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DATE: late in month
COUNTY: Monroe County
NEAREST TOWN: Luna Pier, Michigan
NEAREST ROAD: US 125 (Dixie Hyway)
OBSERVED: It was late September 1980, mid-morning on a Saturday with sunny, calm and cool weather. Perfect for squirrel hunting, so off I went, not telling anyone where I was going (I had a number of different spots). I headed for a small woodlot, maybe 10 acres in size, less than a mile from my house. This woodlot is about 1/3 mile from the nearest road, surrounded by farmland with a small stream on the south side and with several fence rows attached. It had a farmer’s lane that went though it in a rough L shape, with a grass and dirt base and large enough to drive on. Such woodlots are a fairly common feature of the southeastern Michigan farming landscape, if anything the woodlot was smaller than most.
The lane enters the woodlot from the north, about ½ mile from the road I first walked onto the lane from. As I entered the woodlot I noticed something quite odd- there were a large number of birds making a big racquet in the underbrush in the woods just to the right of the lane. I noticed redwings, robins, jays and cardinals in particular, and they were flirting about the underbrush in a somewhat frenzied fashion. Many times I had seen redwings gather in large noisy flocks this time of year (pre-migration or corn field raids), but gather high up – this was different and struck me as strange. I continued my way, after 50 yards or so into the woodlot I approached a small bend in the lane where it veers perhaps 20 degrees or so to my right. My rifle was still slung over my shoulder with a sling, since the hunting spot was on the other side of woodlot near the lane exit on the west side.
At the bend in the lane I was still glancing back at the bird commotion, and when I turned my head forward again I froze in shock and terror. Standing about 25 yards away was a huge furry creature, towering 7 feet into the air and standing just like a man. It was staring seemly straight through me, and our eyes locked. It stood in the underbrush just off the left side of trail. I could not see it below the waist, but could see everything else. It could see me from head to toe. We just stared at one another.
It was massive, three feet wide at the shoulders, incredibly stocky and strong looking. Reddish brown hair was everywhere, shorter on the face but perhaps 3-5 inches long on the head and shoulders. The hair was quite unkempt and mop-like especially on the top of the head. The head was large, seemingly flat on top. I could not make out any ears. Eyes a simple black, no whites, and a lying flat nose without many discernable features – there was even some hair there in the middle of the face. The mouth was large with a bit more hair there, giving the appearance of a sort of mustache. It did not have much expression, pretty much straight lipped, it really seemed almost relaxed. Its arms hung at its sides, with the hands in the underbrush. There were no signs of aggression.
Perhaps that is what kept me from panicking, and neither it nor I moved a muscle. That eerie stare seemed to last forever. My mind raced, desperate to escape. I felt that turning and running might encourage it to chase me, and I knew I could never outpace it. I did not attempt to unsling my rifle, fearing that it might consider such a move aggressive. Also, it was only a single shot .22, obviously of little use for something this size. The rifle was chambered but un-cocked, and if the creature charged I would probably not even have the time to cock it. I did not want to shoot this creature, but would in self-defense. So, barely moving my hand that was at my side I could reach back to the bolt knob and try to cock the gun while it was still slung on my shoulder. I could move the spring a little, trying several times, but from there I could just not get enough leverage to pull it all the way back. I will never forget how hopeless I felt at that moment. I had no idea what to do next, and just stood there.
Then the creature made its move – its large hairy right hand came up, and swiped at a red berried shrub right in front of it. It moved the hand to its mouth and casually chewed. It repeated these motions- glancing down to the shrub, swiping up berries and eating, then glancing back up to me. The arm motion was very fluid and un-human like, no jerking motions, very deft flowing movement. The left hand remained at the creature’s side. It was not picking berries like a person would, it was raking them up. Also, during the entire encounter I never heard any vocalizations or smelled any odors.
Watching it eat, I started to feel better. I was no longer this creature’s only concern, so I took this as an invite to leave. I slowly began to walk backwards, and the creature continued to eat and keep an eye on me. I slipped around the bend, and lost sight of the creature after a few feet. I turned around and quickened my pace into a fast walk, not wanting to alert the creature that I was running or in panic. I continued to look back to the bend in the lane, fearing it would follow. Soon I was at the woodlot’s edge, and broke into a full run. Finally, only to run faster, did I unsling my rifle.
I was 15 years old, and it probably did not take me two weeks afterwards to clam up about this for obvious reasons. In the mid 1990s I told my future wife, and now am reporting it here. It just feels like it is time.
ALSO NOTICED: No, did not do any follow up. Took me over a year to even return to the spot.
OTHER WITNESSES: Just me.
OTHER STORIES: No.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Mid morning; sunny, calm, and cool weather. Since it occurred in a lane in the woodlot, it was fairly bright (not mid-forest dim).
ENVIRONMENT: I think I have this covered pretty well in the narrative...
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Jim Sherman:
Any close-up and long duration sighting is interesting on its own merit. This case was of particular interest to me for that reason but also because, as a hunter myself, I also spent a great deal of time walking alone through the woods in my youth. This incident could have happened to me.
The land around this sighting has changed in the intervening decades since this sighting occurred. But even today you can see some areas of forested land connected by a substantial amount of farmland. A brief look at the homes in the area show that those nearest the farms were settled right around 1900 but there was a dramatic build-up in the 1960’s and again right after this incident happened. It is reasonable to believe that there were substantially more interconnected areas of forest land, cut through with many rivers leading into Lake Erie, in the 1980’s.
I spoke with the witness and I have had a great deal of contact with him. I decided to provide the reader with questions that I asked this witness. I asked him to write down his responses so that I had a record of the account in his words. The questions were mine but the answers are in his words.
Could you describe your outdoor experience? (Camping, hunting experience, etc).
I was very familiar with the location of the encounter, and the entire area within a mile or so radius of my home. I hunted or wandered the area almost daily, starting with air rifle at around 10 years of age and .22 at 12. I ran a trap line in the fall and winter (primarily for muskrat) starting at 13. I likely would have been passing the exact point of encounter weekly or so for a couple years prior to the sighting. If real game was not in season I would be varmint hunting for birds or ground hogs, so I was out and about year-round. The encounter occurred shortly after I turned 15.
How well did you know the area?
I guess most of this is covered above, again I was on home turf and due to the amount of time I spent wandering this area I was extremely intimate with the surroundings. Since I was out year round I knew all the seasonal cycles; migrations of birds, crop plantings/harvests, fish spawns, and so on. When I was not hunting I would look for reptiles and amphibians and kept a journal on the stats and locations of my findings. I knew every trail and every shortcut, and kept good relations with the farmers so I could have rein to wander freely in the area (shooting groundhogs, pest birds, and trapping muskrats helped in that!)
I would like to know a general coloration of the figure. Could you compare it to a known animal?
This is hard; it was just a classic reddish brown. I cannot come up with an animal with the exact same color... This likely will be of no use, but if you take a muskrat, which is quite brown, and blow on the fur so the guard hairs flow away, you will notice a reddish color. It was kind of like that. However, since Sasquatch are known to you and me, I would say it was a classic reddish brown bigfoot as has been reported before ;)
How long do you think the entire encounter lasted?
This is a surprisingly difficult question for me to answer. I will have to guess this. There were a couple staring at each other phases that I have no idea how long that went on, although it probably was not that long it just seemed like it! Overall, I would have to guess at a 2-3 minute range, from just walking through the steps that happened...
Have you been back there since?
I avoided the woodlot this occurred at the rest of that year and the next. Then I cautiously returned. So, likely returned to the encounter spot after about 18 months or so. I kind of compartmentalized the sighting to that exact woodlot, and as long as I avoided it for a while I was OK going to my other woodlots and the other parts of my home range. I have heard of other witnesses never returning to the field. I think this had to do with the nature of my encounter, in which by the end of it there was something of a resolution of sorts, if you leave me be I'll leave you be kind of thing. It de-escalated, although it terrified me it was less terrifying at the end. A more typical encounter is seconds with the creature quickly disappearing into the trees- that sort of thing might be harder to deal with.
Was there anything else that made you feel non-threatened?
The entire demeanor was non-aggressive. I was terrified due to this creature’s scale and the fact that mythology was now real, but there was nothing else. No snarls, no crouching, no sudden moves, no change in expression that I could see (as I noted the entire face was hair covered) during the stare offs. Then during the eating at the end there was something of a more relaxed tone to the face, as it glanced between me and the bush. But the berry eating was the biggest factor, making it clear to me that this was its main concern, and as long as that was not messed with there would be no trouble.
Thank you very much again for your interest, it is good to talk about 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