In the early 1980’s, Sam Bowie was a Staff Sargent in the United States Army assigned to a long-range reconnaissance company. During a field exercise deep inside a Florida Swamp, he had a paranormal encounter that changed his life.
This is Audio Stories with J.B. Simien and this is the story of "Hi! Hi! Hi!.” Please visit www.jbsimien.com to download this and other Audio Stories for later consumption. Also, please show your support for this show by purchasing a copy of my latest book Paranormal Mystery from Amazon. There are links in the show notes to the book.
Now the story.
Sam’s Army Ranger Company was conducting a three-day navigation exercise in the swampy terrain on Eglin Airforce base (in the state of Florida). The countryside that they navigated through was very difficult terrain in which to keep one’s correct location (during daylight hours). Therefore, it was more difficult, for his small team of five men (called a patrol) to navigate the swampy terrain at night.
On the second night of the exercise, the men were two hours into the third leg of their movement and they were lost. They located a small island just big enough to hold the team above the water level of the swamp. Climbing on their hands and knees, out of the water in the darkness of the island, they checked the muddy ground for snakes and alligators using the night vision scopes mounted on their assault rifles. Then they removed their heavy rucksacks and lay down to recover their strength. Sam pulled out the map and attempted to locate the island on it. The entire team noticed that a strong smell of urine, feces and decaying flesh inhabited the island.
Seconds after turning on a flashlight to check out the ground, team members made a gruesome discovery. Discarded partially consumed animal body parts were spread around the small island in various stages of decay. Some of the parts were fresh and others had long ago been consumed. There were also numerous piles of fresh feces. It appeared that the island was the nest of some very large predatory animals. The team had arrived while the predators were away.
Sam was still attempting to locate their position on the map when they all heard something very large splashing through the water towards the island. All flashlights were turned off upon hearing the sounds of movement. The men used their night vision scopes to scan the swamp in the direction of the sound. In the green vision of the scope, they could see what appeared to be two enormous “King Kong like” gorillas approaching the island.
When the patrol had approached the island, the water level had been up to their chest. Some of the men were six feet in height. Looking through the night vision scopes, at the two gorillas, the water level was between their waist and knees. They were very tall for gorillas (about ten to twelve feet in height).
The soldiers believed that they were observing two escaped zoo animals or pets that had been released into the wild. People did that all the time in Florida. A few Ranger teams had encountered large anaconda snakes on past exercises. At that point in time, the only place the men had ever seen gorillas was on TV. They had no realistic idea of correct gorilla proportions. However, the closer the pair got to the island the less gorilla-like they appeared to be. A powerful stench assaulted the men’s nostrils. It was much stronger than the stench of the island. While still looking through the night vision scope, someone on the team exclaimed in a whisper, “Fuck, those are Big Foots.”
Instinctively, as quietly as possible and while sill laying on the ground, the team formed a skirmish line facing the perceived threat. As they had practiced many times, they moved their backpacks between them and the oncoming creatures to create cover and support for their weapons. The Big Foots were close enough now to be seen without electronic aids. The team only had blank ammunition for their M-16 assault rifles. The weapons were worthless if the Big Foots attacked.
Sam took the pin-flare gun out of his breast pocket and fired off a round to illuminate the area. When the Big Foots heard the pop of the pen flare they froze half squatting in the murky water. The flair illuminated the area like daylight for about forty seconds. The Big Foots watched the flare arc and then descend to the surface of the water. The sudden illumination had temporally halted their progress toward the island. It had also temporally destroyed the team’s night vision. It must have also destroyed the night vision of the creatures because they didn’t move long after the flair had landed.
Not knowing what to expect from the Big Foots and fearing the worst. Sam chose to retreat. He shouted “Westport” the code word for the team to move to the last designated rally point. In this case, the team would move due west until they encountered the first dirt road. Sargent Morales, the assistant team leader, pulled out his compass and took up a heading of 270 degrees magnetic. He plunged into the swamp water on the other side of the small island. The team followed him one by one into the water. Sam, as team leader, brought up the rear. He needed to ensure that no men or equipment was left behind.
The men moved through cool chest-high water for hours toward the dirt road. On the movement to the road, several times they halted and just listen. They could hear the creatures moving behind them and talking to each other. When the creatures realized that the patrol had stopped moving, they would also stop. However, then they made sounds like they were calling out to the patrol. It sounded like one of them was saying Hi! Hi! Hi!
Sam thought that they would attack at any moment. The creatures could have easily caught the team if they wanted. After a while, he was sure that they were just curious. Upon reaching the dirt road the team set up a defensive perimeter and took out their field knives for protection. They used the radio to call for an extraction. While they waited the team could still hear the sounds of one of the creature’s shouting to them Hi! Hi! Hi!
Hours later, a helicopter landed on the road to extract them. As the helicopter circled around in the air to take up its course. The men could see the two Big Foot creatures through the trees below. They were looking skyward at the helicopter and using their hands to shield their vision from the sun. For a few minutes, the helicopter crew and the team circled the area looking at the creatures in disbelief. Then the big foots moved into a denser part of the swamp and disappeared.
In the operations debrief, the men were separated. However, each still managed to relate with accuracy the story of their encounter with the Big Foot creatures. The report was stamped confidential by the commander. For weeks after the incident, each time someone on the other Ranger Teams made a mistake, they would claim to have been chased by Big Foot. They turned the whole story into a joke. No one wanted to talk about it after that.
Three months later, on another field exercise to Eglin, a different team of Rangers encountered the island that Sam’s team had discovered that night. This time it was during daylight hours. The team discovered classic Bigfoot footprints all over the muddy island. They took photographs of the prints. The photos hung in the company’s offices for years. The area was closed off from access by the military police and the federal game wardens. There are rumors that some large bears were captured by the wardens and released elsewhere. After a few days, the area was open again.
Two years later, Sam wrote a fictionalized article for “Boy’s Life Magazine” about his team’s encounter with the Bigfoot creatures. After much reflection, he had become obsessed with the idea that the Bigfoots were attempting to communicate with the team that night. He thought that the (Hi! Hi! Hi!) sounds the team heard the Big Foots make was actually English. Could it be possible they were saying Hi? Watching the TV show Star Trek had convinced Sam that he had blown a first contact opportunity. The theme of his article was how fear had destroyed an opportunity to explore and learn. If given a second chance, he promised himself he would use it to expand human knowledge.
After Sam retired from the Army, he searched for Bigfoot creatures around North America. He disappeared one weekend in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State. The Park Rangers located his camp site. There were Big Foot feet prints all over the ground. There was also a tripod with a camera mounted on top. Most of the people who have seen the images believe it’s all staged. They think that Sam is somewhere having a joke on everyone. However, the men who were on his old Ranger Team looked at the photos and said, “That son of a bitch made contact!” They suspect Sam will turn up one day to tell us what his life was like living with Big Foot.
That concludes the story of "Hi, Hi, Hi." I hope you all have enjoyed it. Please remember to visit www.jbsimien.com to download this and other Audio Stories for later consumption. Please don't forget to show your support for the show by purchasing a copy of my latest book Paranormal Mystery at Amazon. The links are in the story notes to the book.
See you next Saturday.