; Phantoms and Monsters - Real Cryptid Encounter Reports - Fortean Researcher Lon Strickler

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Probable 'Bigfoot' Explores Campsite on Winding Stair Mountain, Oklahoma

A group of friends are backpacking and camping in Ouachita National Forest, Oklahoma. One night, 2 of the friends hear a bipedal creature continuously circle the campsite, occasionally venturing closer.

The following account was recently forwarded to me:

"This incident happened during the summer of 1982, right after we graduated from high school. Two friends and I decided to take a few days and go backpacking in the Ouachita National Forest, in far southeast Oklahoma. Specifically, we were on Winding Stair Mountain, where there is a national hiking trail that follows along the crest of that mountain. It's really more like a ridge than a mountain. And although it's called a "mountain," we're not talking elevations like in the Rockies, for example. Winding Stair Mountain probably averages between 2000'-2500' feet. But for Oklahoma, that's pretty high.

On the second night into our trip, we stopped to camp along a stretch of the trail that overlooks a valley. At the bottom of the valley, a couple of miles away, you can see a lake called Lake Bohannon. And although we couldn't see it from our vantage point, next to that lake is a Boy Scout camp called Camp Tom Hale. One of my friends on this trip had been in the Boy Scouts, and had spent time at that camp. And, as you might expect, they told stories to each other about a Bigfoot-like monster that roamed the forests out there.

Anyway, we set up camp right on the hiking trail. In fact, we built our campfire ring on the trail itself. The reason is because the trail was broad, hard-packed bare earth. So we felt this was safest. Besides, we hadn't seen any other hikers during our time out there, and we promised ourselves that next morning we would completely douse the coals and re-disperse the fire ring rocks. That way, there would be hardly any trace left that we had ever built a camp fire there.

For sleeping, I had brought a mesh hammock, which I strung up between two trees. I set it up parallel to the trail, and I had the campfire to my immediate left. My two friends slept on the ground, spreading out a tarp and sleeping bags directly opposite of the campfire from me, on the other side of the trail. To my right, I had a nice view of that valley and the lake, with the mountain sloping down away from me. As it got dark, we cooked dinner over the fire, BS'd around for a while, and then finally turned in for the night. It was a beautiful, clear summer night, with a soft breeze coming up from the valley. We continued to talk for a while after everyone had gone to bed, but I eventually drifted off to sleep in my hammock.

At some point during the night, I woke up. I'm sure I had a watch on me, but I don't remember now the exact time. However, it must have been well after midnight because I saw that our campfire had burned itself down to just a bed of coals. I laid there for a minute, looking up at the stars through the pine tree tops, wondering what had caused me to wake up. And then I heard it. It sounded like something walking through the underbrush, up the slope to my right, and towards our camp. It would walk a little, then stop. Then walk some more, then stop again. But it was definitely getting closer. Now, I am no expert woodsman, but to me, it didn't sound like a 4-footed animal, which would make a sound more like a continuous rustle through the leaves and underbrush. This sounded like individual footsteps, like something walking on two feet.

There was really nothing I could think of to do, except just keep quiet and wait to see what would happen. The only weapons I had with me were a hatchet for chopping firewood, and a hunting knife. Fortunately, I had both of these with me in the hammock (sheathed, of course) because I am paranoid like that. So I quietly unsheathed them, clutched one in each hand, waited and listened.

Whatever it was finally got to what sounded like a few dozen feet from our camp and then stopped again. Next, instead of coming even closer, it started to circle our camp. And of course, it circled our camp in a direction that had it going behind me as I lay in my hammock, rather than in the direction that my feet were pointing. This meant that if it approached closer, I could not see it what it was without sitting up or even rolling completely out of my hammock.

Eventually, it circled around until it was directly behind my head as I lay in the hammock, but still keeping its distance. Then things got quiet again. You will remember that I mentioned that the hiking trail was broad, hard-packed earth. I thought to myself, whatever it is could now just walk down the trail towards our camp and not make a sound. I wouldn't even know it was there until it was literally standing right next me, where I could look up from my hammock and see it. If you've ever heard the saying about your blood running cold, it's true. I actually felt like I had ice water running through my veins at that point.

However, a moment later, the sounds of it walking through the leaves and underbrush started again. It had not walked down the trail towards our camp after all, but had instead crossed the trail and was now behind me and to my upper left. It continued to circle our camp until it got to a point roughly directly to my left, a few dozen feet beyond the spot where my friends were sleeping. It stopped there for a few minutes, and then it began retracing its path. It crossed the trail again, directly up behind me as I lay in the hammock, and walked back into the underbrush to my upper right. It circled back around until it was to my direct right again, approximately to where it had started. And then it went back down the mountain side, until I could no longer hear it in the distance as it moved through the underbrush.

I continued to lay there in my hammock, wondering WTH it could have been. Then suddenly, one of my friends whispered from out of the darkness on the other side of the fire ring, "Hey Brett, are you awake?" I replied that I was and he asked, "Did you hear that too?" This was the friend who had been a Boy Scout. I said yes, it woke me up and I laid here listening to it this whole time. Then we both got up and immediately built our campfire back up. We had saved back some firewood to use for cooking breakfast the following morning, but we threw it all on the fire now instead. We sat there for a while, talking and comparing notes about what we'd heard. But eventually, we both calmed down again and finally went back to bed, with no further incidents for the rest of the night. The third guy had slept through the whole thing, he didn't even wake up when we got up and re-built our campfire. The next day we headed back down the trail towards the trail head, spent a third night on the mountain with nothing unusual happening, and went home the following day.

We actually went backpacking out there again a few times over the next couple of years, when we were all home from college or whatever. But nothing like that ever happened again, and now it's been decades since the last time I was down in that part of the state." B

NOTE: This incident occurred in LaFlore County, Oklahoma, Ouachita National Forest and is well-known for Bigfoot activity. In fact, it is possibly one of the most active regions in the country. Lon

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Have you had a sighting of a winged humanoid or huge bat-like creature in the Chicago, Illinois metro area / Lake Michigan region? The entity has also been referred to as the 'Chicago Mothman', 'Chicago Owlman' & 'O'Hare Mothman.' - Chicago / Lake Michigan Winged Humanoid Regional Interactive Map - Please feel free to contact me at lonstrickler@phantomsandmonsters.com - your anonymity is guaranteed. Our investigative group is conducting a serious examination of his phenomenon. We are merely seeking the truth and wish to determine what eyewitnesses have been encountering. Your cooperation is truly appreciated.

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