One evening last fall I found myself deep in the woods as the sun went down. I had ventured too far into the sprawling hillside of Forge Mountain to make it back before darkness set in. Realizing it was too late to continue my hunting quest, I set up a modest camp site. I didn’t relish the idea of an overnight stay in the woods but I had matches, a blanket and some light rations. My camping provisions notwithstanding, I would have preferred to spend the night in the safety and warmth of my own bed. The situation as it was, that was not to be. My campfire burned warm enough and I had my trusty rifle beside me in case of coyotes or other predators. Sometime during the night I drifted off.
In an instant of panic I seized my rifle. Slowly I scanned the dim light of the dying fire, as far as the eye could see. I had the distinct impression of being watched but at first I failed to recognize the cause for my reaction. Just as I was about to chalk up my paranoia to that of a tense nightmare, I spotted a very real fright on the other side of the smoldering embers. A massive canine beast loomed over me, as if about to attack! It’s highly aggressive stance and threatening snarl confirmed my suspicions.
Far more alarming was that the wolflike creature appeared to be completely and utterly headless! It’s muscular physique stood ready to spring upon me at any instant, and yet I saw no barred fangs or reared-back ears. The massive black predator menaced me without so much as a head, adding a whole new level of terror to the proceedings!
I fumbled to cock and level my rifle at the snarling hound’s crouching form. It was very distracting since I didn’t have a clear cut target to aim for. It’s aggressive posture slowly softened and then the headless torso backed away until it was out of view. Even in the darkness, I could still hear a sinister, disembodied snarl and labored breathing, off in the distance. With such a frightening foe lurking in the darkness, I dared not close my eyes for even a second. Instead I boiled a pot of coffee to insure I didn’t drift off.
At first light, I gathered up my things and slowly retreated back down the mountain. I was divided about telling such a disturbing tale but reluctantly confessed it to a chatty old-timer at the general store. He knew right away what I was going to say before I even spoke of it.
“Ah, so you met the legendary headless hound of the north woods? He’s a frightening thing to behold, eh? No one knows the real story but there is plenty of folklore about it. Those old tales must go back a hundred years. I’ve never seen it myself but I’ve heard many a sober gent, and a few not-so-sober; tell the same chilling tale. The truth is, I completely avoid the forest back there. I can’t say I ever want to see an angry, headless hound or hear it’s hollow growl! No thanks, mister!”