*An installment of an unexplained para case presented in Kolchak-esque style (fictionalized for delight). Links to the originating case are below. *
(intro to "Kolchak: The Night Stalker")
It was a quiet shimmering twilight in the lush green landscape of the charming community of Gastonia, North Carolina.
Citizens were heading into their homes to the smells of supper cooking. And, on their owners' heels, family dogs begged for treats. All was right with the world in this lovely berg.
That is, until the darkness began to creep in and, on the tails of it, a shadowy figure.
On this particular dusk, the idyllic tableau was about to be sidetracked by a most gruesome curiosity.
*Jane Doe glanced out her window while peeling some carrots. Her hands stilled as she made out a dark figure emerging from the woods outside her apartment complex. It was not uncommon for teens to use it as a shortcut to the local strip mall.
After a moment of watching it, a pale arm extended from the dark-hooded cape and a hand dropped something on the ground.
Jane frowned and stepped back from the window into the shadows as the shapeless figure pivoted and reentered the forest.
Wiping her hands off, Jane rushed to the doorway and went out back, crossing the neatly mowed apartment complex grass to study the object on the ground. She was prepared to angrily pick up a piece of litter carelessly discarded, but her eyes focused in on something slimy, red, raw and lumpy.
Jane covered her mouth and stepped back from the chunk of raw meat. Her eyes scanned the lush summer thicket but nothing stirred.
Even the birds were silent.
She rushed back to the safety of her home and locked the door.
Not sure who to talk to, Jane gave the apartment complex manager a call. Within minutes, he was out there in the grass in the growing darkness, stabbing at the meat with a stick.
After a few questions in Jane's doorway, she watched the manager turn and study the black forest and shake his head, telling her it was just some person discarding unwanted food for the critters.
As he walked away to the dumpster to discard of the meat, Jane cast one more glance back at the darkness and locked her door and turned on the patio light.
Every year, hundreds of citizens catch glimpses of murky figures emerging from the forests. Sometimes, they are explained as hunters, bears, and even, upon occasion, the reputed Bigfoot. Never before had someone complained about a druid leaving a hunk of raw meat on someone's lawn.
The 13th largest city in North Carolina with 71,000 residents, Gastonia was in for a summer of fear and apprehension under the unclear motives of the meat-depositing cloaked figure.
Authorities were not quick to buy into the bizarre story and questioned its authenticity.
The citizens, however, knew better.
Soon, people began to report oddities that they had witnessed in past weeks, hoping that when added to the whole, it might shed light on this freakish behavior.
Adding to the reports, a large pile of meat was found near the apartment complex a few weeks earlier, deposited in a bag on the grounds. The finder of this "gift" searched the area, found no one to claim it and deposited it into the trash dumpster on that hot summer day. He didn't report the find because he assumed it was someone's butcher shop purchase that fell out of a bag on the way home.
Following Jane Doe's find, the public conjecture was wild, everything from someone with a mental illness trying to feed wild cats to a vegan activist making people nervous to have bait for predatory animals near their children. The idea of a pagan making an offering to some unknown gods had crossed the minds of many, given that the cloaked figure did look rather druid-like and was seen to gesture with his or her arms upward and downward.
It wasn't until meat was left at a children's playground that the community began to take the oddity more seriously. Then, another citizen of a town some distance away mentioned seeing a similar cloaked figure following the same M.O. Pretty soon, local papers were carrying the news and the internet picked up the story as one of the odd pieces of interest.
There are an unlimited amount of possible explanations for the behaviors in this pleasant community in North Carolina. The most horrifying of them includes some sort of planned sacrifice or luring of wildlife to the sites of children and family.
It was a wet and muggy summer for this Carolina area, but it was made even more so by the mystery meat offerings by the unknown cloaked figure.
Nothing has been resolved for concerned citizens. The community is still asking: What was the intention of the silent figure and, more importantly, were the offerings over?
This Kolchak-like dramatization was based on this true story - HERE -