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YEAR: 84 to 86
COUNTY: Piatt County
LOCATION DETAILS: Exact locations provided in the report.
NEAREST TOWN: Atwood
NEAREST ROAD: E 300 N Rd & CR 1425
OBSERVED: The following incidents occurred between the years 1984 and 1986 around our woods which is located just south of the intersection of E300 N Rd 300 and county road 1425 Northwest of Atwood Illinois. At the time we lived in the 15 acre woods which is at that location. The Lake fork river runs just behind that woods and there is a bottom land just north of the woods which floods every fall. At the time I was a teenager and hunted, fished and trapped along a several mile stretch of that river. The encounters we had were not visual.
The first instance was about 10pm on a winter evening when I was going to let our poodle out before turning in for the night. There was only what I could describe as a combination of a Scream/howl which came from just on the North side of the house. Our dog was so frightened it would not go out of the door. He was not afraid of anything and to see that fear in him was shocking. The volume of the howl was immense. My mother was home and heard it as well. Even from inside a well insulated Illinois home it sounded as if it was right next to you. I had the door open and it felt like I had been hit in the chest by the sound.
The second instance was just south of that woods about a half mile down from where the river bends. I was returning from hunting about 5pm in the evening and heard the exact same howl. It came from the smaller wood which is right next to the river just south of our woods.
The 3rd instance was a series of footprints along the bank of the lake fork river. Just to the west of the road intersection mentioned above, the lake fork passes under a bridge. Just south of that bridge the river bends and flows east. I was fishing along that bend on a spring day about 10 in the morning. I felt that there was something not right and then realized that there were no animal sounds. Typically there are all sorts of sparrows and red winged black birds, but there was nothing. I looked down as I was walking and noticed that I was walking next to a line of footprints in the mud. I wore mens size 12 hiking boots and these prints were 5 toed and 2" wider and 3" longer than my boots. They were very fresh with dirt still loose on the edge of the track. I looked up and down the river but did not see a thing. The river banks in that area are steep with tall grass.
The forth instance was while deer hunting on the east side of the large woods just to the north east of that bridge. I had gone out bow hunting and had set up a blind on the east side of the woods. I had walked from our house and was set up in a blind in full camo by 45mins prior to sunrise. Just before light I heard the same howl which I estimated came from about 50 yards away to my north. It was so powerful that it shook me. I waited for several minutes and it howled again. Only having a bow and not a gun I literally walked backwards the few hundred yards back to the county road with an arrow knocked and ready to go. Not that it would have done any good. You could tell by the volume of the scream/howl that this was a very very large creature.
The 5th instance was around 10:30 at night in the back of our house. We kept a large horse tank in the back where we would dump and burn trash. It was approximately 35 yards behind the house. I was taking the trash out and had just dumped it when I heard a "Hmph" from the edge of the tree line which was about 10 yards away. I head another "Hmph" and then something large taking off down the side of the hill towords the bottom land, I headed quickly in the house. The next morning I checked the area and could see the same size prints mentioned above. I couldn't see them clearly as before due to thick ground cover of leaves.
The Howls around our house were heard by my mother.
I do not know of any other people in the area having the same instances. at the time there were only 4 families living in that area. Us, my uncle who lived across the river, a family that lived in the house by the bridge and another that lived just east of the road intersection mentioned above.
ALSO NOTICED: These were a series of instances over a couple of years. There would be 1 or 2 then nothing for several months or a year.
OTHER WITNESSES: My mother for 1 occurrence
OTHER STORIES: No. People in that area are private and typically would not talk about something like that if it had happened to them.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: As described in the report above.
ENVIRONMENT: Farmland, River, Wooded
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Stan Courtney:
I spoke with the witness by phone.
• The witness described unusual vocalizations heard over a three year period.
• A series of footprints were found in the mud along the river bank.
• All five toes were visible.
• The footprints were approximately 15 1/2 inches long and 7 1/2 inches wide.
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