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COUNTY: McDonough County
LOCATION DETAILS: The following sighting occurred at Argyle Lake State Park
NEAREST TOWN: Colchester
NEAREST ROAD: u.s. 136
OBSERVED: When the sighting happened we had come down into a bottom near a stream. The main thing we first noticed was that the entire woods had gone silent. Before we had heard bird calls and insects throughout the woods. The silence was really unsettling and we felt like we were being watched. We got a little unnerved and began to walk quicker towards where we had parked the car. As we walked the road back we could hear something about 20-30 feet behind and off to the side of us moving through the brush and undergrowth. Then at one point we had a rather nasty smell blow through the area, similar to a skunk or fox when they musk or spray. At one point we know it crossed the road behind us and rather quickly because the noises changed which side of the road they were coming from. At one point we were certain it was going to walk out into the open right in front of us but then all the sound stopped for a short period of time until we went down the next hill. When we got ready to go around the last bend to where we had parked I took a look back and saw "something" squatting on a point next to a dead blackened tree which stood around three to four feet tall. The top of it came to right around the top of the dead tree and it was fairly wide. The only thing I could misidentify it as was a black bear and they haven't been seen in our area for well over 50-100 years. I caught a quick glance at it and then turned back around told my friend I saw something and to just keep walking quickly straight ahead and for the car. Once we got around the bend we ran for the car, jumped in and took off. Since then we've never really talked about it.
OTHER WITNESSES: There was one other witness beside myself. A friend and I were hiking the hills on the back side of the state park to get him prepared for basic training in the army.
OTHER STORIES: Since my sighting I have heard vocals when I'm out to the state park fishing late at night. They sound like they're coming up from the same draw that leads back to where I had my first sighting. The vocals sounded similar to primate calls which I've heard in zoos from different species of gibbon. I am a biology major and have interned in a zoo where I heard gibbon calls on a regular basis so I knew what kind of sounds I was hearing. Also since then I've learned of the other sighting listed on the website from near this area as well. In fact I had not planned to even report this sighting ever until I had heard today by chance that someone else had reported a sighting in the same area of the lake.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: The sighting occurred during mid afternoon with sunny conditions in a forested area.
ENVIRONMENT: The environment is a decidious/ coniferous forest with mostly oak, maple and other hardwood trees previlent with pockets of large white pines. To the south and east were draws that went down into creek bottoms while the north and south were dense overgrowth and forest. The sighting was from the road that went around the edges of the state park.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Stan Courtney:
I spoke with the witness by phone.
• The witness was unable to tell the animals height as it was squatting down by a dead tree.
• The animal appeared to be very large with four foot wide shoulders.
• The hair was dark brown in coloring.
• The animal was approximately 100 yards from the witness.
• The witness was unable to see any facial details.
• The witness and his friend were hiking through the area and at the time were close to Twin Oaks Campground.
• The sighting was at 4 p.m.
About BFRO Investigator Stan Courtney:
Stan Courtney has a special interest in wildlife audio recording. He has attended numerous BFRO Expeditions. See Stan's blog StanCourtney.com for recordings he has collected over the years.
Stan Courtney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org