Continued from Squatch Crazy, Part 2.
Time went by, we didn’t talk about that night much. We certainly didn’t tell others about it. Well, perhaps that is not entirely true. I did write a paper about it for a high school writing class. It was supposed to be a narrative about something that had happened to me. I entitled the paper, “A Night We’ll Never Forget.” The teacher gave me an A and wrote the comment, “Excellent work, you have a great imagination!” That was the last time I spoke of it to anyone for a long time.
I spent many years tortured by the events of that night. My rational mind simply could not reconcile what I had seen with anything that society, science, or experience could give me. I read books, all kinds of books, movies too. The closest I could come was the scene in “The Amityville Horror” when the evil spirit looked in the window with glowing eyes. That scene scared the Hell out of me. I’d seen that for real…sort of. What the hell had we seen! I was beyond frustrated. In time, I came to peace with that night, at least when I was awake. At night, it was a different story. Those eyes featured prominently in my nightmares for the next twenty years. I also unconsciously never sat with my back to a window at night, if I could help it.
My first inkling that it could possibly have been the creature known as Bigfoot (I now prefer the term sasquatch) was when I was taking an advanced animal behavior class in college. We were spending a couple of weeks focusing on the behavior of the great apes, specifically the chimps and gorillas as documented by Dr. Goodall and Diane Fosse.
- Apes throw rocks as a scare tactic…something threw a large rock into the pond that night.
- Male apes have scent glands under their arms that emit a foul, sulfurous odor when they are frightened or angry…just like we smelled that night.
- Forest apes will often grab and shake trees as a threat display to show enemies how strong they are and frighten off intruders…something had shaken those trees that night.
- Gorillas have conical heads, wide shoulders, can climb, and have fairly flat faces…just like what we saw in the window.
However, no known great ape can see or is very active in the dark. Their eyes do not reflect light any better than ours, least wise red. They do not live in Northwestern Wisconsin in November. People don’t keep apes around there. The nearest gorilla was in Como Zoo in St. Paul. No escapes had ever been reported.
Is it possible that someone had released or lost a gorilla near Grantsburg, WI? I suppose it is possible, however remotely, but it is extremely unlikely. My mind wandered back to my childhood, when I read a book on Monsters and watched “The Legend of Boggy Creek” and “In Search Of.” I could still hear Lenord Nemoy’s voice echoing in my mind.
Could it have been a Bigfoot? Ridiculous, they don’t exist, right? Even if they do, they certainly are not here in Wisconsin; maybe in Washington State; maybe in the swamps of Louisiana; but in Wisconsin…no, not in my backyard. I concluded that even if it was possible, bigfoots were big and lumbering ground creatures, certainly one couldn’t have climbed the wall and looked in at us. I shrugged it off and concentrated on more important things, like my new fiancé, my grades, and did I mention my fiancé?
Ten years later, I got full access to a wonderful thing called the internet. I’ve always been an information junkie; I love learning about everything and anything. Needless to say, I was in heaven. I was searching the net, learning whatever I could. One day, I thought back to my youth and those old “In Search Of” programs and thought, “I wonder if anyone has made any progress on the Bigfoot mystery.” So I typed, “Bigfoot” into my browser and was quickly immersed in sites like BFRO.net and Cryptomundo. I quickly became a BFRO junkie. I loved reading the vetted reports from around the country. I was amazed at how many were located in the midwest, especially in my home areas of Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The sighting reports on BFRO.net fascinated me, not because they were sensational, but because they were not. They were straight forward and honest sounding people, regular people, high class and low, working man and white collar, all who shared the common thread of having seen something that they couldn’t explain. Something else struck me as well, something that appealed to the biological training I had in college; the reports, when taken in aggregate, described, not a fantasy creature, but a living breathing species, complete with growth patterns, predictable habits, repeatable habitats, and consistent anatomy. This wasn’t the random creations of hoaxers; it was something more. At that point, I began to dare to believe.
One day during this research, I opened a new report, I forget where it was from. In it, the witness described seeing a tree swaying back and forth. When he looked closer he saw a large ape like creature high up in the tree.
It was in a tree…
Bigfoots can climb trees…
Bigfoots can climb…
Suddenly, I remembered that night fifteen years prior. I remembered the way the creature lowered out of sight, as if it had climbed to the window and was smoothly lowering itself down. Could it have been a sasquatch? I did believe that sasquatches were possible, there were just too many credible witnesses to all be fabrications, hoaxes, and misidentifications, but in my part of the world…in my backyard? That was something else entirely. Sure, I could accept that maybe they lived in Washington, Florida, Louisiana, and even Ohio, but the north woods of Wisconsin, just a few hours drive from where I lived. Were these sightings possible? Had I had a bigfoot encounter?
I started reading everything I could on the subject, every witness report, books, and all I could find that people knew about it. That is what I do when I am confused; I educate myself until the doubts go away. Within a week, I was almost certain that we had indeed had contact with a sasquatch, as incredible as that sounded, it was the only possibility that explained everything we’d seen that night. But, I wasn’t quite ready to call it yet. First, I needed to interview Kris and see if there was anything else that happened up at that cabin that could add supporting evidence to my theory. Thankfully, we had an upcoming guys night out, so I’d be able to question him then.
The guys night came. Kris, Woody (another old friend of ours), and I had a nice meal at Baker’s Square in a town that is centrally located between us. The meal came and went and still I hadn’t questioned him. What would he and Woody think of my suspicions? Would they think I was going crazy? But I had to know; I needed closure on this. On our way out to the cars, I plucked up my courage and asked Kris, “So, you know your parent’s cabin?”
“Yes,” he answered tentatively.
“Well, outside our experience, have you or your parents ever noticed anything else…odd?” I asked.
He paused and said, “Like what?”
“I don’t want to bias your answers, just anything you felt was unexplained, weird, etc…” I said, hoping I hadn’t just biased his answer.
He paused again and then told me of several unexplained events over the years. First, someone had forced their way into the cabin while they were gone. Inside they found what looked to be blood spattered on the walls and floor. On closer examination, it turned out to be unsweetened Kool-Aid mix that someone had put in their mouth and then spat all over, likely because it was very sour. The only thing taken was a remote control for the TV. The TV was left alone, the ammunition was left, all valuables were left.
He went on to tell me of an area of the property that un-nerved them. It was an area that just gave you the feeling that you shouldn’t be there. He had a deer stand next to it as there was a large game trail going into it. One year, he went to this stand to find that it had been ripped apart. This was constructed with solid lumber, and yet the pieces were not cut apart, nor were there any signs of tool marks. Instead, it looked like something had ripped it apart with its bare hands. There were also no signs of teeth or claws, so they had ruled out a bear. He and his father were mystified.
Also, near the same area, they found deer carcasses that were hung on a fence. They didn’t have obvious bullet wounds, instead the front legs were broken and the bellies eviscerated. They found deer like this on at least two occasions.
Of course through all this, I had to bite my lip to contain my excitement. None of this on its own was conclusive, but together it really only pointed to one thing as far as I could see, they had at least one sasquatch in residence near the cabin and it had followed us and looked at us that night so many years ago.
Finally, Kris and Woody broke and insisted I tell them what I was getting at. Looking around the rather public parking lot, I suggested that we go somewhere more private. We left and headed down to a seldom used park near the St. Croix river. It was a beautiful summer evening, and we all got out and sat on a picnic table by the water. They looked at me. I smiled, savoring the sweet feeling of knowing a secret just a little longer, then I opened up to them about everything I had learned, every story I had read, all the clues and facts that lead to my conclusion. They listened, asked a few questions now and then, and by the time I had finished, they believed as I had come to believe.
To say Kris and I were excited was an understatement. We’d been haunted by the memory of that night for so long, the relief of at least having a name to the thing we saw was palpable.
So now what? We went our separate ways. Kris called Tom and milked him for his recollections of the night. It was amazing how well our memories had stood the test of time, as we only varied slightly on a few minor points. I wrote up our story and submitted it as a report to the BFRO.
Then we waited to see what they would say.
Finally, after several months an investigator called, but I wasn’t home. He spoke to my wife who gave him several times during which I could be reached. He called back two days later during a time she had told him that I would not be home. He seemed irritated with her, but refused to leave a call back number. I didn’t have caller ID at the time so all I could do was wait…and he never called again. I found out years later that he had written me off as unreachable and moved on to more interesting cases. It wasn’t long after that that he left the BFRO and that was the end of that, at least for a while.
Continued in Squatch Crazy, Part 4.