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YEAR: Maybe 1974
COUNTY: Berrien County
LOCATION DETAILS: The area where this occured was bordered on the north by I-94/Exit 23, on the south by Lincoln Towship Public Cemetery (right behind our house), on the east by north-south running railroad tracks with a factory and woods beyond... and on the west by St. Joseph Ave. which leads from the highway into downtown Stevensville about a mile south from there.
About half a mile west from the house you find very hilly and wooded dunes area that follows along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Lake Michigan is maybe 1 mile due west from the house.
NEAREST TOWN: Stevensville, MI.
NEAREST ROAD: The house I lived in was one of 5 on Marquette Woods Rd. between St. Joseph Ave and railroad tracks that crossed Marquette Woods. Across the street was anothe 5 or 6 houses and behind them was the Exit 23 interchange on I-94.
OBSERVED: I was around 12 years old and watching my 4 younger brothers one evening while my parents went out for a few drinks when I heard something that scared me like nothing else I have ever experienced before or since. It scared me so badly in fact that I was too embarrassed to ever mention it to my parents, certain that they would merely ridicule me for lack of any evidence to back up such a wild and unprovable claim.
I had sent my brothers all to bed an hour or so before and had been lying on the living room couch watching television around 11pm when I heard a noise outside the window the couch was situated under. It was quite loud and extremely close, just outside the window against the side of the house... close enough that I could hear an intake of breath from the source of the sound.
I was horribly frightened by the sound, because I had never heard anything like it in my entire life. It was a howling scream that sounded like something dying and it gradually shifted to a gurgling chuckle or laugh-like sound that lasted maybe around 10 seconds. It did not repeat and no other sound were heard.
I have heard many screams from human and animal sources including rabbits, deer, dogs, cats, racoons and possums but this sounded nothing like any of them even remotely, and I certainly never heard anything besides another human produce a true laugh.
What I heard did not sound human at all, it actually sounded "evil" to me, for lack of a better description, and it scared me so badly that I waited around 30 minutes before mustering enough courage to don boots, jacket and grab a flashlight to go outside and investigate.
It was mid-winter and had been snowing since early evening so there was several inches of fresh snow on the ground but after searching all around our house and yard I could not find a single track to indicate what had caused the sound. There is a gap between houses where the sound came from that is maybe 12-15 feet wide with a shrub-line roughly 6 feet from the side of our house, and all the snow was totally undisturbed.
This really upset me, because I had been hoping that maybe a boy that lived a few doors down at that time had somehow come over and created the noise as a prank to frighten me, even though I found it nearly impossible to convince myself that the sound could be made by a human, nor reproduced so realistically by any portable recording devices available to teens in the early 1970's.
Talking myself into thinking it a prank had been how I managed to dredge up enough courage to go outside and investigate in the first place... so now I was truly frightened and immediately went back in the house and stayed there until my parents returned home.
I never associated this event with bigfoot until a few days ago as I was reading a few bigfoot sighting reports on the net, merely as a lark, and was amazed at how similar some of the sounds reported fit the description of what I heard that night.
In fact, just reading some of the descriptions has caused me to relive a little of the terror I experienced so many years ago... and I'm not a person that has ever had any phobias or natural fears.
The scream was frightening, but nearly as terrifying as the inhuman laugh it became before tapering off.
I saw the term "diabolical" used to describe a sound heard by someone filing a report and I have to totally agree that this is maybe the most apt description I could ever imagine of the sound I heard that night.
I do not mind whether what I say here is ever believed or dismissed as false, I merely wanted to get the information across in the hopes that somebody else has reported something similar at that same place and time in history and what I report might possibly add a little more information to clarify other more credible and evidenced events that others might report.
OTHER WITNESSES: No
OTHER STORIES: Thinking back, I recall a sort of "urban legend" locally when I was a teen that claimed a family of primitive/retarded mutants lived in the deeply wooded area along the Lake Michigan shoreline dunes area between Stevensville and the little town of Bridgeman... 5 miles further south. The story referred to them as "Melonheads", with tall misshaped heads. Teens would frequently drive back on the little two-tack dirt roads in the area as a way to entertain and scare each other while looking for the melonheads.
I have no idea how this story got started or exactly how long it has existed, but it was common knowlege to everyone I knew as a child. As far as I am aware the story is still circulated in the area today.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: The time was close to midnight, around 11pm, and the lighting was moonless and low overcast due to ongoing snowfall which was light at the time I ventured outside. I clearly recall that it was extremely quiet and visibility was good due to reflected light of the clouds from the nearby interstate exit and surrounding businesses with outdoor lighting.
ENVIRONMENT: The neighborhood was rural/residential at that time, about a mile east of Lake Michigan and with plenty of heavily wooded areas within a short walk in almost any direction. Plenty of farms existed to the south and east from Stevensville in the 70's and although the population has increased greatly since then, there are still much heavy woods and open farmland in the area.
The house straight across the street was an old farm with vineyard, peaches, pears and cherries growing on a 10 acre plot bordered behind by the interstate exit ramp and on the east by the railroad. About 3/4 mi. east is Hickory Creek which is in a deep and thickly wooded ravine. The woods actually ran all the way up from the creek to the railroad tracks that border the eastern edge of the cemetary behind our house.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Dr. Wolf H. Fahrenbach:
The observer rendered an excellent, perceptive description of the event, that occurred in the context of total silence of a snowy evening. He emphasized how utterly frightening the sound was, mostly by its unearthly human/inhuman quality. He mentioned that if the intial scream, which started at a rabbit-scream pitch, had not been continuously connected to the concluding sound, a gravelly, low chuckle-like "laugh" of rough quality, he would not have attributed the two sounds to the same animal.
He also mentioned that the vocalization sounded so close, and by implication, powerful, that he was expecting footprints in the snow under the window, but the outside snow was undisturbed within view of the door from which he surveyed the scene.
No dogs responded to the sound, including his own, which was nowhere to be seen at the conclusion of the episode.