In Dark Trees Part II
In our world today we live in a realm where the repercussions of the past and present come together at times in an unseen reality that suddenly strikes out at us from the darkness and leaves stunned witnesses in its wake. Top secret classified projects, rapid technological developments, and the paranormal all seem to converge into one at times when we begin seeking the truth from these rambling accounts given by shocked by standers. Normal people going about their mundane lives often stumble upon a twisted path rarely traveled but by interlopers from a different dimension or a reality few dare to explore.
A fatal incident
So it was in 1948 when Captain Mantell, a decorated combat pilot, flying in formation with three other P-51 Mustang aviators over the Godman Air Field traffic control center. A brightly lit unknown object had been loitering in the immediate air space for hours now and the officer on duty requests Mantell’s flight to investigate. From the very beginning the unusual takes shape. One pilot dropped out to refuel, another flyer claimed to be having engine trouble, this left the Army Air Force Captain with only his wingman as they climbed into the upper atmosphere to identify the bogy.
With their aircraft unequipped for high altitude flying with unpressurized cockpits Mantell became fixated on what he described was a huge metallic object. While he climbed ever higher that afternoon his wingman fell behind and lost track of his superior officer. The risk as he climbed higher was that of anoxia (oxygen deprivation to the brain) which could become fatal. In the words of his wingman, whatever Mantell saw was more important to him than his own life or his family as the veteran aviator exchanged a couple more sentences with the control tower before losing contact.
Sometime around 3:30 that afternoon a report came in that Mantell’s aircraft had crashed in a nearby field close to a farmer’s house. Reports began to collide over what really happened quickly became controversial. One eye witness claimed he saw Mantell’s P-51 circling the area in level flight before it exploded and crashed. Forensics investigators said that Mantell had lost consciousness and that his aircraft had plunged from 30 thousand feet in a cork screw dive that had ripped off the wings before it had impacted the earth! Newspaper accounts claimed that the wreckage had tested positive for radiation. Another claim had been made that the P-51 had been perforated with holes. A British intelligence officer present at the scene after an Air Force investigation team examined the crash site said the aircraft had appeared relatively intact for having gone into such an uncontrolled dive.
One airmen claimed that upon arriving at the scene of the crash that Mantell’s head had nearly been severed and that every bone in his body had been pulverized. US Air Force comments on the crash were that no apparent act of aggression had been committed and that Mantell had likely mistaken a high altitude balloon for an unknown airborne craft and had simply been too fascinated with his target to break off pursuit before he had succumb to anoxia. Others did not buy that story! Observers in the control tower were unconvinced that Mantell’s bogy was a misidentified weather balloon. Even Captain Edward Ruppelt, Project Blue Book Director seemed to gravitate toward the UFO being an actual Navy Skyhook Balloon. Yet, no one will ever know the truth. One thing is for certain though. Captain Thomas Mantell’s rendezvous with fate made him the first American pilot to die due to a UFO intercept mission that many more would succumb to in the following years!
The realm of mysterious creatures comes in many shapes and forms. In the early 1980’s three Vietnam veterans who had survived the war as elite soldiers and were now hunting buddies encountered yet another page from the book of the unknown when while on safari in a wilderness section of the Texas panhandle they stumbled upon an unnerving encounter! Driving along an old farm road one of the three using a spotlight mounted on their pickup truck illuminate a figure off on the shoulder that they think is a bear! Although it is rare that bears walk on two legs it is not uncommon for them to walk a short distance at times and this is what the hunters think they are seeing!
Using a high powered hunting rifle with a night scope one of the men fires in the darkness striking the animal! It runs away with the speed of a deer on two legs. Now they know they have not happened upon a bear! They follow their prey off the road having to disembark from the pickup and follow their prey into dense thicket! This is not an enviable task for any hunter. Although the men are heavily armed they know that any animal when wounded becomes unpredictable and even more dangerous when backed into a corner, but what happens next is even stranger than their suspicions could allow.
With much trepidation two of the men crawl belly down into the brush determined to end the animal’s suffering as they are sure they had delivered a mortal wound to their prey. What happens next rocks their world forever! Two of the hunting buddies holding their semi-automatic rifles and squirming through the thicket come face to face with a screaming ape-like creature that charges toward them in a fleeting second. The unnerving screams are like nothing these experienced hunters have ever heard before and they are facing sure death at the hands of a huge creature that is definitely not a bear. They fire several rounds and their muzzle flashes light up the darkness.
It takes several shots to bring down what appears to be a female species of some kind but the skirmish has not concluded as the wounded male suddenly jumps up from the ground and plunges toward the stunned hunters who are forced to shoot again. Still more movement from behind the two bizarre animals draws their attention and once again their rifles blaze away at whatever or whoever is left within the overgrowth they are all immersed within. The cries of these strange beasts are unnerving enough but once the men drag the bodies from out of the overgrowth and into the moonlit night they are horrified! Thinking they have murdered some kind of wild people, escaped mental patients that have been living for a long time in the wilderness, or some kind of primitive humans the 3 war veterans are now worried the authorities could prosecute them for manslaughter or maybe even homicide!
Epiphany of terror
The Vietnam veterans, shocked by their unforeseen encounter, realize that they have mistakenly killed what appears to be a family, a father, mother, and juvenile hominids. They reason that when they tracked the wounded male to his family his mate had attacked in an attempt to defend him and their child. This led to the men unwittingly killing the entire family in self-defense! They are all extremely disturbed, feeling guilty, but also being conflicted over whether they should come forth to the local authorities or bury the evidence. After surviving the Vietnam War they are hardly optimistic over the outcome of going public with their forbidden experience. The bodies are buried near the banks of a shallow creek bed and their terrible secret is kept for years hidden within their guilty memories.
Repercussions of the past
Years later George Noory on the radio show “Coast to Coast” receives a call and it is one of the hunters who, now retired, claims his conscience will no longer allow him to remain silent. Under the condition of anonymity another segment of the show airs days later with a public prosecutor weighing the evidence to see whether the 3 men could face charges. The former warriors are all elderly now and not wanting their families to suffer any consequences. They’re regretting the incident but want to be sure they will not face criminal charges and agree to provide the exact coordinates of the burial site. Another expert, a cryptozoologist invited on the show volunteers to unearth the bodies from the site after a flyover and photograph of the area determines the location, but chances that the remains have not been washed out due to the creek flooding it’s banks or whether or not scavenging has not already scattered the remains makes the odds remote. Plans are made to attempt recovery.