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Monday, October 19, 2015

Strange Sounds In The Woods

 In 1996 I went bow hunting with a landowner near Olympia state forest in Bath County called Olympia Springs. It was once a famous Health spa in the nineteenth century. Crystal clear pools of healing Mountain spring water still dot the area [Interestingly there is a Large Hill nearby called Mount Olympus]. It was dusk; we were in a Valley in an area where a jeep trail finally peters out into nothing more than a deer path. This was directly on the border with Government land; we were in a very deep isolated valley, with no one else for miles and no other trails or roads leading in. We were both crouched on the side of the trail waiting for deer. After a while I realized there was an uncanny silence in the woods. No Birds, no small animals, nothing, and complete silence. On the hill to our rear we heard a bizarre sound. Whatever was making the sound had to have been close and it was happening repeatedly .This sound can best be described as sounding like a man screaming in a high pitched - YAH! Directly followed by a rhythmic, almost mechanical clapping sound about five times then stop, and after a few seconds it would repeat the exact same thing like a recording. This went on for at least twenty minutes and we looked at each other in amazement. We are both experienced woodsman and began whispering back and forth and I asked him had he heard anything like it before. He shrugged and it was obvious he was just as perplexed as I was.

The Author high up in the Olympia State Forest in 2000
             Listening, I remember at the time, I had speculated it was possibly an exotic bird imitating a human voice, or even an escaped monkey of some sort since it sounded so much like a person. I decided to stand up and get a closer look and he stayed behind not moving. The sound was coming from above us, I was taken back but determined to investigate this and not let another chance to investigate an unusual occurrence go. It was comforting to know I had a compound bow as a talisman to accompany me in this scenario. On the edge of the unknown I quietly eased up the hill as this strange racket was going on. I saw nothing and could not seem to pinpoint the actual location of the sound. There was still some ambient light on top of the hill to guide my way, and soon the strange noise ceased all together. I stood there scanning the woods for a while, I wanted to keep listening in case it had been by some chance, a person and so maybe I could see or hear them slip away. However, it was getting dark so I went back down to the trail and we made our leave, both of us thoroughly intrigued but confused.
       I since have not heard anything like that sound we heard on that day, and still have no idea of what it was. After discussing the incident over many years since with Old Timers, Outdoorsmen and Enthusiasts of the strange and unusual, each put forth different possibilities. One explanation was that it may have been a quail or pheasant call, another theory more fantastic explanation was that it was a Mule Skinners Ghost. Several have told me that it was actually a, ‘’time slip,’ that we had walked into, hence the eerie silence preceding the sound. 
WHAT WAS IT? I may never know. I am not fully convinced that it wasn't human even as we were in an area few ever go. Did we disturb something out there that evening back in 1996?

I have seen Strange tracks and Heard other unexplained sounds in the area

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