Geographical Index > United States > Virginia > Shenandoah County > Report # 62934|
Submitted by witness No Not Public on Sunday, June 2, 2019.
Campers report 'Ohio howls' and stalking near Mt. Jackson in George Washington National Forest
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COUNTY: Shenandoah County
LOCATION DETAILS: The nearest community to speak of is a little place called Fort Valley. Basically the center of the Shenandoah.
NEAREST TOWN: Mt. Jackson
NEAREST ROAD: Highway 11
OBSERVED: I'm an experienced outdoorsman, for what has been most all of my life. I was always 100% confident while in the woods, even at night.
It was mid August of 1985, myself and a good friend went camping in the George Washington National Forest. One of the most heavily forested areas around. At the time you would be hard pressed to find more desolation in Virginia than what we had. We drove up a fire road well past the few houses in the hollow. We made camp in a fire break between the mountains, but close to the bottom of the west ridge. I knew this little spot from previous adventures in that area.
After making camp, we went back down in the valley for some fishing, shooting, and some time in town. We got back to camp around 9:30pm. It was pitch black out, no moon that night. We couldn't see a thing without the car headlights on. We finished unloading the car, and got a fire going. We sat around the fire for an hour or so. We had dinner, just some canned goods. We started talking, having a couple of beers, and enjoying the wilderness. Close to 11:00pm I personally noticed the woods were strangely quiet when all sorts of creatures should be making their presence known by now.
During a break in our conversation I heard the first of many howls. I looked at my friend and gestured to be quiet and listen. Then he heard it too. He asked "What the hell is that?". I shrugged and whispered "I don't know. I've been romping around these woods my whole life and never that before". We zeroed in on the location of the howls, and they were coming from the west ridge. I estimate they were between 300 and 500 yards away. As I sat silent listening we began hearing crashing through the woods above us along with heavy footsteps. At some point I looked at my friend, who was a city boy and said "That's no bear, no human, and it sure as hell aint no siren.". I could tell it was big, and I mean BIG! It was most deep, long, and carrying howl anyone could imagine. No man, animal, or machine could ever emulate this!
After 30 - 40 minutes of listening to this god awful howling. We decided to investigate. My friend was a well trained active duty Marine and I've never seen him unnerved, but he's looking to me for answers I just don't have. We both armed ourselves. We didn't use the flashlights, because giving away your location is the first mistake. My friend had the 12 gauge, and I had a high powered rifle. In any other circumstance we would have had zero fear because we had brought a lot of firepower with us. But we were both visibly scared.
As we moved from camp and onto the road the fire light faded and we were in complete darkness. We kept close as we walked north. We separated a little and get some space between us so we hear more clearly. I was about 20 feet ahead of him. Even though our eyes had adjusted, we still couldn't see any part of each other. I couldn't see him from 5 feet, so we used sound to reference our locations. By now we realized this thing was pacing us to our west side way up the hill. The howling would pause at moments, and we could still hear crashing through the brush, and the occasional howl. I suspect we went up the road about 150 yards or more.
I whispered something like- I think we've gone far enough. It's pacing us, and getting closer. He said something to the effect of- No kidding it is! We concluded camp was the safest place to be for the night. We made our way back side by side this time, and making no attempt to conceal our location, because it no longer mattered. it knew our exact location. I could tell it was no more than 200 yards away at this point, and closing in. The sounds of footsteps and breaking branches were more clear, distinct, and closer by the minute. It wasn't paralleling us anymore, it was coming down at us in a slow zig zagging manner. I think we both knew the guns were pointless this moment, it was so dark we only would've shot each other by accident.
When we got back to camp we clutched the guns tight as we sat by the fire and listened. We kept pouring more and more wood on the fire as a deterrent and source of light. The little flashlights we had were never meant for the situation we had on hand. As we sat the howling went on and on. Sporadic at times, but never-ending. I started thinking to myself this has to be a protest to our presence. Anyway, we decided to wrap it up and go to sleep. As we lay in our sleeping bags in the tent we could hear this thing go on and on, howling and walking through the forest until we finally fell asleep sometime after midnight, or maybe even 1:00am. I knew full well it was no bear! Bears don't howl, and could easily walk up right up on you in total silence.
Fast forward to roughly 1996/7. I'm sitting on the sofa with my wife, and we're watching TV. Some show comes on about mysteries, unexplained etc. They play the Ohio Bigfoot howling. I shot out of my seat, pointed at the TV and looked her in the eye and said "That's it! That's EXACTLY what I heard that night!'. She said something like- Baby, "you're white as a ghost!" Sit down. I remember the white as a ghost part very well.
I wouldn't go back into the woods by myself again for over 10 years, and only in daylight. Still, it would be over 20 years before I could sleep in the woodlands again. I had to do it. I was the father of a Cub Scout, and couldn't let down my son. Aside from that I'll never sleep in the woods again. I was 18 at the time, today I'm 52, and I know I was being stalked.
OTHER WITNESSES: One, but I have lost contact with him.
OTHER STORIES: I started looking up (online) the possibilities. I stumbled into a number of posts/listings of all counties that make up the Shenandoah Valley. I wasn't surprised to find out all of them had at least 1 encounter listed.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 11:00pm - 12:30am
ENVIRONMENT: Old growth woodlands. Mostly red oaks, other hardwoods, and pines. Lots of ponds and small creeks. Isolation, very few if any populous. Everything was extremely dry. No moon, and dead silence at night.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Bill S.:
I spoke to the witness, whom I will call Mark, by phone. I enjoyed hearing his account and visiting with him. It is quite apparent that this encounter changed him as he will not go back in those woods again at night. And these are woods he spent much of his early life hunting and camping in.
He and his friend had set up camp. They drove into a very remote place by means of a fire road. After setting up camp they spent some time shooting and just having a good time. They were back at camp between 9 and 10pm. They were enjoying the evening and the campfire and just talking. About 11 to 11:30 they began to hear howling. The howling was the Ohio Howl. He said he knew whatever was howling was big as it was extremely loud and carried and was drawn out. He described it as “really coming out of the chest” of whatever was making it. They also started to hear the sounds of branches being broken.
It is important to note a couple of things. At this point they were in camp. The camp was near the fire road at a lower elevation. The sounds were coming from up on top of the ridge to their west and where they were the fire road runs north and south. It was also pitch black so the only light was the campfire. They were in a tactically vulnerable position. No other normal outdoor sounds were present which he found strange.
They talked with each other and basically agreed that they had no idea what could be making those sounds. After a bit, they decided to at least move around and sort of investigate. They went up the fire road maybe 100 to 150 yards. They never did leave the fire road and venture into the trees. This is when the squatch started getting more aggressive. The howls continued and interestingly enough they were always the Ohio Howl. The creature also began moving toward them down the hill very loudly. It was making no effort to conceal itself. On the contrary, it was making every effort to make its presence known. I asked if he ever felt there was more than one. After a pause he said, “No, it was the same creature”.
When they figured out that it was coming closer, they decided to head back to camp where at least they had a fire as some level of protection. He described the creature’s movements down the hill as if it was taking a switchback path. Zig zagging as it came down. When they got back to camp, they could still hear the creature and the howls continued, but they were more spread out. Eventually maybe around 1am they went to bed and while they could still hear some movement initially, even that died down.
At first light they were up, packing and getting out of there. I asked if they went into the trees to look for any sign. He sort of half laughed and said, “No, No, No, No way!” He has been back to the spot since, but only in day light.
It is my opinion that for whatever reason the squatch did not want them there and was even more unhappy when they left camp. After successfully getting them back to camp, it toned down its intimidation until they finally got in the tent. I discussed that idea with Mark and after a bit of thought he said that made a lot of sense. It is important to note that Mark knows wildlife, is a hunter and is very familiar with this area and what lives there. And as he noted his friend was an active duty Marine and he was really frightened.
About BFRO Investigator Bill S.:
Bill is a business owner who has attended OK 2011, AR 2012, CO 2012, NM 2013, NC 2014, CO 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and several private expeditions.