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COUNTY: Clay County
LOCATION DETAILS: (topozone.com map 33° 27.85'N, 85° 52.21'W - across road from red #13 about 200 yds. ) This is in the Talladega National Forest on the Pinhote Trail SE of McDill Point and NW of Odum Trail, on the SE side of Henderson Peak (as pointed out by the Troop Leader).
NEAREST TOWN: Unknown/Talladega National Forest
NEAREST ROAD: State 281
OBSERVED: 01192008 Suspicious knocking was heard about 3:00 am as my husband was camping with Boy Scouts on the side of a ridge SE of Henderson Peak about 200 yds from State Rd. 281. (topozone.com map 33° 27.85'N, 85° 52.21'W - across road from red #13 about 200 yds. ) This is just south of the Cheaha State Park line. It was about 14 degrees with intermittent howling wind. There were 3 sets of 2 knocks each about 100 yards north of the campsite described as “a piece of firewood hitting another.” It was very loud and the knocks, though themselves rhythmic, were spaced so that the wind died down before they occurred again. These were not little limbs hitting each other and he was not able to determine if there were any responses because of the wind. There were no campers north of them and the only other campers on the mountain that were encountered was another Boy Scout troop camping about 4 miles away directly on Lake Chinobee. My husband is an avid bfro.net browser (and hopeful member of a future BFRO expedition :-) who awoke and immediately felt that this was consistent with other knocking activity. Due to the inclement conditions and not wanting to scare the younger kids in camp, he did not have a chance to follow up. Although he didn’t mention the sounds the next morning, another adult did, and with careful, roundabout questioning all other factors for the sounds were excluded (trees falling, wind, limbs hitting each other due to the wind, etc). I am typing this since he was “not sure” of the cause of the sounds and was reluctant to report something that may not have been genuine (since he wasn’t able to go look for tracks).
ALSO NOTICED: Although nothing was observed, he did look for tracks, broken branches, limb formations, caves, etc., within sight of the trail on the hike they took north of the camp earlier in the day. Coyotes visited the camp during the night, sniffing around, and one of the adults thought he heard deer moving north of the camp after the knocking woke him up.
OTHER WITNESSES: 2 other adults were awakened and took part in the discussion of what could have caused that type of sound.
OTHER STORIES: There are other reports of activity in the Talladega/Clay/St. Clair areas and we know of one other not reported in Perry county. The sighting in 7/07 was about 1 hr drive (shorter as the crow flies) from this incident. My husband also observed suspicious activity as a youth 12-14 while hiking with his Uncle somewhere in the vicinity of Vincent/Harpersville (Shelby County) in the form of a huge noise about 40 yds from them as they stood in a creek and upon climbing out observed twisted branches about 2" thick and uprooted bushes (which was taken as the "huge" sound they heard). He was not interested in nor had knowledge of BF at that time. It affected them so much they immediately left the area.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 3:00 a.m., full moon, recent snowfall of about 2", howing wind, 14 degrees.
ENVIRONMENT: It is heavily wooded, with numerous lakes and few people, especially in winter. There are several hiking trails in this area.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Morris Collins:
The witness recounted his experience to me in detail as described in the report. He said the sounds were three very distinct, extremely loud knocks of wood on wood. They did not correspond to wind gusts and were clearly heard over the wind and background noise generated by the wind. He said the sound would be what he would imagine if someone could hit two four-foot fence posts together.
He did not mention the sounds to the other adults at breakfast but one of the two other adults brought up that he had been awakened by the noise. They could not agree on a common explanation for the noise.
This area of the Talledaga National Forrest and Cheaha Mountain has a history of unexplained noises and sightings.
About BFRO Investigator Morris Collins:
Morris holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Auburn University and additional coursework toward an MBA in International Business. He is an avid backpacker and SCUBA diver. Morris attended Georgia 2006, 2008, 2009 & 2011; North Carolina 2006 and SC 2007 expeditions. He is a member of the SE BFRO Tracking Team and has completed a first course in visual tracking.