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COUNTY: Delaware County
LOCATION DETAILS: About 2 miles north of US 23, on the Olentangy River, near what used to be Eckles Lake.
NEAREST TOWN: Delaware, Ohio
NEAREST ROAD: Stratford Road and Pollock Road
OBSERVED: This particular siting occured in mid-Summer of 1975. We were 14 and 15 years old at the time. My friends and I often camped out during the Summer months, usually in open fields or down along the Olentangy River. We've heard many stories of Bigfoot sitings over the years, with increased regularity. We decided on this evening to camp close to the river and do a little midnight exploring and see what kind of trouble we could get into. Nothing serious, just some fishing, sneaking out onto the golf course nearby, innocent fun. Since it was a warm evening, we dicided to wade through the river as we explored. What we encountered frightened us all. At first, we only heard noises of twigs breaking and the rustling of the underbrush on the opposite side of the river. Then, as we approached a clearing, we all saw something huge standing next to the trees. It must have stood 7-8 feet tall. It was completely covered in reddish brown hair, and it stood up like a man. We kept moving, and as we moved further down the river, this "thing" followed us, always staying in the cover of the trees. Well, needless to say, this scared us even more. We quickly exited the river and headed through the woods to an apartment complex nearby. As we ran, we could hear something big moving through the water in the river, and a howl that I will never forget. We made it to the apartments and thought we we far enough ahead to stop running. We were wrong. When we stopped, we were standing about 15-20 yards from the edge of the woods. We could still hear something big moving through the woods at a fairly quick pace. Then, all of a sudden, it stopped at the edge of the woods and stood there staring at us. We turned and ran through the complex as fast as we could, and did not stop running until we got closer to town. We did not complete our camping outing that evening. It would be two days before we retrieved the camping gear, and nearly another month before we had enough nerve to go camping again.
ALSO NOTICED: After we went back to retrieve our camping gear (during the day), we went back to the river and found large tracks. They must have been at least 11-12 inches long.
OTHER WITNESSES: Three other witnesses. We we all wading through the river.
OTHER STORIES: Yes, many, many stories before and after this incident.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: This incident occured sometime around midnight. The weather was very calm, but warm. The sky was clear.
ENVIRONMENT: Wooded forest along the Olentangy River
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Steven P:
During my interview with the witness I found him to be credible as he related a nearly 30 year old incident. Here are a few of the questions and answers I posed during the interview.
Q - How were you able to discern the color of the creature at night?
A - It was a clear night, the moon was out and when we got to the apartment complex there was some outdoor lighting. It was not black, nor white; it was brown or red colored.
Q - What did your parents think about your camping gear being gone for a few days?
A - We did not tell them what happened. They didn't miss the gear as we would often camp at friends and in the fields south of town, it was not uncommon for the tents and sleeping bags to be gone for days at a time.
Q - How long did this incident last in total?
A- There was about ten minutes between when we first saw it and arrived at the apartment complex.
Q - Why do you think it showed itself?
A - One of my friends picked up a rock from the river and threw it toward where we were hearing the noises.
Q - How far away were you when you first saw it?
A - From mid-river to the trees lining the river is about 50-60 feet, it was staying just on the edges of the tree line.
Q - You mention other stories, can you share them?
A - Well, there were reports of odd noises down there for many years and maybe another year after we had our sighting. One of my friends lived in a farm down that way; his dad sometimes worked a shift that brought him home very early in the morning. He said on more than one occasion he would pull in and see something large and not a person stalking around their barn and he would wait in the car until it walked into the woods.
This report fits well geographically and chronologically with other activity that seemed to spike in the central Ohio area during this time. There were the well-publicized sightings and track finds associated with the building of the Muirfield Golf Course and other sightings in and around this area.
Since the mid 1970's this area has undergone rapid development and sprawl. Delaware County is consistently ranked as one of Ohio's fastest growing counties. Sadly, what used to be farmlands and woodlots are quickly becoming individual home sites and housing developments.
About BFRO Investigator Steven P:
Chief administrative officer of a unit of local government, a consultant and community faculty member.