Bigfoot Encounters

Benton, Saline County Arkansas
Fall of 1993

Time of Incident: About 4:30pm
North of Benton near the Avilla community.

Nearest highway or road: Lawson Road
Small farms, timber production with continued residential development.Foothills of the Ouachita Mountains

The area is about 3 miles east of Lake Norrell, and bounded on the west by Caney Creek. Panther Creek heads about 2 miles southeast, and the North Fork of the Saline River lies 2 miles to the southwest.

Witness Profile: 25 year old who lived in the area from about age 7 to 18. He spent a lot of time in the woods and along the creek hunting and fishing. He stated that he often camped alone, except for his dog, in the surrounding woods.

Activities of Witness Prior to Encounter/Incident: At the time he was 11 or 12 years old. He had gotten off the school bus and was walking toward his home which was on a dead-in road.

Details of Encounter / Incident: As he neared the intersection of a trail that led into a pine thicket which contained a large briar patch about 30 yards off the road, he saw a pine tree being shaken vigorously. He was surprised to see the tree moving, and walked down the trail toward it to see what was causing the movement. As he got within about 15 feet of the tree he could see it was about 30 feet tall and about 6 inches in diameter. Through the briar thicket he could see something standing behind the tree, and could hear a low grunting and moaning sound. He slowly moved sideways around the thicket until he could see the tree more clearly. He then saw that a large hair-covered animal was standing on two feet and rubbing its back against the pine tree. Because the thicket blocked part of the view of the animal, he could only see the back part of its left shoulder and a part of its back on that side. The animal was squirming and rubbing the tree along its spine, and was grunting and moaning contentedly as it did so. The animal was apparently unaware of the boy's presence.

Although the boy spent a lot of time in the woods, he could not understand what he was seeing. Although he had never seen a bear, he decided that was what he was watching. He watched for a about 15 seconds and started backing out of the pine thicket to the road, and then ran home to tell his family about what he had seen a large brown bear. They did not believe him.

Description of Animal: When asked the height of the animal, the witness pointed out a nearby birdhouse mounted on a post and said it was just about the same height as the top of the birdhouse. The top of the birdhouse is seven and one-half feet off the ground. He stated the animal had long hair that was brown but streaked with lighter colors. He said the hair was somewhat matted and dirty looking. He saw neither the face nor hands, and only a small part of the hair on the left side of the animal's head.

Other Details: The witness said that when he was about 9 years old he first heard the sound of what appeared to be a woman screaming in great distress in the woods near his home. It was daylight and he was alone outside. He said the sound was so loud and pitiful that it distressed him to the point he began crying and began to run toward the sound in the woods. When the sounds stopped, he continued to cry but began to shout for the woman to shout back so he would know where she was so he could help her. He got no immediate response so he continued slowly walking and looking, fully expecting to see an injured woman. After a few yards he stopped to listen. He then heard the same sound coming from two different directions, and off at a great distance he heard the sound repeated. He was confused about what was going on, and after a while he slowly walked back to the yard. When he mentioned the sounds to adults, they said that he had heard panthers, and there had always been some in the area because a nearby creek was named for them. He never believed them because the sounds were humanlike. Over the next few years he heard the sound three more times, but they were heard at night. He stated it always distressed him greatly to hear those sounds, and he never knew their origin.

Six year ago he was camped one night in the woods above the upper end of Lake Norrell when during the middle of the night he heard loud animal sounds that he could not identify. A few minutes later he heard the sounds of large rocks being "banged together" on the hills above the lake. He stated that at no time during his time in the woods did he ever feel threatened, but that the strange sounds he heard when he was in the woods were so common that they seemed normal.

Historical Notes: The North Fork of the Saline River passes through the area. The river basin from this area to the river's beginning is sparsely populated. The river heads in the Ouachita National Forest, and there have been numerous reports of the reclusive forest primates from the head of the river to the general area of this sighting report.

Clarence Kellogg, Field Researcher/Investigator, The RFP Research Project

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