Write a simple blog post, include an ambiguous image of a yet-to-be-determined “mystery beast,” and stand back as readers go wild.
That’s what happened last week, when I shared a trail camera image that showed either a doglike, catlike or piglike animal that is roaming the woods of Otis. It all depends on who you ask.
Thanks the trusted assessment of trapper Pete Tinker of Searsmont, who spends more time in the woods than most of us, I think we’ve finally identified Mystery Beast No. 1. Tinker says it was a bobcat. And he knows more than a little bit about bobcats.
Seeing as how last week’s two mystery beast installments were so well-received by readers (and seeing as how readers keep coming to me with their own mystery beast tales), I’ve got another story to share this morning.
On Monday, I spoke with reader Rebecca Albright of Otis — the same town Mystery Beast No. 1 calls home — who told me about a nighttime visitor that has been driving her bonkers.
And she’s got an audio recording that she’d like other readers to listen to.
“Everyone says [the animal] is something different,” Albright said. “It sounded just like a dog. Then it sounded like a bird. Then it starts wailing. It came right up to my house and wailed [the other night], and screamed for 20 minutes at midnight.”
And the visits have been painfully predictable.
“The thing has been coming [nearly every night] since the end of August,” Albright said. “My neighbors keep calling me and asking me if I’m still alive.”
In YouTube videos that Albright posted online, you can hear the mystery beast as it serenades her. You can’t see much, as the videos were shot at night. Albright said she has gone outside with a flashlight in search of the critter, but hasn’t spotted it yet.
The video that I’ve attached here gives a pretty good representative sample of the noises the critter makes. Albright is on the phone with a friend during the video, and is describing what’s going on. One warning: A frustrated Albright does use an obscenity at the 1:20 mark … if you’re playing the recording for your kids, you’ll want to be aware of that.
So, I’ll ask it again: What is Rebecca Albright’s mystery beast?
I pretty sure I’ve got it figured out, but I’m curious to hear what you have to say. And so is Rebecca.
Follow John Holyoke on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke. Send him your mystery beast photos and stories at firstname.lastname@example.org