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COUNTY: Tuolumne County
LOCATION DETAILS: Big Preather Meadows, a private preserve and association. At grandpa's request, we wish to keep the actual number to ourselves, however, I am happy to take you there if you want. Scratch that. My braver husband can take you there.
NEAREST TOWN: Dorrington, CA
NEAREST ROAD: Forest Road 6N08, HWY 4
OBSERVED: Okay, I just spent about ten or fifteen minutes listening to the various sounds and recordings that you have to try to help me identify what we heard. I cannot say that any of the recordings sounded just like what we heard, however it sounded similar to many of them.
My family (husband and two kids) went up to Big Prather Meadows, straight up from Dorrington, California. My husband's grandpa has a small cabin in the meadow, and we go there when we can, generally in the summer. I made the mistake of reading a bunch of your stuff prior to the trip, and I admit that I was on "high alert" that first night. However, around 2:30 or so in the morning of Friday, July 25th, 2008 (just three days ago), I heard some kind of vocalization that was not familiar to me.
I was not happy to hear this, honestly. I suppose I ought to be since I have held an avid interest in this subject for years, but there is a whacking big difference between sitting safely in your home reading about this stuff on the net, and listening to something make funky noises in the dark woods of a forest. As my best friend said, "I used to really like the cabin..." I got out of the tent to wake up my husband, who was sleeping on the ground by the unused fire pit. We both sat and listened to the sounds for about an hour and a half, or so.
To the best of my ability, this is what we heard:
Loud, clear, not-shrill sounding (to me, the Puyallup calls sound somewhat metallic and shrill), medium-range, and smooth sounds. They began lower in pitch and would rise smoothly to end at a higher pitch, but not like the whoops that you have recorded. These didn't have that "lilt" at the end. It was just a smooth ascent from low range up to a higher range.
There was another call that sounded like what a contraction looks like. (Forgive me, I'm not sure how to describe it but it made me think of what my contractions looked like on paper when birthing my kids), beginning low, smoothly rising up to a higher level, and then smoothly descending down again.
There was also a kind of a hiccup sort of sound that would directly follow some of the calls, but I was literally shaking and too freaked out about it to really pay attention to what kind of call it followed: the upswing, or the contraction call.
Anyhow, as I said, this went on for over an hour with the two of us listening. Sometimes it would sound like it was moving near to us. Other times it sounded further away. I am not sure if there were two animals, thus accounting for the near/far sounds, or one. If it was two animals, they sounded identical to me.
After this happened, we both tried to explain how big/far the sounds were to us. We both agree that it sounded somewhat distant, but find it hard to tell since sound might carry really well in a dead-silent forest. We agree that it sounded to be between a half a mile and a mile away. We also agree that it was a large sound. Whatever made it sounded effortless on its part, but was a very large sound. We believe that it is a sound of "size" similar to, say a very loud moo of a cow across a field. I'm digging here because I've never had any experience like it so I don't have much I can truly compare it to.
I grew up in Washington State, west side. I'm a Biology minor with a Life Science teaching credential, so I am familiar, at least, with what wildlife looks like and sounds like in videos, if not in person. But most of my personal encounters with wildlife have been animals of the smaller variety: coyote yips and howls things like that. I've only heard larger animals on wildlife programs and I am holding out the hope that one of your specialists will call me back and explain that what we heard was just a "such and such" and often is confused with a Big Foot call. I'd be able to enjoy the cabin a lot more if you could do so. But, I know you won't, because this was a very strange sound, and even my mathematician-husband, who is grounded in science and wasn't afraid like I was, stated that it sure was loud, and that it wasn't like anything he'd ever heard before. It sounded like an animal, but it also sounded enough like a person to think it could have been a joke, but not exactly. I do not think I could replicate the sound.
ALSO NOTICED: Absolutely ZERO sound heard before. No wind, no crickets, no nothing. Just total silence. But I believe it is generally very quiet at night there. Also, we noted a large pile of scat behind the cabin and figured it was a bear. However, I have never seen bear poop in the wild, and have no idea what it looks like. It was bigger than what a person would leave, and had tons more roughage in it; it was very dark brown and fibrous. No prints though. My husband is rather adamant that it is bear poop. Probably is. But I wanted to cover my bases here.
OTHER WITNESSES: I was reading a book sometime before and couldn't sleep. I heard it first. I then proceeded to wake my husband up, who was sleeping soundly outdoors. He then sat up and listened with me for at least a half an hour before he fell back asleep. I continued to listen until it stopped, and had it gotten any closer, had planned on grabbing my kids and heading into the cabin, upstairs, and pulling the ladder up with us!
I'm betting I would have made my husband come too.
OTHER STORIES: Only the ones I have read on your website that are nearby, the closes being the one at the lake in that area with the mother and son. I don't recall names or date.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 2:30 (or perhaps slightly later on as my husband discovered his watch was slow the next day), absolute still, no wind, no sound. Very bright in the woods as the moon was nearly half-full and really lit the area well. No clouds or other weather to be noted.
ENVIRONMENT: Pine forest with meadows as well. Lots of mountainous areas around us, with steep ridges and hills. No real landmarks or structures noted other than the few cabins in the association that dot the area. To us, it sounded as if it came from less than one mile at its closest, and it was roughly south from our cabin site.
A & G References: Northern California DeLorme Atlas: Page 99, Index in the middle of A/B and 6/7.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Richard Hucklebridge:
Tonight the 30th of July of 2008, CC called, and we went over her sound encounter in the Sierras of California that occurred on the 25th of July 2008. This witness has listened to many of the sounds that are on the BFRO website, but they only sounded similar to what she heard.
The sounds that the creature(s) were making lasted about 5 to 10 seconds each time, and would come and go at different intervals over a period of an hour or more.
She described those sounds as mostly non-threatening, though they seemed to be coming from a very large animal.
CC couldn’t be sure if there was more than one animal or not, but some of the OOOOH-- OOOOH sounds were further away. The witness listened for over an hour, but her husband probably only listened for about half that time.
I did ask if the cabin had been broken into, and I was advised that it had never been broken into during the many years that they had been going to this location.
The area that this family was camping in is a remote, private, gated area inside a national forest that has a few cabins.
There are cattle that spend their summers in and around this meadow area.
The witness also stated the she thought the one making vocalizations closest to her and her family's location was somewhere between ¼ to one mile away. I also asked her if she had attempted to talk with any of the other folks who were spending their weekends at that location, to inquire if they ever heard anything strange. She advised me that she never has made contact, but she will ask in the future, and let us know.
I also advised her to leave out some food next time, and be prepared to record any sounds that may come around.
About BFRO Investigator Richard Hucklebridge:
- Four years in the United States Navy, 1955-1959 (Combat Air Crewman on P4M Mercator Patrol Aircraft)
- 37 years in the aerospace industry: 33 years with General Electric at Edwards AFB; More than 5 years with the Northrop Grumman Corp. at Edwards AFB (Flight Line Mechanic on the B-2 Bomber).
- During 20 of those years at Edwards he was a Reserve Deputy Sheriff for the County of Los Angeles.