Johnson County, Arkansas
Nearest Town: South of Low Gap and Northeast of Harmony.
Location: In the hollow between Mac Wood Mountain and McConnel Ridge.
Nearest road: Between Apple Road & McConnel Road on an un-maintained National Forest Road that traverses part of the length of the hollow.
General Land Use Description: Part of the Ozark National Forest: Mountainous.
Nearest Lakes or Streams: Dry Spadra Creek flows through the hollow, and the sighting location is within about 100 yards of the creek.
Witness Profile: A mature male who has lived in the area for a many years, and lived for a few years in a Northeastern state where he hunted bear using a nuisance animal permit from the state. He is an avid hunter, and has hunted bear, deer, wild hog, small animals and predators in Arkansas. He is very familiar with all the classified animals in the Ozarks, and familiar with the odors and sounds produced by those animals.
Activities of Witness Prior to Encounter/Incident: The witness had driven alone in a Nissan pickup truck about 3/4 mile into the hollow where he parked without turning the truck around. He was alone and did not lock the truck. He had borrowed an old Remington semi-automatic, .22 caliber rifle which was equipped with a 3 X 9, 1 inch scope with which he was going to use to hunt squirrels. He walked up the old road a hundred yards or so from the truck when he noticed a live cedar tree to the left of the road which had been broken and twisted and the top bent to the center of the road and pointing to the Northeast (toward Mack Wood Mountain and Apple Road). He saw that the break was about eight feet off the ground, and the trunk was slightly larger than his upper arm at the point of the break. The witness had been in the area recently and had not seen the broken tree, and he knew there had been no winds in the area since that time which would have broken the tree. He studied the tree for a minute or two, and after he was unable to determine how it had been broken, he continued up the road. After walking about 25 yards, he saw there was another cedar tree on the right side of the road which was also live, about the same size and broken in the same fashion with the top pointed in the same direction as the first. At that time he became very interested in determining what had broken the trees and why. He stated he could see the trees were not simply broken by the weight of a bear as the tops were twisted after having been broken so that they pointed in the same direction. He was baffled by the way the trees had been broken, and although he soon continued walking up the old road, he could not help but think about how odd the conditions appeared.
At the time the creek bottom was heavily timbered with large oak, hickory and pine trees and he soon became preoccupied with stalking and shooting a few fox squirrels. (The National Forest Service sold the timber in the bottoms in about 2004 or 2005 and the area was clear-cut.) About 30 minutes before dusk dark he began to notice that the normal sounds of birds (especially those of the large woodpeckers that call that time of day around their nest trees) and insects were missing. Just about that time he heard the loud sound of a hollow tree being struck three or four times by what sounded like a rock or green stick. The sounds somewhat alarmed him because they were coming from behind him, and he placed the sounds not far from his truck. He immediately though that someone was "messing" with his truck, and since it was left unlocked, he turned quickly and started back down the road.
Details of Encounter / Incident: He was walking at a fast pace and was soon within about 150 yards of the truck. At that point he heard a soft grunt from the woods to his left. He looked in the direction of the sound and noticed a movement in the woods at an angle of about 45 degrees. He froze immediately and saw a large figure in a squatting position behind a very thin veil of brush about 35 or 40 yards away. He immediately thought that he was seeing a "cinnamon phase" bear because of its color, but he quickly realized what he was seeing was not a bear. The creature was squatting on it haunches, with its knees spread slightly, and with it two long arms extended between its knees and with balled up fists resting on the ground in front of its feet. The animal was staring directly at him and slowly rocking its body side to side and making short grunting and clicking/chirping sounds with its mouth.
As soon as the animal wheeled and started crashing through the smaller timber on the slope of the ridge, the witness stated he emptied the rifle at the running animal’s back. He stated he thought the rifle held 15 long rifle cartridges, and he was sure that at least seven of those bullets struck the animal. About the time the rifle clicked to indicate it was empty, he heard the animal stop running. He then realized the animal was at a point directly up the ridge from his truck, and that he was standing with an empty rifle. He then bolted to the truck as fast as he could run. He threw the borrowed gun into the bed of the truck and jumped inside the cab. Just before he did so, he heard the animal crashing through the timber again, and it sounded to him as if the animals was running toward the truck. He started the truck, and threw it into reverse to turn around. He backed the truck into a tree, quickly put the truck in forward gear and tried to turn around in the very narrow road, and in his haste, struck another tree with the front of the truck. After banging the truck through the timber and over large rocks, he finally got it back on the road and drove at breakneck speed out of the hollow. He never saw the animal during that process, and he has not hunted in that hollow again.
Description of Animal Seen: When first seen, the animal was facing him and "squatted in the position of a man taking a dump in the woods". The man said the animal’s legs were spread, and it arms were between it knees with the hands - made into fists - resting on the ground. He stated the animal was covered in reddish/brown hair that in most places appeared to be about 3" long. On the forearms he saw the hair appeared to be shorter and not as thick as that on the rest of the body. He stated the head possessed a conical shape, similar to that of a mature male gorilla. The animal had no visible neck or ears, and although he stared at the face , he was unable to discern any facial features because of the halo of hair around the face.
After he fired the first shot, and the animal leaped to an upright position, he noticed the hair on its head and shoulders was noticeably lighter in color than the hair elsewhere. He also noticed the hair on its knees was discolored, and he thought those areas were covered with a light coating of mud and water. He said when standing erect, and later when running, the legs appeared to be thick and powerful, but slightly bowed. He particularly noted when it was standing upright, the animal’s arms were large and long, and hung alongside the body like a humans, rather than protruding forward like the front legs of a bear standing erect on its back legs.
He said the animal appeared to be about seven feet tall, with a muscular build. He said for it height, the upper body did not look disproportionally large. The witness said he could not see breasts or genitalia to determine the sex of the animal, although he was sure it had no pronounced breasts like those of a mature woman. He stated he believed the animal would weigh somewhat more than 400 pounds.
When the animal ran away, its legs were noticeably bent and its long strides were fluid-like. While running, its long arms were said to be swinging in what appeared to be an exaggerated but fluid motion.
Description of Related Sounds: While the animal was squatted the witness said it was making short, low-volume grunting and chirping/clicking sounds with its mouth. He stated the sounds were somewhat similar to, but different from, those made by hogs and bears. He stated that when the first shot hit the animal it made a loud, short grunt, but he did not believe it made vocalizations as it ran off. The only sounds he remembered hearing during that time were the sounds of breaking limbs and brush, and the "thuds" made by the animal’s feet as they struck the ground.
Description of Related Scents / Odors: The witness stated that shortly before he saw the animal he smelled a foul odor which he described as being a mix of the smells of "rotten meat and a sewer treatment plant".
Other Details: After the witness encountered the animal he said that he "made the mistake" of telling some of his co-workers about the incident. He said that he had "caught a lot of flak and ribbing" about the incident, and after a while he refused to talk to anyone about it. Nearly a year ago the writer first heard about the incident from a friend of the witness, but, until now, the witness refused to discuss the subject. He has recently decided he "doesn’t care who knows about it", because he knows what he saw.
It is significant to note that the witness had, prior to his encounter, hunted this part of the Ozarks for many years -both day and night - and had never seen evidence of these animals, and never knew they existed in this part of the country.
Historical Notes: Many of the area residents who hunt in the hollows off the southern front of the Ozark Mountains in Johnson and adjoining counties have for years reported encounters with large hirsute human-like creatures. Other have found collections of animal bones and skulls and large piles of feces in certain distinct areas in the upper and most inaccessible parts of the hollows. These areas are bounded by steep sandstone bluffs, some of which are undercut by erosion. The ledges below many of the larger overhangs contain abundant physical evidence and artifacts to show the locations have been used as shelters for both animals and Indians. Very few hunters enter the upper reaches of the hollows because of the ruggedness of the terrain.
Report recorded by: Tal H. Branco, Field Researcher/Investigator, The RFP Research Project, February 20, 2007.
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