I spoke to the witness yesterday and she had one of the best encounters I have heard in a while.
What is fascinating about her encounter is she was close enough to see the expression on the creatures face turn from shock, curiosity and then to anger. Look for this next week.
“My encounter took place in approx. 1984, when I was about 7 years old. It is such a relief to finally feel like there is an appropriate place to share my experience without the fear of being laughed at, called a liar, or labeled as crazy. I’ve tried so many times in the past 30 years to convince myself it was a bear (even though we didn’t have bear in the area) while knowing full well that it looked nothing like a bear, aside from its size and bulk. This creature’s face is seared into my memory, as well as everything I saw, felt, thought, and did from the minutes right before I first saw it, through just after what felt like running for my life and having made it into the house, where immediately began the discounting and accusations of making up stories to scare my friend or having an overactive imagination and misinterpreting what I saw. I knew exactly what I saw.
I didn’t have any knowledge at all yet of Bigfoot, but I knew what I saw was a monster. It was a Real Monster, and I knew exactly what it looked like. My encounter ended with us face to face and only about 10 feet apart, in daylight. I could never forget that face, even when I wanted to. The body, as well, was equally impressive. There is no other animal it could be mistaken for when in plain sight, close up. Its unique appearance is immediately obvious. I remember, a few years later, when I saw/heard about Bigfoot for the first time, and how its description fit exactly what I had seen. I don’t remember the name of the TV show, as back in the 80’s TV was not what it is today, with a dozen different shows on every topic. I just remember the sketch that was shown and the description, and that my recognition was instantaneous and without a shadow of a doubt that it was the “monster” I had encountered that day in the woods. The long shaggy hair, massive build, broad shoulders, slightly conical head set forward on the massive chest and shoulders, without a visible neck – everything about it was thick and broad. Still, I felt very confused because it was described that a creature like Sasquatch could only remain hidden if in large areas of remote forest and mountains. Southeastern Wisconsin was at that time a mixture of farmland and woods, but the major pine forests and most remote and expansive woodland areas were in central and northern Wisconsin. Still, I knew it was exactly what I saw, and I didn’t know how to reconcile this information in my mind. I also generally tried to push it out of my mind, because thinking about it makes me flash back to not just the images, but the absolute terror. To this day, I still feel kind of shaky inside and nauseous when I allow the event to replay in my mind.
The woods where my encounter took place was a somewhat isolated but not very large patch of all pines, which was unique to the area in that most wooded areas were predominately deciduous, with a fair amount of more dispersed and varying types of pines. It was behind the backyard of my friend’s house, which was one of the houses at the outermost “border” of the small neighborhood, in the then rural village of Twin Lakes, WI (population about 2000). There was a mostly deciduous patch of woods behind her house, then kind of tucked behind that were the pine woods, and surrounding the rest of the pine woods were large cornfields. Beyond the cornfields were more deciduous woods, and you could see a little bit of the farm buildings way off in the distance.
I believe the year was 1984. I’d have to guess a bit on the date, and I’m not certain if I if I was in first or second grade, or the summer in between. I know it was still fairly warm, and still light outside. I think it was either late summer or early fall, which would mean either right before or right after the start of second grade. I was about 7 years old, and we loved to play in the pine woods, especially because, being so small, and due to a steep incline, we could walk and crawl around under many of the lowest branches and when we would get far enough in, all you could see was green around and above you, and a reddish pine needle floor. It was a small batch of all pines. What has always stood out in my mind is that I can’t recall any other area that had all pines like that. The entire patch was positioned on a fairly steep incline. The whole neighborhood and town had a lot of hills and irregular lots. Nearly half of the houses were “weekend cabins” and were well spaced apart. Everything has changed completely now, as many farm fields have been turned into squared, suburban style subdivisions, as the suburbs of Chicago keep expanding to the north and those of Milwaukee to the south.
My friend was playing in the beginning of the deciduous woods at the edge of her backyard. I wandered off by myself into the pines and I remember admiring the thick layer of pine needles on the forest floor that reminded me of a carpet, and I loved getting under the trees and looking up into them, basically just exploring like kids do. I came to the back edge and was looking in between the aisles of tall corn, contemplating if I felt like running through them or not. I decided not to, and I turned around and went back in the pine woods, heading back toward the center, and almost right away – I saw it. What I saw was the back of a very large animal, similar to the size of a bear, but not at all looking like a bear. There wasn’t supposed to be any bear left that far south anyways.
I was very startled as it was the last thing I expected to see. A whole bunch of thoughts came really fast, and that is what I remember the most – exactly what I saw, all the quick thoughts I had in trying to make sense of what I was seeing, and the fear, panic, and shock I felt. I remember trying to blink or look away and then back, sure I would no longer see it, because it couldn’t really be there, be real, because it didn’t fit the description of any known animal, neither one that belonged in the area or one that didn’t, and the only thing I could possibly identify it as was being some kind of giant, hairy, monster, but “monsters are not real”, so I am just staring in shock trying to realize that this is actually happening. I had no knowledge of Bigfoot or anything like that at the time. I would estimate it to be less than 10 feet away when I first came upon it while its back was towards me. At this point we were about at the same point on the incline, with him maybe even just a few feet higher. It was big enough, and I was close enough, that I knew, if it saw me, it could easily get to me before I’d even have any chance at running away.
What I first saw was just his back, as he was crouched down in a way that reminded me of a gorilla or other primate, even more so because I could see the movement of his arms and hands in front of him, and he had hands, not paws and claws. I knew my animals, had seen plenty of bears and primates at the zoo (I don’t think I actually knew the term “primate” yet, but I did understand and recognize their common characteristics as a group). The closest animal resemblance was gorilla or ape-like, but this thing was still very obviously different. I knew it wasn’t actually a gorilla nor any other primate I could recognize. It was different. It was much bigger, and it had a longer, larger torso, a big thick body with longer, shaggy reddish-brown hair that looked a bit dirty and matted in some places, and somewhat, what I can only describe as kind of enlarged human-like characteristics. As these thoughts were rushing through, as I tried to make sense of an identity or likeness, and accept that this thing really was there, I also remember wondering “what is it eating?” I could just see this huge, shaggy, hairy back, only a little of the back of the head, as he had it tipped down looking at the ground and/or at the base of the pine tree he was crouched at. The steep incline allowed him to access it on the side where the ground was lower, and I think he might have broken a few lower branches. I could see glimpses of his arms and hands as he was picking up little bits of something or picking at the base of the tree and/or around it, and putting whatever he was getting in his mouth, and whatever it was eating was not in big chunks. I almost think for sure it was getting sap off of the tree, and maybe where it perhaps had dripped around the base? I still don’t know.
I remember thinking, “pine needles aren’t edible! What is it doing? Is it the sap? What IS that thing? How can this be real? This isn’t supposed to be real! Monsters aren’t supposed to be real!” All of these thoughts were happening almost simultaneously, and I would estimate the time frame in seconds, not minutes. Then my thoughts turned quickly to fear and wanting to get away from it as fast as possible without being noticed. It was occupied with whatever it was trying to eat. The fear of being so close to it was apparently strong enough to break me out of my frozen still state of shock and I started trying to take slow, backward steps, staying turned towards it and eyes locked in on it. I remember trying to take the slowest, most careful and quiet steps, planning to turn and run when I thought I was far enough away to have a chance. It was not easy, though, because of the steep incline, and being a little kid without a lot of strength, it takes effort to climb the hill, and usually we would be grabbing branches or whatever was in reach to help pull ourselves up.
I don’t know if it heard my movement or just finally felt it was being stared at, or both, but my worst fear came true and it felt like a bad dream. He turned just a little to check over his left shoulder, as if he had either thought he might have heard something or felt that he was being watched, but it was casual, as if he wasn’t expecting to actually see anything. But he did. He saw me right away and looked as surprised and startled as I was. When he startled, he did so with an expression and mannerisms much like a human. His eyes got big for a second and his shoulders kind of jumped up and backwards a little, and then he instantly jumped up, turning to face me, in one swift movement. I recognized human-like expression of emotion and I guess I would describe as intelligence in his eyes. We were both just still, staring at each other. It seemed like maybe he was thinking about what he was going to do, as opposed to the locked-in stare of a predator ready to attack. I was the one feeling frozen like cornered prey, because the moment I got to see his front side and face, I saw with 100% certainty that it was in fact a monster. I was looking at a monster. A Real Monster. I was trying to reconcile in my head that monsters ARE real and that there really is a real monster RIGHT THERE. And, worst of all, its eyes are locked in on me, and there is no longer the possibility of sneaking away.
And, of course, everyone knows what monsters do. They eat kids. They kill them and eat them because that’s why they are called monsters and why they hide so well so parents can’t find them. I couldn’t believe this was really happening, that I was really going to die. I remember being frozen still in fear and kind of wincing as if I was waiting to be attacked, as that is what was expected of a monster. I remember thinking “loudly”, like screaming in my head, “please don’t kill me! I don’t want to die! I want to grow up!” I remember thinking that would be my only hope, my strategy, to beg it not to kill me. I was thinking with the mind of a 7 year old, and so I somewhat assumed it would be able to speak and understand me as well, because I had realized this was not an animal, but a monster, and I guess it probably comes from monsters being portrayed that way on TV, like Sesame Street, and the Muppets. Only, this did not look like a friendly monster. I couldn’t speak, though. I’m sure my body language and facial expression relayed that well anyways. I was literally scared stiff and unable to move or speak. I do recall recognizing his hesitance at what I thought would be an immediate “monster attack”, and I had time to really look at him. We were both just still, staring at each other. But I wouldn’t say he seemed at all afraid of me like I was of him. Obviously he recognized that I was not any threat to him, but for sure he didn’t look happy to see me either. Again, all my thoughts were racing by and as I describe everything I was thinking, to me it sounds slower than how fast it actually happened.
He appeared to me neither all animal nor all human. It was its fully erect body posture that made it seem human-like, as well as the overall combination of facial features and expressions. He did not move a muscle. He stood stiff and still. He did not twitch any facial muscles or move them to make facial expressions. He did not growl, show me his teeth, or make any sounds that I could hear. However, I was frozen in such a state of terror that I could almost hear a sound like my ears ringing and come in and out of a kind of tunnel vision feeling. I remember thinking that I knew it was too close to try running away, and that I would beg for my life as my only defense strategy, but I couldn’t speak or move.
I would say that I could see a slight change in his facial expression, but everything was through the eyes. We were locked in a stare, eyes to eyes, except for my feeling of sometimes coming “in and out” a little, like some sort of tunnel vision or almost passing out, because the fear was just too overwhelming and the suspense of just nothing changing and awaiting what I thought was going to be a horrible death. What I mean by the change in his eyes/stare is that at first he seemed as surprised as me, then even like he was taking me in as well with somewhat curiosity even, but then there was a point at which it started to look like an irritated, or even hateful, glare.
We were just locked in this stare, not moving, for what felt like forever, but couldn’t actually be more than a minute, maybe even less. Suddenly, his face contorted into a scrunched up angry face, and at the same time he did that, he immediately let out a huge roar. I fell backwards, and without stopping, scrambled to my feet and launched into the fastest run I could. I didn’t dare to slow myself down by looking back.
As soon as I got out of the pines and into the deciduous trees, and could see my friend, who was still involved in her own play, I tried to yell “Monster! REAL MONSTER! RUN!” She looked at me like “yeah, right” and said “Ung Uhh” (no). And I didn’t slow down at all as I ran past her I said “Run!” again. She let out a little squeal and ran after me. It wasn’t far to her door. We ran in the house. I was obviously frantic, and told her Mom what happened. My friend’s little sister started crying and her Mom got mad at me and said if I was going to make up stories to scare people then I would have to go home. And I said “No! Please don’t make me go outside!” (I would have to walk home a little waze.) And so I shut up about it. All I recall after that was that later on they could see I was legitimately scared, and her Dad went out to look, said he saw nothing out there, and told me I must have just seen a big dog and to stop talking about it and go play.
That was it. What is a kid supposed to do with that? I remember I would not go back in the pines for years, and my friend and her older sister would tease me about it. But it was no longer a place I could enjoy.”
I am also working on another guest for the show.