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COUNTY: Stone County
LOCATION DETAILS: .
NEAREST TOWN: Kimberling City
NEAREST ROAD: Hwy DD / Hwy 160
OBSERVED: At the time of this report, I lived in a home located a couple hundred yards from the shores of Tablerock Lake in Stone County, Missouri. Our house was situated at the back of a long cove and uphill from the lake. The Army Corps of Engineers maintains a zone around the Lake in which no development or clearing of land may be done without a permit so as to maintain a natural forested shoreline. The topography of the area is very rugged Ozark mountains and steep terrain. Large tracts of Mark Twain National Forrest make up the area and most land, even private, is still covered by forest. There was much development of homes and home sites taking place in my area at the time.
Around the Fall or Winter of 2002 or 2003, myself and my family members began to hear whooping type animal vocalizations originating from a large tract of woods behind our home. The whoops sounded more mammalian then that of a bird and louder than that which would likely be produced by any readily identifiable forest animal. The calls varied, but often were produced as “whoo whoo whoooooop,” with a rise in the pitch on the last whoop. Around the same time, evidence of a mountain lion or cougar’s presence was found. A couple of neighbors, and a family member, had visual sightings of the large cat. I was screamed at once while in the woods and I had found numerous large cat tracts and claw sharpening evidence. Sometimes the cougar would scream in the evening. A few times the cougar’s scream was answered by the whoops or vice versa. On one occasion I was woken up in the middle of the night by the strangest and creepiest howls. They were very loud and the maker of them was moving very rapidly, up an extremely steep mountainside from the lake cove behind my house and was soon beside and then past my house, still moving up the hill and howling/screaming the whole while. I remember laying in bed thinking “what in the world is making that howl”!? I was honestly too frightened to look out my window into the woods to try to catch a glimpse of the maker. It sounded almost evil or malicious if that quality is appropriate to ascribe to a animal’s call.
In the spring of 2003 or 2004, while scouting the back of the lake cove for animal evidence, I spotted a large hominid track. I frequently hiked to this area due to the abundance of deer, raccoon and sometimes cougar tracks that were easily identified in the mud. The footprint resembled that of a barefoot human but was approximately 12 or 13 inches in length and maybe 4 inches in width. Very flat footed if I remember correctly. It is possible that it was made by a very large human, but the conditions in which it was discovered caused me to doubt that possibility.
It was a single print, but very clear and distinct. I could easy follow the outline of the toes and boundaries of the foot. It must have been made within days of my discovery of it. It was in the muddy washout at the back of the lake cove, where a small stream meets the cove and releases its silt and debris. The distance between the print and either edge of the washout was about 10 feet, yet there was no other prints in the mud of the washout. My own tracks were discernable in the mud of the washout as I walked about but, my own tracks were not near as deep as the print I mentioned. I weighed about 220 lbs at the time.
On either side of the washout is a bare rocky shoreline of the lake. It is very difficult and extremely uncomfortable to walk on the sharp and varied sized rocks of that shoreline barefoot. Whatever left the print must have jumped from one shoreline to the middle of the washout, landing on one foot, only leaving the one print, and then bounding off the one foot in a continuous motion to the other shoreline, landing on the sharp rocks. The distance traversed by the required leap is a distance nearly impossible for any human to accomplish. I also thought it was unlikely, though not impossible, that any human would even be walking barefoot in that area. It was remote. The only time humans venture into that area is during hunting season or to exit a boat to retrieve or relieve something. Because of the stumps, rocks and other obstacles in the cove, it wasn’t likely that any fisherman or boater was that far back in the cove or that they would venture onto the rocky shore or woods barefoot. I later convinced my brother to come look at the print, which he did. We were both simply puzzled by it at the time.
I submit this observation for what it’s worth, to the larger collection of possible evidence. The vocalizations and the footprint may have mundane origins. It is possible that all of this was produced by known animals and/or a very large barefoot human, but I don’t want to rule out any options.
ALSO NOTICED: None
OTHER WITNESSES: One, my brother witnessed the footprint and heard the whoops.
OTHER STORIES: None
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Whoops were heard usually starting at 11pm or later. Footprint found in either mid morning or early afternoon. Howl/screams were heard very early morning, maybe 12:30am to 2:00am.
ENVIRONMENT: Mark Twain National Forest and private forested properties, very steep hills/mountains, at bottom of valley between mountains in creek bottoms where enters lake cove.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Ron Boles:
Talked to witness via phone 4-13-08 9:30pm In my opinion he is very credible. He is an avid hiker and outdoorsman. He is also a lawyer.
About BFRO Investigator Ron Boles:
BFRO Investigator for the Ozarks
Attended and organized numerous BFRO Expeditions starting in 2007. In the states of Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. Ron is an avid student of the outdoors, ecology, folklore and regional history.