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COUNTY: Belmont County
LOCATION DETAILS: Take County Road 100 off old route 40 (lady bend hill), go pass Egypt Valley stone yard, continue approx 2 miles...if you come to a wooden bridge you went too far. There is a place to drive back to a creek a couple hundred yards before the bridge. It's on the left.
NEAREST TOWN: Morristown
NEAREST ROAD: County Road 100
OBSERVED: On the evening of April 7, 2020, we decided to do a little catfish fishing at a creek off of Piedmont lake in Egypt Valley. We backed our truck up to the water, dropped the tailgate, built a fire and started fishing. This was around 9pm. The moon was so full we didn't need a lantern. It was very still and quiet out until we heard a few coyote's howl followed by some frogs croaking.
Across the creek was thick with brush and small trees, there was a path that looked like led down to the water. While sitting on tailgate, we started to hear a sound of something walking down the side of the creek. You could hear it slowly taking what sounded like a two beat step. Too heavy for a deer, and too small for a coyote/cat. It hesitated at the pathway, then continued on to the left of us. It then made a loop to the right and came back up only farther away from the bank. Then we heard a hoot owl like sound very close to where we first heard the brush cracking. Then another hoot farther to the right as we could hear the footsteps fade in the distance. Then, about 5 minutes later, we heard a tree fall to the right of us across the creek where we heard the footsteps and hoot sounds.
After all this the frogs started croaking again. We fished a little longer and decided it was time to leave.
OTHER WITNESSES: Two of us.
OTHER STORIES: Possible sighting many many years ago.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 9pm - 12am
ENVIRONMENT: Marshy, trees, thick brush, with a creek that runs to the back waters of Piedmont lake.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator James Thompson:
I contacted the witness and arranged to meet him at the location of the encounter.
We met up in Egypt Valley at 4:30 in the afternoon in order to get a good visual of the area in daylight. The Egypt Valley Wildlife Area is over 4,000 acres that spreads across three counties, bordered on the north by Piedmont Lake. It was heavily strip mined up through the 90's and still has mining activity to this day. The majority of it was never reclaimed and is deeply scarred and overgrown.
The witness had been fishing since just before dark, a little before 11:00 pm they heard something walking, east to west, on the other side of the 15 foot wide creek. Even though there was a full moon, the brush on the other bank is very thick except for a narrow animal trail that came down to the waters edge.
While investigating the area in daylight, there wasn't any area to cross up and down the creek. As they were listening to the foot steps, there was a loud hoot like an owl would make, just a single hoot, beyond the area of the foot steps. It was followed by another single hoot to the west. Farther down the creek, in the direction the foot steps were going, there was a loud crashing noise that sounded like a tree being brought down.
During the daylight investigation and reviewing satellite images of the area on the other side of the creek, I didn't find any access for miles in any direction. During mining activity in the 80's there were multiple cement 'tubes' that allowed a 'haul road' to cross the creek. They were removed in the 90's creating a pool of deep water. The only other entrance to the area was near Rt. 40, over 3 miles away. That access road was closed off and made impassible.
About BFRO Investigator James Thompson:
Jim served as a Marine Corps helicopter engine mechanic / air crewman for 24 years. He recently retired as a County Veterans Service Officer. He is a lifetime hunter and outdoorsman. Jim has attended expeditions in Ohio during 2019, 21 & 22.