Big Blue and Other Local Urban Legends
First published in Widow’s Perch Magazine for the October, 1987 issue’s “Town Tales” section
By Izzy Scott-Coven
There are naysayers (typically visitors, tourists, and Dorkus Withnail professors) who, when speaking of Widow’s Perch’s collection of more terrifying and yet beloved local tales, brush them off as just another batch of small town folklore, concocted from the minds of schoolchildren and bored off-duty millworkers. What many fail to bring up in an argument is our very real, shared past that can substantiate many of these stories!
Many native tribes believe that mountains are living things, ancient beings from before our arrival into this world. Forests, too, are very old, built and grown on the remnants of their ancestors. Their roots dig into layers of soil and rock that haven’t seen sunlight in a millennia. Even if you don’t believe that a mountain is alive in anyway, trees certainly are, and the oldest timbers’ roots have burrowed deep into Big Blue, perhaps instilling the mighty beast with a nervous system; a lifeline. What if every sin, every dark act, but also every moment of hope, is recorded into each tree’s annual ring? What if there is not nearly enough of the latter to balance out the worst of what humanity can and has done to itself? Oregon has a bloody history around its foundation, and the tears of many widows, who had lost so much, once drenched our town’s forlorn overseer. Many will shun the thought of Big Blue being a watching, living thing. I don’t blame others for not accepting the possibility, however small, of alternative ideas such as these.
But… what if, in this complex and strange universe, there was even a one percent chance of truth here?
What if all the old mountains of the west, which have seen so much, even including the darkest of times before humans existed and the world itself was a violent place, live? Would they cling onto the companionship of mankind in strange ways? Do they judge us? Do they… grab hold and make it difficult for certain dwellers to move on?
Maybe under the light of a full moon, or during a new moon when it is the darkest of all nights, the spiritual world is a little closer to our plane of existence than usual. Does the ghost of Clive Yeats Harrow wander the woods hungrily, clawing at trees as he shambles just beyond the campers’ lanterns? There are many claw marks on Big Blue’s trees, and not nearly enough black bears to create them all.
Mortimer Lyons’ attempt at Xanadu, the Lyons Hotel Resort, was plagued with problems and is known to cost three poorly paid immigrant workers their lives. Do they stagger across the mountainside, looking for the structure that is buried and rotting under dirt, hoping to complete it and earn a day’s pay?
What about the vampires that have been heard screeching at night and confused for noisy owls? Whether they were lead by Clive while he was alive or were a few migrating widows that pledged their souls to darkness, I certainly believe they may still be up there, and I always watch my back when I hike on the old trails that they were once said to walk. But who… or what made those trails originally? No one is sure.
And then there is the Woodman. A terrifying, clawed beast, once human, but brought back into this world as something… slightly not so much. We all know that no less than five teenagers have disappeared over the years on the mountain, even if, oddly, we still don’t have their names (I’m not insinuating a cover-up).
Dearest adventurers and those in touch with the paranormal, heed caution when on Big Blue’s back at night, lest you be struck down by the raging dried shrub lich with a skull of fire! Should we survive until next year, I will begin to expand upon these stories. If the powers that be permit it, I will make it a tradition that this magazine’s October issues carry a well-researched local tale that you won’t want to believe is potentially true.
Stay safe, readers… And remember, you can see Big Blue from nearly anywhere in town. So the opposite is also fact.