My kids have always been fascinated with stories of creatures real and imagined. So obviously we had to arrange a Bigfoot hunt for them. Several years ago we made plans to all go to the ranch on a day when some of their cousins would also be in town. Their grandad and his cousin Harold got together with Bryant Rickman and his nephew James Carlile to give the kids a good scare.
We all gathered that night in the cabin to listen to tales of bigfoot from Bryant Rickman and Harold Davis. These two men are captivating story tellers and the audience was enthralled to say the least. There are many different theories about Bigfoot ranging from Wood Apes, Werewolves, aliens, a monster from another dimension, skin changers to just some type of spirit. Bigfoot stories have been passed down from time immortal all around the world. Our family sure loves a good story, so Bryant and Harold prepared the audience with eye witness accounts and stories they heard growing up all about the very area we are going to visit! They loaded up the group in three trucks and a car then took off up the road. After hearing all the tales from Harold and Bryant, the kids were searching the woods for monsters around every corner! They were all whispering excitedly and were startled when the headlights illuminated a pair of eyes in the night! It turned out to be the horse known as Documentary, one of the very first wild horses brought to Chahta Isuba Ranch! He was not as surprised to see us as we were to see him, but he did not want us to get too close to his mares. Finally the trucks stopped. Harold informed the kids that they were very close to last known sighting of Bigfoot and they should get out and walk quietly. Getting my girls to be quiet was about like nailing jello to a tree, so they almost missed seeing Bigfoot running across the road about 50 yards in front of them! One of the little cousins got scared and a couple of the kids tried to chase him; our little group was becoming difficult to manage. So with the effort of "herding cats" we managed to get all the kids loaded back up to return to the cabin for a debriefing. Just before the caravan reached the cabin, the first truck saw Bigfoot standing on the hill behind the pond! The other 3 vehicles saw nothing, Bigfoot disappeared off the hill never to be seen again. (As I write this, my 98 year old grandmother says he fell down the old well.) There was total confusion and chaos mixed with excited shouting when we finally made our way back into the cabin. Nobody remembers James entering the cabin, but my youngest daughter instantly became suspicious of Bryant's nephew who had been absent during the Bigfoot hunt. She immediately began her detective work with the help of her friends Kayla and Dylan. They started asking everyone where James was during the hunt, who's vehicle was he in and if he stayed behind. They started interrogating his poor wife Cassie who swore they never left the cabin, but the kids would not give up their investigation. So something that was supposed to remain a mystery for all time was spilled. Yes, James Carlile was the first Bigfoot sighting on Chahta Isuba Ranch. He crossed the road at the top of the ridge dressed in a ghillie suit and gorilla mask, then ran a quarter of a mile through the thick woods in total darkness to get back to the hill on the other side of the pond to make his last stand. He then ditched his costume and ran around behind the cabin to come in through the back door and mix in with the confused crowd. We commemorated his remarkable journey (which we city folk truly admired) by hanging a Bigfoot crossing sign on a tree by the section of road he ran across. A month ago, we noticed the tree with the sign fell down. My youngest (who is now in college majoring in criminal justice) said "it must be time for James to put the suit on again". I guess so, he has three of his own kids to scare now! So our first Bigfoot hunt did not turn up anything strange or unusual, but we had only just begun... I think we should go check the "old well".
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Cathie Wilson and family needed a place to tell personal stories of strange and unexplained things that occurred during our time at the ranch.