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Report November of 2008

The RFP Research Project (RFPRP) Report of Encounter

Preface:  In November of 2008 the witness contacted the writer by e-mail to tell me about his and his family’s experiences with a creature they called the “Hairy Man” in a hollow in the Northwestern portion of Alabama. At that time the writer had just returned from that area after one of many trips to conduct field investigations and speak to witnesses who had encountered the same type creatures within the past few years. As a result of his e-mail and the interesting information it contained, I contacted the writer by telephone several times to discuss the information he had provided. After listening to his sincere and no-nonsense accounts, I encouraged him to send me written details of the incidents. I recently received his fifth and final installment of the most interesting stories of his and his family’s encounters. As he did not feel confident in his ability to write and post this history to this web site, he asked that I edit and compile the data for that purpose. I agreed, but told the witness that his own accounts in his own words would be used as much as possible since he had spent so much time writing them.

Date report submitted to RFPRP: The first installment received November 19, 2008 and the final received February 5, 2009.

Dates of encounters:  From the early 1900’s to the summer of 1986.

Time of incident:  Various.

Weather conditions:  Various.

State: Alabama

County:  Winston/Marion.

Nearest city or town: Double Springs is the nearest sizable town.

Location: Not disclosed.

Nearest road: Not disclosed.

General land use: Timber production, rural homesteads and cattle ranching.

General terrain description:  Steep rolling hills cut by deep, steep-sided ravines, hollows and secluded coves.

 Witness profile: A mature male who has hunted and hiked extensively in this part of the State since childhood.

Activities of witnesses prior to the encounters:  Various witnesses conducting various activities as described in the report.

Description of the encounter/incident:  (Verbatim from the witness’s e-mails except for minor corrections of spelling and some of the grammar.) Time of year was around July or August in the early 30’s. My grandmother (my father’s mother) and her sister were taking lunch to her father and brothers who were working in some bottom lands in a cove. The cove is surrounded by foothills, bluffs, scattered boulders and densely covered in oak, hickory, pine and fir. As my grandmother later told my father, she and her sister were descending into the cove following a trail that basically followed the lay of the land. About halfway down, they stopped and looked up the slope behind them. On the outer edge of a bluff they saw a hairy man squatting and watching them. She told her father it appeared to be a large man covered in reddish brown fur as if wearing a thick fur coat. She and her sister walked quickly down the slope and did not look back to see what the man in the fur coat did. I do not know if she and her sister reported this to her father and brothers that day, but the bluff on which the ‘hairy man’ was seen is now known as “Booger Man Bluff”. I have seen this bluff myself. It would be an excellent point in which to observe any activity in the cove. This story was told to my father and I by my grandmother in 1975.

This is another story told by my grandmother. This one is a little different. It was told to one of my second cousins while he was staying with her when she lived in Oregon. She moved to Oregon in 1976. She passed away in 1985. He is close to my age, around 34 or 35. I had never heard anyone mention this story before. It was told to me by that cousin while we were camping in the cove last fall. I had not informed him of my intentions to go camping there beforehand, but asked him at the last minute. I told him I needed company, because that was where my father and I camped when I was a kid. My cousin was aware of more than I thought because as we sat around the fire that night, out of the blue he looked at me and said, “You know Mama xxxxx told me about seeing a big hairy man down here in these woods”. I then asked him what she has said. Before he told me he said that my grandmother was just like my father. She didn’t lie, and she never told outlandish tales. (I never met my grandmother but talked to her many times by telephone when we lived in Michigan and she lived in Oregon.) Anyway, John was letting me know that what he was about to tell me was the truth. He said that my grandmother told him that when she was about 21 or 22 years old (in the early 30’s) she was washing clothes in the creek in the cove. She had with her three of her daughters, an infant less than a year old, another 2 or 3 years old, and the other 4 or 5 years old.  Said it was mid summer and hot. The walk from her house to the creek was about a quarter mile. After reaching the hole of water in which she often washed clothes, she put down the clothes and placed the baby on the creek bank. The creek through the cove is in places 15 to 30 feet wide, and in other places 10 or 12 feet wide. The older kids began playing around the area. The brush had been cleared from the area on that side of the creek, but on the other side of the creek the foliage was pretty thick; dense brush, briars, etc. That general area along the creek is still overgrown with cane and dense undergrowth, although neither my cousin nor I know exactly where the encounter occurred. While she was washing the clothes she said she heard loud noises being made by something or someone coming down through the woods on the hillside on the opposite side of the creek. She didn’t think much about it and continued her work. About two or three minutes later she looked up and saw a large, hair-covered man jump out of the brush and onto the bank along the water’s edge directly across the creek from her. As it landed on the creek bank it squatted and began looking back and forth at her and the infant. She said it swayed side-to-side as it looked at them, and seemed to be extremely curious about the baby. It paid little attention to the two older girls playing nearby. Then suddenly with its left hand it scooped up water from the creek and splashed it on its face. (She said it had extremely large hands.) It then shook its head vigorously from side to side, wheeled, jumped back into the brush and quietly disappeared. She told my cousin she was not scared when this happened, but was curious as to why it made so much noise coming down off the hill, but made so very little when it went back into the woods. She stressed the fact to John that the thing made one quick, wheeling jump from its squatting position and disappeared into the woods. John said he was about 11 or 12 years old when she first told him about the incident.

The following story was told to me by my father and by two of my aunts. All told me the same story, but on different occasions. My dad told me the story the first time when I was about 10 or 12 years old. My aunts (my father’s sisters) told me the story after my father passed away in 1995. The story was originally told to them by my uncle xxxxxx xxxxxx, who was their oldest brother. I am assuming that my dad and my two aunts heard the story at the same time because they all told it the same way. The story is that my uncle and two or three of his friends were walking home from a dance which my uncle had played at. My uncle played guitar. As he walked that night he carried the guitar over his shoulder because he had no carrying case for it. The group was walking on a railroad near xxxx-xxxx Alabama. It was winter time and the night was clear and cold. There was a full moon that night and they could see the rails, cross-ties and surrounding terrain very clearly. That is why he was sure of what he saw. He said that as they walked along the railroad, all of a sudden a very big hair covered man walked out onto the railroad directly in front of them and stopped in their path. He said the thing was over six feet tall and as wide as two men. He said that at that moment, out of reflex, my uncle swung his guitar off his shoulder and struck the creature across its right arm, breaking the guitar. He said the creature then wheeled and ran back into the woods, and they ran out of the area. My dad looked up to my brother and said that he believed the story because uncle xxxxxx was not a bullxxxxxw.

This is about my Dad and some of the stories he told me about some unexplained encounters in the woods of Winston/Marion counties. My father was born in 1935. He was a self-taught woodsman and hunter. He hunted at night by himself and with others for ‘coons, opossums and any thing else his dogs would tree. He told me he often had to use a chopping axe to cut down trees to retrieve what the dogs had treed because he was too poor to buy a gun. So I guess I am trying to let you know my Dad was tough and he never got scared in the woods, except for a few times. I recall a few stories about him and my grandmother walking to a neighbor’s, or to some other destination, in the dark. The road they walked on was called the ‘old mail route’, and was not much more than a logging road. He told me that on several occasions when he and his mother were walking that road, especially just after dark, something in the woods would make a loud, high pitched scream. Dad said sometimes the sound was almost ear-piercing. He told me that when it was screaming it sounded as if whatever was making the sound was also tearing bark off of trees. He said the sounds scared him badly. I believe he said that he was only five or six years old when he first heard the sounds. He said the sounds never really worried his mom. She would tell him to keep walking and not to worry. I’m not sure if it was summer or winter when they heard the noise. I am positive he said  it happened a number of times.

As he got older (10 or 12 years old) and began hunting alone at night with his dogs, they would sometimes come in and hunker around his legs and would not follow his commands to go back in the woods. He said this behavior confused him because the dogs loved to hunt and he sometimes had to wait for them to come home the next day. He said that when his dogs quit hunting and stayed close to him, he would begin to feel very uneasy. His headlight, which was a carbide lamp, was bright enough for him to see 50 or 60 feet in the dark, but he never saw anything that might have scared the dogs. But if he turned off his light and started walking, something would follow close by in the brush. He said that whatever it was would walk when he walked, and stop when he stopped. During those incidents the dogs would be whining and would nearly be underfoot. He said that when he would stop with the light out and listen, whatever it was following him would make a hacking, coughing sound almost like someone trying to clear their throat. He said such incidents happened numerous times while he was growing up and he could not ever figure out what it was that scared the dogs, followed him and made the hacking sounds.

When he was around 15 or 16 my Dad had a dog named Pepper. It was a mixed breed hound. Dad said he was the best hunting dog he ever had and wasn’t scared of anything in the woods. But one night while he and his dog where hanging out at a friend’s house and sitting on the porch they heard a commotion coming from the family’s chicken coop which was down a trail about 100 feet from the house. The chickens were raising h— as if something was in the coop with them. Dad said he and his friend assumed it was an animal or someone trying to steal some of the chickens, so he gave his dog Pepper the order to, “Go get’em”. He stated they could hear the dog run down the trail and then it sounded like the dog was being killed or whipped. After a few seconds the dog came running hard up the trail and immediately got on the porch acting very scared. His buddy then went into the house and returned with a single barrel 12 gauge shotgun and fired a shot down the trail. After the shot, they heard something run off. He said that whatever it was it was running on two feet and it was very big because they could hear its feet pounding on the ground as it ran off. He said they never saw what it was because of the darkness and the trees that blocked their view of the coop from the house. I don’t recall anything else about this story except Dad said he couldn’t figure out what could have scared the dog so bad.

The previous stories were told to me when I was a kid.  I was aware of the possibility of a big hairy creature roaming the woods around the old family home site, but I was not brainwashed to believe it. But during a camping trip in the area during the middle of the summer in 1986 some unusual things occurred that convinced me there was something strange in those woods. My father, younger brother, a friend, myself and our dog Spud were camping on a sandstone bluff overlooking a railroad in Winston County between xxxxx and xxxxx. We were camped not far from a second cousin’s home. We were in a 1976 Dodge box van. We had set up camp that afternoon. We placed our cooler and four folding chairs behind the van near our campfire. We prepared a meal and ate. We sat around the campfire and talked for a while. About 9pm my brother, our friend and myself got in the van, rolled out our sleeping bags and fell asleep. My Dad and our dog got in the van sometime later. Around midnight something woke us as it pushed hard enough on one side of the van to tilt it sideways. I woke just as that side of the van was easing back down. My Dad was already awake when I opened my eyes. (Dad said later that he became awake as soon as the van started tilting.) The sky was clear and there was enough light that I could see my father place his finger to his mouth signaling me to be quiet. About that time our dog began to make a mixture of growling and whining sounds that are hard to describe. The dog was 2 or 3 years old at the time and had spent plenty of time in the woods. I had never seen it act afraid of anything, but he seemed afraid then. I was crawling out of my sleeping bag as Dad began to get up on his knees. He had his .38 caliber snub-nose revolver in his hand and positioned himself so he could see both of the van’s outside mirrors. He saw nothing unusual.

About the time we decided to get out and investigate, we heard the loud noises of our metal lawn chairs being knocked over. It sounded as if someone had a bowling ball in a sock and swinging it in circles hitting the chairs. The noise lasted about two seconds. Then it was silent outside. My father then told me to load a double barrel 16 gauge shotgun that was in the van. He told me to go out the back door and he was going out the front, driver’s side door. I still remember the look on his face when he said, “Son, don’t shoot me, but shoot anything else that is out there.” We went outside at the same time. When we didn’t see anything around the van, Dad called Spud and told the dog to get out. The dog looked at my father as if he was crazy, and then whined. Spud had never disobeyed a direct order from my dad, but this time the dog refused to move. We checked our stuff and found the chairs scattered about and the cooler overturned.

The strange thing about the whole ordeal was that we never heard anything run off or make a sound except for knocking our camp gear around. I could see that my father was uneasy, but he tried not to show it. He told me to put wood on the fire while he looked around with a flashlight. After a few minutes he said he did not see anything but we would stay up for a while to make sure the thing had left. We sat around the fire until about 4am but nothing else happened. The dog did not come out of the van until daylight. That morning my dad told my brother and our friend that a deer had probably run into the side of the van the night before and nothing else was said about the incident until later that day.

That day we hung out at my cousin’s house. He lived only about 1/8 mile from where we had camped. At that time my brother, my friend and I smoked cigarettes, and we had to slip off to do it. I was sitting on my cousin’s porch when my brother asked if I wanted to go off with him and our friend to smoke. I told them no. They walked out of the yard and down the railroad toward the area we had camped in the night before. They had been gone about 20 minutes when I saw them both running into the yard. When they got closer I could see that both had tears in their eyes and were on the verge of squalling. I asked them what was wrong and the first thing they said was, “Please don’t tell Dad.” I asked, “Tell him what?” My brother said he and the friend had been walking the railroad and stopped to light a cigarette. They thought they heard something walking through the brush alongside the right-of-way. They looked around and didn’t see anything, so they began walking again. They again heard something in the brush. They looked a little while, but saw nothing unusual. As they started walking again they heard something walking through the pine trees and kudzu vines on the hill just above them, but whatever it was, it stopped when they stopped, and moved when they began walking. About that time they heard something making hacking, coughing sounds. They walked a little further, and decided to turn around and go back to the house. Just as they turned to go back, the two boys saw that a big, hairy looking man was squatting and staring at them from the hillside. He said it was twice as wide as me in the shoulders and while it was squatting it was still as tall as me when I am standing. My brother said neither he nor his friend said a word when they saw the creature; they both just broke into a hard run back up the railroad toward the house.

I knew my little brother was scared and was telling the truth. Our friend was so scared he couldn’t talk for about ten minutes. I told both of them that we had to tell Dad, so I walked inside and asked him to come out on the porch. When he saw the two boys he asked them what was going on. My brother began telling him the same thing he had just told me. While my dad was listening to them I got a .44 caliber Ruger semiautomatic rifle and started off down the railroad toward the location the boys had seen the creature. Several minutes later as I approached the location I walked off of the railroad bed onto an old road that ran parallel with the railroad for a short distance. While standing and listening, I heard my dad blow a whistle that he carried to signal others while hunting. The short blast was a signal for me to fire a shot into the air to let him know my location. Just as I fired the shot, I heard something crashing through sapling trees as it ran down a nearby ridge. I turned and looked. I could clearly see the large sapling being parted from side to see as the unseen creature left the area. The trees were much too large to have been pushed aside by a human.

When my dad and I returned to my cousin’s house, the other two boys retold parts of their encounter. My younger brother finished by telling our father that he was not lying. My father looked directly at him and said, “I knew you were not lying when you said it was making a hacking and coughing sound. I told you about something in these woods that my dogs were afraid of, and I told you about Booger Man Bluff, but I never told you about the coughing and hacking sounds I heard while it was following me through the woods at night when I was hunting. I told your brother and others about it, but not you.”

My dad and I went back to the area to look around some more, but the two other boys would not go with us. My brother still refuses to go back to the area with me. And he refuses to talk about it again, period.

Description of creature: As described above.

Photos and drawing: None.

Description of relative sounds: As described above.

Description of relative scents: None mention by the witnesses.

Other details: The witness asked that the precise locations of the incidents which were included in his reports to the writer be omitted if the report is published on the website or in newspaper columns. He still visits and camps in the area in attempts to see the creature or find evidence of its presence.

Historical notes and investigators comments: This and surrounding areas are known to host a population of enigmatic primates. The area has generated numerous reports that are now public records.

Tal H. Branco – The RFP Research Project