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DATE: late October
COUNTY: Tulare County
LOCATION DETAILS: Above Kernville, CA Highway 190 north area-- Peppermint Springs Campground was within several miles of our wilderness camp.
NEAREST TOWN: Kernville, Ca.
NEAREST ROAD: Kernville/Johnsonville road
OBSERVED: Sir, A good friend of mine and I were camping up on the Kern Plateau, a massive area 7,000 feet-plus in elevation on the western flank of the Sierra Nevada above the Kern River in late October 1985, (Peppermint Springs Campground is closest location). We had driven by 4X4 truck for approx. 2 miles back in from the highway. We wanted to be alone, away from a formal camping area as we had firearms and planned on doing some "plinking".
However, we discovered that there were other "campers/hunters" in the area-- but none camped close. One gentleman even joined us for dinner, as he hadn't eaten in a couple of days. He was friendly and said he worked as a handyman in the area during the summer season. As night fell, we heard several vehicles pulling out, going back toward the highway. The temperature began to drop rapidly.
Later that evening, perhaps around 8:30 pm, my friend and I were sitting by the campfire sipping beers and listening to a bit of country/western music when suddenly... my friend said to me, "Do you hear that?" I turned down the music to listen. What we heard was un-godly. It was a loud, shrill-pitched scream. A combination growl/scream, really, that echoed for miles throughout the woods, and it wasn't human. At first, I thought it must be some drunken hunter howling at the moon. But, it was far too loud and intense. We listened again.... and again it sounded, this time closer. It was quite simply bone chilling.
We immediately turned off the music and grabbed our firearms, rechecked that they were loaded and, frankly, just sat there stunned. We were armed with a 30.06 rifle, a 12-gauge pump shotgun, and a pair of .22 caliber pistols. This did not make us feel secure. It was that profound of an experience, the kind of episode where the hair on the back of one's neck stands straight up.
The entire forest, I mean everything, shut down completely when this creature made those horrific screams. It remained for the rest of the evening. We also felt like something was "close" to us. There was just this subtle, palpable vibe. To put in perspective how spooked we were (because we heard another short series of screams around 11:00 pm) we both slept with the guns literally under our pillows. My buddy refused to sleep by the fire, instead preferring to sleep in the back of my Ford pick-up.
I am an experienced bow-hunter/outdoorsman with many years spent in the wilderness hunting and camping. This is the first time I've ever related this story in print, although I have told it several times to friends. At first, they laugh, but as I go into detail they can see quite clearly that I'm not exaggerating. This was a very strange incident, indeed.
ALSO NOTICED: The thing that struck me was how the entire forest seemed to shut down when this creature screamed. I mean, everything. Nothing was stirring. Dead calm, yet in a very eerie sense.
OTHER WITNESSES: Only my friend and myself.
OTHER STORIES: I know for a fact that there is a fair amount of bear/mountain lion activity in the area. Local high country ranchers often report losing cattle,lambs to mountain lions, etc. Please understand, what we heard that evening did NOT sound like a mountain lion-- or anything else for that matter. The only thing that comes close, is the howl of the GREAT APES I've seen on a National Geographic Special shot in the mountains of Rwanda or something
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Evening. Once at around 8:30-9:00 pm, again at around 11:00 pm
ENVIRONMENT: A clear, cold late-October evening. There may have been a very late moon.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Richard Hucklebridge:
On the evening of April 22, 2005, Michael called me, and we went over his encounter on the Kern Plato that took place 20 years ago. My first question to Mike was, why this series of screams and growls were still so prevalent in his mind? He told me, that both he and his friend felt like they were both physically and psychologically affected by what they had heard that night. I took that to be, that they were scared to death by what they heard and felt because it caused them both armed, and in excellent physical condition to act in different ways than usual/normal. They both took their guns to bed with them, and Mike’s friend felt he should sleep in the back of the truck. The next day, he revealed that he had heard something walking around and through the camp after they had been in their bedrolls for a while. Mike was sleeping on the ground close to the fire which burned most of the night, but he never heard what it was that was walking around their campground.
Per Mike, “The temperature continued to drop throughout the night and he figured it was in the low teens by morning because a small running stream was frozen over by morning. It was way too cold for someone out there to be messing around in their opinion. "We both really wanted to leave, but were too tired from the previous days experiences, plus the long drive we had that day.”
Mike remembered at least five screaming/growls that had a duration that lasted between 5 to 15 seconds each, and he figured it was emanating approximately a half mile away but moving closer as the evening progressed. The volume was extremely loud, like it was coming from something very large. Towards the end of screaming/growls it sounded to them like whatever it was making these noises was going to attack them, and at that time they felt a strong desire to leave the area immediately.
Summary: The reason that I think this report is relevant to the subject at hand, is the sensation that they both felt a fear to flee or fight vibration, and they noticed how the forest around them all went silent. The screams were blood curdling, and the vibrations were very evident, they said, which spooked both of them to their core. Michael is a highly educated person, and holds a high position in his industry. He appeared to be a very credible person when recounting his encounter.