Most of you have heard the stories of a supposed local TV station, known simply as Caledon Local 21, in the town of Caledon, Ontario, Canada. Now, a person known simply as Elliot claimed to have watched this program, and has apparently even been in contact with Mr. Bear when he was younger. Now I don’t have any opinion towards the validity of whether or not Elliot actually watched this show, or if he actually contacted the infamous Mr. Bear as a child. I have never met Elliot, and I never did watch this show…not on TV, at least. So i can’t exactly state if everything Elliot ‘saw’ on Caledon Local 21 is factual. I did, however, meet Mr. Bear.
As I said earlier, I DID watch Caledon Local 21, just not in the traditional sense. To help you better understand, i’ll go back to the beginning. This is my story of how I met Mr. Bear, and 16 other children whose friendship and sacrifice will never be forgotten, not by me, and certainly not by Mr. Bear. I’m the kid that’s never been in any of the episodes, but was there for almost every single one of them. Even if the lost tapes (which there are so many more that most people don’t even know about) were ever found, you’ll never find a single trace or clue to my existence. I am number 17.
Now, before I start, let’s get back to Elliot for a minute. He has a blog that is essentially his investigation and any new information he remembers. As I said before, I have no idea to the validity of ‘Elliot’ even being a real person. The things he describes seeing however definitely sounds like some of the episodes from how I saw them in person, and he does seem to actually know about Mr. Bear, so I’d say he could be real, or could just be Mr. Bear, either way it seems like someone with actual knowledge of the show posted those things, and that’s what’s important. Now with that said, any new information or updates I have will be posted here, under the name Benjamin William Cote. This name, or simply “#17”, will be used both here and further in the story for the sake of anonymity. If Elliot is in fact real, and that’s his actual name, then apparently he doesn’t realize that if Mr. Bear really wanted to find him, or be found by him, then he would have been by now.
Growing up in Caledon in the early to mid 90’s was an amazing experience. It was much nicer then, and a lot smaller. It wasn’t so small that everyone knew everyone else, but everyone looked out for each other regardless of all that. It was a place where you didn’t have to be afraid to let your kids outside to play, and stranger danger was the last thing on anybody’s mind.
It was when I was about 10 that i had my first run in with Mr. Bear. Me and some of the neighborhood kids used to play near this drainage pipe, we would pretend it was our secret fort, no girls allowed, of course. Months went by with us playing here, and we never saw anyone else- no kids, no adults, nobody. And that remained true, until that summer.
I was on the way to my friend Matt’s house to see if him and the rest of the kids in the neighborhood were going to our usual spot. I had been sick for about a week, and was eager to go back there upon getting better. I just had to make sure everyone was going to be there. When i got about half way to his house, I saw him walking from his house, towards me, but he didn’t seem to notice me. He was just staring at the ground, walking as fast as he could from the looks of it. I called his name when he got closer, but he just kept walking. I said it again, louder this time, and he froze. When I saw his face, he looked scared, or panicked.
I asked him what was wrong, but he just shook his head. I asked him where he was going, and got the same response. I asked him if he wanted to come over my house, and to my surprise, he nodded.
We got back to my house and watched some cartoons for a bit. I waited until we finished an episode of looney tunes before asking him what was wrong again.
He told me he felt like he was being followed. I asked him why, and he said he saw someone at the spot (the drainage pipe) the other day, after everyone had left. He explained that he had lost his necklace that his dad had let him wear to school the other day. All the neighborhood kids tried helping him find it he said, but they all had to go home eventually. Matt, being afraid to go home without the necklace, stayed later to look for it. He said a Bear had appeared seemingly out of nowhere, and asked him what he was doing. After explaining himself, the Bear said that he had found a necklace earlier, and could give it to him if he came back to his house. Matt said he declined the Bear’s offer, and started to go home, afraid of the stranger in a costume. On his way home, Matt kept looking over his shoulder, and every time the Bear was there, walking slowly towards him. This went on until he got home. As he opened his door, he checked behind him one more time, and the Bear was gone.
He said at night the Bear has been outside his house a few times in the past week, and he stopped going to the spot now because of this. I asked him if he told his parents, but he said they didn’t believe him. They thought it was just a kid making up an excuse for losing something.
I remember going to sleep that night, after Matt had to go home, and wondering if he was telling the truth. Matt had never lied to me that i knew of, he was my best friend. But at the same time, this couldn’t be true, could it? Nothing bad has ever happened in our town, i thought it was safe? The questions burned in my head, my curiosity growing more and more.
The next day I decided to go to the spot, without letting Matt know. I didn’t want him to think I thought he was lying or anything. The other kids were there, as usual, and everything seemed normal. I asked about Matt, and everyone was saying how he was afraid of getting in trouble, and made up some story about a person in a bear costume. I thought it was kind of messed up of them to be talking about Matt like that, they were supposed to be his friends, but even I knew how it all sounded. If Matt and I weren’t as close as we were I might’ve thought the same thing.
I quickly put it out of my mind, as this was the first time since being sick that I was back at the spot, and actually able to play! The hours slipped by as the kids left one by one, until finally I was alone. That’s when Matt popped back into my head, and I figured I’d stay, just to see if I could spot the ‘Bear Man’. Another hour or so went by, and I was about to head home, already thinking up an excuse as to why I was late (starting to understand why matt’s parents didn’t believe him now), when I heard a deep, muffled voice. I could barely understand him, but I was certain that he said “Matt…?” My heart immediately dropped into my stomach, and the strongest sensation to throw up took me over. I tried to answer, but as I turned around to see a very large person in a full body bear costume staring right at me, all I could focus on was the saliva quickly building in my mouth, my neck muscles tightening. He stared at me for a bit, which felt like an eternity, before mumbling in the same, muffled voice. “You’re not Matt….”
I finally managed to swallow the knot in my throat before answering with a simple “no, i’m not.” I took a step back, and the Bear took a step forward.
“Well, if you’re not Matt, who are you?” I couldn’t say my name, I couldn’t even think of a fake name, all I managed to get out is “Matt.”
The Bear stared at me, tilting his head slightly to the side, before speaking again. “If you know Matt, tell him I have his necklace if he still wants it. The silly head lost it, but didn’t want to come get it from my house…..Actually, how about you come get it for him?”
Apparently, those were the magic words to snap me out of shock, as I simply turned around and ran, as fast as I could. I didn’t look back like Matt did, not until i was in my bedroom. I glanced out of my window, but there was no bear. Nights went by, one after another, and I checked for the Bear every time. But he was never there. I wanted to tell my parents, but thought they would just brush me off like Matt’s parents did. I thought about telling Matt what I saw, just so I could let him know I believed him, that I saw proof to his story, however by doing so would only confirm that i doubted him to begin with. Matt couldn’t know about this, and wouldn’t, at least until next summer.
The school year came and went, and I eventually forgotten about the mysterious Bear. I hadn’t been to the spot in a long time, however, and had only thought about the Bear once I was invited to return there. I declined, of course, but something inside me wanted to go back. I had to know what was going on, who that person was, and why he was following Matt.
It was about a month into summer vacation when I finally decided to go back to the spot. I went in the evening, since that was when both of us had seen the Bear. I didn’t have a plan other than seeing him again, at 11 I didn’t think things through very well. I eventually got to the spot, and just started killing time. I threw some rocks at the trees, poked leaves with a stick, and even tried yelling at one point. Nightfall was getting close, so I decided to give up. Now, the drainage pipe is kind of in a woodsy area, and it takes a little bit to get to there from the main road that i take to walk home. I was about half way to the road when I though I heard kids. They sounded like they were around my age, and I couldn’t tell what they were actually doing, it all just indecipherable voices in the distance. It was coming from the opposite direction I was heading, kind of towards the drainage pipe.
For a few minutes i sat there, thinking. I wanted to check out the noise, to see if I knew any of the kids, or to even ask them about the Bear. I started heading back into the woods, the trees getting denser as i pushed forward. It seemed like I was walking forever, the sun slowly disappearing almost entirely. Then I realized how I had messed up- I went into the middle of a forest, in the night, without a flash light. How was I even supposed to find my way back if i kept going? Logic slipped away as my eagerness to follow the voices overpowered my thought process. Thankfully, with barely any light left in the sky to guide me, I saw a glowing light in the distance, in the same direction of the voices.
As I got closer I realized it was a campfire, and that’s where the kids were. For some reason, perhaps the security of thinking that kids meant an adult somewhere nearby, I didn’t feel afraid or uncertain about how I was getting out of the woods. I felt safe.
Suddenly I found myself walking into a make-shift camp site in a small clearing. there were no tents, 2 small coolers which i assumed had food or drinks maybe, and an enormous fire pit. The fire burning in it was enormous, and the lights from the flames danced across the faces of several children. Some were really young, maybe 5 or 6 years old, some of them around my age, maybe a year older. They were all kind of dirty looking, and seemed to be playing, but it was all weird. The way they were acting with each other, how they were actually playing, it all seemed off for some reason, like it was a badly made after school special about the importance of friends. They seemed very fake with each other, every action and reaction seemed like an act.
One of them saw me, and all emotion immediately ran from his face. The act was over, it seemed, or something was wrong. And that something seemed to be me. Every other kid did exactly as the first did upon noticing me, until they were all just staring at me. I didn’t know what to say to them, so I simply stared back. I wasn’t afraid, just put off by everything. We all stood there in a trance, until a loud CRUNCH came from behind me.
I quickly flipped around to see the Bear standing there, staring at me.