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COUNTY: Tuolumne County
LOCATION DETAILS: In the area north of Crabtree trailhead above bell meadow. Outside of Sonora Ca. about 30 minute drive.
NEAREST TOWN: Pinecrest
NEAREST ROAD: Highway 108
OBSERVED: We were camping in tents with our horses tied on a rope between the trees. In the middle of the night I was awakened by a terrifying scream kind of like a woman screaming and then I heard what sounded like my horses were loose and running up the hill. I ran out of my tent to where the horses were and shined my flashlight. All my horses were tyed up and staring up at the top of the hill very upset. We didn't hear or see anything else so we went to bed. The next morning there were footprints going up the hill like whatever it was had two large feet with a big toe. The next evening at dust we tyed our horses up in the meadow. Our camp was about 300 yards away when we heard a loud sound like the horses startled something, we looked up to see some huge thing running extremely fast across the meadow away from the horses in a cloud of dust. We ran over there and one horse was so scared it had jumped over another horse while they were tied up. So we tyed the horses up in the orginal spot and never heard another thing on the trip. We stayed a week and we felt very stange like something was watching us. There were no animals in the area no birds, squirrels etc etc. We were in the middle of nowhere and we would hike around our camp and there would be stacked rocks little bunches all around the area and the next day they would gone. This went on through out the week and one day we smelt this odor that was so bad around our tent when we came back from a ride but we never saw anything else. This went on for two years that we returned to the exact camping spot. Then one year we were camping and we didn't feel that same strange feeling we had that someone was watching us, there were birds squirrels insects all kinds of signs of life. That last day a bear came into our campsite and the horses didn't seem to care. So we were convinced that it could"nt have been a bear the first couple of encounters. Not with the sound it made and the way it ran.
OTHER WITNESSES: We were cooking at our campfire. Seven of us.
OTHER STORIES: We really never talked about outside of our camp. But I did relay the story to a guide that worked at the pack station who claims to have seen one in the area.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: It was in the middle of the night. Very cold and clear out.
ENVIRONMENT: Pine forest by a river.
Follow-up investigation report:
I talked with witness by phone and these details can be added to the report:
--that evening when the witness heard something running up the hill, it was between 2-3 a.m., and the sound was that of something very heavy and on two feet;
--the scream was like nothing anyone in the group had heard before, but witness had the impression that whatever it was had been scared, like it had ran into the tied up horses and was surprised;
--although the creature was running away and there was a lot of dust, the witness described it as being about 6 ft. tall and brown;
--witness noted that there were no people around at all during the time of these events, but now there are lots of people in the area;
--because of what they saw, the witness and her group began looking around the area and found, one hill away, a small rock shelter that had food refuse scattered around in it. The shelter also smelled really bad and it looked like something had been sleeping in it.