Geographical Index > United States > Arkansas > Union County > Article # 447
Media Article # 447
Article submitted by Jaylee D.
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
‘Bigfoot’ sighting brings investigators to Union County
By Toni Walthall
El Dorado News-Times
In Arkansas, when we hear talk of Bigfoot, we think of Fouke, and its highly-publicized trademark “monster”.
So prevalent are sightings and stories about Miller County’s Fouke monster, it was featured in its own low-budget movie, “The Legend of Boggy Creek” (and the two ensuing sequels). Though they are known by a variety of other names, these mysterious creatures have been casually dubbed “Bigfoot,” because of the abnormally large footprints found near some eye-witness sightings.
Considering that only two counties separate Miller and Union County, it may not come as a surprise that Union County has had its own share of Bigfoot sightings – the most recent being May 7, 2005.
According to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (www.bfro.net) and the Gulf Coast Bigfoot Researchers Organization (www.gcbro.com) websites, Union County has had at least six submitted Bigfoot encounters. Most occurred in woodlands and bottoms along the route of U.S. 167, but several have been reported near heavily wooded timberlands along the Ouachita River north of Smackover and to the east of El Dorado near Strong.
In a report (No. 11632) posted on the BFRO website, investigators were sent to El Dorado May 9th to interview the “young man” who reported the latest encounter – and to search the site on Victor Dumas Road where the sighting allegedly occurred.
In his written submission, the unnamed man told investigators that he and a friend were parked at the end of the dead-end road, sitting on the tailgate of his truck, which was facing the woods. Happening around 8 p.m., there was just enough sunlight remaining in the day to clearly see, the witness reported. Approaching the passenger side door of his truck to retrieve his cell phone, the man said, he glanced up to see on the left side of the road a fur-covered creature about 15 yards away. “With great speed, it ran across the narrow road, and paused when it got to the other side,” he stated in his account. The man said the dark, hairy creature was stocky, hunched over and walked on two feet. Standing only about 5 feet tall, the creature ran with “great speed,” according to this account. The other witness, who had remained seated on the tailgate, did not see the creature, but she claims to have heard the loud noise that was made as it darted off into the woods.
A strong, foul odor, said to be reminiscent of a skunk or decaying animal, is often noticed even before a sighting occurs, according to information from the websites. There was no odor associated with the Victor Dumas Road sighting, according to the report. In his initial submission, the man made reference to the unusually short stature of the hairy being and posed the question, “Do you think this may be a young sasquatch?”
Sasquatch is just one of the many names of Native American derivation used to refer to Bigfoot. The investigators’ comments indicated they believed the man was “sincere.”
It was also noted that the young man returned to the site with friends the next day looking for any signs to verify his experience. There was no related evidence found the day of the investigation.
Looking through the databases, Arkansas has 53 documented sightings. Miller County has the most on the BFRO database, followed by Saline County. Baxter County and Union County are tied. One of the more interesting accounts recorded in Union County occurred the summer of 1975. Two boys, aged 15 and 11, were riding on a motorcycle trail in the woods around Bayou D’Loutre just off Sunset Road (before the U.S. 82 bypass was built). The two boys had ventured deep into the woods, against their parents’ wishes. They had just crossed a medium-sized creek when the oldest boy looked westward, into the sun. “I saw an 8-foot black figure staring at us behind a pine tree trunk, and then jumping behind it as though it was playing hide-and-go-seek,” he wrote.
The creature was described as very thin for its stature. Its hair hung close to the body. Both boys decided it was time to leave. They jumped on their bikes and high-tailed it back the direction they had come. “I never looked behind me again, because I was near panic,” the man wrote. After crossing the creek, the older boy, who was riding behind the smaller boy, started hearing the pounding of feet behind him. He claimed he could feel the vibration from the pounding of the last several steps through his handle-bars. The two peddled ever faster, as one of them saw a movement of black to his left. The two friends completed the rest of the shaky journey home without speaking.
This man also claims to have met a man from Rogers, whose best friend saw a Bigfoot in the swamps near Parkers Chapel in the late 1980s. The man recalled how the two boys had smelled horrible odors in those same piney woods and saw unusually large and peculiar piles of excrement that he couldn’t link to any other animal.
In the summer of 1973, an 11-year-old boy had an encounter in Union County with something he believed to be a sasquatch. Camping with his family in the Ouachita River bottoms, near Eagle Lake, the boy volunteered to stay behind to gather fire wood, while everyone else was out catching fish for dinner. The GCBRO website account claims that something started making gibberish noises, that he said sounded like a Tibetan woman auctioneer. It was loud and fast, reverberating through the bottoms like it was a large gymnasium. It happened three times, he said. The boy, now a grown man, said he has heard panther screams, coyotes, hoot owls, wolves, alligators and bears, but he, to this day, has never heard anything like that sound again.
Perusing various related websites, one can see thousands of documented sightings from areas across the nation. Most are investigated. A large map shows specks of color dotting states across the nation – indicating places where Bigfoot encounters have happened. Audio tracks of odd howls and moans attributed to Bigfoot can be accessed on one of the sites, which also includes and audio recording of an authentic 911 call from Washington state, in which a panicked homeowner requests law enforcement after he comes face to face with one in his own backyard.
Union County is far from alone in its mysterious encounters. Investigations have been launched by reports from Columbia, Ouachita and Drew counties in South Arkansas, North Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Texas. In one GCBRO report, a Columbia County hunter shared encounters, second hand information from the past 20 years and claimed to have retrieved dark tufts of hair lodged high among broken tree limbs. In 1992, a Ouachita County woman cleaning a family cemetery, saw a tall, dark, hair-covered figure watching her from the wood line. “I stared – petrified – at the figure long enough to run through the possibilities of what it might be,” she wrote in her entry. After staring at the figure “for what seemed like and eternity”, the woman turned her back and accepted her fate. “None came,” she wrote. “I turned back to face the thing, and it was gone. I made a hasty retreat back to my car.” The woman told investigators that her mother was raised in those woods, and never heard of any such encounters.
In the late 1950s, on a hot mid-August day, three siblings saw what they recognized as a Bigfoot swimming in the pond behind their rural Drew County home. The 10-year-old brother ran back to the house to get a gun. He returned in time to fire a shot at the creature, who could stay under water for long periods of time and swim at a pretty good clip. They believed the bullet hit the target, but men, who came and searched the pond and the surrounding area after the incident could find nothing.
There have been thousands of credible eyewitness accounts of sasquatch sightings in the past 100 years according to officials at BFRO. But some reports extend back several centuries. The sites describe either sightings from a distance or close range encounters, with some describing situations where backpackers and campers have been approached at night or followed (paralleled) along a trail. Sasquatches have had many opportunities to attack humans. However, there are no modern reports of humans being injured or killed by a sasquatch. There are only two reports of violent attacks on humans and just one describes the killing of a human – a story told by President Teddy Roosevelt in his book, “The Wilderness Hunter” (1890). A chapter in Roosevelt’s book recounts the story of two trappers who were stalked by a sasquatch-like animal in a remote region believed to be in present day Wyoming or Montana.
One of the trappers fired his rifle at the sasquatch, apparently missing, but the stalking continued. The trappers’ camp was twice found ransacked, while the men were out checking beaver traps they had set. After the second night, the trappers decided to vacate the area. Prior to their departure, the men split up to collect their traps. One was delayed for hours; the other headed straight back to camp. His body was found by his partner later that day near the campfire. The dead man had a broken neck, which also showed teeth or claw marks – but the body was not eaten.
Retreating appears to be the typical response to humans, but occasional harassment may be related to territorial conflicts – especially in wooded areas. It’s believed these creatures prey on deer, elk, raccoons, beaver, ducks and rodents. Sasquatch are also known to kill dogs that chase or threaten them. Dogs often flee or cower in their presence, but some aggressive dogs have been found torn apart, with sasquatch tracks around the remains. There aren’t enough instances of humans attacking sasquatches to reliably indicate that human aggression provokes more violent behavior. Indian legend has it that Bigfoot knows when humans are searching for him. He chooses when and to whom he will make an appearance. Sasquatch’s “psychic powers account for his ability to elude the white man’s efforts to capture him or hunt him down.” Native Americans also believe that a giant footprint signals a time to seek change. “In our way of beliefs, they make appearances at troubled times, … to help communities get more in tune with Mother Earth,” said Ralph Gray Wolf, an Athapaskan Indian from Alaska. The Hopi and Iroquois view Bigfoot as “a messenger from the Creator, trying to warn humans to change their ways or face disaster.”
Hopefully, that is not the case for Union County.