Posted by: Craig Woolheater on November 5th, 2006
Mysterious "White Thing" Haunts Residents for Generations
Sunday, September 24, 2006
al.com Everything Alabama
The hour was late; the weather was warm. Back then, air conditioning for most folks meant an open window. Whenever her daddy worked the swing shift at the steel mill, eight-year-old Connie slept in the bed with her mother.
Restless in the heat, Connie was half-awake when she heard a sudden shrill scream like nothing she had heard before. She bolted to the window and peeked out. A gas light at the end of the front walkway gave her a clear view of something in the driveway a huge white creature, curled up in a ball and lying very still.
In my childs eye, it was huge, much bigger than me, even bigger than my dog Brownie, a collie mix, says Connie Horsley, now a grandmother of three. I screamed and looked away.
Connie’s mother scurried to the window to see what all the commotion was about, but the thing whatever it was was gone. In the distance, they could hear crying, a haunting sound of distress.
Ichabod Crane and the folks of Sleepy Hollow have nothing on the good people of Happy Hollow in Trussville. Ichabod is famed for fleeing that relentless headless horseman who made his famous ride on Halloween night.
On Happy Hollow Road, residents see the fabled White Thing year round. The fearsome creature is reportedly snow white and has a piercing scream, much like that of a woman in distress or a baby crying. He is reportedly as tall as a man with claws strong enough to scrape bark off trees, and as swift as the wind. White Thing sightings have been reported for at least 150 years.
Connie, a lifelong Trussville resident, grew up on Happy Hollow Road, back before urban encroachment had leveled trees and cut gaping holes through woods and mountain.
I’d heard about The White Thing all my life, she remembers. My granddaddy was a Baptist preacher. We would sit outside on his covered porch and listen to him tell stories. He’d talk about the Bible, and tell us Bible stories, and then hed go into these other stories.
Connie recalls hearing her grandfather tell how back in about 1949, a group of men formed a posse to track the White Thing down. The men later reported that from a distance, they could tell that when he stood on his hind legs, he was tall or taller than a man.
They followed it as far as Roper Hill then lost sight of it, says Connie. But they could tell which way he went because where he had scraped the sides of trees, the bark was peeled away.
The sightings, she says, would be the talk of the town. I remember Daddy and our neighbor, Mr. Walker, talking about what this thing left behind. There was a kind of rural area just past our house and after every sighting people out there would find dead cows, or chickens, or goats all with their throats slit.
Connie’s mother, Hazel Taylor, has her own memories of the creature that has plagued more than four generations of Happy Hollow residents. Taylor was born in Trussville and has lived there all her 70-plus years.
I saw it more than once Hazel says, and heard it many more times, even as recently as last November. Everybody who has ever heard it always described that same sound, that high-pitched cry of distress. It would make that one sound then it was gone. You might hear it one more time, far in the distance, that hair-raising wail.
Hazel says her first encounter with the White Thing was when she was 13 years old. She was lying across her bed, suffering from a headache, when she suddenly became conscious of a loud, heavy panting outside a nearby window.
I opened my eyes and looked out the window, and he was standing right there, Hazel recalls. I screamed, and my uncle jumped off the porch and chased it with a shotgun, but he wasnt able to catch up with it. As far as I know, nobody else ever got that close.
According to Hazel, loud, heavy panting and barking dogs all over the valley always signaled the creatures presence. Her dad and some of his friends, she says, experienced that spine-chilling panting sound a little too close for comfort the year he turned 18. The boys were walking home from a hunting excursion when they heard a panting sound behind them. They turned to find the White Thing headed their way.
Thats all it took to get those boys running toward home, Hazel laughs. They ran as fast as they could with the thing hot on their heels. As my dad told it, his cousin was so frightened and going so fast, he didn’t even wait to open the door. He just went right through it, knocking the whole thing off its hinges and right to the floor.
Hazel admits that some far-fetched tales of the creature have sprung up over the years. One story claims the White Thing crept onto a front porch, frightening a dog and cat so badly that both literally climbed the walls and clung there for several days.
But Hazel believes that in all likelihood, the creature is actually a panther-like animal that hibernates because its usually seen in the spring and fall. She also reasons there has most likely been more than one White Thing.
We are not stupid enough to paint it as the same one for over a 100 years. Still, she adds, it was wonderful fun to get scared out of your wits as children. My granddaddy loved to entertain the children, and he told wonderful stories.
What is the White Thing? Is it an albino Bigfoot? A big cat? What do the readers of Cryptomundo think?