It is upon us, at last. After a nigh a month of chills and dread anticipation, All Hallow’s Eve, v. 2013, is come. Don your masks and pray; pray that some unholy Visitors from Beyond do not come and spirit your mortal soul away, to suffer and waste for all time in the black pits of a dark and nameless void.
We should have seen it coming; the signs were all there for those who would heed that this Halloween would be a ghastly one. And the awful portents came true in mid-October, when our very own Preservation Pub was visited by Ghost.
Not a ghost, mind you, but rather the members of Ghost, the Swedish stoner metal outfit renowned for their malevolent stage presence and adherence to the vile principles set forth by the Dark Lord himself. That’s right; Papa Emeritus and his five Nameless Ghouls are known to have taken a post-concert respite at the Pub, minus their trademark robes and masks, after a set at Knoxville’s Bijou Theatre.
Traveling incognito—without their weird headgear and vestments—the men of Ghost seemed markedly less diabolical than fans have come to expect. In fact, they looked more like a handful of Auto Zone refugees, hard-put after a day at the shop and ready for a night of longnecks and fist-fights in the parking lot. Just goes to show you, Jake: never judge a book by its cover.
But now let us turn our attention to more pressing affairs. Because this particular screed is meant as a warning. As mentioned above, we have been given notice by the Powers That Be that this Halloween will bring terrors never to be forgotten, so long as there remains some living mortal with breath enough to recount the awful tale.
And in this mad climate of fear and desperation, we must all marshal our strength and our frail attentions in preparation for the almost-certain return of a ghastly foe.
What we are talking about is the dreaded Skunk Ape; scourge of the southeast; terrorizer of small children, pets, and anyone possessed of a particularly sensitive olfactory reflex. He has been given many names—the Florida Bigfoot, the Myakka Ape, the Swamp Ape, the NApe—but the names are not important. What matters is the havoc that will be wrought when this foul beast shows its gruesome face again in the hills and hollers and backyards of East Tennessee.
To wit: the Skunk Ape is a huge, furry hominid, possibly of the same species as the northerly mammalian scourge known as Bigfoot. It stands seven feet tall, and weighs in at a potent quarter-ton.
But perhaps the Skunk Ape’s most notable trait is its foul stench, like a busted New York City sewer main on a balls-hot day. It has been speculated that this is due to the creature’s penchant for holing up in suffocating subterranean dens, full of methane gas and animal carcasses. Or perhaps because it is loathe to shower.
The most recent Skunk Ape sightings hereabouts came in 2003, when residents reported seeing an unidentified primate running loose in the LaFollette area, coincident with a rash of missing pets; and again in 2006, in Corryton, when, of a late Halloween night, residents reported great crashing sounds emanating from various backyards, accompanied by loud, mournful groans and a thick, putrid scent.
One observer to said events noted that, “He’s real big, and he’s got a real bad stinkful odor to him.”
There is an old Mormon legend that mayhap explain the existence of this terrible creature. In 1835, a missionary of that faith was traveling the largely untamed wilderness that was our fair state in that dark time, when he spotted a large, hairy figure hovering in the vicinity of his mule. According to the record, the creature spoke to him: “He said that he had no home, that he was a wanderer in the earth and traveled to and fro… he could not die, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men.”
Church elders would speculate that the hairy figure was murderous Cain, first killer of man, damned by biblical edict to walk the earth for all eternity, futilely seeking an elusive peace for his lesioned soul.
“…cursed shalt thou be… a fugitive and a vagabond upon the earth.”
It will be a festive night, this October 31. And let us encourage you to come forth, and enjoy the frightful holiday extravaganza planned at our very own Preservation Pub. But be forewarned, as you step out to this and other seasonal festivities, that dark things are afoot in our weird little corner of the southeastern United States.
Long silent, the dreaded Skunk Ape is well past the appointed time to emerge from his dank and fetid lair, on a wretched course to sow chaos, pilfer wayward kittens and destroy the souls of men. Be wary, this Halloween—keep your eyes open and your sinuses clear. Boo.