My first experience happened in 1986 or 1987, when I was almost twelve years old. I was living in Barry County in Missouri then, outside of Cassville, about eight miles to the southeast of town in a place called Mineral Springs.
The house was situated on top of a very high hill and below, deep in a steep valley was a natural spring that is still there today. Behind that house, and the one next door, were patches of field before it turned to the woods that dropped into the valley. If one were to follow the road further southeast it would drop steeply into Rockhouse Valley, which spans for a good stretch. At the base of the hill is a field, and you can enter the valley that way too.
On this particular August day, my older brother and I decided to take a morning hike. We went down the road; down that steep drop we called Mineral Hill and ended up at the bottom. We asked the old farmer if we could cross his pasture and climb the bluffs up onto the hill. We easily could have just hiked the valley but what’s the fun in that?
The terrain up there was spongy, like all the trees had nowhere to root all of a sudden and just fell over and left pockmarks on the top of that hill. It was strange. We found a deer trail and went northeast and followed it for a while before we veered back to the West. We were about three hilltops back and we saw two very large rock stacks on that hilltop. I would say they were at least three feet tall and my brother told me to steer clear because of snakes. I did steer clear but as soon as we went beyond the stacks I started feeling uneasy. Back then I didn’t know what to make of it. It was like we’d crossed a boundary and it just felt odd.
We stopped on the other side of that hill, on the slope so we could eat lunch. I don’t remember conversation, but I know he finished first and started down the slope without me. I am a slow eater as it is, so I finished by the time he got to the bottom. I don’t remember what he was doing down there. I just know that as soon as I stood up, something behind me jumped into the leaf litter, about fifty feet away. Or maybe took a heavy step, but at the time I thought something jumped into the leaves from a tree. That’s just how I rationalized it then. I thought raccoon maybe???
I felt an overwhelming sense of being watched but for the life of me as I stood there I couldn’t see a thing! I peered down deep into the valley where my brother was and yelled at him to wait for me. I started scrambling down the hill…you’re talking a good 50 degree or steeper grade on that hill. I heard noise behind me and my brother was walking away from me and I had to keep going. I still feel that panic from that moment when I write this, I cannot tell you just how choked up I felt.
Something was following me, keeping pace on two feet and I couldn’t see it. When I got to the creek bottom in the valley floor I had to catch up to my brother, and I was still being followed. By then I was pretty excited when I reached him and I told him something was following me, I heard it! He discounted me and said it was an animal or something. He had his pellet gun, he wasn’t worried. Oh my, looking back on it now, how useless that gun was. We started on and then he heard the footsteps. He too looked and saw nothing. There was one point there that I remember him getting ticked off and yelling at it and he shot his pellet gun in the general direction of steps. I kid you not, we couldn’t see a thing…we only heard it moving away from us and ahead of us.
When it was gone he relaxed but I was still spooked. Close to the spring, but not quite, there was a pool of water and he decided to wash up, it was hot. I waited there on the bank and looked down and then I saw them…the footprints. I’d seen my dad’s books, but I thought they only lived in Washington, a world away! I said his name in a squeak, and he came over and I pointed down. The print was large, over a foot long, at least six inches wide, and had three toes. And beside it was a smaller one, maybe from a baby or something, but they were close, they were walking very close. The grass inside the larger print (at least 1” deep) was still bent over, smashed down.
My brother freaked out and ran up the hill and left me there. I didn’t want to be left behind! I started crying and was screaming for him to wait for me. When we got to the house we were both upset and we told our parents. Dad called his buddy who came out and they dragged me back down there and when they had the print in sight I went back up the hill and straight home. They found more prints out there, followed the prints a mile and a half down the valley. For sure they’d been following my brother and I.
They made casts and brought them back. Now, all that summer we’d heard screams, and the animals were all silent. It had been an odd summer, so I guess they’d been down there all that time. The story doesn’t end there though. My sister and I shared a bed in the back bedroom situated on the North East side of the house. I am a light sleeper, and I have trouble getting to sleep as it is. I slept on the wall side of the bed, next to the window. I lay there, facing the wall and window. My knees were about level to the window, which was about six feet from the ground perhaps. It was then as I lay there awake, staring at the wall that I heard something behind the house walking up, like a straight line. Not shuffling about or anything, but directly to the window it came. Heavy, heavy footsteps and I knew then what it was; I knew it was what had followed us in the valley. It came right up to the window and very close too. It just stood there, and I lay there looking at the window, knowing what was on the other side. I couldn’t move, I was just afraid, I didn’t understand them.
To have the experience again, I might have sat up and looked. A good five minutes passed and he/she backed up and walked back down into the valley. That was seventeen years ago, but it seems like yesterday.
For the past twelve years I have been researching Sasquatch and have obtained about twenty stories in that county alone, around Star City, and Roaring River. I never thought I’d have another experience again but on a hike by Roaring River to explore an area where a female was seen that chased a guy I heard rock knocking and I was paralleled on the trail back to my vehicle. I wasn’t afraid then, I knew what was following me that time and I remained calm.
Two years ago, in the heavy sighting area around Star City, where my mother lives I pulled into her drive one Friday night…it was the early springtime because my baby was only a few months old and he was born in January. Mom’s yard faces a tree line and the yard is lined with a deep creek. As soon as I got out of my vehicle I knew I was being watched. I heard heavy breathing. Just like you and me, only deeper, louder. It was a staring contest at whatever was concealed in the dark brush, but I am just a small woman so you know, not too awful brave.
It is my contention that they are human, not animals, and that as being a type of human they have that potential to be good or bad people. What I felt coming from him/her was plain irritation. I’d invaded the observation. I was frozen there maybe two minutes and I hurriedly dived into the truck and got the baby and I backed up toward the house and went in without knocking.
There are so many stories around there I could tell, and perhaps I’ll post those too. They’re second hand stories but from reliable people. So…that’s the tip of this iceberg. I’d be happy to post the other stories if you want them Bobbie.
The Southeast MOMO has nothing on SW Missouri’s Biggie stories! Thanks again, Bobbie. You may post all my information (for serious inquirers) who’d like to share or ask questions about the Barry County area true natives.