Famous Cases | Historical Tales | Vampires | Zombies
Base: Mount Pleasant, Michigan, United States
Date/Time: 9/24-10/1/2012, various times
Incident: This is a follow-up report continuing the investigation into several heavily mutilated bodies found in the Mount Pleasant area.
After the incident with the gunshot I found myself dancing carefully around the proposition of launching head first back at the investigation. Monsters in the night were one thing but the very real possibility of being shot to death lingered as I began to formulate my next step. I almost called it quits, and then the third killing hit.
[Redacted], a physics major in the Central Michigan University, was found dead in the Veits woods nature sanctuary near the CMU Campus on the morning of Monday, September 24. Once again she was recovered along the banks of the Chippewa River where she was found by her roommate. The victim had made a habit out of jogging the 30-acre nature reserve, and when she did not return home on time her friend went out looking. The woods themselves do have paths frequented by joggers, hikers, and the CMU biology department who often perform field examinations and tests within the sanctuary. She was found missing her legs and lower abdomen. What caught my attention about this murder however were her hands, which had been bound with plastic zip ties. The police turned the investigation from animal attacks to homicide and launched a full investigation.
It was three days before they had cleared out and I could get in there to take a look around. Honestly, the majority of my reports on the bodies come from what little was published in the papers, what I could get out of campus police and the rampant rumor mill. It was this third option which provided most of my information on this one as she was found by a student who did what students do and became a voice box of exaggerations. However, if even a part of this was true it did burrow a pit into my gut.
I borrowed my friend’s camera--I told her it was for my Geography lab on Topography--and took my mag light and a simple audio recorder. I also brought along a weather seal bag to carry it all in just in case I found myself taking another unexpected swim. I entered the Veits woods sanctuary from the northern gate at 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, September 27th, and set off across the goldenrod field toward the quickly reddening autumn tree line. The pathways through the sanctuary are placed to stress the natural beauty of the environment rather than simply providing the quickest path to the river front, so it took me around 40 minutes to find my way to the banks of the Chippewa. Another 10 minutes and I found the scene of the crime.
Just off the principal jogging trail the scene was marked by mass of footprints in the dirt and a small pile of uprooted vegetation that had been cleared from the bank during the investigation. Along this stretch of the river the bank had undergone some pretty severe erosion over the past few years, creating a steep seven- to eight-foot drop from the higher hiking trail down to the rocky shoreline. Carefully I dropped myself down. Much as I expected there was little to find. The police had trampled over just about everything, and any shred which could have been considered even close to evidence was gone. But, it did give me a good starting point. On my phone I pulled up a map of the river. Last time the body had floated downstream some before its arrival, however, we know this was not the case in this incident. She had been jogging in these woods when she was killed, meaning I was closer to the actual scene of the crime where I was now than I had ever been before.
I first walked down river just to be sure, stopping when I reached the fence at the edge of the sanctuary. Finding nothing, I began to walk back upriver, scanning both banks as best I could for any more claw marks or evidence of activity. I began to grow frustrated as I reached the opposite fence post with nothing to show of my work. It was rapidly approached 6:00 and if I wanted to be back at my car before sundown I needed to get moving. Steeling myself, I resolved to make the walk back on the other side of the river, which of course meant getting soaking wet in autumn once again. I stripped down and bound my clothes around each other. Holding my bundled belongings above my head, I began to wade across the frigid current. Every step was an effort, the biting water sucking away my strength with each moment. It never got higher than chest deep, but by the time I emerged my legs and feet were a frigid, deathly white. I dressed again in warm (although damp) clothes and started down the opposite bank.
|Werewolves sometimes use trees to sharpen their
claws. Look for five marks 10 to 12 feet off the ground.
Hiking here was far more difficult with the dense, unmaintained brush perpetually trying to push me back into the drink, but I managed to set up a fairly constant pace, my eyes sweeping the tree line and the bank itself. Only 80 or so feet away from the crime scene on the adjacent bank I found what I was looking for. I was standing on the thin strip of dry land between the river and the beginning of the bank, long eroded leaving an eight foot cliff face which descended down to where I stood. At the upper edge of this little cliff were grooves worn into the hard packed dirt. Carefully I pulled myself up and took a closer look. There were eight marks in total, gathered in clusters of three and five and spread about four feet apart from each other. An eyeball estimation put them at around the same thickness I saw on the markings on the tree. Three marks dug in to the left, and five into the right, almost as if the animal were missing two "fingers" from the left paw. Upon looking closer I also found something else odd: boot prints in the dried mud . Measuring them to my own feet I put them somewhere around a Men’s 12.
The boot prints seemed to mill about, then head deeper into the woods. I followed them as best I could; however, lacking any formal tracking training it was an arduous and uphill battle. Worse yet the ground was quickly becoming covered in a fine layer of leaves the deeper I went. Twenty paces in I found a single shell cartridge wedged in the dirt, its tip slightly bent inward as if it had been stepped on. I know hunting is illegal in the sanctuary so the shell stuck out. I grabbed it and discovered that it was a .308, the same kind of gun that had been used to shoot at me just earlier in the week. Possessed by sheer curiosity (and a small desire to find out who tried to kill me) I forgot my previous terror and went deeper. The prints went in another thirty or so yards before I lost them entirely in the leaves. A quick check at my watch told me I had only about another 50 minutes before sundown and I was not going to let myself get caught out in the woods at night with potentially a werewolf and psychopaths with guns. I decided to head back.
That's when I saw it: a dark brown bottle. I picked it up. It was empty but carried within it a powerful chemical smell which made me dizzy. I pocketed it, hoping it meant something.
I snapped a quick picture of the claw marks on the embankment then started back. Another chilly swim and a frenzied power walk later and I found my way back to the relative safety of my car. I didn't know what I had yet, but I knew it had to mean something. I took the bottle and the shell casing home and set myself up to examine them. The bottle was older, or at the very least had been sanded to a sort of beach glass softness. I would have mistaken it for trash had it not been the fact that it was still fully intact and seemed to have some sort of unknown chemical inside of it. The bullet was another matter. Now I am no expert in firearms, and to be perfectly honest guns scare the crap out of me. But I did manage to notice a few things. The casing had vertical striations along its inside surface that didn’t seem to be part of its design. Furthermore the bottom of the bullet lacks any manufacturer marking I could see, but rather has a simple caliber designation next to a small triangular impression in the soft metal.
I contacted my friend in the chemistry department. I passed the bottle off to him, and with the hefty sum of twenty dollars and a bottle of scotch I had been saving I got him to agree to take a look at it. The bullet was another matter entirely. In a college town the need for gunsmiths is… well let’s just say they are in lower demand than they are in Detroit. But, there was a pawn shop out on M20 which advertised gun sales, so I headed out that way.
The place was located next to a novelty sex shop and an IHOP on this little strip in Mount Pleasant. I went inside.
To my surprise the man inside was rather grandfatherly, if you could get past some of the obviously stolen merchandise. I showed him the bullet and he explained that the tool marks I saw were the same kind you see on casings that have had multiple bullets shoved into them. Someone was making their own bullets, which meant that there wasn’t a good way to track down where the ammunition had been purchased. The impression though, he said, was more helpful. See, reloading benches (the legal ones anyway) have a small stamp built into the clench they use to pack the bullet. While not unique each one indicates a brand or a model. Hunters would often use these markings to identify each other’s brass, which became useful if you had a party of hunters who would prefer to load their own bullets. This one, he explained to me, was mostly used by hunters out on the reservation.
I thanked the man, and bought a cheap camera for myself in return for the information. I now had a lead; where it was going I had no idea. Whoever left that shell casing was likely the same man who took a shot at me. With the other casing in police hands I had no way of verifying this, but if it was true it meant the person I was looking for was on reservation lands, and they would know what was behind these killings. I went home to catch some rest when my phone rang again. It was Brian, he took a look at the bottle and explained that it was Ether, a basic compound which when ingested or breathed in could cause severe dizziness and even sedation.
I couldn’t sleep, so I laid out everything I knew. The latest victim was bound with twist ties, I found a homebrew sedative at the scene. I was shot at by likely the same gun associated with the casing I found. The claw marks indicated something else was in the area beyond crazy humans. So, what did that leave me with? I resolved to get some sleep, go to classes tomorrow, and then worry about it.
Of course it didn’t work. I ended up skipping class Thursday. The reason was simple: there was an active lead and soon enough more people would die. I don’t know why, call it stupidity or maybe a childish idea of heroism, but I convinced myself that this was mine to deal with. Somewhere out on the Ojibwa reservation somebody knew what was going on, and I intended to find out.
I looked up gun shops on the reservation lands and found just one. It stood to reason that they would be able to point me in the right direction about who had been purchasing .308 casings for a reloading bench. So, I took my mag light which had become my own little security blanket, my camera, my cell phone and a pack of gum and went off to try and be a big damn hero. From here on this report gets a bit disjointed, and for that I apologize.
I went out to the [redacted] bait and ammo shop. Now, for me entering the reservation is a bit of a problem mostly because I am not native. They tolerate college kids coming along to their liquor store or to purchase fireworks but beyond that they want their community to be for them alone. Which is understandable given the history, but it doesn’t make my task any easier. Avoiding the cold stares from children and one tribal police car which trailed me for two miles I found my way to the shop. It was pleasant looking, with a neon open sign out front. I noted a larger attachment on the back of the storefront which seemed to be a personal home. I parked my car and went inside. I looked at my phone:, it was 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, September 27th. I will remember this because lately it has become a dividing line in my life between eras.
The inside of the store smelled of cigar smoke and there were hunting knives sitting in a glass case, racks of ammunition and hunting camo. An elderly native man stood behind the counter, tapping his cigar out into a small wooden ash tray. I greeted him and after that the details of our conversation are a little mixed up in my head, but it went a little like this:
“Yes sir, I, uh, well I have a shell casing here that I found out in the woods. It has a reloading stamp on the bottom and I was hoping to find its owner to give it back to him. Would you happen to know wh-“
“What stamp is it?” –I showed him- “No. No one uses that one out here.”
“Are you sure? I was told in town that it was used mostly by reser-“
“By what. Indians? Get the hell out of my store you racist little bastard.”
“Hey, I am not trying to be racist here, chill out man.”
“I said get the fuck out!”
I turned to go, unwilling to engage him on his own turf. I took two steps when something hard and heavy hit me in the back of the head. In the movies everything goes black and the victim just drifts off into oblivion. I really, really wished this had been true. Instead pain flared up like an angry flame and I fell, smashing my shoulder on a metal rack as I went. The guy was over me now, rifle in his hand and bringing the butt of it down onto my face. Two more hits and I could do little more than cry out and hope he was going to shoot me.
Instead he grabbed me by the foot. My right eye socket had broken inward, and I could hardly see out of my swelling left eye and my head was beginning to throb as a concussion set in. My memory here grows fuzzy for a bit. I remember a distinct change in temperature. Later I would note this is because of the stretch of chilled lawn he must have dragged me through between the back of the shop and the shed 20 yards behind it. I remember the smell of dust and a sort of animal musk. Gravity inverting, darkness and the feeling of burlap on my skin. I think it was here that I finally, blissfully went to sleep.
I awoke what I can only assume is a few hours later. I was suspended by my wrists and for it my shoulder sockets screamed in pain. I took a moment, slowly putting pieces together from my shaken brain. The clerk had attacked me. Either he was the person who shot at me, or I had just stumbled into an entirely separate psychopath. I took stock. My face was swollen and bruised, my shoulders now ached as did my wrists. I had a sack over my head that felt like thick burlap, and some sort of rope held my wrists, just tight enough to have begun chaffing away the skin. I was hanging, and with my finger tips I could feel the game hook I was suspended by. I could see little light through the fabric, and there was a deepening smell of animal musk and something foul and chemical.
I weighted my options, and to little surprise found I didn’t have many. If I stayed I was dead for sure, but then how the hell would I escape? I am in shape but no Chuck Norris and pulling myself up in my current state was out of the question, as was tearing the rope. But, maybe I could rock my way off. If it was a hook like my fingers told me it would mean I would just need to gain enough momentum to slide the rope off the hook. I began to rock, using my legs to swing me.
Gently at first, then increasing in momentum I swung, the chain above me squeaking loudly and making me cringe. A minute, no more, and I felt the rope slip off the hook. I tumbled to the ground, cracking my knee onto the concrete. I bit my tongue to stop myself from crying out. It was at this point I heard it: a low, menacing a growl cut through the room. I managed to peel the sack from my head just in time to leap back, this time yelling as I my wounded body twisted to get away.
Never before and never since have I experienced such a total and consuming terror as what I saw in the corner there. It was massive, its body rippling with fur and muscle. The creature was missing its limbs, each a bloody stump. It glared at me, a malice I cannot quite quantify in its eyes. It snapped its muzzle at me and I scurried back. The creature was held to the corner by layer upon layer of thick tank chain, with several dozen large hooks sunk into its flesh to keep it from thrashing.
I surveyed the room. It was a small, dingy hunting shack. Behind me was what appeared to be a maintenance table, several tools and jars of powder and lead arranged about. Next to it was the reloading bench I had been looking for. I stood on shaky legs and checked the presses key; it had the same small symbol I had seen on the casing I found in the woods. The opposite wall as a nightmarish vision. A large wooden counter top was caked with blood, several large blades hanging from the peg board beyond. The final wall, furthest from the chained creature was a wall of photos.
In respect for the dead I won’t go into too much detail here. But what I saw was simple enough. It was a collection of hunting pictures, as well as pictures of naked men and women undergoing infection and transformation into creatures like the one in the corner. These people, whoever they were, had been engaging in a most dangerous sport. They capture people, then infect them with their pet monster in the corner, only to release them in the wilderness. Then, they hunt. But, everything I had read about these sorts of things led me to believe that a few yahoos out in the woods had little chance of actually hunting and killing one, yet here on this wall were half a dozen confirmed kills. That’s when the last piece clicked into place. The sedatives, the zip ties, the victims so far. They were drugging people to feed the creatures. It wasn’t perfect but it was the best explanation I could find from the horror show on the peg board. They had everything documented, from the moment they present their victim to the beast like a ripe turkey to the moment they release it onto the world. Like the most dangerous game if the game was an eight-foot man-eating monster. I noted that in all the pictures there were only two men, the one I saw earlier and another individual who was shorter and rounder with a hawk like face. Here they were, posed over their kills as if they lorded over a stag or boar.
|Werewolf depicted in an
18th century engraving.
I quickly became aware that at any moment they could return. Unarmed and injured, I didn’t like my odds at fending them off. They were obviously keeping me alive for something, be it bait or prey. I searched over the small cabin, giving the creature a wide berth as it sat and glared at me, snapping its jaws whenever I got too close. I almost felt bad for it in a way, another victim to these sociopaths. Underneath the reloading bench I hit pay dirt: most of the stock and barrel of a hunting rifle, discarded after being harvested of several of its parts. Now all that remained was a steel barrel attached to an oak chunk. It may as well have been a jury-rigged war maul.
Also on the table I found two shotgun shells. which I shoved into my pocket. The door was undoubtedly locked, so I prepared myself to try and break down the rotted wood.
I froze to the sound of footsteps outside. I had hoped to slip away into the night to notify the police, but they were here. I moved quickly to the side of the door. My hands were shaking. The door opened, and I swung the moment I saw the dark outline of a head.
I connected with a dull crack, a surprised yelp and the sound of a body hitting floor. I ran around and quickly dragged the individual inside and took a look at him. To my surprise, it was neither of the hunters, but a young woman, I would guess no older than sixteen. My blow had split open her forehead. Unlike me, she had found blissful slumber, although I doubted upon waking she would want more than to cry and beg for painkillers. Guilt instantly ate at me. Who knows who she was, or how much she knew? For all I knew I had just assaulted an innocent teenager. I took off my hoodie and wrapped her head and silently hoped she would still be alive when the police arrived. I searched her pockets, but alas no phone.
I stood again, begging her not to die, and slipped out the door. A two-hundred-yard field separated me from the back of the gun shop, with a deep, dark wood on the other three sides. I moved quickly across the field, waiting for the gunshot from the trees that would precede eternal darkness. However, no shot came and I slipped around to the front of the store.
Predictably, my car was gone, and with it my best chance at escape. Even if I ran, I would be too easy to find on the reservation. Out in the open like this I was too easy a target, so I slipped up onto the storefront porch and tried the front door. Unsurprisingly it was locked. I checked for a security sticker, and when I found none calmly stepped back then threw myself at the door. The door buckled but did not break, and for my efforts my shoulders screamed in pain. I threw myself at it again, then in desperation kicked the door. It swung inward with a crash, knocking free a rack of hunting caps which tumbled to the ground. As quickly as possible I slipped inside and shut the door as best I could, its frame now broken and splintered.
The shop that had seemed creepy and cramped before was not a nightmare. Guns lined the far wall, stacked so close they seemed prone to toppling over like dominos. Glass eyes from dozens of taxidermy animals glared at me from every corner. I looked to my makeshift club, and considered my options. I could grab a gun. I have never been one for guns, too frightening, too terrible in their power. Without proper training I knew I had a better chance of killing myself than any bad guys, so I began to poke through the store for a more powerful tool: a phone. I jumped the counter top and searched beneath it for a moment before finding pay dirt: a cell tucked away on a lower shelf next to a potentially loaded revolver. I picked it up and flipped it open, dialed 911, then paused as I heard footsteps yet again, these ones heavy and accompanied with the soft tones of conversation. The wall opposite the counter top had a door that I had assumed to be a side door. It opened and from the sliver I could see by peeking up through the glass case it instead went to a basement. Coming out of it was the hunters, their hands bloody and one holding a large cloth sack.
“Where the hell is Jen? She should have been back by now,” tall one said.
“She's fine. She's a good girl, cut her a little room to breathe. Speaking of which, we need to decide what we are going to do with our guest,” short one replied.
“We'll ask Mr. Finch.” tall one said.
“Why don’t we just infect him? If Mr. Finch is willing to buy one, I'm sure two would be better,” short one said.
“Best not to ris-“ At this point the two stop short, and move quickly for the door. They had noticed the busted door jam. I hit send on the phone and let it dial the police, but I couldn’t stay here any longer. I placed the phone back on the shelf and slipped down to the edge of the counter. Up in front the two seemed to be figuring it out, and had begun to shout at each other.
“Check the shed!” the tall one barked at the small.
I listened as shorty moved outside, and big and tall beginning to sweep the store. For one heart stopping moment his hand reached over the counter, claiming a rifle which had been propped against it on the opposite side from me. I recognized the butt of the gun from when it had smashed into my face. Squinting in the dark and trying not to breath too hard I waited, listening to him searching through the store. I heard his footsteps approaching, and knew he would be checking the counter before long. There was no out here that didn’t end in violence and I knew it. Even if I ran he had a gun, and would just shoot me in the back. Fueled by that pesky self-preservation I moved into a crouch and waited. Seconds became hours as I heard him coming closer and closer still. I watched his hand come to rest on the glass case, his face distorted through the warped panes.
I rose and brought my makeshift club down onto his arm as hard as I could.
His gun flew free and went off, shattering the display case closest to my right. The man howled and reached out for me, grabbing me by the shoulder and ripping me over the countertop and onto the ground. He was far stronger than me, and I am guessing a little more pissed. He hailed blows down onto me as I tried to defend my face. I reached out for the club but instead found something else: my mag light, hanging from his belt. I snatched at it and swung, connecting with the man’s temple and sending him to the floor with a grunt. I am not proud of what happened next, nor do I condone it. I should have never gone out there alone or investigated this without informing the police. But in that moment, torn between terror and pain I went a little rabid. I brought the twelve inches of steel down onto his skull again and again until his flesh split and ran hot. I don’t know how long I beat him, but when I was done he wasn’t breathing very well. I didn’t have time to tie him up, not with that gun shot, so I settled on dragging him behind the counter. There was one more out there and I had a good feeling he wouldn’t be in the charitable mood. Not to mention the girl I hit, who I couldn’t just leave behind in the shed with that beast. I slipped back across the lawn toward the hunting shack, silently praying the police would show up before I had to enter.
The front door was as I left it, hanging open by just an inch or so. I readied my now dented and broken mag light and pried open the door. The beast glared at me with hateful eyes, saliva dripping from its maw and pooling on the ground. But the girl and the short one were nowhere to be seen. Maybe they heard the gun and knew the police would come, so they fled into the woods. Maybe the thing… ate them? I looked at the beast and stepped inside just in time for one of the prep cleavers to narrowly miss my head, lodging itself into the doorframe with a solid thunk.
The short one was inside, hiding in the very same blind spot I had been when I hit the girl. He snarled at me, eyes wide and came at me again, this time with a small knife. I tried to hit him but was too slow, the knife biting into my arm and tearing through bicep. I have been hurt before on the rugby field, or getting beaten up, but nothing quite matches the agony of a fresh stab wound. I screamed, pushing with my free arm as hard as I could but he came at me again. I managed to dodge but not quick enough as he sliced a clean tear through my lower stomach. Worse yet I had managed to position myself right in front of the beast, its breath hot on the back of my legs. I was bleeding badly, and running on the absolute edge of exhaustion, so when he came at me again I didn’t fight. I just let myself fall.
He tripped over me and went stumbling into the creature. I heard his scream and the first wet snapping crunch as it took him in the shoulder. I didn’t look, inching myself away from the scene as I felt blood spray on my back. I collapsed when I hit the door to the shack, unable to move. But I could listen. The screaming stopped quick enough. After that just came the steady and constant crunching accompanied with the shifting of the beasts chains.
The tribal police, to their credit, arrived two minutes later, only eleven minutes after I had called. I didn’t have to explain much, which was good because I don’t think I could have articulated my evening if I had tried. As they escorted me on a stretcher to an ambulance a few minutes later I saw a few officers enter the hunting shack. I can’t be sure, but I think as they closed the doors I could hear gunfire coming from the shed.
I spent a month in the hospital recovering from fractured ribs and eye socket, along with two stab wounds. In truth these were much less deadly than the infection that set in almost instantly and nearly killed me. I missed out on a full month of school, but in that time I had plenty of thinking to do, and even managed to make a few calls. The tall man was named [redacted], and he had survived his ordeal. He was currently in lockup awaiting trial for the killed hikers. The other, a Mr. [redacted], was pronounced dead at the scene, by apparent animal attack. Nothing of the beast or what they were doing seems to be in the report. What more odd is that the police never found the girl I had hit, and while I think they believe me some have suggested I imagined her in all the stress as neither individual were on record as having children. Furthermore this Mr. Finch I overheard about has yet to be found. What he was purchasing or who he is are all entirely unknown. I am taking my time healing, and am going to have to launch myself into school work to make sure I can still graduate in December, although the university seems willing to work with me.
I know, compared to my last report this story seems outlandish. But it happened. I was stupid, and I didn’t follow my gut and just trust the cops and for it a man is dead and I have nerve damage in my arm for likely the rest of my life. I don’t know if I will continue looking into these sorts of things. But I know I cannot regret what happened here, because at the very least some justice got done.
Comment from Dr. Pecos: This is certainly one of the, if not the, most fantastical account I've seen in the annals of the site. If true, then you are one determined investigator, and I wish you a speedy recovery. I've never heard of anyone using werewolves for sport because they are simply too powerful and aggressive to keep for any amount of time. Of course, stranger things have happened. If you have any photos or news accounts to back up or supplement your story, please send them along. I may need to get up to Michigan ASAP.