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DATE: not known
COUNTY: Fresno County
LOCATION DETAILS: On the San Joaquin River
NEAREST TOWN: Mendota
NEAREST ROAD: Ashlan
OBSERVED: My story occured around 1991 on the San Joaquin River in what would be the northwestern part of town. Actually in Fresno. The area is mostly farm land and some sparse woods and vineyards. nothing like foresty though. My self, my cousin and a friend had decided to go late night fishing at a little area on the river where the river sort of pools. Their is a bridge there. It was late and we were sitting there and fishing when we heard something making noise and looked back and saw a coyote running across the bridge heading north. The coyote kept looking back as it ran as if it was frightened.The coyote looked at us but it was clearly focused on something behind it and it was scared. We thought at that time that that was odd. We then heard what we thought was a splash as if someone had dove into the water behind us. It was dark so we just glanced back but of course saw nothing. We probably sat for about 10 minutes or so when suddenly there was a huge goosh and splash about 25 yards away in front of us. We stopped fishing and then tried looking into the darkness.This small boulder throwing continued at least 2 more times before we actually saw a dark figure about 40 yards away standing what looked about waist high in the river. Their was a full moon so it wasn't to dark to see that it was a pretty big creature. By this time we were starting to get scared and were pretty much froze in place and had began to yell at it, thinking that it could be a person. This prompted my friend to yell threats of violence as young people are sometime prone to do, this creature basically turned it's whole body to the right of it and grapped another boulder and with both hands over its head it threw it at us, this one landed about 15 yards away. It made no sound or noise only threw small boulders. It threw about 2 more boulders the last landing about 5 yards from us enough to splash water on our faces. By this time we had reeled in our lines and were trying to get out of there as fast as we could. We ran all the way back to the car which was through some trees across a field and up a hill. We went back the next day to the area and on rafts floated to the area where the creature had stood. My friend is about 6 foot tall and jumped in the water to see about how deep it was. The water came to his shoulders. Their was no way this was a man. We even saw some of the boulders that had been thrown at the bottom of the water as it wasn't more then 5 1/2 feet deep. Their was a sand bar and the boulders were at least 30 to 40 lbs.
OTHER WITNESSES: 3 total
OTHER STORIES: no
TIME AND CONDITIONS: about 1am in the morning. full moon.
ENVIRONMENT: mostly farm land, no houses for about 7 miles or so. scattered trees. vineyards. nothing real dense. river flows pretty good on this part.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Bart Cutino:
Following a long phone interview with the witness on 7/10/05, these important details should be added to this report.
- At the time of the incident the witnesses, ages seventeen to twenty-one, were fishing for catfish during a full moon under the north side of a bridge about fourteen miles west of where Highway 99 meets the San Joaquin River. The area is in close proximity to several small to large sloughs and a wildlife refuge, which contains an abundance of fish, waterfowl, small mammals and reptiles.
The observed coyote’s frightened and strange behavior reminded the witness of a previously viewed program that discussed and showed visual examples of animals’ “flight instinct” from other predators.
In response to the three young adults shouting and yelling, the large “dark figure” was seen pivoting to its right and picked up what appeared to be large boulders from the sand bank directly behind it and began tossing them “hands over head” in the witnesses’ direction. The witness believes the subject's increased hostility was a direct result of being shouted at. At no time did the subject respond vocally or attempt to shorten its distance from the witnesses.
Although no facial features were observed during the encounter, the witness emphasized both the large size and broad stature of the subject. In addition, the witness perceived the figure to be hair covered due to both its dark color and what appeared to be “shiny, wet fur” slightly animated by moonlight.
While departing, the witnesses’ felt extreme fear and anxiety. The witness was insistent that he and his two companions experienced several tense moments while trying to reach their car. They were literally “climbing over each other” while having to negotiate a narrow single-file path in the back end of a vineyard before reaching a clearing.
The next day, the witness took both his 6’2 friend and future wife rafting to the spot where the subject was observed waist deep in water. The alleged creature appeared to have waded where the river narrowed on a corner in 5 ½ ft. deep water. This particular pool of water reached the bottom chin of the 6’2 friend. After seeing this comparison, the witness estimated that the subject witnessed the previous night reached a height of between 8 ½ and 9 ft. Several clean boulders, weighing in excess of 30 lbs. were found laying on the river-bottom where the witness saw the huge splashes the night before.
About BFRO Investigator Bart Cutino:
Part owner of the "world famous" Sardine Factory (Restaurant) on historic Cannery Row, Monterey, CA & Wealth Management Consultant for the NCW Group in Monterey, CA, Bart Cutino has been an enthusiast of large "unrecognized" North American primates for over 28 years.
Is part of CA-BFRO contingent "crew" and has attended/assisted every CA state field effort since joining the organization in 2004.