"TENNESSEE BIGFOOT A DISAGREEABLE FELLOW
Byline: E. Randall Floyd
Dated: April 6, 1997
There's a bigfoot attacking cars and trying to snatch little children in the Tennessee foothills. Exactly what the Flintville monster is or where it came from remains a mystery, but more than two decades of sightings and terrifying encounters have left many people convinced that the creature is not only real but more than two decades of sightings and terrifying encounters have left many people convinced that the creature is not only real but dangerous as well.
More than two decades of sightings and terrifying encounters with a massive, hairy monster have left the folks of Flintville, Tenn., about 70 miles west of Chattanooga, convinced that the creature is not only real, but dangerous. "That thing's so big it could easily hurt somebody," complained Ned Sinclair, a farmer. "Who knows how many head of our livestock have gone missing because of it?"
So far no one has been hurt by the Flintville monster, which often leaves behind 16-inch footprints and a foul, skunk-like odor. But there are those who claim to have had close calls.
One man said a "7-foot-tall hairy monster" chased him through the woods, howling and screeching at him like an ape. A woman said she hid on the floorboard when a similar creature attacked her car.
On at least one occasion, a child was nearly kidnapped by a thing with long, hairy arms. The trouble began in 1976 when a woman told police that a "giant, hairy monster" broke her automobile antenna and then jumped onto the roof of her car and began bouncing up and down. When the woman's story made news, other citizens stepped forth to describe similar encounters.
Several attacks were reported in the early 1980s, including one by a plumber who said his truck's windshield was smashed by the monster and another by a housewife who said a "black, hairy creature" chased her inside her house and beat on the door.
In 1989 a church pastor complained that "something" had destroyed the windshield and antenna on his car. That same week a group of teens reported a "large, manlike ape" loping across a field at the edge of town. Of all the stories, however, none can match the nearly tragic drama related by Jennie Robertson.
On April 26, 1976, Mrs. Robertson's 4-year-old son, Gary, was playing in the yard when his mother heard him scream. When she ran outside to investigate, she became conscious of a foul odor that reminded her of a skunk or "dead rats."
Then she saw a huge, apelike figure bounding across the yard toward the house. "It was 7 or 8 feet tall." she told investigators," and seemed to be all covered with hair. It reached out its long, hairy arms toward Gary and came within a few inches of him." Seconds before the shaggy beast could grab the child, his terrified mother snatched him up, darted inside the house and locked the doors. When she got up enough courage to look out the window, she saw a "big, black shape disappearing into the woods." Minutes after she reported the incident to police, swarms of lawmen and hunters descended on her property, armed with shotguns and rifles. They resolved to track down and kill the creature.
Throughout the night, they combed the woods on the outskirts of town. They never found anything, but on at least two occasions the creature screamed at them and pelted them with rocks.
The next day the hunters found more 16-inch footprints, as well as hair, blood and mucus. The hair was scientifically analyzed but could not be identified. No sightings have been reported since 1993. Does that mean the creature has gone away? "I doubt it," said Mrs. Robertson. "It's probably just gone into hiding for awhile."
Throughout the South, from Arkansas to Virginia, reports of monsters resembling bigfoot continue to reach the desks of law enforcement officers and park rangers. Most sightings can be dismissed as hoaxes or illusions triggered by poor visibility or unsteady imaginations. But a few - like the Flintville monster - cannot be explained away.
From the 1997 files of Bobbie Short
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