Geographical Index > United States > Alabama > Tuscaloosa County > Report # 11156|
Submitted by witness on Sunday, April 3, 2005.
Nighttime sighting in Talledega National Forest.
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COUNTY: Tuscaloosa County
LOCATION DETAILS: Eastbound on Highway 82, approximately 17 miles southeast of Tuscaloosa, within a mile or two of the Bibb county line. This particular stretch of road runs through the northernmost part of the Talledega National Forest. For the most part it was pretty secluded. A few houses every several miles and at night not much traffic. The majority of the vehicles encountered were 18 wheelers and log trucks.
NEAREST TOWN: Tuscaloosa, Al
NEAREST ROAD: State Highway 82
OBSERVED: My sighting occurred when I was 21 years old. I had heard of Bigfoot or Sasquatch before that but not much more than an episode of In Search Of. What little I knew at the time suggested that these creatures, if they existed at all were only to be found in the Pacific Northwest.
At the time I lived in Montgomery and my best friend and his family were living in Tuscaloosa. Being only about a 90 mile drive I made the trek at least twice a month. After more than a year of this routine I knew Highway 82 pretty well. It was two lane blacktop for the most part with no artificial lighting.
This drive began like any other, it was a Sunday night and almost 11:00. There were very few vehicles on the road at this time and it was pitch black out. I was driving along at about 60mph, it was unsafe to go much faster as there were plenty of deer and the occasional Sheriff's Deputy out shooting radar. These two factors, along with the narrow road did a pretty good job of keeping you alert and looking ahead at all times.
My senses were a bit heightened at the time as I had passed the Talledega National Forest sign only a couple of miles back. On several previous occasions I had seen deer crossing ahead of me or at the side of the road in this general area.
As I topped a small hill and hit a fairly flat piece of road, my hi-beams reflected an eyeflash from something on the north side of the highway approximately 250 yards ahead. Assuming it to be a deer I let off the gas and coasted toward. A second or two later I saw it again this time toward the middle of the highway. When I caught the red relection again it was on the right shoulder of the highway and my headlights were beginning to illuminate the area where it was standing.
Against the grey wintery look of the woods I could make out a dark shape. As I got closer my first thought was bear but then I could see more detail and realized it was standing on two legs. By now I was within about 200 feet of it and my speed was down to about 40 miles per hour.
At the time my only thought was "What The Hell Is That". As I began to make out details I was more confused than anything. This creature was standing within 20 feet of the highway facing me at about a 45 degree angle. It was huge. Judging from highway signs I later used for a comparison it was 7 to 7 and 1/2 feet tall. I would guess it's weight to be about 500 pounds. It was covered with dark brown hair that looked to be 2 or 3 inches long and thick. As for the color it reminded me of a leather bomber jacket, very dark and not shiny, more of a dull flat look. The creature was built like Andre the Giant. Big thick legs and a massive upperbody. The shoulder width was easily 3ft. It had its arms by its sides and as far as I could tell they came to about midway between the crotch and knee. Its head was large and sat very low on its large shoulders. Whatever neck it may have had was short and thick. It had a low forehead and the head appeared peaked toward the back. The only facial detail I could make out was that the area was darker than the fur and somewhat flat from my vantage point. As I passed I could see its eyes reflecting the light back. They appeared gold or yellowish in color and large compared to a human.
At the time my mind was in overdrive trying to process what I was seeing. Just as I passed I tapped the brakes and looked back but could see nothing discernable. My confusion was quickly replaced by fear. My prevalent thought at the moment was that I wasn't safe even in my car with something like this. I carried a .380 in my vehicle in those days but it did not even flash into my mind as anything I could really defend myself with. I hit the gas hard and ran the next 15 miles or so to Centreville as fast as the road would allow. I was still terrified and shaking when I stopped at a gas station and let my nerves settle.
That was the last time I ever travelled that road at night. I made it a point from there on to go by day or drive an extra 40 miles and go all Interstate detouring through Birmingham. I told my friends about it and was teased pretty good. Years later after marrying I shared my experience with my wife and she wasn't too receptive, trying to offer her ideas of what it may have been. I have considered bear and most any other animal conceivable and I know it was none of them. I am not a hunter but in my youth spent enough time in the woods to know about different animals. No bear I have ever seen or heard of looked like this.
After years of staying quiet I came across the BFRO on the internet and have read many reports I consider sincere and honest. This is what convinced me to send in this report. Hopefully if enough of us who have had sightings speak up we can assist in one day finding proof of Bigfoot for the non believers.
ALSO NOTICED: Nothing, got out of there in a hurry and was not inclined to return to "Look around."
OTHER WITNESSES: Just me. Driving home to Montgomery after a weekend with friends in Tuscaloosa.
OTHER STORIES: Have seen a few reports in this website's database from the Tuscaloosa area but nothing firsthand.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Around 11:00 p.m. Dark unlit highway. The only light coming from my headlights. Cold and dry, temperature was upper 30s to low 40s. Somewhat cloudy with little or no visible moon.
ENVIRONMENT: In 1988 this area was largely undeveloped woods. The few small communities between Tuscaloosa and Centreville were basically nothing more than old country roads marked by flashing yellow lights and reduced speed signs along with the occasional country stores common in the rural south. The area where my sighting occurred was largely pine forest on both sides of the road with narrow shoulders and few places to safely pull off the road. There is a creek(Bear Creek) on the south side of the highway that runs parallel to the road for a few miles. The highway is built up so that it sits a few feet above the level of the forest floor. The area is somewhat hilly and the road has a number of zigs and zags as it runs alongside this creek.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Tony Gerard:
I was able to speak with the witness by phone. The sighting occurred on a cold night, temperatures in the thirties, with very little moonlight. At the time of the sighting the area along either side of the highway was pine forest. The witness stressed that the creature did not look like a bear, but more “like a football linebacker in shoulder pads”. His best view was from the waist up; the upper body was massive. The facial area appeared to be somewhat lighter in color than the body hair. The witness did not get a good look at any facial details, although he noted that when he was closer the eyeshine was golden or amber in color. He judged the eyes to be large on the size of the eyeshine rather than on actual observation of the eyes themselves. The hair color was very dark brown with a possible reddish tinge. The hair appeared to be uniform in length over the visible part of the body and not exceptionally long.
About BFRO Investigator Tony Gerard:
Tony Gerard is a community college biology professor.