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YEAR: about 1960
STATE: West Virginia
COUNTY: Cabell County
LOCATION DETAILS: Turn off RT. 2 onto Clutts Hill Rd. Go about 3 miles to 2nd church. Incident occurred in hollow to the left.
NEAREST TOWN: LeSage
NEAREST ROAD: WV RT 2
OBSERVED: In the fall of about 1960, while coon hunting with my grandfather and friend named Bill, we had an encounter with what I am now convinced was a Bigfoot. We had left our house, which sat atop a ridge and went down into our hollow. We had planned to go down the creek about a mile to the next hollow, turn right up this hollow, follow it all the way up, and climb the hill back to the top of the ridge. We would then have an easy walk home on a gravel road, which was the main road in the area at that time. We were about three miles from the nearest blacktop road, which was WV RT2 running beside the Ohio River.
All was normal down the first hollow, but when we started up the second, the dogs returned in an agitated state, and began to growl and raise the hair on their backs. They refused to go up the hollow in the lead as they normally hunted. Instead, they stayed close to the light, which was a kerosene lantern that lit a circle only a few feet wide. We also had a two-cell light, used sparingly to conserve batteries, and a six-volt spotlight, which turned out to have a dead battery.
No amount of encouragement from my grandpa could get the dogs to go do the job they had always done so well. Another hundred yards or so up the hollow, they were even more nervous and sniffed the air with long, deep breaths. They stared intently into the darkness in the direction we were moving, and would not get more than a few yards away, all the while growling, acting in a way we had not seen before. Their actions were really beginning to annoy Grandpa and he was trying to let them know his feeling with a verbal assault on them, their ancestors, and their species in general, but they were unfazed and were staying just out of range of the toe of his boot. We were walking single file through briars and brush with Grandpa in the lead, and then me, with Bill bringing up the rear.
When we reached the point where the terrain started getting steep, somewhere from eighty to one hundred yards straight ahead, there came the most bloodcurdling sound I have ever heard. After another forty or so years of life this sound is still very clear in my mind. It began as a deep bellowing roar that went higher in frequency and ended with a very high AHH EEE EEE EEE as best I can describe it. It lasted six to seven seconds. The hardest thing is to try to describe the volume other than to say it could have been heard for miles, and I know of no known animal anywhere that can howl, yell, scream, roar, or trumpet that loud. Whatever made this sound had to be huge. It seemed as if my hair stood up and I had a bitter taste in my mouth, I suppose from adrenalin.
We froze in our tracks for a few seconds then instinct or reflex made me turn to run, but Bill was blocking the path. Grandpa, who was hard of hearing, turned and said, “What the hell was that?” He was born less than a mile from this exact spot and had spent his life hunting, trapping, and just walking these hills. He was the best woodsman I ever knew, so if he didn’t know what it was, I sure as hell didn’t know. It would be several more years before any of us ever heard of Bigfoot. Bill also was a true woodsman, who had gotten game and herbs from these hills all his life. I was about fourteen and had been hunting with these men since I could walk well enough to follow them.
By now all the dogs except one were nearly under our feet, making it difficult to walk. We were hunting with four mature plot hounds, weighing about seventy or eighty pounds each. Also along was a half grown pup, having fun and learning his trade. He was also the one that showed no fear, and took off in the direction of the scream. A plot hound is a large breed used in our area mostly for coon and groundhog hunting, but is also used for bear, boar, and mountain lion as well. Plots are usually known as a bold and totally fearless breed, but not this night. The dogs were a sorry sight, cowering beside us with their tails now tucked, except for the pup, who was now going full bore to investigate the scream.
We stood there and just listened for quite a while. There was only silence, except for the pup trotting up the hill. The leaves were very dry and we would have heard anything move, as we could now hear the pup moving towards the source of the sound.
Grandpa and Bill now started talking about what to do next. Just seeing these big dogs this scared made me want to go back the way we came, but the men I was with were not used to backing up, and this time would be no exception. The sound had come from directly in our path, and after ten minutes or so we started on up the hollow, my vote hadn’t counted. Grandpa had now adjusted our course a few degrees to the left, which would take us to the top of the ridge, but on the other side of the gully. This would be a steeper climb, but would allow us to pass while staying several yards away from this animal. I always thought Grandpa led us on up the hollow so he wouldn’t look scared, but adjusted course a bit, because he wasn’t stupid, and had no desire to have a face to face encounter with what ever this thing was with a single shot 22 rifle and a pack of scared dogs as our only defense. I still had a lot of boy in me and could be as scared as I damned well pleased, and I wanted out of there real bad.
As we climbed the hill, we would stop occasionally and listen and could plainly here the pup in the dry leaves and knew he was getting near the source of the sound. When we were nearly at the same level on the hill as this animal and maybe fifty yards away, we heard a deep-throated growl that lasted about five seconds. Shortly afterwards the pup returned, wagging tail as if he had had a great time. This growl was so low in frequency that it might better be described as a rumble, and was very similar to the low frequency sounds elephants use to communicate. I have since wondered if Bigfoot families could use this form of long distance communications. If they did, we probably wouldn’t be able to hear them very far. Had this growl been any lower in frequency, I don’t think a human could have heard it at all.
When we got to the top of the ridge and therefore out of the hollow, there was another scream that lasted about four seconds. This one was high-pitched and not as loud as the first. We were still within one hundred yards or so of this creature. The dogs now became much more relaxed, except for the pup, who thought the whole night had been great. We then went home without further incident.
I’ll never know what this animal was thinking when he bellowed and growled, but it could have been, “I’M here. YOU need to be somewhere else’’, because they seemed like warnings to me. I am now about the age my grandpa was at that time and have spent thousands of hours in the woods. I have never heard another sound like that. I am sure I will never hear an animal sound that loud again unless I once again run onto the “BIG GUY”. In my life time I have thought I was in danger several times, knew I was a few times, but have never been that scared again, but what the hell, I was still a boy!!
OTHER WITNESSES: 3 witnesses, coon hunting
TIME AND CONDITIONS: night, dark, full moon; clear
ENVIRONMENT: overgrown pasture fields, extremely rugged mountainous terrain surrounded by hardwood forest
Follow-up investigation report:
In my conversation with Ron B. the first thing noticed was his attention to detail. His accuracy in describing the native flora and fauna to me was very apparent. Here is a man who has spent a significant amount of time in the outdoors and it shows. His familiarity with different species is superb. He told me how frightened he was at the time of his incident. He also related how he remembers the low rumble that could be compared with the low base vocalizations of elephants.
The only North American species I am familiar with that does that (emits a base vocalization so low it can be felt) is the male American Alligator (Alligator Mississippiensis) which obviously does not occur in West VA, on a hillside and is certainly not active in November (since it's ectothermic). I suspect that some large bears may be capable of a low growl that, depending upon the size of the bear, may be similar.
Regarding the likelihood of a bear, that doesn't explain the scream call that Ron heard (or the dog's behavior patterns either). He imitated it to me over the phone. He is familiar with cougar and bobcat screams.
This was actually intimidating and ended with a heeee heeee heeee sound. Obviously whatever it was that Ron and his grandfather experienced that night did not want company.
Additional notes will soon be added on this particular report.
** Additional comments from Ron:
- The sound rose up in pitch to a really high note.
- It was a kind of a bellow that had to come from a really
- The area at the time of the experience may well have had
only he and his grandfather in it one time a year.
- His great uncle did not like the area as when he entered it;
the dogs acted very strangely. This was so out of
character for them, he did not go there much if at all.
- Regarding the possiblity of bear, no. They feared nothing.
- The only other stories Ron had about the area was that
his grandfather's wife's father once heard a blood curdling
yell from down in the hollow.
- Back in the late 50's and early 60's those hills were
completely overgrown and had brush real thick so visibility
- Back then there was no deer season, so there wasn't a
reason for lots of people to be tramping the woods.
- Anything that screamed back then, like now, was attributed
to a panther scream. It wasn't like anybody was going to
check it out.
Ron is interested in hearing about anyone from the area who might have had similar experiences. If you have had a sighting or experienced something that could be a sasquatch, please contact the BFRO and fill out a report. This will help us learn and share the behavior patterns, distribution and natural history of this incredible unknown primate. We can post the information for all interested and still protect detailed information or individuals.
It appears that this creature's pattern of distribution in West Virginia on the west side of the state has an association with the Ohio River, and Ron's experience was no exception. This location was approximately 2.5 miles from the Ohio River system. It was about 15 miles northeast of Huntington on Hwy 2. Reports still come from these areas from along the Ohio River.