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COUNTY: Polk County
LOCATION DETAILS: On the bike trail that goes between Birdland Marina on the south end and Big Creek on the north end. Between Euclid Avenue and Birdland Marina within the city limits of Des Moines. Very rugged land close to the Des Moines River, ravines, many tree branches down on the ground. Not like a smooth football field.
NEAREST TOWN: Des Moines
NEAREST ROAD: between E. Euclid Avenue and Birdland Marina and Birdland Marina
OBSERVED: I heard the deer coming toward me over to my left. I was going down the trail and the deer was coming in the opposite direction about a hundred feet over to my left. He kept looking over his right shoulder at something. I wondered what he was looking at and I lifted my head a little and that is when I saw the thing. At first I thought it was a human being. I mean it had a head, shoulders, arms and legs, chest. It saw me at a distance of about three hundred feet and when it saw me it kind of hunkered down. I have seen deer do the same sort of thing when they are preparing to take flight. After hunkering down, it made a 90 degree turn and leaped and bounded through the air. Both feet were off the ground. It made another 90 degree left turn and disappeared among the trees. I could see the blackness disappearing behind and among the trees as it left. The total viewing time was no more than 3 seconds. It left in a big hurry. It was tall, about 6 feet or a little taller, black, slim and quick. I mean it was quicker than a deer. Imagine an Olympic class sprinter cooking off a hundred yard dash. Multiply that quickness by a factor of 2 or 3. It was incredibly quick, quicker than a deer.
ALSO NOTICED: Nothing at all.
OTHER WITNESSES: I was not the only one to see this thing. A deer saw it and it saw it first. That deer was in a BIG hurry to leave the area.
OTHER STORIES: Nothing at all.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 5:00 in the afternoon. Snow on the ground, maybe an inch. Plenty of light. The creature stood out plainly against the background of snow on the ground and tree trunks.
ENVIRONMENT: Deciduous type forest with all the leaves gone. The visibility was excellent. Quite rugged type land near Des Moines River. Ravines, large and small tree branches down all over. Snow on the ground. The bare tree trunks were brown or gray.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator John Green:
Eyewitness Jim J. has a B.A. degree in Anthropology. He's a 30 year employee of the Iowa State Department of Revenue.
During a phone interview, Jim mentioned that the Des Moines Sunday Register (newspaper) reported similar sightings many years earlier. Some of those incidents were also in wild areas near the Des Moines River, within the city limits.