Saturday, February 6, 2010

Lake Ariel Elf

On October 12th, 2009 in Lake Ariel Pennsylvania, a strange incident occurred. I enjoy building little forts in the woods near my house, and I was gathering straight, four-foot-long branches, which are hard to come by. I had gathered about 15 of them, then it was time to go inside to do my homework (it was 4:00 p.m.). I piled the branches neatly in a stack in the middle of a clearing in the woods. I walked to the house and began my homework on the patio.

Once I was finished, I went inside to watch my favorite daily cartoon on TV. At 6:30, the show finished and I got bored. I went on my computer and heard a rustling in a few leaf piles outside my open window. I excused it as one of several of my outdoor cats, and went on with my computer time. At 7:00 I ate my supper and watched the news. I went to bed to read at 9:30 after folding some laundry. I fell asleep at 10:30 and woke up at 8:00 a.m.

I ate my breakfast at 8:15 and watched a cartoon at. At 9:00 it finished so I got dressed and went outside. I had my binoculars for bird watching, and a notebook and pencil to record the birds I saw. I noticed the leaf piles were scattered around the yard and they had to be re-raked. I ignored the fact that more helping my mom rake the yard was coming, and I set straight out to the woods.

I came to work on my branch pile, and saw that about 50 branches, perfectly 4 inches around, and four feet across, had been placed there. I gasped, wondering who found these perfectly straight branches. I was planning on extending my ground bird-watching fort as I hauled several branches at a time to my site. Once I had updated my fort, I sat on the old rickety swing set and read for an hour. I walked around the front of the house for 15 minutes, just poking around ant hills and messing around with grasshoppers.

I came to the backyard to go back to my fort when I saw at my stick piling site, believe it or not, a little human-like creature! It freaked me out just looking at it. I noticed it was piling sticks in the piling site for me -- those perfect, four-inch-around and four-foot-across sticks. The perfectly straight ones. The ones without fault. The little man was climbing trees and snapping out branches. I gasped as it nimbly hopped out of trees and dropped sticks onto the pile.

He was about four feet tall with a hunch in his back and brown hair all over. All I could make out of it is that it was creepy. He had such long hair that it covered everything on its body. Its hands had no hair and they were white. I saw no visible nose, but black beady eyes. He walked like a monkey. I freaked out and stood rooted to the spot. Suddenly, my legs felt ice cold and I ran away, trembling. As I ran, my legs heated up and felt like they were on fire.

When I was in the house with my shade and window closed, all doors locked and shutters closed, I relaxed in my room, cuddling my big golden retriever, Sudsy. We both fell asleep, but we both woke up to the rustling of leaves outside. I cracked open my shutter the tiniest bit and saw the scary human-like creature racing through the leaves, bouncing up and down, and speeding around in circles. It took handsful of leaves and threw them in the air as it danced under the decaying shower. Sudsy growled and the animal stopped dancing, rooted to its spot. It looked shame-faced at the messed up leaf piles and slouched away. My eyes followed its progress as it made its way to the woods. It hopped nimbly into the trees and gathered sticks (presumably for me). It laid them in pile and, suddenly noticing me, it straightened up and grinned at me with crooked, rounded, stubby teeth. It waved its left foot at me, as if it was a greeting, then left, disappearing into the treetops.

For the next few days, it left me sticks until my mother screamed at the sight of my helper. I had started leaving him grapefruit halves, which he ate gratefully, but after the screaming, he peeped through my shutters and then never returned. I have always remembered this unusual creature finding the perfect sticks, but never had Shingle (which I named him) return again. Although Sudsy finds Shingle's footprints in various places in the mud, I have never, ever seen my woods buddy ever again. (Although I occasionally leave out grapefruit, hoping Shingle may one day return.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Woods Helper

I am in a hurry to write something about a thing I saw in plain daylight on Friday, November 20, 2009 in rural Banks County, Georgia a short ways off of State Route 51 and about two miles north of the tiny village of Mount Pleasant, Georgia. What I saw up there in the woods was strange enough to write you here about it. The details are very fresh in my mind.

My job is to sell low-cost homeowner's insurance in rural counties. Usually, these customers only have rough cabins with wood fire heating (which runs up insurance costs) and cannot be insured by the major companies. My own company takes up this slack.

I arrived on a sunny morning at a very modest cabin in Banks County. It was at the end of a dirt road behind a small stand of trees. Much of the area is forested. I was greeted by a very old woman who told me that she lived alone, but would like to take out a policy on her cabin. I needed to inspect the place and take some pictures, as is routine before offering a contract.

I was walking around to the shed outside when I saw a totally hairy and muscular biped of some sort stacking wood. This thing wore no clothes, but had very long hair covering its entire body. It had a black nose and very large eyes and a mouth very much like a human being, but not quite. It was hard at work stacking wood and did not seem to notice me. I should also mention that it was no bigger than around 3-foot, 5-inches tall, if even that. It was, however, very plump and wide. It made a grunting sound as it worked. It seemed very strong.

I asked the lady what on earth it was, and she casually replied that it was a "woods helper" and that many of the county's old-timer residents had one from time to time to help them with tasks that they were too old to handle. These "woods helpers" only asked for food and some drink. The woman also explained to me that they drank only beer and never seemed to be drunk or disorderly. She said they had been a blessing since long ago to many of the older people in the area. She did not know what species they were. In fact, she did not even understand the word "species," which is not unusual for rural people like her. She said that everybody knew about them, but that not many people liked to talk about them.

I got one more look at the thing before I drove off. It was moving rocks into a runoff ditch this time. It looked like something from a sci-fi magazine or even a comic book. But it was real.