I want to preface this by telling you, (just like everyone with a story like this will tell you, I’m sure) that I’m not crazy. I’m not lying, either. (Who would lie on the Internet?)
So, here we go.
I was 19 and my best friend, Michael, and I were coming back from taking sacrilegious pictures at a local Confederate cemetery (as one does as a goth teenager growing up in rural East Texas) when my friend uttered those fateful words:
“Did you see that naked guy step out of the woods?”
I blinked at him.
It was three in the morning and we were in an area known by locals as The River Bottom, where the land is low on either side of the Sabine River, and as anyone who lives near it can tell you, there are very, very few people who live there.
Like, maybe one or two per square mile.
The thought of anyone being out in the woods at so late an hour—naked or not—concerned me, so I said, “Wait, what? Turn around. Let’s go see.”
I don’t know what we would have done had it actually been a huge, naked redneck (which was, I guess, what we were expecting) but curiosity got the best of us.
We drove quietly back and at first I thought it was just a rogue pine tree, smaller and younger and closer to the road than the others.
But on the OTHER side of the pine tree we both saw it.
It was eight feet tall and squinted against the light of our brights. Its shoulders were as broad as the car was wide and its hair—which covered all of it—was a sort of auburn color. And what struck me most was that it had this long beard thing—like a ZZ Top style beard.
I swear to God. Polygraph me.
“DRIVE, DRIVE, DRIVE!!!!” I shouted, and Michael and I squealed away, leaving it blinking in confusion by the side of the road.
About this time, my mother called and asked where we were, to which I so eloquently replied, “WE JUST SAW A FUCKING BIGFOOT!!!”
My mother is probably the best mother in the entire world. She made sure we were safe, then, when she had the details, immediately went to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization’s website, BFRO.net, typed up a description of our encounter, and hit SEND.
BFRO responded almost immediately, and in two days, two BFRO investigators were sitting at my kitchen table, eating spaghetti while Michael and I went over the details of our encounter. (It was also during this time that I did all other pretentious grammarians a favor and asked what the plural of “Bigfoot” was. Bigfoots? Bigfeet? No. It’s “Squatches.”)
They asked if we had ever heard any odd noises coming from the back pasture of our land, which borders the area in which Michael and I had had our encounter.
“Noises like this?” one of the BFRO guys said. Then, right there in our tiny kitchen, he threw back his head and made a sound that can only be described through onomatopoeia as: Wooo-OOP! …Wooo-OOP!
My mother said, “Yes! I’ve heard exactly that sound before!”
The BFRO investigators exchanged looks and said, with the gravity of someone delivering bad news in a hospital waiting room: “Ma’am…it sounds like you’ve got squatches.”
Later, I took them to explore my family’s back pasture.
“Looks like we’ve got a partial print,” one of them said, looking down through mirrored aviators at a vague indentation in the grass.
I wasn’t particularly impressed. It looked like two cows had stepped in the mud in almost the same place and had made a sort of oblong footprint, but I decided to leave it to the professionals.
They took pictures of it, then we continued into the wooded area that borders our land. Here, the investigators drew my attention to several young trees which had been pulled downward into “arches,” for lack of a better description.
“Those are everywhere around here,” I said. And they were. I’d played under such arches as a kid, and when one looked into the woods around our pasture, they were not uncommon at all.
“Well, what do you think would cause one tree—out of all these trees right here—to twist itself downward like that?”
I didn’t have an answer.
But the BFRO guys did: squatches.
“Yep,” they said. “It looks like you probably got about six or seven of ‘em out here.”
I was skeptical.
And don’t get me wrong. I had seen the thing. I’m a believer, whether I want to be or not. But the idea that six more of them were living quiet, unobtrusive lives behind my house was…a lot to take in.
“What do we do now?” I asked them.
“Tonight,” they said. “We come back out here and do some calls, and we see if we get any responses. All right?”
And, in what was terrible judgment on my part, I said, “All right."
At midnight, the investigators came to my house to pick up Michael, myself, and two other friends who had come along for the adventure.
“All right,” BFRO Guy One said. “We’re going to split into two groups. You two (my other friends) go with (BFRO Guy Two) and you two (Michael and me) come with me. We’re going to have walkie talkies, and though we won’t be using any flashlights, it’ll be all right. We’ve done this plenty of times.”
So, to sum this up, we were going to be walking around in the darkest, farthest pasture with no flashlights and in the company of two strange men we’d met only that day as they made weird noises into the woods. It must have sounded legit at the time, so we said, “Sure!” and off we went.
I’d like to take this moment to remind everyone that, for some reason, our mothers were also OK with this.
We wandered out into the back pasture and split into the two afore-mentioned groups. We walked along the edge of the pasture, where it borders the forest, our group moving clockwise from the Southwest, and the other group moving counter-clockwise from the Southeast, with the plan to meet up at the Northwest corner. At first, nothing happened.
Then our investigator said, “I’m gonna do a call.”
Nothing happened. Across the pasture, we could hear the investigator with the other group begin to make his own calls into the forest.
We kept moving, and in a short time, our investigator did it again.
Once more, nothing answered.
Then he raised the walkie talkie to his mouth and said, “I’m gonna do a scream howl.”
“Roger,” said the other guy.
Then he reared back and let loose with this loud, ridiculous sound that I can’t even begin to describe. (But that is fortunately on the Internet, along with more Bigfoot sounds.
And in the forest, something HUGE answered!
It made this extremely loud, terrifying roaring/howling sound, and almost immediately a bunch of coyotes started yipping and howling and going nuts. (“Coyotes travel with squatches to eat their leftovers,” said our guy, standing proudly with his hands on his hips in the moonlight.)
It was then that we heard something begin to walk beside us in the thick woods, on the other side of the fence. When we walked, it walked. When we stopped, it stopped.
“We got one tailing us,” our investigator said into the walkie talkie.
“Us too,” came the crackling response.
It followed us all the way to the Northwest corner, as did the squatch following the other group. When we met, we began to hear strange clicking noises.
“They’re signaling to each other,” said our guy. “They don’t know what to think about us.”
“Are they going to…do something?” one of my friends asked.
“Nah,” said the other investigator.
He did another whoop and the clicking stopped all together.
We walked back up to the nearest pasture, in which the investigators had made their campsite. The investigators (and I’ve been told that this isn’t normal BFRO behavior, just so we’re clear) began to drink a bunch of beer, eat a bunch of crawfish and play music.
“Squatches love music,” said one of the investigators. “They’re probably really enjoying this right now.”
Then I had an idea. I reached into Michael’s expansive CD case and flipped through until I found what I was looking for. I put in a plain, pink CD and clicked it over to number four: “Opera #2” by Russian pop sensation, Vitas, who hits an alarmingly high note which sounds a lot like a squatch whoop, only quite a bit more operatic.
I played the song on full volume. And when it got to the first crescendo, a squatch whooped!
Just once, though. After that, we all called it a night.
We started to go back home, but the investigators were like, “We like you guys! Stay out here with us!”
“OK,” we said, really batting a thousand on good judgment.
Michael and I pulled up his Jeep, and tried our best to find good sleeping positions. We woke the next morning freezing and with a variety of muscle cramps.
When we awoke, we drove back to my family’s house. My mother listened as we told her the results of the night’s expedition. As we talked, we realized not only how awful it all could have ended up, but also that we probably could have died like 30 times during the previous evening.
The BFRO investigators left later that morning, telling us to call them back if we ever needed them again. We never called them back, but now, every time we think about heading into the back pasture, we stop at the fence and think to ourselves,“Nah…better not.”