Halloween Horror Celebration III / Paranormal Ponderings

Chapter 5: The Strange Case of the Copse

Puzzle box curiosity

I grew up in the country, about five miles from the nearest town. The house I grew up in was an old house built by my great grandfather and it was a comfortable house filled with odd angles and incorrectly squared rooms. At times, trying to get a carpet to fit or hardwood flooring to match was a nightmare. It was comfortable and safe, though. It was my home and I have many fond memories of living there.

In front of the house, and across the street, was a small patch of wooded land. I find it difficult to call it a forest or woods as it was just a small parcel, less than an acre total.  A copse of trees.  As a child, my brothers and I would play in this small parcel of wooded land occasionally. Typically, our adventures were reserved for the larger woods behind the house; the deeper wood with the drainage ditch running through the center of it was, more often than not, our getaway of choice.

As I grew older and explored the darkened recesses of the wooded areas less and less, I found that they were still a comfort to me. Simply looking out the windows or standing on the deck in front of the house would fill me with a sense of inner peace, as I looked into the shadowed foliage.

One night, however, that all changed. I went out onto the deck to smoke a cigarette, a nasty habit that I have yet to break. As I stood there on the deck, I had the unnerving feeling of being watched. Chalking it up to too many horror films, I thought nothing of it, even though the feeling persisted. Finishing the cigarette, I entered the house and promptly forgot all about the strange feeling of being observed.

The following night, however, the same feeling returned. This time, though, there was something else behind the feeling of being watched; a sense of malice and danger assaulted me and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I strained to see into the recesses of the wooded area across the street, all to no avail. That’s when I noticed our dog, tied up on the side of the house.

Snoozer was a medium sized dog, white with black spots. He was a mongrel and there was clearly some Dalmatian in him, which was noticeable by his energy level and markings. A very hyper dog, we had to tie him up whenever he went outside so that he didn’t run off.

Panoramic photo of the copse

Panoramic photo of the copse

Snoozer was staring straight at the woods, his teeth bared, a low whine escaping him. He wasn’t growling or barking, as he was wont to do, by whimpering and whining. He stared at the woods, hackles raises. I glanced quickly from him to the woods and back. This was not like Snoozer at all to be frightened. The fact that he was frightened, in turn, frightened me even more.

Then, with no warning, Snoozer turned from the woods and ran straight towards the house. Being tied up, he ran the length of his chain and kept pulling, essentially strangling himself as he attempted to get into the house. He pulled and jumped and had to have been cutting of his air supply, but that didn’t stop him from trying.

Seeing the dog try to get away from whatever was watching us in the woods terrified me. I turned to run into the house and stopped. I couldn’t leave the dog out there with whatever was in the woods. I jumped over the deck railing, ran to Snoozer and unlatched him from his chain. He yanked out of my hands and instead of running off he ran straight to the door, scratching and jumping into it, desperate to be in the safe confines of our home. I opened the door, he ran in, and I shut the door in a hurry, locking it and backing away.

I didn’t go back outside to smoke that night or any other night soon thereafter. While I never felt that strange sense of being watched again, or the terror associated with it, I still look at that small parcel of land with apprehension. The dread of that night has never left me and I have not felt fear like that since.

So what was in the woods those two nights? I have never found out and may never know. Was it simply a coyote? I highly doubt it, as Snoozer was never afraid of them before and had been known to chase the sounds of their nighttime howling. There are no wolves left in the area where I grew up and the same goes for bears. So what was it?

I have found myself asking that question many times over the years. At the risk of sounding silly, I believe it may have been a Bigfoot type of creature. While I did not see it with my own two eyes, the reaction of the dog coupled with my uneasiness even before Snoozer freaked out, leads me to believe it was something that neither of us had ever encountered. Does that mean it was a Sasquatch? I cannot answer that question. After the terror I felt that night, I did not have the nerve to enter that small parcel of trees to search for clues. I left well enough alone and I am comfortable in the fact that I did not investigate.

A couple of years later, I was on my way to work, when my friend Steve called me. He was breathless and clearly upset. He told me that he was driving to work and saw something in the road. As he got closer, he got more and more uneasy. Whatever it had been in the road soon bounded off to the side and disappeared in the early morning darkness; he swore to me he had seen a Bigfoot.

As he told me the tale, that night at my old home came rushing back to me. We discussed it at length and neither of us could come up with any explanations. While the house I grew up in was in the country, and where Steve had seen whatever he had seen was as well, they were separated by roughly twenty miles and five years. While our encounters were both in the country, neither of the areas was sparsely populated. Houses line the roads. People live in this area. So what was it? Steve and I discuss it to this day and have yet to come up with a logical answer. Considering all that we have seen, though, is there a logical answer?

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