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COUNTY: Tishomingo County
LOCATION DETAILS: Natchez Trace Parkway, approximately fifty yards north of mile marker 307.
NEAREST TOWN: Tishomingo , Ms
NEAREST ROAD: Natchez Trace Parkway
OBSERVED: At about 5pm January 5, 2006, I was returning home from a trip to Florence Alabama via the Natchez Trace Parkway. About fifty yards north of mile marker 307, a creature darted across the road between my car and another coming the opposite way.
It was solid black and looked to be between 4 1/2 feet tall and 5 feet tall and was running on 2 legs. I could not clearly make out any features in part because it was near sunset and in part because of the speed at which it ran.
It appeared to running alongside the road heading down the southbound lane and very quickly turned and crossed the road. It stumbled slightly at the edge of the road and swung its arms to regain balance then continued across the road and into the tree line.
I don't care to speculate how fast it was moving but I'm sure it was faster than a human, maybe about as fast as a deer can run. I stopped when I got to where it crossed but I did not see anything else. My wife who was with me did not spot it and if the people in the oncoming car spotted it, they made no indication.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: roughly 5pm near sunset
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator John G. Callender:
I spoke with the witness on January 08, 2006, for more than forty minutes.
He and his wife were returning from a trip to Florence, Alabama and they were watching the sun set as they drove along the Natchez Trace Parkway in a generally southwesterly direction. They had just crossed the Mississippi-Alabama state line and had traveled approximately three to four miles into Mississippi as they approached mile marker 307.
The witness said he saw what initially appeared to be a person jogging along the right side of the road in a southwesterly direction. He emphasized that it’s fairly common to see joggers along the Trace, so he didn’t think much about it at first glance.
The witness said that when approaching mile marker 307 the road is hilly that there's a slight downhill incline at that point. At the bottom of the hill, the road curves to the right when traveling southwest on the Trace. There was a vehicle approaching in the opposite direction that was just entering the witness's field of vision as he topped the hill just prior to mile marker 307. The vehicle traveling in the opposite direction had also just topped a hill as well. As both vehicles came into view of each other on tops of their respective hills, the animal appeared to panic. Both cars traveled down their hills, around the curve, and passed each other. The witness slowed to "nearly a stop" while the other car appeared to pass by without slowing.
The animal was initially traveling at a “normal speed” for a jogger when he first noticed it, but then it suddenly started moving quickly and appeared to be running at “about the speed a deer would sprint” as both vehicles entered the curve.
As it crossed the road from right to left, it lost its balance and tripped, nearly falling down. After catching its balance, it “bounded off into the woods”.
It had its back towards the him until it turned to cross the road. The closest he came to it was roughly twenty-five to thirty yards. It ran between the two cars and roughly equidistant between the cars.
It was solid black and was illuminated by the sun, which was still in the sky.
He said the entire observation lasted “a matter of seconds” and his full attention was focused on it for about two seconds. It happened so quickly that he didn’t even have time to say “look!” to his wife who was in the car with him.
He thinks the sighting took place within the bounds of Tishomingo State Park.
He emphasized that he didn’t pay much attention to it until it panicked and started moving very quickly. He got a side profile of it as it crossed. He said its head “didn’t look human” and appeared to be “a little raised in the back and it appeared to slope towards the front”. He described it as “very stocky with a muscular build”.
When it tripped, it swung its arms out to catch its balance. He said the hands appeared to be much larger, proportionally than a human’s and the arms appeared to be longer, proportionally, than a normal human’s arms.
While the animal was running along the parkway the arms were “up like a human” -- like a human’s arms would be while jogging.
The surrounding terrain is steep hills and large boulders. Bear Creek runs through there. An area adjacent to this location is called the Freedom Hills. It's called Freedom Hills because it was a favored hiding area for escaped slaves prior to the Civil War.
About BFRO Investigator John G. Callender:
John Callender hails from Mississippi where he received a BA degree in Accounting from the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). He spent 26 years in the Seattle area flying for a major airline before retiring and relocating to Middle Tennessee in 2017. John quickly found that he missed flying and he’s now on his second career as a pilot for a major airline. He has done extensive field work in the Pacific Northwest, as well as Mississippi and he has attended the following expeditions: WA - Oly Pen (Aug. '04); New Mexico (Jicarilla Apache SEP '04); WA - Oly Pen (October '04); CA - Redwoods (May '05); WA -Oly Pen -3, (AUG '05 ); WA Cascades Expedition (AUG '06); Central Oregon Expedition (JUNE '07), BC, Vancouver Island Expedition (SEPT 2007), WA Cascades Expedition (June '09), 2009 Washington Olympic Peninsula Expedition.