The Whistler from Elkin's Hollow
Clarksville, Johnson County, Arkansas 2007
The Whistler From Elkin’s Hollow
Background: In early November of 2006 the writer spent three days in the area north of Clarksville and northeast of Harmony in Johnson County, Arkansas attempting to locate sign of three, black hairy primates that a resident of Harmony had seen on the 5th of that month. During that period information was received that indicated the animals might have retreated to one of the major creek hollows about 5 miles southeast of the location in the south frontal flank of the Ozark Mountains. During that initial scouting trip the writer decided the animals might be foraging in either Elkin’s Hollow or the Dry Spadra Creek Hollow. During the last night’s stay in the area, the writer drove north into Elkin’s Hollow to the point the National Forest Road entered two sections of private land surrounded on three sides by the NF. The two parcels of land are used for hunting and camping, and no one was at either campsite at the time. About 1:00am, the writer turned his vehicle around, parked and listened for sounds with an amplified sound dish connected to earphones and with no recorder attached.
After waiting and listening for about an hour, a recorded track off one of the Sierra Sounds CDs was played though the truck’s audio system with the truck doors open. The weather was clear and cold and there was no wind blowing. No sounds of any kind had been heard prior to playing the cut from the CD. After playing the section of the CD, the truck doors were closed, and the front door windows were lowered. I then reached to put on the earphones, and from an undetermined direction I heard a short, deep whistling sound. I immediately thought it was a person whistling to alert me to their presence. I quickly discounted that idea after I considered the unlikely possibility that someone would be in the area at that time of night. Because of a slight hearing impairment, I decided the CD sounds had spooked a foraging deer that had snorted in alarm.
Within about 2 minutes of the first broadcast, there was a very loud sound of something crashing through brush. The sounds grew louder, and the earphones were removed to determine the direction of the sounds. (One drawback to the use of the sound dish is that the direction of the origin of a sound can’t be determined.) As I listened I could clearly hear the sounds were coming from the ridge across the creek (east) of the vehicle. And the sounds were being made by something coming toward the truck, and not running away from it.
Substituting a set of Hunter’s Ears ™ for the sound dish earphones, I listened as the crashing sounds stopped along the opposite side of the creek. A few seconds later the sounds of a large animal splashing through the creek were so loud the Hunter’s Ears ™ were removed. Whatever crossed the creek caused loose rock to fall as it clambered up the bank, and then the hollow became silent again. The creek was only about 100 yards from the truck’s location, but there were no sounds of movement in the brush alongside it. I used a monocular night-vision scope with a IR illuminator to scan the woods along the creek but saw nothing to indicate an animal was in the area. After a few minutes I put the Hunter’s Ears ™ back on but could hear nothing.
I soon decided that whatever it was that came off the ridge had seen the truck, gotten spooked and left. As I had sat in the cold for more than an hour, I decided I was now wasting time and was ready for some heat. Just as I reached to remove the "ears", I heard a very loud, sharp retort that sounded almost like the crack of a small caliber rifle coming from the ridge on the opposite side of the truck (west). My hands had actually been over the microphones in the "ears" and I was irritated that the sounds occurred at that particular time. Keeping the "ears" on, I listened for about 30 seconds. At that time the loud, clear and unmistakable sound of a large dry limb being broken by something striking it against a standing tree was heard. Not only was the initial impact heard, the sound of the broken end of the stick hitting the rocks on the ground was also clearly heard. Those sounds appeared to have originated one hundred yards or more up-slope from the truck.
After waiting, watching and listening for another cold half hour or so, the coffee I had been sipping to stay warm now required that I leave the truck. Taking a spotlight I left the truck and scanned the area VERY closely as I relieved myself. During the process - which seemed to take an inordinately long time - I neither saw nor heard anything to indicate another living creature was in the area. After loading the sound dish in the vehicle I drove back to the motel in Clarksville without incident, and drove home the next morning for a scheduled appointment.
Later that same month, on the last Saturday in the modern gun, deer season, I returned to Johnson County to see if I could meet and talk to some of the hunters in Elkin’s Hollow. On a narrow county road leading to the hollow, I met a convoy of pick-up trucks loaded with hunters and their gear. The convoy was stopped, and the driver of the lead truck was securing something in the truck bed. I carefully pulled alongside his truck and as he worked I introduced myself and asked if the group had "done any good". He was very cordial and said they had taken some good buck. I then asked if anyone in the group had seen or heard any "unusual critters" while hunting. He look surprised, hesitated a second or two, and then told me that the driver of the last pickup had heard something whistling at him one morning. He suggested I talk to him. I said that I would try to do that. He waved, got in the truck and the convoy started off. I intended to wave to the last driver to stop him, but I then saw another vehicle stopped at the creek at the bottom of the hill waiting for the road to clear. I decided not to stop the truck, and I figured I could find out from the local residents who was driving the last truck in the convoy and contact him later. That was not easily done. After leaving requests for that information with a country store owner about 5 miles from the site, the owner called the writer last week to give me the man’s name and telephone numbers, and to tell me the man wanted to discuss his experience. His report follows.
Clarksville, Johnson County, Arkansas
Time of Incident: From 8:00am to about 9:30 am.
Weather Conditions: Clear and cool
Nearest highway or road: The site is at the end of a NF Road (actual # not recorded.)
General Land Use Description: National Forest with some privately owned land mingled. The area is in the southernmost part of the Ozark Mountains.
Nearest Lakes or Streams: The East Fork of Horsehead Creek flows through the hollow.
Witness Profile: A 60 year old male who has lived in the area since birth. He is an avid hunter, and has hunted the particular area for many years. He stated he is very familiar with all typical native animals that inhabit the area.
Activities of Witness Prior to Encounter/Incident: The witness was camped with a group of men on private property in the hollow. On the morning of the incident he had walked to his tree-mounted deer stand before daylight and was settled in at daybreak. He stated that he had watched numerous squirrels, birds and five or six deer from daylight until about 8:00am. He stated that until about that hour the woods around him were noisy with the sounds of birds and the movements of animals in the leaves.
Details of Encounter/Incident: About 8:00am he heard a "loud, coarse whistle" coming from the side of the ridge west of him. The sound puzzled him because it did not sound like a whistle a human would make, and he knew there should have been no human in that area. He watched and listened intently for several minutes before he became aware that the woods around him had become still and silent. That observation made him very alert and somewhat anxious. After another several minutes had elapsed he heard the whistling sound again, and the sound was closer and a little to the northwest of his stand. At intervals of 15 minutes or so, the sounds were repeated and it became apparent that whatever was making the sounds was crossing the hollow in front of him at a distance of two hundred yards or more from his stand. By that time he noted he had not seen or heard a bird or any animal since the first whistle. He became totally absorbed by the whistling sounds and in trying to determine what was making them. After the source of the sounds crossed the hollow, to his northeast, the source turned toward him, whistling occasionally as it approached. By about 9:30, the whistling sounds were within about 100 yards of him, and at that point they ceased. The witness stared intently in that direction but saw nothing of the mysterious entity making the whistling sounds. By about 10:00 the witness was ready to leave the area and did so.
He later told the other members of the hunting camp about his experiences, but they were as perplexed about the sounds as he had been, and were unable to explain them.
Other Details: None of the other deer camp members had ever heard such sounds, and none offered any plausible explanation for them.
Historical Notes: The location of this incident is in the hollow just west of the Dry Spadra Creek Hollow which has been the source of numerous reports of encounters with enigmatic, hirsute primates. A few of those reports are posted on this web site. Several other such reports are being presently investigated.
Investigator’s Comments: Neither the sounds heard in the area by the writer, or those reportedly heard by the witness can be verified to have been made by an enigmatic primate. In the writer’s opinion, there is little other explanation for the sounds, given the fact that the area has generated such an unusual number of reports of encounters with such animals by credible area residents.
Report received and recorded by: Tal H. Branco, Field Researcher/Investigator, The RFP Research Project
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