Feb 13

Bergen, NY Swamp Monster

A listener writes “Wes, I have been thinking about writing you for quite some time, first I’d like to thank you for what you do. Your show is outstanding and I enjoy listening whenever I can.

The encounter I want to write about isn’t mine and honestly I hadn’t thought about in 35 years but I think it’s significant enough to mention.

I grew up in western NY in a small town between Buffalo and Rochester. When most people hear, NY they think the city but there was nothing but corn fields and a swamp where I lived which was about a 45 minute drive from Canada.

I literally lived on the edge of the Bergen swamp which is a protected 2,000-acre area that is as thick as can be. Every few years someone would get lost in there and it would make the newspaper.

I can remember one summer a farmer plowing his field and he noticed something weird about a tree in his field. NY fields have these strips of tree like islands. I always thought they were strange, but anyway, when he moved some of the brush away a Mastodon tusk was stuck in it. He called a college or something and they removed it.

I had an old abandoned railroad bed behind my house we called West Shore Tracks. This allegedly ran all the way from Buffalo to NJ but I only ever road my dirt bikes a few miles north and south of my house.

Well, I had a very good friend in high school when I was about 15, I’ll call him Steven. Steven had a very bad home life and I wasn’t allowed in the house when his Dad was home because of his Dads drinking. In addition to that, Steven had a learning disability. Also, his family hunted for their food. They were not concerned about limits and tags because this was how they survived.

Steven, I, and several friends used to have bonfires on the weekends a few miles from his house just off another active railroad track. Steve could always get alcohol so that ended up being our thing to do.

I’m pretty sure it was late summer 1985 before going back to school and I’d gone over to Steve’s.

When I got to his house his Dad was home so Steve met me outside. He was freaking out. When I asked him what was going on, he didn’t want to tell me. I continued to press him because I could see he was upset and finally he decided to.

He said he’d gone to the bonfire spot to collect wood for the weekend bonfire. When he was walking back along the railroad tracks it was twilight and he heard a rustling to his left. At this point he started to rub his hand through his hair and his eyes got real bit and he said “If I tell you, you won’t believe me” and I said “try me”. Then he said, “Please don’t make fun of me”. Steven had so many problems, me making fun of him was the last thing I’d ever do and honestly it hurt my feelings a little he thought I might. Anyway, after pacing around a bit and pulling at his hair he yelled out “I SAW A MONKEY!”

I said “you saw a what?” and again he yelled “I SAW A MONKEY!” I tried to rationalize this. Never once until recently did I think about what he actually might have seen. My response to him was “There are no monkeys in western NY” and he yelled ”I KNOW THAT!” and ”I KNEW YOU WOULD’NT BELIEVE ME!”.

The next day I had him take me to where he saw the monkey, of course it wasn’t there. Steven had a severe learning disability and I really believe his only frame of reference were pictures he’d seen of monkeys.

Thanks for letting me vent…”

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