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STATE: North Carolina
COUNTY: Macon County
LOCATION DETAILS: The tracks and trails were on the lower ridge trail 2-3 miles from Standing Indian campground.
NEAREST TOWN: Franklin, NC
NEAREST ROAD: FR 67, Wallace Gap Rd
OBSERVED: Shortly after laying down for the night during a backpacking trip in the Nantahala Wilderness, we heard a howl that lasted 10-15 seconds, with a change of tone for the last few seconds. This howl could not have been mistaken for any other animal and sounded very similar to recordings of other howls. In the next 2 hours we both heard random whoops also. The next day while hiking we came across several very interesting signs along the trail. The first was spotting what looked like a game trail that crossed the hiking trail. Upon closer inspection, the tracks in the well traveled trail clearly were not made by bear or any other four legged animal. The footprints on the trail had left deep impressions where the heel contacted the ground and footprints much larger than my foot were also seen. The distance between the tracks was approximately 5 feet on average and the depth of the tracks where the heel had sunk down was 3 plus inches. The ferns and weeds in the trail that had been pressed down were still green and flat which made me think the tracks had been made within the past couple of days. I followed the trail in both directions for approximately 150 yards and the footprints remained consistent in both directions. After traveling the hiking trail further down the ridgeline for close to mile I spotted another trail that crossed the hiking trail. The footprints here were identical to what we saw at the first trail. I took pictures to gauge the depth and length of the prints. I found a stick on this trail that had blood on it. I regret not keeping it for evidence to see what type of blood it was. The location of both trails had some similarities: both were located in gaps along the ridgeline and there was an unusually high amount of limbs and trees wedged in tree forks at both sites. One other strange observation made along the trail was finding 3 large white mushrooms placed upside down near the trails. One of these was on a rock and another was found on the trail while following the footprints. The area where we found these signs was the direction where we had heard the howl the night before.
ALSO NOTICED: I know it takes time to get to sites for follow up but the heavy use and freshness of signs on the trail make me think this may be a great site for further contact.
OTHER WITNESSES: 2. Preparing to sleep when the howl was heard and hiking when the trails were spotted
OTHER STORIES: Yes, I saw a report of an encounter a few years ago in the same area.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: The howl was heard shortly after midnight. The trails were observed at app. 6pm.
ENVIRONMENT: ridgeline of deciduous trees with deep valleys on both sides
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Jeff Carpenter:
I have talked with the witness on the phone and by email numerous times about his report. I have found him to be a very credible and informative witness. The witness and a friend were doing some hiking on the Appalachian Trail near Standing Indian area in the Nantahala National Forest in Macon County. They had camped for the night near the Carter Gap on the AT. Around Midnight they heard a very distinct howl that was loud and lasted for 10-15 seconds. He stated the howl had a very distinct "two tone" sound to it. He knew of no animal that could make this sound. Later that night they heard "whoop" calls from the distance in the same direction. The witness stated the howl was very clear but was over a mile away. "Whatever it was it was very large". The whoops were somewhat closer in range and about an hour later. I directed the witness to listen to the 1994 Ohio Moaning Howl and also to the Sound Cloud site for Mononga Hela which has many different recordings of possible Sasquatch sounds. He selected the Decatur Ga 2012 howl Decatur GA 2012 Howl and the Ohio Moaning Howl as the ones it sounded more like.
BFRO Report 28982 explains where the Decatur howl came from. The link provided here is actually two recordings put together. The first part is Mononga Hela's original recording, and the second part is a better recording captured by Investigator Gudrun Hrizuk, about 9 months after MH's recording was made. Together they make a much better case.
This witness was very forward in saying that the howl he heard had a "two toned" sound to it.
The next morning they packed up and continued their hike on the AT. His hiking friend had a problem with a boot, the heel had came apart. So they decided to take a short cut and go down the Lower Ridge trail to the Standing Indian Campground. It was down this trail, in rather large weeds and ferns, that they discovered where something large had crossed the trail. They then discovered the large tracks/trail in two separate areas. He stated the tracks were very deep in the leaf matter and that they were larger than his size 13 boot. He was able to follow them for a very good distance and the stride length was an estimated 5 foot in distance. He took these photos, the compass is showing the depth.
He also stated that they found 3 large mushrooms "picked" and placed beside the trail. These mushrooms had no bite marks what so ever. He did not think to mark the area with some kind of marker and did not have a GPS. Both of them realized, that the howl they heard the night before was in the direction of the Lower Ridge trail area.
On July 7th, I hiked to this very remote area. Although I did not find his exact location due to a storm coming in, I did observe the following: Very high weeds, large ferns, two possible tracks and a tree break. This area is a very rich area and it was very easy to see where something had went across the trail. I found this very interesting track about 12-13 inches long, the map is 11 inches long:
Also, I found this possible tree break/twist that was directly across the trail.
It was clearly blocking the main Lower Ridge Trail. The witness did not remember this at all when they went down the trail. My visit was cut short by a very hard summer storm.
This is a rich area, full of mushrooms, beech and oak trees.
The witness is very knowledgeable in the outdoors. He has a good knowledge of wildlife and was very to the point that what they heard was not coyotes or any known animal. He has many wild animals on his farm and has never heard this before.
This report could possibly be related to BFRO Report 50721. This report was filed by this investigator as a roadside Class A sighting located some 6-7 miles away from this location. I find this to be much more than a coincidence.
About BFRO Investigator Jeff Carpenter:
* Worked as a Parks and Recreation Director in North Carolina for 30 years.
* A hunter and fisherman with a love for hiking and camping.
* His family has lived in the Mountains of WNC since late 1700's and he has a vast knowledge of this area and the Great Smoky National Park.
After finding things in my hunting areas that were out of the norm and that could not be explained, I began my search for answers.
* Attended many, BFRO and various private Expeditions in the southeast and lead personal research trips for small groups. Seventeen years of researching and studying Sasquatch.