george harold fulks/June 3, 2011
(A search for answers to certain things humans sense continue. Ideas expressed herein are speculation only. Bigfoot could indeed exist.)
Thomas Crane, owner of an island bearing his surname within The Great Okefenokee
Swamp was a pious man. Devoutly religious, his faith in Christian Biblical scripture was incredible. And for I, the author, it is important that some of my
childhood experiences with his family and him be recorded.
One opaque memory is that Mr. Tom and his youngest soon, Bogart, would sometimes
walk to where my father, mother, and I lived- Camp Cornelia. The two would visit,
chat, have coffee; and then return five miles to Crane Island.
For them to walk ten miles, conditions had to be satisfactory. It had to be a
time when Mother bear had no cubs and were fat and fed. The diamond backs had to be
underground sharing burrows with gophers. (colloquialism for land tortoise)) Cool, brisky winds from the West, Northwest, or directly North made mornings good for walking. And when during Autumn, the sky was eye-blue; as if heaven shone through, that was a signal for Mr. Tom and Bogart to visit their friends at Camp
Cornelia, and they were welcome.
I'm John Redding. As a child and teenager there at Camp Cornelia, I became well-
acquainted with the residents of Crane Island- especially Bogart.
Bogart was not the boy's real name; but a tag his friends had placed on him. Part native-American of the Seminole Tribe, Bogart was bright and easy-going. Personally,
I often stood in envy of him for his mild manners, gentle nature, self-control, and
ability to get along with others. I guess one might call those qualities social skills.
As for Mr. Tom, he was expert at delivering speeches, stories, and lessons in such a
way that listeners were captured. One statement I recall him saying nearly sixty years ago is:"Where little or nothing grows, you can be assured of one thing. The devil is likely to be somewhere near. The good book says it, (Christian bible)and I believe it with all my heart.
There on a day in late Summer at Camp Cornelia, I happened to glance out the kitchen window of our log home there at Camp Cornelia, and there came Mr. Tom and his son, Bogart, That time they were on a different mission. The Great Okefenokee
Swamp had suffered two full years of drought. The sun was sweltering, and they were
hot, tired, and frightened. It was a poor time for hiking.
Knowing that their visit was not a friendly one because the Crane's were armed with rifle and
shotgun, the two swamp guides had seen something unusual and scary. They were tracking it; following it.
Approaching our kitchen screen door, Mr. Crane's voice trembled as he said: "John, you just don't know the thing we have seen. You never saw such a thing.
"It was the devil for sure. I never would have believed that anything that awful could be here in the swamp. It is the ugliest and terriblest looking thing I ever saw. Dinah, Bogart, and me are just scared to death of it".
As his daddy stopped talking, Bogart backed-up the story: "I've seen it too, John. I know you're always out walking here alone. Don't get out and fool around
like you do. Whatever the thing is, we followed its footprints all the way up to the
shallows on the Swanee Canal. I want to tell you. I've seen the thing several times, but it won't come closer than fifty yards from me. It'll stand at a
distance and look at me. I try to talk to it, but I don't think it understands me.
It's just as Daddy says, John It's a terrible, awful, and ugly thing. It must be the devil mimself".
In 1957, Bogart went away to college. He was one year older than I. Graduating from Charlton County High School in 1958, I also entered colleges. But I never stopped walking in that area; feeling a definite lure to the wilderness. Although I
feared poisonous snakes and alligators, by remaining alert and showing respect, they
and I accommodated each other. The bear, vultures, deer, and other wildlife came to accept me as a part of the eco-system known as The Great Ofenokee Swamp.
Over fifty years of meditation have passed, and all during that time I've pondered on the experiences of living on wildlife refuges. Something jet black
has occasionally followed my footsteps. But whatever that is has assisted me in many instances.
Another point to consider is that not all ugly and frightening things are evil. And those creatures from the underworld- those living below our footsteps comprise the
dominant species on Earth. They're much more numerous than we surface creatures.
Did the thing Mr. Tom and Bogart saw emerge from a cavern beneath that bog known as The Great Okefenokee Swamp? Good chance that's from where it came.