There was nothing different that morning as I got ready to go turkey hunting. Spring had come early and the weather was extremely pleasant. Everyone in camp was excited and the turkeys had been gobbling everywhere. I left the camp before day on my 4-wheeler and headed up the old road, turned right, then across the Beaverdam to the area of big woods near the Double White Oak stand.
This 40 acre block had been missed when the timber was cut about 50 years ago and the timber there is unbelievable. There are giant oaks of all types that two men can’t reach around and the forest here is so open that you can see 100 yards or more through it.. That year it seemed like it was also filled with turkeys.
I worked my way by flashlight into the center of this area and found my blind. A couple of old logs and limbs piled up in front of a large red oak tree. I eased myself back against the tree, tested my ability to swing the .12 gauge and settled in to wait for daylight. The woods grew quiet as I relaxed and got my calls ready.
Ten minutes later a loud rushing sound seemed to suddenly start up in the woods and was rapidly heading in my direction. It grew louder and louder as I listened, then suddenly it was right upon me as I pulled the shotgun to a ready position.
In the false light of dawn I could see what looked like a gigantic turkey flying through the woods straight at me.
It glided through the woods, and just before it reached me, it seemed to swoop up and land on a huge limb not 30 feet in front of me. The strange animal wiggled around a minute and grew still. I was staring at the strange bird and eased my hand inside my jacket and pulled out my binoculars. I slowly moved them up to my eyes, focused and found the bird in my glasses. Except it was not a bird.
To this day, I do not know what it was or even what to call it.
It was not a turkey, in fact not a bird at all. Smooth limbed with slightly rounded wings folded on its’ back and it was a brownish or dark green color. The creature was about 5 feet tall (if standing) with short human like legs that ended in talons that gripped the big limb. It squatted like a human on the limb with the claws on its hands resting on its knees. The head seemed to have no neck. It turned and glanced at me and its’ eyes were huge red orbs that glowed in the darkness. I was not afraid until it looked at me but felt fear then. I did not move as it rested there. I watched it as it studied the woods but repeatedly kept looking directly at me and I knew that it saw me. In fact, I had the feeling that it wanted me to see it. I did not know what it was or how dangerous it might be but it reminded me of the ancient Gargoyles from mythology and I stayed frozen in place.
Daylight kept getting closer and closer and the woods started to wake up around me. A turkey gobbled a few hundred yards away, then a limb cracked off to my right and I quickly glanced in that direction. When I looked back up at the strange creature it was gone. No sound, no movement, it was just gone. I studied the limb and all the limbs around it, then the trees next to it. By broad daylight I knew that it really was gone.
I sat there a few minutes, pulled my map out and drew a picture of the creature on the back.
Later in the day I got ready to head back to Water Valley. I had no turkey and the thought of the creature was heavy on my mind. Another strange thing was that I started dreading the ride home as if something was wrong that I could not quite understand. Finally on what I considered the spur of the moment, I decided to go home by a different route than I usually did. I found out later that the long bridge over the Big Black River collapsed, killing seven people, that afternoon at about the time that I would have been on it.
Research has led me to believe that for some reason the mysterious harbinger sometimes called the Mothman had warned me, but I have no understanding of the reason why.