A listener writes “In 1958 we, my parents and siblings went to visit my mothers parents who lived back in the mountains and rolling hills of Danville Virginia.
Whenever it started to get dark, Granny would always say “Its time for yawl chaps to come inside now because the wild man will be coming out soon.”
I was seven then and always imagined a skinny little unshaven cartoon caveman running around in a leopard skin carrying a big club. I thought it really was just another Bogeyman story to keep us kids inline, at least that’s what my older brother Chuck said it was when I asked him about it.
The next day, as she often did. my aunt Beula, to keep us from under foot, told her two oldest sons Billy and Jimmy to take us with them into the woods when they went to gather some fire wood. For the most part as we scoured the forest floor for kindling and dry broken branches. Billy and Jimmy took to showing us the various wild berries, plants, roots and mushrooms we could eat and those that were poisonous and we should not even touch.
We came upon a clearing that was surrounded by tall trees and Jimmy said it would be better if we spread out a bit and looked. The truth is this was only an adventure for me and Chuck, this was just another chore for them. Bored, they climbed two of the giant trees in the clearing and watched Chuck and I as we did their work.
I was assigned the kindling while Chuck was told to look for the thicker branches. Basically they knew that we wouldn’t find anything in that clearing but that way they could keep us busy and an eye on the both of us at the same time.
I was getting frustrated because I couldn’t find anything. Then I went to the edge of the clearing and saw that it dropped off onto a lower level. I saw what I thought was a pile of twigs and branches. I jumped down and ran over to it. As I neared the pile I found myself not standing before a mound of twigs and branches but in front of what looked like an igloo woven of branches and sticks or a big upside down birds nest.
I immediately started to call for Chuck and in a matter of seconds he and my two cousins were standing at the top of the bank. They all were out of breath and pale with worry as they looked down at me.
“What the hell are you screaming like that for?” Billy asked angrily.
“I thought a damned snake had got a hold to you!!” Jimmy scolded me.
They had gotten there so fast it had startled me. They must have started to run toward me when they saw me jump down off the bank.
“What did you come down here for any way?” Chuck asked between gasps.
“Look, look what I found.” I said happily pointing to my discovery. I ran over and started to crawl into the opening.
“Boy get your ass out of there!” Jimmy screamed to me, “That could be a bear cave!”
“That ain’t no cave,” I countered, “you can look right through the branches, you can see there’s nothing in there.”
“Yeah but the bear might be coming back, we need to go.” Billy said ending the conversation, “Let’s go, I think we got enough wood any way.”
We never spoke about it again after that day but it’s like anything strange that happened to me never left my mind. What was that thing and who had built it? For years afterwards would cross my mind.
The name they commonly use for it in Virginia is The Wild Man. In fact when you enter Danville, there is a sign that says Welcome to Danville – Home of the Bigfoot.”