ricknrok Richard E James Ed. D, Ph. D

As a clinical psychologist, I encounter a lot of strange stories that people claim are true. This is perhaps one of the strangest that left me wondering if it was true or fictional? All I know is as a resident of West Branch I try to stay out of the woods and if ever you visit here you should too.

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The West Branch Family that was Attacked by Bigfoot

My work is that of a clinical psychologist and as such I am bound by the ethics of confidentiality so although the story that follows is true (as revealed to me at my office on 3rd and Houghton in the city of West Branch in the year 2021) names and certain facts have been changed in accordance with those principles.

The story begins on a battlefield in the middle-eastern desert where the weather is harsh, an unforgiving landscape of scorching sun that beats down relentlessly, turning the sandy terrain into a blistering furnace. The air there was thick with swirling dust, carried by fierce gusts of wind that whipped across the desolate expanse. The silence was deafening, broken only by sporadic bursts of gunfire and the thunderous explosions that shattered the stillness.

The ground, was littered with debris and the remnants of war, bearing witness to the savagery that was unfolding. Craters pockmarked the earth as a testament to the relentless barrage of artillery and explosives. The once vibrant hues of the desert had faded, replaced by a monotonous palette of grays and browns, mirroring the desolation and destruction that surrounded the soldiers.

The soldiers themselves, clad in heavy armor, trudged through the treacherous sand, their boots sinking with each step, making progress arduous and slow. Sweat dripped down their foreheads, stinging their eyes, as they strained under the weight of their gear. Their faces etched with determination, their eyes scanning the horizon for any sign of the enemy.

Amidst this desolate landscape, the soldiers fought with unwavering bravery and courage, their weapons locked in a deadly dance of life and death. Gunfire erupted, bullets whizzing through the air, creating a symphony of chaos and destruction. Explosions ripped through the air, shaking the ground beneath their feet, and sending plumes of smoke and dust into the sky.

The cries of the wounded and dying mingled with the cacophony of war, their pain and anguish echoing through the desert air. Medics darted between the fallen, desperately trying to save lives, their hands stained with blood and their hearts heavy with the weight of their duties.

In this harsh and unforgiving landscape, the battle raged. Each soldier fought with a mix of fear, adrenaline, and unwavering determination. They pushed their bodies to the limit, their minds focused on the mission at hand. They knew that survival was not guaranteed, but they fought with a sense of duty and loyalty that bound them together as brothers and sisters in arms.

As the battle continued, the desert bore witness to the sacrifice and bravery of these soldiers. Each step, each shot fired, and each life lost etched another mark in the history of this desolate land. The battlefield became a haunting testament to the human capacity for both destruction and resilience, a reminder of the depths of human suffering and the strength of the human spirit.

And when the battle finally subsided, leaving behind a sea of fallen soldiers and shattered dreams, the desert stood silent once more, its vast expanse carrying the weight of the stories that unfolded within its borders. It held the memories of the brave, the scars of war, and the echoes of those who fought and fell in the sandy depths of the Middle Eastern desert.

One such soldier was Ethan (Sapper) Williams who was strong, brave, and fought alongside his comrades in the middle of such war-torn desert. The sun beat down relentlessly as they trudged through the unforgiving sand, their bodies weighed down by heavy armor.

One fateful day, they found themselves in a fierce battle, outnumbered and overwhelmed by the enemy forces. Despite their valiant efforts, Ethan's comrades fell one by one, their cries for help fading into the chaos of war. Bullets whizzed through the air, explosions erupted all around them, and the stench of death hung heavy in the air.

Ethan fought with all his might, his heart pounding in his chest. He could hear his own rapid breaths mingling with the sound of gunfire. As the battle raged on, exhaustion began to take its toll. His muscles ached, his vision blurred, but still, he pressed on, determined to protect his fellow soldiers and fulfill his duty.

But as the sun began to set, casting an eerie glow over the battlefield, Ethan found himself alone. The deafening silence that followed the cease of gunfire was haunting. He stood amidst the wreckage, surrounded by fallen comrades and the remnants of war. Emotion overwhelmed him - grief, anger, and a deep sense of survivor's guilt. A desperation and sorrow that scars the human heart and plunges the soul into the a unimaginable purgatory from which it can't escape.

Haunted by the memories of that dreadful day, Ethan returned to his home in Michigan, his heart heavy with grief. Sleepless nights and tormenting nightmares plagued his every moment. The once vibrant and cheerful young man became withdrawn and lost in his thoughts. His family and friends worried for him, unable to reach the depths of his pain.

Every night, Ethan would wake up in a cold sweat, reliving the horrors of the battlefield. The sounds of explosions echoed in his ears, the faces of his fallen comrades imprinted in his mind. He tried to bury his pain, but it seeped into every aspect of his life, poisoning his relationships and clouding his future.

His loved ones pleaded with him to seek help, to face his demons head-on. Ethan realized that he could not continue living in his current perpetual state of despair so moved to Northern Michigan where he hoped to find peace and solitude as he attempted to sort things out.

Differing from his memories of the desert and its battlefields the forests of northern Michigan are a breathtaking tapestry of nature's wonders, a lush and verdant sanctuary that stretches as far as the eye can see. Towering trees, their branches reaching towards the heavens, create a canopy that filters the sunlight, casting dappled shadows on the forest floor. The air is crisp and fragrant, filled with the earthy scent of moss, pine, and wildflowers.

As one wanders deeper into those forests, the ground beneath their feet becomes a soft carpet of fallen leaves and moss, cushioning each step with a gentle embrace. The vibrant hues of green paint the landscape, from the emerald shades of the ferns that carpet the forest floor to the deep, rich tones of the towering pines and firs that stand tall and proud.

This symphony of nature fills the air, as birdsong echoes through the trees, their melodic tunes harmonizing with the rustling of leaves in the breeze. Squirrels scurry along branches, their playful antics adding a touch of whimsy to the serene surroundings. Deer and other woodland creatures emerge from the shadows, gracefully navigating their way through the undergrowth.

The forest is alive with life, both seen and unseen. Delicate wildflowers dot the landscape, their vibrant petals painting the forest floor with splashes of color. Mushrooms, like tiny sentinels, spring up from decaying logs, adding a touch of whimsy and mystery to the forest.

Peering closer, Ethan discovered the intricate web of life that thrives within the forest. Moss and lichen cling to the bark of trees, creating a mosaic of textures and shades. Fungi, in an array of shapes and sizes, flourishing on fallen logs, breaking down organic matter and returning nutrients to the soil. Insects buzzing and fliting through the air, their delicate wings carrying them from flower to flower.

In the fall, the forests transformed into a breathtaking canvas of fiery colors, as the leaves of maples, oaks, and birches turn shades of red, orange, and gold. The landscape becoming a symphony of autumn hues, a beautiful spectacle and magical transformation.

However, the forests of Northern Michigan are not just a physical presence, but a place that stirs the soul. They were his refuge from the demands of modern life, a sanctuary where he could reconnect with nature and find solace in the simplicity and beauty of the natural world. They were his reminder of the awe-inspiring power of the earth and the importance of preserving and cherishing these precious ecosystems.

Ethan, his wife and their two children, John and Sarah loved Northern Michigan. Their quaint home was nestled among towering pines and dense foliage, creating a serene and picturesque setting. Far away from the chaos of city life, this secluded location was their own personal paradise.

The family cherished their time spent in nature. They would explore the vast wilderness, fish in the nearby Rifle River, and have picnics under the wide canopy of the forest. Their deep connection with the natural world was evident in the way the children were growing up, appreciating the quiet beauty of their surroundings. For Ethan and his wife, the simplicity of their lifestyle brought them immense peace.

Little did they know, their peaceful abode was also the subject of a local legend. Whispers of a Bigfoot-like creature lurking in the woods had been circulating among the locals for years. However, being newcomers to the area, the family remained blissfully ignorant of this folklore. They had heard vague mentions of the legend but dismissed it as nothing more than a tall tale created to dissuade children from venturing too far into the forest.

One sunny morning, as the family sat around the breakfast table, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee filling the air, John couldn't contain his excitement.

John: "Hey, Mom and Dad, can we go on a hiking adventure today? I heard there's a hidden waterfall deep in the forest!" Ethan’s wife smiled and glanced at him, who nodded in agreement.

Ethan: "That sounds like a wonderful idea, John! What do you think, Sarah?" Sarah, her eyes gleaming with curiosity, nodded eagerly.

Sarah: "Yes, let's explore the forest! I want to see all the beautiful birds and flowers we've been learning about."

As the family packed their backpacks with snacks and water bottles, Ethan couldn't help but think about the local legend he had heard whispers of much like the whispers he had heard among the locals in the Middle Eastern desert.

Ethan: "You know, I heard some interesting stories from the locals about a creature that supposedly lives in these woods."

His wife chuckled, not taking the legend seriously. “Oh, come on, dear. It's just a myth to keep the kids from wandering too far. I'm sure it's nothing more than a tall tale."

John, ever the curious one, chimed in. "But what if it's real, dad? Wouldn't it be exciting to see a creature from a legend?"

Ethan shrugged, not fully convinced but not wanting to dampen his children's enthusiasm. "Well, I suppose it would be quite the adventure if we did come across anything out of the ordinary."

Unbeknownst to them, their tranquil existence was about to be shattered. The creature from the local folk tales was real, and the family was destined to cross paths with it. Their lack of knowledge and disbelief in the legend left them completely unprepared for the impending encounter that would change their lives forever.

Events took a dramatic turn one fateful autumn evening. The children were nestled in their beds, Ethan and his wife enjoying a quiet moment by the crackling fireplace, when the atmosphere shifted. Suddenly, the peaceful night was shattered by a series of thunderous thuds that reverberated through the house. Fear and confusion replaced the serenity they had known.

Startled awake from their trance Ethan and his wife’s eyes wide open re-elected the terror that had enveloped them. John and Sarah, wide-eyed and trembling, rushed over to their parents'.

John: "What was that, Mom? It sounded like something banging on the walls!"

Ethan, trying to calm their fears, mustered a reassuring tone."It's probably just the wind, my brave ones. Let's stay together and figure out what's going on."

Sarah, her voice quivering, whispered. "Do you think it's the creature from the legend, dad? The one that haunts these woods?"

Her mother, her voice filled with determination, tried to provide reassurance."No, my sweet Sarah. It's just our imagination playing tricks on us. We'll get through this together."

Ethan a combat veteran and sturdy man struggled to maintain composure, but the deep, guttural growl that followed the thuds sent shivers down his spine. The family continued to huddle together, straining their ears to discern the source of the disturbance. The thuds grew louder and more forceful, as if something was relentlessly attempting to break in. Suddenly, a deafening crash echoed through the house - the living room window had been shattered. He shouted: "Stay here, everyone. I'll go and see what's out there."

Summoning his courage, Ethan grasped his hunting rifle and cautiously approached the broken window. Peering through the gaping hole, his heart pounded in his chest as he came face-to-face with a creature straight out of the local folklore - a Bigfoot. He fired his rifle into the air above the creatures head and screamed with a voice laced with determination, "Back off! Leave us alone!"

The Bigfoot, startled by the warning shot retreated into the depths of the forest, but the haunting glow of its eyes lingered on the edge of the woods, promising a return. Their once peaceful night had transformed into a chilling nightmare. Their once secure home now felt vulnerable and exposed. As they cleared the shattered glass and boarded up the broken window, the family braced themselves for what lay ahead. The Bigfoot was not a mere legend; it had found them, and their lives would never be the same again.

In the aftermath of the first attack, a palpable unease settled over the family. Their once serene home now tainted with a constant undercurrent of anxiety. The children, once carefree and full of laughter, now startled at every noise in the night. They no longer venture freely into the forest, their playfulness replaced by a cautious wariness.

Sarah, her voice trembling, asks her father: Daddy, do you think the Bigfoot will come back? I'm scared."

Ethan, his face etched with concern, reaches out to hold Sarah's hand. “We don't know for sure, sweetheart. But we're doing everything we can to keep you safe."

John, his voice laced with determination, speaks up: “We can't let fear control us. We have to stay strong, together."

His mother nodded, her eyes filled with a mixture of fear and determination: “You're right, John. We can't let this creature rob us of our happiness. We'll find a way to protect ourselves."

The children exchanged glances, their young faces reflecting a mix of fear and gratitude “We're lucky to have you, Dad. We'll get through this together."

Sarah nodded, her eyes shining with determination. “Yes, we're a strong family. The Bigfoot won't scare us away from our home."

Ethan’s wife addressing the children says: “No matter what happens, we'll face it together. Our love will guide us through."

She also has been trying her best to maintain a sense of normalcy, putting on a brave face for her family. She keeps the house meticulously clean, cooks their favorite meals, and attempts to engage the children in their usual activities. However, the strain is evident in her eyes and the forced smiles she wears. Her heart races at the slightest sound, and sleep eludes her as she listens intently for any sign of the Bigfoot's return.

Meanwhile, Ethan has again taken on the role of protector, determined to fortify their home against any potential threat. He spends his days reinforcing windows, strengthening doors, and keeping his rifle within arm's reach. Though he tries to reassure his wife and children, his own fear is hard to conceal. Restless nights are spent in vigilant watchfulness, the haunting image of the Bigfoot's glowing eyes forever etched in his mind.

The family's attempts to seek help from the local authorities were met with skepticism. The existence of the Bigfoot is dismissed as mere legend and myth. They family felt increasingly isolated, trapped within their own home, as their pleas for assistance went unanswered.

Yet, amidst the suffocating fear, the family found solace in their unity. Their shared terror and the desperate need to protect one another strengthened their bond much like the bond that existed between Ethan and his army buddy. Evenings were spent huddled together, sharing stories and trying to distract themselves from the impending threat. The children sought comfort in the warm embrace of their parents, while the parents draw strength from the resilience of their children.

Despite their efforts to carry on with their lives, the lingering fear of the Bigfoot's return casts a long shadow over their every moment. The once inviting forest now held a sinister presence, and the tranquility of their home had been replaced by an eerie suspense. Every silence of the night became a chilling reminder of the lurking terror that surrounded them.

After weeks of living in constant fear and tension, the family again found themselves on the brink of a climactic confrontation. The night was heavy with anticipation as the Bigfoot returned, its presence more imposing and its attacks more ferocious. It seemed to sense that this would be its final chance to torment the family.

Driven by a primal need to protect his loved ones, Ethan made a bold decision. He steped out into the open, rifle in hand, and locks eyes with the towering beast. The Bigfoot stood unyielding, its glowing eyes reflecting a chilling intelligence.

As Ethan stands face-to-face with the Bigfoot, he musters all his courage and directs his words towards the formidable creature. "This ends now! You've terrorized my family for far too long. Leave us be!"

The Bigfoot, its eyes glowing with an eerie intensity, responds with a guttural growl, seemingly undeterred by Mr. Williams' words.

Ethan, his voice filled with determination, continues to challenge the creature: "You may be powerful, but I will do whatever it takes to protect my loved ones. We will not live in fear any longer!"

The Bigfoot, its towering presence seemingly unyielding, prepares to launch an attack. But Ethan remains resolute, refusing to back down. "I won't let fear control us! We are stronger than you, and we will prevail!"

The battle between man and beast intensifies, the echoes of their confrontation resounding through the night. With every shot fired, each word spoken, Ethan fights not only for his family's safety but also for their freedom from the relentless grip of terror.

The Bigfoot lunged at Ethan again with terrifying speed, but he stood his ground. The roar of his rifle filling the air, each shot a defiant echo through the quiet forest. The creature staggers, wounded but far from defeated.

Inside the safety of their home, his wife and the children listen intently, their hearts pounding with fear and hope. Their prayers are with their courageous father and husband as he faces the nightmarish creature.

Undeterred, the Bigfoot attacks once again, but Ethan anticipates its move. With a swift sidestep, he evades the beast's grasp and fires another shot, this time striking its leg. The Bigfoot bellows in pain, stumbling momentarily, granting Ethan the opportunity for a final, fatal blow. The creature collapsed, its roars fading into silence.

A wave of relief washes over Ethan as he realizes that this time he has emerged victorious. He has defended his family and put an end to their torment. Returning to the house, he is greeted as a hero. Embracing his family, they find solace in each other's arms, knowing they have survived the ordeal. Their lives may be forever changed, but they now carry the strength of resilience and the bonds forged in the face of unimaginable fear.

In the aftermath of the final confrontation, Ethan’s family found itself in a state of disbelief. The menace that had haunted them for weeks was finally defeated. The relief was palpable, but so was the sense of loss. Their peaceful home had been invaded, their lives turned upside down.

The morning after the fight, they ventured out to see the fallen creature. The sight of the lifeless Bigfoot evoked a complex mix of emotions - triumph, relief, but also a strange sense of sadness. This creature had been their tormentor, but it was also a part of the forest they loved, a creature that was just trying to survive.

They decide to bury the Bigfoot in the forest, near the creek where they used to fish. It was a quiet, somber event, a stark contrast to the violent confrontation of the previous night and the conflict Ethan faced in the desert. They marked the grave with simple wooden cross, a quiet acknowledgment of the creature's existence.

The family decided to keep their encounter with the Bigfoot a secret. They were aware that no one would believe their story, and they feared the attention it might bring. They fixed the damages to their house, eraseing all signs of the fight, and tried to move on. But the memories of the Bigfoot remained, a constant reminder of their ordeal.

Ethan couldn't shake the feeling that his journey was not yet complete. He knew that he had to return to the place where it all began, to face the remnants of war and find closure. With determination burning in his eyes, he made the decision to go back to the war-torn desert.

As Ethan stepped onto the familiar soil, a mix of emotions flooded his being. The once bustling city now lay in ruins. Buildings stood as mere skeletons of their former selves, their walls scarred by the violence that had consumed the land. The streets were empty, the echoes of life long gone.

He walked through the deserted city, memories flashing before his eyes. Every corner held a piece of the past, a painful reminder of the battles fought and lives lost. The weight of his past pressed upon him, threatening to suffocate him.

But as he continued his journey, he encountered a glimmer of humanity amidst the destruction. He met locals who had remained, despite the chaos, determined to rebuild their lives. Their resilience and unwavering spirit inspired him, reminding him of the strength that lies within the human soul.

And so, the young soldier, once broken, found the courage to rebuild his life. He became an advocate for combat trauma awareness, helping others who had experienced similar pain. His journey taught him that healing is a process, and that even in the darkest of times, there is always a glimmer of hope. He had faced his demons, found his purpose, and brought light to the darkness.

Nevertheless, Ethan vowed to continue fighting, not just for himself, but for all those who have suffered and still suffer the consequences of war or threat. With a renewed sense of determination, he stepped into the future, ready to face whatever challenges lay ahead in his ongoing journey of healing and recovery.

Sometimes a story can be much deeper than it appears from the surface. Sometimes things symbolically represent something else or have dual meanings. Maybe this is such a story so I'll add some more perspective for the reader to consider.

From a psychological perspective, the story offers an exploration of the various human responses to fear, stress, and threat. The attacks on Ethan in the desert and later his family in Northern Michigan can be seen as a traumatic events, triggering a variety of psychological responses.

1. Fear and Anxiety: The recurring attacks induce a state of chronic fear and anxiety within Ethan and his family members. This is evident in their heightened vigilance, difficulty sleeping, and constant anticipation of danger. These are typical symptoms of anxiety disorders, demonstrating the profound impact of a threatening event on emotional well-being.

2. Coping Mechanisms: Each family member employs different coping strategies to deal with the situation. Ethan adopts an active coping strategy, preparing for confrontation and taking measures to protect his family. In contrast, his wife employs emotion-focused coping, attempting to maintain normalcy and comfort for the children despite the threat.

3. Resilience and Post-traumatic Growth: Despite the terrifying ordeal, the family demonstrates resilience in the face of adversity. They manage to survive the attacks, and in the aftermath, they find a new normal. This resilience reflects their ability to adapt to stressful circumstances and recover from trauma. Furthermore, the experience leads to post-traumatic growth, as the family emerges stronger, more united, and with a renewed appreciation for their life.

4. Trauma and Memory: The experience with the Bigfoot becomes a traumatic memory for the family, significantly impacting their life. The decision to bury the Bigfoot and keep the incident a secret reflects their attempt to control the narrative of their trauma, a common response in trauma survivors.

However, there are also philosophical and mythological interpretations of the story.

From a philosophical standpoint, the story can be seen as a reflection on the nature of reality and our understanding of it. Ethan’s family is trying to live a peaceful life, separated from the rest of society, with a firm grasp on their understanding of their world. The appearance of the Bigfoot disrupts their reality, introducing an element that they cannot understand or explain. This could be seen as a commentary on the limits of human understanding and the inevitable existence of the unknown in our lives.

The Bigfoot could be interpreted as a symbol of the sublime, a philosophical concept referring to something that is impressive and awe-inspiring yet also terrifying due to its overwhelming power or scale. In this sense, the Bigfoot represents the overpowering force of nature and the universe, which is both beautiful and terrifying. The family's confrontation with the Bigfoot signifies humanity's attempt to confront and make sense of the sublime, to make the unknown known.

From a mythological perspective, the story draws on the archetypal narrative of man versus beast. This is a common theme in many myths and legends, symbolizing the struggle between civilization (represented by Ethan’s family) and the wild, untamed forces of nature (represented by the Bigfoot).

The Bigfoot itself is a creature of myth, often associated with the wilderness and the unknown. In this story, it serves as an embodiment of the wild and untamed forces that exist outside the boundaries of human society. Its defeat at the hands of Ethan mirrors the mythological motif of the hero slaying the beast, symbolizing humanity's ability to conquer fear and face the unknown.

Furthermore, the family's decision to bury the Bigfoot and keep its existence a secret can be seen as a reflection of the human tendency to mythologize the unknown. By turning the Bigfoot into a secret, it becomes part of their personal mythology, a story that defines their experience and shapes their understanding of the world.

As Ethan crossed this threshold he had a profound realization that settled within him, casting a contemplative shadow over his being. He understood that his personal odyssey, though marked by significant milestones, remained an ever-evolving expedition. The tumultuous strife that had ravaged his reality continued to reside within the depths of his being, quietly demanding resolution.

Having confronted the inner demons that threatened to consume him, Ethan had discovered a profound sense of purpose and illuminated the obscured corners of his existence. Engaging in the battle of self-discovery, he had unearthed a profound understanding that growth and transformation were not finite destinations but rather perpetual processes. The quest for self-realization, he realized, was not a linear path to be traversed and conquered, but rather an intricate tapestry of introspection and evolution.

As he contemplated the intricacies of his journey, Ethan embraced the notion that the pursuit of inner harmony required an unwavering commitment to self-reflection and a willingness to confront the shadows that lay dormant within. He understood that the battle to transcend his own limitations and embrace his true essence would be an ongoing endeavor—a symphony of self-discovery played out in the ever-changing landscapes of his soul.

With this newfound awareness, Ethan acknowledged that his journey was not defined by a single destination but rather by the continuous exploration of his own depths. He understood that the pursuit of inner harmony was not merely a destination to be reached, but rather a profound process of becoming. With every step forward, he embraced the fluidity of his transformation, recognizing that he was not defined by his past, but rather shaped by the choices he made in the present. He found solace in the realization that growth, like life itsel was an ever-evolving dance of adaptation and renewal.

Ethan learned to navigate the intricate landscapes of the soul and embrace the ongoing battle within him as a testament to his ever-evolving nature. He understood that true fulfillment lay not in the destination, but in the relentless pursuit of personal growth and the embrace of the unknown. In this perpetual dance, he found liberation, purpose, and the profound beauty of being human.

Feb. 14, 2024, 7:32 a.m. 0 Report Embed Follow story
The End

Meet the author

Richard E James Ed. D, Ph. D Greetings, I am a seminary graduate, Ph. D Psychologist and Doctorate of philosophy. I enjoy studying world religions, travel and the search for life’s meaning. I personally believe that truth does not lie in what the world tells us to believe but rather in what it shows us through our experiences.

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