A listener writes “The timeline starts in the 1960’s with unexplained sightings on and around my childhood home in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Except for our small family unit these “clues” if you will, are never talked about with relatives. But slowly they added up until it is undeniable that something more is in the mix than raising a family and making a small homestead, something that shares this dirt road and the surrounding lands and the first story starts on a warm autumn day in 1967 in a cow field.
The field laid behind my parent’s homestead that consisted of a small home, several outbuildings, a large garden and a little over 6 acres. The neighboring farmers field met up with my fathers land behind his house and was, divided off by barbed wire fencing. It was a steep sloping hillside with tall grasses and halfway up the hillside was woods, it was this hill that my sister, then 9 years old and father saw what they could only describe as monkeys swinging through the treetops with loud chatter. My sister recounts the story as baby orangutans with stringy orange-ish hair and long arms that swung from branch to branch with swift passage and then out of sight.
Their excitement when they entered the house was about the monkey sighting and how did a monkey come to be in West Virginia. Perhaps, a traveling circus that lost their monkeys, or the well-to-do farmer/lawyer that owned the adjoining land had pet monkeys that had escaped!
Over the next few days each explanation slowly seemed unreasonable and even ridiculous until they faded away and then eventually so did the actual sighting.
The next unexplainable event took place at my grandparent’s home a mile or so down the same road. My grandfather had just passed away which left my Grandmother and Aunt in the house alone. It must be said that there is no way to prove this is anything other than a peeping Tom story, but none-the-less needs to be included in this story since only the neighbors would know of my grandfathers passing and they were relatives. Having said that, on two separate occasions somewhere around 1967 my grandmother caught a face staring at her through the kitchen window, a feat in itself since the window did not set close to the ground and the only way to even risk a peek inside was standing on top of a slanted coal door. It happened once more with the local sheriff coming on both accounts some time later the same night, but found nothing to report, my grandmother moved shortly after that so we would have no other accounts from this location.
Another incident that falls somewhere in between the first sightings and my 15th birthday that I can recall, is from the neighbor across the street.
One day my father and I were in the yard when the neighbor came over and started to tell about his sighting in the middle of the night. He claimed he saw a bear drinking from the creek that ran between my fathers land and the road. My father was kind and listened, but when he recounted it to my mother, even though I was rather young I could tell that they did not hold much stock in the neighbor’s story.
My dad hunted for most of the meat on our dinner table and knew the woods well, not to mention, had lived on this land long enough to know that a bear had never been reported…ever, let alone a bear in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia; this story faded away as well.
My father being a hunter always had several hunting dogs, mostly coonhounds. He had them chained to sturdy wooden dog boxes that sat up on a knoll of sorts in our yard just on this side of the barbed wire fencing that separated the farmers field from my fathers yard. There were many a night that he would have to settle them down because they were bellowing loudly about something they felt was amiss in the neighboring cow field, but once my father fussed at them a bit they seemed to settle down for the most part. If my dad knew what had the dogs riled up, he never shared it within ear shot of me, it just was not an uncommon event that he would have to go out and yell at them to settle down on any given night.
Until approximately 1976, my 15th birthday had come and gone and it was now common for me to travel alone to my friend’s homes either on foot or bike taking the shortcuts through the wooded areas that lay around my home. It was a shortcut that landed me at the base of a tall tree with a rope swing tied off at its trunk some ways up the hillside, a great find to say the least. My friends and I hung out at this swing all summer and I talked about it at the family dinner table until eventually my brother in law asked to see the swing. It was summer, midday, and tucked up in a small hollow off of the same dirt road, about a mile past my parent’s house.
We weren’t there long, not especially loud either since there was only two of us, and while my brother in law started the steep climb up the side of the hill to the tied off rope I sat down on a large rock and waited. Over our conversation and laughter I heard what I could only describe as a woman’s scream from behind us up on the ridge. I heard it clearly, he not so much, and when the second scream echoed down the small hollow and reverberated off of the surrounding hills I was now standing and moving toward the path that brought us to the swing with a firm, “I’m out!” I was quit sure at this point that a woman had been horribly murdered with the second scream. I never returned to the swing.
Years past and I left the area. My parents aged so the hunting slowly waned and the hunting dogs slowly died off or was sold and my parents land grew quieter with no more reports of unexplained happenings in the hollow.
I married and moved with my husband to Ohio for seven years or so and finally the opportunity came along that allowed us to move back to my hometown and into an old farm house that was part of the aforementioned farm with little over four acres of land and no “next door” neighbors. Large open fields with wooded areas surrounded our land and if we so desired we could walk from our home through the fields and woods to my childhood home. In other words, it used to be all one big farm but was divided up through the years.
I do not have a timeline of sorts for these next incidents, but I know that they fell between the years of 1992 and 2015, at which such time, I sold the family home and moved from the lands.
Directly behind the house lay a small wooded area my son and his friend would play in and on one particular day he came across something that I as his mother had no explanation for when he told me about it later while I was cooking dinner. He said that they found two piles of deer “parts” and such. One pile had the hides and entrails and muscle and the second had the bones and antlers and such, a bone pile if you will, not something a mother wants to hear or have to explain. He said the piles were large as if more than one deer. I had him point out the general area to me and we agreed that he would not play in these woods anymore. The next day I searched out his findings and never found them, but it shook me a bit since there isn’t any answer that would make such a thing explainable.
The family dog at this time was a small beagle/poodle mix that tracked like a rabbit dog. On walks he would spend the time in the fields sniffing out a rabbit or two and chasing them down so we were used to his barking and such. At night however, he would go behind the house and run the perimeter of the backyard barking into the same woods that the deer carcasses were found, but never braved going into the woods any farther. We would call for him for some time when eventually one of us would have to go and actually carry him inside, this happened time and again with no explanation for his actions.
Over the years we had plenty of accounts of vocalizations, some screams, some loud yells at all times of the night and early morning. Some were close to the house that I would hear through my open summer window and some we are unsure of how far away they were since sound carries so easily across the hilltops we were surrounded by.
My grown children tell me of several occasions when waiting for the school bus that they started back to the house, which sat at the end of a very long driveway, because of unexplained yells and grunts or movement in the surrounding woods and fields only to be saved by the arrival of the school bus, and my sons have an account of hearing several loud screams through their closed windows during winter late one night. I have heard a pack of coyotes yipping along with a yell or two that I couldn’t explain but moved me out of bed to close the window and lock it.
In 2013 my grown nephew moved into a home that was located out at the end of the old tractor road that ran past my house, which made it even more isolated than our home, but shared the same hilltop and adjoining fields. The home had been abandoned for some time so he spent many long hours in the yard and surrounding fields cleaning up debris. The rental was surrounded by groves of tall pine trees and my nephew and son tell a story of hearing a racket in the woods that sounded like something large, (elephant sized) breaking through the underbrush and branches, then of the swaying of a tall pine tree that should not have been so easy to be moved, but swayed back and forth fiercely as if with no effort. They have no explanation for what they witnessed.
Every once in awhile when we are together we talk about these incidents and the strangeness of them happening throughout the years of us living on this land and when I add my families accounts to my childhood accounts, I am quite sure that they all tie together.”