#52 – Another Hair-Raiser – 1987

Written by Russell Burrows

In 1987, an event occurred which convinced me that there were some people who would go to any lengths to control the cave.

By this time, I had accepted the fact that there was something unusual about the cave and, because of that, many people wanted to get in on the act. And as I’ve said, I also knew that I was being followed. But I had no idea that the event which was about to occur would be so dramatic.

It was one of those evenings that gets to you – sitting around bored out of your socks, wanting to do something but not knowing what to do.

I decided to take a trip to the cave while it was still daylight. I hadn’t seen the place in the light of day for some time and thought it might be a good time to check for sure whether or not anyone had been into the area.

I left Olney, but instead of going west on route 50, I decided to go south on route 130, then take the westbound route that goes within three miles of the cave. As I was motoring along, practicing my security act (that is, looking as much behind as forward), I noticed a car following me. Thinking back, I recalled that I had seen that same car behind me two or three blocks from home. I knew that whoever was in that car wanted to see where I was going.

About seven miles south I turned off to the east and headed into Bumpaw Bottoms, figuring that if I was indeed being followed, I would lead whoever it was over into those bottoms and lose them there.

Sure enough, they turned off to the east right after me and so I headed on into an area that I knew was very remote. God almighty, what a mistake that was!

I figured that, once I got to a small bridge I knew of on this road, I would park and walk into the woods as though I had a destination.

Arriving at the bridge, I pulled off to the side and got out of the truck as though I didn’t have a care in the world. I put on my equipment as I always do, which included my Colt .45, canteen and a few other things, and started into the woods. I kept an eye on the car, which had stopped back on top of the hill to the west of the bridge, without turning my head and thus alerting whoever it was that I knew they were there.

I counted five men getting out of that car and heading into the woods on a course parallel with mine and about a hundred and fifty yards. distant. Once in the woods, I angled back toward them, figuring that I was going to have a little talk with them. I hoped to discourage them from any further attempts to tail me.

They must have angled in toward me, figuring that they would pick up my trail and follow me to the cave, because all at once we were face to face at about thirty yards’ distance. I was just in the act of calling out to them when I noticed they were doing something strange. By Christ, they had spotted me at the same time and were in the act of bringing up, into firing position, Uzi machine pistols. All five of them.

I went down in a hurry, just as they began firing. Those guys were standing in a line abreast, almost shoulder to shoulder, and putting out one Godawful amount of firepower. There was no question in my mind that they were shooting to kill because they were cutting the brush at waist-to head-high.

Now, I am no hero but I did have a weapon. And while they were close to the limit of accurate shooting with an Uzi, my Colt .45 was more accurate because I had replaced the barrel and collet with a set of match quality. In other words, I can shoot the fuzz off a fly with that pistol.

I got off three rounds of return fire, beginning on their right flank and moving in toward their center, before they got down out of sight. I figured that while they were down and collecting their thoughts, I had better get the hell out of there as fast as I could pick’em up and lay’em down. I didn’t head back toward my pickup but rather went deeper into the woods. I know those woods and had a place in mind if they came after me.

That didn’t happen, though. Just a couple of minutes later, I stopped for a good listen, to try to determine if they were coming after me or not. Instead of picking up the sounds of men coming through the underbrush, I heard car doors slamming and the unmistakable sound of someone getting underway in a big, big hurry. Now you talk about someone being relieved, it was me.

Then, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had been involved in a shooting scrape and, knowing my ability with a handgun, I knew that there was just no way I was going to miss something as big as a man at that distance. I also knew that if I had hit them (and there was no way I could have missed, because I was shooting at the biggest part of them, their middles) they were, in all probability, dead or very close to it.

I asked myself, “What are you going to do? You have some fellows lying back there in the woods with your bullets in them.”

I sat down and tried to reason it out. The only solution I could come up with was that I was going to have to go back there and see for myself just what kind of damage I had done.

I started back, going mighty easy, mind you, because of the fact that all of those men had been shooting at me. If one or all of them were still alive, I could be walking into another ambush.

I got back to where they had been and found – nothing. No bodies, no one badly hurt, nothing except a whole lot of 9 mm casings and some blood.

I knew from what I had heard that whoever those men were, they were gone now, but I didn’t want to take any chances. Very slowly I began to ease myself out of the woods, and I mean ease. For all I knew they may
have left one or more of their members to ambush me on way out. I figured that anyone who had the kind of weapons that those fellows had, would figure on human nature playing a part, and that I would come out of
there like a scalded dog. I didn’t, though. Instead, I moved slowly, using what cover there was available. Upon reaching the edge of the woods, I stopped again and had a good, long look around. I just stood there against a tree for five minutes or so, not moving, just watching.

Even then I didn’t make a mad dash for the pickup, but stepped back into the trees and began to move to the east toward the creek. After getting there, I jumped down into the creek bed and began moving toward the bridge. When I reached that objective I again spent a few minutes looking the situation over.

By this time it was nearly dark. I popped up out of there, got into my truck and left. I headed back to Olney cross-country, using the back roads.

When I reached home, I sat down and thought the whole thing over. There was just one thing to do: I had better report this to the authorities. Was I in trouble? No. No report had been filed, there were no bodies, and no complaint had been entered in any records.

I returned to the site with a friend. Again, nothing was found. This time, even the 9 mm casings were gone, indicating that whoever those fellows were, they had been back and had sanitized the area. All that could be seen were the scars on the trees from their bullets.

This experience was obviously not going to cause me any trouble with the authorities, but my advice to myself was equally obvious: don’t go into those woods unless you are well heeled; keep your eyes and ears open; and keep your mouth shut about the whole thing and wait for further developments.

Now I know that all this sounds a little far-fetched. As a matter of fact, it really sounds like something that would be dreamed up by a lunatic, but I can assure you, one and all, that what I have said here actually happened. I wish it had not happened but it did, and it is something I am going to have to live with.

The question is, who were these men and what were they after? I know that I am not loved by everyone on the face of the earth, but I don’t think that anyone hates me badly enough to want to murder me.

I have spent many hours analyzing that event. As I think back about it I can still see those men. I can see them well enough in my mind’s eye to describe them. They were not American in appearance. They had dark hair and swarthy complexions. They were all five foot eight to five foot ten inches tall and of a stocky build. Does it sound familiar? It does to me.

I know for sure that they were not any of those men I met in Martinsburg, West Virginia, but they could have come from the same place.

Nothing like this has happened since then, thank God for that!