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COUNTY: Hopkins County
LOCATION DETAILS: These encounters occurred on the property of the Heckley mines.
NEAREST TOWN: Earlington
NEAREST ROAD: Near Highway 41, off of Hecla St. heading North
OBSERVED: I have two incidents. One is a vocalization and the other a sighting. I was about 15 at the time.
Vocalization: My Dad, his best friend, and myself were bow hunting on the Heckley mine property. We arrived about an hour before sunup. Dad dropped me off at my stand and followed the trail to his blind. His friend went down the trail to his stand.
My stand was on the wooded edge of a coal flat surrounded by forrest on three sides. The fourth side had an opening through the woods that had been used to allow trucks to haul the coal( I think ). The flat was about 60 yards wide and deep and roughly circular in shape. I was on the edge closest to the truck path and had several deer trails intersecting from the woods on each side of me and continuing across the flat and onto the truck path. Almost directly in front of me across the flat was a hill with a power line cutthrough. To my right was the truck path and beyond it was some thick woods that ran up the hill and formed the right side of the cutthrough.
I had just gotten settled into my stand when I heard something running down the hill and through the woods on the other side of the truck path. It was still too dark to see but I assumed it was a severely spooked deer because it sounded large and it was loud. When the sound seemed to get to the edge of the flat it stopped, for a moment.
The next thing I heard was something running back and forth in the woods on the flats' edge. Back and forth back forth then it would stop and I would hear a loud knocking sound like a woodpecker only much louder and much slower. Knock....knock....knock...then more running sounds. This continued three or four more times. I was trying to figure out what the heck it was when I heard a scream that sent ( and still does thinking about it ) a shudder and cold chill down my spine. I've heard wildcats scream, I've heard coyotes making some odd sounds, but this was unlike anything I've ever heard. It was very loud deep and guttural but with a high pitch to it at as well. After the first scream it started running again, then knocking, then screaming again. Over and over and in the same pattern. Needless to say I was beyond spooked. Luckily the sun was starting to rise but I still couldn't see anything in that area. The next thing I know the sounds stop, I hear running up the hill, and I hear something walking up the trail behind and to my left. It was my Dad's best friend who had been in his stand and was coming to see what was making that sound. He was shaken as well. When my Dad came out he hadn't heard anything. His blind was a good ways off and in the bottoms.
The exact same area as before one week later.
I was sitting in my stand as the sun came up. For some reason I kept being drawn to the power line hill. It was still early October so everything, grass included was mostly green but there was this big brown bushes sitting to my left of the power line that I had never noticed before. I realized what was also odd was that it seemed to be swaying slightly in the wind and there was no wind. As I'm sitting there watching it...the bush stood up. It had the shape of a man. A head, arms, legs, etc. It was a medium brown color and was huge.
I was beyond stunned. My mouth dropped open my heart started beating faster. I heard a bird whistle to my right, it was my Dad's "in the woods signal". He was sitting not 20 yards from me on a hill on the flat's edge. He pointed to his eyes, and pointed up the hill. Basically asking me did I see what he was seeing. I nodded. We continued watching it as it started walking toward the right side woods. It would take a couple of steps, stop, and look our way. It did this until it entered the woods. This all probably happened quickly but seemed like slow motion to me. I started climbing out of my stand and Dad came over and said we were going home. He was shaken as well. We didn't say much until we got in the truck and started home. Then we talked about how big it was and what we had seen and how maybe that was what had made all that noise the week before. We think we saw a Sasquatch, but we still don't know what the heck it was.
OTHER WITNESSES: Vocalization: myself and my dad's best friend.
Sighting: myself and my father.
OTHER STORIES: My dad grew up in those woods and had heard some strange things and been camping when something seemed to be circling his camp and watching him, but no sightings, etc until the one above.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Vocalization: Early morning before sunup/still dark. Clear weather, little wind, cool/chilly.
Sighting: Early morning after sunup approximately 7 or 8 a.m. Sunny but a bit overcast. No wind cool October temperatures.
ENVIRONMENT: It had been strip mined many years before but the mining had only stripped certain areas so there were vast coal black flats surrounded by trees and rolling hills. There were also plenty of underground mining shafts still around as well as sink holes that opened into them. It was a very interesting place to hunt to say the least and quite large.
There were several creeks and bottoms that ran through portions of the property. A few swampy areas. Most of the trees were hardwoods but there were a few pines spread out in various parts.
From what I understand from my father they have resumed mining in the area as of a few years ago.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Harold Benny:
I spoke to the witness by phone and found him to be credible. His original report was quite inclusive, but he was able to add several details. The noises heard on the first morning were about 40 yards into the thick forest, and sounded like an entire football team breaking through the brush. Several extremely loud screams were heard. They were louder and more powerful than any animal the witness has ever heard leaving him with what he called a primal fear.
On the second day, both the witness and his father viewed the creature at about 100 yards for over 20 seconds. When the animal stood up, it appeared to be at least seven feet tall, covered with shaggy reddish hair, and had the physique of a body builder. As it walked off and turned to look back, the witness said it looked exactly like the bipedal animal in the Patterson-Gimlin film.
About BFRO Investigator Harold Benny:
Harold Benny holds two degrees in Zoology and was a Biology teacher for several years. He participated in the following BFRO expeditions: Michigan UP 07, Arkansas I 07, Arkansas II (Oklahoma) 07, N. Florida 08, Missouri 08, Tennessee 09, and Ohio 09. Harold has organized several private Illinois expeditions and in 2006 recieved the IDNR Volunteer Of The Year Award as part of the Montgomery Co. Hunter Education group.