In 2020, Leon Adler (a pseudonym), a corporal in the US Marines, then working as a security officer at US Marine Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia, was doing his nightly (9:00 PM to 6:00 AM) patrol on the west side of the base.
During a break, he went into the woods to check one of the game cameras he had set up. He used them to look for trespassers and poachers that might be in the area. As he made his way to the camera, just a few feet into the woods off the road, he noticed that the woods seemed to go silent. He found it deeply unnerving. He eventually got to the creek where the camera was and he began checking the card on his laptop, sitting by a tree.
Within a few minutes of getting there, Adler began to make out the sound of bipedal footsteps coming through the forest. He assumed it was a person. As Adler scanned in the direction of the steps, he suddenly saw a whitetail deer step out of the foliage:
“That's weird. That's a really nice-looking buck. It's at least an eight-pointer. It looks to be about 180 pounds. The thing that really threw me off was how it went from sounding like a human to seeing a deer.”
There was a large oak tree adjacent to the clearing. Adler then watched as the deer slowly walked over to the tree and stood in front of it. It then exploded into a furious rage, smashing its face into the tree violently. Adler could hear the animal's bones cracking and its grunting as it repeatedly smashed its skull into the tree in a wild rage. He found it to be unbearable:
“There have been very very few times in my life that I was frozen in fear and that was one of them. When something’s in pain, it makes sounds. Deers have a dying grunt but there's no grunting. There's no sound of something trying to kill itself. The only sound is just this repeated smashing of bone over and over.”
He suspected that the deer might have been suffering from a chronic wasting disease, a fatal neurological illness affecting deer, elk, reindeer, sika deer, and moose, mostly in North America. Though, what happened next, made him suspect that it was something else, something not natural:
“Most animal's retinas reflect back at you and I saw no reflection of the retinas. It was just weird. It was odd.”
Then things got even weirder:
“As this buck finishes smashing its face, it takes a step back and stands up on its hind legs. That's when in the clearest voice I have ever heard in my entire life, it says, 'I know you're there.' I felt freaked out. I was scared. This thing doesn't have a working jaw, much less a working voice box. How would it say anything? I felt like I was frozen in time like somebody put me in jello and I couldn’t react.”
Adler tried to rationalize what he was seeing.
“Every realization and explanation I tried to come up with didn't make sense. The only thing I could come up with was that it was a skinwalker. Looking at it it feels like something that's been here way before we have and will be here way after we're gone.”
The only thing he could compare the voice to was depictions of old Native Americans' deep ancestral voices-
“I felt like I had been watching it for hours but it was probably just 5 to 10 seconds. It dropped back down on all fours and walked back into the brush.”
Adler dropped his laptop and quickly ran back to his vehicle and left. A month later, he returned to the spot to grab his laptop and the camera:
“The thing that kind of threw me off about it, after being in the woods, exposed to the elements, my laptop should have been grungy and covered in leaves but it wasn’t. It was like I just left it there 20 minutes ago.”
While there, he checked the tree where the buck had been smashing its face into:
“The thing that made my stomach absolutely drop is that when I looked down, there was splinters of bone, antler. I picked one of the splinters and felt it in my hand. I was like, 'Well, that's real.' It was nice to know I wasn't insane. It was solid evidence. Whether it was supernatural or not, I don’t really want to be around it.”
He never returned to the spot again and is still on active duty as a guard at Quantico.
Source: “Mission Unexplained: Season 1, Episode 3”. Mission Unexplained. TV Show. Blue Ant Media. 26 March 2023. tv.cottagelife.com/shows/mission-unexplained/
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