road as it passed. Behind the reins was an Amish teen…The one who helped run the campground, his two brothers riding in the back…

“Hey dudes” in a heavy Amish Accent “Get Laid!!”

When we looked back, the bees were fading back into the tree trunk.
We decided to give up for the night. We stayed the rest of the night in the pop up camper, huddled up and speaking in hushed tones.

The rest of the week passed without incident.
I don’t know the cause of anything we encountered. I make no claims as to what we had stumbled into. These were the events as I experienced them.

I mentioned that this was the second time I had experienced instinctual terror. I will write about the first tomorrow.