In my life I’ve had two experiences that solidify my belief in creatures that are beyond our understanding. One of which I’ll share here and the other I share in another post.
My first encounter was when I was seventeen, during a horseback riding trip with my father and his friends. We were riding the trails of a hilly area called East Fork. Thick woods and tall cliffs made for beautiful scenery during the ride, broken only by the occasional camp area or stable for riders to rest their horses for the night.
We spent all day riding, starting around ten that morning on until around seven that evening.
We met other riders and even had lunch with one group whose path we crossed on several occasions throughout the trails. During the ride my dad and I got into an argument about me being on my phone while we rode, afterwards he would complain about it to his friends frequently during the rest of the ride.
After we finally stopped to make camp I confronted him about continuing about it all day. After heated words were thrown by each of us I finally yelled at him about being stubborn and stomped off through the woods. I wandered around for about thirty minutes cooling off when I ran across another camp, which happened to be the group we had shared lunch with that afternoon.
The group had been a family of six: one woman, two men and one teenage girl and two younger kids a boy and a girl.
One of the men, whose name was Tom, greeted me cheerfully, asking where the rest of my group was. I told him I was taking a walk to get some me time from my dad. He chuckled and asked me if I wanted to join them for dinner, saying he would walk me back to my father’s camp afterwards.
My stomach rumbled sealing our agreement.
I sat down around the fire they had and was introduced to the family whom I had met briefly earlier that day.
The other man was Tom’s brother Keith, the woman: Tom’s wife Cathleen, and their three kids: Jordan: 15, and the two twins: Molly and Brian.
After the names were all said and remembered I chatted with Jordan and Tom while Cathleen sat out plates on the card table they were using for dinner preparations. Keith called over saying dinner was ready and we all ate, laughed, and talked for a while.
As we were finishing up Keith excused himself to use the restroom behind the camper they had set up next to their campsite. Jordan and I chatted while Tom strummed an old guitar he had pulled out once he had finished eating. Cathleen had gone to tuck the twins into bed inside the camper when Tom offered to walk me back to my camp.
I agreed it was getting late and we both stood when Jordan suddenly froze in between us. We looked at her as she turned pale and a look of silent terror crossed her face as she stared behind us towards the end of the camper. Tom and I turned and looked to see a tall, lean, and terrifying creature.
It was at least nine feet tall not including the huge rack of antlers on its head.
It’s body was both muscular and lanky at the same time.
It’s head was that of a deer’s skull with only bits of skin still hanging on in places. It’s arms ended in claws, one of which held an arm. Tom cursed loudly, and Jordan finally screamed, I was frozen with fear staring at a nightmare standing before me.
Hearing the commotion Cathleen came storming out of the car holding a shotgun, one look at the thing in front of her family she opened fire: one… two… three times she fired straight into it. The creature screamed and took off into the woods, shrieking the worst sound I had ever heard.
After it ran off Tom ordered everyone into the camper and started calling out for his brother. No answer. He grabbed a flashlight and handed me one asking me to help him look, but to stay close to the camper. We didn’t have to look far. We found Keith’s body about ten feet into woods behind the camper with his pants still undone. Bites had been taken out of his face and stomach.
Cathleen had called the park rangers while we had gone out to look, and only twenty minutes later they had shown up with two officers.
We were all questioned and the body looked at, after the cops finished talking to me they called my dad and informed him of where I was and why they were calling.
While they spoke to him on the phone I heard him say that I had been witness to a bear attack. I was stunned. How could this be seen as a bear attack? Did they even look at the bite marks? Hear what we had told them? My dad came and picked me up asking if I was OK, I nodded and said goodbye to the family whom had been so kind to me earlier, and now looked lost and confused.
A feeling I understood completely.