Thomp in The Night: An Encounter with Bigfoot
Mystery Casebook Published 12:00 am PDT Sunday, October 28, 2007

Story appeared in FORUM section, Page E6

It is risky to admit belief in the existence of Bigfoot, Mothman or Chupacabra.

As The Bee's Dan Vierria noted in a recent story, people who claim to have encountered these woodland creatures tend to get laughed at, derided and dismissed.

But I refuse to be cowed by the nonbelievers. Bigfoot is out there, and I encountered him (or a cousin) in the summer of 1967.

I was 7 at the time. My family was fortunate enough to lease a Forest Service cabin near Huntington Lake, high in the Sierra above Fresno, my hometown. Every evening, I'd join my sisters and other kids for various adventures. Usually this involved "kick the can" (a version of hide-and- go-seek). Other times, we would look for ghosts, who were known to inhabit the empty cabins away from the lake.

On one summer night, covered in mosquito repellant, we took our hunt to a boarded-up cabin. There were about six of us. As we stepped onto the porch, the boards creaked and moaned. My young heart was racing. All of us were scared. I took the lead and tried to peel back the plywood covering one of the cabin's windows. Suddenly, from inside, all of us could hear the same sound: "THOMP! THOMP!"

Screaming and yelling, we dashed off the porch, breaking a wood railing we hadn't seen in the dark. We ran all the way home. Only after the medication of hot cocoa did we start to calm down.

In his story, Vierria quoted Hazel Gendron of Happy Camp, who suggested the Bigfoot legend was invented by old Indians who wanted to keep their kids from wandering off too far.

That theory makes sense. After our encounter with Bigfoot that night, we never went looking for him again. Once was enough.

Happy Halloween.

Stuart Leavenworth

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