Monday, July 2, 2012

Vermont voodoo... and / or other unexplained field happenings

The more time I spend in quality locations out in the field, the more complex and confusing things seem to get, and the questions it all brings out.. as far as what is really going on, out there at night. This past spring, we held our first ever expedition, in the Green Mountain NF, in Vermont. The area we chose was within the "Bennington Triangle", which is noted for hundreds of years worth of strange incidents, UFO sightings, people disappearing, and yes.. sasquatch reports. The "Bennington Monster" was said to have attacked a stage coach (full of passengers) in the early part of the 19th century. Reported sightings and incidents have occurred since, but spaced out by many years.. right up to present times. The Native Americans thought the mountain and surrounding area.. was cursed, and avoided it. Most of the main road and rustic camping areas, were still closed to vehicle traffic.. due to the storm damage (downed trees and washed out roads) from hurricane Irene. We settled into a nice large area, to camp.. just a short walk to the gated road that leads into the depths of the forest. We did a day hike, to scout out some locations, to hold our first night's OP. Two of us, also climbed a ridge and found a good level spot near the top.. to set up a camera trap, bait, and my audio recorder. It was right next.. to some of the most dense, mature, and dark forest, I'd been in, in a while. We found a couple suitable areas that looked good for observation and listening. We noticed right away, that radio communication with the base camp was not good, and spotty, at best. We were between a couple mountains... but nothing we hadn't done in similar conditions in the Adirondacks, while not experiencing anything quite like we were.. that hampered our communications, throughout the outing. This interference, was at times.. all out failure, while other times, random.. and would go from radio to radio. I walked right next to another researcher, and could hear his transmission, but nothing on my own radio.. and then, it would reverse.. I could hear the transmission, and he could not. When I replied, he heard nothing from my transmission.. standing 6 foot away from him. As a former communications (CSI) specialist, I am stumped by what occurred.. but still think it could be something natural. Solar activity, or magnetic mineral deposits in the mountain ?. But I would also think it would have effected everything at once ( All radios ), and not the strange pattern of bouncing from one radio to the next, as I described above (?) We sat in teams in the locations, while the audio recorders did their thing. At around the hour just before midnight.. is when things happened. We got a transmission, that one team member in the other team of 3.. was going in for a closer look in the forest near an abandoned campground.. after hearing sounds and movements. Much to our dismay, and frustration.. we could not communicate with him, nor his team, during the incident. It got to the point where we relayed transmissions to the base camp (that we received ..broken up, and randomly).. where our coordinator, was getting quite worried about not hearing from the investigator, and wanting us to go and get him out of the lone situation, being it at night and the situation at hand. Finally, to all our relief.. we did hear from him, and that he was out and back in the open campground, with the rest of his team. One member, had first heard some branch snapping and what sounded like sizable movements. When he went in to get closer, he shined a light on what looked like a large fallen over stump, that was between two other large trees. Something about the stump, looked out of place there, and he noted several lighter patches on it, and that it almost looked like something hairy.. but was totally still, and blended in very well. Finally, after observing it for a period of time.. he shined the light elsewhere. Upon the investigator moving, and then shining the light back to the same location (between the trees).. the "stump" was gone. This got him quite excited, but also wanting to rejoin his team , and out of his solo situation in the dark. No sound was heard in the exit, of whatever this was (sound familiar ?). Just after (all within a 20 minute time frame) this happened to the team of three.. the two of us also had some interesting things go on, at our locale. My partner thought he observed dull and blinking red eye shine, in the direction not far from where he placed his recorder. He wasn't sure at first, but after seeing it again, down further.. he mentioned it to me, and I called it in to our coordinator at base. Not more than several minutes later, I caught a dark, low movement with my peripheral vision, that crossed the forest road in a low spot.. maybe 20 yards away from us (we were sitting back, to back), and then.. the same dull red eye shine, that fit the description of what my partner had seen. This got us excited, as well. Just to note.. the eye shine we each saw was similar, if not an exact matching description. My partner, noted what he saw as about 6' off the ground, while what I saw was very low, and maybe 3' off the ground, and on the move. I also heard a single tree tap (what sounded like one) directly out in front of me. The timing of these events, seemed to indicate something that moved around us, and than was gone. No further incidents happened that night, nor the next night while sitting out on the night OP. I was quite dismayed.. how the tree tap, did not come through in my audio, as my recorder was running during the entire event. Next day, we investigated the area, and one member found a good track.. that was right in the same low area, I noted the movement and eye shine. It was 15" x around 4 -5" wide, and had all the same characteristics of the tracks we observed and cast, in the Adirondacks, last fall. It was also going in the direction that I noted the movement and blinking dull eye shine. Does this conclude anything ? Does it ever ? I was quite happy for Mike.. who has been at this longer than me, and was unable to pull his cast (we were chased out by a looming snow storm) track in the Adirondacks last fall. This time.. it went well, and there was something to bring home and show for his (and all of our) efforts in the field. On the final night, two other members joined us (husband and wife). The members had recorded some interesting howls in Mass., on an earlier date.. and proceeded to play the recordings for us in base camp, over dinner. It was very interesting audio, but the lady member continued to play it at full volume.. over and over again. I wish I could have convinced her to upload in to the website, so I could have compared it to what I recorded here in Vermont, around the same time the other incidents took place. She seems to have her own ways, and agendas, and is not one for taking suggestions.. although I do like her, I am quite disappointed with her attitude in sharing her audio.. to work with, to at least.. compare. What exactly are we out doing this for, in a group with a (supposed)like minded membership ? Later, she took her husband home (they only lived an hour away), and then came back with another person, that was not a full member (much to our dismay). On the drive back into the forest, she claims to have been followed by an bright amber colored, glowing sphere of light (or orb).. that kept pace with the vehicle, until it finally veered off, and disappeared over one of the many bodies of water, next to the forest road. We had just gotten back from our night OP, and she seemed very freaked out by it, and her story was confirmed by her passenger (and uninvited guest). I found it interesting.. fitting in well with the legend of the place, and other weirdness.. but decided not to ride along , when several of them went back to investigate. As mentioned, I did pick up some rather distant, but interesting audio, that I clipped out of the long overnight recordings. One, was a high pitched two toned sound or call, that sounded somewhat similar to what our couple recorded, in Mass. : In addition, I also recorded this very strange sounding vocal (if a vocal) that sounded like chanting or humming. It had the same nature of the high pitched call, but was almost 600Hz lower. Shown here in a spectrogram screen capture : I am convinced of the strangeness of that place, but have no good explanations (so what's new ?) for any of it. I think it is a worthy locale for future outings and investigations. Also worthy of a long term audio recording project. Could the locals and Native Americans be right about this area ? I would have to say from my first experience there.. probably, yes. It will be interesting, to note what happens.. the next time around. A brand new term was born ( The Glastonbury Grassman ), in our group dictionary of squatchy things. While walking back and scanning the grassy bog (see attached photo) at night, we came upon a shape that appeared like it could be a crouching creature, in the water. It was just a trick of the dark and our shining lights, but got one of the members curious enough to lob a rock at, the out of place, grassy mound. Nothing happened ( of course ), but got the rest of us thinking.. was that a good choice, to lob a rock at.. something you're not completely sure what it is, yet.. in the dark (?) That time, it was good for a few nervous laughs, and broke up the monotony of many hours spent.. just listening and watching in the dark, quietly. That is what this nocturnal research, mainly consists of. You have to like doing it, and know that eventually.. more interesting things are bound to happen.