Written by H.P. Albarelli Jr.
Thursday, 30 November 2006
The recent County Courier article about sightings of the Awful ("Has the Awful returned to Berkshire & Richford?" Oct. 19, 2006), a strange winged beast first seen in the early 1900s in Richford and Berkshire, and then again a few weeks ago, has provoked more local residents to come forward with reports of additional sightings.
The article has also provoked the interest of crypto-zoologists in Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, England, Germany, Canada, and New Zealand, some who are planning exploratory trips to Vermont.
Lisa Maskell, a 41-year-old mother of two, who formerly lived in Montgomery Center, where she grew up, told the Courier: "When I was about 10 or 11, we saw this thing sitting in a tree near the Trout River … it was huge with large wings and a long, strange beak … We threw rocks at it, but it didn't move. We stood looking at it for at least five to 10 minutes. I didn't really know what it was until a couple years later I saw pictures of a pterodactyl. It looked like that. Big, scary, and fascinating."
Another Franklin County resident, a "60-something"-year-old man who lives within Montgomery's mysterious Gibou area, and who asked not to be identified for this article, said that the Awful has been "seen off and on around here for the past 25 years or so." (According to century old legends, the Gibou area was dubbed "forbidden" or "spirit haunted" by Native Americans who once widely populated the region.)
Said the man, a longtime resident of the Gibou, "It's not a subject you want to talk to strangers or certain others about for good reasons. I didn't believe it at all at first, then some of us saw the thing a lot, some as recently as last month, and the general feeling is we don't bother it and it don't bother us, maybe with a few exceptions."
Those being? "There were a few times when it wasn't overly friendly to some beasts of burden." Meaning? "Let's just say a few animals have been lost to that thing." Lost? "Taken away … consumed, I guess. I don't know, and I really don't want to."
Edith Green, Richford's premiere dowser, who is also well versed in paranormal matters, told this writer, "I think I remember people way back whispering things about the Awful. Folks were very nervous about it, but I didn't really know if it was made up or not. I've heard some first-hand accounts that may be true … those witnesses don't seem mistaken about what they saw."
Asked about reports of other mysterious flying objects seen in and around Richford's Stevens Mill area and along the Slide Road, incidents that have been viewed and reported for decades, Green said, "The Steven's Mill area is one well known locally for its anomalies. There's a road up there that makes you go backwards." Backwards? "Because of the iron content, I think. The magnetic forces had a large impact on old cars … Over the decades there have been a lot of odd and sometimes frightening occurrences there. I've found a number of unsettled spirits, especially around the abandoned house near the old school house. I actually encountered a spirit that had been there over 100 years." Continued Greene, "The energy forces in some spots are pretty peculiar and foreboding."
As many longtime Richford residents know, the isolated Slide Road area has been the site of reports about strange objects in the sky, as well as mysterious sightings on the ground. The summers of 1975 and 1999 produced a proliferation of reports of assumed UFO activity in the area. Then in 2002 and 2004, there were several reports of "glowing orange and yellow orbs" moving and "zigzagging" low-to-the-ground and across open fields and roadways. Last week, a longtime resident of East Richford and a fifth generation Vermonter reported that the Awful has been "seen over the last few years several times around the Slide Road area." Said the man: "You can usually hear the thing before you see it. It makes a pretty weird sound, like a low scream … when it gets closer, you can hear its wings, which sound like fat blankets being shook out."
Last week, as this article was being submitted to the Courier, this journalist was given a "petrified jawbone" of "one of these Awful creatures." The partial jawbone, handed over by a Richford logger, is stone hard and bears a number of very large teeth. Efforts are currently underway to have an expert animal biologist at the University of Vermont identify exactly what sort of animal the jawbone came from.
Results will be reported here when they become available.
H.P. Albarelli Jr. is an investigative reporter and writer whose articles have been published in books, magazines, and newspapers across the country, and on the Internet. He has written several television scripts for NBC, ABC, BBC, and A&E. Peredur Publishing, Ltd., London, published his novel, "The Heap," last year. Albarelli lives in Richford and is at work on a non-fiction book entitled "Green Mountain Gothic."
Last Updated ( Thursday, 30 November 2006 )
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Thanks to FyreSpirit from ThothWeb for sharing this
Edited by MoonChild, 03 December 2006 - 12:21 AM.