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COUNTY: Oceana County
LOCATION DETAILS: It was a mixed deciduous forest with a swam/wetlands near by. We were camping in an open grassy area where there used to be a house long time ago.
NEAREST TOWN: New Era
OBSERVED: In June of 2000 my friend and I went camping. 4 of us total. We had a campfire and settled in about 12:00 to 1:00 am. At about 3:00 am I woke to what sounded like rocks being smacked together or stacked, I woke my boyfriend, (now husband) and a LARGE animal/animals proceeded to CRASH through the woods around us. It was big and breaking branches huge crashes I was Scared! It eventually made its way around our camping site and walked off but I was waiting to be attacked. Sadly in the morning we never investigated the area, we woke up early and left the camp site. I don't camp deep in the woods anymore!
OTHER WITNESSES: There were 4 people camping. We were all sleeping.
OTHER STORIES: A few miles away, we were traveling down Wilke Rd., in Rothbury MI, we saw a body lying in the road and stopped, looked like a full grown chimp lying on the road dead. It was a black/ brown hair covered body, long limbs and a flat face, it wasn't a bear, even if the bear was starving it would have been too thin. This was around fall of 03 or 04, we were scared the parent or another was somewhere close so we drove away, when we got the guts to drive back about 20 minutes later it was gone. No reports in the paper, no clue where it went.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: It was late night early morning, 3:00 am about.
ENVIRONMENT: Mixed deciduous forrest with a swamp/wetland area near by.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Jim Sherman:
While on Twitter one night I found a post regarding a possible encounter that happened to a group of campers near New Era. I was intrigued by the possibility of a report from a place I was so familiar with. I had previously researched this area and have camped for years in the Manistee National Forest so I am familiar with the location and the availability of forage for game animals as well as year-round water from numerous streams in this area like the many branches of the White River along with many acres of marsh and swampland. This location is heavily forested. If one were to travel from the town of Whitehall and head west you could almost completely stay within the forests until you reached the shore of Lake Michigan. I decided to contact the sender of the Tweet.
Mrs. S responded immediately and filed a report on our database. We began discussing her case and there were similarities between her encounter and other reports from campers nearby. After speaking with Mrs. S I found out that there was more to the story. It appeared that she may have also had a sighting of a creature lying in the road.
Before I knew about the possible sighting I asked Mrs. S about her experience. She very clearly told me where the incident occurred, who she was with and what they had been doing. I asked her to describe the night in as much detail as possible including everything she could remember regarding what she heard and what it sounded like to her. I further asked if she thought it might have been people pulling some sort of practical joke on her. The following is her story in her own words as dictated by me:
"The encounter lasted maybe 5-10 minutes, it started with just rocks being smacked together and that's when I woke my then boyfriend now husband."
What follows is a sample of possible stone clacking recorded by this researcher in central Michigan in 2012:
Central Michigan sound recording
"Whatever it was made no vocalizations and we did not smell anything. The reason I knew it wasn't a deer or bear was because it was so loud but there were no vocalizations from an angry bear or a deer blowing. It crashed through brush like it didn't care who was around. It sounded like it circled our campsite and headed north off into the woods.
The reason I do not believe it was a prank is because only five people knew where we were. None of which would have been up for or willing to go out at that time of night just to scare us. Also the two-track leading to our campsite had been blocked by loggers and you have to go on foot. I think there may have been a couple of individuals in the woods because of the rock clacking, (Thought by many researchers to be a possible form of communication) but I do not know for sure as it could have been echoes. I'm sorry I cannot give any more info. As I said we were scared and did not want to investigate."
I needed to know about what she saw in the road. Mrs. S stated that in 2003 or 2004 she believed that she saw something lying in the road as she drove in an area not too far from her camping experience four years previously. Mrs. S provided the following information and then added a sketch of what she had seen:
"As for the creature in the road, it was fall and at night so it was dark. If I had to guess a time I would say between 7-9 pm. There was no rain, snow or fog but it was dark so you can only see really what your head lights show you. The roads were clear, we had just passed (omitted), I had to slow nearly to a stop because a car was in the opposite lane and I had to drive out of my lane to pass the creature in the road. I am not completely or even partially sure it was dead there was not blood or anything like that, only the chimp-like body laying there.
It looked like a full grown chimp lying in the road, its fur was shaggy black to brown, and its face was flat, that why I know it wasn't a bear. Also its limbs were long, almost longer in the arms then in the legs. Its torso was skinny too skinny for even a starving bear. If I saw this creature standing I would say it would have been 4 to 5 feet tall.
As I said, we were scared because we did not know where an animal like this would come from or if there were bigger ones in the woods. As soon as we got around it we left. When we finally got the guts to drive back, about 10-20 minutes later it was gone, with no blood or visible marks in the road so we just left. Again I do not know if the creature was dead, because it was gone.
I look forward to hearing more from you and am anxious to hear what other people have seen since this has left us feeling a little crazy. Itís hard having your family or friends look at you like youíre nuts when you KNOW you saw/experienced something like this."
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