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Talladega Country Report

The RFP Research Project (RFPRP) – Report of Encounter

Date Report Submitted to the RFPRP: June 16, 2007

Date of Encounters: During the 70’s.
Time of Incident: Various.
Weather Conditions: Various.
State: Alabama.
County: Talladega.
Nearest City or Town: Sylacauga.
Location: On the slope of Merkle Mountain.
Nearest highway or road: Gravity Hill Road.
General Land Use Description: Small family farms intermingled with timberlands.
General Terrain Description: The area is within the foothills marking the southwest termination of the Appalachian Mountains.
Nearest Lakes or Streams: The Coosa River is about 6 miles west of the area. The area is about 3 miles from Tallahatchie Creek.
Witness Profile: He is now 49 years old and has lived in the general area since birth. He is an extraordinarily talented woodsman, an avid hunter, and is very familiar with the known flora and the classified fauna in the Southeast.
He spent a great part of his childhood with his Grandparents who lived on a farm on the slope of Merkle Mountain. The incidents described below occurred on and around that farm while he resided there.
Activities of Witness Prior to Encounter/Incident: Just prior to the most unusual incident, the family dogs began “barking like crazy” at something behind the house one night. At the time the reporting witness was about 13 or 14 years old.
Details of Encounter / Incident: The reporting witness, his younger brother (about 8 years old) and their Grandfather went outside to try to see what the dogs were barking at. When the three got in the yard, the barking dogs began moving and looking toward the woods. The trio continued to walk up a trail that entered the woods. After walking about 75 yards from the home, the Grandfather decided that whatever the dogs had detected had left the area, and the three started walking back to the house.
The Grandfather was in the lead, with the reporting witness directly behind him, and the younger brother was the last in line. Nothing was being said, and the first two did not notice the younger boy was not with them until they were close to the house. As they turned and started back up the hill to see about the boy, they heard him screaming and shouting. Immediately the boy came running to them in a panic-stricken state. The boy was taken inside where he calmed down enough to tell the family that something had grabbed him by the neck from behind while the three were walking back to the house. The boy said he was lifted off the ground for a few seconds before being released by the unseen entity. The reporting witness stated there were red “finger marks” on both sides of the boy’s neck.
Description of the Animal: No animal was seen.
Photos or Drawings Made? No.
Description of Related Sounds: None heard during this incident.
Description of Related Scents / Odors: None noted.
Other Possibly Related Details: The witness stated that for three or four nights after  the family butchered hogs during the winter they would hear loud screaming sounds coming from the mountainside above the home. Even though at times there were two or more entities making the sounds, the Grandparents thought the sounds were made by panthers.
About the same time of the young boy’s encounter, the family found that a ham had been taken from the smoke house. The reporting witness was quick to point out the ham may have been stolen by someone living in the area.
During that time period, the reporting witness stated that his Grandparent’s milk cow was attacked one night by a large animal. The attack left deep claw marks down both sides of the animal from the front of its shoulders to its back legs. The injuries caused the cow to die, and it was reportedly buried using a neighbor’s dozer.
Sometime later the reporting witness’s 18 year old cousin went hunting on the mountainside one night with a dog and flashlight. The dog treed an opossum which the boy killed but did not retrieve. The next night the boy went back to the same location but the dog started growling at something in the woods and would not leave the boy’s side and would go no further into the woods. The boy then began hearing loud “huffing” sounds which he thought were being made by a bear. The boy started walking quickly toward the Grandparents’ home with the unseen animal followed him. The dog continually stayed between the boy and the unseen animal. The hair on the dog’s back was raised and it continued to growl as if watching something that it feared. The cousin spent the night at the Grandparents’ home. The next morning the Grandmother told the family she found a very large track of some kind on the ground under the kitchen window.
A week or so after the cousin’s experience, neighbors that lived about a quarter mile away reportedly kept hearing something prowling around their home at night. They finally called the Sheriff’s Office for help. A Deputy was reportedly sent to investigate. The deputy is said to have encountered at close range a large, hairy animal standing on two feet near the home. The Deputy reportedly emptied his revolver in an attempt to bring down the animal. The shots reportedly failed to drop the animal and it ran off. The Deputy reportedly told the neighbor what he had seen and done, and told the citizen he would not come back to the area at night alone.
The reporting witness stated that on occasion when he was a child, his Grandparents would hear the dogs barking frantically late at night. On one such night they got out of bed and went outside to see what was upsetting the dogs. They saw what they thought was a large bear standing and walking on two feet in the yard alongside a ravine that headed on the mountain behind the house. When the “bear” would not leave after they shouted at it, they began throwing rocks at it. Then the animal reportedly walked on two feet into the ravine and out of sight.
Historical Notes: This area has generated many reports of large, hairy enigmatic primates over the years. One such reports was recently posted on the BFRO web site. (Apparently another very detailed and well documented report from this general area has been generated by an Alabama researcher, but for reasons unknown to this writer, that report was withdrawn from a “Bigfoot”  web site after having been posted there temporarily.)
Writer’s Comments: This witness’s talents and skills were vividly apparent during the three days and nights the writer recently accompanied him and others along the swamps of Lowndes County and in the hills of Talladega and Clay Counties.
During that time tracks were seen and sounds were heard that indicate the area described in this report is still inhabited by enigmatic primates. (Although the summer months present some challenges and discomforts to Southern researchers, it is, in this writer’s opinion, the ideal time to try to learn more about these intriguing animals.)

Report received and recorded by: Tal H. Branco, Field Researcher/Investigator, The RFP Research Project