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Encounters with the Unknown—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, December 2021

Apparitional wildlife?

by: Brent Raynes

Recently a retired game warden friend over near Lewisburg (TN) wrote me: "Was speaking to a young friend of mine about cougar sightings in our area, when he related this story. He and a friend were driving on a back road a few days ago and saw a large black ‘dog’ sitting in the middle of the road. As they got close, the animal took two steps and jumped across the ditch and disappeared in a puff of black ‘smoke.’”

I inquired about the area the animal had presumably disappeared into, if there were bushes or anything that could have obstructed a clear view of the two witnesses. He replied that he had been told it was a mowed hay field. It was a clear view.

“Then he was telling another friend what he saw, and the friend told him this,” he continued. “The friend was driving a backroad south of Cornersville with his girlfriend and came upon a deer walking beside the road, and as they got close to it, about 15 yards, the deer appeared to go straight up and ‘evaporated .’"

“I've heard and seen a lot of strange stuff, but never heard anything like this," the retired game warden remarked.

Noted author Nick Redfern (mysteriousuniverse.org) described what definitely sounds like an area prone to strange happenings located in the Piney Woods region of East Texas, in an 83,000-acre area of woodland known as the Big Thicket. It’s a vast, heavily forested area with lots of wildlife, including alligators and bobcats. In addition, Redfern informs us that people have reported Bigfoot and large black leopards there as well. There’s even an old road there known as Bragg Road, which locals call Ghost Light Road, because for many years now people have reported seeing mysterious lights there. “A small body of individuals have sworn that the large cats and the hairy humanoids – when spotted by the astonished and sometimes terrified onlooks – vanished before their eyes,” Redfern wrote. “We’re not talking about them making hasty getaways into the woods. Rather, we are talking about the ‘animals’ – in an instant – changing form from big cat and Bigfoot to a small, bright-lit globe of light.”

Redfern wrote how three such reports had surfaced in 1977, from unconnected individuals. Two of the so-called “man-beast” and one of the “paranormal panther” in the Big Thicket. In all three instances the creatures became perfectly still. “Then, rather incredibly, they shrunk in size and transformed into small balls of light that vanished into the trees,” Redfern added. “A near-identical incident occurred on Bragg Road itself in 1998, when a group of campers encountered an immense Bigfoot – in excess of eight-feet in height – which vanished in a flash of light and that left just one tell-tale card: a golf ball-sized globe of light that hovered around the immediate area for around twenty or so seconds and which then fizzled out of existence, and amid what was described as an electrical crackling noise.” [I heard a witness to a Bigfoot encounter describe a similar sound years ago in Brooksville, Florida] Redfern later, in June 2005, met and spoke with one of the campers firsthand.

In 2007, Redfern himself made a trip to the Big Thicket and spoke to a wildlife officer who had seen one of these big cats herself. She admitted that prior to that she had been skeptical of such stories. She said it was drinking water from a small pool. She described how she stood transfixed to the spot and how the big cat’s head casually turned in her direction. Then something very bizarre occurred as the creature was suddenly replaced by a glowing ball of light that seemed to melt into the pool of water, all of this amid a good deal of steam.

John Keel once speculated that some of these cryptids may “literally melt” away in the end. They may be short-lived tulpa-type projections or apparitions of some sort that he theorized might be the handiwork of a field of “intelligent energy intermingled with ours.”

Perhaps he was right, as strange as it may sound.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023