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COUNTY: Montgomery County
NEAREST TOWN: Richards, Texas
NEAREST ROAD: Texas State Highway 149
OBSERVED: On Monday, January 4, 2016, at 6 a.m., I was backcountry camping with a friend in the Sam Houston National Forest. We had made camp near an unnamed pond west of the Hiking Trail.
The night was clear, 35 degrees, and perfectly still. My friend and I were hammock camping and, because of the cold, were both under low-staked tarps that prevented us from seeing out. Our hammocks were about 15 yards apart.
At 6 a.m. it was still completely dark. I had been awake for about 15 minutes but remained in my sleeping bag inside my hammock. At that point I heard a sharp clack perhaps 75 yards on the other side of my friend. Two seconds later I heard a double-knock much farther away, perhaps a ½ mile to the north or northwest.
The first pop was crisp and close. To my ears it had to be either rock on rock or wood on wood. As there is nothing in that area but sandy soil and trees, my conclusion was that this was a well-struck tree knock followed by a distant response. To the best of our knowledge there were no other people in the vicinity. We had arrived at the trail head to begin our one-night backpacking trip at 2 p.m. the previous afternoon, and we had only seen one other party of hikers, who passed our camp at 4:30 Sunday afternoon and continued eastward on the trail; we saw no one else during the entire trip, which ended when we arrived back at the parking lot at 11:30 a.m. Monday morning.
Had it been windy I could have written the sounds off to cracking limbs, but there was not the slightest breeze, and the two sounds appeared to me to be a clear call and response, perhaps: “Humans over here" … "Roger that.”
After the sounds, I froze and listened hard for several minutes for any other noise such as footfalls, stick breaks or other evidence of visitors but heard none. Within five minutes I asked my friend if he had heard it and he had not, having his ears covered by his cap and his head inside his sleeping bag at the time. Within 15 minutes we both were asleep again. We awoke for good at about 7:20 a.m. and vacated the area at 10 a.m. We heard distant coyotes, dogs, ducks, and owls, but no other such sounds during our stay.
The absence of footfalls or other noises initially made me think it must have not been a sasquatch, but on reflection, the visitor could easily have frozen in his spot when he discovered our camp and then moved slowly away, perhaps using fallen logs, 15 minutes later once we were back to sleep.
Considering the stillness of the night, the crisp, unambiguous clack, and the quick double-knock response, I can think of no other cause for these sounds.
ALSO NOTICED: A mile or more west on the trail, we found a small green plastic box strung up below a branch about nine feet off the ground with what appeared to be peanut butter smeared on the outside. A thin rope held it in place and then ran down the trunk and was tied off low so as to allow someone to lower the bait.
OTHER WITNESSES: No other witnesses
OTHER STORIES: Many sightings in Sam Houston National Forest as in all of East Texas
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 6 a.m., clear skies, predawn, moon low in the east
ENVIRONMENT: Loblolly pine forest with a small pond nearby and a web-like network of seasonal drainages
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Michael Janakes:
I spoke with the witness on the afternoon of 6/15/16 about his encounter. While there is no way to tell for sure whether or not the tree knocks were from a Bigfoot, there are other parts to this story that make me believe it likely was.
First, there is report on another website that describes a Class A encounter on the same day, made by an unrelated person, about an hour later, just a mile or so from this encounter. While I was not involved in the investigation from the other site, it reads as credible.
Second, this report was from an area just a mile or so from the site of the BFRO Texas Expedition October 2015. One whole team of participants on that Expedition had a Class A sighting very near to where this event occurred. In short, there has been a lot of reported activity in this part of the forest.
Lastly, unlike some areas, wood knocks are very common in East Texas forests. Heard and reported all the time, signs point to wood knocks as being a communication tool used by Bigfoots - perhaps because the forests of SE Texas are relatively flat and the wood knock sound travels farther.
The witness intends to continue hiking in the same forest and promises to update us on any further observations.
About BFRO Investigator Michael Janakes:
Mike was born & raised in Northern California, but now resides in the Houston, Texas area. An avid outdoorsman, camper, boater & off-road Jeeper, he has had a life-long interest in Bigfoot. Educated at the University of Nevada (Political Science, with honors in English), he is the President of a large accounts receivables management company. Proud father of two, his hobbies include fishing, hiking, and cheering on his hometown San Francisco sports teams. He has participated in many private expeditions, the very active 2012 BFRO Eastern Texas Expedition, as well as the 2013 BFRO Kentucky Expedition, and has co-hosted the 2014 (2), 2015 (2) and 2016 BFRO East Texas Expeditions.