A military veteran observes a 'Not Deer' creature while on the Skyline Drive near Waynesboro, Virginia. The witness states, "It was like a deer that someone who had never seen a deer drew."
I recently came across the following account:
"I lived in Waynesboro, VA for about 5 years, less than 10 miles from the BRP North Entrance, Skyline drive South entrance. I used to take bike rides along the Skyline Drive all the time, and always kept a year-long membership. Only in the day, though. Just to frame the story.
One night, I was having a particularly hard time settling in for bed, so I decided to start up the bike and ride up to the first overlook on Skyline - only about a mile inside the park. It was about 11pm when I got up there, and PITCH black. I killed the bike, and became immediately uncomfortable.
I'm not a guy that gets spooked in the dark. Truthfully, I prefer the dark in most situations: you can see people before they see you. You are practically invisible. unless someone is looking for you, and I find the natural privacy comforting. Not up there, though. It was a thick, oppressive dark, worse than anything I experienced outside of a cave, and worse than any moonless night on the Appalachian Trail. I immediately got freaked out, big time.
"There's nothing up here besides wildlife." I reassured myself, internally. I had my .44 Mag revolver (from when I lived/hiked in the Pacific NW - bear country and all that jazz) tucked into my CCW holster, so I knew I definitely outmatched anything that could be up there. Two legged snakes included. So I sat in the dark, leaning against the bike for a while and looking at the few lights I could see in the valley below.
I managed about 10 minutes before I physically felt the hair raise on the back of my neck. I only did 27 months in Iraq, but I remembered that precise feeling of someone was watching me. Something bad was coming. It was the same sensation I would get before IDF came in, or the shooting started somewhere nearby. I'm no psychic or whatever, but it's a common thing among vets with any time under their belt. Ask 'em about it. You can 'feel' hateful eyes on you.
The overlook was a sheer drop (or nearly so) so I wasn't concerned about anything popping up in that direction, but the mountain side (and thick, untamed woods) were behind me. I started thinking about methed out dudes creeping the Appalachian Trail, bears, and the like. The AT is no stranger to random violence. Still feeling creeped out, I took up a seat on the waist high stone wall that marked the overlook ledge, facing the woods.
Again, I can't emphasize how dark it was. 'But Gris,' you might say, 'Why not turn on the bike and use the lights? It'll at least help you see what's close.' True, but my bike is LOUD, and the last thing I wanted was attention. Plus, the light would just night-blind me to anything just out of view, and the noise would obscure any stealthy-sounding creeping going on. So, no thanks. I'll watch and listen for a bit.
I sat in the dark for another 10 minutes or so, anxiety getting worse and worse. I heard a few things, but nothing out of the ordinary for a night in the woods. I decided to head on home, since the feeling wasn't going away. Like I said, I had a big-bore on me, so anything playing games would be in for a powerful surprise if the games got stupid.
Hopping onto my Suzuki, I started it up and rode off towards the gate. Now, anyone who lives in the country and rides a bike knows that wildlife is crazy active on roads that aren't traveled often at night. Being night time (and technically closed- -I had to ride around a gate to get in) there were no other vehicles on the road at all. I hadn't seen a single other person since leaving Waynesboro proper. The speed limit was 30mph, but I clipped along at a measly 15mph to keep an eye out for deer and wildlife. It wouldn't do my any good to f*ck myself up in a wreck, only to lay there all night until someone happened across me in the morning.
Then I saw it.
The term of 'Not deer' is really fitting. It was like a deer that someone who had never seen a deer drew, but only after someone else described it to them. It stood on the left side of the road (mountainside), and I saw the eyes long before my headlight shown it fully. It was big - easily the biggest deer I've seen, and the lack of any horns that time in the year suggested that it was a doe. The head was almost bovine in shape, but fixed to a deer's frame. The legs seemed too long in proportion to the body (think maned wolf proportions), and the body was extremely barrel chested. I've always been creeped out by malformed wildlife, and this was no exception.
Unfortunately, I had to get it to move, or risk passing within a few feet of it. I was NOT traveling another 30+ miles up the road in the other direction to leave through another gate in the middle of the night, And I wasn't getting close to it. Dangers of it spooking and running into the side of my cruiser aside, I didn't want to get near it at all. Stopping and putting my feet down about 30 feet away from it, I tried to frighten it away.
I flashed my beams down to low and back to high. Nothing. I revved the engine. Nothing. I honked the (considerable) horn. Nada. Resting the bike on the kickstand, I left it idling and hopped off. I yelled at the thing and it still didn't budge, so I started to the side of the road to grab something to toss near the deer-thing, hoping to spook it that way.
As soon as I crossed into the other lane, it rose up onto it's hind legs. I froze, putting my hand on my gun. I wasn't about to get charged by an angry, confused, malformed doe. It took two jerky, unnatural steps towards the center of the lane on 2 legs and froze again, staring directly at me. It suddenly shook it's head wildly like a dog with a toy, took another short step, then HOPPED on two legs several times until it disappeared into the darkness on the right side of the road.
I stepped back to the bike, mounted it, kicked up the kickstand, and turned the light towards the side of the road. On that side, there was a sheer drop off about 75-80° compared to the roadway, and the f*cking thing's head was just peeking over the edge, still looking at me. The drop off was about 40-50', so there's no way it was standing at the base of the mountainside.
I cracked the throttle and beat the hell out of there, road-wildlife be damned.
I never went back up on Skyline Drive at night alone, after that. One time was enough.
There are things we don't grok out there. Or things that just visit for a while. Whatever it was, it wasn't from 'around these here parts,' in hill talk. It can go back to wherever it came from, and stay there." AD
NOTE: From experience, the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, either day or night, can be nerve-racking. There are a lot of strange, unexplained sightings along it's entire length. Lon
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