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COUNTY: McKean County
LOCATION DETAILS: In the report. I will try to get google earth's coordinates, if need be. It seems pretty blurry to really be of help. Maybe send me a topographical map.
NEAREST TOWN: Bradford
NEAREST ROAD: W. Washington
OBSERVED: My encounter happened at the end of summer in 1973, or 1974. It was late August/early September, as it was the time the blackberries were ripening.
I was 15 or 16 years old, and had a dirt bike that I rode on the many lease roads in the hills surrounding Bradford. The bike had an expansion chamber, which is an extremely loud exhaust system. I generally rode it every day on the hill behind our house in Bradford, so I knew all the roads and trails. My grandfather had built a lot of the roads with a bulldozer, years back, working for the Kendall Oil Company. We had also hiked this area extensively when my friends and I were kids, sometimes camping for the night. On one occasion when we were about 9 or 10, we were chased home by a frightening screeching in the late morning from the top of this hill. (Just two of us) We didn’t know what the noise was, only that we had to run from it. I only mention this as it was very close to the same area as where I had my encounter, and in my mind, the same animal.
The day of the encounter, I had ridden up to the road at the ridgeline of the hill, and about a mile and a half towards the hospital area. I didn’t turn that way and instead went straight, towards the pipeline, which is a cleared area that runs straight up and down the mountain. I stopped there for a second, and turned back around about 1/4 mile to a group of blackberry bushes. I shut off the bike and started picking the berries, until the bees got to me, and I took my handful of berries and walked away.
I walked back to the pipeline, stopping right before the clearing, hoping to catch some sort of animal crossing the clearing. I had been a hunter since I was very young, which is the custom in the area, and was very good at walking quietly in the woods. As I looked down the hill from the top of the clearing, I could see what looked like a bear, digging into the log that had been placed across the pipeline to keep people from using the cleared area as a road. I reasoned that he heard the noise of my bike going away, so he figured I was out of the area. The stink of the 2-cycle engine also probably masked the smell of me, as well.
I was young enough to think I should get a closer look, so I got myself to a point about 50 yards away and uphill from the animal, and about 25 yards from the ridgeline road. I stood there and ate the berries and watched what I thought was the butt of the bear visible above the log. Remember; the log was about 50 yards down a steep hill, and the log was about 3 feet tall, and crossing the pipeline. The bear would have to be very large for me to see as much as I did, which was a good foot or more above the log, and he was on the other side of it.
He seemed to be digging for bugs or something in the log. After a few minutes of me standing still watching him, he suddenly realized I was there. He stopped, tried to remain still for a minute, and all the time I still thought I was watching a bear.
Then he stood up. This was no bear. It was the most surreal moment in my life, either then or now, and I’m 52 years old. He was tall, at least 7 feet, as his knees were just barely covered by the log. He had hair like that of a black bear’s fur that time of year, basically the same color and length, which obscured a lot of the features of his face.
We both stood there frozen for a minute, staring at each other. My thought was to get out of there, but the only movement I could muster was to drop the few berries I had left. I started dropping berries, and he just turned and “walked” to the far side of the pipeline and into the woods, down a trail just to his side of the log.
I say “walked”, because it was so smooth and graceful across that terrain, that I was completely overwhelmed. As I said, I thought I was pretty good at getting around in this terrain, and I am. The movement he used was so economical and efficient that I still see it in my mind and marvel. There was very little or no “bobbing” up and down; his arms swung, but not wildly, like you would expect with an ape. The arm swing wasn’t like a tight-rope walker either, as I may have needed to do, to walk across the area he walked. It was just smooth, amazing.
I stood for a few seconds after he disappeared, then decided to get myself out of there. I ran back to my bike and headed the other way as fast as I could. Then I started thinking I should go see where he went. I turned around and headed back and down that pipeline to the tree. I got the bike to the trail he used, which is a trail that immediately takes you from light to deep shade, and stays perpetually muddy. I have tried that trail a few other times (with the same friend who was chased with me, years earlier) and have only been able to go a few yards before I had to get off the bike and push. I started to get bogged down, so I got back out as quick as I could.
I don’t know what I was thinking, I guess I thought the noise would keep him away, but when I hit the mud I remembered that I couldn’t take that trail. It was always creepy dark back there, too. I wouldn’t have gone back there if it weren’t to prove to myself that I didn’t have to run away.
I never looked for tracks. This is something else that’s very strange. I was a hunter, I looked for tracks everywhere. The muddy trail was probably covered with them. This has always bothered me. I can only think that my mind was so sure that no one would ever believe me, that proof was the farthest thing from my mind. The whole experience was so alien that I never told anyone for about 25 years. Back then, all the Bigfoot sightings were in Washington/Oregon/California. No one would have believed me.
Maybe I also didn’t want anyone to find him. I felt extremely special to have had this experience, and I didn’t want to betray that or the Bigfoot. Anyone from Bradford will now be able to figure out where this happened from my story, and that bothers me. I don’t think they should be chased. They seem to be a very “human” animal, and maybe too vulnerable to our world and weapons.
I’m posting this after having read the other “Bradford” sighting, and seeing the Elk County photos. I did quite a bit of hunting in Elk County, and it’s very easy for me to believe that those photos show a real, Bigfoot animal. As to the 1963 Bradford sighting, the “Barbour” Street location is very close to my sighting, and I will leave it at that.
ALSO NOTICED: In the report.
OTHER WITNESSES: No other witness.
OTHER STORIES: What is already on the website, mentioned in my report.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Afternoon, around 4:00. Sunny and hot.
ENVIRONMENT: In the report.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Cathy Betz:
I spoke to Mr. P over the phone as well as corresponded with him by email and he was agreeable about providing me with other details about this sighting.
The Elk County photos he is referring to are known as the Jacobs Photos.
After riding his dirt bike he decided to shut the bike off to gather berries. Leaving his bike parked on the path and after gathering a handful of berries, Mr. P decided to walk quietly towards a pipeline clearing in the hopes of seeing deer, or other wildlife.
A bit downhill from him he noticed a large tree lying on the ground across the pipeline and saw what he thought was the back-end of a bear sticking up behind the tree. Having done this in the past, Mr. P decided to sneak up as close to this ‘bear’ as he dared until he got within about 50 yards uphill from it. The ‘bear’ still had not noticed his presence so he decided to step on a few twigs to get its attention.
Almost immediately Mr. P saw a face pop up over the log and it made a grunting noise. “I saw then that it was not a bear, but a hair-covered face that looked almost human.” Stated Mr. P. "I was frozen! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Then it stood up. I knew then that it was definitely a bigfoot and he stared at me for what seemed like another minute, looking me right in the eyes.”
Mr. P believes at this point the creature was trying to intimidate him. He said that he was terrified at that point. Not by the actions of the creature, but what it was capable of.
After a minute or so of standing still and having the creature still glaring at him, Mr. P purposefully, but still feeling terrified, decided to drop a few berries with the thought that this might break its concentration; and this worked. The creature then turned and walked to the far side of the pipeline and then into the woods.
The terrain it walked over was very rough, stated Mr. P, but it walked over 45-50 feet of this rough ground in only 6 or 7 strides. And it swung its arms the whole time.
Mr. P immediately ran back to his bike and sped off as fast as he could. But after several minutes, for reasons he could not fathom, he turned around and went back to the place he saw the creature walk into. He says that it never occurred to him to look for footprints, but to just look for the creature again. But the area it had walked into was rough and a bit ‘spooky’, so Mr. P turned back around and went home.
The description of the creature he saw was this-
-It stood 7 foot tall, but could have been taller.
-It’s hair was dark brown colored with reddish highlights. Its hair was longish on its shoulders and head, with an almost ‘shag’ haircut style configuration on its head.
-Although he tried getting a good look at its face he could not recall any details. He does adamantly recall that it looked more human than ape.
-Its arms were long and hung down to its knees.
-He does not recall any details of the creature from its waist down since the majority of the sighting occurred behind the huge, fallen tree and because he was looking at the creature on the slope of a hill.
-He described the head as being rounded like a human’s head. He said that it did not appear conical.
-He said that the shoulders were massive, with a very muscular neck.
-He could not make out any ears.
-He recalls that it was very masculine in its proportions. Besides the broad shoulders and chest it had a relatively slim waist. There were no obvious genitals.
The area Mr. P sighted the bigfoot was in a large swath of half-cleared land close to the Bradford city limits that was being used for oil pipelines, lease roads and other municipality purposes. The areas surrounding this land, besides the small city of Bradford, is comprised of farms, rural tenants and seldom used hilly, woodlands.
There is a healthy population of deer in this area as well as numerous fresh water creeks and ponds. There is also an abundance of wild blackberry and strawberry plants as well as plenty of apple trees in this vicinity.
Even though the encounter was terrifying to Mr. P, he told me that he still feels protective towards it, as well as all other bigfoots. "It just looked so human and I was awed by its presence. I don't want it to ever be harmed."
This sighting was in the same area as another sighting that occurred in 1963, Report #9546.
About BFRO Investigator Cathy Betz:
Cathy has been a nurse for over 27 years and currently works in a busy ICU. An amateur naturalist, Cathy has been intrigued by the bigfoot phenomenon from an early age.
Attended the following expeditions:
- The 2006 Florida Expedition
- The 2007 North Carolina Expedition
- The 2008 South Florida Expedition
- The 2008 North Florida Expedition
- The 2009 Central Florida Expedition
- The 2009 Utah Expedition
- The 2010 TN Survey Expedition
- The 2011 East Texas Expedition
-The 2012 North FL Expedition
-The 2013 Michigan Upper Peninsula Expedition
For more information, please see the Florida BFRO