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YEAR: 2008, 2009
COUNTY: Grand Traverse County
LOCATION DETAILS: First encounter was at a rented cabin. The second encounter was at my fathers house which he has since sold. My mother still lives next door.
NEAREST TOWN: jackson, fife lake
NEAREST ROAD: root station rd
OBSERVED: I have three encounters with what I believe to be Bigfoot or an unknown crpytid.
In late fall I accompanied my wife, daughter, and my mother to stay in a rental cabin near island lake, situated near the manistee national forest in northern lower michigan. As an avid mountain biker I brought along my bike and had planned several rides. The second day of my stay I set off on a ride about 6pm and entered a thick pine/cedar forest on what appeared to be a game trail. After roughly 1.5 miles of riding (I marked a way point on my GPS before entering the woods so I could easily find my way back) I noticed my front tire was very low on air. Shortly after I came to a very small clearing in the woods, it was clear cut purposefully with exposed stumps and new undergrowth. I set my bike against a pine stump and began to repair my front tire. To my right roughly 50-60 yards was a partially destroyed and burnt old RV. Seconds after glancing at it, a very loud thump came from within the camper. All I can describe it is as a "head" appeared in a broken window, which had to be over six feet from the base of the camper. From my distance all I could see was jet black fur and no noticeable ears, the eyes were not noticeable or black as well. It cocked its head to the right slightly as I mounted my mountain bike. I rode off quickly following my GPS map back to my starting point. Whatever it was I saw I believe followed me back to my cabin, as very foul and pungent odor lingered outside the next morning.
For a short time while finishing my bachelors degree my wife and daughter lived with my dad. His house was at the end of a very long drive which backed up to hundreds of acres of woods and a large state recreation area called Waterloo in southern lower Michigan. After my parents divorced my mom who is a nurse moved in with her mother to provide care who lived right next door. December 3 I arrived home from school about 7pm. Shortly thereafter (I lived in an apartment in the basement) I hear a knock on the sliding glass door. It was my mother who looked very disturbed and frightened, and says she has been hearing howls all evening. I assumed coyotes as they were very abundant there. She was unshakeable in her opinion that it was not a coyote. I stepped outside onto the patio and shut off the exterior light. What I did notice immediately was a very strong odor being whirled around in the wind. I waited nearly 5 minutes and then I heard it, it was very near the tree line. Howling like I never have heard from a coyote, deep penetrating bass notes that sounded ragged and throaty. It was very windy and beginning to snow, and the howls seemed to occur in different locations. Due to the snow falling overnight no tracks or signs were observed.
Thank you for reading my encounters, I appreciate your time.
ALSO NOTICED: Strong pungent odors in both encounters.
OTHER WITNESSES: I was alone in the first encounter. My mother was a witness in the second.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: First encounter occoured late evening cloudy and windy cool. Second encounter was night, windy and snowy.
ENVIRONMENT: Woods, thick forest.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Jim Sherman:
The land area near this report in the southeast corner of Grand Traverse County is literally surrounded by National, State and other public land. The Pere Marquette State Forest, the Manistee National Forest and the Pere Marquette River make this a prime area for animals and game of all kinds as well as a place for camping, hiking the North Country Scenic Trail, hunting and fishing.
I contacted Mr. H regarding his sighting and we initially spoke about our mutual interest in mountain biking. I have been in the middle of the deep woods and have had a mechanical issue before, but to have this occur and see something that is not supposed to be there was something that I had to try to understand. Mr. H wrote down his recollection of the incidents so that it would be easier to piece together. After I received his letter I called him again to ask a few follow-up questions regarding the actual location of the incident and the distances involved during his encounter. The following is his letter to me reproduced as he wrote it. I asked Mr. H if he could clarify the incident and provide some situational awareness to allow us to better understand what he experienced. Areas designated with "( )" were changed by me to reflect new information or the will of the witness.
- The weather for the incident was 60-65 degrees, cloudy with a brisk wind, the time was 6pm with good lighting. Since you are a mtn biker perhaps you can relate more to the type of terrain that was present. I was riding through a rooty rocky single track that went uphill and turned into a sandy hill, which is where I came to the "opening" in the woods. I actually smelled the smell before I stopped to put a new tube in my front tire. Imagine an opening in the woods that is very square, it was obvious it was clear cut long ago, but had fire weeds and tall brush growing everywhere. The trail I was riding was at the very "left" side of this opening, if you can orient that in your mind, while the other side of the clearing was on my "right" which is where the burnt rv/trailer was situated. The "sound" that came from the trailer was an unmistakable boom, followed by hollow knocking. At this point I was nearly done repairing my tire, it was not until I glanced up again and saw the head. (The "head" was positioned behind/outside what would have been the far side of the trailer if it had been intact i.e. the witness was looking past a wall that was burned away into the inside of the trailer looking out the far window).
More about the "head" - As I explained before, the window in this trailer was roughly 6 feet from the ground, the head was large and from my distance appeared round. It was, from my distance very hard to pick out details, but one thing that I will never forget is how the wind almost made the "fur" flow slightly around the face as if it was very long. Again no eyes or ears were present, just a very stout large head and the beginning of the neck. As I began to mount my bike again, this is when it tilted its head to the right very slowly, this is also when I saw very slight definition in what I believe was "longer" hair. (The head tilt was later described to me as being almost a question or a form or recognition that this creature saw something interesting as well).
More about the "smell"- Having worked for the ( ) and being in nature for many years I can say this smell was unique and I have only smelled it once more near my mother's house after the howls I heard near Waterloo Rec area. I can only describe it as a wet dog that just emerged from the swamp mixed with skunk. The smell wasn't overpowering but very "there". The smell was actually much more pungent the next morning as the wind had subsided. As far as my experience at my mother's house near Waterloo, I have not heard any more vocalizations, but have smelled very pungent odors on several other locations, If I come across a recording or can capture some recordings I will forward them to you. (I sent Mr. H recordings of various known and unknown wildlife sounds for comparison to the ones he heard when his mother knocked on his door).
Mr. H and I discussed the fact that he believed that in the morning after his biking incident he could still detect the smell near his cabin even though this was miles away from his sighting. This led him to believe that whatever it was in the woods the previous day had followed him home that night. He looked around for any sign and was unable to see anything. This was the most unnerving part of the entire incident.
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 email@example.com and Twitter @shermanbigfoot and his YouTube account is : Lordcryptid