DHS Squirrel
Geographical Index > United States > Iowa > Johnson County > Report # 27978
Report # 27978  (Class B)
Submitted by witness on Sunday, July 11, 2010.
Memory of a possible encounter as young girls riding horses at night near the Coralville Reservoir
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YEAR: 1973

SEASON: Summer


COUNTY: Johnson County

LOCATION DETAILS: The farm was located at the bend in the road (N. Front St) leading away from North Libery.

NEAREST TOWN: North Liberty

NEAREST ROAD: Obtained from MapQuest, N. Front St

OBSERVED: My girlfriends and I were horseback riding, on a moonlight ride when a strange sound stopped our chatter and the horses’ forward movement. All the horses stopped, raised their heads and trained their ears on the sound coming in front of them. From up on a hill in front of us came a guttural growling sound with vowel sounds mixed in with the growl, as if coming from one source, not two separate animals. While this sound was occurring we heard the distinct sound of snapping of wood. Someone stated “get out of here” and we all galloped back to the farm where we were staying for a sleep over.

ALSO NOTICED: This land was an area we all rode year round. Subsequently, we did silly kid activities, such as previously building a very small corral at the top of the hill from which the sound emanated from. In the morning we rode up to the area and discovered the corral, made of 2 x 4s, snapped in half with some of the boards pulled from the trees to which they were nailed.

OTHER WITNESSES: At least three other girls ages 11-15, riding horseback, laughing and joking.


TIME AND CONDITIONS: Approximately 11:00pm Moonlight night, clear and warm.

ENVIRONMENT: Warm summer night, calm wind, no clouds in the sky, moonlight. The sound came from a wooded area at the top of a hill.

Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Steve Moon:

Four young girls in their early teens riding horses near a reservoir encountered a large, powerful and aggressive animal as they neared a tree line at the top of a hill. Their horses stopped and refused to go any further. At that point they heard vocalization which one witness described as a low gravelly growl with vowel sounds mixed in. The witness stated that it was hard for her to describe the vocalization, but that it was as though an adult who couldn't speak or had brain damage was trying to communicate. She listened to a recording of samurai chatter on this website and stated that it was somewhat similar to that, but with growling mixed in. She has heard bear and it wasn't a bear as far as she is concerned. She has been a rancher in Arizona and seems to have a good grasp on nature and the outdoors.

The girls had built a small play corral on top of the hill inside a tree line a month or two prior to this occurrence. The corral was three sided and open on one end. It was constructed using four small perfectly space trees. When their horses froze there was an element of surprise. The growl and vocalization were accompanied by the sound of sticks snapping quickly and violently. The animal sounded angry. It was as though the creature was not happy that the corral had been built where it was, or that the girls were there. The girls turned and rode away in fright back to the farm.

The next morning around nine or ten a.m. they rode back up to investigate and found that their corral had been torn apart. The three two by four inch boards that it was built with were snapped and splintered. The boards were torn away from the tree where the girls had nailed them. The surface around the trees was covered with a layer of leaves and debris and there were no footprints that the witness recalls.

I spoke with the witness on numerous occasions, both on the phone and during an expedition in northeast Iowa, to which she traveled from her home in Virginia to attend. I find the witness to be extremely competent and reliable.

I spoke with a second witness who was able to clearly remember details regarding further incidents that occurred after the girls road back down the hill to the farm buildings. The first witness recalled the following incident after being reminded of it. Different but related incidents from that night seemed to stand out in each of their minds after more than thirty-five years.

The girls were riding bare back which they always did so it was an easy matter to take off the bridles and put the horses up. They did this quickly and hustled into the bunk house where they were staying, which was part tack shed. At some point there was a scream heard from outside the bunkhouse which was accompanied by two or three loud bangs on the NE corner of the bunk house. The scream was described as part scream and part moan. The corner that was slapped was nearest the hilltop where the girls had gotten growled at. Whatever growled at them seems to have followed them down the hill and then attempted to further intimidate them by screaming and banging on the outside of the bunk house.

This incident occurred near the Coralville Reservoir, about a mile north of the dam. The following description of the history of this reservoir and its valley is from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who manage the reservoir.

The Iowa River is one of several southeastern flowing streams that drain the eastern one-half of Iowa to join the Mississippi River along the state's eastern boundary. Record floods that swept the nation in the early 1930's prompted Congress to establish the Flood Control Act of 1938. In an attempt to reduce flooding on the Mississippi River, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was authorized to construct several dams on tributary rivers, including the Iowa River. In addition to moderating stream flows on the Iowa River, Coralville Lake 's less evident, but equally important, role is in the comprehensive flood control system for the Mississippi River...At a location several miles upstream from Iowa City, construction of the dam began in 1949, was delayed by the Korean Conflict and was finally completed in 1958.

About BFRO Investigator Steve Moon:

A native of southeast Iowa, Steve has long been a cave explorer and outdoor adventurer. He became involved in bigfoot research in 2008. Steve organized BFRO IOWA Public Expeditions in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016, and is currently organizing a 2017 IOWA expedition. Steve is an artist, photographer, farmer, anthropologist and professional researcher. His primary research areas are the river basins of the Mississippi River and its tributaries, and all of eastern Iowa.

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