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Geographical Index > United States > Illinois > De Witt County > Article # 588

Media Article # 588
Article submitted by Stan Courtney

Friday, July 17, 1970

Farmer City 'Monster" Sparks Search, Debate

By James Keeran
Bloomington Pantagraph

Farmer City - Believe it or don't, but a lot of people think there's something that might be a monster of some sort running about the Salt Creek area south of here.

It all started a week ago when four Farmer City youths set up camp on some land owned by Kenny Johnson.

It was Thursday night, July 9, and they were sitting by the campfire when they heard something move in the tall grass surrounding the area. It spooked them.

One youth said he saw something move between the grass and the tent. Somebody turned the car lights on to get a better look.

It was crouched down by the tent. It looked manlike and was covered with a grayish white fur. Then it ran away. . . on two feet.

Stood Above Grass

Another youth said it stood between two and three feet above the grass. The grass is between three and four feet high in that area.

And it runs fast. The campers, Don Ennis, Larry Faircloth, Bob Hardwick and Gale Baker, left the area posthaste.

Young Ennis, with one foot in a cast because of a broken ankle, even left his crutches behind.

They told their story to Farmer City Policeman Robert Hayslip. He investigated and saw nothing.

But, he did hear something "running through the grass."

Friday night between 10 - 15 people say they saw a pair of eyes glowing at them in the dark.

Sunday night three more people swear they saw a furry creature again, in the same area.

More Saw Beast

Tuesday night eight to 10 people saw it standing by a dead tree about 100 feet away from the original campsite. When they shined car lights on it, it ran into the tall grass.

Bob Tharp was one who saw it.

"I didn't think it was as tall as they said it was," he said. "It looked to be maybe three or four feet high."

He called it "just a grayish figure."

Early Tuesday morning, between 2 and 3 o'clock, Officer Hayslip returned to the campsite with a friend.

Nobody knew the two men were going. The area seemed deserted.

"Heard Something Running"

"About 2 or 2:30 I heard something running through the grass," said Hayslip. "I thought once I might have see a pair of eyes pop up."

When he left the area about 3 a.m., a tent was still standing.

Somebody else checked the area about 6 a.m. Tuesday and found tent in shreds about 20 feet from where it had been pitched. Steel grommets, set in the heavy canvas tent, had been "ripped out," said the officer.

A quilt left near the tent also had been ripped to shreds.

Young Tharp and a friend took a tour of the 10-acre area on a motorcycle Tuesday. They found several paths and the grass around several trees had been matted down "like something slept there," he said.

Questions Persist

End of story? Not quite.

Unanswered questions persist.

Why would a wild animal, against it nature, approach human beings and then run away?

What kind of animal runs in an upright position?

How can it run fast through thick grass three and four feet high?

What is strong enough to tear steel grommets from heavy canvas?

Who or what is it?

Maybe it's somebody who just gave up smoking, can't sleep and doesn't have anything else to do at night.

Nobody, really knows what it is, but it's beginning to cause a lot of talk around town. And it's definitely keeping a lot of teenager off the streets at night.

They're all out looking for the creature.

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