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Clearwater County, Clearbrook, Minnesota 1992

In May of 1992, my (now ex) husband, three children , and myself were living in the outskirts of Clearbrook, Minnesota, near the town of Bagley, in what as I recall is Pennington County. (That I may be wrong about). My mother had came out for a two week visit from California, and it was a warm spring evening, before dark.

It was a Sunday, possibly May eighth..... "Married -With Children" was on television

Anyway, we were renting an old family farmhouse from a man (who's name shall remain anonymous), and there was about 40 acres of land on the spot, and about a dozen head of cattle grazing out in the hilly pastureland around the house. We had two dogs, a pointer mix, which never barked at anyone, and a German shepherd puppy, about four months old.

The cattle were acting nervous in the fields, we noticed, constantly moving, staying together, acting skittish.

As dusk approached, the two dogs crawled under the wall of an old wood shed that was connected to the back (wooded) side of the house, and the dog who never barked was growling and barking like she wanted to tear something up, and the pup was carrying on alot, too. Not only barking, but actually snarling, and the cattle were running around like mad in the field now.

It had gotten darker, and there was only one window on the side of the house where the dogs were, and it was covered in heavy plastic and plywood, so we had no real view to the back of the house. We were all wondering what it was, figured it was just a bear. When my mom decided she wanted to go out and look....about the time she stepped out of the door that faced the pasture, the herd, which were all facing the woods, lined up in a row, bolted like a school of fish and I hollered at my mom to get back into the house. I teased her that she listened really well, I had only had to say it once. I thought for sure that the bear had come around the side of the house, and she'd have walked right into it.

Anyway, it got dark right after that, and after another ten or fifteen minutes the barking stopped. There are many black bears in Minnesota, and we took for granted that had to be the identity of our visitor, and went to bed.

The next day, my husband was gone, and my kids, mom, and myself walked back along a trail that led into the woods at the back of the house.

My Mom remarked how it was awfully quiet back there, in fact as we got farther away from the house, instead of hearing more birds, we didn't hear any at all, save for a hawk that screeched a couple of times, that was it.

The dogs had came along, too, but wouldn't venture very far up the path before halting, and would even come and brush against our legs.

My oldest son, who was almost eleven at the time, spotted the first track. It had rained that weekend before the commotion, and under the shade of all the trees, the mud hadn't dried before whatever made the track came down the trail, toward our house.

The track imprint showed it had been heading into our yard. It wasn't huge, but it was a very strange track indeed. It was something small, human shaped about three inches across at the ball of the heel, about ten inches long, six inches wide or so and had only THREE toes, distributed even across the width of the front of the foot, all pretty much the same length and girth.

The toes were maybe about two and a half inches long, and about a little over an inch in width.The mud had squished up between the toes, and the track was about half an inch deep. We found several tracks total, but not all in a row, they staggered back and forth across the path, and with the leaves and rocks that were on the path, we found them scattered...however, they all were heading to our house, all of them.

We went back to the house, and later on we all wanted to go see the tracks again, so we walked the trail a second time. My mom was curious as to whether a bear had made them, or not, and I told her they definitely weren't made by a bear.

Off and on thru-out the early summer, we had a few more visits by something that made the dogs very afraid, and very noisy, but never saw anything, at least we adults didn't.

My two youngest kids claimed to have seen something dark out in the bushes once when they had climbed to the roof, but ???? They live with their Dad in Minnesota, and we don't talk much these days.

I did on occasion smell something that had a manure/sulfur type odor, and my oldest son, who used to live outside in the woods during the day, hardly strayed alone from our yard for a long time afterward.

Other people (husband's family ) that camped in our yard were there on some occasions when the dogs were upset, not at the initial time, however, and once after walking through the property to spot deer, we had smelled something that smelled like "shit", and my brother in law at the time had said it must've been a bear.It stunk worse closer to the house, and hadn't stunk when we left, only as we returned.

The funny thing, was that after my Mom went back to California, she called to let me know her trip had went safely.......and she told me, "You know, those weren't bear tracks.

I looked them up in the encyclopedia, and they weren't bear tracks". County map follows...


Received 1996 Bobbie Short