Fear not parents or camp counselors , the myth is dispelled at the end so they will go to sleep.
Stories of huge hairy bad smelling apelike creatures are told all over the world in remote areas. In North America, we mostly call them Bigfoot, or Sasquatch as they are known to some ancient native peoples. In snowy mountain ranges as far away as Tibet, they are called Yeti or Abominable Snowmen.
These creatures are always eight to ten feet tall, super strong, known for throwing rocks, and are capable of driving humans out of their territory—even humans with guns, it is said. Apparently they have a nasty pungent odour, and make high pitched blood-curdling screams certain to make your blood run cold.
There must be some truth to these stories or else why would grownups keep talking about them for hundreds or even thousands of years?
Living in Central or Northern Ontario in Canada, means you live among the local wildlife. You get used to birds waking at dawn; the fish feeding on the glassy lake leaving little dorsal fin waves, as well as those creating a surface splash and the ever expanding rings in the calm water to mark their location.
The crack of dawn is most likely your last chance to see larger animals as they go into hiding deep in the woods as man gets busy with his day. Around here, deer, foxes, rabbits, and even moose are commonly seen at this time of the morning.
During the day—not in tourist season—the lake is a playground for aquatic mammals like otters, mink, and weasels; water foul like ducks, geese, and loons, as well as reptiles like frogs and snakes.
But at night, BIG DANGEROUS THINGS are on the prowl. ‘Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my.’ . . . well lynx, and bobcats, and bears at least, with the unproven claims of cougars. Wolves and coyotes should not be forgotten either; nor should potential attackers from above like bats and owls that feed mostly at night. NIGHT-TIME IS WHEN HUMANS SHOULD BE INSIDE. WANDERING OFF ALONE AT NIGHT IS NEVER A GOOD IDEA.
On weekends, from May to October, the number of humans in the area can swell by a multiplication factor of ten or more. Where there are many humans, there is little wildlife, so you are safer, but never totally safe. YOU MUST BE CAUTIOUS; ALWAYS AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS; especially when you are camping out in the wilderness and NIGHT COMES.
If you go deep into the forest, or are here after tourist season, you can have unexplained encounters with wildlife or something FAR WORSE, and they usually happen when you are ALONE IN THE DARKNESS.
Last night I had my third Bigfoot encounter and this was a close one; just fifty feet or fifteen metres away.
It was 9:30 at night and THE AIR WAS DEADLY STILL; meaning there was no wind to stop me from hearing everything. I live up here year-round so I am used to most of the sounds of the wilderness. There was a clear sky with a half-moon casting DARK SHADOWS EVERYWHERE.
SUDDENLY, in the blackness, I heard a loud KER-PLOOSH, and a splash like the sound of giant boulders being thrown into the lake in front of me. I WAS FROZEN WITH FEAR. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up because THIS HAD HAPPENED TO ME BEFORE.
My first thought was it could be a bear going after a fish. But only seconds later it happened again. The sound of these huge boulders hitting the water told me no human or bear could lift them and be throwing them into the lake so fast and so far. This was obviously A HUGE INTELLIGENT CREATURE that did not want me around.
It was time to HIDE INSIDE until whatever it was went away or CAME TO GET ME. I was lucky this time as it decided to go away. I survived the night to tell this tale.
As mentioned, this was not the first time I had encroached on the territory of a BIGFOOT.
A few years ago, I went fishing in the evening on a little secluded lake without any cottages on it. The fishing was good so I did not want to leave, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS GETTING DARK. I built a big campfire at the edge of the lake so I could see better, and the fire is said to keep wildlife from coming too close.
I was concerned about bears being attracted to the fish I had caught and eaten. I did not have a toothbrush with me, and I had heard stories of people being attacked by bears because THEY HAD NOT BRUSHED THEIR TEETH. It is said the bears could smell their breath.
It was a moonless night. I could not even see my car parked just a few steps away. Everything became very quiet as though something had scared the birds and frogs into hiding. It was TOO QUIET; EERILY QUIET.
In the BLACKNESS, just past where my fishing line disappeared into nothingness, I heard something HUGE hit the water with a loud KER-PLOOSH! Although it did not splash me, it sounded very close. I was the only human for miles around, and it seemed like something was throwing giant boulders almost all the way across the lake . . . and this thing, whatever it was, did not seem to be afraid of fire.
I told myself to calm down because a really big fish could have charged out of the water to try and catch a low flying bat or dragonfly which could cause such a sound when it landed back in the water.
But then it happened again. Now I was SCARED. I did not want to fish anymore. I reeled in as fast as I could, picked up the fish I had caught, and ran for the car. The boulders were landing every few seconds now, SO THERE HAD TO BE MORE THAN ONE CREATURE throwing them. Whatever it was, it could have the container of bait I left behind on the beach.
After frantically trying to find the door-handle, I quickly threw all my stuff, including the fish, inside the car; then I got in and closed the door as fast as I could. There was no time to put things away in the trunk. It was then I had a thought: If these THINGS could throw giant boulders across a lake, then they could destroy a car if they attacked with smaller boulders that would fly farther.
There was a big problem. I couldn’t just leave and speed away. I HAD NOT PUT MY CAMPFIRE OUT. I would have to go BACK OUT THERE.
I searched the car’s glove box for a flashlight and turned it on, only to see a dim light because the batteries were weak. It would have to do. A dim flashlight is better than NO FLASHLIGHT. I got out of the car, shining the flashlight around at all the nearby trees, but it was too weak to light up the area. I quickly retrieved a bucket from the trunk intended to transport the fish now lying on the passenger floor of my car. Nervously, I proceeded to make my way back down to the water’s edge, and BACK INTO RANGE OF THE BOULDER-THROWING CREATURES.
It was quiet again; too quiet; DEAD QUIET.
Just as I had completely doused the fire, THE NEXT ATTACK COMMENCED, but now the splashes sounded even closer than before, and I was SPLASHED as the boulders continued to land in the water. Whatever it was, it had moved in closer, now the fire was out. I ran for the car and tripped on a tree-root dropping the flash-light. IT WENT OUT!
IN TOTAL BLACKNESS, I had to feel my way ahead; back to the relative safety of the car. If I wandered off the road into the wilderness, I could be LOST FOREVER. I expected to feel a giant fur-covered CREATURE in front of me blocking my path, but instead I banged my knee on the bumper of the car. I felt my way along the side of the car and found the door-handle. I quickly got in and drove away; never to return to that lake again AT NIGHT. I survived to tell this tale.
My very first encounter with a BIGFOOT was the most TERRIFYING of all.
I had just moved from the city into a friend’s cabin while waiting to get a place of my own. His cabin was on a lake without any neighbors. It was a long drive on a winding dirt road just to get to a highway, and longer still to find people if YOU WERE IN TROUBLE.
I was getting used to living like people did in the 1800’s. I carried in wood for the fire. I brought water in from the lake for washing, and I was catching fish for dinner right off the dock.
The dock is where this terrifying story took place. Bigfoot would not be throwing boulders from across a lake as in the previous two stories. No, this time he would be RIGHT BEHIND ME; waiting for me on the beach while I was TRAPPED ON THE DOCK.
As the sun set, the fishing from the dock was really good; I was catching a fish with almost every cast. It quickly became DARK AND FOGGY; a dense soupy fog had rolled in but the fish were still biting. I was having fun SO I STAYED OUT LONGER THAN I SHOULD HAVE. That was my mistake.
Because the fog was so thick and close, I could not even see the shore behind me. I might as well have been adrift on a raft in the fog. That is what it felt like. Later, I would wish I was afloat on a raft, and not near shore.
My first WARNING SIGN was the sound of crashing trees up in the hills behind the cabin. I thought it was probably a moose, and kept on fishing. My second WARNING SIGN was the sound of a large animal exhaling and then it made a snorting sound. I was convinced it was a moose or maybe a bear so I stayed quiet hoping it would wander off. My third warning SCARED ME TO DEATH. It was a blood-curdling scream followed by a high pitched YIKE, YIKE, YIKE; which sounded like it came from the cabin.
So there I was, with whatever it was, between me and the safety of the cabin. I was TRAPPED ON THE DOCK with nowhere to go except into the cold lake. I knew I would not last long in the frigid waters of spring WITHOUT A LIFEJACKET—a lifejacket I never thought I’d need.
I had a flash-light in my tackle box which I thought might warn off this CREATURE if it continued to come after me. In the dense fog, the flash-light beam came to a stop about six feet or two metres away. I worked my way slowly down the dock, hearing every creak of the old boards with each step. I WAS STOPPED DEAD IN MY TRACKS after only a few steps by an awful smell. It was like the smell of honey but not so sweet or nice. It was a sickly-sweet smell which seemed to be all around me, just hanging in the fog. THEN THE WORST HAPPENED. The dock boards nearest the shore started to creak with me standing still. IT WAS COMING FOR ME!
I did the only thing I could think of. I tried to communicate with the creature by screaming as loud as I could and following it with YIKE, YIKE, YIKE. Before too long, the smell went away. I CAREFULLY made my way back to the cabin and safety. I guess I had said the right thing in its own language. He, she, or it never returned. I survived to tell this tale.
Myths and legends are merely enthralling stories people keep telling through the ages.
Being scared can be fun because it’s exciting. A good story lets our imaginations go to work to make you feel like you are in the story . . . and sometimes a scary story can get the better of us causing our imaginations to runs wild. This is why reading is so much fun. Stories help you use your imagination to entertain yourself. When we encounter something new that we do not understand, we are naturally a little afraid of it. Even grown-ups do this. When it is dark, we can no longer see so we pay more attention to what we hear. Everything seems louder, bigger and closer. It goes back to the time of cave-dwelling humans when there really were giant creatures trying to get them. Those early people learned when to fight, and when to run and hide. This instinct is still with us to this day.
Now here is how stories can be made to scare us:
- You were told the writer had encountered a Bigfoot in the title but did he? He HEARD things, SMELLED something, and even was SPLASHED by something, but did he ever see it? No.
- You were told about a legend. A legend is just a REAL SOUNDING story or tale. We call it fiction. There has never been pure scientific proof of the existence of Bigfoot. That requires much more than shaky videos or out of focus photos.
- The writer set out to scare you with CREEPY WORDS like: snakes, big dangerous things, lions, tigers, bears, cougars, wolves, bats, owls and how they all come out at night.
- The writer TOLD YOU this was the third time he had run into Bigfoot so you thought it could be true.
- You were told A GROWN-UP WAS SCARED AND WENT TO HIDE, but nothing actually came to get him did it? No.
- Did he ever see any giant boulders? No. He just HEARD SOMETHING his imagination associated with a sound.
- In all three stories he tells you HE SURVIVED THE NIGHT to tell you the tale.
- In the second story, the writer essentially told us to build a fire because HE WAS AFRAID OF ANIMALS.
- He told us a story he had only HEARD about bears, so we don’t know if it is true.
- HE SCARED US WITH WORDS like: no moonlight, eerily quiet, dark black night, something huge, he was alone, scared, and something was not afraid of fire.
- The writer told us there must be more than one creature throwing rocks to play on our FEAR OF BEING OUT-NUMBERED.
- He could not run away. HE HAD TO FACE HIS FEAR to put out his fire. All that happened was he got splashed.
- He tripped because he was scared. He broke his flashlight and imagined bumping into a fury creature but did he? No. He just bumped into his own car.
- THE WRITER SCARED US SOME MORE, when he spoke of being alone and far away from people.
- Did the writer ever see an animal or creature? No!
Here is the not-as-exciting truth behind all three tales:
While startled and leaving after the KER-PLOOSH sounds began , mostly because it would scare the fish away, the writer looked up what he had heard at the library and found out beavers do this when you are too close to their lodge.
- So in stories one and two there were not any Bigfoot monsters with giant boulders; only beavers using their tails.
In the last story, a moose came through the forest crashing trees.
- We know this because the writer found tracks the following day.
- The horrible scream COULD HAVE BEEN ANYTHING from a barn owl, to raccoons fighting, to a lynx or bobcat, or possibly even a fox.
- The huffing, the loud exhale sound, and the bad smell was most likely a bear attracted by the smell of the fish he had caught.
- The writer now knows: If you are going to fish after dark, you should do it wearing a lifejacket with a fire on the shore; or better still, fish from a boat.
- He always brushes his teeth before going to sleep in a tent, just in case the bear STORY has any merit.
WE ARE ONLY AFRAID OF THINGS WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND, whether it is animals or people.
A note from the author to parents:
Please do not help to make your children live in fear. There are trying times ahead for future generations and we must stop passing irrational fears along to our children.
- Being afraid to go into a lake is ridiculous.
- Being afraid of thunder and lightning is ridiculous.
HAVING RESPECT FOR THE POWER OF NATURE IS PRUDENT.
- Your children learn how to manage fear from you.
- How you handle your fears will have a directly impact on them.
- If you fear something, research it. Knowledge is the key to overcoming any fear.