While Mojo does not personally think Bigfoot actually exists--despite advanced technology, ubiquitous cameras, etc., there has yet to be any real, concrete evidence of large animals living among us other than the usual suspects--I remain open to the possibility. The wee little Mojo inside of me--who grew up in the late 60s and early 70s, when cryptozoology and ghosts and the paranormal in general enjoyed a resurgence of unquestioned, uncritical popularity--kinda wants people to find one, even though adult Mojo is pretty sure it will not happen. Having said that, I have all the sympathy in the world for those who claim to have seen them. Because I once did, as well.
The place was a friend's grandfather's snowmobile cabin, deep in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, up a mountain, out in the middle of the woods. We weren't actually living *IN* the cabin, since it was pretty much overrun with red squirrels and mice living in holes in the mattresses. We set up a tent in the ancient, overgrown apple orchard just outside the cabin. So you will have to imagine: a clearing in the woods on the side of a Vermont mountain of maybe six or seven acres, with a handful of very old, gnarled apple trees. The cabin was situated on the upper edge, near the trees, overlooking the clearing, and the orchard and the dirt road sloped down the side with long, uncut meadow grass. It was a pretty place.
The Favorite Husband and I are long, long, experienced campers; this setup was particularly luxurious by our standards since we could take refuge in the cabin if it poured rain all day, we could cook on the propane stove in the cabin, AND we could use the outhouse. Whoohoo! There was a fire pit maybe ten feet from the cabin's porch, and most evenings we sat on logs and stared at the fire with our dog at the time, a rather small, rather cowardly German Shepherd cross named George.
So late one night we were thus employed, staring at the fire, not saying much. It was pretty dark out. And all of a sudden George went NUTS. Hackles raised, he started bellowing in the direction of the meadow that told us something was out there. (Naturally, he did not confront or give chase; like I said, he was always a coward.) I got up and walked in the direction, away from the fire, expecting to catch the white flags of a retreating whitetailed deer or two. Because, um, Vermont.
Nope. There, in the middle of the dirt road, maybe forty or fifty feet away, stood a humanoid creature. A rather LARGE humanoid creature. A very HAIRY LARGE humanoid creature. It stood there, the fur backlit by the moonlight, just staring at me. And I stared back. Neither one of us moved for an eternity.
I remember being utterly confused why someone would be standing in the middle of the road at night, but then again the Favorite Husband and I were occasionally guilty of going on night hikes without flashlights. We were quite a few miles from pavement and other houses, though, on one of the HUGE network of snowmobile trails in the state. People knew of the cabin, especially if they were snowmobilers, since the owners were members of that community. So it was feasible, but doubtful, that we might have visitors. All we had to do was drop the owners' names and it would be cool.
What I didn't understand was, why didn't this person say anything? No wave, no "hello", no nothing. Just staring. I took a step toward him and asked, fairly loudly, "Can I help you?" but he did not respond. He just stood there, staring.
I was drifting forward, trying to figure things out, thinking it was a person standing there, before instinct finally kicked in and I suddenly guessed I probably shouldn't be approaching our visitor, which was probably a bear. Black bear *usually* aren't out to get people, but you should nonetheless respect them and not toddle up to them like an idiot. So, not breaking eye contact--at least *I* didn't; I could not see his eyes--I started to slowly back up back toward the cabin. I did not look behind me--I just kept staring at the creature while backing up. When I felt the porch at my back I looked down so I could climb up onto the boards of the porch. The glance took all of a second or two. When I looked up, the creature was no longer there. The meadow was empty. The dark furry humanoid, so defined by the moonlight behind it, was gone.
This could be just a spooky Bigfoot story, but aside from the confusion I didn't feel any sort of fear of Unknown Beasts or whatnot. Perhaps our long term experience camping in the woods allowed us to shrug it off and go to bed without a twinge of anxiety. Even bears don't really bother us that much. And, truth be told, with over fifty years of camping under my belt I have NEVER once felt afraid of being outside.
The next morning we were able to find a line of bear tracks circling us about fifty feet away. It's hard to imagine this of such a large animal, but bears can be DEAD QUIET when they want to be. This one, like most, wanted NOTHING to do with the people and the dog, and he was stealthily going around to avoid us when a stray breeze kicked up and the dog caught wind of him. We followed his path through the tall grass, and in the middle of the mud of the dirt road we found the claw marks where, after standing motionless for a minute or two, he dug in to stoop back down and run away the moment I took my eyes off him. Soooo.... as we suspected...... it was a bear.
But it was very striking to look out into the pasture and see that dark, furry humanoid on two feet staring back at me. One of those weird feelings I will never forget. Kind of freaked out and confused at the same time, trying to figure it out. Usually when I see bears they are on all fours, and then my first thought is always, "Gosh, that's a HUGE dog over there." I've seen many then stand on two feet--bears do that to get a better look at you--but I had missed the sitting up part and was faced with something on two legs from the getgo. Which was odd to my tiny brain.
So that is my Bigfoot story. It was a black bear. The end.