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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Woman's 'Worst Nightmare' Unfolds While Hanging Christmas Lights Outside of Her Own Home

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There are some occupational hazards you face when setting up Christmas decor, but they’re fairly well-known and easily avoidable.

Rickety ladders can be problematic. Spiders can be hiding in the decor that has been stashed away for most of the year. Tangled lights and cords can be a tripping hazard.

Most people don’t have to watch out for rabid raccoons, but now Donna Sanginario of Lancaster, Massachusetts, does after a freak encounter with one while setting up her holiday lights.

On Facebook, the 70-year-old told of the terrifying ordeal, sharing photos of the resulting damage. It all started on Dec. 1 at around 4 p.m.

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“I was putting some lights around bushes in front of my home,” she explained on Facebook. “I could hear this strange noise coming from the street. I turned around to see what the noise was and I was staring at a huge raccoon about 10 feet away.

“Before I could do anything it jumped at me. Worst nightmare of my life.”

She described how it took nearly five minutes to get the 40-pound creature off of her. It clamped down on her arm and wouldn’t let go.

“It looked at me and started jumping up at me, so I put my hand over my face … we were both screaming so loud it was unbelievable,” Sanginario told WHDH-TV. “He wouldn’t let go for anything … he just attached … I got this big thing over my head, it’s like ‘Someone help me!'”

In her post, she said she even got the raccoon in a headlock and “could hear bones breaking in his neck,” but still it soldiered on. Finally, it stopped screaming, let go of the poor woman and ambled off.

“Can you believe it?” she wrote. “I really thought I was going to die. It’s been a rough couple days but a weekend with my girlfriends is helping take the pain and trauma away.”

In a follow-up post, Sanginario said that while the raccoon was never found, animal control has been in contact with her.

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The animal’s behavior was consistent with how a rabid animal might act, so she is being treated accordingly with a series of injections. She also got a tetanus shot and sustained several broken ribs.

To her credit, she didn’t let the miserable little creature stop her from completing her goal: She got back out there and finished the decorating job — but she has a new tool she’s added to her collection for next year’s decorating.

“I will always out here have a bat or something from now on,” she said.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking