Originally published anonymously to protect further research.
The woods of New England are no stranger to the bizarre. Early English colonists recognized the true terrors that lurked in the thick forests of the region. Native mythology recognized the existence of these creatures. Pukwudgies, magical and mischievous creatures in the forest, coexist with other cryptids similar to the sasquatches of the Pacific Northwest. Stories such as Young Goodman Brown, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, place the devil himself in the New England woodlands. All of this evidence points to the reality of there being creatures beyond our understanding that dwell in our realm. Here, at UNH, we are no different. Under the guarantee of anonymity, some former and current students have been willing to comply with my investigation into the existence of such a creature in College Woods. Part Bigfoot, part devil, and 100% real.
My investigation started as a curiosity. I am an expert (self-proclaimed, admittedly), ornithologist. I love birds, and after many hours listening and studying, I can confidently identify the bird calls of the Northeast. Do you hear that? It’s a Northern Cardinal. That’s how impressive I am. Anyway, as I was traversing the trails through the thicket of College Woods, my ears detected an unfamiliar sound. It was almost a whooping sound, like that of a great ape. I was, at first, suspicious. As you and I both know, sasquatches are most active at night. But then I heard it again, louder now. Closer, even. At this point, I knew I was getting stalked by a ‘squatch. I marked my GPS location on my phone so that I could come back later. “Legs, don’t fail me now,” I exclaimed, as I hustled out of there. I didn’t look back or catch my breath until I was back in the friendly confines of my dorm room.
I knew that I had a story. The mysterious has always been fascinating to me, and since I seek it out, it always remains close. But this time, it found me without being sought after. It was time to investigate. I reached out to known sasquatch enthusiasts in the area, to see if they reported any activity in the days or weeks leading up to or following my encounter. As a matter of fact, there had been, one brave man informed me. He gave me the contact information of the people who contacted him.
On the day I agreed to meet the first person, I waited 30 minutes in DURHAM COFFEE SHOP NAME REDACTED before she showed up. I was about to leave when a nervous-looking woman walked in. Seeing me, she half-smiled and came over.
“Are you the Bigfoot guy?” she asked innocently.
“No,” I laughed, “I’m the truth guy.”
That seemed to reassure her. After she got her coffee, she related to me her harrowing tale. Like me, she was enjoying the natural beauty of College Woods. On a solo run in the evening, she turned around when she realized that it was getting dark. Unfortunately, it was very dark and she was still in the woods. Now, UNH is a very safe campus, so she wasn’t worried at first. However, the New England forests still possess their ability to frighten and awe, so she was soon overcome with fear. She thought she heard heavy footsteps somewhere around her, somewhere close. Using her phone flashlight, she shined the light wildly in an arc around her. Finding nothing, she continued.
This process repeated itself a few times until she caught sight of something brown and hairy. She only got a second glance at it, because it quickly darted back into the trees. Luckily, she was close to the entrance of College Woods at this point, so she was able to make it out safely. The encounter bothered her sleep for weeks until she was able to relate her story to me. Sharing an experience is cathartic, so I’m happy to report that in follow-ups with her, she says that she feels much better. However, she will never go into the woods near nightfall again.
Further internet searches on the subject yield very little information, which leads me to one question. Who is trying to hide this from us? The UNH website claims that the land gift of College Woods to UNH was one of the factors that relocated our university to Durham. This is a large and expensive move. Was the purpose of this move to study the cryptid megafauna that they knew dwelled in the donated woodland? It’s not a logical leap to see that all efforts to protect the pristine forest land has been done to protect the large, furry inhabitant. In fact, if you add an f and a g to the name of the original donator of the land, Benjamin Thompson, Jr, you can spell the word “bigfoot.” I’m not someone who overlooks such coincidences.
I hope, dear editor, that you are as dedicated to the truth as I am. If that turns out to be the case, expect future correspondences from me about the mysterious and the bizarre happening right under our noses.