The RFP Research Project (RFPRP) Report of Encounter & Follow-Up Investigation
Preface: The writer was informed by a friend of the sighting in Childersburg. The friend worked at the same plant as the two witnesses, and the friend supplied their names. Both witnesses were contacted by telephone, and both were at first reluctant to discuss their encounter. After the writer explained that he too had seen an animal of the same type in Lowndes County as that reportedly seen by them in Childersburg, the witnesses agreed to provide details of the encounter as long as they were not identified in the report. (The men said they had told some of their co-workers about the encounter, and had received a lot of ragging from some of them as a result.) Both men seemed very sincere in describing what they saw.
Date of Encounter: August 9, 2007.
Time of Incident: About 12:15 am.
Weather Conditions: Humid with temperature in the mid 90’s. (During this period the daytime temperatures were 100 degrees with little cooling during the nighttime hours.)
Nearest Town: Childersburg.
Nearest Roads: The incident occurred on 4th Avenue. State Highway 235 is about 1/2 mile to the Northwest, State Highway 76 about 1/2 mile to the Southwest, and US Highway 280 about one mile west of the location.
General Land Use: Most of the area is residential with some row-crop farms along the creek and river bottoms. The sighting occurred only 1/2 mile or so from downtown Childersburg.
General Terrain Description: The area is within the foothills marking the southwestern termination of the Appalachian Mountains. The area consists of creek bottoms and some small swamps surrounded by small rolling hills. The Kahatchie Mountains are about 3 miles to the southwest of the sighting location.
Nearest Lakes and Streams: Tallaseehatchee Creek is about 1/2 mile to the east and Talladega Creek about 1.5 miles to the east. The Coosa River (Lay Lake) is about one mile to the northwest.
Witness Profile: Both men work in the same manufacturing plant. Both are in their mid 40’s and both are familiar with the typical wildlife in the area.
Activities of Witnesses Prior to Encounter: The men were at work and had left the plant in a company truck around midnight to conduct routine shift inspections of waste water pumps located across the Coosa River from the plant. They drove south on State Highway 235 and had to detour left onto 4th Avenue because the State DOT had closed the bridge on Highway 235 where the Southern Railway passes underneath the highway. (Because of the bridge closure, 4th Avenue had been experiencing an unusual amount of traffic both day and night. Generally 4th Avenue is used only by area residents.)
Details of the Encounter: The witness driving the truck stated that after turning left on 4th Avenue from Highway 235 and driving about 1/2 mile toward downtown Childersburg, (NOTE: They were traveling at about 35mph before the driver started slowing down after seeing the animal heading for the road in front of them) he noticed a large animal walking on four feet coming out of a large cornfield on the left side of the road. At first he thought it was a large dog until it stood up and continued toward the road walking on two feet. At that moment he turned the headlights on bright and swerved the truck to the right to prevent hitting the animal. (Note: At this time they were about 15 feet from the animal as they went by it). The driver then asked the passenger loudly, “What was that”?
Immediately the animal dropped back on all fours, turned, and ran back toward the cornfield. The passenger at that time had only gotten a glimpse of the animal. As the driver slowed the truck the passenger turned and looked through the back window and saw something walk back out onto the road on two feet.
They drove a short distance down the road, turned the truck around and drove back to the sighting location but did not see the animal again. They both decided they should report the incident to the local police. They drove into town but noticed there were no patrol cars at the police station.
They radioed the plant Central Control Operator and asked that the operator call the Childersburg police department and advise them of what they had seen. The plants operator told the two men to go ahead and check the pumps and the police would meet them at the sighting location on the mens way back to the plant. After checking the pumps and starting back to the plant they called the Central Control Operator. The operator told them a police officer was at the site and would meet them there.
When the two men arrived at the site the police car pulled in behind their truck. After the officer and the men got out of their vehicles, the officer asked their names and wrote them down. He then asked what they had seen and asked them to describe the animal. The mens descriptions of the animal and its actions are shown below and are the same as reportedly given to the police officer.
Description of the Animal: The primary witness stated the animal appeared to be a gorilla about 5 to 6 feet tall with sandy-brown hair about 2″ long and a very muscular body. He said when first seen, the animal was running toward the road (about 60 feet in front of them at the time he first saw the animal) on four feet but stood upright and continued to run on two legs until it was right at the edge of the road. At the time the driver switched the headlights on bright he said the animal appeared to be very frightened or nervous, and it wheeled and ran back toward the cornfield. (Note: The edge of the cornfield is only about 20 feet from the edge of the road)
When the officer asked the passenger what he had seen, the witness stated that he had not been paying attention until the driver spoke to him. He said he initially caught just a glimpse of the animal, but after they passed it and it ran back toward the cornfield, he turned to look out the back window. At that time he saw something run back out into the center of the road on two feet and stop and it was looking toward the back of the truck. He stated it appeared to be 5 or 6 feet tall with sandy-brown hair. He told the officer he was able to see the animal because of street lights along the small residential area across the road from the cornfield. He also told the officer the animal was not human.
Additional Details: After describing the animal to the police officer, the officer asked the men to show him where the animal came out of the cornfield. All three walked to the spot and the officer shined his flashlight around the area. If the officer saw anything unusual he did not mention it. The officer then reportedly asked the men if they had been drinking. They told him they had not. He then told them they could head on back to work. The only information the officer recorded in the mens’ presence were their names.
About a week after the sighting, area researchers began trying to contact the police officer involved. One researcher again called the police dispatcher who revealed the name and title of the officer. The dispatcher was asked to give the officer a message to call the writer at his convenience. The officer never returned the call. On four other occasions the writer attempted to contact the officer without success.
Photos Made? No.
Description of Sounds: None heard.
Description of Scent: None detected.
Note: Two days later, on August 11, 2007, a similarly described animal was seen in the Kahatchie Mountains about six miles southwest of the location of the sighting reported above.
Reported prepared and submitted by: M. G., Area Researcher/Investigator, The RFP Research Project.August 23, 2007
Note: Below is a photo that was taken a few days later of the area where the sighting occured. The date on the camera was never set so the date on the photo itself is not when the photo was taken.