My name is David, and although my encounter isn’t as intense or frightening as some others, I thought I would share it anyway.
Every family seems to have a weird person, I’ve noticed. I mean the froot-loop necklace wearing kind of weird. Our family had Aunt Lynn, my mother’s older sister.
Aunt Lynn had lost her husband in Vietnam in 1970. She never remarried, and never had any children. She worked in school administration in a nearby town and worked there long enough to retire. She lived on a few acres outside of Tippecanoe, Ohio that my parents sneeringly called the “hippy farm”, probably because of the mass gardening Aunt Lynn occupied herself with. While the adults sneered at her “hippy” ways, we kids called it awesome and we spent many enjoyable days in our youth there roaming her wooded area and snacking on vegetables from the garden whenever we felt like it.
In December, Aunt Lynn passed away while battling pneumonia in the hospital. I knew the task of deciding her estate would fall to me as she had told me years before she had named me as executor of her will. I don’t know why she picked me, but I guess with her having no children, she had to pick someone.
I hadn’t been out to the “hippy farm” since 1985, the last summer I spent in Ohio before heading off to college. I did see her many times in the years since then at various family gatherings, but I had never been back to her home in Tippecanoe. So I was shocked when I first visited the property, finding it visibly neglected and the inside a borderline hoarder situation.
We lived about an hour away just outside of Canton and began to work on the property on the weekends, and had made great progress working inside emptying the house during the cold months. As spring came, it was time to turn our attention to the outside.
My encounter came one of the weekends I went to the property alone, as my wife and kids had commitments that weekend now that the kid’s extracurricular activities had started. I didn’t mind. I worked faster without worrying what the kids were getting into or being called away from my task every three minutes to battle some spider or centipede one of them found in the house. It also meant I could stay overnight at the house to continue working, which we had not done before as the inside wasn’t an ideal situation, especially with kids.
So, I arrived alone late on a Friday night in May and got an early start that Saturday morning tackling the overgrowth left from the previous year that ran from the poured patio behind the house to the tree line about 100 feet distant. It was no picnic. I was mowing where I could, and using a scythe where I couldn’t, and had to use large pruning loppers to cut down sections of the bush like overgrowth. I had several pangs of regret when I knew that what I was cutting through was probably no weed but had once been a prized feature in one of Aunt Lynn’s many garden areas. But I had no choice, as there clearly hadn’t been anything resembling a garden here for many years.
I had been working for a few hours and I was beginning to think I might be better off either buying or renting a bush hogger or contracting this work out when I kept getting the strong feeling that someone was watching me. I looked around several times but saw no one. I decided my city-boy mind was working overtime and continued hacking at the brush.
I was sore and blistered by the time I called it a day. I heated up the food my wife had packed for me in the tiny microwave we had brought specifically to use while working there, and took it to the patio to eat, as I was still a bit skeeved out about the interior of the house. The patio was a 12 by 18 foot rectangular slab on the back left side of the house that once had been covered with a metal awning. And while the awning was gone, the same 1970’s style wrought iron table and chairs sat there, rusting and looking worse for wear.
As I ate, I thought about how I maybe had overestimated my abilities in relation to amount of work needed to be done outside. As I looked at the little progress I had made in one day, I became pessimistic when I considered the enormity of what still awaited me, and although I was counseled that we could hire all the work out and the proceeds from the estate would pay for it, I was hoping not to do that, as my wife and I were planning to use the proceeds from the house sale to buffer our thin retirement accounts which had taken some major hits over the years.
I was sitting there thinking about my dilemma when I heard a distinctive whooping noise from the wooded area. It sounded like an owl, but even to my city-boy ears, it didn’t sound quite right, but then I reminded myself I didn’t know everything that lived in the forests.
I heard several whoops on and off over the next hour or so, and I felt it must be an owl of some sort as I heard the calls being answered by different whoops from a distance in front of the house; as best as my ear could tell, the answers were coming from the wooded area behind the field that was across the road in front of the house.
I could still hear the whoops as I went to sleep in the guest room upstairs that had been fairly cleared out already. It was a cool night, and I left the window open for the fresh air.
I don’t know what, exactly, but something woke me up just after 4:30 am. I laid there for several minutes, but couldn’t go back to sleep, so I resigned myself to a very early start to my Sunday morning and headed into the kitchen to make some coffee.
Early mornings in rural Ohio can be beautiful and peaceful, and this one was no exception. I could see clearly for probably 15 to 20 yards off the deck before everything was swallowed by a heavy fog. It was incredibly peaceful and beautiful in that strange, light blue glow just before dawn, and I sat there with my cup of coffee enjoying the beauty and silence.
It would not last long, though, as I heard something moving in the fog covering the area I had just cleared the day before. It sounded like something rooting through the piled brush I had stacked to burn. I listened and then heard a softer rustle, like something was walking through the thick mat of weeds and grass I had cut that I planned to mulch over with the mower that day. Relaxing back into the metal chair, I figured it was probably some deer in the early morning hours just nosing around -again, this was the city boy in me expecting to encounter happy, Disney-like forest animals, I guess.
I sat silently with that expectation when I heard one of those whoops I had heard last night, only this time much closer, somewhere just beyond in the fog. It was close – close enough it was sharp and harsh sounding in my ears and very clear.
I was curious to see what was making the noise, so I sat there, waiting in the pre-dawn light, but was unprepared for a whooping answer to come almost immediately from my left. The whoop was incredibly loud and rang painfully in my ears. Reflexively I turned my head to see what it was.
The light blue haze of the morning showed a barrel-chested, hairy creature standing a few feet away from the edge of the patio. It had walked out from alongside the house when it heard the whooping call that came from the foggy area. The creature might have been six feet tall. I could not tell in the low light if it was male or female; it was just a very large, hairy mass standing there. The silhouette in the low light showed the head as more rounded, and not domed as all the pictures that I would see later when researching.
I had no idea it had been there. And more importantly, it hadn’t known *I* was there – until I moved my head from the whooping noise it made.
The whoop was cut short with my movement, and it Instantly it turned part of its body to look it me. It stood about 10 feet from the end of the patio. When it turned, it had bent its body slightly, taking what seemed to me to be a more aggressive stance.
While I believe the real time it stood looking at me was no more than two or three seconds, it seemed much longer. I have no question in my mind that It was assessing me to see if I was a threat, and I would like to say that it was instinct that told me to stay perfectly still, but the truth was more likely that fear had rendered me incapable of moving.
I could hear heavy footsteps in the brush covered by the fog accompanied by three quick, short whistles, and it heard it, too, and it whistled back in a strange series of rapid staccato notes. I had the impression the whoop that had been cut short alarmed what I assumed was its companion in the fog, and the whistles it sent back to them was a message of some sort. I feared the worst even though the creature had made no move towards me, keeping its body turned and what I assumed were its eyes on me as it made the whistles.
After the last of the whistles, It continued looking at me for maybe a half second, then turned and walked toward and into the fog with long strides.
I hadn’t realized I had been holding my breath until I got inside the house, my hands and legs shaking so badly I had trouble turning the locks.
Let me just say that the encounter was incredibly brief, with the time between the first whoop until it started to walk away being only mere seconds, and it’s taken me more time to describe it than it actually happened.
I spent the rest of the morning sitting with my back against the hallway wall across from the kitchen doorway. This gave me a clear view to the back wall of the kitchen with the window above the sink and the back door.
After a few hours the sun was fully up and burning off the fog, but other than an urgent trip down the hall to the bathroom, I did not move during that time.
As soon as the sun burned the fog off enough to see clearly all around, I got in my car, and shakily drove home.
On Monday, I told the lawyer that I would prefer to pay professionals to do all the clean up and renovation. My wife was angry at me for this, as it would eat up much of the value of the estate. I should have told her immediately when I got home what had happened, but foolishly waited several days in the middle of an argument about it to tell her. Timing is everything, and I picked the wrong time. She didn’t believe me – she laughed and said I had really gone all out this time making up reasons and stories to win an argument. She saw only the money, and I could only see the large hairy shape that had stood only feet away from me.
It caused a lot of grief between us for a while, and for months she made snide comments about me about seeing Bigfoot. However after this much time and my steadfast insistence of what I saw – coupled with the nightmares and new aversions to things like horror movies and my refusal to plan a retirement that included living out of an RV motor home, I think she has almost come to believe that I saw something, though I don’t think she will ever believe I saw a sasquatch.
I didn’t care how mad she was at me, I had all the work hired out, and only had to return to the property a few times for official reasons, and stayed only as long as necessary.
I thought of all the times me, my siblings and cousins had been let loose in the forest behind the house, unsupervised and running wild all those years ago, and I wonder if those things had been there back then, watching us. Suddenly, my carefree childhood memories there took on a different coloring in my mind, and I was only too happy when the place sold.
In the end, we didn’t net much out of the estate after all the work was paid for. I didn’t care. Not having to go back there for any extended period of time was worth every penny to m