Preface: The witness, whose name is Greg, is the person mentioned in the article written by Zack Glover which was published in the Alabama Game & Fish magazine January 1, 1998 and entitled “Stalked in Dallas County.” He was contacted by this RFP Research Project field investigator while the investigator was interviewing other witnesses in Lowndes and Dallas Counties during the week of May 14, 2007. This writer was particularly interesting in obtaining from Greg more details of his encounter and a more detailed description of the animal he saw if possible.
At about 3:30 pm on May 16, 2007 Greg drove to the Southern Sportsman Hunting Lodge near Benton in Lowdnes County where the writer was staying, and, each driving our own truck, led me to the parcel of leased hunting land in nearby Dallas County on which the incident occurred. When we reached a point a few hundred yards from the actual encounter location he asked me to park my truck and ride the rest of the way with him.
After driving through a large “green field” we reached the timbered, southeast corner of the property. We parked and began walking toward the tree on which Greg had placed his stand. Greg was admittedly very nervous, and he said he had not been back to this area since the incident occurred 13 years earlier.
While leading the way and while stepping over a very small, natural drainage ditch, Greg passed within about three feet of a large, barefoot human-like foot impression in dry leaves that had been piled in the small drain by water runoff. I stopped him and silently pointed out the track. When he realized what he was seeing, he became noticeably anxious and he later said that the hair on his arms began standing up as he looked at the track.
As I began looking for other tracks, Greg told me to go ahead looking at the ground, but that he would be looking in the timber. The ground in the whole area is unusually dry and hard as a result of a prolonged drought, and the animal had been walking the drain bed. Only dry smudges on small mounds of soil in the ditch showed where it had stepped. Because the area had not experienced heavy rain for quite some time, it was not possible to estimate the age of the tracks.
We soon continued about one hundred yards to the small sweet gum tree where Greg’s stand had been located, and he pointed out the animal’s route as he described the event as recorded below.
Date Report Submitted to the RFPRP: May 16, 2007
Date of Encounter: During the early part of the October, 1993 bow hunting season for deer.
Time of Incident: The incident began during twilight and ended about three hours later in total darkness.
Weather Conditions: Clear, warm with a slight breeze from the south.
Nearest City or Town: Benton
Location: About 1 mile south of U.S. Highway 80 and about 1 mile east of Dallas County Road #7 near the Dallas/Lowndes County line.
Nearest highway or road: Dallas County Road #481 which runs east and west, about 1/2 mile south of the site.
General Land Use Description: Timber lands containing numerous wild game “green fields” and food plots, with some pasture lands in the general area.
General Terrain Description: Mostly lowlands with some wet lands when the area receives normal rainfall.
Nearest Lakes or Streams: The location is about 1/4 mile west of Soapstone Creek which flows north and empties into the Alabama River in the town of Benton, just below the Robert F. Henry Lock and Dam. The location is about four miles from that part of the river. There are several stock ponds in the general area.
Witness Profile: Gregg is now 39 years of age, and was 26 at the time of the encounter. He is a native resident of the area and an avid outdoorsman and hunter.
Activities of Witness Prior to Encounter/Incident: He was bow hunting for deer from a “climbing stand” which he had placed about 15 or 20 feet above the ground on the south side of a sweet gum tree. He had been on the stand for some time, and intended to stay until near darkness. He had arranged to be picked up from a particular spot by his father-in-law just before dark.
He had seen several deer that had come from the south and walked past him out of range and to his right (west). A slight wind was blowing into his face from the south and the deer apparently never caught his scent.
Details of Encounter / Incident: During the early part of twilight Greg began to notice a very strong, musky animal smell. A short time later he heard the sound of crackling brush due south of his stand, but could see nothing moving for a few minutes. Then he noticed movement in the brush just the other side of an old fence that runs somewhat east and west and corners about 150 yards to his left. Within seconds he detected a large dark colored animal moving very slowly through the brush about 150 yards south of him. He could see the shape and size of the animal, and he immediately decided it was a large black bear -an animal somewhat uncommon in the area. The animal’s movement was unusually slow and it stopped every few steps and remained perfectly still for 10 or more minutes. The animal slowly moved, with long periods of remaining motionless, until it reached a small area of more open woods slightly to his left, and about 60 yards away. By that time Greg was not sure what he was seeing. In the more open area, the animal stopped and stood fully erect. At that time Greg could see that it was not a bear, and he began to become very alarmed.
As he watched carefully, the animal stretched out one arm and picked something off a nearby tree or bush and placed it in its mouth. It took another few steps while still on two feet, and again reached to pick something off a bush or tree and place it in his mouth. Greg could not comprehend what he was seeing. The creature was more man or ape-like than a bear, and its movements on two feet were totally man-like. He considered the possibility that what he was seeing was a deranged black person without clothes that was gathering berries or fruit to eat. He discounted that idea because there were no fruits or berries ripe at the elevations the animal had been reaching. He came to the shocking conclusion that whatever it was, it was eating leaves. During that period he could hear the animal making small “popping but muffled” sounds.
It seemed to Greg that the animal would never get past him. The animal was still in view and it was fast approaching total darkness. The animal continued its slow progress to his left, continuing its stopping to remain perfectly still for what Greg thought was an unbearably long time. Eventually it reached an old trail just past the land’s corner post, and in a few minutes it was out of sight in a dense thicket on the other side of the trail.
By then it was totally dark, and Gregg was long overdue to meet his father-in-law at the prearranged spot. Although Greg could still hear the animal moving in the thicket, he decided he would wait another 15 minutes before he manipulated the “climbing stand” back down the tree as quietly as possible.
After waiting, he began to work the stand down the tree, and the noise that he made sounded deafening to him. He immediately heard quick movements in the thicket the animal had entered and he frantically worked the stand close enough to the ground to jump off, discarding his archery equipment in the process. He began trotting toward the point he was supposed meet his father-in-law. The route carried him through a large area or dry reeds and small switch-cane. He could not hear anything but the sounds he made crashing through the reeds and canes until he entered open woods on the other side. He was then terrified to hear something running and following behind him, and he broke into a hard run.
At this point in his account of the encounter, he revealed information that was not published in the original article by Zack Glover because Mr. Glover wisely advised him it should be omitted. Other people know that information, and Greg said that it should probably be made known now to provide the “whole truth.”
Although the act is clearly in violation of Alabama’s hunting regulations, Greg had a 9mm automatic pistol with him during this encounter. He stated he never considered using it while he was watching the animal before dark, and he never considered shooting a deer with it. He stated he carried it because of the large and abundant rattlesnakes, copperheads and cotton-mouth snakes that inhabit the area.
When he entered the open woods and heard the animal chasing or closely following him, he could tell that it was gaining on him. At that time he pulled the pistol and emptied an eleven shot clip over his shoulder toward the sounds the animal was making as it ran. He hoped the animal would stop at the sound of the gun, but it did not. In near panic, he loaded another full clip into the pistol and emptied it in the same manner. Again, the animal ignored the sounds and continued to run after him. He saved a third clip until he neared the point he was to meet his father-in-law but the animal was still behind him so he emptied that clip over his shoulder.
The animal slowed, and Greg finally made it to his pick-up point. His father-in-law “gave him hell” for being late, and asked what was going on. Greg refused to provide details because he did not think the man would believe him, but simply told him there was something unusual in those woods. Greg knew that if he told any of the men at camp about what had happened, they “would give me a bad time.”
Description of the Animal: When first seen the animal was walking in a quadrupedal manner and was initially mistaken for a bear. It later stood upright and walked like a human, and not awkwardly like an ape or orangutan. It had hands rather than claws like a bear. It appeared to be approximately 6 feet tall when walking upright. It limbs and torso were very large and bulky for its height (when compared to a human). Greg stated the animal’s arms did not appear to be noticeably longer than those of a human of the same height.
Its head sat close to its shoulders with little or no visible neck. Its head was somewhat rounded and the face was “flat” rather than showing a snout like a bear. Because of the low light levels, no other facial features or ears could be seen. It was covered in very dark colored hair, although the length and actual color could not be determined.
Gregg stated the animal may have weighed as much as 500 pounds.
Photos or Drawings Made? No.
Description of Related Sounds: Muffled popping sounds which the witness thought the animal made by snapping his teeth together.
Description of Related Scents / Odors: A foul smelling, musky animal odor.
Other Details: Greg did not reveal the details of his encounter to anyone until the deer bow season three years later when Brian, another hunting club member, was frightened and chased out of the same area while bow hunting by something making loud aggressive noises. (See the account of Brian’s experience which is contained in Zack Glover’s article in the Alabama Game & Fish magazine.) When Brian returned to camp and began packing his bags to leave, and the members asked him why he was leaving, he told them what had happened. The camp members began laughing and kidding Brian so much that Greg felt like he should defend him and his story. That is when Greg told the group to, “Leave him alone, he’s telling the truth!” He then revealed for the first time what he had experienced.
Historical Notes: Brian has since moved from the area, and this writer has been unable to locate him. He reportedly still lives, and has a business in Alabama.
Since Brian’s and Gregg’s encounters, Gregg’s father in law and others have had similar experiences in the same area, although they did not actually see the animal. The incidents involving Gregg’s father-in-law will be submitted later in a separate “Audible Encounter” report.
Report received and recorded by: Tal H. Branco, Field Researcher/Investigator, The RFP Research Project