Scary stuff for Halloween

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This Halloween is going to be different, even for those of us who spend time outdoors. It falls on a Saturday this year, which is always fun, and it’s also the second weekend of the Northern Zone rifle season. The hunter’s full moon will be in the sky, and being the second full moon in October, it will be a blue moon at that. To top if off, Daylight Savings Time ends overnight. So, Happy Halloween to us!

Who doesn’t like a good scare once in a while? For years as a weekly outdoor columnists for The Chronicle in Glens Falls, I made sure to write something around Halloween that tied in the with the outdoors. These were fun articles to work on and surprisingly there was never a shortage of topics.

One year I tackled a story about a haunted hunting camp in the Adirondacks called the Dog and Pup Club. Apparently, the place was haunted by a former caretaker who took his own life there in isolation one winter. One of the stories came from a personal friend who was staying there alone one night during deer season, and in the midst of a  snowstorm.

He awoke in the middle of the night to hear someone coming into the camp. Thinking it was a fellow member, he went back to sleep but was surprised to wake up in the morning and find himself all alone. There were no tire tracks in the snow or any indication that someone else was in camp. Was it the ghost he had heard?

Another story told of two people I know very well, who are now gone, who were camping at Thirteenth Lake in Warren County during a 1960’s deer hunt. It had just gotten dark when they observed what they thought was a seaplane coming in for a landing on the narrow lake.

Suddenly, as they approached shore, the flying vessel took off at lightening speed on a 45-degree angle, and disappeared over a mountain. The first thing they realized was that it made no noise. They never said that it was an alien ship. In fact, this was during the Cold War and they surmised it could’ve been an experimental aircraft from the Plattsburgh Air Force Base, roughly 100 miles away. But what it really was remains a mystery to this day.

Having touched on the Bigfoot/Sasquatch phenomenon a few times, I’ve had numerous individuals confide in me their encounters. Nobody went further than a guy from Utica named “Adirondack” Jack Leach. Jack was a fishing guide who spent a lot of time in the Black River Wild Forest in the southwestern Adirondacks. He reached out to me several years ago after I’d written a story about a writer from ESPN and Amazon I’d met who came to the region on a Sasquatch search.

I was able to eventually hook them up, but for years Jack wrote me personal letters – which I still have – telling of his numerous encounters. Although the creatures Jack said he encountered scared the heck out of him, he seemed to always go back for more. He also took several footprint castings.

Jack was a unique individual and I did have the pleasure of meeting him before he took ill and eventually passed. He is just one of many people I’ve met who claimed to have had such encounters in New York and the Northeast, especially neighboring Vermont.

When we venture outdoors, common sense tells us (hopefully) to prepare for the unexpected. But stories like these certainly take things to another level. If you have one of your own, please feel welcome to share

Happy Halloween!

Categories: Dan Ladd

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