The Howler In The Storm

This incident happened way back in the ’70s, but it has stuck with me to this day. I was ten years old and my mom, dad, sister and I all lived with my Grandmother in a 100 year old farm house in upstate New York. My parents and my sister slept in bedrooms upstairs while my Grandmother and I had rooms on the first floor. One night in early autumn, when bad electrical storms can still roll through the Hudson Valley, I was raised from a sound sleep by an oncoming storm.

Lightning brightened my room like a strobe light. The thunder rolled and the wind picked up. With the wind there came this other sound. It made goosebumps race over my body. It was an ungodly howling. A wailing that didn’t, couldn’t have come from human lips. No animal I knew could wail like that. The Howler seemed to be right outside my window.

I was terrified. I jumped out of bed and raced to my grandmother’s bedroom. She was already sitting up in bed. I climbed in next to her and pulled up the covers.

"What is that, Grandma?" I asked. She assured me that it was just the wind. I knew it wasn’t the wind. And I knew she knew it wasn’t the wind. The wailing came around the house.

It got closer. It had to be right on the front porch, right outside Grandma’s window! Grandma put and arm around me and held me tight. The howling was right outside her window now, just a few feet away from us. I buried my face in her shoulder. After what seemed like an eternity the sound began to move away. It faded into the distance as the storm hurried on its way down the valley. Somehow, I managed to fall asleep.

Early the next morning I woke to sunlight streaming in the window. Grandma was already up. I climbed out of bed. And peaked out the window. I saw her outside already with a mop and a bucket, cleaning the porch floor. I hurried to the front door and stepped outside. From there I could see what my Grandma was cleaning. There were muddy footprints all over the floor! They were little, tiny footprints. The kind that might be made by a toddler. I got goose bumps again. I asked Grandma what made the foot prints. She didn’t answer and she kept cleaning.

At this point my sister, a year younger then I, came out to see what I was doing. She saw the foot prints too. I mention this because thirty years later when I was telling my wife this story, my sister was able to confirm seeing those tiny foot prints. She didn’t hear the Howler in the storm.

Submitted by Dave Wilder, NY, USA