Today's guest poster, on the topic of the paranormal/supernatural, is Eva Tomlisson. Eva is a "retired" homemaker now that both of her sons are married and out on their own. Eva enjoys writing on her cooking blog, horseback riding, gardening and volunteering at the local "Big Brother Big Sister" organization, in Minnesota, for kids who need a role model in their lives. She loves both her Doberman, King, and her cat, Breezy. She also loves her husband, Brandon, as well, a retired small business owner.
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I grew up in a part of Kentucky, in the late 1960s, that was so far out in the woods, they had to import sunlight to separate night from day. That might be an exaggeration. But, only a slight exaggeration. We didn't know what it was like to have store bought items to eat. We grew our own peas, beans, corn and tomatoes among other vegetables. We raised pigs and cows until they met their ultimate demise on our dinner plates. So, we just didn't know what it was like to shop in town unless my dad needed a new part for his tractor or some other machine needed to run a small farm such as we had. Going into town was a rare treat. Mother acted as if she hated it. I never understood why. It was something we did about once a month at most. We would show up in our Sunday Best for this rare event in our lives. Dad would break out the money belt to buy us some rock candy, and the ultimate treat of them all, the famous all-day sucker (lollipop) that even to this day I cherish the memories. It wasn't much. But, to my little brother and I, it was the greatest thing on earth. We would linger in town for as long as we could. But, eventually, we had to get in my dad's beat-up old 1958 Ford truck. My dad had a time keeping that thing running. But, it was still running until the day my father died in 1982. My Uncle Joe took it from that day on.
My story really begins in 1967 when I was 8 years old. My brother, Tim, was 2 years my junior. Of course, I had to take him everywhere with me. That was a real drag. But, there was one place that Tim would not cry to Mama about going to if he found out I was going there. That place was none other than Rocky Bottom Creek. Tim didn't want to go there not because of the great fishing and beauty of that place. It was due to what many have referred to as the Rocky Bottom Creek Monster. The Rocky Bottom Creek Monster (I'll just use RBCM for brevity sake) was a part of folklore of this area of Kentucky since at least the 1700s. It had a scream very much like that of a huge mountain lion. But, much more powerful and much more louder. We lived about 2 miles from Rocky Bottom Creek. We could hear that scream late at nights, especially in the winter months. The scream would make our window panes vibrate and sometimes, they would crack. That's how loud it was. Many men would get up late at night to go looking for it, kill it and be rid of it once and for all. But, only a few hardy souls ever even saw the RBCM. Only one man who was still alive, old man Sanders, ever claimed to see this monster of Rocky Bottom Creek. Mr. Sanders was in his late 80s as I recall. His wife had died due to pneumonia some years back. So, he was all alone. As the story goes, Mr. Sanders was going to feed his dog out in back of the house one cold January night back in 1962. His dog started growling, flashing his teeth and snarling. Mr. Sanders didn't know what to make of that. He was afraid his dog had rabies. But, the dog was not looking at Mr. Sanders. The dog was looking behind Mr. Sanders. Mr. Sanders looked around to see some incredible being standing at least 7.5 to 8 feet tall. He said he later measured by the creature's head touching a limb from a nearby tree. The creature, as Mr. Sanders described, was reptilian in features. Mr. Sanders said the creature probably weighed in the neighborhood of 400lbs and ran like a deer as the monster fled from Mr. Sanders. That was about all he would ever say in describing it.
Mr. Sanders was numb from fear as the creature quickly, very quickly ran off into the woods to the side of Mr. Sanders home. From that point on, old man Sanders never fed his dog after dark set in for the day. Of course, many felt this whole RBCM thing was nonsense. The scream or roar at night was just simply a lonesome black bear or panther, people would say. But, that never explained the number of missing children over the past two centuries of this area of Kentucky. Most said these children got lost in the woods. No trace was ever found of these children though. Of course, others would say the Monster captured and ate these children. Fact of the matter is that no one ever knew what happened to those missing children. We still don't know. Mama told us to not go to Rocky Bottom Creek without my dad or some other adult male. Rocky Bottom Creek was the only place to swim in the summer or fish. It was our only entertainment out in the woods of Kentucky. No way we weren't going there to enjoy ourselves. We rarely went to the creek alone. I frequently would go there with Beth Halloway and her two older brothers, Jake and Jack, the Two J Brothers as I called them. Like I said earlier, Tim never wanted to go to Rocky Bottom Creek for the very reason of his fear of being captured and eaten by the monster that was alleged to live there. Nothing I could say would change his mind. That is, except for one late summer day in August of 1967.
It was an unusually hot, late August afternoon. It was the kind of summer afternoon that you could almost exhale the humidity as you did the cold air of a winter day. There was only one option for us to take since air conditioners were virtually non-existent during that time period. That option was to go swimming at Rocky Bottom Creek. I wasn't the type of girl who would disobey what my parents told me. But, dadgumit, Beth Halloway and her brothers were down there. I imagined I could hear them laughing and frolicking away in the cool water of the creek. I was going, come hell or high water, I was going! I went into the house, grabbed my frayed one-piece swimsuit grandma bought me a couple of years back and headed down the trail toward Rocky Bottom Creek. "Where do you think you're going, Eva?" My brother Tim, of all people, caught me before I even left the yard. "Tim, you know where I'm going. It's hot and I want to go cool off. You don't want to go there. So, why do you even care," I asked my little brother. "You know we can't go there without a grownup, Eva. Mama wouldn't be happy with you if she found out. And why should you go without me?" Now, I was mad at Tim. He didn't want to go to the creek. He was scared of the place. But, he didn't want me going either out of spite. "Tim, please don't tell. I'll only be gone a few minutes, just enough time to cool off. That's all. If you want to go, then get your swim trunks and let's go. If you don't, just leave me alone!!!" I yelled at Tim. Tim looked at me quizzically. Then, unbelievably, he went and got his swim trunks to go with me. I was stunned. But, not stunned enough to not start running toward the creek with my little brother Tim right behind me. Little did I know, at the time, it would be our last trip together to Rocky Bottom Creek.
We arrived at the creek about 4PM. The sun was just blazing hot. As I expected, Beth Halloway and the J Brothers were there having themselves a good old time! I jumped right in the water. It was strange how the water could be that cold in the heat of a hot August day. But, that wasn't a concern of mine at the moment. I just wanted to get cooled off and have some fun in the water. The water was just over my waist at its deepest. So, no one was really worried about getting in trouble in the water. Tim was still on shore, looking worried and scared. "Come on in, scaredy cat!!!" I yelled at the trembling Tim. Tim was not budging from his perch on the rocky shore of the creek. Beth's oldest brother (about 12 years old at the time), Jake, went up to Tim and asked him what was wrong. Jake just turned and laughed saying "Tim thinks there is some monster in the creek that is going to eat us all up!!! Ooooohhhhh, I'm sooooooo scared!!! Hahaha!" Jake yelled to us all. I was upset with Tim not getting in the water with the rest of us after practically blackmailing me to bring him to the creek. But, I didn't like Jake mocking my little brother either and I let him know it. "Jake, leave him alone! If he doesn't want to come in the water, it's none of your business!!" Jake got the message and left Tim alone. Tim was very uncomfortable. But, it was his own fault! I knew he wouldn't enjoy himself at the creek. He always told me it was creepy there. He was right about that. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, it got late, early at Rocky Bottom Creek. The shadows of the trees were now completely covering the creek. It was kind of spooky and I decided it was time to leave. Darkness comes quickly in the woods of Kentucky, even in late August.
(The following happened as best as I can remember. Some things I left out because the years have blurred my memory. Plus, the horror of that day has made me block out some images of what took place. So, please bear with me.)
About the time I stepped out of the creek, I heard a blood curdling scream come from in the direction of Jake and Jack. It was getting darker than I had anticipated. So, I couldn't tell if it was Jake or Jack who had screamed. I now recognized it was Jack screaming. Saying "blood curdling scream" didn't do that justice as to what I heard come from Jake's lips that day. It was the scream of pain that words simply can't describe. It is something you had to experience, to hear first-hand. Beth started screaming also, as did Jack. But, none were louder than Jake. Jake grabbed his left leg with both hands and pulled it out of the water. From mid-way between Jake's knee and his ankle, his leg was GONE! It was missing and blood was squirting out of the remainder of his leg like a water fountain!!! It was at this time, I joined in the screaming. Behind Jake, something was rising out of the water. It had human form....but it was far from being human. It was at least 7 feet tall, probably close to 7.5 feet in height as best I can recall. It was a pale greenish in texture, not unlike some water lizards I have seen before. It had something very similar to a rooster comb on top of its head, but a bit smaller. This thing was barrel chested like nothing you can imagine which indicated great strength. It probably weighed every bit of the 400lbs that Mr. Sanders estimated years ago. In it's right scaly hand was Jake's missing leg part! This thing let out a roar that nearly shattered all of our ear drums that day. It was an unholy scream of outrage, of hate and of anger. It was a roar that you could actually "feel" even more than you could hear if that makes sense. I was now paralyzed with fear. It was now obvious, this was the Monster of Rocky Bottom Creek that was before all of us. It was no myth. It was no bear. It was no bigfoot. It was the monster that every child has had nightmares about at one time or another. Only this nightmare was REAL.
I was in shock. I could not believe what I was witnessing and hearing. This thing, this monster continued to roar at us children with unbelievable intensity. Jake was still screaming for all he was worth. Suddenly, the Rocky Bottom Creek Monster stopped roaring. He grabbed Jake by the neck (which caused Jake to stop screaming), tucked him under his left arm as if he were a loaf of bread, and took off into the woods at a speed that a Cheetah in Africa could not match. It was incredible how something that huge could move that quickly. The last time I saw Jake was just a blur with his leg still gushing blood. We all stood there as if we were zombies. No one said anything. I turned to look for Tim. He was still in the same place on the rocky shore. Tim was motionless and had a blank look in his eyes. I don't recollect how long we all just stood there in disbelief. Maybe two or three minutes. I don't know. What broke our trance-like state were voices coming from the woods. It was Beth's dad and uncle coming through the woods with rifles. They had heard the screams of us and especially the creature, the monster of Rocky Bottom Creek. "Where is Jake, Beth? WHERE IS JAKE????" Mr. Halloway screamed at us. The men could see the enormous amount of blood in the water as they waded out to us. Beth slowly and quite simply pointed in the direction of the woods where the creature and Jake had disappeared into just a few minutes previous. Soon, others arrived with shotguns, rifles, axes and anything else the men who lived nearby could get their hands on to help with this tragedy. They all heard the screaming, the massive roar of a creature who had no sympathy for children. None. Mr. Halloway, along with his brother and two other men took off in the direction Beth had pointed to in the woods. The other men helped us out of the water, they took their shirts off to cover us. None of us responded to their questions. I remember hearing them. But, the words could not come out my mouth. Tim was the one that worried me most. He seemed as if he were dead with his eyes open. My dad had arrived by this time. He was crying and trying to get Tim and I to respond. I finally broke down crying. But, Tim was still in a trance.
The men looked for Jake all night and into the next day to no avail. They followed a blood trail to a cave, about five miles from the creek. But, there was nothing in there but a few bones. No one bothered to check to see if they were human. Law enforcement did come in to investigate. But, nothing was ever said what those bones were in the cave. Mr. Halloway and his brother looked for Jake for two solid weeks and found nothing except for a piece of what they thought was Jake's shirt. Everyone gave up searching for Jake, even Mr. Halloway's brother. But, Mr. Halloway searched, off and on, for the rest of his life until he died of a heart attack in 1976. Jake was just gone. Beth and Jack never came to our house to play like we used to before the incident related above. Beth, Jack and Mrs. Halloway moved away after Mr. Halloway died. I never heard from them again. Tim was in a catatonic state or a catatonic stupor. He stayed this way for approximately three weeks before responding to electric treatments in a hospital. But, Tim never truly recovered from that day. Tim never showed any inclination to learn a trade, go to school or help out on the farm after that fateful day. My parents never blamed me directly for taking Tim to Rocky Bottom Creek. But, I could see the pain in their eyes and the accusing looks. Tim joined the Navy in 1979. While on "dog watch" one night, aboard a U.S. Navy ship, Tim jumped overboard and disappeared into the sea. The Navy still has him listed as "Missing, assumed dead." Tim's death just about destroyed me.
As soon as I was able, I moved away from the Rocky Bottom Creek area. I married and raised two fine boys of my own. But, I never have gotten over what transpired that day when the Monster of Rocky Bottom Creek killed Jake and ruined the lives of so many others. Men continue to look for that monster as he roars late at night, usually during the winter. I think of poor Jake and how he never had a chance to grow up. For that reason alone, I hated that damn creature. I hated how it destroyed Tim's life and mine as well for a while. I went back to visit that area of Rocky Bottom Creek in 2010 with my two sons. Our house was shuttered up and abandoned as both my parents had long been dead. Despite my two sons urging me to, I refused to go to Rocky Bottom Creek. The screams and visions of blood are still too vivid, too real to me. I know how all this sounds to you, the reader, of this story. If I were you, I would be skeptical also. But, this did take place. With all my heart and conviction, it actually happened. It takes place over and over again in my dreams at night. It never ends for me. I still see Jake screaming, with blood spurting everywhere, but can't hear anything in my dreams. Sometimes, after a really bad nightmare of that day at Rocky Bottom Creek, I will lay awake, .listening to my husband's snoring and wondering what my life would have been like if I had not taken Tim to the creek that fateful day. Sometimes, during these bouts of insomnia, I swear I can still hear the roar of that creature, the Monster of Rocky Bottom Creek. The pain, the absolute horror of that day will haunt me forever.
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