The Hoary Bats of Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove, Oregon is one of those old mining and timber towns that time really has forgotten. Surrounded by mud-track trailer parks, it’s four-block downtown is dominated by century-old Oddfellows lodges and barber shops. The town pride is displayed in mural across brick- Buster Keaton gripping the front of a steam engine in the universally-panned 1926 silent film The General. It’s a short step to ghost town on the best of days. It doesn’t help that after dark, the town is taken over by giant, screaming bats.
It’s not something they publicize.
Probably because these are not typical bats, meaning the mouse to rat-sized bats that swoop relatively silently and often in large groups in most of the region. The bats of goofy Halloween decorations. The kind of bat your mother can chase out of a cabin with a broom. These are not those bats. The bats of Cottage Grove have a sixteen-inch wingspan, a hoary-white over-coating of fur, and scream. Loudly.
It’s the kind of visceral sound that channels straight down your spine. And it’s not helped by their size, their propensity to swoop towards people, or the way their hoariness makes them seem to glow in the dark. Five hours after sunset every night, they come screeching out like literal bats out of hell- and no one says a word about it.

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