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Talladega County Report

The RFP Research Project (RFPRP) – Report of Encounter
Date Report Submitted to the RFPRP: July 25, 2007

Date of Encounter: During late summer in the late 1980’s.
Time of Incident: About 9:00 PM.
Weather Conditions: Typical clear summer night with a full moon.
State: Alabama
County: Talladega
Nearest City or Town: Sylacauga
Location: Kahatchie Mountains at location known to local residents as Flag Pole or Merkel Mountain.
Nearest highway or road: US Hwy 280, 3 miles to the east. Talladega County Road 036 (Odens Mill Road) 1.5 miles to the south, and County Road 034 lies 2 miles to the southwest.
General Land Use Description: A timber company has owned the land for about 50 years. Until 1996 hunting on the land was by permit only. The land was leased to a hunting club in 1996.
General Terrain Description: The area is within the foothills marking the southwest termination of the Appalachian Mountains. It consists of high, rock ridges cut by spring fed branches and small creeks. At the time of this encounter the lower elevations were covered by large hardwood forests with the slopes forested with longleaf pines.
Nearest Lakes or Streams: The Coosa River (Lay Lake) is approximately 4 miles to the west. Cedar Creek passes 2 miles to the south and South Kahatchie creek lies 2 miles to the west. There are various springs, small branches and several large man-made lakes within a mile of the sighting location.
Witness Profile: The witness is in his mid 50’s. He is employed as a millwright by a large mining and materials processing company. He has fished and hunted in the area since a child.
Activities of Witness Prior to Encounter/Incident: The witness, his son and his step-father had driven to the site to release a pack of Beagle hounds being trained as “deer dogs”. They arrived just after dark. (Training dogs at night to run deer outside of the deer season was a common practice at the time. It was not considered illegal if the hunters carried no firearms.)
They released the dogs near a small beaver pond, and the dogs struck a trail immediately. The dogs started running toward one of the man-made lakes. About 1/2 mile from the truck the dogs quit the trail. After a few minutes the step-father and the son of the witness decided to drive over to the lake in the step-father’s truck to see if the dogs had come out of the woods there. The witness had driven his Jeep to the site, and stayed in case the dogs came back to their release point.
Details of Encounter / Incident: A few minutes after his step-father and his son had driven away, he heard limbs breaking and the sounds of something walking in the nearby woods. He thought the sounds were being made by the dogs returning, but he waited several minutes and nothing came out of the woods. He then started calling the dogs. A few more minutes later he noticed two of his dogs running toward the Jeep from up the road. The dogs were whining and had their tails tucked between their legs. He could tell the dogs were acting scared. The dogs and their actions were clearly visible in the bright moonlight.
When the dogs arrived at the Jeep he heard limbs breaking in a tree no more than 10 yards from his position. As he watched, something jumped from one tree to another, each tree being about one foot in diameter. From the second tree, the creature leaped to the ground and ran off on two feet.
At that point the witness quickly loaded  the dogs and drove off to find his step-father and son.
Photos or Drawings Made? None.
Description of Related Sounds: None, except as described above.
Description of Animal: The witness stated the animal was approximately five feet tall, covered in long hair and had a “human-looking” form.
Description of Related Scents / Odors: None detected.
Other Details: According to members of the group that now hold the hunting lease for this property, and local residents, there is something that “hangs out” in this area of the mountains. People “coon” hunting in the area at night have heard “strange” screaming sounds and have smelled “strange” odors at times. One member of the hunting club said that back in 1997 he and a friend were riding horses on the Flagpole side of the mountain when something began “hollering” and making grunting noises in the wood about 50 yards from them. Whatever was making the sounds followed them for about one half mile. They finally let the horses run at full speed to get away from unseen entity. They reportedly had to fight to control the horses during that flight.
Historical Notes: In October of 2003 the witness was squirrel hunting about one mile from the above described sighting area. He was walking down an old road about dark when something started making deep, long growling from the hillside above him. He stated the sounds originated close to him, but he could not see through the foliage to determine what was making the sounds. He reportedly left the area in a hurry.
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Investigator’s Notes: This witness previously mentioned his encounter to several area residents. In most instances, he was laughed at and his statements were not taken seriously. The witness has allowed the publication of the account of his experience in the hopes that other residents of the area who have also had similar encounters will report them.