A listener writes “My name is Daniel. I live in Virginia and have always been in the woods hunting, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and cross country dirt bike racing.
I have been in the power line vegetation management businesses since I was 21 climbing trees, cutting trees, and just being outdoors in remote power line right of ways. I have been and sometimes still am a little bit of an adrenaline junkie. I am now 31 and don’t take as many risks as I used to. That being said the reason I am reaching out to you is I had an encounter with something that I would like to know what your opinion is on it. I have listened to your show a lot in the past several months and respect the way you do things.
I have listened to other shows but rarely make it through the entire show because of the way it is executed. You do a great job with yours. I am a supervisor at my job and have little if any spare time, so I usually listen to your show in pieces as I drive from place to place. At home my wife and I are building a farm so that leaves no spare time at home currently.
My encounter was about 8 or 9 years ago in June or July. We had been riding dirt bikes for fun all day. There were three of us and no one else had been around that day. As the sun set we went back to the trucks and loaded up. The three of us stood behind the trucks and talked. Well they talked I was not engaged in the conversation and could hear something popping twigs in the nearby woods. After a few minutes of this the guys heard it too and stopped talking.
I said I had been listening for a few minutes and thought it was a deer. The sound was about 70 yards away paralleling us and slightly angling toward us. We could hear it very plain as it walked right to left. It stopped briefly at about 50 yards and then started to ascend a tree. As it climbed we could see the small patches of sky through the leaves go black with something fairly large.
We looked at each other silently with wide eyes and back to the sound. We could hear the sound of the tree bark crackling as it climbed. It ascended to approximately 50 feet and then stopped. Quiet for a few seconds and then we heard the sound of something being plucked from the limbs of the tree. It would grab something, pull and then after applying some pressure the limb would swoosh back to its original position. We guessed it was picking cherries. At this point it was light enough to still see without a flash light but the day was fading. I wasnt sure what it was but wanted to find out.
I wanted to run in to the base of the tree and Tree whatever it was so we could see it. I figured it was a black bear. The other two guys were nervous about it, but I talked them into rushing the tree as long as I went first. We eased to the egde of the woods, looked at each other I nodded, they nodded back and I started running as hard as I could towards the tree. As I did what ever was in the tree sounded like a dump truck crashing and coming down the tree. I kept running and at 15 yards away I tripped and fell into pushup position. While in push up position I looked up to the crashing sound and saw a black figure about my size (just over 6 feet tall), jump from one fork of this tree to another grab a sumac vine that was attached to the tree with one hand, pivoted on it and lept the remaining 20 feet to the ground. It jarred the ground when it landed, and it’s knees went to its chest, then sprung out into a brush/ briar thicket where I lost sight, ran loudly 80 or so yards and I couldn’t hear it anymore.
I looked back to see where the guys were and they hadn’t entered the woods like we agreed. They were still at the wood line. I shouted and asked if they’d seen that as I was headed back towards them. They had seen enough that it scared them, but they were scared to start with.
I told them the description of what I saw and it scared them even more and still said it had to be a bear. We talked about it some more and decided to check for tracks or some kind of sign indicating what it was. I had a small, weak led flash light and the two of them had a mag light. I went to the tree and they walked the dirt bike trails that went to a power line where it had ran towards. Their plan was to shine the power line and see if they could spot it long range or get eye shine. The tree was a red hart cherry Tree and the cherries were ripe. It had been picking cherries and eating them. I did not find any sign proving what I had seen. I did find black bear sign, droppings and claw marks where they had climbed the tree previously. We regrouped behind the trucks and talked about our findings. They had seen nothing, I’m pretty sure that was their hope and plan tho. As we talked I heard a twig snap in the exact place I started hearing it originally. We listened very intently. Something was coming up the exact way the other thing did. The difference was this was very quiet and only snapped very small twigs. We thought it was a coon or a possum coming to the cherry tree. There were cherries on the ground too. When it got to the tree it began to climb. It was pitch dark at that time but the sky was still light colored so when it passed the holes though the leaves we could see it was larger than a coon or possum. I wanted to do the same plan as the original, they did not. They insisted tho that this was a racoon, so I said well if it’s a coon then why not go in after it. We will shine the light on it and go home. They reluctantly agreed. So same as before we ease to the edge of the woods and with me in front with the small led one in the middle with no light the other bringing up the rear with the mag light we nodded and took off to the tree. I knew where I was running this time, and to my surprise it sounded like the tree was being tore apart by something coming down again. I kept going to try to keep it up there and made it to the tree before it made it out. It straight up jumped out of the tree 30 feet in the air and landed way out in the thicket and ran away. I did not get to see it that time. I looked back and again the guys were back at the wood line and never entered the woods.
They heard it and knew it was large but still said it had to be a bear. What I saw was a little over 6 feet tall and had long black hair. The hair was about 6 inches long on the elbows. I saw its hand grab the vine. When it landed it folded up like a spring, just like a human would do If you jump from a height. It used that energy when it unsprung to leap a good distance in the thicket.
I have told a few people who say they believe me but don’t seem to. My dad believes me as he says he saw one when he was a kid about 5 miles from this location. After this encounter it was like an eye opener for me. I thought back on a lot of things and related them to what I saw. I have related things since the encounter to what I saw. We live in the Appalachian mountains so there are lots of places for lots of things to hide.
I had another encounter I’ll be short about describing. My uncle and I were walking in the national forest. It was raining and I was walking his Akita dog. Which is like a wolf in a way. We were 6 miles in on a horse trial and had came around a knob or hill to get there. Going back I went to the top of the hill and he walked the trial. We agreed to meet in the trail on the other side. It was low visibility fog at the top.
Down the other side the Akita started to wine and get behind me and between my legs, I had to drag him as I navigated the blown over trees, usually he was dragging me. I was below the fog by then and glanced up in the direction I was headed in and saw what I thought was my uncle walking away from me on a Ridge across the hollow. I was stepping over logs so I had to keep my eyes down plus having to drag the dog that was almost as big as me. At that time my uncle shouted out and the sound came from over my left shoulder. I looked back to where I thought I had seen him and saw nothing. A cold chill ran up my spine and the dogs actions plus what I had seen added up to something I didn’t like. I found my uncle briefed him and we left out of there at a fast pace. I am pretty sure this happened before my other encounter. I had always thought maybe it was and old black bear that had turned gray. I had no other explanation as there would not be any one else back there at that time. It rained the whole time.
I have had several other things to happen along the way in addition to what I have written and I would like to get your opinion on all of it. Like I mentioned earlier I respect the way you do things. I would not contact anyone else.”