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Monday, June 29, 2020

Did I Have A Bigfoot Encounter When I Was Ten?
Wild Man Stories From My Grandfather
By Dorraine Fisher

Did I have a bigfoot encounter when I was 10?

Nearly 40 years ago the seeds were being planted for my love for the mysteries of the world and for all things cryptic. If anyone ever asks what shaped my unusual perceptions about the world, I always point first to my mother who gave me an old copy of Chariots of the Gods by Erick Von Daniken and who turned on the bigfoot episode of In Search Of with Leonard Nimoy and let me watch too. But second place always goes to my grandfather for showing me some weird things in the woods. And to this day, I still wonder what he was telling me because I didn’t have the presence of mind when I was young to ask the right questions about what we saw out there on one really strange day.

I was a pretty shy and solitary kid, so I naturally loved the woods. It was a good place to hide from the rest of the world. But Grandpa was the one who made it interesting.  I, for some reason had always believed that the fabled Bogie Man that children like me were always told about was a big, hairy bigfoot-type creature. Strangely,  I had this picture of him in my psyche before I even knew what a bigfoot was. So, I guess I was a natural bigfoot believer. But for some reason, the idea of this big, hairy creature prowling around didn’t really scare me all that much. Maybe I just loved the woods too much. But Grandpa and I never had a discussion about bigfoot. Bigfoot just wasn’t a thing back then. But I still wonder what he might have told me if I had asked.
I must have been about ten when Grandpa took me with him mushroom hunting on some land adjacent to his own land that belonged to a friend of his. Searching for the elusive fungus took us off the main trails and over some sketchy hills and we were charging up and down the hills with our heads bobbing back and forth searching when I suddenly got a really weird, eerie feeling. Like there was “something”  hanging around us. I looked around. Those woods were so dark, anything could have been hiding there. And the feeling was pretty strong.

It was grandpa that had taught me not to ignore that feeling. He’s always told me never to ignore my instincts; that if I felt something was wrong, it probably was. And he stopped in his tracks in front of me and was looking around with a strange, bewildered expression on his face. It was at that moment that I knew he felt it too.

He turned around and looked at me. “D’ you get the feeling we’re being watched?  he asked.

“Yeah,” I answered.

He scanned the treeline again and took a deep breath. “Stay close behind me and hold onto my belt loop,” he said.

I grabbed his belt loop and we both kept walking and looking around as we followed the trail. For some reason, Grandpa never carried a gun of any kind or any other weapon except his hunting knife on our little excursions. And I guess neither of us felt we were in any serious danger, but we were watchful nonetheless as we walked and searched around the hillsides for mushrooms. But the eerie feeling seemed to intensify a little as we got further up the hill. And when we reached a clearing way off the beaten path, we came across what looked to be a small batch of large broken tree branches simply propped up around a live standing tree in a triangular configuration.

“Looks like someone’s been up here messing around, Grandpa,” I said.

Grandpa looked around and up into the trees and back down to the ground. “Looks like that infernal wild man’s around again,” he said. And he said it as if it was the most normal thing ever.

“Wild man?” I asked, a little apprehensive that there was some crazy man running around in the woods.

Grandpa kept looking around. “Yeah, I’ve seen him up here before. He’s a big son-of-a-buck! And crazy! Neighbors claim he was stealing their chickens last year.”

I was confused. The only concept I had of what he was talking about was what we now refer to as a feral human that was living alone and isolated up in the hills. When I was young, it wasn’t beyond the realm of possibility. Homeless men, hermits,  hobos, or ex-military men would sometimes just go live in the woods to get away from people. We heard such stories every once in a while. It didn’t seem that strange. And grandpa never offered any more explanation than that. And it’s possible that that’s what he thought it was too. But was it?

Since my grandfather and his brothers had all been woodsmen, hunting and fishing and forging old-time skills out in the Illinois bush, I had heard many crazy stories from them. Most of them too outrageous to believe. Like funny tall tales they liked to tell all of us kids at the dinner table for entertainment purposes. And my grandfather had told his share of them. So it never occurred to me to ask him what or who this “wildman” was. I was somewhat convinced he was either exaggerating something or simply making stuff up.

And I regret never having had that conversation with him. Because, as an adult, I became an avid hiker and lover of the outdoors and I’ve seen enough strange things to write a book about it.  But Grandpa and his brothers and cousins had spent way more time out there than I ever had. And I wonder now if any of those stories they told us had any truth to them. Or if maybe they made up stories in order to explain some of the strange things they saw out there.

But this idea of the wild man is puzzling. Since people now believe bigfoot to be a type of human, did Grandpa actually see something out there that WAS human like us, or did he see something that he REGARDED as human enough to call it a human?

Grandpa’s been gone for a long time and I’ll forever regret not asking the questions. Because now, being a follower of all things bigfoot and having seen what I’ve seen out there in recent years, what I saw and felt that day when I was ten was much the same: strange eerie feeling while walking in the woods and coming across strange broken trees and configurations.

So, what was this wildman Grandpa referred to? The more I think about it, the more I think Grandpa had met Bigfoot out there in the flesh long before the creatures were famous. And I also think that maybe he introduced me to them also on that very day, possibly without realizing what he actually had done. The sad part is, I’ll never know for sure.


This Post By TCC Team Member Dorraine Fisher. Dorraine is a Professional Writer, photographer, a nature, wildlife and Bigfoot enthusiast who has written for many magazines. Dorraine conducts research, special interviews and more for The Crypto Crew. Get Dorraine's book The Bigfoot Research Journal

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  1. Wonderful story! Have you ever been back to that area?

  2. That is a wonderful memorie. Thank you for sharing it with me..


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