Bigfoot Encounters

Mystery Animal Sparks Speculation In Decatur
(Three articles)

Bigfoot Has Long, Lively Local History

Monday Oct 13, 2003 by Guy Barnes

Happy days are here again! Bigfoot is back. Or maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part. That's fun, too. In any case, there have been recent reports of sightings of a large ape-like creature in and around the western Benton County town of Decatur.

If it's large and ape-like, but not quite an ape, it's gotta be Bigfoot. Of course, the published reports didn't say just how big or how ape-like the critter was, so we can't be all that sure just yet. But at least I'm hoping. Having Bigfoot in the neighborhood livens things up. Not only do we have something to talk about other than them dad-burn lying politicians, we tend to be more alert. If we go out in the dark and the hair on our neck starts standing up we go back into the house.

Of course, we don't call 911 right away, but we consider it. A prickly feeling on one's neck ain't firm evidence, but at least it makes us more careful. And being careful and alert is what the Homeland Security folks have been on to us about; they want us to do it. We might even spot a terrorist that way. I'll admit that the ape-like creature isn't likely to be somebody like Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein. But you never know. Out of the ordinary people are always turning up in Northwest Arkansas. Some come here to hide out in what they think is a wilderness area; a few make the journey to civilize the hillbillies they expect to find, but most are those who have hitched their wagons to such rising economic stars as Wal-Mart, Tyson's and J.B. Hunt.

Then there are the visitors who like what they see and decide to stay. And that ain't only people I'm talking about. Canada geese, for instance. Not a native bird, I suspect, or else they wouldn't be called Canada geese. But we see them everywhere these days. Rather than them being imported to restore the balance of nature as were black bears ad certain deer, I have a feeling that a few of the geese made a pit stop here during migration, found the area to their liking -- and sent for their kinfolks. So if geese from foreign parts liked Northwest Arkansas well enough to settle here, it's possible that Bigfoot did too. Barring the sightings of the ape-like beast around Decatur turning out to be an ugly bear walking around on its hind legs, or a Halloween prankster trying out a new costume for the big night, we probably have a Bigfoot sighting on our hands. But it isn't the first one.

Some of those earlier sightings have been explained as something quite natural; a shadow in the woods, an exceptionally hirsute hippie or simply a case of overly active imagination. But I can recall a few where the critter in question left behind evidence of its visit. Back in the early 1970s a mobile home park on the north side of Springdale was visited one night by a hulking, hairy and bad-tempered Bigfoot-like being. In addition to scaring the socks off a handful of humans in the park and upsetting every do within earshot, it uprooted a vegetable garden and hammered large dents in the side of at least one mobile home.

In a separate incident east of Springdale, two men who unexpectedly came face to face with a Bigfoot in a secluded clearing reportedly were so unnerved by the experience that they required medical treatment. Years later, a large and powerful beast attacked livestock on a farm in Oklahoma just across the border from Washington County. According to the Associated Press, the critter "partially slaughtered" at least one animal. While the AP report didn't specify which parts of the animal were slaughtered (and which parts lived to tell about it) there were suggestions that a Bigfoot was the culprit. Whatever it was -- Bigfoot, bear, mountain lion or wolf -- apparently dined on the dead part of its victim.

More recently and a little closer to home, bouncers from at least one watering hole in Fayetteville gathered in a heavily wooded area in south Washington County for a bit of after hours relaxation which turned into a Bigfoot encounter.

The lads most likely were doing what men frequently do when they meet in the woods late at night. And that is either sitting around a campfire drinking beer and telling lies, or telling lies and drinking beer while sitting around a campfire. But I wasn't there so I can only guess.

In any case, according to news reports, festivities were proceeding as planned when they had an uninvited visitor. A female Bigfoot crashed the party.

While her motives are unknown, we suspect she had any or all of three compelling reasons; thirst, curiosity and/or a desire for companionship. But it was a foolish move. As all young ladies should know, it is not prudent to go anywhere near men drinking beer in the woods at any time. Such meetings rarely turn out well.

And this one didn't. Perhaps the bouncers tried to remove her from the scene in the traditional honky-tonk manner and she resisted. Or maybe it was a matter of her attempting to deliver hugs and kisses when none were wanted. But as it happened, the scuffle that developed ended with the lady Bigfoot being shot and wounded and one of the bouncers being tossed across the clearing.

While their parting wasn't entirely without rancor, it apparently wasn't as bad as it could have been. Although the Bigfoot left in a huff, she didn't seem to be seriously hurt. Neither was the man. But as somebody said, it was a good thing he was a bouncer or he might have ended up with a broken bone or two -- or worse.

But back to Benton County's Bigfoot. Is it and the one that had the run-in with the bouncers the same critter? Or were different animals involved in all the sightings and too-close encounters?

With luck, it might turn out that we have an entire community of shy Bigfoots (or is it Bigfeet?) in our midst. It would be a ready-made tourist attraction, maybe even necessitate the construction of more hotels. If they're savvy enough to stay out of our zoos, they should be smart enough to emerge and claim their rightful place in society, the business world and politics. Then, again, maybe they are too smart for that. Perhaps the best I can hope for is that they continue to keep us entertained with their well-timed sightings. And that's too bad. I was hoping to see a Bigfoot running for president one of these days.

The Morning News/

Additonal news articles, same subject:

Residents Say Monkey-like Beast Roaming Town

October 3, 2003--DECATUR, Ark. -- Several residents in northwest Arkansas have told
authorities they spotted an apelike animal in the woods near Decatur, prompting some tongue in cheek speculation that Bigfoot may have settled in the area.

Within the past week, three people said they saw what they think is a monkey running in and around the small Benton County town. "The only description that I have is a small, brown monkey," said Decatur Police chief Coy Hendrix. "It's not Bigfoot. I didn't see any huge tracks or anything," he said, laughing.

At the Gallery Cafe, the mystery animal is the talk of the town. "It's kind of freaky," one resident said. "They are saying Sasquach and they are saying Bigfoot. They are saying this and that," another resident said.

Others said the reported sightings of the animal are being blown out of proportions. "I think it's ridiculous," one woman said. "I think it's just a monkey that got loose from somebody's house," another cafe patron said.

No one has reported a missing monkey.
- ---
Additional publicity on same subject:
Mystery Creature is Making Northwest Arkansas Residents Nervous
By: Sandra Kirk, KATV Television, Arkansas

Large Ape-like Animal Spotted in Northwest Arkansas
October 3, 2003--Decatur - A mysterious creature roaming the Northwest Arkansas area, is making some residents a little nervous. Police have received several calls recently about a large ape like animal in Benton County. The first sighting was in Decatur, the second caller claimed the animal was headed north toward Crystal Lake, about a quarter mile away. Then a third caller said the animal was on benning road, several miles east of town. There's a lot of speculation about what's lurking in the woods in and around Decatur.

(Ike Owens, Resident) "It's freaky. They're saying its Sasquatch. They're saying bigfoot and this and that." Whether it's actually bigfoot allegedly seen in this vintage film from California is still up for debate. It's certainly the topic of conversation at Gallery Cafe in Decatur. (David Cook, Resident) "It happens around the nation. Everywhere I guess. It could be here as well as anywhere I guess. It's sure getting around I think it's ridiculous. There's nothing like that in Decatur." Police say there are a lot of theories about the mystery animal, that's why they're sticking to the facts.

(Coy Hendrix, Decatur Police Chief) "The only description I have is a small brown monkey about a foot and a half tall. It's not bigfoot I believe. I didn't see any tracks of anything." According to police, the animal has not had any contact with any humans. If you see the creature, you're asked to call Decatur police at 479-752-3911.

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