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COUNTY: Lee County
LOCATION DETAILS: Near a creek that runs through the county called Phelps Creek.
NEAREST TOWN: Opelika/Auburn area
NEAREST ROAD: 431
OBSERVED: On approx. January 5, 2000, three friends and I decided to camp on one of my friend's land. We had two fourwheelers and a dog with us. It was a rainy day and the ground of surrounding area was significantly wet. We decided to camp anyway. It stopped raining about dusk when my friend and I started to pitch the tent, while the other two went back to there house for some more supplies. Mind you we were only camping about a mile from the road and one and a half miles from the landowner's home. About ten minutes after their departure me and my friend started hearing strange grunts, foul smell, and heavy footsteps. It went on for about ten minutes, with sounds getting closer and at random, as though the "animal" was trying to scare us or get us to make a move. It stopped when my friends arrived back and we dismissed as deer, spooked by our presence. We told of the incident to our friends and the landowner's son explained that his dad had been experiencing "strange" occurences lately. We went on with our camping and rode four-wheelers for about two hours. When we arrived back at camp, we decided to stay for the rest of the night. About ten minutes after arriving back, the same strange grunts and heavy steps began again. This time they were more aggitated and frequent. The sounds came within at least twenty yards of our camp. The area is heavily wooded so I could not see the animal at this time. The animal was across the creek at the beginning of the sounds and eventually jumped down into the creek, about a seven foot drop, and stayed there making grunts and heavy steps there for about five to ten minutes. Being very frightened and defensive, I picked up about a ten pound rock and threw it in the vicinity of the animal below in the creek. I could not see the animal due to the foliage. It must have hit the animal because it gave a loud shriek and ran up the creek away from us, then jumping back up on the bank, a seven foot jump, and running back behind our campsite. It then proceeded to make very loud grunts and ran around the back of the campsite about twenty yards away in the woods out or our fire's sight. It then stopped and we could hear it breathing heavily. Talking amongst ourselves and shouting at the animal, it then made the most blood-curdling scream I have ever heard. I would describe it as high-pitched and seemed to echo everywhere around us. I have heard bobcats and screech owls and can tell you this was not one. We then proceeded to leave hasitly on our ATVs and went and got the father of my friend. He came back with us and stayed awhile with no occurences. He left and we somehow got ourselves to stay for the night. Nothing happened the rest of the night and we went to sleep. I awoke at 3am to the same grunts and heavy footsteps. This time they were very close. They lasted by my watch til 345am. Not awaking my friends in fear of the animal becoming aggressive, I laid there and listened to this animal. Afterwards, I laid there until sunrise and told my friends of the sounds and occurences of the night. They asked me due to my, as they described, pale face and rattled demeanor. We then went and looked for any evidence of the animal. We found locks of hair in the trees, approx. seven foot high, and numerous large footprints, similar to a humans, but with no arch and a very large great toe. We then proceeded to follow the footprints to where, amonst downed trees and foliage, we found where a large animal had been laying. We found hair there also. We continued to trail the animal's leavings when came across the same sounds of footsteps. They were too scared to go over the hill and see the animal making the noise so they told me to. Reluctantly I did, and saw a large upright creature, approx. seven to eight feet tall, walking with its back to me. It was covered in hair, black to dark brown, and had an awful smell. It turned and alarmed by my presence ran away from me. I then turned and ran away from it towards my friends who I shouted to to run. They got up and ran and we ran back to our campsite and stayed there where I told them what I saw. For a few months after that we heard the same grunts and shrieks down the creek where we camped that night. We frequently rode ATVs down there and an occurence was frequent. Occurences also happened at other places, two to three miles away from the area of occurence. A sighting was also reported at a park about a mile up the road from my house, three miles from the creek. We also found footprints in nearby rock quarry. My brother and I also saw a "brown" animal, who we thought to be a man at first, but, trailed him to find that could not have been a man, on hunting land a mile from our house. No occurences have happened in the past three years. But, I also don't ride or camp as much, either.
ALSO NOTICED: Pungent smell, loud shreiks and grunts, numerous large footprints, and hair. Occurences were frequent for about two months after the incident.
OTHER WITNESSES: Four witnesses. Preparing to camp.
OTHER STORIES: Yes, in Russell County, south of Lee, I have heard of numerous accounts of "hairy" creatures that spooked or chased campers. Also had heard of incident at a Creek south of Columbus, GA, 30 miles southeast of Opelika. Two hunters were chased and their hunting dog was killed according to the Ledger-Enquirer of Columbus, Georgia.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: It was a off and on rainy day and night. First occurences started at dusk, ran through the night, and last incident was about noon of the next day.
ENVIRONMENT: Creek bed. Pine and hardwood forest. Great amount of hunting and foresting land nearby.
Follow-up investigation report:
I was able to speak directly with three of the witnesses involved in the incident reported.
The witnesses described how they were camping on land belonging to one of the families. They had never experienced anything remotely close to what they experienced that night. While two of the witnesses left the area, two of the four stayed behind and began working on erecting a tent. It was then that they first began hearing strange sounds and began smelling a rancid odor (which persisted through much of the night). Keep in mind that these young men all grew up in the vicinity and were well used to all the sounds of the forest. These sounds were uniquely peculiar in that they sounded almost human-like. The witnesses “heard something like a person” 20 – 30 yards away just after the sun had gone down. What they were hearing was similar to the sounds of "someone walking around." It was now “pitch dark.” A campfire was burning and flashlights and ATV lights were in use.
The sounds began to evoke images of someone “stomping around or jumping.” The two young men now found themselves getting “spooked.” Whatever it was, it remained just out of sight and across the creek. Then, the two began hearing “deep growls.” The young men's dog, a cocker spaniel, was decidedly uncomfortable with the disquieting visitor. The witnesses remarked that the dog was extremely nervous, whiney and afraid through out the evening.
When the other two witnesses arrived back on the scene, the sounds seemingly stopped. A while later, the sounds (“stomping, jumping, and growling”) resumed, this time all four of the young men heard them. The sounds continued for approximately 15 minutes, then the unseen entity sounded as though it jumped into the creek and began approaching the young men. At that time, the witnesses, already scared, now became defensive and began shouting (still thinking – indeed hoping it to be human) at the intruder, ordering it to not come any closer. The primary witness indicated that at that time he picked up a large rock and threw it toward the unknown and unseen harasser. The stone must have hit its target or came very close, because the unidentified tormentor shrieked and hysterically ran around the campsite, the whole time the young men hearing its loud panting and breathing. Once it stopped, the witnesses decided to end the stand off and defiantly began to approach the creature. The animal then produced a scream that “sounded like a woman but much more high-pitched.” The primary witness stated that the scream was so loud that it actually made his “ears hurt.” The witnesses immediately left to retrieve one of their fathers.
When the witnesses returned, all activity had ceased. The father witnessed nothing of the sort that the young men had witnessed and casually dismissed the incident. The young men were still not sure of what they had encountered. The father managed to calm the young men down, and they reluctantly decided to stay the rest of the night at the campsite. I asked the witnesses why they would choose to return and stay there after having endured such a harrowing experience. The said they all lived there and knew the woods well, and that the animal could have been anything, and they believed that the game of torment was over.
Into the night, the primary witness awoke to more noises, but he chose to try to ignore the sounds. He remained awake until the sun came up.
When the other young men awoke the next morning, they combed the area for indications of what had tormented them during the night. The witnesses found large humanlike footprints “15 – 16 inches in length with five toes,” and an area where something large had created a nest with a crude, rudimentary roof of tree branches. Also in the area around the nest, they found dark hairs. Apparently they began to hear noises again, and the primary witness “crept” up a small hill and peered over it, only to see a “large, hairy animal” with its back facing him. The animal was at a distance of 30 – 40 yards. It turned once and looked at the witness and then ran off. The witness described the creature as being “dark brown,” and “around seven feet tall,” with a face that “looked like a gorilla.” At that time, the witness thought to himself, “So this is what a bigfoot looks like.”
The father came to the campsite and inspected the area. He listened to the testimony of the primary witness and looked at the tracks. He then told the young men that he believed they had been harassed by a bigfoot.