Listen in the Dark, It's More Fun That Way!
Nov. 23, 2022

Ep.166 – Turkey Terror - The Thanksgiving Hunt is On!

Ep.166 – Turkey Terror - The Thanksgiving Hunt is On!

Support us on Patreon

A family dinner gets stranger and strange as we learn more about this peculiar hunt for meat...

Turkey Terror by Douglas Waltz

Get Cool Merchandise

Support us on Patreon

A family dinner gets stranger and strange as we learn more about this peculiar hunt for meat...

Turkey Terror by Douglas Waltz

Get Cool Merchandise

Contact Us/Submit a Story

Music by Ray Mattis

Executive Producer Rob Fields

Produced by Daniel Wilder

This episode sponsored by

For everything else visit


Turkey Terror


By Douglas Waltz


My first memory of Thanksgiving was when I was five years old. We were at my grandfather’s house on the shore of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The snow was falling and my father and my Uncle Bert were out hunting the turkey for the Thanksgiving feast. My Uncle had been many times, but it had been my father’s first time. Family tradition dictated that all of the men in the family needed to help with Thanksgiving by hunting down and shooting the bird we would all eat.

Hours later they had come in the door triumphant with a massive bird in my father’s hands. I saw that he had a huge scratch on his forehead that bled profusely and the look on his face showed an indescribable fear that my five year old brain completely understood.It was the fear of the unknown.
With each step of my boots crunching in the ice covered snow, more memories of the holiday so precious to my family came to the forefront.

I remembered the time that my older cousin, Franklin, went out with my father and Uncle Bert to hunt the monstrous bird. While they were successful I could see the anguish in my cousin’s eyes. I assumed that as years passed it would dim much like my father's had after he went on multiple hunts, but it never did. When he turned 18 he left the family and went to live in Traverse City. The next time I saw him was at his funeral a year after he had left. 

No one would discuss what had happened, but I heard my Aunt Norma tell my mother that it had been suicide. 

I kept moving through the icy wasteland that is the Upper Peninsula or U.P. as it is referred to anyone who has ever lived there. The other popular term; 'Yoopers', was more derogatory and rarely heard when it was just local folk. I had on a heavy parka, thick woolen mittens with a pair of gloves under those and two pair of thermal socks inside of my heavy boots. The bitter wind that howled from the nearby lakeshore bit through my clothing like it was nonexistent. I couldn't begin to imagine what would happen to bare skin in this weather. My scarf wrapped around my bearded face and I had the foresight to put on tinted goggles before I had made out to accomplish what no one in my family had ever considered.

To end the family tradition of the hunt.

The ancient memory of when I was eight and went to visit distant relatives for the winter came without warning. My parents told me it would be good for me.

Twenty years later my face still flushed red with embarrassment at the thought of the Thanksgiving meal prepared for me by someone other than my mother and my aunts. The same things were there, but just a little different. The stuffing didn't taste quite right. The mashed potatoes had no lumps. The gravy needed salt which I snuck onto my plate when I didn't think anyone else was watching. 

But it was the bird. 

That damnable bird sitting in the middle of the table on a huge, white platter. My Great Uncle Ephraim asked me what was my favorite part of the bird. I said tentacle which caused a nervous titter amongst the people at the table. My youngest cousin, Frederick laughed that unbearable laugh of his that sounded like a jackass braying. 

My Aunt Eunice was quick to come to my rescue and said;

"I believe he is referring to the neck."

Ephraim nodded sagely and remarked how that could be mistaken for a tentacle. Luckily for me my aunt roasted that part when she baked their oddly shaped turkey. He put it on my plate for me and to say I was disappointed in what lay before me would be an understatement. In place of the smooth, buttery textured tentacle that I had grown up with I was given a dry, bony scrap of meat that wouldn't feed anyone. I still pretended to like it and managed to take all the meat off of the bony surface. My charade complete.

A loud cracking noise to my left brought me out of my reverie. I spotted a turkey slowly moving through the underbrush. Its two front tentacles grabbed various low hanging branches in search of tender sprouts to eat from the trees. I brought up my shotgun. A beast of a 10 gauge that had belonged to my father and let loose with both barrels. The impact moved me backwards a foot, but I managed to keep myself upright. The creature exploded in a flurry of feathers and red gore, staining the snow in all directions.

I knew I was nearing the cave. 

The cave had no name. It was on the shore of Lake Superior and water managed to find its way in and out according to the tides. The turkeys called it home and in the entire lineage of my family none of us had ever gone into the cave. There was no need to. The turkeys came out in search of food and we would only kill one a year for our Thanksgiving feast. We appreciated nature's bounty and never asked question like; why were our turkeys so much bigger than the ones in the store? Why did ours have the delicious front and back tentacles while others did not? And the taste. Why was the bird we harvested every year such a delight to the tastebuds while ones that other folk raved about, especially the coveted white meat, tasted like a dry napkin?

After my first experience with an outsider Thanksgiving I just didn't care to ask any of these questions. I knew it was wrong and they could have that flavorless, tiny fowl.

I finally reached the cave and unpacked my huge bag that had everything I needed to stop this Thanksgiving madness once and for all.

As I laid everything out in the snow in front of the cave the final memory that had brought me to the mouth of this cave came without warning.

  I had been away at graduate school in Kalamazoo, Michigan when I received the call from my mother. Without hesitation I stopped everything I was doing and headed home as quickly as possible. The southern part of Michigan was experiencing an unusually warm November, but being from the U.P. I knew better than to expect the same when I returned home. The weather stayed nice until I crossed The Mackinac Bridge.

Wind howled across the giant suspension bridge. It felt like invisible fists were drumming against the metal shell of my car. There was something in the air giving me warning to turn around and abandon my quest. I ignored it over my duty to family and pressed on.

And finally I was home.

Apparently, in preparation for the Thanksgiving hunt my father had taken it upon himself to stake out a good spot to find the perfect turkey for the celebration. He was lying on the living room couch wrapped in a crocheted afghan that my great grandmother had made so many years ago. Half of his face was covered in gauze and tape. Blood had managed to seep out in spots. The gaunt, robust man of my childhood had been reduced to a frail version of his former self. When I smiled at him he returned it with a crooked smile of his own. I found it interesting that the look of fear that he had brought into the house so many years ago was completely gone. No trace of it remained and he took my hand in his. I glanced at my mother and her tear stained face told me all I needed to know. She wasn't even capable of returning the smile I gave her.

Then, with his last breath he told me what needed to be done. I kissed his cooling forehead and hugged my mother before I went to the outbuilding that would have everything I would need for my mission.

When my father and uncle had decided on erecting a few outbuildings around the house they discovered that most of the land surrounding the house was nothing but ledge. Only a few inches of earth covered a huge mass of rock that would have been impossible to building anything on. It was what remained of the dynamite that I had stuffed into a convenient backpack hanging on a rusty hook in the shed. I also grabbed the huge auger that we used to make holes in a nearby pond for fishing.  

Now these things lay on the ground before me and I started the laborious task of making a line of holes in front of the cave. Occasionally a turkey would be curious as to my intentions. Then I would stop what I was doing, grabbed the 10 gauge and turn the bird into a pile of feathers and gore. After the second time that occurred I noticed a small rumbling coming from the black depths of the cave. There was also a smell that my brain refused to identify. Sickly sweet like rotted flesh, but something much much worse that my mind could not comprehend.

After an hour and four dead turkeys I had succeeded in planting 25 sticks of dynamite in a tight line. They were all linked by a single wire that would lead to a detonator box that I figured out how to use before leaving the house.

The rumbling had grown louder as I toiled in the increasingly warm environment in front of the cavern. At first I blamed my exertions, but even in that bitter cold air that flung itself off the icy cold surface of the majestic Lake Superior not a single bead of sweat appeared on my brow. I took off one of the woolen mittens and the glove underneath and held it out in front of me. 

The warm air was coming from the cave.

And so was something else. Something big.

I quickly replaced the glove and mitten and wound the wire off the spool to take it back to where I had placed the detonator box out of harm's way.

Then a long, fleshy tentacle snapped out of the cave and wrapped itself around my ankle.

The scarf wrapped firmly around my face muffled my screams as I struggled to gain a foot to where the backpack lay. As I felt myself being dragged backwards I lunged and snagged one of the straps. Plunging my hand into the bag it came out with a newly sharpened hatchet my father had always used in beheading the Thanksgiving turkey. Now I used it to hack at the writhing cord of flesh that was determined to drag me to the very depths of Hell itself. Green ichor splashed my hand and pants as I managed to free myself. I did not take the time to admire my handiwork. Instead I grabbed the spool of wire and ran to the box. 

An unearthly scream caught my attention as I wrapped the wire on the posts of the detonator.

My mind tried to understand what I was seeing. I assumed it would just be a much larger version of the turkeys my family had been consuming for generations.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

While the tentacles had been the familiar green color of the smaller birds, this wasn't a bird at all. A huge amorphous blob of a sickly white color was using the tentacles to move slowly across the rough cavern floor. It resembled an octopus more than anything else, but even that did not do justice in the description of this creature before me. Two huge, yellowed eyes stared malevolently at me and I could feel the pure evil that emanated from those massive orbs. 

I pulled the stick out of the detonator and plunged it down rapidly.

The concussive blast set me hurling perilously close to the frigid lake and for what felt like the briefest of moments I felt everything go dark.

Later it was the coldness of the lake air seeping through my scarf that brought me back to the land of the living.

The blast had collapsed the cave mouth and there were gobbets of the monster's unnatural flesh littering the surrounding area. Some of the flesh was actually ablaze and the smell of it cooking made my mouth water. When I realized what it was that we had been eating all that time. The unnatural union of monster and bird and wave of nausea made my vision swim with little dots of white light flickering in my field of vision.

I saw a rather large version of the tentacle turkey pecking away at a piece of the ruined flesh. The trusty 10 gauge was near the beast, but another idea leapt into my now addled brain. 

I located my father's hatchet and walked up to the bird and sliced off its head in one, neat swing of the weapon. Then I flung it over my shoulder and made my way back home.

After all, it was nearly Thanksgiving and the family would be expecting their feast.

None of them would realize it was to be our last taste of this delectable animal.