Geographical Index > United States > Pennsylvania > Westmoreland County > Report # 23956
Submitted by witness on Thursday, June 5, 2008.
Man recounts boyhood sighting at Fairfield Summer Camp near Ligonier
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COUNTY: Westmoreland County
LOCATION DETAILS: camp fairfield
NEAREST TOWN: Ligonier Pa
NEAREST ROAD: Don't know
OBSERVED: I was a camper at camp fairfield in the summer of 1967. I was eight yrs old my first time at camp. It was sponsored by wilinsburg baptist church. I lived in wilkinsburg until i graduated high school in 1977. It was a two week camp arrived on saturday and left on sunday fifteen days later. We were assigned cabins by age. My brother being older was assigned a different cabin. There was about 10 boys to an open cabin and a counselor who slept inside with us. I had never really overcome a little bed wetting and had an accident a few days into camp. This opened me to huge ridicule and laughter. I need to go to the bathroom late at night to prevent a repeat occurance. Only one problem, the common outhouse was about 70 to 100 yrds down an unlighted path. There was no way i was going to use a flashlight alone at eight and go to the bathroom. We were not allowed to pee off the porch into the bushes for obvious reasons. So i devised a plan. I would wait until the other boys and the counselor would fall asleep ,then sneak out a few feet from the cabin to quickly pee. This worked beautifully for about 5 or 6 nights. The head counselor always made head count about 11 oclock. Because lights out was 10 oclock. He would come down the path and count us all by flashlight and go to each cabin counting. I would wait for this count then after about a half hour sneak out and back in. This particular night it was raining lightly. I remember seeing the counselor with a yellow rain coat as he counted. He went on the path as usual. I remember at lunch everyone saying a bear had been overturning the garbage at night. This revelation redoubled my resolve not to venture to the outhouse after dark. This night i heard footsteps returning to the cabin thru the forest not the path from another direction. I thought it strange the head counselor would return. He had never returned before. And why would he cut across the woods instead of the path. I heard walking behind the cabin first to the right and then back to my left past my head. I heard footfalls come around to the front of the open cabin door. It was just a doorway with no door. As i looked to see who this was a big gorilla looking thing appeared at the doorway. He did not step on the porch, but was so big he filled the doorway. He was giant. There were at least 4 steps and his head was at the top of a 8 ft doorway. Not on the porch. He looked directly into the doorway. I could see he had black brown fur and a cone shaped head. His eyes reflected like a cat's eyes with like almost red and yellow mixed. It was if he could see me looking straight at him. I figured if i could see his eyes he probably could see mine. I squinted and tried to fein sleep being to frightened to move and didnot dare utter a sound or move a muscle. He stood there a good two to 5 minutes. And then he turned and headed up to the mess hall. Then i heard in the distance garbage cans being turned over. I got up the next morning asking did a gorilla excape from the zoo because i saw him last night. And it was a gorilla turning over the cans not a bear. I had never heard of bigfoot and wouldn't hear of him until some 7,8 or 9 yrs later. I being born in the ghetto had never heard of anything like that. Everybody cracked up and i being young sluffed it off. I knew what i saw and they were the dummies,not knowing that africa wasn't the only place that had gorillas.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: about midnight shortly after
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Cathy Betz:
I spoke to SM over the phone and he was forthright and sincere on the account he gave me about his childhood encounter. He also states that although the encounter happened 41 years ago, he remembers it like it was yesterday.
In the year of 1967, eight-year-old SM was attending a summer camp that he described as being surrounded by woods and lakes. This camp is now called Antiochian Village.
Being intimidated by the wilderness, at night SM would secretly empty his bladder in a near-by bush rather than making the 80-yard trip from the cabin to the outhouse. One rainy night at about 10pm, after having been in the camp for almost two weeks, SM got up from his bunk to sneak to the bush, but he was stopped by the sound of footsteps coming around the cabin. Thinking it was a counselor, SM hurried back to his bunk. Lying in his bunk and feigning sleep, SM saw a huge figure walk up to the doorway to peer into the cabin.
SM described the cabin as being only about 12ft long with open windows and an open doorway. There were no screens or doors on the cabin. SM stated that his bunk was near the back wall and that he was only about 10-12ft from the open doorway.
What SM saw in the doorway was a hulking figure, over 8-9 feet tall and covered with 3-4 inch, wet, matted, dark brown hair. He stated that it had a cone-shaped head and that its shoulder muscles went directly from its head and down to its shoulders. He stated that the face looked like a gorilla, but that it wasn’t a gorilla, that it was ‘different’. He had the distinct impression that it was male because it had no breasts and that its shoulders were wider than its waist. He also stated that he thought that it was an adult because of its over-all mass, which he said was ‘Huge’. Its arms hung down by its sides, reaching to its thighs and it had a slight ‘potbelly’. It had definite human-looking hands with five fingers on each hand but he does not recall what its fingernails looked like.
During this encounter SM was sure that the creature was observing him. He could see its eyes, which glowed reddish to yellow, and they seemed to be staring straight towards him. Although SM had no knowledge of what a bigfoot was, and the only creature he could liken it to was a gorilla, SM maintains that he felt no threat from the creature. He states that there was no feeling of terror, or danger, and that it appeared calm and curious while it was looking at him.
The encounter lasted between three to five minutes before it left the doorway. During this time SM denied smelling any unusual odors and that the only sound it made was breathing noises. After it left, SM recalls that he could hear it walk back around the cabin, towards the kitchen cabin. A few minutes later, SM could hear the sounds of garbage cans being turned over.
According to SM, what he saw was not a person, not a person in a gorilla suit, and not a bear. He stated that ‘It was a 100% living animal’.
After SM came home and related the story to his father, his father told him a story that SM’s grandfather had told. In the 1910’s, near Tifton, GA, his young grandfather and some friends were in the woods, ‘up to no good’, as SM related. They were poking and teasing some kind of small animal, when all of a sudden, something screamed at them. Before they had time to react, something ‘big and hairy’ came rushing out of the woods and chased them back to the house. Once back in the house and the doors bolted, the creature banged on the walls of the house, screamed and could be heard in the yard all of the rest of the day and into the night. By the next morning, after making sure the creature was gone, they found that all of their farm animals had been killed.
About BFRO Investigator Cathy Betz:
Cathy has been a nurse for over 27 years and currently works in a busy ICU. An amateur naturalist, Cathy has been intrigued by the bigfoot phenomenon from an early age.
Attended the following expeditions:
- The 2006 Florida Expedition
- The 2007 North Carolina Expedition
- The 2008 South Florida Expedition
- The 2008 North Florida Expedition
- The 2009 Central Florida Expedition
- The 2009 Utah Expedition
- The 2010 TN Survey Expedition
- The 2011 East Texas Expedition
-The 2012 North FL Expedition
-The 2013 Michigan Upper Peninsula Expedition
For more information, please see the Florida BFRO