Friday, June 14, 2013

What Was That?

Where I grew up, there were a lot of trees and not a lot of people. There were roads without any streetlights and few houses. Driving down them, a person could only see as far as her car lights would reach. There were animals too. Dogs, cats, squirrels, possums, snakes. Sometimes something big would rustle the foliage. Most of the time the driver would dismiss the sight. Trust me, a squirrel can make a big rustle.

 Except maybe that was more than a little squirrel could do. Big dog? Local out walking in the dark? Serial killer looking for his next victim? (Quick, make sure the doors are locked). Sometimes the imagination would take a left turn, and the driver would start to wonder. Just how big a dog would it take to make that much noise? A person wouldn’t be walking out here in the dark, no matter how familiar they were with the territory, or what nefarious scheme he was plotting. So what could make that much disturbance in the trees and undergrowth? Maybe a bear down from the mountains? A bobcat or mountain lion? Or was it something else? Something different. Something truly scary? Maybe a bigfoot, or a werewolf? No, those things are just figments of somebody’s imagination. Right?

There are stories of mythical creatures in every culture and every tiny corner of the world. Stories of large furry critters that are human-like, or are humans who change form, are very common. There are many psychological and sociological theories as to why this is. Then again, maybe all those theories are our science-minded society trying to explain away something our ancestors understood as simply part of our world. Maybe, just maybe, they understood something we have lost contact with in our quest to be civilized. Real or not, maybe creatures we don’t understand are things we as human beings need. Maybe we’ve lost our ability to see beyond the obvious. Maybe we no longer know how to see the magic in our world.

So tonight, if you think you see something that can’t possibly be there, think about what your great-something grandparent would believe.

Be careful out there!


  1. When I was a little girl (too young) my dad took me to see The Howling. I slept with a flashlight for the better part of a YEAR!

    My best friend was 5 houses up from mine and I would RUN RUN RUN home from her house at night and I would swear I could hear something chasing me. I was scarred for life!