15.5.17

INTO THE MAGIC FOREST

Lyle Blackburn. Beyond Boggy Creek: In Search of The Southern Sasquatch Anomalist Books, 2017.

Tales of hairy humanoids in North America have traditionally been associated with the forests of British Columbia, Oregon, Washington and Northern California but actually they are reported from all over the country and in this book Lyle Blackburn looks at those coming from the Deep South. He points out that there are still many areas of mountainous forest and scrub in those States.

While many of the accounts in this book are rather fragmentary others are more complete and quite a number come from the liminal zones between habitat and wilderness. Some of the longer stories are quite evocative. One such is of a man hiking on a side trail to the great Appalachian Trail. It will come as no surprise to Magonia readers that this trail was unusually deserted, no other hikers being in sight and the rest huts equally deserted. On this trail the hiker encounters Hairy Humanoids that seem to trail him, preventing him from getting proper rest. When he reaches yet another deserted hut where he beds for the night, he is met by two owls which utter cries, echoed by others, like owl calls he had never heard before. In the night he wakes paralysed as footsteps pad around. Next day he continues on and then seems to re-enter the real world at a shelter where there were many other hikers and officials.

Stories like this and the sheer ubiquity of such reports, with never a body, never any really conclusive evidence, suggests that we are not dealing with 'real' paws and pelts animals here, but as Roger Sandell put it, “the magic forest of a fairy tale inhabited by supernatural creatures”. I would wager that the same areas have tales of UFOs, LITS, ghosts, polts, mystery felines, water monsters and all sorts of things that have no name.

The book is illustrated with some very evocative landscape photographs by the author. – Peter Rogerson.

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