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Mystery Critter

Derek Neitzel , TX, USA
May 2002

It was a dark and stormy night when,........

Nah, just kidding. This is not a ghost story really, but something really strange that happened to me many years ago, that I had forgotten about until reminded of it by my little sister a while back.

I am from a farm originally, and 3 of my high school friends and I wanted to spend a night camping in some woods beyond all the cow pastures behind our farm one weekend.

The place we went to was pretty heavy growth except for a low spot between two small hills that we called the draw. It was fenced on 3 sides from the pastures, and the unfenced side led to a dirt road a 1/4 mile away and this road was about a half a mile away to where it entered the woods from a neighboring farm.

I knew the land perfectly, as I had grown up there, and walked in these woods constantly. I always checked the fences for my neighbors who owned a herd of cattle.

It was still daylight when we pitched camp, and put up tents, gathered our firewood etc. Night came, and we lit the fire, and of course just hung out and talked about whatever teenage boys talk about while camping. We stayed up very late of course, and talked until early morning. Both of my dogs, Apache and Chogi, accompanied us, as they liked to go wherever I went, and liked to lie beside a good fire also.

Anyway, about 2:00 am, the dogs started barking at something, and then ran off to chase it. This of course, is not unusual at all for dogs. Of course, I thought it was an armadillo or something similar, until we heard whatever it was running through the trees. We didn't have flashlights, just the firelight, and it was close, but just beyond the light. Now what was strange to us was that whatever this thing was, was extremely HEAVY. You could hear all the branches breaking and rustling of the trees as it ran up one side of the hill and back down, and ran up the other side, to the right of us, and then around in a circle. Back and forth for quite a while this went on. I would say for 45 minutes. All this time the dogs are still chasing it and barking at it. I can imagine that you are thinking what I was thinking for the first little while. That it was just a lost cow out there. Yeah, maybe, but cows do not stray so far from the herd even in the daytime, and they do not jump fences! We don't have deer there, and it was too heavy for a goat, and the only horses anywhere around were securely in our barn that evening. As a matter of fact, I had never seen a cow or horse in these woods ever in my life. It was puzzling to all of us, and we were listening carefully to this thing run all around, and trying to figure out what it was. Then I was struck by the fact that, the movement of it's running was not like that of a cow. A cow or horse has a definite galloping movement. This sounded, I swear, was like it was running on two legs! It was very discernable, and my friends agreed when I pointed this out! It was weird. Then, all of a sudden the running just stopped. Quit entirely. I thought maybe it had jumped the fence at the top of the hill onto the pasture, but didn't hear a thud like you would think after it had jumped a 5 foot high fence.

2 minutes later, the dogs came back to the camp like nothing had happened. That was strange we all agreed, and just sat up a while longer before going to sleep.

I was still curious the next morning. So I went walking around the woods near where we heard the thing looking for tracks. In the draw itself it was just dirt without forest litter in spots. Nowhere did I find a hoof print or track of any kind anywhere. I didn't see any broken branches on trees, run over plants, or anything. I was an experienced woodsman, and I looked long and hard for any tell-tale sign of what it was. Nothing. I also walked the other side of the fence line where the pasture was looking for where it might have jumped and landed. No luck. I asked my friends to help me look, and we were all doing this, and none of us could find any evidence at all! I found all this strange as: cows and horses do not go into the woods at night and don't get lost (there is no grass to eat there), this started and stopped so abruptly, I could not even find a hoof print or knocked over plant anywhere, cows do not jump fences, the fences were all perfectly intact everywhere, (I checked those too later), the cadence of the running sounded like two feet instead of four, and it did not moo or snort or whinny, just made the sound of it running through the brush.

I will never know what it was, and maybe I don't want to know. But that sure was a puzzling experience.

Derek Neitzel , TX, USA
00:00 / 01:04
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