Haints in New York

by Larry Conklin

In '69, I took a drive up to Blue Mountain lake. In the New York Aderondack Mountains, to hunt deer. It had snowed a couple of inches the day before and when I got there, it had rained lightly -- just enough to make the snow crunchy to walk on.

I set off up the trail at about 4 A.M. in the hopes of reaching the lake, at the end of the trail, by day light. There was a thin scud of clouds, and the moonlight made it easy to make out the trail. So I did'nt bring a flashlight -- just my rifle, a few extra shells, a knife, a sandwitch and a few candy bars. I don't smoke, so I did'nt even carry matches (I won't do THAT again!).

After about an hour, I realized that I was hearing what sounded like an echo of my footsteps coming back from the darker woods to my left. It was odd, but After a bit it started to get to me.

I walked on ahead a way, then suddenly stopped. "It" whatever "it" was, took two more steps, then stopped. HMMM! I played that trick again, and caught it again. Whatever it was, it wasn't too smart. After another 1/2 mile or so, it sounded like the footsteps went on ahead, and then crossed the trail, and went up the hill to my right.

When I got to the point where it crossed the trail, sure enough, there were it's tracks. BUT! They were cloven-hoof tracks, about 4" from toe to heel, and walking in a two footed pattern, spaced about 4 ft. apart!

I remembered hearing in the old folklore that "haints" (spooks) can't cross natural flowing water, and there was a small stream, just ahead, flowing down the hill, and off to the left. I quickly crossed the stream, and continued on. Didn't get a deer, and almost got lost and frozen, but that's another story.

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