I had never hunted the highest point in the state. Illinois being a lot of flatland and the drive was close to 100-miles from home. However, John said there were a lot of coons in the big woods where we were going so I was ready around four o'clock.
As we drove down the country back roads, the coondogs in the back where anxious to get out and tree some coon. We had the veterans along on this night, Miss Blue an 8-year old bluetick coonhound a smart, cunning coon trailer, duke a scared faced coon fighter who could catch them if they didn't make it to the tree in time and Jackie "John's dog" quick and never ending walker coondog.
We pulled along side the road next to the woods. It was wide and looked like a canyon ran through it with a running creek. I grabbed the 22 rifle and my nite-light as John dropped the tailgaite. The coondogs hit the creek fast and in no time struck a trail. Miss Blue first, then Jackie. Old duke fell in and up the creek they went. It was just a matter of a few minutes and they were treed. We walked to the tree and saw the coon eyes instantly. With one shot, the coon fell to his death into the crowd of coondogs.
We walked up the creek after leaving the tree and the coondogs fell upon another scent of a coon. John and I decided to walk a hay field up on top of the ridge as the dogs had ran this ole' coon way up in the woods. We walked about a half-mile and heard the dogs treed. After we harvested this big ole boar coon, John said let's go on up the ridge to the woods by the river.
We walked up the ridge along a step trail and made it to the top of the ridge when Miss Blue sounded off followed by Jackie and duke. They had caught wind of a coon and were ready to get after him. We let them go and the chase was hot and we went right after them. They ran down the woods and crossed over the creek and up the other side of the long canyon. John said they're heading towards the river. As we walked to the top of the canyon, we stopped to listen. John determined they had made it to the river so we walked to a cornfield in the bottoms. When we got there, the dogs were trailing the coon just on the edge of the cornfield and the big woods next to the river.
We walked a ways farther when the wind started to pick up and then off down in the woods towards the river the sky and the woods appeared to become just like daylight. We stood there several minutes and the woods all around us became lighter then down in the woods a bright light appeared and it came closer to us and it got almost daylight out in the woods. We could see down into the woods it was so bright.
About that time John's dog "Jackie came running into us followed by Miss Blue who was growling and barking. It was the kind of growling and barking she would do on the end of her chain at home when a stranger would walk down the street late at night. However, what amazed us more than this was that the two dogs had quit the coon trail and came running into us growling and barking.
The woods got brighter and brighter until it seemed like daylight had came yet it was just a little past ten o'clock at night. We walked to the end of the cornfield all the time the two dogs staying by our feet growling and the hair raised on there backs. At this point I was wondering where duke was. Then off to our right duke barked but it wasn't a coon trailing bark or a tree bark.
We walked a ways farther and the light got brighter and brighter. I asked John if there was a farmhouse over in that direction and he replied there was nothing but river and woods for miles. We stood on the edge of the woods in the cornfield and just watched the light get brighter and brighter. So bright that it hurt my eyes to look. Like trying to look into the sun on a hot summer day. About that time duke came running down the cornfield to us and he was barking and growling and he had his tail between his legs. This was a coondog I had seen fight 30 pound coons he would catch. Now all three dogs were at our feet and all three were barking and growling.
As John and I stood there looking at a light we couldn't figure out what it was. With our faithfull coondogs scared to pieces it made me get a cold chill. The light appeared to have a center that was very bright and it lit up the entire woods. As we stood there, John asked me what I thought it was. I told him I didn't know. Then the light seemed to come nearer and nearer. The dogs barked as if they had a coon cornered and were fighting for their lives.
At one point the light seemed to be just within a rocks throw from us. Then all at once it ended. Within a split second it was gone. The woods turned dark and about that time Miss Blue jumped as if she'd been shocked. It scared me when she ran between my legs as if to hide from something. We looked out in the woods and it was completely dark again. I guess we had watched the light for nearly ten minutes or more and now the woods were pitch dark. We never could figure out what it was and the dogs wouldn't go hunting in those woods again that night. We made it back to the truck and all the way home that night we tried to explain that mysterious light.