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COUNTY: Cambria County
NEAREST TOWN: Conemaugh
NEAREST ROAD: Jackson Street
OBSERVED: It was in or around 1978 in Cambria County Pennsylvania. A person's dog got loose and made it to our home as it had done in the past. I decided I'd take a walk through the woods to take it home this time instead of the road. I walked up through the section of woods through the trail and down over a small hill into a clearing next to the farmers field.
As we walked into the clearing the dog was in front me. It was a German shepherd. He kept whining and brushing at my legs not wanting me to go through the field. He did this 2 or 3 times.
I looked over to the side of the field where the farmers fence was and where it broke to next section of woods near a old garbage dump. It was a small one for a home next to there. There is where I seen it hunched down on the ground leaning forward. Seemed like it was reaching through the fence to the garbage pile.
It was all hairy from what I remember. It was kinda like moving things with its hand. It's height by stooping down was at least the height of the fence post that was there. I don't even think it knew I was there.
Needless to say the dog and I turned tail and I walked very swiftly away from there. I walked the dog home by the way of the street.
ALSO NOTICED: This is not the first encounter although it was the one that was seen more clearly. There was other things happening around the area at this time . Seemed like the 1977 flood as per theory that storm must of made this thing come to the area. Must of drove it from the hills I'd say. Also the noise of howling I never heard but I did hear a noise on another occasion hunting at an old girl scout camp. Kinda hard to describe in writing but it went oooo oooo ooo ah ah ah like a monkey. I'd say I was with my brother in law he said to me "Lets get out of here. That is the noise I'd heard before he'd seen that thing." It made his hair stand up on the back of his neck.
We ran out of there leaving one of our friends there. When Dave came down Joe asked him if he'd heard anything. Dave said no.
OTHER WITNESSES: No
OTHER STORIES: Yes, throwing of stones at 2 friends one morning around 1 or 2 am one rainy night when they went for a walk. They came running back saying it was following them back coming through the woods. I also seen one night a form that completely blocked out a window from I'd say the chest area down. My brother says he seen its eyes and said they were like red, glowing. We were kids then but I do have other stories to tell but no more sightings just things that have been told.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: Early morning around 9 or 930 am, it was a nice clear morning.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator B. Christian:
I spoke at length with the witness regarding his sighting. Despite the years that had passed since his encounter, he still vividly remembered the details of the sighting.
He has spent the better part of his life in the Pennsylvania National Guard and Department of Transportation. I found his report to be very credible and sincere.
He was 15 years old at the time and had woken up early that summer Saturday morning. His neighbor’s dog, a German shepherd, had gotten loose again and wandered onto his family’s property. This was a usual occurrence. Normally the witness would take the dog down the road to return it to its owners. On this day, the witness decided that he would take a short cut through the woods separating their properties and return the dog by that route.
As mentioned in the initial report, the witness and the dog walked through the woods, over a hill, and into a clearing abutting an old cow pasture on his neighbor’s property. The field in question was behind his neighbor’s house. When they entered the clearing, the dog began to act very strangely. It did not bark, but was whimpering and whining, and kept moving in front of the witness, seemingly in an attempt to try and keep the witness from walking forward. The witness thought this behavior very strange as he had done this several times before and had never experienced this type of behavior from this dog.
Approximate location of the sighting.
The witness looked across the field to where there was a fenced-in refuse pile. At this time, many homes in rural areas disposed of their trash and scraps in backyard garbage piles, not having reliable sanitation services. Next to the fence, the witness saw an all-black figure in a crouched position at the fence line. As mentioned in the report, the witness saw the figure leaning forward and extending an arm through the fence at the garbage pile.
The witness recalled the figure being covered in hair and remembers seeing the figure moving objects on the garbage pile with its hand. The witness estimates the height of the figure in the crouched position to be approximately four feet, as the top of the creature’s head was roughly even with the fence posts surrounding the garbage pile. According to the witness, the garbage pile itself was out of line of sight from his neighbor’s house.
The witness was adamant that what he saw was not a bear. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, the witness stated that he has hunted bears and has chased bears off his property, and that this creature was not a bear. He equally asserted that the creature was reaching into the garbage pile with a hand, not a paw.
The witness described the creature as looking “kind of like a gorilla.” The witness said the creature’s hair “looked clean” and said he could see the hair hanging down off the bottom of the creature’s extended arm.
The witness stated that the creature appeared to be bigger than him and looked muscular. The witness also said that the extended arm was at least three feet long and you could see a hand reaching out. He did not observe any ears or facial features but was certain that the creature did not have a snout. The witness stated that he had the impression that the creature he was viewing was young.
The witness only viewed the creature for several seconds until he saw the creature reach out with its arm, at which point the witness felt that he should leave the area. The witness and the dog walked back the way they came and took the long route to his neighbor’s house.
The witness also stated that he had several other inexplicable encounters in the area. He related how after this event, other local youths in the area accused him of throwing stones at them from the woods when he was nowhere near their location. The witness also related how he went raccoon hunting with a friend when his friend’s dog ran off. The dog was later found dead up in the crotch of a tree. The witness also reported hearing a loud and powerful “Ooo aah aah aah” vocalization while hunting with his brother-in-law. The witness also ran a trap line in the area when he was older and came across a barefoot footprint in a mud puddle one November.
The witness also related how while hunting for a buck during deer season, he had three does come and lay down underneath his tree stand. The does appeared shortly after he heard what he described as wood knocks off to his right. The witness also stated how he had friends tell him of encounters of dark shapes looking in their remote hunting cabin windows and red eyes being seen in the dark.
As with report 31180, having a sighting so close to a residential area can be surprising. However, the area was more rural and less densely populated in the late 1970’s than it is today. This account only adds to the group of reports describing sasquatches as scavengers or kleptoparasites on the margins of human society.
As seen in the imagery above, the area just outside of Conemaugh is very hilly and covered in a patchwork of forest providing numerous covered and concealed routes of ingress and egress. In broad geographic context, just 12 miles to the east of the Conemaugh area, are State Game Lands Number 26 and the Gallitzin State Forest, while five miles to the west are State Game Lands Number 42 and Laurel Ridge State Park. These forests are part of the mixed mesophytic forests of the Appalachian region, one of the most ecologically diverse eco-region in North America. These biomes are characterized by a diverse array of mixed-oak and other broadleaf species and are home to black bear, white tail deer, turkey, and a multitude of smaller species of the eastern woodlands.
About BFRO Investigator B. Christian:
B. has participated in the North Georgia 2018 Fall, North Georgia 2019 Spring, Tennessee 2020 Fall, and South Carolina 2021 Spring and Pennsylvania 2021 Fall, and New Jersey 2022 Spring Expeditions. He has also conducted private expeditions in New Jersey, Alaska, Arizona, North Carolina, and southern Georgia. His area of responsibility as a BFRO investigator is central Pennsylvania and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.