Today's guest blogger is Tom Spencer. Mr. Spencer is a retired building code contractor for counties in northern California. His interests are painting God's great creation on canvass, league bowling, softball, and going fishing at resort areas with his son and grandson. Mr. Spencer is a Vietnam Veteran who also participates in charities to help Vietnam Veterans.
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When I was a boy, we lived in Idaho. I'm not going to say exactly where in Idaho. I have my reasons. This state is known for it's tough, scraggly wilderness areas. There is much to do and see in Idaho. From raging white water rafting to scenic beauty to camping, many tourists are attracted to my home state. My father's boss, Mr. Johnson, had a cabin near what is now known as The Frank Church—River of No Return Wilderness Area. It consists of parts of several mountain ranges, including the Salmon River Mountains, the Clearwater Mountains, and the Bighorn Crags. The ranges are split by steep canyons of the Middle and Main forks of the Salmon River. The Salmon River is known as "The River of No Return." There's a good reason for that. It has extremely swift currents that can drag you under. Many have died on this river. Certain scenes of the movie "River of No Return," with Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitchum, were shot on this river. As I said, Mr. Johnson had a cabin near this area (it was known as the Salmon River Breaks Primitive area in the 60s. It was renamed in Senator Frank Church's honor in 1984) that myself, my dad and grandpa camped out at Mr. Johnson's cabin many a summer night.
It was in August of 1965 when I heard the first scream at the Johnson cabin. I was a shy, awkward 14-year old boy who felt more at ease in the wilderness than I did around people. It had been a fruitful day of fishing for trout. The deal was whoever caught the first fish of the day had to clean all the fish. It never failed I always caught the first fish of the day for reasons I still can't understand. Usually, about 3 PM, we would call it a day and head back to the cabin. I would finish up the fish cleaning, grandpa would coat them with his favorite flour and seasonings. Grandpa would have made a killing selling his fried fish if he had ever decided to do so. But, back to that scream...we had finished up eating, and grandpa decided to open the windows to let a little air in the cabin. We didn't want the place stinking when Mr. Johnson would visit it after we would leave. Right after grandpa started opening the windows, the first scream of that awful night occurred. It's a scream that is, to this day, hard to describe verbally. It is even more difficult to explain in the printed word. It was the combination of a woman and lion screaming. I know that is a difficult to imagine. But, that's the best way I could describe it Aaaaooooooooooyyyyyy.......AAAAAAOOOOOOOYYYYYY is as best as I can put it in print. It was incredibly loud. We had glasses on the edge of the sink that literally vibrated right off and broke on the floor. Yes, they were not only loud, but the screams originated within 100 feet or so from the cabin.
My dad and grandpa grabbed their .12 gauge shotguns which they always carried with them when we went camping. Grandpa took the old kerosine lantern with him outside to get a better view of whatever it was out there. That kerosine lantern was not very bright. But, we could see movement in the dense bushes behind grandpa's old Chevy truck. I said, "Dad, behind grandpa's truck....LOOK!!!" It was visible for the briefest of times....maybe as long as one heartbeat. My dad said later he did not see anything when he fired that shot of buckshot. But, he hit something. We then heard the mother of all screams. It was a deep, guttural scream not unlike that of mountain lions I have shot in California poaching on my property. It was definitely a scream of pain this time though. Whatever it was, it took off at an inhuman speed. As I said, I did see it. The picture you see up above is as close to what I saw that night. It had human form. But, it was not human. It was approximately 6 ft tall and maybe 140lbs at most. I saw it for only a second that particular moment. But, I would see it again.
We all went back inside since whatever it was had taken off. My grandpa was a tough, no-nonsense type of man. I never saw him upset or scared....until that night. Grandpa was shaking like a leaf. He was so nervous he couldn't light his own cigarette. He finally asked me to light it for him. Dad was white as...well, a ghost. I wasn't any better. I felt sick to my stomach and was nauseated. I looked at both my dad and grandpa and asked, "What was that thing? I think you got a piece of it, dad." My dad looked at me and said he thinks he winged it also. "Whatever the hell it was, I got a feeling we ain't seen the last of it," grandpa correctly predicted. Indeed, it was only the first encounter with "The Thing in the Wilderness" that particular night.
As we had finally gotten our wits about us, we again heard the unholy scream. This time, it was closer. Grandpa quickly grabbed his shotgun. "Whatever that damn thing is, he's pissed off now. Get your shotgun, son. This might be a long night," said grandpa. My dad grabbed his shotgun and they both looked out the window. Dad told me to go hide under the bed. There was no way I was going into that bedroom by myself. I wasn't leaving. There were four windows from the kitchen back toward the sparse living room. Dad then told me to keep a look out the windows in the living room....it was only one big picture window.
Again this thing screamed!!! It was incredibly loud. I can't stress enough how loud it was. In some respects, it sounded like T-rex on the "Jurassic Park" movie. It doesn't seem possible something this small (relatively speaking) could scream this loud. It just seemed impossible. Grandpa, who was momentarily taken aback and shaken, had regained his composure. "I'm going out there to give this damn thing something to scream about!!!" grandpa exclaimed. My dad said he wasn't letting him step out that door. "We don't know what this is. Until we do, none of us are leaving this cabin," Dad told us. He didn't have to worry about me. Nothing could have forced me out that door now. We all fearfully waited to see what would happen next. It had been at least an hour since that last scream. BAM!!!!! Something had slammed against the living room door!! The front door hinges had come loose from the impact. My dad told grandpa to stay at the kitchen door, he was going to the living room door. My dad grabbed me and told me to stay behind him. Again, silence for an hour and then two hours. Nothing. It was now about 1AM. Nobody was sleepy. We were too scared to sleep.
It was now closing in on 3AM. Grandpa had his head on the kitchen table with the shotgun resting near his head. Dad was alternately waking and then snoozing. I was doing neither. I was still petrified by the night's events. I was looking back and forth at both doors, at the windows and shaking with fright. I then just casually glanced toward the big picture window in the living room where I was sitting with my now snoozing dad. THERE IT WAS AGAIN!!! This time, I got a very good look at it. It had a grayish, milky skin layering. It had deep sunken eyes that were blacker than the night sky. It was thin and tall. It looked right at me. I was too shocked to even move, much less scream. BAM!!!!! Another huge impact on the living room door! This time, the top hinge flew completely off. The living room door was still shut. But, it was only hanging in by the bottom hinge. One more hit and the door is coming down. My dad and grandpa jumped up immediately with this latest attempt to knock down the door. My dad tried opening the door. But, it was jammed. Again, the unearthly scream pierced the night air. "OOOOOOAAAAAYYYY.....OOOOOAAAAYYYY!!!!!!" Grandpa opened the kitchen door, my dad screamed at him to close the damn door! Grandpa did, but not before he got off a shot from his shotgun. Grandpa later said he didn't see anything when he fired. But, he wanted "The Thing" (as I still call it) to know they were armed and could inflict considerable pain. After he fired off that shot, grandpa closed the door and propped a chair up against it. Dad did the same thing to the now unstable living room door. We all sat back down....and waited.
As it turned out, that was the last time "The Thing" attempted to get inside the cabin. I think it was like grandpa had said, it was pissed off and was wanting a piece of each of us. Dad had clearly winged it with some buckshot. The next morning, as we slowly awoke, dad went outside (with his shotgun, of course) to inspect any other damage to the cabin. The living room door was smashed inward. It would have to be replaced. But, the damage was not limited to the cabin. The rear bumper of grandpa's Chevy truck had been completely ripped off! I don't even like to think about the strength of something that could have done that. Dad looked at the bushes where he had fired his shot that night. There was a chalky substance in the bushes similar to blood splatter. We figured it must have come from that creature. We immediately gathered up all our equipment, supplies and headed out from there. When we got home, my dad called Mr. Johnson to tell him a bear had attacked the cabin. Mr. Johnson said he has lived here 35 years and never seen any bear. But, that was our story and we decided it best we stick to it or else wind up in the state mental institution.
We never went back to Mr. Johnson's cabin for reasons I am sure you can now understand. We never told Mr. Johnson the truth. My dad told Mama about what happened. But, she never believed it. Few people ever believed us. Most people think grandpa and dad had too much whiskey and gave me some also. Grandpa and my dad are gone now. They were both avid hunters. But, after that night at the cabin, they never went hunting again in the wild, to my knowledge. I still have both of those shotguns used that night in my dining room closet. Just in case. As for "The Thing," your guess is as good as mine as to what it was or is. The pic up above is as close as I can find that adequately describes it. But, the creature's head was a bit more round. The skin tone seemed about right. That pic may be fake. But, it's as close as I could find that bore a close resemblance to The Thing. It did not look anything like the many instances of "Big Foot" that you have read about or seen pics of on TV and the internet. Personally, I think there are many things in nature that can't be explained away by science. Science is not the definitive answer to everything on earth. That night at Mr. Johnson's cabin convinced me of that.
Like my grandpa and dad, I never ventured back into the wilderness of Idaho again. I was and still am too damn scared. Whatever it was that night, might still be looking for a bit of revenge from the only surviving member, that scary night in August, at Mr. Johnson's cabin.
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2/14/2014 06:38:00 AM David Weldy No comments