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COUNTY: Rhea County
LOCATION DETAILS: Off of Hwy 27 North, turn left into the Laurel-Snow Wilderness Pocket.
NEAREST TOWN: Dayton
NEAREST ROAD: Hwy 27
OBSERVED: This particular incident happened to me about 3 years ago. An event that I had kept to myself for at least a year before I even told any of my closest friends about. Like the majority of people who have an experience like this, the fear of being ridiculed and labeled "nuts" has kept me quiet. Stumbling upon your website and reading other reports prompted me to give my account. Being from the South I have always been active outdoors; fishing, hunting,camping and spelunking. I was on a solo camping trip on the Cumberland Plateau. It was early morning, very dark and my campfire had long been extinguished and my propane lantern was spent. I was asleep in my 2 man tent when I suddenly awoke to the feeling that someone was approaching me. I had strategically set my tent up so that I could see the end of the 40 yard, steep incline that led to my campsite. Sitting up I saw the silouette of a humanoid figure at the top of the trail.(The closet comparison I can make would be similar to the alien in Predator.) I strained hard to make sure I was relly seeing what my eyes were telling me I was seeing. The figure had apparently stumbled upon me by chance and stopped. As I was looking, I first noticed the height to be 6 1/2 to 7 foot tall, bi-pedal and shoulders that were the widest I had ever seen. It was then that I saw a second figure of equal proportions directly behind the first. At this point, the second figure moved left as if to outflank my tent. That is when the sudden rush for urgency swept over me. I quickly started feeling around for the .44 Magnum and flashlight that I had in the tent with me. What seemed like forever but only took 3-5 seconds, I located both and shined/aimed it in the direction of the trail and it was gone. I stayed in the tent and replayed the events that just happened over and over becoming more and more convinced that what I saw were actually 2 Bigfoot creatures. The size, stealth and intelligence of these creatures was humbling. There are black bear that inhabit the woods also, but being familiar with the species and the fact that the two figures stood bi-pedally still and silent for an extended period of time and the intelligence to outflank me solidifies my belief in this encounter. I eventually went back to sleep with the thought that I was no longer in danger and that I had probably startled them as much as they did me. I left the area that morning knowing I had experienced something unlike any other experience in the wild that I had ever had.
ALSO NOTICED: Having slept outdoors on many occasions and to suddenly awaken with a sense of something approaching and then with the feeling that "they" were just as startled as I was during this encounter. Being "in tune" with nature all my life I accepted this encounter as an extremely rare, but natural incident. They have their place just like the birds, bears and other wildlife of this region.
OTHER WITNESSES: No
OTHER STORIES: No
TIME AND CONDITIONS: I would say about 3-4am Sunday morning. Heavily wooded area, full moon but the foliage was so dense that little moonlight could be seen.
ENVIRONMENT: Mountainous, heavily wooded with several creeks, streams and boulders with two bridges you initially cross on the trail. Forty yards off of hiking trail. Remnants of some type of old mines and railroad tressels.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Morris Collins:
I spoke with the witness at length by phone. He is an employee of the state government in a technical position. He was articulate and sincere in his oral report.
Additional details include the size of the two creatures which he referenced as definitely simian in shape and outline. From his observation position, he related the height as 6.5 to 7 feet and estimated that the weight would be in excess of 350 pounds easily. As noted by the majority of people who have had encounters, the width and thickness of the torso was much greater than in a person. He stated that he could easily make out the outline of the head, trapezius and deltoid muscles, arms and the upper 1/3 of the torso. Another interesting comment was that everything flowed smoothly and was a uniformly dark color.
The total length of the observation was 10-20 seconds. He remembered a definite feeling of unease, which awakened him from a sound sleep, which he said was very unusual for him in the outdoors, to a point that he drew his pistol.
A second interesting item he related was the ability of the two creatures working together. The second creature moved in a manner to flank his campsite yet be in a position to back up the first creature.
The campsite was located adjacent to a waterfall and about 60 yards from a creek. There are several caves in the area. He has returned to the area several times since but has never seen or heard anything since.
About BFRO Investigator Morris Collins:
Morris holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Auburn University and additional coursework toward an MBA in International Business. He is an avid backpacker and SCUBA diver. Morris attended Georgia 2006, 2008, 2009 & 2011; North Carolina 2006 and SC 2007 expeditions. He is a member of the SE BFRO Tracking Team and has completed a first course in visual tracking.