Sometimes we don’t need the legends of the world to bring certain mysteries to life. These loggers were about to stumble upon something that would change their entire lives. What appeared to be a random hollow tree was hiding a dark secret once it was cut open; one that none of them would ever be able to forget.
A mysterious day at work
Over the years, there have been many mysteries that have emerged from the woods. From mythical creatures to mysterious disappearances – could there be secrets lurking amongst the trees that we will never discover?
It seemed as though it was just another day at work for these loggers until they reached one tree in particular. What appeared to be a random hollow tree was hiding a dark secret once it was cut open. No one ever expected to be so close to such a mystery.
Working to a deadline
It was 1980, and a group of seven or eight loggers all set out for another day at their outdoor office.
The men all worked at the Georgia Kraft Co. in Jasper City, Georgia, and had been given a major task for the day. They had a vast selection of trees that needed to be cut down which all needed to be cleared before nightfall. The men soon set about removing the woods one tree at a time until something happened. Something that would stop them in their tracks.
Looking for light
The men were all busy working away until one of them found discovered something strange about one of the trees.
He had started to cut into the trunk with an ax when the sound confused him; it was as if the tree was hollow. Although it made the logs lighter to transport, the loggers were still trying to work out why there was a hollow tree in the middle of the woods. Plus, if it was empty in the inside then how come there was no light coming through?
Clearing the way
These loggers, like many all around the world, had been hired to clear the trees from the woods.
There are many reasons that these trees might need to go. Sometimes, they are in the way of new buildings, or they might need to be used as materials themselves. Although the work can be good money, the job is also incredibly dangerous. Some of these trees can be hundreds of feet tall and weigh hundreds of pounds. One of those landing on you could spell the end.
Earning an income
The loggers who discovered the hollow tree had been tasked with cutting one particular species: the American chestnut tree. Although it is a rare species of tree, the wood can be highly valuable.
Unfortunately, its value meant the species nearly went extinct from over logging. The species has since made a small comeback, and the trees can now be found all across Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, New Hampshire, and Nova Scotia. It was the wood’s value that helped build up Jasper City.
Taking a closer look
There was only one answer to the problem of no light coming through the hollow tree: something must be blocking it from the inside.
After all, there were plenty of holes in the trunk that should have let the sun pass straight through. The loggers wanted to take a closer look before they cut it down, but no one was brave enough to enter the tree. That was until one member of the team stepped forwards. He could no longer fight his curiosity.
Up close and personal
Before long, the man was creeping into the trunk of the tree to try and find out what was blocking the light. It all went quiet.
Everyone was on the edge of their seat as they waited to hear what could be inside. They didn’t have to wait long as the man soon came shooting back out the hole. The logger went running into the woods with his colleagues hot on his heels. What had been so bad? Amazingly, he was so traumatized that the man couldn’t even describe what he’s seen.
A mysterious beast
Everyone wanted to know what had been so bad in the tree that it caused the logger to run for his life. Although he was still shaking with fear, the man wanted to warn his friends of the dark secret hiding in the tree. There was a beast.
Could the legends really be true after all? Perhaps Bigfoot was closer than they ever thought? The workers immediately stopped everything they were doing and tried to comfort the disturbed logger. They now knew they needed to get away from the danger.
Searching for help
Of course, the rest of the loggers were still keen to find out what was lying in the tree – even if they were scared to see the truth with their own eyes.
The group called their boss to explain what had happened and how they wouldn’t be able to cut down the tree until they knew it was safe. Even their manager couldn’t believe their stories. It had to be fake, right? All the group knew was they needed to head back to the woods and find out what was really inside the tree.
Blocking the way
The group of loggers got closer and closer until they were near enough to look inside. It seemed as though the stories of a beast weren’t far from the truth.
Now, they were almost face to face with something that looked as if it were staring them all in the eye. They just needed someone brave enough to get closer to the blockage in the tree so they could show it off to the world. It turned out they were right about something being inside. Little did they know the truth would be this terrifying.
Face to face with the beast
The loggers soon cut the chunk of tree out and lowered it to the ground so everyone could see what was inside. They started with the teeth. Then they moved onto the claws.
Unbelievably, they were looking face to face with a dog. How had this animal been able to get inside the tree? That wasn’t the only question. Although the dog must have been there for many years, it was so well preserved. There must have been a story behind this dark secret.
Looking for reasons
All the loggers began to wonder how the dog had got into the tree. Perhaps it had been mummified?
Although it would explain how it was so well preserved, there were no signs of bandages; it can’t have been embalmed. So how did it get there? After all, they found the dog 28 feet above the ground, the group were convinced that someone must have put it there. Maybe it had been part of a strange ritual from years before?
On the hunt
The men all knew that stopping their work could greatly affect their profits, but there was no way they were going to carry on cutting into the trees until they had answers.
Thankfully, the company was willing to help the team in their search for answers. All they needed to do was find someone willing to analyze the animal. However, it was such a specific case. After all, it’s not every day a group of men find a preserved dog stuck in a tree.
So many questions
There were so many questions surrounding the dog. How long had it been there? How did it get there? Where had it come from? How was it so well preserved? Everyone needed to learn the truth.
Thankfully, they were soon able to track down a group of scientists to analyze the dog in the tree. At last, they would have answers to all their worries. They just needed to get the tree, and the dog, safely to the lab. Unfortunately, they would have quite the wait to find out the answers.
The waiting game
It was now 1981. It had taken a whole year for the scientists to analyze the animal, but they wanted to get as much detail as they could.
After all, this was such a special dog – it deserved to have all the answers. The scientists soon began to tell the tale of how the dog had ended up in the tree. In fact, Kristina Killgrove from the University of Florida admitted it was an old hunting dog. Although it had a huge story to tell, this pup had to wait years to be let free.
Following its nose
That wasn’t all. It turned out the dog had first got stuck in the tree back in the 1960s. The scientists believed it had been chasing an animal, such as a raccoon, and followed it up the tree.
Only, it wasn’t until the dog was in the hole it realized it was too big. The prey managed to get away, but the dog’s blindness to sense in order to catch the animal meant it had misjudged its size. It was now stuck in the tree trunk with no way of getting down.
A sticky end
The scientists were also able to tell the dog was around four years old when it ended up trapped in the trunk of the hollow tree.
Unfortunately, with no way to get down, the pup later starved to death and passed away in its wooden tomb. Little did the dog know that it would remain here for the next 20 years until nature’s coffin was in the way of a logging company. However, the loggers still wondered how the dog had remained so preserved all these years.
Creating an atmosphere
There was a good reason the dog had remained so intact all of these years. The tree was filled with desiccant and tannin – materials that both absorb moisture.
This dry environment is the perfect habitat for bodies to remain preserved. Why? The dryness means that no microbes can live in the tree, and, therefore, the body can’t get eaten and decomposed by the elements. It was a tomb that was about to become a lasting part of this dog.
Effect of the air
There was another reason the dog was so preserved after so long in the tree trunk. The trunk formed a chimney effect. The air would blow up from underneath and push towards the top of the tree.
This meant that no scavengers or bugs that would usually eat the dog could detect it was stuck in the tree. Plus the lack of microbes and no decaying meant there was no smell coming from the body. Instead, the dog lat untouched for all that time.
Getting a name
The dog has since been named Stuckie and has a brand new home. No longer does he have to live in the woods, but instead resides in the Southern Forest World Museum in Georgia.
The dog is now the museum’s biggest attraction with people coming from all over the world to take a look at the dog. The museum says it wants to educate children on how the dog ended up remaining so preserved. Many people visit just to discover how Stuckie got trapped in the first place.
Preserving to the end
Although Stuckie is now a huge tourist attraction, many argue the dog should be taken out of the museum and given a burial instead.
Visitors have been quick to point out the dog would have once been someone’s pet and should be treated like one. However, the museum says the dog is going nowhere. In fact, Stuckie has now become their ambassador, and they plan on keeping the animal preserved for many years to come, even all this time later.