I have been researching in multiple areas of the Smoky Mountain National Park for about eight years now. Back in April of 2012 we moved into a cabin on 5 acres approximately 15 minutes from my original research area.
It seemed almost instantly after moving in that we started having strange occurrences. With our home so secluded and extremely close to the research area I was already suspicious if we were going to have any activity there…
Our home during the winter...
For about a month before we actually moved in, I would make several trips a week by myself...each time bringing a full truckload of our belongings. Sometimes I wouldn’t get there until late in the evening.
The first occurrence I remember was around 11pm on a weeknight. I had been installing new window blinds for several hours and was about to leave when I heard a very loud screech owl calling right outside the house. I was standing in the window at the time and couldn’t see a thing outside as it was so dark. I finished up what I was doing, locked up and started toward my truck. At that moment I heard what sounded like a single cat "meow" come from up the hill in the woods. As I turned to look in that direction another single "meow" came from behind me down the hill. I turned to look down the hill and then heard another "meow" coming from down the driveway! This went on for what seemed like over a minute. There were about 10 seconds between each "meow" and each time it came from a complete opposite direction. It felt like I was surrounded by cats in all directions. Right after the last "meow" which came from the direction of down the driveway there was a loud "Whoooop!" that came from up on the hill. Suddenly I had a strong feeling I knew what was making these sounds and at the time I wasn’t too comfortable with it! I quickly got into my truck and left.
During the time we lived here, we had several gifts left for us. One of the oddest instances was a gift that was left in a fairly disturbing way. After moving in we decided to hide a key to the cabin outside somewhere for emergencies. I chose a small river rock to put the spare key under and set it beside a tree about 30 yards away from our front door. My wife and I were the only ones living there and the only ones that knew anything about this key. I made it a habit to always check to make sure it was still there whenever I would go around the property with the weedeater. Several weeks went by and each time I checked it would always be there. THEN one day something very odd happened. At the time, I had a small pile of firewood laying next to the tree where the rock and key were. On this particular day while weedeating, I noticed the rock was missing, but the spare key was still laying where it had always been. After looking around for a few seconds I noticed the rock had been moved and placed on top of the wood pile! This blew my mind! All I could think about was WHO saw me put the key there?? My nearest neighbor was over 10 acres away and always kept to themselves, never coming around our home. If a person had done this it would only seem logical that they would keep the key and put the rock back so we wouldn’t notice.
The following pic was taken moments after I found the rock. You can see where "something" placed the rock in the wood pile. If you look closely you can also see our house key just as I had left it...where the tree and landscape timber meet. Only earlier, the rock had been on top of the key to hide it.
Was someone messing with me? If so, I hadn’t the slightest idea who it could be. Whoever or "whatever" it was had to have been watching when I put the key there. That had me extremely concerned. Was it possibly the Bigfoot letting me know in some strange way that they were around? I had no idea...until the gift showed up.
I immediately took the key up and from then on never kept one outside anymore. About one week later I was out in the yard and noticed something laying exactly where the spare key and rock were earlier. It was an old metal Skoal can lid! I’m not very familiar with snuff cans, but I’m pretty sure this style had not been produced in several years. Please feel free to inform me if you know what years this lid was produced.