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Many years ago there was a family who moved out into the wilderness of the lower Adirondacks to escape society and just live a simple life of substistance from the land. They moved into a section of uninhabited forest in the three ponds area, a mile north of Pilot Knob, which is near Lake George, New York. This area remains heavily wooded and sparsely populated even today. The man had developed huge muscles from working as a lumberjack, and also his entire body was covered with thick black curly hair. He had to shave all around his neck and the backs of his arms just to wear a T-shirt. He was very experienced in how to survive in the wilderness, and in a few days he was able to construct a lean-to from cut timbers to shelter his young wife and their child. In order to survive the harsh winter, they would spent much of the summer chopping trees to harvest wood from the surrounding forest. They also grew potatoes, preserved wild berries and hunted deer, turkeys and rabbits. The woman and young child lived in the lean-to all through the fall as the man began to construct a sturdier log cabin.

During the first winter they spent in the wilderness, the makeshift camp was invaded several times by roaming black bears. The black bear is common in this area, and though they hibernate during the winter they are known to occasionally awaken and wander about looking for easy prey. The bear's long winter starvation makes them fierce and unrelenting adversaries, and their excellent sense of smell can draw them from many miles away to investigate new scents, such as those inevitably created by a human encampment. Once the cabin was completed, the man traveled to town and bought some thick iron bars to secure windows and doors of the cabin against further attacks by black bears.

One day many years later, the man was returning to the cabin from a day of hunting. He had tracked a deer all day long, but the sun was setting and he wanted to return home before darkness fell. As he topped a hillside, his stomach turned as he became aware of an inky black cloud of smoke staining the sky above his cabin. He ran and screamed, calling out to his family, but heard only the faint crackling of the timbers in reply. As he drew closer to the cabin, he found it engulfed in flames. Smoke and fire was pouring out from the front door and the windows, but his young wife and daughter were nowhere to be seen, perhaps still trapped inside. He leaped up to grab the iron window bars, pulling his body up against them to glimpse inside. The hot metal seared his hands and chest, but in his frenzy to save his family he didn't notice the blinding pain. No one really knows what he saw through the flames that night, but it was enough to make him lose his mind. For the rest of his days, the man wandered the wilderness alone and insane. He must have retained enough of his survival instincts to continue living, but any shred of humanity was gone.

Over the ensuing few years, there were scattered tales of a naked savage with an unusual mark scarred on his chest attacking camping parties and hunters. These all led to the legend of the Hairy H Man, which is still told today. Some people speculate that the Hairy H Man kills deer with his bare hands and then eats their hearts and livers raw. I have also heard some who say that the Hairy H Man went to live with the Sasquatch, or that he fathered a race of Sasquatch. There are even those who say that the whole story was made up, or that it is just a legend and that if there ever was a Hairy H Man, he must have been a Sasquatch.

This is an actual legend that is still told around campfires where I grew up, in the Adirondacks. I have never seen it in print before this, but if anyone finds other reference to it, or has heard a similar tale, I would welcome that addition to this node.

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