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COUNTY: Iron County
LOCATION DETAILS: It was near Bell Mountain, I didn't drive to the area so I wasn't really paying attention to the area. I think we entered the trail just off what I thought was Country Road 32 if I saw the sign correctly.
NEAREST TOWN: Potosi
NEAREST ROAD: hwy 32
OBSERVED: Went for a weekend hiking and camping trip with 4 family members. We hiked about a mile and a half down an established trail before making a turn into the brush to find our camping spot just after sunset on the first night. we probably hiked about 400 yards into the brush before setting up camp and turning in for the night as it began to rain. I was woken up about 4:30am by a very strong odor that smelled just like a skunk, so much so that I assumed a skunk had made it into our camp and I zipped up the shell on my sleeping bag to avoid being sprayed. The odor went away so I relaxed a bit more and tried to get back to sleep when I smelled it again only this time I had an overwhelming feeling I was being watched from directly behind me. I rolled over to look and was able to make out a sillouette of a very broad shouldered shadow and head between two trees about 7 yards from where I was laying. I immediately turned around and waited for daybreak, still unsure if I had seen anything or just imagined it I sat waiting and listening for anything aggressive in nature and it didn't happen so I chaulked it up to an overactive imagination but was still uneasy about staying in this location. I said nothing to my family but I was determined to not let the camp fire die out on the second night. The second night came and it rained again, we could hear the sound of what I would describe as a very loud owl. We turned in for the night and all my family fast asleep let the fire get to the verge of dying, easily helped by the falling rain. Sounds were all around the campsite but not really unexpected in a dry rotting forrest during some steady rains. I got up to tend the fire and as the firelight grew it seemed the forrest sounds intensified, again probably just nerves. I'm not an avid outdoorsman but I love the minor amount of time I do get to spend in the wilds. It was about 3:30am at this time and one of my family members woke up and helped me with the fire, sensing my uneasyness he suggested I use his hammock to get some rest and he would watch the fire. I got a couple hours sleep and woke up around 5:30am still before daybreak and my family member proceeded to tell me that about 15 minutes prior he heard a very loud crash in the forest and then another less intense crash directly behind the hammock where I was then sleeping. It had alarmed him enough that he had his handgun out and ready but he said he didn't see anything and I still didn't say a word about what I thought I may have seen the night prior. I actually did not tell anyone until we were on our way home and I told my brother about what I thought I saw, mostly out of fear of ridicule. It wasn't until we got home and I started doing some research that I became more convinced of what I think I saw on the first night and what I smelled. During our time at this campsite the rain stopped during the day and we were able to hike around the area probably covering almost 2 miles and one of things that struck us was the complete lack of any wildlife. We saw a woodpecker and heard the sounds of birds chirping on the first morning, but that was it, nothing not a single rabbit, squirrel, dear, bird or anything other than that woodpecker and a few fish in a nearby creek were seen in the area. We did come across some animal droppings that looked almost like rabbit droppings only smoother. We only stayed two nights even though we had planned on 4 nights total, fearing more rain we left early.
ALSO NOTICED: Nothing else except the lack of animals although there was plenty of signs to animal activty, game trails and even beaver signs. (Chewed down logs into a point)
OTHER WITNESSES: Just myself to the potential visual, my whole family heard the potential audio if that owl sound was a sasquatch and just my other family member heard the crashing tree sounds the second night.
OTHER STORIES: Have never been to this area and I know nobody in the region this was all brand new to me.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Between 4:30am and 5:30am pre-dawn low light conditions. I was laying on about a 30% grade so the mountainous terrain behind me was dark against a lighter pre-dawn backdrop which allowed me to make out the siloutte of a very broad shouldered shadow and head between two trees about 7 yards from where I was laying.
ENVIRONMENT: It was in the Mark Twain National Forrest, very rocky mountainous terrain with different types of deciduous and coniferous trees.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Robert Driscoll:
Spoke with the witness by phone. He and three other family members established a campsite near Bell Mountain, 400 yards in the brush from Country Road 32 (corrected from 61) within the Mark Twain National Forest.
Daylight arrived after the second night and they hiked around the area for the day. Everyone decided to break camp and go home, two days earlier than planned.
Witness did not recover any hard evidence at the scene. He has returned to the area many times since but no further incidents have occurred.
About BFRO Investigator Robert Driscoll:
Retired Police Officer, Latent Crime Scene Investigator
Attended 5 BFRO Expeditions: Missouri Exp 2009 and 2010; Tennessee Exp 2010 and 2011; Illinois Spring Exp 2011