I received this correspondence on 8/28/2012...and received a follow-up last night 8/29/2012. I'm posting the unedited email:
Sir - my brother referred your email addy to me. He thought you may have an answer to what I saw this past July while camping in the Sierra Nevada Mts. near Tioga Lake, CA. My teenage son and I were camping in our RV. There were other campers in the area but not very close to us. On the 3rd night of our trip, we encountered something that neither of us can explain.
This is bear country and I know that there have been Bigfoot reports over the years. But what we saw was neither as far as we can tell. We secured all of the food and other supplies in the RV and were getting ready to go to bed. It was about 12:30 am. My son fell asleep quickly while I was getting a few things ready as we were going to leave this location later in the morning. I was looking at a map when I started to hear high-pitched screams. At first, I thought it was a coyote but it was a single scream and sounded more human-like a woman's scream. I opened the RV door and stood silent in the doorway. Once again the high-pitched scream started. This time, it woke my son. We both stood at the door as the screams continued from the direction of the mountain. After about 10 mins the screams stopped - we both went to bed.
Something startled me while I was sleeping because I woke in a panic. I looked at my watch - it was 2:40 am. Then all of a sudden that same high-pitched scream erupted outside of the RV. As it started my son jumped out of his rack and fell to the floor. I grabbed my .44 just in case. As we looked out through the windshield the moonlight was bright enough to illuminate a tall thin creature with light-colored skin. My son yelled 'Zombie!' - it did look like a female human form but the face and the rest of the body looked horrible. It reminded me of an old witch - no clothes, deformed face, long light-colored hair, long arms, and legs. I figured it stood almost 7 ft. It was walking away from the RV toward the lake. I had seen enough. I made sure everything was ready to go and drove out of there ASAP.
We ended up near Mono Lake. A few days later I was able to talk to a ranger as he walked through the camping area. He was an older guy and quite engaging. I described what we witnessed - my son also verified what we had seen. The ranger got a serious look on his face and said that over the years, something similar had been reported a few times. He said that they called it 'Penelope' but he didn't know why it had gotten that name. That's all he knew.
When I got home I searched the Internet but no information was available. My brother gave me your email addy and said you may have an idea of what it was. I'd appreciate your help - you can also call me at XXX-XXXXXXX. LR
I contacted LR by email...then talked to him last evening (8/29). I received this email later:
NOTE: I looked for 'Penelope' online with one small reference but little detail. I contacted Inyo National Forest for information...they directed me to the Mono Lake ranger station. I was able to talk to a ranger who confirmed that there were a few very odd sightings in the Sierra Nevada range and that one of these 'beings' was dubbed 'Penelope' but he was unaware of how or why the name was given. I sent out a few inquiries last evening. Today I received a short email from a folklore writer in Reno, NV that 'Penelope' was supposedly a woman who became lost in the Sierra Nevada Mts. several years ago and eventually became a flesh-eating monster. OK. Seems like we're getting into the 'urban-legend' column on this one. Well, anyway, I'd appreciate some follow-up if available...Lon
UPDATE: As dumb luck has it, I had a reference to 'Penelope' in a book I recently received from Eric Altman titled Monster Spotter's Guide to North America The brief description is similar to the information that I received from the folklore writer with a few more gruesome details. It seems 'Penelope' disembowels her victims before feasting on the remains. As well, she is supposedly responsible for a few unexplained deaths in the Sierra Nevadas. Other than that, I have no idea what LR and his son witnessed...Lon
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