; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pennsylvania Bigfoot Encounters

On Arcane Radio, Sean Forker & I regularly discuss Bigfoot reports from Pennsylvania. Most of these accounts are, for the most part, well-known or recent sightings sent to the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society, the Keystone Bigfoot Project or to anomalies researcher Stan Gordon. I decided to go back into my archives and dig up a few Pennsylvania Bigfoot sightings I've received over the years. If you've read any of these in the past, I hope you enjoy reading them again:

In the mid-1980, I was privy to an encounter that occurred not too far from State College, PA. A 19-year old local resident happened to be looking out his bedroom window which provided an excellent view of a pasture just west of his house. It was early morning (about 6:30 am local time) but there was plenty of light to see clearly. He was in the process of getting ready for work.

When he looked out the window, he noticed a tall, hairy creature walking in the pasture, coming from the north. The creature was taking long smooth strides and its arms moved back and forth as a human would. It did not appear to have a neck but capable of turning its head as it was constantly looking around. Except for the face, the creature was covered entirely with brown or black medium length hair. The witness was able to see the face and noticed that the forehead protruded distinctly. Also, it appeared the nose was wide and pushed close to the face. The height was approximately eight feet.

As the witness observed, the creature continued walking until it was south of the house. Suddenly, the creature stopped walking when the witness noticed 2 other similar creatures join it. Both were about one foot shorter than the first. At this point, one of the creatures reached down and picked up a piece of lumber that was part of a new shed being built. The larger creature started walking swiftly towards the house until it was within 50 feet of the residence. It stopped suddenly, made a few loud grunting sounds and glared toward the window from where the witness was watching.

The witness ducked and crawled to the far end of the bedroom. After a few minutes, the witness got up and looked out the window. The creatures were gone. Later that day, the witness and a friend discovered large unusual tracks in the pasture.

It's not known if this incident was ever reported but I do know that at least one local police officer knew what had happened and confirmed it with me. He seemed to be convinced that the witness was upstanding and honest but very private. The witness did move away from the area not long after the encounter fearing that the creatures would harm him.

NOTE: this account was told to me several years ago by a woman who worked with the witness as well as the referenced police officer. I was in the area (Huntingdon, PA) investigating a haunting at the time and happened to come in contact with her. She did say that there were Bigfoot sightings before and after this incident.

I received a telephone call from a woman name Macy who claimed to have seen a small bigfoot-like creature on July 18th, 2008 near the town of Red Lion, Pa. She stated that she had been shopping and was on her way home. As she was driving south on Rt. 624 about 2 miles from Red Lion, she noticed something running across a field near a home construction site. At first, she thought it was a large dog but it stood upright like a human. She pulled her car into an unfinished side road and observed the creature for several minutes as it would stop, look around, then it would continue running until it reached a small woods. She states that it was around 7PM in the evening and clear.

She described it as stocky with muscular arms and legs and no more than 4 foot in stature and sparsely covered in dark gray hair. It had no clothes though she could not determine the gender. At one point, she says that she was near enough to notice the head was smaller than that of a human child of the same height. She said that only one other person (a neighbor) was told of this sighting and that she did not want any notoriety. Her only reason for contacting me was because she had seen my blog and that I lived nearby (about 50 miles south in Baltimore) and thought I may want to check the area out for myself.

NOTE: There have been Bigfoot sighting reports in this area of Pennsylvania in the past. This very well could have been a juvenile Bigfoot. There have been local legends of a small hominid (the Albatwitch) in Lancaster and York Counties. The 'Albatwitch' is a small (about 4 feet tall), manlike creature which supposedly lived in wooded areas. Their main area of residence seemed to be near Chickies Rock, a heavily wooded area along the banks of the Susquehanna River about a mile or two north of Columbia, Pa. Albatwitches were also reported from wooded areas all along the river's shore and were said to be fond of apples thus their bizarre common name is short for “apple-snitch.”

Legend also says that the albatwitches either became extinct or were driven nearly into extinction in the later years of the nineteenth century. Chickies Rock, where the creatures supposedly lived, does have a tradition of strange sights and sounds. In the 1950s and 1970s, a man-like figure was seen several times, and local legends also speak of sounds like the crack of a whip heard in the woods at night.

Several sightings of Bigfoot-type beings have been recorded from this area. A vague report concerning the sighting of a hairy humanoid came from Lancaster in 1973. Lancaster is 10 miles east of Columbia. Another came from the town of North Annville (about 20 miles to the north) in the same year. In addition, a number of reports have surfaced out of neighboring York County, especially in the southern section where Red Lion is located, and extending south across the Mason-Dixon line into to the Maryland piedmont and coastal plain.

A few years ago, I received a very odd account from the far southwestern corner of Pennsylvania. It was forwarded by 'John' a retired Federal employee who lives in northern Nevada and who wishes to remain anonymous. The story centers around an experience John had while living with his Grandfather. John later stated that the property was in a rural area of Aleppo Township in Greene County, Pennsylvania. He did not want to pinpoint the location but did say that he wanted the anecdote dedicated to his Grandfather - Samuel Hill, who he considers the most remarkable man he has ever known.

John seemed quite sincere in my opinion. He decided to come forth with the account after he had a rather strange encounter a few months previous (which he did not want to discuss). John did mention in his most recent email that he was 81 years old and a veteran of the Korean War. He also stated that he truly felt his Grandfather's actions were taken in defense of his family:

“When I was a boy my mother and I lived with my grandfather who had a farmhouse in a rural location in southwestern Pennsylvania. My grandfather was a handyman who also worked a small blacksmith shop in his old barn. My grandmother had died before I was born and my father had also passed away while serving overseas in the U.S. Army.

Beginning in the summer of 1946 we noticed strange howling sounds coming from the woods that surrounded the property. The activity came at night and was very frightening when the howling came close. The sounds didn’t seem to bother my grandfather though my mother and I were shaken when it would begin. The sounds continued off and on for about a year but we never noticed any animals. My grandfather and I would hunt for deer and squirrel in the woods during the colder months but we never saw signs of unusual animal activity.

One late afternoon in the spring of 1947 I was helping my grandfather in his shop when I noticed something moving around the edge of the woods near an area where by grandfather had a few junk cars and other items. It was about 200 feet from our location but I clearly noticed someone or something moving around. I told my grandfather to look. He walked to the door, lit his pipe and said nothing. After a minute or two he turned around and got back to work. About that time this thing moved into the woods and disappeared. I couldn’t judge how big it was but it sort of reminded me of a magazine picture I had seen of a large ape that was said to inhabit in the Asian jungles.

Later that evening I told my mother what I had seen. She was shocked because she knew I wouldn’t lie to her and that the howling sounds had been closer lately. I also told her of my grandfather’s response when I pointed the creature out to him. She immediately stood up and walked into the sitting room in order to ask my grandfather what it was. He started to shake his head slowly and said that he was hoping that we wouldn’t ‘see it’ because he was worried we would be scared and leave him.

After assuring him that we’d never leave him my mother again insisted that he tell us what this creature was. He looked away, took a deep breath and said ‘it’s a Dark Walker’ and said that it had lived in the woods for many years. He said the native Indians called it ‘Stone Spirit’ and they thought that it was an evil spirit who would appear when someone was about to die. The last time he had seen the ‘Dark Walker’ was the night before my grandmother died. My mother was skeptical of the ‘harbinger of death’ angle but she sensed that there was something unnatural nearby.

The howling continued each night though we hadn’t seen any signs of the ‘Dark Walker’. One warm evening we were sitting on the back porch. There were a few howls but it seemed like the sounds were further away. We were listening to the radio when all at once my grandfather stood up and looked out towards the barn. He turned to me and said 'John, go get my pistol and ammo - hurry now'. I ran into the sitting room and grabbed the .455 Webley revolver and a handful of bullets from the old steamer trunk. I handed it to him and watched him load the gun. He then picked up a hatchet and slid it in his pants belt. 'Now both of you get into the house - now!' We were in the kitchen looking through the screen door and watched my grandfather walk slowly towards the barn. We saw him turn and walk out of sight into the dark. I decided to grab my shotgun and keep it nearby. After a minute or so we heard three gunshots and a blood curdling scream emanate from the woods near the barn. Then it suddenly stopped and there was complete quiet. We were frozen and wondering if we should go look for my grandfather. A few seconds later we heard him yell ‘stay in the house until I come back.’

I heard the pickup truck start up. I looked out the storage room window and saw my grandfather drive to the back of the barn and park. Several minutes later he backed up and drove by the side of the house out onto the road. I could see that there was something in the back covered up with a tarp. It was getting late so my mother told me to go to bed.

The next morning I came downstairs and sat beside my grandfather who was reading the newspaper and drinking a cup of coffee. My mother was sitting at the other end of the table staring at my grandfather. Not long later she said ‘well dad, tell him’. My grandfather put the paper down and looked at me. ‘I killed the Dark Walker’. That was all he said. My mother told me not to tell anyone and that the matter was closed.

We never talked about it again. My grandfather lived another 15 years and my mother stayed with him until his dying day. When I grew older I moved away and raised a family. I would return home to visit each summer - and never heard another howl. John

NOTE: I asked John if he thought the 'Dark Walker' was a Bigfoot or hominid. He responded by stating that he didn't think it was a hairy man or human-like creature. He thought it seemed more animal-like than human and that it moved lower to the ground...at least during the brief time he observed it. John mentioned that there were Shawnee legends of similar creatures but he never found a reference to a 'Stone Spirit'. For the time being, I’m going to consider this a hominid encounter.

Silent Invasion: The Pennsylvania UFO-Bigfoot Casebook

Monsters of Pennsylvania: Mysterious Creatures in the Keystone State

Supernatural Lore of Pennsylvania: Ghosts, Monsters and Miracles (American Legends)

Strange Pennsylvania Monsters