These incidents have occurred over a period of approximately 7 years. The occurrences have not been limited to a particular time of year.
I have never, nor has any in our group, sighted a creature. Most have experienced hearing knocks, LOUD branch breaks, hearing bi-pedal footsteps emanating from a creature much larger than a human would make, smelled noxious odors, and had that inexplicable feeling of being watched.
The place is a cabin which has been in my son-in-law's family for 4 generations. It is located on the edge of the Allegheny National Forest, off the summit of a mountain. Across the lane from the cabin is a large meadow, belonging to a local doctor. This is sometimes planted in grain crops, other times allowed to remain fallow. There are other cabins scattered along the lane; none within eye-sight of the other.
My first trip was in October of 2006. There was no other activity at the other camps. My son-in-law (Eric) and I arrived about 8-8:30 at night in the darkness. Upon exiting the Jeep, I had an immediate feeling of being watched. I have spent a good deal of time in the woods, hunting, fishing, and hiking. I am not easily spooked. After dinner, cleaning up, and sitting up a bit talking we turned in about midnight.
Around 2 A.M. I was awakened by the sound of the old wooden table and chairs being pushed about on the deck. We determined it must be a bear, and went back to sleep. Approximately 2 hours later we heard something rustling about the fire pit. We did NOT cook any food outdoors, we brought in all our empty bottles and such when we came in to discourage bears and other critters.
In the morning, we found the table and chairs had been moved about, which a bear or even a large raccoon could have done. However, the fire pit had been scattered about, some of the smoldering logs rolled aside.
Another time, we were hunting in the forest behind the cabin. The topography is typical Appalachian mountain; rugged, steep slopes, ravines, small streams and bogs. Here and there are small oil seeps as well. We had just descended into a fairly open area which promised grouse. This was early November, crisp but not cold. We were each carrying shotguns loaded with upland game shells. We were walking approximately 50 yards apart when we stopped, looked at one another and asked 'What is that smell?'
From out of no-where came the most putrid, overpowering smell. It was not the oil-seeps, which have their own sulfur like smell. This was horrid! It was like a skunk on steroids, with a good measure of open septic tank, and some rotten garbage added for good measure. We continued on our way, the smell dissipated after about 100 feet. We tried to tell one another it was a dead deer or something; but we both knew better. I worked in a funeral home while in college; and have never experienced anything that nauseating. We also had an unnerving feeling of being watched the entire time we were there.
Upon relating the above to my daughter, Eric's wife, she stated she has smelled awful odors for no apparent reason as well and felt like she was being watched several times.
We have heard howls, far in the distance, and others within a quarter mile or so of the cabin. There are coyotes in the area, yet these are much longer in duration, and have more range. Some start low, and rise toward nearly a falsetto pitch. Others have been more monotone yet will waver somewhat. Others will start low, and culminate in a scream. This is not a bob-cat, not a coyote, and all members of our party are accounted for.
In March of 2014, a group of us went for Spring Opening. There were 5 of us there. As darkness set in, I decided to venture out to the open meadow to observe the Winter constellations. This is about 100 yards from the cabin.
The cabin is situated on the downward slope from the summit, which is the meadow. The area behind and on both sides of the cabin is a fairly steep slope. It is heavily grown with second growth trees, brush, and scrub. There are also a lot of blow-down branches which makes walking even in daylight difficult. At night, it is an invitation for a sprained ankle at best.
As I was observing the stars and enjoying the silence, I heard footsteps. Not in the trail, not in the meadow, but coming UP the slope to the south of the cabin. My initial thought was a bear. As I listened, it was apparent the foot falls were from a biped. I called out if it was any of our group and received no reply. Then the steps would start again. I called again, louder, and the steps stopped for a moment. Then, they began again, finally stopping by the edge of the lane.
There were no lights showing, the moon was in the final phase of its final quarter, and just a sliver.
I started to return to the cabin. I was about 20 yards from where I heard the steps stop along the edge of the lane. As I drew parallel to that area, I heard shuffling of the underbrush, as if whatever it was had turned it's entire body sideways to watch me pass.
When I entered the cabin, everyone was where I had left them. There were no new leafs, mud or debris in the doorway.
When I asked if they heard anything, they all said no, as they were watching Planes, Trains and Automobiles on VHS.
Finally, this past Spring, a group of us went up for a weekend. While sitting about the rear deck, enjoying a fire and talking, a member of our party was encouraged to do their howl. They did. Then about 30 seconds later, the sound of a very large tree limb snapping came from down the slope behind the cabin.
Could it have been a bear stepping on a branch? Perhaps, but that would be very coincidental to step on a limb just after a howl.
I KNOW there is something in those mountains. I can't prove it physically; it one of those things that you know that you know.
Please keep this location undisclosed. We would hate to see a bunch of people go hunting for these creatures. They don't deserve to be pursued and bothered.
I have been needing to share this with someone who won't think I am off my rocker. Thank you.
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