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COUNTY: Jefferson County
LOCATION DETAILS: Right off of the Bloomingdale exit of Route 22
[Investigator MM Note:
Link to location pin on Google Maps:
NEAREST TOWN: Bloomingdale
NEAREST ROAD: Route 22
OBSERVED: On July 9th at approximately 10:00 A.M. I noticed my five chickens were missing. The chicken coop was full of feathers but no bodies or blood. I did a perimeter check and came across an extremely large footprint. I went back to the house and brought down a tape measure to the footprint and measured it and took pictures with the tape measure beside it. The foot print measured Length: 18" Width: 9"-10".
On the 23rd of July, Jim Thompson BFRO Investigator of Ohio had contacted me and came out to investigate. During Jim's first visit he found four more footprints near the original footprint. Jim stated that the other footprints were about four feet spread apart from each other.
On July 24th at approximately 12:38 A.M. I heard a sort of yelping noise coming from one end of my property and heard a quick response (same type of noise) come from the other end of my property. At night time every now and then on my property I get an eerie feeling that something is watching me.
ALSO NOTICED: There have been strange noises, growls, howls, etc. These noises have happened after the prints were found.
OTHER WITNESSES: No other witnesses.
OTHER STORIES: Years before there have been other incidents in the area.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: The print was found at approximately 10:00 A.M. sunny daylight conditions.
ENVIRONMENT: Heavily wooded area with a small creek.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator James Thompson:
I found out about the event through a mutual friend. Not knowing the witnesses address, I contacted his brother, who called him and gave me directions. I met the witness walking along the road. He had come out to meet me because his driveway and house is hard to find. He gave me a rundown of the events as we made our way back to his place.
He had been sitting on his front porch the morning of the 9th of July drinking coffee. After getting his second cup he noticed his chickens were quiet that morning. He hadn't even heard the rooster crow. As he walked up to the coop he noticed that the ground inside the pen was covered with feathers. The gate was closed but not latched. Inside the coop also had feathers everywhere, but no chickens, no blood.
Thinking a raccoon or coyote could have taken them, he started looking around his property for evidence of what direction they might have been taken. As he is checking the area below the coop, along side the creek in the mud he finds a very large print. Not thinking anyone would believe him, he takes pictures of it using a tape measure for scale. It is over 18 inches.
I got there in the evening about an hour before dark. He first took me down to where he found the track. Eastern Ohio had been experiencing an extended period without any measurable rain. I was surprised to find the track still there in the dry creek. I stepped back to get an idea of of which way it had traveled. It seemed to be using the creek to move through the property. There was a bend in the creek and I could see where the grass was disturbed where the creature had stepped before it hit the muddy area.
It was starting to get dark so we went up to the coop. The pen was between two out buildings. It had a solid wall back and the front was comprised of 6 ft. high fence and a narrow gate.
By this time the feathers were all cleaned up, the dirt floor was hard with no impressions. Using a flash light I inspected the inside of the hutch. He had 4 chickens and a rooster that were missing. Looking around the hutch I noticed some long hairs on a screw that was just inside the door about 4 ft off the floor.
With the daylight fading I decided to come back the next day to continue the investigation. I returned around noon the next day with fellow BFRO investigator Jason Kolvalski. After familiarizing Jason with the terrain we proceeded to the creek area where the track and trackline was discovered. We documented and took pictures of the footprint and took measurements of the trackline in the grass. The tracks were between 51 and 55 inches apart. I proceeded to cast the track in the dry mud while Jason scouted around the surrounding area for any other evidence of travel or prints.
Not finding any other signs, we proceeded to the chicken pen while the cast dried. The witness had picked up all the feathers in preperations for getting some more chickens. The only access into the coop was through the gate. It was never latched, just pushed shut. There was chicken wire over the top to keep out hawks, but it had been separated at the seams. We looked, but found no evidence of hair, fur or feathers in the wire. Looking around inside the coop Jason pointed out some strands of hair that was on a wire basket hanging from the ceiling.
Putting on latex gloves and using a sterilized pair of tweezers we placed the hair from the basket and the screw by the door into individual bags, 6 in total. No other signs or evidence was found in the coop area.
Talking with the witness before leaving, we asked if ther was anything that they noticed prior to and after the chickens were taken. He stated that his daughter had visited the day before the incident and noticed and asked about a nasty smell in the air. He told her something was probably dead up in the woods and would check but he never found anything. He also stated that he has been hearing thumps and howling like sounds off to the south of his property.
I returned a few days later and placed a long duration recording device on the property and will continue to monitor it. The witness also talked to his neighbor that lives on the top of the hill across from him.
The neighbor has also lost some chickens and has heard strange sounds late at night to include heavy breathing. It has unsettled him to the point he once called his son to come over to check the area and now carries his shotgun with him when he is on the porch late at night.
About BFRO Investigator James Thompson:
Jim served as a Marine Corps helicopter engine mechanic / air crewman for 24 years. He recently retired as a County Veterans Service Officer. He is a lifetime hunter and outdoorsman. Jim has attended expeditions in Ohio during 2019 and 2021.