Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One man's encounter with Bigfoot

While traveling in North Carolina recently to visit relatives, I got to talking with a fellow I have known for years. He and I are not exactly friends, but he is a friend of the family. I was surprised to learn he supposedly had a run-in with a Bigfoot creature about 10 years ago. We talked for a while and I asked him if I could interview him for an online article. He agreed as long as I did not use his real name. For sake of the following tale, I'll call him Bill. Here is his story, retold by me from notes I made while talking with him.

"It was about ten years ago when I run into the Bigfoot creature, or whatever it was.

"At the time I lived in a trailer up near the Virginia line, not too far from South Boston. I was going to college at Duke University in Durham at the time, and it was about an hour's drive to get to campus every day. Thank goodness most years I only had classes two or three days a week, because that's not the most exciting drive to make.

"For morning classes, I had to get up real early, usually by about four (a.m.). First thing I usually did was get a shower and eat breakfast. Then I had to feed my dog, she was an old beagle, and then I would take her outside for a good walk before I would have to leave for school.

"One morning I was out walking her, I guess I must have been about four thirty or five o'clock, when we heard something tearing through the woods behind my place. Now I know even a squirrel can make a lot of noise, especially in the middle of the night when there's no other sounds, but this was a lot louder than that. There were tree limbs cracking, and whatever it was sounded real heavy as it stomped through the woods.

"Now I've heard stories of black bears in that part of the country, even seen a few pictures, but I've never personally seen any. My thought at the time was that it must be a black bear. So I rushed my beagle inside because I didn't want her to get hurt.

"I was standing there in the trailer door unleashing my dog when the sounds from the woods got closer, as if something were tearing through the trees coming toward me.

"I didn't think. I shoved the dog further into the house and reached for a rifle that was hanging in a rack in a little closet across from the washer and dryer. I should have just gone in the house and shut the door, but that didn't occur to me for some reason.

"I grabbed the rifle, it was only a .22, a Marlin I think, and pulled out the clip to make sure it had ammo. It did, so I put the clip back in and jacked in a round. Then, as that noise was getting louder and closer, I stepped out onto the back patio and kicked the door closed behind me. If it was a bear or something, I didn't want to chance it getting in the house and I didn't want to chance my dog running outside to attack this thing.

"I didn't raise the rifle to my shoulder, but it just sort of hung from my right hand, ready in case I needed to bring it up.

"I think I walked out to the end of the patio where there was a short wooden fence, and I stared into the woods. I couldn't see much because it was so dark back in the trees, but there was one of those big lights that the electric company provides up a pole over the trailer.

"Then suddenly there it was in front of me, no more than twenty yards away. It tore out of the trees and came to a standstill right there, not moving, just staring back at me. It's chest was heaving up and down a little, as if it had trouble breathing or something, but other than that it did not move.

"I don't rightly know how to describe it. It was huge, taller than me, and covered in hair from head to foot. For a second the idea of it being a grizzly popped into my head, but I knew there weren't any grizzly bears in that part of the world. But I had seen penned grizzlies in Cherokee, North Carolina, and this thing was every bit as big as they were.

"It's fur was a dark brown, and it's face was sort of like that of an ape, but it didn't have the big mouth of an ape and its eyebrows protruded more than that of an ape. It's eyes were the scariest thing. They were real human, just like somebody looking right at you.

"But the thing didn't seem mean or angry or threatening. It just stood there staring at me, sort of as if it were sizing me up, but not as if it were going to attack. More like it wanted to make sure I wasn't going to attack it, be a threat to it.

"I couldn't move. I just stood there staring at it, frozen.

"Then it turned and walked back into the woods, slow this time, not making near as much noise as it had earlier.

"That's when I noticed my dog was howling its head off inside the trailer. I stood outside a little longer, but soon I couldn't hear anything in the woods, so I went back into the house.

"I was pretty shaken up. I didn't go to Duke that day, but stayed home. Part of me didn't want to leave the house because I was afraid that thing might come back and break in and hurt the dog. But I never saw it or heard of it again.

"I've asked around a little bit, and no one else around here that I know of has ever seen such a thing in these parts. But I don't like to tell too many people what I've seen, because then they think you've gone crazy or you were drunk or high when it happened."

Sunday, January 2, 2011

10 ways to use a pencil other than writing or drawing

  1. Chewing stick: Bored? Got your head in the clouds? But there's no gum about, and gum is important for daydreaming and other through processes. Well, it's time to stoop and use your pencil. You remember how to do that, right? From back in grade school? So gnaw away. Hopefully you have a clean pencil.
  2. Stabbing: I'm not advocating physical violence or anything, but if you ever get attacked by vampires (or by anybody, for that matter) and a pencil is all you have at hand, then stab away! Yep, a pencil can be used as a weapon. I've got a small chunk of pencil lead in my left hand from second grade as proof.
  3. Erasing: Yeah, this is an easy one. At least if your pencil has an eraser on one end. But if you don't feel like writing, and you've got that eraser, feel free to do some erasing. Just don't tear through the paper, at least not if you need that sheet of paper again.
  4. Throwing into the ceiling: You've probably played this game at work on a slow day. You find one of those drop ceilings that aren't too stiff, and you throw the pencil with the sharp end facing upward at the ceiling. You have to have a little skill to do this correctly and to get the pencil to stick into the ceiling, but with practice it can be fun. You could even get a few co-workers together and have a contest. Or even keep score.
  5. Spin the pencil: Remember playing spin the bottle in junior high school? This is just like that, except you are spinning a pencil instead of a bottle. Just make sure to pick good-looking friends to play this one with. And alcohol can help.
  6. Measuring: This is a fairly simple use of a pencil, and it's somewhat practical. Let's say you need to measure something, but you didn't bring a ruler or measuring tape with you. What's a handy substitute? Your pencil. Don't worry, because you can always measure the pencil itself later on and multiply that number by the number of pencil lengths used in your original measurement if you are in need of an actual unit of length like inches or centimeters or something.
  7. Kindling: Is it cold and you don't have any source of warmth? Well, in that case, hopefully you've got some matches or a lighter and a whole bunch of pencils. Because yes, pencils burn. At least the wooden ones do. I don't want to think about trying to keep warm by burning a bunch of plastic or metal pencils.
  8. Back scratcher: Don't you hate it when your back is itching ... right ... there ... in ... the ... middle ... where ... you ... can't ... reach ... it! Thank goodness for pencils, because they can give you that extra bit of length that can allow you to reach those tough spots.
  9. Modeling: Okay, you've got to be a real pencil lover to do this one. First off, you're going to need hundreds if not thousands of pencils. And probably some glue. Once you've got all those pencils and glue, you can get to work building a model. What kind of model? Your choice. But I'll suggest something rectangular, like a building, because of the length of pencils. Who knows? You could maybe do a model of a famous building, like the Empire State Building or the Tower of London.
  10. Stress relief: Sometimes there's nothing that can do away with your stress like breaking something. That's where pencils come in handy. They're cheap. They're easy to find. They're usually one around somewhere. And, most importantly, they're relatively easy to snap in half. So if you're having a bad day, get to breaking some pencils!
Other useless links for your amusement
10 reasons there ought to be a Constitutional Amendment banning flip flops
5 odd roadside buildings in America
5 weapons to have for a zombie apocalypse