One Night of Terror

My little brother, Dick, and I decided to go fishing at the Salamonie Lake in northern Indiana. We stopped and picked up the required fishing license, some food and drinks, red worms and a bucket of minnows to entice the fish to our hook. Because it was late afternoon when we arrived we quickly found a primitive camping spot on top of a hill overlooking the lake. Laying out our sleeping bags and gathering wood limbs for the campfire, the camp was readied. Grabbing our poles and tackle boxes we headed downhill to the lake and fished for a few minutes before dark—we caught nothing. Arriving back at camp the prepared fire pit was lit and we pulled out hamburger meat and began frying.
Now, I don’t know if you have ever experienced the joys of primitive camping or not. There are so many unexpected things that you cannot prepare for, or, for that matter, do anything about. As we began frying our burgers the firelight brought the arrival of hundreds of large beetles. Flying above the light, and sometimes too close to the fire, they would pop and fall into the frying pan. Dick was cooking, so he flipped them right out on the ground while another fell in the pan. I must say it was one of the best burgers I’ve ever eaten. It must’ve been the bug juice.
There is nothing I enjoy more than being outdoors, in a secluded location, enjoying the peace and quiet of brotherly conversation. We talked into the night. Once we realized that if we were going to get up at the crack of dawn and feed the fish a few gold-plated Eagles Claw hooks with a worm of minnow attached we fell asleep.
The tree-covered night was pitch black when all hell broke loose. Sounds of a war zone competed with fear and trepidation when it entered the camp. Startled from our sleep with the ripping and shredding of a peaceful nights sleep in these woods terrified us. There was nothing we could do but lay still and wait on death to suck the last pant of breath from our lungs. Neither of us had a gun. Dick lay in his sleeping bag with our only defense, a long machete. Of course, that was no comfort to me as I didn’t know Dick had it with him. Even if I had, how would that help me, if I was chosen first? We had flashlights but could not turn them on; we certainly did not want this enormous creature to know our locations.
We were paralyzed to move. Not a noise was made as the clamor grew into louder racket emulating raucous reverberations of destruction. What ever was coming our way meant business. The horror and vulnerability of being reduced to chicken feed intensified, bringing with it panicky thoughts of extermination.
The clatter of pandemonium stopped as fast as it had begun. We did not move until the morning twilight began its revelation of stately trees. They covered the moon and stars through the night yet witnessed this ceremony of venomous hysteria. If only the trees could talk and tell me if the demon was gone, then, perhaps, I could get up. Dick climbed out of his sleeping bag, looked around and started laughing. I followed his lead and pulled myself from the safety of a warm bag, stood, and chuckled along with him.
I believe the bug juice flavored burgers was the first thing that alerted this devil to our location. But, the sniffing around our camp and destroying a Styrofoam minnow bucket  made that little raccoon’s night. While he ripped and shredded, scaring us senseless, and feasted on fresh minnow, Dick and I each had a penitent conversation with our Maker. Don’t you laugh, unless you’ve been in our camp.

57 thoughts on “One Night of Terror

    • lol, well, he is much more an outdoors-man than I ever was. I went with him, lol. We were in our early 20’s as I remember. Not sure with my old knees I could even climb that hill anymore 🙂

  1. This story had me ROLLING with laughter! Been there, done that too. My husband and I are seasoned tent campers from ‘way back’. Can’t do it anymore for health reasons. We’ve had a lot of critter encounters too. I’m so thankful yours was only a ‘coon. I wouldn’t have turned the lights on either. *giggle* God bless. ~:)

  2. So funny 😀 Reminds me of a recent camping trip where, when it was almost bedtime, I looked in the woods and could see two glowing eyes in the woods looking towards our campsite. Must have been a raccoon or an opossum.

  3. The last time I camped (1974) I woke up thinking the whole campsite was on fire. (It was not.) Last time I camped…. Great story, Andy!

  4. I love all of the things you post on your posts I never know what to do

    Do you have any suggestions?


    • I don’t know how old you are Hannah but from what I have read it sounds like you are still in school. Your age is something I wish I had. It may seem silly now, but as you get older you will want to know more about your family and your ancestors. Now is a time ripe to find these things out. Ask your parents and grandparents how they met to start, they will be eager to share their story and how he may have proposed. I have no idea how my grandparents met, but I do know my parents. These are wonderful stories to post on the net and will prepare you to learn storytelling, genealogy, and family history. There is nothing more beautiful that know who you are and where you came from, and the struggles of those before you. I wish I had listened to many stories my family told, but I didn’t, and now, sadly, they are gone for ever. If you need help with this let me know and I will help where I can. There are many blogs dedicated to this. I am thinking about changing mine to nothing but my family stories and histories, or, I may start a new blog dedicated to just that. Good luck, let me know what you decide. Blessings!

      • Hi

        Yes I am still at school (I am 10 years old)

        Good thinking,My Gran does genealogy so she can help me

        I need to learn more about my family because well

        I don’t get along very well with my Dad’s side.On Christmas Day my Granny (Dad’s Mum)said I was ugly so yeah

        And my Mum’s Dad passed away and ever since then my Mum’s brother has never spoke to us.That was about 6 years ago now.

        Also when I turn 18 he will come and give me this cheque which my Grandad left in his will for me.My Gran (who I get on Very well with)says it was a lot of money

        I also struggle with stress if I am stressed about something I might collapse which can be scary.Once I was walking to Starbucks after school and I was really stressed and I felt really dizzy and I got through the Starbucks door and BOOM…..I collapse

        Sorry if this bored you to death

        But yeah


      • Well, Hannah my first word of advice, at your age is to be very careful who you give your name and personal information to on this blog. There are a lot of folks who are bad. Always check with an adult before you give any information out about you or your family.
        I am so sorry to hear that you family is divided. Mine was too, until my mom passed in ’05 and now me and my brothers are close again. I am thankful for that.
        What a wonderful surprise to have your grandmother already doing genealogy. You definitely should talk to her and start working with her to learn as much as you can and become the new “bone digger” we are called for your family. I don’t do a lot of bone digging in genealogy. I do some, but most of the digging I do is about the stories. I love the stories. Should should ask while your parents and grandmother is still with you. I wish I had asked so many questions when they were alive, but now I can never ask. Do it now while they are still young and full of information. You will love it. I hope you share it on your blog after to check with your mom. I know you have difficulty with your dad’s side of the family but that is important to know as well. So be sure to ask your dad his stories too that he will will handed down someday. He has many I am sure.

      • Thanks

        Yes I will definitely check before I put it on my blog

        Thank you for talking to me about it,it made me feel better


      • Good, if you have any questions be sure to ask. Keep your head up and look forward to all the possibilities in your life. The past is the past, let it stay where it is, little friend. Blessings!

      • Thank you

        My past was hard like you know from my blogs but like you said if one door closes another one opens


  5. A great read. I love wild camping, one of my favourite things to do, thankfully I the UK we don’t have any scary creatures that can do any harm. Also love reading the comments, some great advice there too.

  6. WOW! Edge of the seat story. I’ve had a few adventures like that!
    Great to see you again, I’m slowly getting back into the blogging world.

  7. Choppy and I had one of those nights in Florida – clearly, something outside our tent was something entirely unfamiliar to our Midwestern selves. I assumed alligator. When I finally mustered the courage to look, there was a little armadillo digging around.

  8. See this adventure (if you can call it that) is exactly why black people don’t go camping. Why give up a perfectly good comfy bed for the hard cold floor of the ground and the possibility of being the lead on some local TV station as the Rangers search for our remains?

  9. What a wonderful story! And what an epic memory to share with your brother!

    And, good thing you didn’t disturb that crazy raccoon in the dark of the night – they can be mean little buggers and he could have really clawed you up something fierce!

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