Writing 101: Day 16: MILLERSYLVANIA: Serially lost continued

MILLERSYLVANIA

continued from MILLERSYLVANIA PART IV

and The Stray Sod

Letter  to the Sheriff continued:

The spring of my senior year I hiked again up the hill to the backside of Millersylvania and again visited the grave with another counselor and our kids. It had, like always, a freshly made stick cross. Nothing had been done about it yet so this time, instead of just telling the staff, I requested the ear of XXX, who was still the ranger. I told him like I am telling you now about the gravesite and where it was and he said, (I still remember it) “There is no such place.”

I argued, “There is too,” and told him I could take him there and prove it.

And so we set out, him on his three-wheeled golf cart and me beside him. As I directed, we took a left on the trail past his house (because I liked that way better than following the other that went straight uphill from his house. He had dogs at his house. They sounded like big dogs and they would hear us with our kids and bark and growl, but XXX’s house was always hidden in the woods and none of us ever saw it.)

So we are going left from his house to where a smaller trail will intersect it somewhere to the right and go uphill. He says, “There is no trail that goes up the hill to the right.”

I argue that too.

We come to the spot where my trail is supposed to be. But look as I will, I cannot see the trail that I know is right there in front of us.

XXX states again, “There is no trail here.”

(That I could not see my trail was unlike anything I have experienced before or since then. I knew it had to be right there and I began to get very uneasy.)

“No matter.” I tell him, “We just go the other way, straight up past your house, follow the property border and get there that way.”

He is growing upset with me but here we go.

We get to the gravesite; the spot that he claimed did not exist. He tells me “You never ever come back here again!”

Then he points out to me that the trail going downhill that I want to take back (because it is my missing trail to get here–the way I originally wanted to come here–the trail he said did not exist,) is “unsafe” and he points out that the trees lining this trail have been cut to fall–cut on both sides of each tree to fall–angle cut to fall in the slightest of breeze or the minor pressure of a hand.

Those trees had not been cut like that before this. Us counselors would have noticed.

“You never ever come here again!” He repeated, in a way that sounded like a definite threat, to me.

To spite him and assure my self I was not crazy because here was my “nonexistent trail” I hiked down it anyway, with XXX fuming on his golf cart the whole way.

That man scared me and made me mad. You see, back when I was a teen, telling the teacher seemed like good enough. We never thought to tell an actual cop. XXX, as the park ranger, was as close as I got to speaking to an authority and me taking it to him was a big deal to my classmates.

So as far as I know, that grave spot never was checked out. XXX, in my minds eye, was evil. I trusted him not at all. Why did he lie?

All these years I have always wondered about my experiences there. Today, (Saturday January 4, 2009,) I–just for curiosity–googled: murder Millersylvania. What I read shocked me.

I had no knowledge that a young girl was found dead within Millersylvania back then. I had no knowledge of Cosden and I thought the Green River killer stuck to the Seattle/Auburn area. (During my college year, we referred to the killer of the young women as the Green River killer. We didn’t know his name but everyone thought he was probably a cop. I went to Green River C.C.) There was a whole wall dedicated to his victims at GRCC–photos and names but no info of where they were found.

I thought about all those young women/girls whom no one has ever found. I read about Ted Bundy and Willim Cosden. I saw that mug shot of Cosden and can’t help but think of that man wearing the white who ran from us. I think of that woman screaming we heard in the fall of ‘73 (okay, granted, maybe it was a cougar,) and concluded that I might as well tell my tale one more time. Maybe that grave was nothing more than a buried dog, or maybe it was Mr. Miller or put there as just a joke. I don’t know. Maybe there is a shopping center there. Maybe XXX was honorable. It is unsettling–even all these years later, to be aware of serial killers who were there, when we were there with the kids–and when I read about Cosden being in a mental institution and his father being a game warden. Well, XXX did come to mind.

As long as there are someone’s missing loved ones — persons known and unaccounted for — I felt as though I should make my report. I realize many years have past and this is maybe too late to do any good, providing it was ever worthwhile, but decided to report the memory (memories) of suspicious goings on because maybe, just a slim maybe there is some kind of good that might come from it. Perhaps there are other young girls yet to be found there whose families would welcome the closure their discovery would bring.

Around 1978 or 1979, I went back to Millersylvania St. Park with a couple of friends. We were walking around the public campgrounds and picnic areas and I told them about my high school days at Millersylvania. Then we three attempted to hike to the gravesite but when we got to the entrance to the group camp area, there was a sign saying not to trespass or that the general public was not allowed. The consensus between us three was to obey the sign.

Query; Request: I am inquiring if the areas my fellow counselors I and wanted investigated all those years ago were ever investigated by the Washington State Parks Department, at least, or the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department. If they never were, I would like them to be investigated for further human remains. (And old traps).

Brenda Baker. Where exactly was she found? She was there when I was. Maybe it was her we heard scream. I would have thought that after Brenda was found in June ’74, that someone should have informed us counselors, and that the areas we reported would have been investigated thoroughly, not left intact in spring of ’75.

I am enclosing a map (from my memory) of the area.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I also request acknowledgement of this letter and any additional information you can furnish.information you can furnish.information you can furnish.information you can furnish.

***

Dear Readers,

One day, five years back, my husband went with me.

We took of to Tacoma on Friday and from there went to MSP on Saturday,  but we got a late start. Here is that account

Rib bones 1. Photo by L.M. Cobb
Rib bones 1. Photo by L.M. Cobb

Early spring 2010:

There is a group camp going on and signs posted to keep out of that area. There is rain and hail and it is a dark day, but we hike anyway. We travel the roundabout trails we were allowed on, which means I have to go about my memory perspective backwards, like entering the backdoor instead of the front door approach. But hey, we FINALLY get to get out together and go on a hike.YEA!!! (That’s a hard thing to do these days, between work and kids and grandkids.)

I find another spot back by the property boundary.

We hike off the trail into the conifers and find some bones–rib bones–small and flat–which it is not unusual to find old, and sometimes fresh kills when we get out hiking, because we usually follow game trails and so these are probably just small animal bones. They are flat, just the ribs though, both sides. The sides remaine attached until my husband investigates them closer; then they fall a part. Probably the lower rib “set” of something. Usually there’s more to an animal kill than only the ribs. Maybe the skull’s close by … maybe it’s a possum or coon the coyotes got.

We look a little bit more. Then, about five feet further, there’s a sock. (5 feet to the right of the ribs.)

Child's sock. Photo by L.M. Cobb
Child’s sock. Photo by L.M. Cobb

My photos are not very good. You can see the hail pellets. It looks to be a child’s sock.

We did not disturb it. Perhaps the coyotes stole a sock from way down at the campground and carried it up here. Way up here.

I know, these are likely things coyotes carried back here and are much more recent than anything I came here to find. And this is not the same boundary spot I set out to find. We might have found more skeletal remains of things but we are losing what little light we have and decide to use what light’s left to try and find the place I intended to find today.

But I thought I would show you the photos anyway.

By the time I spotted the trail, which was not really a trail now, although there was a marker XX a few feet away from it, it was after dusk, and we had just enough time to get back to the van and outta the park before the ranger shut the gate. Then it was dark.

***

To Date: It’s now April 2015. No law enforcement officer has taken the time to set an appointment to hike those trails with me. I was asked if we could supply them with one of those bones. I guess we were supposed to disturb things. They don’t want to hike back there unless we took a bone and it proves to be human. The sheriff’s department there did state that they had no maps (any more) of exactly where those bodies were found. I also contacted Ann Rule, hoping perhaps she had a map of where the victims of Ted Bundy were located. She did not.

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I live about 3.5 hours away from there and cannot just pick up and go hoping that the XXXXXXX County officers will happen to have some free time that day. I understand they are busy and cannot schedule anything for certain due to the type of job they have. But it is frustrating.

Meanwhile, if you go hiking and happen upon remains, I guess that unlike TV shows, you’d do well to take a bone sample back with you when you notify the local law office. It sure can save a lot of headache.

What do you see? Photo taken by Callie Cobb at Millersylvania swamp.
What do you see? Photo taken by Callie Cobb at Millersylvania swamp.

And if you know a place to be true, don’t you be misled by a stray sod. Stick to your inner core knowledge of what’s right,and steer clear of the swamp at Millersylvania. You never know what might be watching you from beneath the water.

P.S. Whatever it is within the water there, we did not see it while we were there. It did not show up until the photo was uploaded onto the computer. I cannot tell you what it is other than really creepy. The more one enlarges the photo, the creepier it gets.

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