Thursday, December 3, 2009

Speaking of Bigfoot... "Shadows in the Night"

The following is based on a true account, as told to me...

I can recall completely every indelible moment of that strange night in the summer of '81. It haunts me still to this day.

I was staying with my grandparents for the summer on their modest farm in rural southwestern Missouri. It was more of a hobby for the retired couple than an actual working farm. There were as many unusual animals (peacocks and guinea fowl) as there were the requisite chickens and pigs. At eight years old, I was big enough to help out by feeding the animals, picking vegetables, and collecting eggs. Then, when all the chores were done and twilight melted into another balmy Missouri night, we would settle in to one of grandma's delcious meals.

I loved those nights on the farm. It was a world far-removed from the noisy city nights, awash in an apocalyptic orange glow from thousands of streetlights. On the farm, the clear, black sky exhaled a billion stars while a fat, white moon hung brightly, as if for the first time.

We had scarcely sat down to dinner when a commotion erupted from the enclosure at the back of the property where the pigs and hogs were kept. At first, we didn't think much of it. They were a skittish lot at best and outbursts like these were not unheard of. Grandpa figured the dog, Jet, was harassing them or perhaps a frustrated coyote was pacing the fence line. Whatever it was, it could, grandpa figured, wait until he finished he fried chicken.

Suddenly, another sound erupted from the yard. This one, however, pierced through the night and our apathy with a spine-chilling cry, shattering the pastoral calm. Grandpa jumped up, grabbed a flashlight and his shotgun, and burst out the back door. I was not but two beats behind, racing to catch up. As we neared the pen, I caught sight of a looming, dark form grappling with one of the pigs. It wasn't a man as far as I could tell, but it was man-like: it stood on two legs but was entirely covered with hair. In the flashlight, its eyes glistened like topaz.

Grandpa raised his gun, and in a flash, fired a thunderous volley toward the creature. I started. My chest pounded with adrenaline and my ears rang from the blast.

Frightened, but apparently unharmed, the thing stood up and ran toward the rear of the pen where it was able to leap the four and a half foot fence. The creature then scrambled up an embankment and disappeared into the dark confines of the woods beyond.

We never saw it again.

My grandfather used to tell my brother and I stories of ape-men that dwelled in the woods and creeks of the Ozarks. He had encountered one years before down in Arkansas as he camped along a river. A rustling in the brush from the opposite bank caused him to glance up at a largy, hairy biped. The two stared at each other for a moment and then the creature simply dissolved back into the woods.

After my own encounter, his stories didn't sound like tall tales spun to snare the imaginations of young boys. They now possessed a frightening thread of truth.

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