So here goes...
Time: Fall of 1976
Location: Outside of Chilhowie, Va. (Smyth County)
During that time, we live in a small house on a gravel road about 5 miles or so S or SW of Chilhowie. The house we lived in was directly across the road there was the foothill of the Jeffersons National Forest. Behind the house were a field and a small stream. At that time, there were just a few houses in the area. The nearest neighbor was about 1 mile away in each direction. Unfortunately, I do not remember the name of the road. We only lived there for two months until a condominium was available in Marion, Va. I search Mapquest to see if could help me recall the name of the road but unfortunately it didnt.
Weather: Warm 60 degrees and clear. No wind that I remember.
Time of year: Early Fall
A friend and I made plans to go hunting on a fall Saturday morning. We were going to hunt in the mountains across from where I lived at that time. Very early that Saturday morning, my friend called to cancel due to his wife being called in to work and he had to baby-sit. I was very dissappointed. I was excited about hunting and did not want to call off the trip so I decided to go hunting alone against the advice of the my friend. I had just move to Chilhowie from the Columbus, Ohio just a month before and was looking forward to hunting in the area. We had nothing like this type of wilderness in central Ohio and I really wanted to go hunting and to walk the mountains so I went anyway. I now wished I didn't.
Since the slope in front of my house is very steep, I drove several miles down the road to an area where there is a gap that was easier to climb. I had a 12 gauge shotgun that held 5 shells (buckshot), a backpack with a thermos of coffee, sandwich and some extra ammunition. I also had binoculars and a .45 SW in the trucks glove compartment. I did not take them with me. I didnt think I would need more than a 12 guage.
I spent about an hour zig zag climbing the mountain gap when I came to a level clearing near the top of one of the small peaks where I stopped to catch my breath. As I looked around, I saw in the distance what appeared to be a green teepee just inside of the wood line next to a tree. I was curious what it was so I walked over to take a look at the structure. I was cautious since I knew that there were moonshine stills in the mountain and that moon-shiners did not like people anywhere near their stills. As I approached it, I saw that it was constructed with a bunch of branches stacked against several limbs of two small trees that were bent to the ground. The branches were obviously torn from trees or bushes very recently since the leaves were still fresh and green. The end of the branches was still sticky with tree sap. I could see an opening and more green leaves on the ground inside of the structure and it looked as though it has been slept in recently. It was apparent that someone made this thing and was using it as a shelter. I thought there just might be a moonshine still around nearby and that those taking care of the still might have used this to catch a nap or use for shelter. I thought that it would probably be wise to move to leave the area.
I walked another half hour through the woods on a path on an angle toward where I came from, when I came to another opening to a nearby meadow or grassy area. When I arrived at this opening, I decided to take a break and have some coffee. I sat down against a tree, leaned back and was enjoying my coffee when some strange things began to happen. As I was sitting there, something small hit me on top of the head. At first, I thought it was a nut from the tree but when it fell into my lap I saw it was a smooth round stone about the size of a quarter. As I was looking at the stone on my lap, another stone, a little larger hit me in the arm. The stones came from the left rear side of the tree from the grassy tree line at the edge of the woods about 20-25' away. This both puzzled me and frightened me. I jumped up and grabbed my shotgun. I yelled out very loudly that if someone was playing a joke, it wasnt smart to throw stones at a guy with a 12 gauge shotgun. I have a hearing problem, but back then my hearing was better than it is today. I listened and looked around to see if anyone was out there. I did not hear or see anything. I then decided it was time to get the hell out of there. I picked up my backpack and started across the meadow when a flurry of about 3 or 4 egg sized rocks went flying by my head with one striking my backpack. I felt that someone was trying to hurt me now and I was pissed. I immediately turned and fired two shots in the air and yelled for the stone thrower to grow some balls and come out. I stood there for about 2 minutes looking into the woods and the tree line to try to see who in the hell was throwing those stones or if anyone would step out and apologize for a bad joke. I was angry as well as frightened. No one came out or said anything.
Just to my right was a small stream in the middle of a gully that curved around into the forest behind the tree that I was sitting under just a few minutes ago. I decided that I would walk up this gully to see if it would take me behind of whoever was throwing the stones hoping I could find this person. As I was walking in the gully, I came to an area where there was a very nasty foul odor. It was so strong that it stopped me in my tracks and made me cover my face with a glove to mask the smell. It smelled like a combination of really rancid feces combined with a wet dog smell. It was so strong that I look all over the ground around of me to see if I could find something that was responsible for making that smell. I walked forward very carefully looking both at the ground and the woods in front of me. If it was dead animal or dung on the ground I definitely did not want to step in it. The smell was nauseating. When I came to the area about 30 yards behind of the tree that I previously sat under, I slowly walked up the grade to see if I could sneak up and surprise whoever was throwing the rocks. As I walked up the grade toward the tall grass on the tree line, the horrible smell became even stronger. I then came to an area where the grass was matted down and found a pile of rocks, some being as big as a baseball, with two or three the size of a basketball that obviously came from the stream I just walked by. The stones were still wet.
After seeing these rocks, I was very puzzled and was beginning to become frightened. I knew that someone was just there and I decided it was time to get the hell out of there. Thats when all hell broke loose.
As I started to walk away there was an EXTREMELY loud growl/howl that sounded like it was right behind of me. The sound was so loud that my eyeballs vibrated. I ducked and spun around and pointed my shotgun in the direction of the sound. As I spun around, about 30 feet away, in the high grass near the area I just left, I saw a very large creature or person standing near the area where I found the wet stones. I did not know what the hell I was looking at. Just so you know, back in 1976 I have never heard of or knew anything about Big Foot. I had absolutely no frame of reference to identify what I was looking at. The first thing I thought was bear, but I immediately discarded that thought - it was not a bear. Then I thought it was a gorilla but I thought what the hell is a gorilla doing in the mountains, but as I starred at it, I realized it looked far too human to be a gorilla. Then I thought it might be a "wild man" or a hermit. My mind was spinning. I had no idea what it was. My mind could not make any sense of what I saw. It was extremely tall and the hair on its head was rounded over as a crest. That is what made me first think it was a gorilla. But everything else looked to be mostly human but far, far larger. It was massive and very muscular. It was covered with dark brown coarse looking hair about 6 long with less hair on the face and somewhat less hair on the chest. The face is what looked to be more human or part human and part ape. Its eyes were dark (did not see any whites) and the nose was wide and flat, but still looked very human. The mouth was wide and the lips were somewhat thin but they still also looked very human in appearance. The skin on the face was dark brown with a wide jaw and chin. The eyebrow ridge stuck out more than a human. The head and shoulders looked like a bodybuilder's physique. Its arms were far longer than a mans arm. It looked to extend down to just above its knees. You could see some dark brown on the chest and for that reason my impression is that it was a male, not a female creature. It sort of looked like the picture of a Neanderthal you see in the history books, except it had far more hair.
During that time, I was stunned and frozen in my tracks. This thing then snarled and growled a low pitch menacing growl. It lips pulled up when it snarled and I could see the teeth were also human in appearance, though much bigger. The look on its face left no doubt that it was angry - and when it took two quick steps toward me, I turned and ran faster than I ever had in my entire life. I could tell from the crashing and stomping behind of me that it was chasing me. I did not think that my shotgun had a chance in hell of dropping that thing otherwise I would have stopped and shot. I am not sure that the .45 I left in my truck would have stopped it. I just kept on running for what seems like forever. I could tell that it was getting closer but I did not want to turn and look though I did glance back a couple of times to see if it was gaining on me. I could hear what sounded like limbs breaking. As I was running down the mountain gap (the way I come up) a limb about as big as my arm came flying by my head. I didn't slow down. I then turned from the path down the gap that I was running on to a shortcut down a very steep side of the mountain toward the road. I ran/slid mostly slid- down the side of the mountain. I twice took a quick glimpse over my shoulder and I could see that it was behind of me and getting closer. It appeared to be 2 or 3 steps behind of me. I had a feeling that he could easily catch up but was maintaining a distance from me.
It was a long way down to the road, but about half way down the mountain, I could see my pickup truck parked along the road about 200 yards away. I angled toward the truck. When I got to the bottom, I ran to the truck and tried to open the door when I realized that my keys were in the backpack, which was torn open during my descent down the side of the mountain. I almost panicked trying to find the keys. I could not bring myself to look to see where the creature was. I quickly found the keys, threw the pack on the road, and unlocked the truck door and glove box to get the .45. I turned expecting to see this thing beside of the truck or reaching in to grab me. However, this thing had stopped about 30 yards away under a tree that I just ran past toward the truck. It was standing there with it arm holding on the branch above its head in a way a person would while resting. It was amazing to see how big the arms were on this thing. I still could not see anything below mid thighs since it was standing in the tall grass by the tree. I could tell that it was easily 7 tall or more base on the height of the limb, which was about 10-11 about the ground. I was thoroughly winded and breathing very hard and sucking air but it did not look like it was breathing hard at all. It still had a very angry look on its face and the lips were still pulled back in a snarl - but it did not move past that tree. I got the feeling it did not want to come out onto the road. I debated taking a shot at it with the .45 but I was afraid of provoking it. I also think it was the fact that it looked too human and I just couldnt do it. However, if it would have come toward the truck, I would have shot it and emptied my .45 no doubt in my mind. But while it was standing still, I couldnt shoot. I felt safe in the truck with the .45. I sat there for a few more seconds looking at it when I took a pair of binoculars off of the seat to get a close up look at its face. When I looked through the binoculars, it had turned its head away from me looking upward toward the slope of the mountain. All I saw was the back of its head. I dropped the binoculars down to see what it was looking at. Up the mountain side, I could tell that something was coming down the side of the mountain really fast. The bushes and trees were shaking as though something big was coming through. The thing then turned and looked toward me again still snarling. I had a feeling that another one was coming and I was not going to stay around to see. I stepped on the gas and left as fast as I could.
Later at home, I was shaking like a leaf and it took a long time for me to calm down. I think I was in a state of shock. I couldnt stop trembling. After I calmed down, I thought more about what happened. It was evident that this thing could have caught me easily. The few times I glanced back I saw that it could have easily grabbed me but it didnt. I now have the feeling that it wanted to make sure that I was leaving. The speed that 2nd one (the one I never saw) was coming down the mountain was incredible. It was almost like a boulder crashing down the mountainside. I now believe that it didnt intend to harm me but it had every intention of scaring the hell out of me. Maybe I am attributing human attributes to this thing but it looked human enough to do so.
I called my friend (that I was supposed to go hunting with) later to try to talk with him about what I saw but I couldnt tell him everything. I kind of glossed over some of the thing so he would not think that I was crazy. He could tell that I was really shaken up and he kept on asking what I saw. He asked if I saw a bear, bobcat, moon-shiners or something else. I replied that I was not sure what I saw. He then chewed me out for going hunting alone. He told me that in the past some hunters that were very familiar with the mountains have gone hunting and have never been returned. He made me promise that I would never again go hunting without a partner. That was an easy promise to keep. I have NEVER gone hunting again. I have NEVER been in the woods since then and I never will go into the woods again not even in Ohio where I moved back to several years later.
For the rest of the time I lived in that house I was constantly on alert. I made sure that I was with my wife and my daughter every time they went outside to either work in the garden or to play. I kept the .45 with me at all times out of sight. I did not want to frighten them.
I was very happy when the condo was ready and we could move to Marion. I never told my wife what I saw. I did not want to frighten her. She knows something happened since I never went hunting again. She asked me several times why I quit hunting. I just told her it was too tiring to climb the mountains.
Since moving back to Ohio, I sold my guns (except for the .45). I have no intentions of ever going into the woods again, even with a group of people. I use to love the woods, but not anymore.
I have not told too many about what happened that day. I do know this they are real and someday there will be proof. I know I dont need any proof.
Edited by jtheat, 23 March 2010 - 06:50 PM.