North Adams Mystery Gorilla

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SPRING 1970

Years ago, a friend of mine told me about the time he went to a party in Western Massachusetts, and while hanging around his car with a few others he noticed a large hand print on the rear window. I asked him about it recently but he had trouble recalling the details of exactly where it was, but he remembered the hand print clearly. He told me it was huge – easily twice the size of a large man’s hand, with fat fingers – “like Andre the Giant”. He said several others witnessed this, and were all perplexed. He admitted that psychedelics were involved, but nevertheless the print was very real. When he first described it to me years back, he said it was as though Bigfoot slapped his car; I had imagined a streaked print that could have been anything… but when I pressed him for details recently, he said you could see the crease marks and folds in the hand from the impression on the window. 5 fingers, way too large to be a normal human hand…

A little while after I asked him about it, he posted a video on my Facebook timeline – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNxDej3bgVo – in which paranormal researcher Jeff Belanger tells the story of the Monster of Coca Cola Ledge in North Adams. Belanger says in the video that he was unable to find anyone who had actually seen the monster, which was something akin to Bigfoot, and supposed the legend was borne out of parental concerns; that is, the idea of the monster was supposed to scare children away from a dangerous ledge where they could fall and be hurt or killed. This was interesting, as it at least lends credence to the print by way of the suggestion of squatch activity in the area, but what was really interesting was the comment on the post from another friend Bob.

Bob said “Back in 1970 I rescued a friend in Montreal and drove back to Central MA. It was about 2 in the morning when I pulled over in North Adams for a little nap in a rest area along Route 2 adjacent to the woods very much like these (referring to the woods shown in the video) After about a half an hour I awoke and saw what looked like a gorilla heading my way. I booked it out of there real quick”

He went on to say “I was unaware of this ‘myth’ but I’d buy it”.

Naturally I had to call Bob up and get the skinny on his mystery gorilla sighting. He said he had left Grafton, MA and drove to Montreal to get his friend, and proceeded to turn around and drive back making the drive time roughly 16 hours when he stopped to rest on the side of Route 2. I’ve done my best to approximate the location, which he said was sort of a pull-off dirt area and not a real rest stop per se. He and his friend both dozed off in the car, and when he awoke he saw “a black shadow which started down the hill moving towards me, still 1/8 of a mile away” when he started the car and took off. He wasn’t sure what caused him to wake up, but he noticed the dark shape which seemed to react to being noticed by charging at the car. When asked about the size, he said it was larger than a human, and while there are black bears in that area it didn’t move the way bears typically do. He seemed to prefer “gorilla” as a description over “sasquatch”, and couldn’t imagine that what he saw 50 years ago would still be alive. I said it depended on your idea of what Bigfoot was – a biological entity or something more esoteric or spiritual. He insisted that what he saw was “actually real” – it was a very physical thing, not a hallucination or something intangible.

I got the sense that whatever the Mystery Gorilla was, it left a real impression on Bob. He said whenever he drives that stretch of road he thinks about it, and wonders what it was. The hand print story that led to the sharing of a video about the Monster of Coca Cola Ledge resulted in the telling of yet another older tale of the weird. It would seem that something haunts the general region of North Adams – whether gorilla, Bigfoot, or cautionary tale – and whatever it is, it’s been there a long time!

Submitted by A.P. Strange, Liminal Ambassador