Between Brashears and Cass,
Franklin County, Arkansas 2002
During the tourist season of 2002, exact date unknown...about 1:00 am.
Location: About 2 miles south of the Madison County line.
Nearest highway or road: Event occurred on Highway 23, which is part of the “Pig Trail National Scenic Byway” .
The area is within the Ozark National Forest; Ozark Mountains.
Nearest Lakes or Streams: At the sighting location the ridge on which the roadway is located is bounded on one side by the East Fork of Fleming Creek and on the other by the West Fork of Fleming Creek. Highway 23 crosses the Mulberry River about 8 miles south of the location.
Witness Profile: He is in his fifties, and unusually qualified in the identification of known wildlife in this and other areas of the country. He is well known in this part of Northwest Arkansas. The witness requested that no specific personal details be made public.
Activities of Witness Prior to Encounter/Incident: He and a female friend were returning from Branson, Missouri where they had attended one of the live music shows. They had been traveling for about 2 hours. As they entered a section of road that contained a series of curves, the driver reduced the speed of the vehicle for those conditions. He had just driven through a curve to the left (southeast) and was on a short section of straight road leading into a curve to the right.
Details of Encounter / Incident: As he approached the next curve he saw a large, dark colored, human-like figure standing in the very center of the highway just inside the start of the curve. At that time the vehicle was approximately 50 yards from the figure. The driver immediately touched the brakes to slow down. During that time the creature was standing facing the vehicle as if frozen in surprise or fear. The witness stated the animal was standing in what appeared to him to be a very awkward position with its upper body being ramrod straight and the shoulders thrown back but with its knees bent. (He said from the waist up the body was being held like that of a soldier at attention.)
The animal did not move until the vehicle reached a point about 30 yards from its position. At that time, while the vehicle’s headlights were fully illuminating the animal, and with what the witness described as unbelievable speed and agility, it wheeled and ran at an angle toward the southwest and toward the inside of the highway curve.
At the time the driver loudly asked his passenger. “Did you see that?”
She leaned forward and asked, “See what?” She later indicated she might have seen the animal for a split second as it left the roadway, although the witness was not sure she had. Although he was sure she was awake, he thought she may have had her eyes closed until he spoke.
The driver accelerated the vehicle to try to see the animal as it left the right-of-way in the curve. When he did so he could see there was a very steep and high road-cut bank on that side of the right-of way, and the face of the cut was covered by loose shale and sandstone. He quickly saw that the steep bank extended for at least 30 yards beyond the point the animal ran off the roadway and onto the edge of the right-of-way. He immediately looked down the right-of-way to the point where the road-cut ended and where the accessible natural slope of the ridge began. Although the animal had left the roadway with totally surprising speed, the driver was certain he would see the animal before it could get out of sight in the curve. He did not see the animal, nor did he see any sign where it might have scaled the nearly vertical road cut. He emphatically stated and believed no creature could have scaled the cut bank or reached the unaltered slope of the ridge in the very few seconds that had elapsed between the time the animal left the road and the time the vehicle reached the inside of the curve. (See Investigator’s Notes & Comments below.)
Description of Animal: The animal was reported to be 8 or 9 feet in height, and covered in long hair that appeared to be dark colored but not black. At no time was there any visible light reflected by the creature’s eyes. The witness stated the animal’s body was wide and bulky, with no noticeable tapering from the chest to its mid-section. He could not discern the animals facial features, and stated the head was shaped like that of a human’s, only larger. He stated that although all of animal’s body was large, its arms, legs and shoulders did not show heavy muscle development. As the animal was running away, his first conclusions about the body size and shape did not change. He saw no breasts and no genitalia to indicate the sex of the creature.
Investigator’s Notes and Comments: After the witness had described the encounter in great detail once on February 2, 2007 by phone while the writer was driving into the Ouachita National Forest to check for tracks in the snow, the writer asked permission to contact the man again after I returned home. During an extended telephone conversation on February 3, he repeated those details. He stated that the second he saw the animal he knew what it was, although he had never seen such an animal before. He stated that several years earlier a friend of his had told him about and described such animals that reportedly inhabited the area around Antlers, Oklahoma. That conversation came up when they were discussing the “Legend of Boggy Creek” movie that had been released a few years earlier.
The one thing that was perplexing to the witness was the fact that the animal seemed to disappear near the steep road cut. When I asked him if there was a ditch between the foot of the bank and the roadway shoulder. He thought a few seconds and exclaimed, “ D—, it flattened out in the ditch, didn't it?” Before I could speak, he said, “That’s the only way that thing could have gotten out of my sight; I never thought about the ditch!”
After he had repeated his description of the animals, I asked if he noticed if the top of the animal’s head was tapered or cone-shaped. He stated it was not because he had seen it from the front and back.
The witness stated that although this event occurred 4 years ago, until two months ago he had told only one person about it. Recently that person brought him a copy of an edition of the Ozark Spectator newspaper which contained one of a series of “The Reclusive Forest Primate Chronicles” columns. After reading the column, the witness called the writer’s cell phone number that is shown at the end of the column. At his request, the writer will accompany him to others sites in the area where he has found what he now thinks may be evidence of the long-time presence of these animals.
Historical Notes: This area of Northwest Arkansas has a long and documented history of sightings of large, enigmatic primates.
Report received and recorded by: Tal H. Branco, Field Researcher/Investigator, The RFP Research Project. February 3, 2007
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