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COUNTY: Mendocino County
LOCATION DETAILS: approx. 1 mile north of beginning of four lane and parallel to outlet Creek
NEAREST TOWN: Willits, CA
NEAREST ROAD: Highway 101
OBSERVED: On my way north on Highway 101 about 11 miles north of Willits I observed a very large creature jump up onto the roadway and bound across three lanes , while slowing my car down to approx. 20 mph, when it ran directly in front of my vehicle and jumped down into the ditch and then shot up a steep hillside. I got a very good look at this thing and I know that it was about 7 feet tall , had a black wool covering the whole body with a face like untanned leather, almost yellow. It looked like it was running on the hind legs and was using its massive arms,leaning forward, to pull itself along. The head was really round and the wool covered the ears completly. This animal was on a mission to cross that freeway and I would have hit it if I hadn't slowed down
ALSO NOTICED: I have been driving this same road since 1975 and as far as I know nothing unusual has ever been reported here. But we are in the middle of the worst Forest fire area in Ca. right now.
OTHER WITNESSES: There was another vehicle traveling north also, but it was in the left lane and behind me and it never slowed at all, but I was alone and observed it(the animal) for probably 10 seconds
TIME AND CONDITIONS: at 8 PM Sun going down, still light, very smokey but clear skies
ENVIRONMENT: the highway runs through a vast forest and along a creek to the west and a very steep ridge to the east, the animal came from a spot near the entrance to a ranch
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Brandon Kiel:
The incident occurred at roughly 7.30pm, the area was very smokey due to fires burning nearby. The witness was driving north on Highway 101 when the animal stepped onto south bound edge from out of the treeline. At the time there were no other cars in the south bound lane, though there was a truck 200ft behind the witness at was also traveling north.
At 1st sighting the witness was 200ft away from the animal and he was traveling roughly 60 miles per hour. He says that he hit the brakes as soon as he saw the animal run across the highway but he still almost hit it. The other driver in the next lane never applied his brakes and never seemed to slow. The animal ran on its hind legs very fast across the south bound lanes and then leaned forward onto it huge arms and went down on all fours. This seemed to cause the animal to pick up speed. At this point he says he was standing on brake pedal afraid he would slam into it. The witness came to a complete stop in the far right lane.
The animal stopped at edge of freeway 25ft away from him, turned it's upper body towards him and he noted that the neck moved with the body. He describes it as being 7ft tall, 500 pounds, no visible breasts or genitals, and the body "was like looking at giant man/ape". The legs were very muscular and seemed proportional to the other body parts.
The animal looked directly at the witness, stared at him and he noted that the face was very similar to that of an ape. He says the color was of untanned leather or a ripe banana. He noted that there was no hair on the face itself, but that the hair of the animals head was black and resembled wool. He says it looked like it might grow to a certain length and then stop. There was no tonality to it.
There was a distinct forehead that was devoid of hair and contained a boney ridge that protruded above eyes. He described the eyes as dark brown and that the whites of eyes seemed bloodshot. The eyes had a reddish glow seeming to come from the iris. The nose was flat to face and very minimal almost like there was no nose; there was no nose in the profile. He states that the face seemed flatter than that of a gorilla. The mouth was "very serious", with closed, tight lips and a rounded chin.
The animals arms were "huge and long". As it ran it leaned forward slightly to incorporate arms into propelling it forward. The back seemed parallel to ground while it ran.
The animal stared at him for 5 secs. then straightened up and bounded up the steep embankment on all fours.
The Field Investigator visited the location a week to the day after the encounter and was able to corroborate the witnesses description of the area. The embankment the animal is said to have ran up was very steep and composed of small rocks, various forest rubble, and hard packed dirt. The footpath the animal had taken as well as the marks of the individual steps was still very clearly delineated. At a point close by with the same soil composition and incline, the investigator tried multiple times to climb the embankment but found it too difficult to climb in hiking boots. The individual footpath and foot markings were flagged with tape and photographed for this report.
View of the path looking from across 101
View of the path with flagging tape marking the individual stride indentions.
About BFRO Investigator Brandon Kiel:
Brandon Kiel is a professional photographer and naturalist living in the Bay Area.
He was the chief coordinator of Northern California Expeditions for 7 years and has planned/attended more than 20 expeditions throughout the US.