Friday, October 14, 2011

The Whistler

I have shared many stories from my childhood over the past several weeks. This marks moving from childhood into my teenage years. These will not be in order. But, true as to the best of my recollection. When I am not sure if it happened or if it some half-remembered dream that my imagination has formed into reality, I will let you know.

The Whistler, still active from what I have heard, is an odd thing that directly relates to the blurring line between fantasy and reality in the land of Little Egypt where I lived until I joined the Army. Many things go on that we need not mention in a public forum in order to protect the reputations of people who would rather not have their past exposed. The Whistler, however, is an exception and a few who know - who were actually there, read this blog from time to time. I hope the title brings back the excitement and fear.

Pa Karl's place was butted up against a nice patch of woods. His house was an in-ground type. So we lounged about on the roof or on the sloping hill on the side facing the woods.
It was a great place, the woods and the house. In the woods we road ATVs, walked the trails and meandered through all day long. Night time would come and we stuck mainly to the trails.
The woods wound around and came to some other homes and a campground. During the winter months we were the most frequent travelers. However, when the weather warmed and school was out, we would run into people from all over the US. This was always fertile ground for teenage boys to find a girl willing to hangout with the locals and maybe even share a kiss or five.

One night, late Spring, we were in the lull between Spring Break and the influx of campers. Me and a couple of friends were lounging outside on the hill. A couple of us were smoking and we were talking about those things we found important at the time.
One of us, not sure who, whistled a little three or four note tune. A few seconds later, the tune returned from the woods. One of us said, "Hmmm. Never hear an echo here before."
That was followed by the yell, "Echo!"
We waited.
No echo returned.
"Try whistling again," I said.
One of the guys did it. A few seconds later the whistle returned. We then tried different whistles and each was returned. We had some disagreement as to whether they were always returning form the same spot. It seemed to some of us, including me, that the whistling was getting closer.

We carried on with the calling out and the whistling for several minutes. Our words were never echoed but the whistles were nearly every time. We discussed the trees and how sound travels. We were pretty in depth with our explanations.
Eventually we became bored. Somebody waved a dismissive hand toward the woods and said, "Stupid echo freaking us out."
That's was answered with a cackling laugh from the edge of the woods. We ran around the house and inside. We were afraid.
After we were inside we quickly rationalized away all of it. We made fun of one another and we moved on.

But that's not the end of it. Because we didn't move on. We went back. And we tried again.
We had the same results on most nights. Sometimes, though, we never had a response. We know it wasn't an echo. We thought it was a person but that wasn't it either.
How do we know it wasn't a person. A couple of reasons. One, if a person was as close as the Whistler, Samson, Pa Karl's dog, would have tore out after them or ran to the woods and barked them down. He never came around when the Whistler was about. Two, the people we would have suspected to pull such a prank, were with us when we heard the Whistler.

The question is still there. What is the Whistler? Why, after over twenty years, can we still hear it mocking us? Why were we always to afraid to go look in the woods? And what was it that punched me in the face the night we had the fire burning in the woods? But that's another story... Or is it part of the same?

If you were around for the Whistler... Leave a comment or memory below.

Until next time.... READ!


  1. Zach claims he heard the same whistler not too long ago out there.


  2. With all this life material, seems you had no choice but to become a writer ;)

  3. Becoming a writer was certainly the best of the choices that could result from some of these things!