We want the world to be a safe predictable place. While some of us like surprises, we really do not like to be surprised in most cases because usually those surprises that occur many times are not pleasant. I think that is why we tend to like things to be routine. Granted there are those who like to live on the edge and in a constant state of flux, but the majority of us prefer routine. This is why when something out of character or out of place occurs, we tend to search for an explanation to comfort ourselves and understand what we just experienced.
A few weeks ago in the evening my wife Katie and I had just such an experience, one that does not easily fit into a standard explanation. In fact to this day no matter how much I attempt to rationalize away the incident, the less I believe my reasonable explanations. In addition, I'm not big on keeping secrets and I have a drive to understand and explain the unusual, and so I'm asking for your assistance. I am certain our encounter was not the first of its kind on the Broad Mountain and I'm seeking others with similar tales in an attempt to determine the nature of the phenomenon we unwittingly witnessed.
I have driven over the Broad Mountain hundreds if not thousands of times since I have had a license, especially in the last 11 years since my wife Katie is from White Haven. I have made these trips at all hours of the day and night and not once did I see anything outside of the run-of-the-mill deer or bear roaming the mountain. I have heard tales of the Mountain as I'm sure many of you have as well. One recent tale dealt with an area bank robber who supposedly hid his loot on the mountain. My understanding is that quite a bit of the pilfered money was found, but of course, the rumors are that there is more hidden out there somewhere.
The state likes to make claims about wildlife as well. According to the Game Commission, officially there are no mountain lions, panthers or other wild cats in the state. There may be some bobcats roaming around, but they seem reluctant to even agree to that. As far as ghosts are concerned, the state will tell you none of their properties have phantoms either. In each of these cases, I think the state just doesn't want to deal with reality so they bury their collective bureaucratic head in the sand and ignore what people tell them.
I've talked to several people who hunt and hike the mountain and a few of them would differ with the official state position since they have personally seen such wildcats. In fact, they tell me besides the cats it is not unusual to see coyotes on the mountain. They tell me these animals are quite bold and will roam right onto the highway during the day, but I have yet to see one on Route 93.
Besides wildlife, there are stranger things. Emergency personnel with whom I have spoken and will remain nameless have told me tales of more than animals on the mountain. I have heard anecdotes of lights mysteriously appearing along the roads on the mountain at night near areas where tragic accidents have occurred. Supposedly these lights will appear with no visible source and remain in those areas for several minutes. Could they be the lost souls of those who were tragically killed in accidents on the mountain and are unable to find their way home? I would imagine anything is possible. Yet the story I have does not even fit such a neat urban legend.
About three weeks ago around 10 p.m., my wife Katie and I were coming home from her parents' house. It was a dark, but clear night with stars shining overhead. There was no fog or mist in the area so the drive was rather uneventful up to the point where we started to descend the Broad Mountain toward Nesquehoning. If you are familiar with the mountain, then you will remember there is a pull-off at the top of the mountain to give large trucks the ability to down-shift and prepare to come down the south side of the slope.
We just passed this area and began our downward travel. All of a sudden, something silvery-gray swooped across the road about four feet above the car and passed it on the driver's side. It startled me and I made an involuntary groan, but before I could fully react a second silvery mass swooped straight at the passenger side of the car swerving around the outside of that side as well.
"Did you just see"was all I was able to say before my wife answered, "I saw something. What did you see?" I told her I saw these two flat sheet like masses fly directly at the car. "I don't know how to describe them exactly."
"I saw two eel-like shapes fly directly at us before they swooped over the car," Katie said describing them as having a silverfish color but more slithery. We both agreed they flew over the car on either side and disappeared into the night. I can say this, they looked nothing like any type of animal or bird either of us had ever seen before.
Three weeks later and I still have no idea how to adequately explain that encounter, so now I am wondering if any of you have had a similar experience. Please write or e-mail me and share your strange encounter on the Broad Mountain. I will keep your identity a secret but I am curious to know if anyone else saw something like that.
Til next time…