It all started when my uncle first told me that he'd seen a sasquatch. I didn't believe him but something about the way he told the story just captured my imagination. I thought maybe he'd been mistaken in what he'd seen. I know now that I shouldn't have doubted him.
There is a vast forest just beyond my backyard that stretches all the way back to a cliff face. Within those woods you can find abandoned mines, streams and even old run down wooden cabins. This was the playground of my early youth and the inspiration for many camping ventures.
One fall night, my uncle Peter came over to visit. He, my dad and I spent the night beneath the stars around a campfire in the backyard. My dad had cut some old pine wood and stacked the logs perfectly in a circle. The fire rose up to illuminate the backyard and a monochrome cloud pierced the star studded night sky.
“Ya know what they use pine wood for, right boy?” said Uncle Peter sitting down at the campfire.
I shook my head.
“Coffins. A pine wood box. Six feet down,” he said with a snarky grin. He laughed as he threw another log into the fire.
Uncle Peter was an odd fellow but trustworthy and reliable. He’d come to my rescue many times, driving out to fix my vehicle in the freezing snow when it broke down on the side of the road and always offering his country wisdom.
A peculiar sound cut through the night. It sounded like a woman screaming. “What the heck was that?” I said in a panic, scanning the darkness.
“Ah, that’s just an old screech owl. Nothing to worry about. I’ve seen things and heard things out in the woods that would really scare ya. Beatles the size of your fist and wandering hungry coyotes that certainly weren’t afraid of humans,” said Uncle Peter.
For some reason this didn’t calm my nerves. My uncle then looked at me with a dead serious expression on his face and said “Ya wanna know about the weirdest thing I’ve ever run into out there?”
My dad and I knew that he was about to tell us anyway, so we both agreed.
“Well, it was out in that national forest just north of here. I was out after dark collecting firewood and I started hearing these odd knocking sounds as if someone was hitting a stick up against a tree trunk. Then I heard an extremely loud noise that made the hair on the back on my neck stand up. I froze in place. It was an animal I had never heard before.”
“The sound was a deep whooping call like that of a very large ape. The next thing I knew I saw two sets of orange glowing eyes in the dark. I shined my flashlight on it, only to see an eight foot tall upright standing creature, like a man but covered in thick dark brown hair. It let out another one of those whooping cries and I booked it out of there immediately. I never ran so fast in my life. Never seen anything like it and I hope I never do again.”
My dad and I were completely silent as Uncle Peter told his story. Afterwards we were visibly tense and we didn’t spend much longer at the campfire before heading back inside. My uncle only laughed at our fear.
“See, not so worried about that screech owl now, huh?”
I wasn’t entirely convinced by my uncle’s story. I wondered if he just made it up to scare us. I mean that’s what a “campfire story” is right? I thought maybe he’d just seen an odd bear obscured in the dark and mistaken it for something more.
Surely even avid outdoorsmen can be mistaken, I thought. It seemed more likely than the idea that there were ape creatures somehow living out there in the forests. I couldn’t believe it. I had to know for myself.
So, in the weeks that followed my uncle's visit, I got the bright idea to head out into the nearby national forest where he supposedly saw the creature. What a mistake that was. I set out on my adventure in my dad’s old mud-covered pickup truck, with only a camera hanging from my neck to document whatever I saw.
A canopy of trees stood above me in colorful autumn variety. A bizarre feeling walked alongside me as I wandered along the path. It was evening time and my surroundings were beginning to turn a blue tint. I walked through the forest with great uneasiness. A thousand eyes were watching me. The fall wind drifted through the environment and across the leaf quilted forest floor.
Suddenly, a knocking sound. It was hollow, an unmistakable tap on the side of a far off tree trunk. I took a step forward. Again, a distinct knock, wooden in tone. What followed was a loud guttural whooping sound which sent shivers down my spine. It was just as my uncle described and like he did, I ran right out of there. I bolted for the truck without even thinking to lift my camera.
Though I didn’t see what made the sounds, I knew at this point that there was something out there. Something not quite human but not quite animal. I couldn’t prove it but at least I knew the truth for myself.
All the way home, as I drove, I had the unsettling feeling of being watched. My eyes gazed worriedly at the trees on either side of the road. I couldn’t shake the feeling until I pulled into my driveway. I went to bed that night without even bothering to share with my dad what I’d heard. I didn’t feel like telling anyone about my experience.
Hours later, I awoke to a sound in the backyard. I grabbed my flashlight and walked out onto the back porch. To my utter horror, I saw a pair of bright glowing orange eyes at the edge of the woods.
I hovered my flashlight over the glowing eyes to reveal a large hairy creature, standing eerily still between the trees and looking right at me with an almost human expression. The ape creature looked just as bewildered as I did at seeing him. He studied me curiously from across the backyard as if amazed by my existence. Four other sets of colorful eyes in green, red and yellow then suddenly blinked to life in the darkness. He was not alone.
The group of sasquatch simply stared at me for a moment before unleashing an ungodly sound. I quickly went inside and bolted the door shut. The eyes eventually faded, disappearing into the woods behind my house. I didn’t get any sleep that night, I just sat up in bed staring out the window and waiting for their return.
Yesterday, I found a set of massive footprints in my backyard. It was bigger than any person could make, large barefoot impressions pressed deeply into the mud. There's no question in my mind, no debate and no ambiguity. There are bizarre ape-like creatures living in the woods. My uncle and I have seen them, and countless others have as well.
I’m not saying I believe all the stories of sasquatch, but there are those who have actually witnessed these creatures. Those folks know what I’m talking about. Keep in mind, if you haven’t seen them, you just might one day. These are not just scary stories, these are not just campfire tales. They are out there, I’ve seen them, but worse yet - they’ve seen me.
They’ve followed me through the forest, shadowed me from behind the trees and have come back with me to my home to live. I know now what it’s like to be an undiscovered animal spotted for the first time. I know what it’s like to be studied from a distance. They’ve seen me, they know where I am. There’s nothing I can do. I can't hide. They know I'm here now.
Written by Levi Athens