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COUNTY: Mendocino County
LOCATION DETAILS: On hillside above Albion Flats, on the south side of the Albion River. Above the river boat dock.
NEAREST TOWN: Albion, California
NEAREST ROAD: Hwy.1
OBSERVED: My encounter took place in Albion, Mendocino County Calif. in the summer of 1966 when I was 15 years old. My father was a commercial fisherman, and had his boat docked up the Albion River about 250 or 300 yards at the boat docks. We lived in Ukiah, and came over to see my Dad to bring supplies to him and visit at least twice a week. Soon after, we put a trailer on the flats near the boat dock, and moved to the coast permanently. The encounter happened one evening just before dark, as the sun was just going down over the hill. My parents, younger sister, and younger brother were on the boat and getting ready for bed. It was before 8 p.m. My older sister and myself had to sleep in the car as there wasn't enough bunks on the boat for us to sleep. We had blankets and pillows on the seat to sleep on. The car was a 1957 two-door Pontiac Chieftain. I had the back seat and she the front. I remember it being too early and light out to want to go to sleep. We sat there and talked as teenagers will do. Across the river was a steep rolling hillside that had sheep grazing on it that belonged to a man named Paul Anderson. We had the windows down as it was summer and very nice out. We were interrupted in our talking by the sounds of sheep crying out in unison and baaing in a way that didn't sound normal for sheep. We both jumped up and looked out the right side windows trying to see what was after the sheep. We could see the sheep running frantically towards the west side of the hillside pasture. The sheep were scattering in different directions, separating into smaller bunches. To the left and upper part of the field, we both spotted two very large and hairy animals chasing the sheep. We thought that they were bears running on their hind legs like trained animals would do. It was very alarming for us to watch as these bears were terrorizing these poor sheep. Our position from the attack was about 150 yards or more. We watched as these big animals chased the sheep for what seemed like hours. In reality, the whole chase scene was about 20 or 30 minutes. As it got dark, we were sure that the bears would swim the river and come for us next. We locked the doors and hid under the blankets for the rest of night. It seemed like an eternity til morning came and we could finally get out of the car and go to the boat to see our parents. We told them what had happened, and I know that they thought that we had stayed up all night dreaming up that story. That morning, we were up at the post office near where the attack had occurred, and people were talking about the sheep being killed by a wild pack of dogs that were roaming around. The Sheriff, Sam Costa said that it was unusual for dogs kill and eat only the belly and insides of the sheep. We heard about the wild dogs for years after that, every time livestock were killed and mutilated by a predator. I never forgot what I saw and heard that night, and now know that it wasn't bears or wild dogs.
ALSO NOTICED: Several sheep were killed and mutalated due to the attack. Everyone except my sister and myself believed that the predators were wild dogs. We actually believed that they were bears that had mastered how to walk, run, and kill by standing exclusively on their hind legs.
OTHER WITNESSES: My older sister. We were in the car talking prior to incident.
OTHER STORIES: Years later, when I was on my own and living in Fort Bragg further up the coast, I heard of other sightings in our area. My father in law told me a story about seeing one when he was a young man living in Comptche, near Alion. In the 1930s, he was in a wagon when a bigfoot crossed the road in front of the horses. The driver said the big hairy thing did it all the time and called it a “woodsman.” This was on the road to Willits. Several other stories include: In the 1970s two bigfoots were stealing grain sacks near Albion. In the 1940s north of Fort Bragg near Ward Ave, a bigfoot was seen carrying an armload of fish.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Dusk, just before nightfall, when you can see things start to get darker in hue due to the sun going down below the hillside.
ENVIRONMENT: Rolling hillsides due to the closeness of the ocean. A draw in middle of pasture.
Follow-up investigation report:
I talked with the witness by phone. The following details can be added to the report:
--Sighting occurred on Albion Ridge, near a summer science camp for kids.
--The witnesses were across the river from the creatures.
--The pasture was small and fenced. There was no sheepherder because the owner would just move the sheep from fenced pasture to fenced pasture.
--There was about 50 sheep in the pasture at the time. The sheep were very agitated and were running to try to get away from the creatures. The sheep continued to be upset long into the night.
--The only noise heard was from the sheep.
--The witness and her sister originally compared what they saw to circus bears that they had seen on TV. At the time, the witness had only seen a live bear in a zoo and although they knew they weren’t bears, that is, all they could relate the creatures to.
--The witness had the impression that the two creatures were trying to “herd” the sheep and were working in concert with each other. One would run one way while the other went a different direction, in an apparent effort to corner the sheep. Occasionally, one would pause to look around.
--The witness had no idea if the two creatures were the same size because they never where near each other.
--The witness never saw one of the sheep getting caught, just being chased.
-- They told their parents at the time, but the parents tried to convince them it was a bear.
--Several of the sheep were killed, and she saw the Sheriff inspecting the carcasses.
--Based on what she was told, the only thing “eaten” were the soft organs (liver and heart) and some small areas under the legs.
--The witness never stayed in the car at that location again. She stayed at home until the family purchased a trailer to stay in at the location.
When asked how she knew the creatures were not bears or humans, the witness added:
--The creatures had no snouts. Their faces were flat.
--Their arms and legs were very long. When they walked, it was with bent knees and their arms swung. Their strides were like a fast walk.
--The creatures were taller than 6’4”, bulky and wide (estimation based on the size of her son). They were neither thin nor fat (no pot belly), but were very muscular.
--The creatures were covered in hair, not fur. The hair was fairly long and stringy on the back, head, and legs, and hardly any hair on the chest.
--People walk different and based on the bulk, size, height, a stride was longer, etc., they were sure they weren’t people.
--The witness emphasized that they could see the creatures very well before it got dark.