Editor’s Disclaimer: Those of you who know me will not be surprised by the topic of this post. And you may be tempted to roll your eyes, thinking this is a goof or some kind of fiction project I may be working on. All I can say is that that is not the case. What I’m writing here is exactly what happened, written in as unbiased a way as possible.
Last week, Natalie and I were staying at a cabin in the Michigan woods, right on the border of the Manistee National Forest. The cabin was located in a semi-rural spot, with the nearest neighbors being a few acres away on either side. So this was not any kind of complete isolation. Yet it was wild enough that a flock of wild turkeys roamed through the property once a day, deer were frequent visitors, and we saw what looked like a bobcat nearby one afternoon.
On Saturday, our last night there, we were sitting out back watching our campfire burn down to embers in the fire pit. It was getting pretty late, probably around eleven and there was no light left in the sky. The forest around us had just taken on that impenetrable feeling where you can’t see past the first few trees.
Then, in the distance, we both heard what can only be described as the kind of sound you hear those Bigfoot hunters make when they’re trying to call a Bigfoot. We stopped our conversation as the first call ended and a second call picked up. We listened to it in its entirety, which was a good five or six seconds.
Now, I’d normally be the first to say that this was likely a sign that we were sharing the woods with some loony Bigfoot researchers and have a good laugh. Except for what happened next.
Almost as soon as the second Bigfoot call ended, we heard a sound of a coyote in acute distress. I’ve grown up hearing a variety of coyote sounds and I’d never heard anything like this before. It was an extremely high-pitched squeal, followed by some lower, more guttural sounds. Definitely a coyote. Definitely in distress.
The third thing that happened was simultaneous with the Bigfoot and coyote sounds. Our dog — a Great Pyrenees which is known for guarding flocks of sheep at night — grew extremely agitated. I would have understood if he’d only started barking for the coyote, but he started with the initial Bigfoot sound. Pyrs are well-known for their highly calibrated protectiveness, and I’ve never seen ours get the least bit agitated by a human voice. Which leaves the question of what made that first sound.
After the coyote stopped its distress sounds, and we brought our dog closer to the fire and calmed him down, we sat still and listened. The woods had grown silent. The whippoorwills which had been highly vocal up to that point stopped. We waited a good thirty more minutes out there and didn’t hear a thing.
I can’t say what that first noise was. As I’ve said, if it had been that sound alone, I doubt I’d find it that remarkable. But coupled with the coyote sound and the reaction of our dog, it’s left me very curious what exactly is out there.