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Elm City, North Carolina 1974

I was stationed at Ft Bragg in North Carolina when I was in the Army in 1974. Often I would go with some of my army buddies to a town about 80 miles north of Bragg called Elm City. Ralph, one of my army bud's was from Elm City. Ralph's parents, who lived in Elm City, purchased some land in the woods several miles outside of Elm City. Their plan was to build a cabin or summer house there. They had excavated a hole for the foundation, I would estimate the hole was about 50 feet by 80 feet. Their plans were dashed when the hole filled with water and their foundation work became a small lake. The water table was too high for any kind of a home that they wanted and they abandoned their plans. Soon some of the local residents began to dump their garbage into the hole, So, to block access to the property and to stop the hole from becoming a garbage dump, a steel cable was stretched across the access road to the property, there by keeping all unwanted visitors out. We soon found that we had the most perfect spot in all of North Carolina, a place that was a private wooded nature retreat. We would take our friends there, drink beer, and do all the things that we couldn't do anywhere else in town. We found that the steel cable was loose enough that if you held it up you could drive a small car under it and we could actually park our cars in the lot next to the lake.

I was planing to go up there for the weekend and I had talked to another army bud of our's, Joe, another friend we would go to Elm City with, about heading up there for the week end. Joe said that he had to pull guard duty and he couldn't go. He said that he might try to make it up on Sunday if he could. Joe also told me that he had been to Elm City with Tony, another Elm City friend of ours earlier in the week to play soft ball with one of the local soft ball teams. Joe asked me if Ralph and I had plans to go to our private little lake in the woods. I said we probably would go there some time during the week end. Joe said."Be really careful." He told me that after the soft ball game, he and Tony took their girlfriends out to our private lake and that it got dark while they were parked there. Joe said, "Some kids started walking around in the woods near where they had parked, there was some whooping and other weird noises they were making. We could hear branches crashing !and we caught a glimpse of their shadows in the road. Tony and I jumped out of the car and ran down the road trying to catch these bastards. We were really going to beat the crap out of them for harassing us there. I was running as fast as I could go and then bang. Joe had run full speed into the steel cable that stretched across the road, Tony managed to slow himself a little before he made contact. Joe lifted his shirt and showed me the bright red narrow mark the cable made on his belly. He said he thought he made two complete turns around the cable and he was in a lot of pain.

I asked Joe if they had seen another car nearby, he said, "no". I thought that was strange because of the remoteness of the property, How would these kids get there in the middle of the woods with out a car? Joe said,"It was so dark all they could see was the shadow of something moving in the woods." So they assumed it was kids playing jokes on them. He even claimed that he suspected that he thought it was a local every one referred to as Jed Clampet, because he resembled the actor Buddy Ebson of the Beverly Hillbillies. Joe was really pissed, he wanted to kill this guy, but he couldn't prove he had anything to do with it. Ralph and I headed up to Elm City that Saturday morning, we linked up with Jed Clampett and some of Ralph's their other friends. We ended up going to our Private lake, that afternoon and drinking a few beers. We parked our cars on the road just outside the cable and walked into the clearing where the lake was. We were standing near the water drinking some beers and I was scoping the little lake out with all the garbage that was in there. Jed and the other guys were about ten feet further down and they looked into the lake and said something like, "hey look at the size of those foot prints in the mud under the water." I glanced down and looked at them and I couldn't believe that someone would take their shoes off and walk all around in that water with all the garbage that was in there. To this day I regret not taking a closer look at the foot prints. Jed, Ralph and everyone else was just joking about the foot prints in the mud on the bank and in the water, they made comments about how big they were, they couldn't believe their eyes, Jed said,"I got big feet but the guy that made these are twice my size." Everyone made jokes about a lost hill Billy coming out of the woods running wild in the country side. They even made references to some the local back woods boy's they knew personally. We finished our beers and then left to drive back to town still joking about the footprints in the mud. Later that day Ralph my girlfriend Gail and I returned to our private lake with several boxes of fried chicken meals and some more beer. This time Ralph lifted the steel cable and I drove my 1971 Opel GT under it, and down the road. I parked on the other side of the lake near some really thick brush. We laid out a blanket and began our picnic at our private retreat.

We would throw the bones and left overs into the brush as we ate. I even chewed Gale out for wasting her chicken, she would take a few bites and chuck whatever was left into the the brush. As I looked up I could see the brush was so thick that the chicken bones and the meat was hanging way above ground level. I made some comments to Gale and Ralph about the brush being so thick that the bones would just hang there. The brush was so thick that you would have a lot of difficulty traversing even just a little ways into it. Soon the smell of the chicken attracted some biting flies, they were biting us all over and we decided to pack up and move to the other side of the lake where there was small patch of grass. We were talking and it had just started to get dark, but there was still plenty of light left, I was laying on my side and Ralph and Gail were sitting on my green wool army blanket in front of my Opel GT. Suddenly we heard a load whooping sound coming from the direction of where we had our picnic I looked over in that direction and half expected to see some kids with a megaphone screaming into it. I didn't see anything but the sound that we heard was so vocal and loud that whatever it was, seemed like it was screaming right into your ear. I asked Ralph who was sitting next to me, who had a better view of the brush, if he had seen anything, Ralph said that he saw a really big and dark shadow disappear back into the brush where we had our picnic. At that time Gail casually stood up, walked over to my Opel GT, opened the passenger door, got in behind the two bucket seats, where there was a very small compartment, climbed into that compartment, and curled herself up into a fetal position. There she would stay, nothing could get her out of that fetal position or even out of the car for that matter until we got back into town. Ralph and I continued to talk wondering and discussing what it could have been. It started to get darker and we were getting a little nervous so we both got back into the car, we were still looking for whatever it was that made that loud and unusual sound.

I have never in my life heard a sound like that before, it was quite unusual and very, very strange. I started the car and drove it to the steel cable, we talked some more, I joked with Gail and tried to get her to come out of her little ball, she would not. We looked around and still saw nothing. Now it was really dark by now, we heard no more sounds other than the absolute quite and stillness of the night time forest. Outside, the tall trees and the total blackness masked everything, all we could see was what was in front of our headlights, the cable and the dirt road. I told Ralph its starting to get late, will you go outside and lift the cable so we can leave. Ralph didn't want to leave the safety of the car, I could see he was really nervous and he really didn't want to go outside and lift the cable. I joked with Gail to see if she would go outside and lift the cable, no way in hell was her reply. Finally after about twenty minutes of coaxing, Ralph got up the nerve and went outside to lift the cable. I drove under the cable, stopped the car, Ralph got in and we drove back to town.

I never heard any thing else on the matter, I left the army in August 1974 and went back home to Utah. Back in Utah I have heard of Big foots many and many a time and if this incident had happened in Utah I would have assumed that it was a Sasquatch that made that loud sound. At that time I had never heard of any sightings of Big foots in the east, then one day I was reading an article in the newspaper about a hairy beast in North Carolina that had screamed at a passing motorist and some other sightings and incidents. Back there they refer to them as the Hairy Man of the Woods. Several years later I had the opportunity to go back to Elm City, I looked up Ralph, we shared a few beer and reminisced about our experiences in NC, we even went back to our little private lake to check it out. Someone had bought the land put a trailer on the lot, much of the forest was cleared, but the lake was still there. The owners have cleared out the garbage in the lake and it really look's like a nice place to live. Our little retreat is no longer a spot in the woods because much of the woods are gone. I asked Ralph if he had heard any more about the Hairy Man of the Woods, he looked over at me smiled and said, "no."