; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Monsters of Central Illinois

In the Spring 1970, three sheep had been killed near the town of Farmer City, Illinois. Local officials dismissed it as the work of wild dogs, which have been known to roam the area. In July just outside of town, near Salt Creek, was a ten-acre section of woods and fields that was a popular parking spot for teenagers. Four teens parked at the popular “lover’s lane” area and received the fright of their lives when a huge, hairy humanoid with piercing yellow eyes decided to see what was going on in their car. After the creature was “scared away” by a flashlight, the terrified girls demanded to be taken home. The boys returned to investigate and again encountered the creature; even with windows closed its stench permeated the vehicle. They didn’t stick around. The boys led local police to the area, but a search turned up only a much flattened area of foliage - thought to be its “nest”.

During the next two weeks, multiple sightings of the creature were made around the area - including one sighting by Robert Hayslip, a Farmer City police officer. A week after this sighting, the creature was spotted 20 miles southwest in Weldon Springs State Park near Clinton, IL - it was a bear 'bathing' in the river, but fled to dense woods when it realized it was spotted. Later, a policeman and a conservation officer found tracks along the water‘s edge that definitely did not belong to a bear. They were reportedly very large and human-like.

Days later the creature migrated 15 miles north to Heyworth, IL where it was spotted late at night crouching by the side of a county back road - it jumped and fled when the car slowed to observe it. The startled observer described it as “ape-like”.

Still seemingly on the move, the beast was, 10 days later witnessed by a team of construction workers outside of Waynesville, IL (10 miles west of Heyworth). It sprinted across the road (from woods to woods) in front of their van near dusk. Another Waynesville resident reported seeing it too within days. That was the last report of the so-called "Farmer City Monster" and one can’t help but wonder if it continued its strange journey northwest across Central Illinois. If it did, it was never reported again.


Friday, July 17, 1970

Farmer City 'Monster" Sparks Search, Debate

By James Keeran
Bloomington Pantagraph

Farmer City - Believe it or don't, but a lot of people think there's something that might be a monster of some sort running about the Salt Creek area south of here.

It all started a week ago when four Farmer City youths set up camp on some land owned by Kenny Johnson.

It was Thursday night, July 9, and they were sitting by the campfire when they heard something move in the tall grass surrounding the area. It spooked them.

One youth said he saw something move between the grass and the tent. Somebody turned the car lights on to get a better look.

It was crouched down by the tent. It looked manlike and was covered with a grayish white fur. Then it ran away. . . on two feet.

Stood Above Grass

Another youth said it stood between two and three feet above the grass. The grass is between three and four feet high in that area.

And it runs fast. The campers, Don Ennis, Larry Faircloth, Bob Hardwick and Gale Baker, left the area posthaste.

Young Ennis, with one foot in a cast because of a broken ankle, even left his crutches behind.

They told their story to Farmer City Policeman Robert Hayslip. He investigated and saw nothing.

But, he did hear something "running through the grass."

Friday night between 10 - 15 people say they saw a pair of eyes glowing at them in the dark.

Sunday night three more people swear they saw a furry creature again, in the same area.

More Saw Beast

Tuesday night eight to 10 people saw it standing by a dead tree about 100 feet away from the original campsite. When they shined car lights on it, it ran into the tall grass.

Bob Tharp was one who saw it.

"I didn't think it was as tall as they said it was," he said. "It looked to be maybe three or four feet high."

He called it "just a grayish figure."

Early Tuesday morning, between 2 and 3 o'clock, Officer Hayslip returned to the campsite with a friend.

Nobody knew the two men were going. The area seemed deserted.

"Heard Something Running"

"About 2 or 2:30 I heard something running through the grass," said Hayslip. "I thought once I might have see a pair of eyes pop up."

When he left the area about 3 a.m., a tent was still standing.

Somebody else checked the area about 6 a.m. Tuesday and found tent in shreds about 20 feet from where it had been pitched. Steel grommets, set in the heavy canvas tent, had been "ripped out," said the officer.

A quilt left near the tent also had been ripped to shreds.

Young Tharp and a friend took a tour of the 10-acre area on a motorcycle Tuesday. They found several paths and the grass around several trees had been matted down "like something slept there," he said.

Questions Persist

End of story? Not quite.

Unanswered questions persist.

Why would a wild animal, against it nature, approach human beings and then run away?

What kind of animal runs in an upright position?

How can it run fast through thick grass three and four feet high?

What is strong enough to tear steel grommets from heavy canvas?

Who or what is it?

Maybe it's somebody who just gave up smoking, can't sleep and doesn't have anything else to do at night.

Nobody, really knows what it is, but it's beginning to cause a lot of talk around town. And it's definitely keeping a lot of teenager off the streets at night.

They're all out looking for the creature.


Wednesday, March 30, 1977

Spring resurrects ‘Kickapoo Monster’

By Rick Baker
Bloomington Pantagraph

Downs – “You didn’t really see that thing, did you, Dale Mitchell?”

“Yes, I did,” Dale Mitchell said earnestly.

“Aw, come on.”

“I saw it,” Dale Mitchell said.

Dale Mitchell, a 23 year old mechanic from Downs, said he saw, and was pursued by, something about seven feet tall and “covered with fur” late Monday night about two miles north of Downs.

Mitchell said he was driving to his home in Downs from his job in Wapella, when the headlights of his pickup truck shone on what he said looked like “a bigfoot monster.”

“Aw, come on.”

“I saw it.” Dale Mitchell said.

Mitchell said he saw the thing near a bend in Kickapoo Creek, and when he saw it, he said he stopped his truck on a rural road to look at the thing. He said that when he stopped, the thing started rushing toward him.

Mitchell took off. He said he didn’t get a very good look at the thing, but said it “had a kind of human face and hands.” Mitchell said he nervously drove home and, as many people who have seen monsters do, call The Daily Pantagraph.

Since 1970, there were several reports of a “bigfoot monster” in Tazewell County near the Coal Hollow Road. A lot of people got pretty riled up over those monster sightings.

About 75 men in Tazewell County formed a posse, equipped with guns and flashlights to find the monster. The monster wasn’t found and the posse broke up shortly after one of the searchers, an East Peoria man, accidently shot himself in the leg.

Some members of the posse figured the monster went back home in outer space.

And in 1973, the United Press International was moving quite a few stories about monster sightings near the small town of Enfield, in Southern Illinois.

Henry McDaniel, a disabled war veteran from Enfield, told UPI that he heard something scratching on the rear door of his house in the spring of 1973. He said he went to the door and saw a gray, hairy, three-legged monster standing like a human being with pink reflecting eyes bulging from a huge head. (Holy Moses)

“I wasn’t scared.” McDaniel told UPI. He went back into his house and got a gun. Then he shot it four times. He said the monster hissed, leaped 75 feet in three jumps, and disappeared.

The monster story got national attention. When a man in Elyria, Ohio, read it, he recognized the description. It was his pet kangaroo that had escaped. Its tail looked kind of like a third leg. The most reports of a monster in any one place in the area came from Farmer City in July of 1970. Within a week about 30 people reported seeing a “manlike thing” covered with grayish-white fur near a rural campsite.

Four young men camping at the site said they saw it and manged to get a set of car lights on it before it ran away. Soon after the thing ran away, they ran away. One of the young men had his broken foot set in a cast. He ran off without his crutches. They reported the sighting to police.

A couple of nights late, about a dozen people said they saw “a thing’s” eyes glowing at them in the dark. A few nights after that, three people swore to police they saw the furry creature again.

And a couple of nights after that, about 10 people told police they saw the thing standing by a dead tree about 100 feet away from the campsite.

Farmer City police officer Robert Hayslip, after getting all the reports, went to the campsite one morning about 2 o’clock. Hayslip said he heard something running through tall grass, but didn’t see anything.

When Hayslip left, there was a tent standing at the camping area. Four hours later, the tent was found ripped to shreds.

And it hasn’t been heard from in the Farmer City area since.

A couple of weeks after the Farmer City sightings, several youths said they saw a similar creature on the Kickapoo near Heyworth.

“I really saw it,” Mitchell said Tuesday. “I got pretty shook up.”

NOTE: There have been many similar sightings in the same general area over the years, including a reported 'Class A' sighting in 2009 and more recent sightings in Chatham in the Summer of 2011 (posted below)...Lon


July 18, 2011

Strange Howling, Footprints and Other Evidence Reported In Central Illinois

There’s something amiss in the backwoods of Chatham, something potentially big. Lately there’s been talk around certain areas of town of an unusual howling and screeching sound as well as evidence of some very large footprints.

Since June there have been at least five to six instances of residents discovering or hearing evidence that the infamous Bigfoot may be lurking somewhere in the Chatham community. One case in particular has garnered some attention from local police, as well as a few proclaimed Big Foot experts.

On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, Michael Patrick’s mother was getting the liner to her pool changed at her residence, when workmen noticed an abnormally large footprint under the apple tree in the back yard and brought the footprint to Patrick’s attention.

Over the years Patrick and his mother had, at times, heard bizarre noises, but had always passed them off as coming from some common forest animal. But they weren’t the only ones that had heard the sounds either. The night before the footprint was found a neighbor had also commented about unusual sounds.

“My neighbor has a German Shepherd, and it heard something that night that spooked him. The dog went outside to investigate, but came back cowering, now it won’t leave its owner’s side,” Patrick said.

Unsure about what exactly the footprint was, and concerned for his mother’s safety, Patrick called the Chatham Police Department. An officer came to investigate the scene, but was unable to determine what might have caused the print.

“The responding officer stated that there was a large footprint approximately 18 inches long and 8 inches wide, and it appeared there were five claw marks,” Chatham Police Department Deputy Chief, Vernon Foli said.

To give you an idea how big 18 inches is, retired NBA center Shaquille O’Neil's feet are approximately 15 inches long, and he wears a size 23 shoe. The average human being’s foot measures approximately 9 ½ inches. Most shoe size charts end at a size fifteen shoe. An 18-inch footprint is about the size of a healthy newborn baby. Considering the size of the print, it’s understandable for a person to show a little concern if they found such a print in their yard.

Patrick documented his discovery on Facebook where he struck up a conversation with a friend. Patrick’s friend knew John Winterbauer, a Bigfoot investigator. Winterbauer in turn contacted local Bigfoot expert Stan Courtney.

Courtney has documented sightings and gathered sound recordings and evidence of Bigfoot for years. He has interviewed over two hundred witnesses who have seen Bigfoot.

“I literally know hundreds of people who’ve seen these animals. There have been lots of them in central Illinois. I’ve recorded lots of sounds that other researchers and witnesses believe come from these animals. People in Springfield don’t realize it, but there have been a lot of reports from the Sangamon River around Riverton.” Courtney said in a previous interview.

Courtney said that there have been five to six other reports of finding footprints and howling in the Chatham area since June.

So why is Bigfoot in Chatham? Well it’s hard to say really. Patrick’s property does back up to a wooded stream which flows into Lake Springfield. Courtney proposed that the creature was drawn to the house because of the apple tree that grows in Patrick’s mother’s back yard.

Stan Courtney explained to Patrick that the apple tree might have somehow been interpreted as a gift of food. In the past the Patrick’s had noticed that apples from the tree had been picked, but only to a certain height. They believed that the culprit was a wily raccoon, but the large footprint seemed to suggest otherwise. Courtney told Patrick that a creature such a Bigfoot will usually return the favor, and present a gift of its own as a show of appreciation in the form of a dead animal or a strange arrangement of flowers.

The day after his meeting with Courtney, Patrick discovered the Sasquatch’s gift, a decapitated rabbit, near his mother’s house. In Courtney’s account he stated that the rabbit had, “its head pulled off, not bitten or cut, but just simply pulled off.”

Since that strange June evening, no more incidents have occurred at Patrick’s mother’s residence. You might think that such a strange series of events would frighten most people in to staying out of the back yard, but the occurrence has not deterred Patrick’s mother from going about her normal routine.

“She’s not scared, she continues to do her yard work, she thinks it’s neat. My mom has never been skeptical of it.” Patrick said.

While his mother may not be skeptical of what happened, others aren’t ready to pin the event on Bigfoot just yet. Vernon Foli posed a possible explanation, albeit an indirect one.

“One thing I can tell you is that approximately ½ mile south of this location is the former Grindstone Valley Zoo that use to have exotic animals. The zoo is no longer in existence but the owner is Brad or Larry Reynolds and he still has some animals at this location,” Foli said.

Could the print have come from an animal from the old zoo? The Reynolds had kept large animals such as buffalo, antelope, elk, deer, tigers, leopards, monkeys, and zebras while the zoo was open. Or could it be a bear footprint? It’s widely believed by many that there are no bears in Illinois, but with their presence in neighboring states, Wisconsin and Missouri, would it be so far fetched to think that there are indeed bears in Illinois?

At this point it’s hard to tell what exactly made the footprint, but with other accounts of strange happenings and unusual howls and screeches in Chatham, many residents are raising an eyebrow.

“I definitely don’t think it was a hoax, and it was more than just a coincidence. I think that people should just be a bit more vigilant and careful, because you never know what you’re going to find out there,” Patrick said. - sj-r

NOTE: The Murphysboro Mud Monster is one of the more infamous Bigfoot-like creatures reported in the state of Illinois...this time in the southern part of the state. Lon

Suggested reading:

The Field Guide to North American Monsters: Everything You Need to Know About Encountering Over 100 Terrifying Creatures in the Wild

Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting

Bigfoot Across America