; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Orange Eyes and the Charles Mill Lake Monster

The legend of Orange Eyes dates back to March 28, 1959, when three panic stricken teenagers allegedly encountered a large, bipedal, hairless monstrosity, which rose from a mist covered morass on a desolate stretch of country road. This lane, which is officially named Ruggles Road, runs along the Charles Mill Reservoir outside of Mansfield, Ohio

The first known encounter with Orange Eyes occurred in 1963. According to eyewitness reports, the creature appeared before a plethora of eyewitnesses who described as being approximately 11-feet in height and weighing somewhere in the order of 1,000 pounds.

The horrified wasted no time in arming themselves and forming a posse in order to ensure this massive beast’s destruction, but their efforts were met with failure.

While the origin of this being is shrouded in mystery, there are many who believe that Orange Eyes was once a docile and reclusive creature, which dwelt in a tunnel in Cleveland’s River Side cemetery.

These individuals assert that it wasn’t until a highway construction crew destroyed the animal’s sanctuary in the late 1940s, that it was forced to move into the wooded area near Mill Lake, where it came into more frequent contact with human beings and its attitude took a distinct turn for the worse.

The next recorded encounter with Orange Eyes occurred on April 22, 1968 when a group of children stumble upon the beast.

The final recorded encounter with this creature was said to have taken place in June of 1991, when this creature presented itself to a pair of anglers who were fishing near Willis Creek.

So what is Orange Eyes? The description would suggest that it is a Bigfoot-like being...but has it been confused with another local cryptid?

Nestled in between Cleveland and Columbus, the Mill Lake Reservoir was constructed in 1935 by damming the Black Fork of the Mohican River. Known for its voluminous catfish population, The Lake is also said to be the home of a unique and ostensible amphibious creature named the Charles Mill Lake Monster.

The previously mentioned encounter with Orange Eyes on March 28, 1959, may have actually been the Charles Mill Lake Monster. Three teenage buddies — Denny Patterson, Wayne Armstrong and Michael Lane — claimed to have had a run-in with a horrifying creature. The youth testified that they were cavorting near Ruggles road, near the swampy shores of the Charles Mill Reservoir at night when they saw a strange, 7-foot tall being rise up from the black water front of them.

The petrified boys watched in horror as this colossal creature towered above them. Later they would describe the beast as being a huge, “armless” humanoid with luminous, green eyes and large, webbed feet. Needless to say the teens wasted no time in exiting the scene and were swift to report their unusual encounter. This odd manifestation seems quite unlike any other creature ever reported.

When local authorities made their way back to the reservoir to see what all the excitement was about, they discovered a series of "tracks that resembled the footgear worn by skin divers" along the shore. Despite this apparent confirmation that “something” with large, webbed feet was skulking along the edge of the lake, there were no subsequent reports of this armless beast with glowing eyes.

It goes without saying that the legends of the Charles Mill Lake Monster and Orange Eyes have become intertwined over the years, a fact which is understandable considering that they are both huge, humanoid beasts with illuminated eyes and inhabit the same general area.

The Charles Mill Lake Monster is an armless, hairless, ostensibly amphibious, green-eyed monster with big webbed feet, while Orange Eyes is more akin to a prototypical Bigfoot-like being in that it is a large, hairy ape-like creature with two arms and orange eyes. So...are these two beings actually the same creature that was described differently?

The following anecdotes and reports (unedited) come from the BFRO website:


Old Hickory Rd in the Summer 1963 - Richland County

This incident occurred about forty years ago and may not be of interest, but I'm going to relate what happened anyway. Two other teenage neighbors and I were sitting in a large yard in a rural setting one summer evening talking. All of a sudden, the property owners dog ran from behind the barn yelping. Our approximate sitting position in relation to the dog was I'd say 70 to 80 ft. What surprised us initially was that this big boxer dog was afraid of nothing. The three of us turned in unison to see a large creature come from behind the barn that I would describe as resembling part bear, part ape and part human. It was about seven feet tall, and it had rather long, dirty, reddish brown hair. I would best describe the creature's gait as a fast "lope." What I mean is that it would bring its right leg to its left and repeat the same movement in a quick manner while swinging its arms in a fully extended and relaxed manner (kind of difficult to describe). It moved from our left to our right. It "loped" across the yard, across the road and into the woods. It was the time of evening that it was starting to get dark. I said to the other two boys...let's get knives and flashlights and investigate. When we had assembled the gear we followed the creature's path to the edge of the woods. Although we were young and full of bravado, we weren't brave enough to actually go into the woods. We instead shined our flashlights into the woods from a safe distance. We could see in the lights reflection two bright pink eyes looking back at us. Well, what little bravado that we had evaporated and we ran home. Although this event occurred about forty years ago, I can still see it in my mind as though it happened yesterday.


Somewhere between Cleveland and Columbus in one of the little campsite areas along State Route 3, from what he recalls. (He called back to describe the Mohican Memorial Forest as the likely general area in Ashland Co.)

I would be happy to send you a copy of a colored picture I drew when I was 5 years old back in 1943 of what possibly could have been a bigfoot. I was lost out in the woods while camping with my parents somewhere in central Ohio and this large female ape-like creature put me back in our camp. Then I started screaming and my parents who were out looking for me heard me and came back to the camp and found me. I have not showed this picture to many people because they would have thought I was crazy. I was a lawyer here in Summit County for nearly 40 years and I did not need any aspersions cast upon my sanity. I have had two cancer surgeries in the past six months and I would now like to leave the original of this picture as a bequest in my will to the right kind of museum before anything else happens to me. I also hope that this picture might corroborate the testimony of people with similar experiences whom nobody would believe before. If you don't have the time to look at it, please let me know the address where the picture can be sent by parcel post or UPS. I am grateful to that blessed creature for my life and would like to honor her memory in some way.


Subject stated he remembers being picked up by something. He saw its arm and he was carried. He described that it looked to him like a gorilla woman. She had deep set big brown eyes. Since it was so long ago, he doesn't remember details except that she had a fox-like color of brownish red. It was covered in coarse hair.

He remembered being carried for what he thought had to be over a minute. He described her as fast, strong and bigger than his father who stood five feet eight inches tall. He recalls being held; an odor commonly described as dead or rotting meat. He stated that her teeth looked stained and she had bad breath. I asked, why a woman, and he said he didn’t know but she acted that way. She had no enlarged breasts. He also kept saying she had deep brown eyes but not so deeply cut into her skull.

He said she took him and cut through the forest. He was terrified, she held him in her right arm. He remembers how fast she walked and that she cut through the forest like butter and she knew where she was going. He said he cried hard, was terrified, but she did not hurt him. She took him to a place where his parents eventually found him and she put a heavy branch on his legs so he could not move. Then she left. I asked about her build and he said she was solid with "good shoulders". Since it was so long ago there was a lot he couldn't remember, but he feels she was (even though she looked so hairy) a woman.

This witness went on to say he spent the rest of his life not sharing his story but after retiring, he thought "What the Hell" and began sharing his experience. He mentioned that he could not get his parents to believe him. They passed it off as imagination. The only adult he mentioned as believing him was his kindergarten teacher and his father was thought to discredit her by the beliefs she held.

The question "What did your parents think of you being pinned down by the log or branch?" was recently asked of this man. He reminded me that his parents were from the city and in a state of panic (even hysterics) because he was missing. Being frightened so much of the woods in the dark in the rain, they would have figured he would have never survived being lost. He presumed that his parents thought it might be a natural situation such as a branch being blown down by the trees, regarding him being pinned by a heavy branch. . As unlikely as that sounds, it is certainly more acceptable than what he described as happening to him at the time. He feels this report is important in that it may help to influence young people to share any unusual experiences they have had. Back then, he had nowhere to go with it and nobody to talk to about it. When he tried to talk about it he was met with rejection so after awhile, he completely stopped since he only met one adult person who would believe him.


Fall 1991 - The incident in question took place in Ashland County about 5 miles south of Ashland on a one lane country road. If necessary I can go and get the actual township number for the road.

Myself and my best friend at the time were still in high school And we were "investigating" a "supposed" haunted bridge one night. So we went out to this old rail road bridge,(the kind that you can drive through And it is only one lane), and we went there at night. So we preceded to look around and we heard rustling in the woods next to us about 50 yards Away. We didn't think nothing of it so we continued looking around. The rustling began to get closer but we thought that it was a deer or something So we decided to walk up to this old abandoned barn to see what was in it. Well, all of a sudden there was this loud, deafening scream-roar-growl noise And we heard what sounded like heavy footsteps in the field next to us. I saw, running at us on what appeared to be somewhat all fours but it wasn't a massive creature with long shaggy hair. It stopped about 15 feet away and stood up and it had to have been at least 16 feet tall!!! We then took off running for the car and the creature pursued us. By the time we got to the car another was coming down the road and it scared the creature away.


Other then the rustling of trees and bushes and the growl like sound I can't remember anything. We did come back the next day and found Some rather wierd looking tracks or footprints or whatever they were.

The area was kind of set down in a low area with somewhat of a hilly area. There was a railway line that had two tracks and it ran along a raised area that had several one-lane bridges in the area on other roads. There was a small stream that also ran next to the railway bridge and in fact there was two bridges, one for cars and one for the stream. There was An old cow pasture where we actually saw the creature but surrounded that and everything else could be considered a wooded area or forest. The elevation Is not known.


The location was south of the Adario West Road approx 1/2 mile along the creek in Richland County.

I was fifteen or sixteen at the time, 1958, and running a trapline on a creek west and south of Adario, Ohio. It was my third or fourth year of trapping. My dog, Smokey, always went with me and usually chased rabbits while I was checking my traps. That morning, before going to school, I set out to check my traps with a near full moon lighting up the sky. It was a very cold morning. As I started down the Adario West Road toward the creek, Smokey started acting strange and wouldn't leave my side. He started growling a real deep growl, just barely audible. At each spot where I had a trap set, Smokey would sit on top of the bank while I went to check my traps. I was nearing the end of my trap line when I had to go down a steep bank to retrieve a muskrat in one of my traps. This time Smokey came down the bank with me and sat facing up the bank, his growling growing louder. I was just getting ready to reset the trap when an errie feeling came over me. I turned to look up the bank (Smokey had ceased growling and was leaning against me)and saw something I had never seen before until many years later in a documentary on 'Big Foot'. Whatever it was stood approx. seven feet tall and was all covered with long hair, except its face. The face was not exactly human, but not animal either. And there seemed to be some kind of foul odor in the air.

Needless to say, it scared me half to death, but I think I also might have surprised it at the same time. In just seconds it turned and half walked, half ran away. I started up the bank a few seconds later and reached the top of the bank in time to see 'it' cross a six foot high gate leading into a field, without even touching it. I watched it lumber through the field for a minute or so to make sure it wasn't going the direction I had to go, and then started for home. Unfortunately, there was no snow on the ground and the ground was frozen pretty hard. I didn't even think to look for tracks at the time, but thought about it in school later in the day. I decided to go back out and look for tracks after school, but as luck would have it we got about four inches of snow before I got home from school.

I didn't tell my parents or anyone else because I didn't want to loose my freedom to trap and knew my mom would come unglued if she knew about it. I waited several days before checking my trap line again for fear of running into it again, but never did see anything like it again. There are a lot of small woodlots in that area, but nothing of any great size because it is farm country with roads as close as one mile apart. I have no idea where something like that could have lived undetected by someone, sometime. I didn't find out until the early nineties that there had ever been any 'sightings' of such a creature anywhere in Ohio. I thought such sightings were mostly in northern CA and up the coast states into Canada. Anyhow, that's about as much as I can remember after forty-five years.


Between 1957 and 1960 they had strange incidents around there property that couldn't be explained. One night the dogs were going crazy over something in the yard. The next morning they found a three-foot wide section of wheat field mowed down heading toward the ditch line. He adds the creature had long hair and the arms very straight. The encounter even caused his dog (cross between shepherd/spitz) to sweat in fear.


The following is a full report of sightings in Richland County, OH during July 1978:

SUBJECT: An unusual bipedal creature with large head

DATE(S): July 8, 10, & 12, 1978

WITNESSES: Eugene Kline, Theresa Kline and Ken O'Neal

LOCATION: Butler, Ohio; Richland County

INVESTIGATORS: Ron Schaffner (Ron@bfro.net), Earl Jones, Richland County Sheriff's Department

CASE DATA: A brief column in the Columbus Dispatch dated July 16, 1978 read as follows:


"What has a head larger than its body, bulging red eyes and stands over seven foot tall? Don't know?...Well, neither do the residents of southern Richland County community of Butler"....

The newspaper goes on to explain an offbeat investigation by Butler's acting police chief and the Richland County's Sheriff's department. Both departments debunked the story as a hoax. We spent several hours interviewing the witnesses and found discrepancies between law officials, the press and local rumors. We hope to clarify the events in question.

Butler is a quiet community of 1300. The town offers a wide verity of outdoor entertainment, such as canoeing, hayrides and ski facilities. On the eastern side lies the Mohican State Forest, which provides an unlimited amount of camping and backpacking trails.

The Roger Kline family live on Ohio S.R. 95 at the Butler city limits. Their property extends a few acres back to a branch line of the CSX railroad.(1) Beyond the tracks, lie vast wooded hills and farmland.

The first of these strange encounters occurred on the night of July 8 at 11:00 PM. Eugene Kline and Ken O'Neal, both 17, were walking along the tracks when they heard a strange noise coming from the brush up ahead. The boys turned around towards the left and saw an unknown creature about seven foot tall with large red eyes. The boys instantly panicked. Ken started running back to the house, but Eugene could not move. He seemed to be transfixed to the apparition for what seemed like minutes. Finally, the shock broke and Eugene made his get-a-away back to the house.

Eugene described the creature as being about seven foot tall with a head much larger than its body. It appeared to have red eyes. He further stated that there were no hands or feet visible. They could not give any details as to hair or skin. Both agreed that it made an unusual growling sound.

Eugene's father called the Sheriff's department and they checked the area. They also filed a report. (2)

Within two days, "Bighead" was reported again. This time, the creature was seen by a carload of Mansfield residents. (Names are on police report, but are withheld here due to confidentiality requests.) It was about 10:00 PM, when the group of young adults were at a railroad crossing. They told Bellville Police that a hugh black apparition with red eyes was in a slumped position by the tracks. The authorities were impressed because all their stories matched while being interviewed separately. All witnesses showed signs of fright.

On the night of July 12, the creature was back on the prowl and back on the Kline's property. Theresa and her father, Roger were pitching hay from their barn. A slow freight train was heading eastbound. The train began to sound its horn at long and short intervals. Roger went back to the house while Theresa decided that she wanted to see why the train kept blowing the horn. She had not gone far when she saw a silhouette with two glowing eyes. It omitted a foul odor and a high pitched scream. Theresa threw her flashlight at it and ran.


The Richland County Sheriff's department investigated and found no physical evidence to substantiate this creature. deputies remained skeptical and even mocked the stories. According to Butler Police Chief, Phil Stortz, the Klines were probably seeing a wild animal from the Mohican State Park. He could not see how "Bigfoot" could exist in Ohio. (3)

There seems to be a change of opinion from Chief Stortz. According to the Columbus Dispatch, he stated that footprints and unusual hair were found on the Kline's property. When we asked him about his statements, he denied ever saying that and that the press misquoted him.

We arrived at the Kline residence on September 8. Eugene and Theresa were still in a nervous state as they recalled their encounters. They appeared to be intelligent kids with no apparent reason to perpetrate a hoax. Eugene received much ridicule from his classmates. He is familiar with many domestic and wild animals. It is a common practice of his to observe the local wildlife as they approach the nearby creek. Eugene told us that much of that wildlife wasn't seen during the week in question, although the neighborhood dogs barked constantly and the cattle seemed spooked. One dog jumped through a picture window of his owner's home and ran wildly inside the house. No one was sure what spooked the dog, but it was obviously scared. However, this may not be related to the events in question.

Since there were no specific descriptions of the creature's facial features, we can only speculate as to what it was. The head area is certainly not indicative of our legendary Bigfoot, but that description is probably a bit exaggerated due to a frightened experience. At any rate - Bigfoot or not - this case is extremely puzzling.

(1) CSX abandoned their right-of-way several years ago. The old line is now a paved bike trail.

(2) I have copies of the three original police reports that were filed.

(3) The reader will notice that the Butler Police Chief was the first to use the term "Bigfoot". This wasn't mentioned by the witnesses and we avoid using this term during our investigations.


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