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COUNTY: Wythe County
LOCATION DETAILS: Peppers Ferry Road near Max Meadows, VA
NEAREST TOWN: Max Meadows
NEAREST ROAD: Peppers Ferry
OBSERVED: At approximately 10 pm one night, my wife and I returned home from a shopping trip. Upon opening the car door and stepping into the gravel driveway I heard a distinct and loud vocalization. It wasn't a howl, not a growl, nothing I had heard before which is what caught my attention. At 31 years old now, 28 then, I had spent my life in the outdoors, locally and abroad.
I have never heard anything to match this. My wife asked me what it was and I had to admit I didn't know, but perhaps it was a big cat. But it didn't sound like a cat, and the only cats in the area that are known as 'big' would be bobcats, a big one being 18-29 lbs.
I walked inside the house, cutting on the rear porch light, and walked through the house to the front deck where I walked back outside, cutting on the front deck light. I stood at the end of the deck facing east and listened intently.
The 'cries' were coming from a ridge in a large woodlot across the railroad tracks behind our house. Our house is situated on 10 acres, and the rear property boundary is the railroad. At that time the nearest house to us, a couple of hundred yards to the east was uninhabited, but the next houses up and across the railroad tracks were.
Between cries, I realized I could hear leaves rustling loudly as though two feet were shuffling through them in large strides. When the leaves stopped making noise, an agitated cry was heard. This went on for a minute or two, then the noises came from closer to the neighboring houses, then it started going in the other direction. I probably listened for ten minutes total, until could no longer hear the leaves moving, and howls were coming from farther away.
It was mid fall and cold, the sky was clear, no traffic on the road in front of my house which intersects with the railroad maybe a quarter mile down the road.
I have labored under the impression that the cries came from some kind of cat, but after listening to the Ohio recording, the cries I heard were frightfully akin to the howls on that recording. They were shorter and sounded more agitated as though something was making the 'issuer' of the cries mad. The large woodlot across the tracks is semi-surrounded by a loose assortment of houses in a neighborhood, which could be easily walked through unseen in the dark. Everything else for surrounding areas is farm pasture and mountain, in fact one mile from my house to the east starts a gravel road running across a mountain into the next county.
My inside dogs were whining and agitated, but never offered to bark, then, they rarely do. However neighborhood dogs could be heard barking in the distance, beagles I know for sure and a German Shepherd.
ALSO NOTICED: Nothing out of the ordinary. If this was indeed a Sasquatch, then it must have been possibly wandering or migrating. I don't see what could attract it in this specific area, it is not densely populated, but there are plenty of homes. However it would also be easy enough to wander out of several areas where there is truly nothing but miles and miles of national forest connecting to nothing but more national forest.
OTHER WITNESSES: My wife, however she does not like to talk about the possibilities as she is easily frightened.
OTHER STORIES: Having talked to a few other people in passing conversation I have learned of a few other sightings or other activity in a tri-county region. The most credible is a photo of a large track found in a logging road during the 30's or 40's in Bland county. I found about this through the niece of the owner of the photo, but he was unwilling to share it with me or anyone else.
I also have a friend who is an avid Appalachian Trail Hiker and mountain bicyclist describe to me hearing large rocks banged together and thrown into a stream at the bottom of a ridge where he camped one night. Only to find the next day that very large rocks were askew and signs of obvious rock on rock impact were everywhere in the pool of water that the trail ran beside or intersected. He played it off as a bear.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Conditions: Cold, pitch black moonless night. Lighting came only from my front and rear porch light, and a dusk to dawn light in the corner of the yard.
ENVIRONMENT: Mountainous, wooded/ rocky ridges, dense thickets and stands of pine and mountain laurel surrounding farmland and pasture.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Stephen Willis:
The witness stated that the animal making the noise was extremely loud. He had not heard anything like the noise emanating from the area behind his house. The sound of bipedal walking could be heard in the dry leaves. The noises had his livestock (4-cows, 3-horses, and 2-goats) in such a frightened state that they had all come to a corner of the field near a gate where a dusk to dawn light provided illumination and security for them. They were all in the cone of light, looking toward the source of the noise.
He estimated that the closest approach to his house was approximately 100 meters. The property is very near the national forest boundary.
About BFRO Investigator Stephen Willis:
Grew up in central West Virginia. Retired from the US Army in 2003. Small manufacturing business owner. Lived for almost 7 years in Germany and 1.5 years in the Mideast.