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COUNTY: Pope County
LOCATION DETAILS: Bell Smith Springs National Natural Landmark
NEAREST TOWN: Eddyville
NEAREST ROAD: McCormick Rd
OBSERVED: I was in Pope county Illinois researching cougars. I arrived at camp on a Wednesday and happened to be the only camper in the area. It was near sundown when I arrived so I was cutting wood through out the night. I can recall breaking limbs around midnight when to my surprise I began hearing wood knocks coming from the near by canyon. These knocks were aggressive and LOUD. There was no wind either.
The knocks returned on Thursday night and lasted until I fell asleep. The next day campers filled the site and the wood knocks stopped. By sunday the campers had left and I was alone again. I didn't hear the knocks that night but I remember waking up around 3 a.m. with a fear of something comming to my camp site. I got up and heard foot steps about 20 yards away so I immediatly packed up and left.
I returned the following spring and documented large foot prints a couple miles away from the same camp site.
ALSO NOTICED: The area is remote. Its located on a dead end road.
OTHER STORIES: I know that there is a local guy who has found and casted several prints in the area.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: The time was approximatly 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. during the first two nights.
ENVIRONMENT: pine trees, creeks, and a canyon. The scenery is mainly small mountains covered with forest.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Harold Benny:
I talked to the witness by phone, and later met him in person. I found him to be sincere and credible.
He arrived late at the campground, and unknowingly provoked the wood knocks by breaking and chopping firewood. Answering knocks were returned in a pattern of five knocks, followed by a period of silence, and then four to five more knocks.
A set of foot prints (8) was found along the same creek the following spring. They measured fourteen inches in length.
He now searches for evidence of both cougars and sasquatches.
[Editor's Note: Matt Pruitt]
Wood knock reports are significant to the BFRO, in that they describe a behavior that no indigenous animals other than sasquatches engage in. Although the witness didn't see the animal that made the sounds, the only animals that are even capable of making such sounds are sasquatches, and humans. Due to the circumstances of the report (the remote location, the inaccessibility of the dense area that the knocks came from, and the time at which they occurred), it is highly likely that the sounds were generated by one or more sasquatches in the area, and not by other humans.
Many BFRO members have experienced this behavior in several different places on the continent. The context of the behavior usually indicates that the sasquatches are coordinating their movements, and subtly keeping each other aware of their respective locations. This behavior was most likely developed for hunting and surrounding prey, but is sometimes utilized when sasquatches are approaching humans, presumably to observe them. Occasionally, they will make very loud knocks to intimidate human intruders.
It is uncertain why this particular animal was knocking loudly, but it could be assumed that it was related to the witness loudly chopping and breaking branches periodically throughout the evening.
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.