Shelby came in from skiing the other night, just as it was getting dark, alarmed by the cries she'd been hearing.
We went out on the porch. I was expecting a weird owl, or a dying rabbit squeal, or possibly a suffering deer.
But then, I heard the scream. Somebody was in serious anguish out there. We called Andy and Daniel out, and we all heard the tormented scream again. It was a wide eyed prickly moment.
Surely some woman had just severed her leg, a snowmobile accident maybe....or she was being murdered over by the landing, or...crawling through the snow being chased by Jack Nicholson.
The four of us went into emergency mode. I considered 9-1-1 briefly, but no......it seemed so unlikely yet urgent and ............we wanted to hear her again first. We hurried into winter gear and grabbed the radio and satelite phone, came up with a plan. I thought about our friend Michael on Missing Link--did he crawl back? Bloody....? There were folks in the woods, some trucks at the access road. The agony came from that direction, but maybe closer--by the lodge?
We went out yelling to the victim---Hellloooooooo....Hoooty hoot.
Andy and Daniel took the snowmobile to the access road (where they ran out of gas)...Shelby and I walked around together in the darkness, feeling isolated and vulnerable. We couldn't hear her anymore. Except maybe----far off in the distance. Maybe. It's dark and deep in the woods, and from the few horror movies that I've seen, we probably shouldn't have been wandering around without even a baseball bat, but...let me tell you, without the scary background music, the winter night was undeniably calm and peaceful. Even though our hackles had been up, we weren't hearing torment sounds anymore.
We sat on the steps of the lodge and listened...strained....The stars were out, it was really quite beautiful. We started to joke about the She-Devil.
I was secretly thinking cougar She-Devil, Shelby was leaning toward the supernatural. Even though we weren't alarmed anymore, we certainly were NOT going to fall for the horror movie trick and go out looking for Andy and Daniel, nosiree. They finally made it back, we sat down to our cold pizza, we never heard her again.
Yesterday I did find the sound on Youtube--it's unanimous:
Our She-Devil is our local fox. She's been hanging around for months, and apparently mid-late winter is mating season for the red fox. Just listen to Fox Scream, but please turn the volume way way up, and close your eyes...and think....MORE human sounding. No kidding, she fooled us all. Maybe she's small...but she can make a louder movie scream than I can. (photocredit Tiffany Follett)
I'm relieved not to be looking for a big cat or a severed body, or someone haunting Cabin 6. I was a little worried that our hesitation could have cost a life.
But, once again, it turns out that philosopher William of Occam was right when he articulated the principle of Occam's razor, " The most simple solution is most likely the answer."
However---early the next morning, Shelby and I were loading up our downhill skis, from the Lodge, talking about the She-Devil, before our mystery was solved. We looked at the tails of my skis. We have never noticed "She Devil" written back there before. How would Sir William have explained THAT little Twilight Zone moment?
Or.. when I did a google image search for "red fox Minnesota winter", how come a photo from The Shining came up?" How did Sir Google know that woman had the exact same scream as the red fox?