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COUNTY: Hot Spring County
LOCATION DETAILS: Witness requested that location not be disclosed.
NEAREST TOWN: Bismark
NEAREST ROAD: Confidential.
OBSERVED: Several friends and myself had gone together to purchase 120 acres of cut-over forest land that was totally surrounded by several thousand acres of timber company land. This land was at the end of a small valley, and at the far end of a dead-end road.
On my portion of the land was a small rise in the northern half of the valley, and I was building a shack to be used for hunting and camping. One night,about 8:00, while working inside by lantern light, I decided to step outside on the deck for a cigarette. As soon as I lit my lighter, a roaring, crackling scream commenced from the slope of the ridge to the south; about 300 yards away, but in direct line of sight. I was too startled to do anything but stay rooted to the spot and feel the hair stand up on the back of my neck; something which hasn't happened to me in years. While the scream lasted for only a couple of seconds, it seemed to go on much longer.
Since it was very cloudy and dark I ran inside for a flashlight, all the while wishing I had brought my rifle inside from the truck. With a flashlight and a hatchet I headed for the truck only to find that the truck itself seemed to be moving. In the bed of the truck I found my German Shepherd ( I had forgotten all about him.) curled in a tight ball in the corner and shaking so hard he was moving the whole truck.
We left immediately.
Several nights later, one of the friends who had laughed at me when I told the story came out to see how I was progressing with the shack. He laughed more at the extra lanterns I had placed inside and outside, and at the pistol and shotgun I had laying on the table. We stepped out onto the lit deck and almost immediately the same grating scream came from exactly the same spot on the south ridge. In a flash my friend was standing back to back with me as we stared out into the dark.
Since the dog was not with us, and because we were armed and had good flashlights, we stayed there for two more hours, but heard nothing else. But I was certainly glad to have a witness this time.
Several weeks later my friend and I ran into one of the other property owners and were relating the story to him when I noticed him becoming a bit pale. He finally told us that he had been burning piles of deadfall on his part of the property - that butts into the south ridge - and was walking back and fourth to the stream to get water to put out the several fires when he heard something walking around him in the woods. It was too dark to see, but he at first assumed it was a deer or maybe a bear. After he had listened for awhile he decided it sounded like a two-legged creature and believed it was one of us trying to play a joke on him. So he continued putting out his fires while listening to whatever it was make a circle around him. But when it got upwind from him he began to smell a terrible odor that he admitted scared him so badly that he got in his truck and left, ignoring his still smoldering fires.
I cannot say what it was that we heard, or what the other man smelled. But I have heard several kinds of big cats, bears, howler monkeys and other large animals in my years hunting and in the Army, and I have never heard anything that sounded remotely like what was heard those two nights.
ALSO NOTICED: As I said, one of the property owners also smelled something horrible one night and believed it was circling him. Sometime later we found an indistinquishable part of a footprint on the bank of the pond. When we brought the dog over to smell of it, he ran back to the truck and jumped up in the bed. He would not come out until I had moved the truck on up to the shack.
OTHER WITNESSES: The first time the scream was heard I was alone. The second time I had a friend with me and we had just stepped out on the deck.
OTHER STORIES: Another one of the landowners told me that he talked to a logger who was operating logging equipment on some nearby land. The logger said he saw a big, black monkey thing up in a tree.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Both times about 8:00pm. It was very cloudy, and so very dark. The weather was chilly, but not cold.
ENVIRONMENT: Rocky ridges, scrub hardwoods and pines. There is a creek nearby.
Follow-up investigation report:
I spoke to the witness about his experience and found him to be very credible.
The witness told me that he was building a shelter or "shack" on the property to be used while hunting. He was there alone, with the exception of his dog, a German Shepherd.
At approximately 2000 hours, while momentarily halting his building activity to take a short break, the witness stepped out onto the deck on the front of the shack. The witness stated that as soon as he lit a cigarette, a “scream came off the side of the mountain” 300 - 400 yards from the shelter. It was a “high-pitched scream kind of like a woman but with a low rumble.” The witness further described the sound as “multi-tonal” and sounding like “a bear, mountain lion, turkeys and a woman at the same time.”
Immediately the witness experienced an involuntary response. The witness stated that he had had “two tours in ‘Nam” and while he had been scared before this was the first time that his “hairs stood up.” The witness also disclosed that he is very familiar with sounds of all known, indigenous animals. Animals such as tigers and howler monkeys were also mentioned by the witness as having sounds with which he was well familiar.
The first thought that entered into his mind upon hearing the eerie and loud vocalization was, “I don’t have a gun!” Instinct took over, and the witness said he immediately moved toward his truck to totally flee the area. As he neared the truck, he noticed that it “was shaking.” The witness stopped immediately, went back into the shack and “grabbed a hatchet.” Cautiously, the witness went back to his still shaking truck, and peered into the bed of the truck to find his German Shepherd (about whom he had forgotten). The dog was tightly curled into a ball, shaking to the point that the truck was visibly shaking as a direct result of the dog’s trembling. The witness said that it was evident that his dog was “scared to death.” The witness without delay got into his truck and exited from the property.
The witness told several of his friends and was immediately greeted with derision. A few weeks later, the witness was back out at the shack working again. This time, however, he was heavily armed and he had the place extremely well lit. One of the friends that had mocked the witness arrived and further ridiculed him upon seeing the firepower within arm’s reach. That is, until the same type scream echoed into the night again at approximately the same time as before.
This time, the witness grabbed one of his weapons and began shining light out into the darkness attempting to ascertain what had caused the noise. His friend who had been so scornful now stood back to back with the witness, and was constantly, loudly and vocally broadcasting expletives into the night. The witness stated that while he was attempting to calm his friend for the next two hours, he also tried to determine what had made the sound, but to no avail. Eventually the two left the property, still shaken from their experience.
The witness also told me of another of the landowners who had an anomalous experience while on the land burning piles of wood. Apparently the individual heard a rather large, bipedal-sounding creature in the nearby woods. The sounds emanating from the footsteps of the undetermined animal seemed to indicate that it was circling or stalking the man. Upon smelling a very strong, rancid odor, the individual left hastily. According to the witness, the individual left the wood piles burning - a decidedly uncharacteristic action on his part.
In summation, the witness made it clear that whatever made those immensely loud, terrifying screams was an animal not of the norm. Not only did the witness react in a terror-stricken manner, but so did his dog, a German Shepherd not easily bothered. Further, his friend who initially scorned him, was overcome with the same visceral, self-preservational instinct - flee to safety. It is impossible for me to say with absolute certainty that a bigfoot was responsible for terrifying this veteran of the Vietnam Conflict, but I don't think that a documented, indigenous animal is capable of propagating sounds that would elicit such responses from the witnesses or that remotely match the descriptions given.