Derek Gentile: Thick with fog, Greylock apt setting for wizardry


ADAMS >> The news that celebrated fantasy author J.K. Rowlings has located a part of her new publication atop Mount Greylock will, I'm sure, help that community's economy. People will want to visit the site of a mythical school of witchcraft and wizardry.

But I've been atop and around Mount Greylock many times. And I've seen some odd things.

There are days (and nights) when the summit literally pierces the clouds, and fog sets in. You cannot see your hand in front of your face. Unless you move your hand about 2 inches away.

I can remember many, many years ago, driving up the summit at night for a get-together with some friends. I can't recall exactly, but it probably involved fermented liquids.

This was in late fall, and in those days, the Bascom Lodge was shut down. We parked in the parking lot and walked to the summit overlooking my hometown of Adams.

I was in a party of a half-dozen friends. We did what we always did in these get-togethers: sipped beverages and talked about sports and girls.

About 35 minutes in, a very dense fog started to roll in. Now, fog at the Greylock summit gets really, really thick. And we knew that. But there was also a degree of peer pressure. You didn't want to be the kid who wimped out and suggested leaving.

So we sat there on the grass and chatted and drank. Pretty soon, I couldn't see the guy talking five feet away.

"Okay, we gotta head out," said one of my friends eventually. "I can't see anything."

We got up and collected the beverage cans and put them into the bag from the store.

That's when I heard the rustling, somewhere below us on the face of the mountain.

Well, "rustling" isn't quite right. Something was moving up the mountain toward us. Something pretty big.

We looked down the mountain, squinting our eyes in the fog. The rustling noise got louder. Vaguely, I could see vegetation, trees and bushes, moving, making the fog swirl. There was a lot of vegetation moving.

"We are out of here, boys!" I yelled. "Now! Let'sgolet'sgolet'sgo!"

On cue, everyone raced toward the parking lot. Our car was the only car there, but even then, the fog was so dense, it took a second to find it.

We piled in like those clowns in a miniature circus car: haphazardly. My feet were, at one point, hanging out the back window.

Somebody started the engine, The headlights went on. Which helped, a little. The car started moving.

I looked back. And this is truly what I saw: A very large "thing" with huge antlers, partly obscured by the fog. Way bigger than a deer. Way bigger, as far as I knew, than a moose. It seemed 10 feet high. Oh mama, I thought.

At one point, it made a sort of snorting sound and condensation whooshed out of its nostrils.

The ride down was pretty harrowing. At any moment, I expected the were-moose to appear out of the fog and crush our car. I swore I would never visit the summit of this mountain at night again. And to be honest, I never have.

But I still visit from time to time. I look for a sign of the monster moose, or whatever it was. And let me tell you: I respect Mount Greylock very much.

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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