DATE REPORT SUBMITTED TO THE RFPRP: May 18, 2007
DATE OF ENCOUNTER: In March of 1995 or 1996.
TIME OF INCIDENT: Approximately midnight.
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Clear and cool with the moon being in one quarter phase.
NEAREST CITY OR TOWN: Benton
LOCATION: On county highway #40 between the Robert F. Henry Lock and Dam on the Alabama River and the town of White Hall.
NEAREST HIGHWAY OR ROAD: County Road #40.
GENERAL LAND USE DESCRIPTION: Undeveloped wetlands intermingled with farm and pasture lands adjoining the Alabama River and its impounded R. E. Woodruff Lake.
GENERAL TERRAIN DESCRIPTION: River bottom lands.
NEAREST LAKES OR STREAMS: The lock and dam is about one and one-half miles west of the sighting location and Big Swamp Creek flows just south of the county road at that location.
WITNESS PROFILE: He is a 70 year old male who has lived in the area since birth. He is avid fisherman and has fished the river, and later the lakes, at night for catfish for many years. He spent much time in the more inaccessible areas of the county years ago while providing for his family during bad economic times. He now works for a local governmental entity.
ACTIVITIES OF WITNESS PRIOR TO ENCOUNTER / INCIDENT: The witness had been fishing alone from his boat for catfish in the lake until near midnight. He then loaded his boat onto the trailer at the Prairie Creek Camp launch ramp and began driving toward White Hall on County Road #40.
DETAILS OF ENCOUNTER / INCIDENT: The witness had driven to the point on the highway where Big Swamp Creek makes a sharp, U shaped bend to the north and passes within about one-half mile of the road. The roadbed along that stretch is elevated and there are guard rails along each shoulder. From an initial distance of about 100 yards, the witness noticed a very large black animal coming up the north side of the road bed approaching the guard rail. He immediately thought that someones Black Angus cow had gotten out of a pasture, and he began slowing down gradually. As he drew nearer to the animal it continued up the bank to the back of the guard rail. His vehicle was still moving toward the animal and he saw that it was walking on what he thought was four legs. He was then shocked to see the animal reach with arms and hands and pull itself over the guardrail and onto the shoulder of the road. At that point he brought the vehicle to a complete stop thirty yards or less from the animal. His shock turned to complete fear and awe when the animal stood erect on two feet, stopped, and looked directly at the vehicle while keeping its body facing the opposite side of the road. At that time the witness locked all the doors in the vehicle and he checked to see that the lights were on bright. As the animal stood looking at the vehicle its eyes glowed a dull red. In a few seconds the animal took two or three slow, short steps onto the roadway, continually watching the vehicle. It then stopped again, staring at the witness. Seconds later the animal took another two or three slow steps, and stopped again. At that time the animal was near the center of the roadway. By this time the driver was alarmed, and he said that if he had not had the boat trailer attached, he would have turned the vehicle around to get away from the animal. He then decided to try to make the animal move faster and he blew the vehicle horn. The witness stated the animal never flinched and continued to stare at him. (The witness said that he got the distinct impression from the animals’ actions that it was as much as saying “I ain’t scared of you, and if you want a piece of me just come on!”) It then slowly walked to the south side guard rail, dropped back onto all fours, climbed over the guard rail and ambled out of sight down the embankment toward Big Swamp Creek.
DESCRIPTION OF ANIMAL: The witness stated the animal appeared to be between five and one-half and six feet tall. He said the animal was massive in size and nearly completely covered in very long, dark brown hair that flowed from its legs and arms when it walked. He stated the head was shaped like that of a large gorilla and its face had gorilla features that could be partially seen in the areas not covered by the long hair. The witness stated that even though long hair was hanging from the sides of the head, he could distinctly see part of the animals’ ears. He said “the ears were larger than those of a human and were shaped like those of a big monkey“. The witness stated that he never got a frontal view of the animal but that he did not see breasts either when the animal was on all fours, or when it was walking sideways to him. He stated the animals’ body did not seem to taper to the waist but looked “square built”. The witness was particularly impressed by the size of the animals’ legs and arms which he described as massive. (In trying to indicate the size of the legs visually, the witness used his hands to show their diameter, and the hands were indicating a circle nearly as large as a five gallon bucket.) He said the animals’ arms were only slightly smaller. He firmly believes the animal would have weighed from 500 to 600 pounds, considering its body thickness and limb sizes.
PHOTOS OR DRAWINGS MADE? None made.
DESCRIPTION OF RELATED SOUNDS: None heard.
DESCRIPTION OF RELATED SCENTS / ODORS: No odors were detected.
HISTORICAL NOTES: This encounter took place within about three miles of the one mentioned in the January 1998 issue of the Alabama Game & Fish magazine, and in the same area as other encounters which have been recorded and will be posted here within a few days.
Report received and recorded by: Tal H. Branco, Field Researcher/Investigator, The RFP Research Project