When you listen to people tell stories of their dogs going missing, you can’t help but feel a slight twinge of personal pain as you think of your friend back home, his tail wagging happy-panting self patiently waiting for your return home. I felt that pain this past weekend.
This past Saturday Alan and I ventured to Salt Fork State Park for a Tri-State Bigfoot Study Group Meeting with host, Don Keating, with the topic being, “Sounds in the woods”. Some of the events discussed included a review of a recent report of unusual noises coming from a rural Guernsey County residence and recordings of these noises, and some very intriguing personal stories were shared from a very engaged audience.
Keating relayed his report as coming from an anonymous person who was outside with their dogs one evening this past January. While standing outside as the dogs did their business there was a loud howl from across the street. Upon hearing the howl, and quickly realizing that it was something unusual, the property owner dashed back inside and grabbed a voice recorder. As the owner made their way back outside, and before they could set up the recorder another deep bellow of a howl came pouring in from across the road again. The owner got the recorder set up in time to get a pretty good recording of a third and final howl.
After relaying the overall story, Keating played the recording. At first, it really didn’t seem that impressive. The howl could have been a coyote, not uncommon in this part of Ohio. However, after listening to the recording a couple times, Keating then placed it up to the room’s microphone to increase the volume. Keating had looped the recording several times, but it only took the first play of the howl to realize, this was not a coyote.
The deep smooth howl, which lasted about three seconds or so had depth, and carried the weight of the animal producing it. Could it have been Bigfoot? No one saw what was making the howl, so the debate will remain, but the recorded howl makes you think twice about what produced it.
After some discussion, Keating opened the floor as he always does for those who wish, to share stories of personal experience.
A woman spoke up who was seated directly in front of Alan and I. She said that she hears howls like those played on her property on a regular basis. She spoke with such a matter-of-fact manner that my intrigue was peaked and I was hoping she would share more.
The woman said that they burn trash on their property and while outside during this process she heard one of these howls, and said, “My heart about stopped”. She stated that she had never before believed in Bigfoot. As she spoke she seemed to loosen up more, and began to relay a heart breaking story of some of her dogs going missing. She did not say how many, and that there were no traces of evidence on how they disappeared. Since the disappearance she finds it difficult to take her dogs out anywhere near dusk or in the dark as they are afraid, and at the slightest noise will practically run her over to get back inside the house.
Another story shared by Keating was about two little girls who were playing outside this past January. While playing the girls noticed some tracks in their backyard. The girls, with curiosity peaked began to follow the tracks. As they got closer to the woods one of them noticed something large move quickly by in front of them. They ran screaming back into the house to tell their grandmother. The grandmother hearing the story of two very excited little girls was reluctant at first to believe them, but in the end gave in to the girl’s enthusiasm. As they made their way back outside whatever they saw was again on the edge of their yard, perhaps curious about these two little humans, saw them and ran into the woods.
Now if the story ended there, it is not that interesting. Two kids playing outside, wild imaginations, and so on. But, one piece of their story merits attention. As the creature they described was running away the second time, they described how it tripped over something as it was running away. That in itself makes for a very interesting story.
What does it all mean, howls in the deep dark night from an unknown source, footprints in the snow or dirt, animals acting out of character? As I heard someone say recently, “…Everyone has their own definition of what proof is.” We have to make that decision for ourselves. It is a very personal choice. I have not seen a Bigfoot as of yet, but for me, proof will come when I see one, and that is what I need.