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COUNTY: Grand Traverse County
NEAREST TOWN: Fife Lake, MI
NEAREST ROAD: M 113
OBSERVED: It was Aug or Sept of 2011. Warm night, around 3:30am. We were raising broiler chickens (meat birds) in chicken tractors (mobile chicken coops). Our bedroom window was open and I heard the sound of a squawking bird. I jumped out of bed, grabbed the rifle (.22) and a Mykyta flashlight and ran outside--thinking coyote. I shuffled down the slope behind our garage--toward the sound and toward the general area where the coops were--and paused at what I saw. 100 feet (I measured it the next day) ahead of me, and up the slope on the other side of this dip, was something--and I do not know what. I shined the light on something that had huge orange eyes and was staring right at me--and standing over one of our chicken tractors. I am guessing it was at least 6 to 6.5 feet tall, as I had my wife stand where it was the next day and she is about 5' 3" and it was way higher than that (maybe 7?). I just stood there and stared at it. I could not make out the rest of its body size or shape. We just stared at each other. Seconds passed and I thought about firing at it, but my one neighbor to the south's house was right in line with him/it, and him/it being uphill of me, I'd be firing up, into the air, and toward homes--so I did not. Also, my mind was swimming around trying to figure out what exactly I was looking at. We continued to stare at each other. I could see his eyes quite clearly, like detail of them. Or so it seemed. For whatever reason I decided to at least put the rifle in position to fire if need be. It had been resting over my forearm, while I aimed the flashlight at it. I took maybe 1 to 2 seconds, looking down at my hands as I positioned the rifle and flashlight together and lifted them--and he was gone. I looked around all freaked out, didn't see him, so ran up the hill, just running forward, flashing the rifle and flashlight in all directions--all the time running south. I quickly tuned into the sound of something crashing through the brush on my right. It sounded like something sprinting through the thick bramble and saplings and I could hear it breathing, exerting itself--and moving very, very fast, to the SW. I stopped and just listened to it until I couldn't hear it anymore. It was running very fast--covering ground quickly. Coming back to the chicken tractor, there was a pile of feathers sitting just outside the coop. The bird (only one in there at the time) was fine, but missing many feathers from her rear end. Usually, when a coyote gets them, or anything else, there will be digging of some kind. There was none. I went back inside and went to bed.
This is the second odd encounter within maybe a 1-2 month window. It was again around 3:30-4:00am. I was sleeping and heard something screaming outside. At the time we had multiple chicken tractors set up in three different locations to the south of our house, plus a chicken coop in the barn. I assumed it was coyotes getting at the chickens and jumped out of bed, grabbed rifle and flashlight and this time ran out the front door--as it sounded like it might have been from the tractors best accessed that way. I sprinted out, over to the birds, and they were all sleeping. I then heard the screaming again and it was clearly coming from the west, over near the pig pens and barn. The sound continued as I ran past the pig pen (no action--all asleep) and past the barn (coop secured and closed). The screaming led off directly west. It sounded like it was just beyond the barn and moving west. Like, I ought to have seen it, but was running and unable to locate it with the flashlight. I paused at the corner near the pig pen and barn and shined the light up the two-track directly west and saw two large, orange eyes aimed right at me. I measured the distance the next day and it was almost 300 feet exactly (~290). The eyes stayed put, staring right at me. I felt no desire to shoot and based on my previous encounter felt like this might be a sasquatch and why shoot it? We stared at each other for maybe a minute? Then it calmly turned (to its left--my right) and disappeared. I had zero desire to go after it. I went back inside and went to bed. The sounds I had heard were like...screeching/howling/wailings. Loud! Ape-like. Like Animal Planet. Like jungle ape sounds.
Third report within about a 1-2 month period. My family of four was out one evening doing animal chores (feeding, milking, watering). It was around 8-9pm. We'd gotten a late start on the chores. It was already dark. I was down near our pigs, my son was at the backdoor with the dogs, and my wife and daughter were in the barn milking and feeding goats. I was filling a waterer when all of a sudden a loud, freakish howl/scream/wail began right over in the woods to the west of our barn. I yelled out "what is that?" My son yelled back "I don't know!" It sounded like the wail from my previous sighting. I dropped the hose and ran for the backdoor where the flashlight was, telling my son to put our freaking out dogs in the house. I reached in, grabbed the flashlight and ran off into the woods. All this time it was still wailing, and as I ran past the barn and up into the woods it had stopped. I called my son to let the dogs out and they came out to me and tore into the woods. They were gone about 3-4 mins and came back all excited but otherwise fine. We all heard it, saw nothing, and wondered what it was.
ALSO NOTICED: The creature could have made more trouble for this bird. It seemed like it did not know or understand how aggressively to get at the bird, like coyotes had previously. I felt like I disturbed it--like it did not know what to think of me as much as me it.
OTHER WITNESSES: #1 No. Just me.
#2 My wife and daughter both heard it from inside the house. It woke up my daughter. My wife awoke when I did but stayed in bed. We were all sleeping when we heard it.
#3 My family of four.
OTHER STORIES: No. Though weeks before this trip we attended a BFRO trip to the NE of our home. Wait--yes. An attendee at that outing told us he has a summer cottage about 3-4 miles north of our house and he said he has heard weird sounds and seen weird things there for as long as he had been visiting the area.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: #1 3:30am. Clear night I believe. No moonlight. Warm.
#2 Around 3:30am-4:00am. No moonlight. Overcast I believe. Warm.
#3 Around 8 to 9pm. After dark. Cannot remember if cloudy or clear. No rain or anything. Quite warm. No moonlight.
ENVIRONMENT: Meadow (former pine plantation in recovery). Tall grasses that we pastured our chicken tractors on. Though our property does have pine groves and hardwoods on it, and we found out later there is a cedar swamp about 1.5 to 2 miles west of us.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Jim Sherman:
I began researching these reports because I had previously been involved in investigations in the surrounding area. I was also familiar with the location because I had spent time camping and fishing in Grand Traverse as a youth. More recently I participate in bike tours and races in this part of the state so I know the area and have seen the vast expanses of forests that make up the Pere Marquette State and Manistee National Forests. The Manistee River, numerous swamps and lakes make up the dominant physical features of the area and foster an environment that is optimum for large populations of various forms of wildlife.
Eventually during our conversations I realized that I knew this family. We had been on the same Northern Lower Peninsula Expedition in 2011. As a matter of fact I had led some of the siblings in a night time walk to the Au Sable River. We were witnesses to a response to vocalizations that were initiated by our expedition leader. During the very dark walk we were paralleled by something for about a minute that seemed only 20 meters away. Unfortunately by the time I made it to the thermal imager, it was gone. But the trip was interesting and eventful. I found that the family was interested in the possibility of unknown cryptids and they were pleasant to camp with. This made my determination that this was a case that necessitated further research much easier to make. I trust these witnesses without question.
We discussed what the witnesses wanted from the investigation. Mr. K stated that he wanted to find out "...about more local accounts and the likelihood of habitation." We talked about similar investigations in the area and I plotted where they had occurred on my map. It was at this point that Mr. K told me about a very recent account that had not been reported whereby his twelve year old daughter ran into the house "...panting and kind of elated and freaking out, and said "I think I just saw a Sasquatch!" She had been wandering in the snowy meadow after dark and her headlight "...caught something in the poplars--a set of blue eyes." When her father asked her to describe the figure she stated that it was, "Way taller than you." Mr. K is 6'1" He went over to the area of the encounter and could find no distinct tracks as the children had been running around that area all day and the snow was "really chewed up."
Mr. K's experiences began very soon after he returned from the BFRO Expedition. His description above is very detailed so it is not necessary to repeat it here but I did ask him what it felt like to stare down something so large. He was astounded by the sheer size of the creature and the fact that it was just standing there but it was there and there was no denying it. I asked him how long this incident lasted and Mr. K stated that it was very long and he got a good look at the orange eyes reflected in his flashlight. He also estimated the height at above 7'. When he looked down to make certain his rifle was ready to fire, even though a .22 seemed a bit weak at the time, and shifted the flashlight momentarily it seemed as if the creature knew this was time to escape. Mr. K's eyes were only off of the figure for 2 seconds but in that time the creature ran off incredibly quickly and Mr. K lost sight of it. Mr. K ran off after where he believed the creature to have gone and eventually heard it crashing through the underbrush. The creature moved so fast that Mr. K was unable to make any ground on it and it rapidly disappeared into the darkness. Mr. K checked his broiler chickens and made the discovery of the wounded bird and the feathers on the ground. It seemed as if whatever it was out there was trying to get at the bird but was uncertain as to how to accomplish this task.
The second reported encounter was of particular interest to me as I have multiple long-term recording projects currently going on in Michigan. Early in the morning Mr. K was awoken by screams. I sent Mr. K multiple vocalizations that I have recorded throughout Michigan as a comparison. Some were similar to those that he heard that night. Mr. K ran out of his house to find the source of the screaming. It was dark and the screaming was close. Mr. K was unable to find the source initially with the flashlight which unnerved him. Finally his light fell on large orange eyes about 300 feet away. These were bigger than a person and spaced further apart. They remained staring for about a minute and Mr. K, while armed was not inclined to shoot. The creature seemed to casually turn and move away. Through our discussions I found that the whole family was more interested in protecting whatever it was than in hurting it or scaring it away. They even discussed if it would be a good idea to put food piles out away from the barn to keep them away from the chickens. I discouraged this. You don't want any wild animal coming around expecting a hand-out.
The third reported incident within a two month period involved the whole family. They heard vocalizations similar to those that Mr. K had heard when he spotted the orange eyes. He quickly saw to the safety of his family and grabbed a flashlight to go into the woods again in the darkness. This time it almost seemed as if the creature was more comfortable with Mr. K drawing nearer as it vocalized for a much longer period of time as it was approached. The dogs, not small house dogs, were let out and ran into the woods but eventually returned tired but unharmed. During our discussion of this incident Mr. K relayed another time when the dogs tore off out the front door to chase something in the woods and returned in a similar tired and unharmed state.
Mr. K and I discussed what to do next. Should we continue to document what he sees? Should we try to interact with whatever is out there? Mr. K decided that he simply did not want to "anger" anything out there. Just leave it alone and learn from it if he could. He has lost his fear of the creature and the rest of his family seems to have come to accept that something interesting is out there.
About BFRO Investigator Jim Sherman:
Jim is a High School History teacher and Track and Cross Country coach. He attended the Michigan Northern Lower Peninsula Expedition in 2011, the Michigan Upper Peninsula Expedition in 2012, co-organized the Michigan UP 2013 Expedition and attended the 2014 Wisconsin Expedition. He assisted in the production of Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot Michigan episodes (Bigfoot and Wolverines and Super Yooper). He participates in Ironman Triathlons and enjoys fishing and camping with his wife and daughter. Jim can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @shermanbigfoot and his YouTube account is : Lordcryptid