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STATE: West Virginia
COUNTY: Raleigh County
LOCATION DETAILS: Approx. 2 miles east of the intersection on Ragland Road and State Route 41. Following a branch which empties in Piney Creek, which in turn empties into the New River.
NEAREST TOWN: Beckley, West Virginia
NEAREST ROAD: State Route 41
OBSERVED: It was the summer of 1975, and I was about to enter the eighth grade at Stratton Jr. High School. My best friend had moved away from our neighbor hood in Beckley to Stanaford Acres in the spring. He had invited me to come out and spend the weekend with him in hopes of planning a fishing adventure down to Piney Creek. On Saturday morning, he and a common school friend of ours, and myself ,left out on foot at approx. 7:00am. With fishing gear,lunches and other necessities in hand, we made our way through the woods, past Kliningsmiths Pond, and over to the branch that would lead us to down to Piney Creek which was about a 3 mile hike. After spending the day fishing and doing things that teenage boys do we began to head back up the mountain. As we walked and talked, moving along the rail road that snakes its way through the gorge, it became apparent to us that we may not have been alone. Eerily we all had the feeling that someone, or something, was watching us, and following us from a distance. Paranoia began to set in, and we began to pick up the pace. By the time we reached the branch that we we're to follow back up the mountain,time was slipping away, and the thought of getting caught in the dark became apparent.After an hour or so of hiking up the branch, the sun had lazily rolled over the mountain top, and although it was still early, it was begining to get a little dusky in the hollow. We had just stopped to take a breather when we heard rustling on an old logging road about 300' feet above us. I had an old Red Rider BB gun with me, like it would have done any good, and it was rattling in my hands has they trembled. Maybe someone was watching us. Just in a matter of minutes, large boulders, the size of a washer or drier, came down, one after the other, headed right for us. We froze like stone statues, scared to death. After regaining our composure, we let up that hill side as though our feet were not even touching the ground. Thats when, against my better judgement, I turned to look back, just in time to see a large black shape disapear over the hillside. We ran all the way to Sams house, which was still a good mile and a half away. As the years went by, we looked back on that day and laughed at one another, joking about how scared each one of us were, and tried to come up with a reasonable explaination. I don't know if what I saw was a Big Foot, or a figment of my imagination. But to this day, any time I'm hunting or fishing, on or around the New River Gorge National River,you better beleive that I'm looking over my shoulder.
OTHER WITNESSES: Two others besides myself.
OTHER STORIES: Read about an eyewitness account of strange sounds in an area about 12 miles down river in a little community called Minden, near Oak Hill, at this web site. My wifes cousin, and my good friend, lives on the river in Terry, at the bottom of Batoff Mountain, 6 miles down river from my encounter. They've experienced having their gardens raided and livestock fences destroyed. Any connection, who knows.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Approxiamately 6:00pm. Early evening,bright sunny day, with standard summer time humidity for this area.
ENVIRONMENT: Hard wood forest, between mountain ridge lines, along creek bottom. Dense underbrush, forest floor covered by ferns and rocky ledges.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Jim Osborne:
When I spoke with the witness he stated that there are black bears in the area, and that his glimpse of the figure was too brief to really rule out that possibility. However, he feels that the size of the stones that were rolled down the hill towards them makes it unlikely that a bear was the culprit.