Geographical Index > United States > Illinois > Saline County > Report # 25362|
Submitted by witness on Tuesday, January 27, 2009.
Night time sighting by two witnesses at trailhead in Shawnee National Forest
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COUNTY: Saline County
LOCATION DETAILS: [Editor note: Directions were removed, but the location is in the Shawnee National Forest.]
NEAREST TOWN: Herod
NEAREST ROAD: Hwy 34
OBSERVED: I attended two BFRO Expeditions last year, the Oklahoma trip in September and the Missouri Ozarks trip in November. After those trips I wanted to try to locate some sasquatches in my area. There is a national forest close by where I live, and we've been hiking & camping there my whole life. But we never thought about sasquatches possibly being in there. Since those expeditions we of course began to think about that. Me & my Dad have been scouting out this one area for a while now, with Harold Benny (BFRO Investigator) and on our own a few times. It is heavily wooded and has lots of ridges & valleys, and plenty of water sources too. Tons of deer. Just seemed like an ideal spot.
This was only our second time there at night. We went up the trail into some pines and built a fire and cooked some bacon and just talked. We stayed there for about 2 hours, and did two knocks. We weren't hearing anything, and the wind started to pick up....we were on a big hill. So we decided to pack up and head back down the trail, maybe try another spot or just go on home. We both had to work the next day.
By now it was dark, with a cloudy sky and some stars, so we had our headlamps on. Mine was green and his was red. About halfway down we stopped in the pines and he did three whoops just to see what would happen. As soon as we came off the hill it became still, so we could hear much better. We didn't hear anything after the whoops except coyotes. I thought I heard a long whoop kind of start off the coyote chorus but I wasn't sure. So we kept heading down the trail.
I was leading the way, and we were about 80 ft from the trailhead/parking lot. My truck's headlights were reflecting in my light. I was not expecting to see or hear anything, and just focused on watching where I was walking. Then Dad whispered, "Rachel, come back here....there he is". He had stopped and was looking into the trees to our left. I turned around and went back to him. I actually thought he was talking about a coyote because we'd seen a bunch in that same spot going in. I looked to where he was looking and saw EYES. Big round eyes. They were shining white-ish green. Then Dad whispers, "Turn your light off", and before I did we saw the head turn, he looked ahead then looked back at us. We both had our lights on him, and we could actually see the outline of his head when he turned. It was rounded like a persons, and I could see how the eyes were positioned on the front of the face. That's when it registered for me that it was in fact a sasquatch. This is all happening in a few seconds.
As we flipped our lights off, he started to walk. I believe I took a step back and said "Whoa" because he was close. He was about 30-40 feet from us. He took some big heavy deliberate steps, about 6 or 7, moving down the hill. Then he stopped. Dad said, "Should I whoop at him...?" I said NO!! I really didn't want to spook/annoy/provoke him! He didn't seem very afraid of us though, or especially bothered by our shining lights in his face. So we just stood there for a couple of minutes and I talked to him softly, and whistled. As soon as I started talking he moved, then was still again.
My heart was just pounding. I could not believe it. It felt like he was waiting to see what we were going to do. So we left quietly.
What surprised me was how close we were to the trail head parking lot, and also that he was right there and not making a sound! If my Dad hadn't looked around at that moment we never
would have known he was there. They are so stealthy & smart. I do think he might have been on his way up to check us out. The wind was blowing his way, so I'm sure he smelled the bacon.
I shined my light over the truck when we got home, and it had marks on it, that we are positive were not there earlier in the day. I took pictures. They look like finger swipes in the dust. I can't say for certain what made them, but they are weird.
We are both very excited! This was our first definite bigfoot experience in our own state.
ALSO NOTICED: Afterward, when we were talking about what we saw, my Dad said he was seeing big red eyes. I saw big white-ish green eyes, but we were shining different colored headlamps on it, and standing next to each other. The eyes looked different to each of us.
OTHER WITNESSES: Two, me and my Dad. We were walking back to the trailhead.
OTHER STORIES: I think I've read a couple of BFRO reports from this county and surrounding ones.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 8:45-9:00 PM
Cloudy sky with some stars, it was pretty dark. About 35 degrees.
ENVIRONMENT: Some Pines, with other trees mixed in. We were coming down a ridge. There are deep valleys on either side, and rock formations. There are also caves in the area.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Harold Benny:
[Comments written by Harold Benny, B.G. Martin, and Matt Moneymaker]
I met M. L. (father) and R. L. (daughter) on the BFRO's 2008 Missouri expedition; they were also there with B.L. (mother). Their family was warm and inviting to everyone on the expedition and they became fast friends with everyone. They attended the Oklahoma 2008 expedition as well.
M.L. (the father) is 47 years old. He hasn’t hunted for the past 15 years because he’s been involved with running the family business, but he is a hunter who has hunted everything you can hunt in southern Illinois. R.L. is 21 years old and works at the family business.
M.L and R.L. wanted to use what they learned from the BFRO expedition and try out some locations in their areas that seemed to be good habitat. The first night they used some luring techniques they learned on the expeditions and nothing happened. The second night they did the same but they also cooked bacon at their camp. That was the night they noticed one quietly observing them as they left.
M.L. was walking along and he noticed eye shine to his left. He told his daughter to step back to him which was only 2 steps back. They both saw eye shine from something that was positioned on the down side of an incline below them. They both watched it as it watch them, which was about 10 seconds in duration. During that time it blinked its eyes once, turned its head quickly to the right which was to look to the northwest. R.L. said she could see the profile of its eye when its head was turned while it reflected her light.
Both them decided to turn off their head lamps off at the moment the unknown visitor moved and took 4 to 6 “slow and deliberate steps” further down the hill away from them.
Just before it moved both of them said for a split second they could see the silhouette of the top half of its head against the horizon. Both agreed that its head was round like a human. They couldn’t see if it had hair clearly, but it appeared more textured than smooth.
It stopped, and they couldn’t see any eye shine. Both their lights were off and R.L. mentioned that it could have been behind some tree. At that point, R.L. started to speak to it in a calm and comforting manner. When she began to first speak she heard it move. She didn’t know if it took a step or shuffled its foot but either way it didn’t move much.
While R.L. was speaking softly M.L. had the urge to look around specifically to the northwest. He didn’t use his light but remembered from the BFRO expeditions that investigators had told them that in most cases if there was one BF in the brush watching a clearing, there was often another nearby, observing the same clearing from a different angle.
She spoke to if for a few minutes and after 5 minutes they decided to leave. The reason R.L. said they left was, it seemed like they had reached a “standoff” and they didn’t want to provoke it in to doing something that made it uncomfortable. They didn’t leave because they were afraid and they didn’t hear it move anymore during the short walk to their vehicle.
I asked M.L. what about the encounter made it apparent that the figure was not a human. He said the eyes were further apart than a human, and the eyes were much larger. I asked him to use something as a comparison to gage the eye size; he said the eyes were comparable to the size of a golf ball. He also added that when it walked its strides were much longer than a person’s. The way he was able to tell this was by the sound of its foot falls, ‘the time in between strides was long’. He said he could clearly hear that it was bipedal and hear it “thud” when it stepped.
When they went back the next day to gauge the distance, they determined it was from 30 – 45 feet away. They weren’t able to locate any tracks and there was no snow on the ground.
Because what they experienced was in part auditory, M.L. walked where they saw and heard it. R. L. said compared to the night before M.L. sounded a lot lighter and smaller, he’s 250 lbs. They both agreed that it was between 6 and 7 feet tall, and that the movements they saw weren’t rapid or edgy, but it seemed comfortable around them. They didn’t notice any unusual odors or smells during the encounter.
R.L. remarked that she first heard a strange howl that triggered the coyotes in the area to start sounding off. She said the strange howl was in the direction of the coyotes so she couldn’t be sure if there was something other than a coyote. She mentioned this to her father but he said it was probably a coyote but she said his hearing isn’t very good, he worked in a noisy factory for 15 years.
BFRO members have noticed a pattern regarding coyotes. After the 2000 Skookum Meadows Expedition it was suggested that sasquatches may have a symbiotic hunting relationship with coyotes, similar to the symbiotic hunting relationship human hunters have had with dogs for thousands of years.
Due to the particular characteristics of sasquatch predation on deer, which was first noticed by the BFRO in the mid-1990's (i.e. removing the liver and a few other soft organs, then discarding the rest of the carcass), a symbiotic relationship with coyotes would work because sasquatches discard most of the meat on the deer they kill. Sasquatches can also fight off any aggressive male bucks that would defend a young deer. Coyotes, on the other hand, might be helpful at sniffing out deer beds and generally keeping tabs on them as they migrate through the landscape.
As they were driving home M.L. had the idea to check the vehicle to see if anything had left any marks on the vehicle. He had heard that on some expeditions peoples’ vehicles have had marks left on them that otherwise weren’t there before. They were surprised when they arrived home that they found three areas where something had touched the SUV and disturbed the grime on the vehicle. R.L. said that at 3:00 pm that day she was sure there weren’t any marks on the SUV because she was checking the vehicle for nicks or bumps after being in their business parking lot. Weeks earlier someone had dinged their vehicle when it was in Walmart’s parking lot. While checking the vehicle she made a mental note that the SUV needed a wash.
Below is the original photo, it’s the best of three photos showing marks on the SUV. The 2nd image is the same image but modified by turning the contrast up to highlight the marks.
The mystery prints are above the Explorer emblem. M.L. intentionally left some marks to the left of Ford badge as a size comparison.
About BFRO Investigator Harold Benny:
Harold Benny holds two degrees in Zoology and was a Biology teacher for several years. He participated in the following BFRO expeditions: Michigan UP 07, Arkansas I 07, Arkansas II (Oklahoma) 07, N. Florida 08, Missouri 08, Tennessee 09, and Ohio 09. Harold has organized several private Illinois expeditions and in 2006 recieved the IDNR Volunteer Of The Year Award as part of the Montgomery Co. Hunter Education group.