Skeptics like to characterize unknown creature eyewitnesses as unsophisticated, uneducated or even under the influence of drugs or alcohol. What I have found over 25 years of reports is that these eyewitnesses are actually almost always sober, and that as a group they are quite diverse in profession, gender and age. Even young children are strongly represented, although they usually don’t report their encounters until they are much older.
I’ve received several reports lately from people whose sightings occurred decades earlier, when the witnesses were children or pre-teens. The following is a transcript of a phone interview I had with a woman from south of Eau Claire who saw a puzzling creature when she was a pre-teen. She did not want the exact location revealed and asked me to keep her identity private as well, which I always do when requested. I met with her in person, too, and found her to be a very cordial and sensible person. She simply happened to have once encountered something most children would consider a nightmare – a black, hairy being with “spikes” on its head that looked like horns or ears.
In her words:
“I grew up south of Eau Claire, and one day I was out in our woods a distance of a football field and a half, alongside a path to a trash-burning area. I had a tire swing and was playing on it when I saw it. It peeked from behind a tree halfway between me and the house. It was a black creature, looked like it had ears or horns. It was solid black, on two legs, and it was the same size as me at that time, about four and one half feet.
When it stepped out [from behind the tree] I could see half the body. It had a regular hand. I couldn’t see the feet. Its leg looked like a human leg; it had knees. All I could see on the face was its eyes. They were yellow but not reflecting any light because we were in the woods where it was shaded. Its arm was hanging down, and may have been slightly longer than a human’s. It was a straight-on shot. It seemed like everything was three-dimensional. The spikes on its head could have been ears, hair that spiked up, horns, or tree branches that were behind him.
It reminded me of a human but because it was all black I thought it must have been a demon because I had never heard of Bigfoot at that age. I closed my eyes and started praying The Lord’s Prayer and when I opened them it was gone. I can’t remember if I ran to the house right then or not. I waited a few days before going back and never saw it again. But after seeing it, I’d wake up at night for months to hear either a scratching or a tapping on the window. I always put the covers over my head. It was quite often at first – every night – then slowly tapered off. I remember being scared out of my wits. It was almost like it wanted me to come with it or come out to play.
My parents still own the acreage. I never told them about it. My own kids wouldn’t go play out there.”
So what did she see peeping at her in those woods? I include here my own sketch interpretation, which the woman told me was pretty close. To me, the description and behavior scream juvenile Bigfoot. Young Sasquatch’ are often noticed watching children at play and following them home, and I think this conclusion is logical here. Except for those things on the head. That’s not a Bigfoot trait, but the woman may be correct in her guess that the “ears” were just branches in the woods behind it.
Other possible identities just don’t jibe with the report. A bear cub or deer? Not with “regular hands.” An upright canine? Goatman? These also seem unlikely for a creature with human hands, knees and a long arm hanging down at its side. Some might say it was a pukwudjie, or little person of the forest described in lore of the Algonquian, Wampanoag and other Native American peoples, but the pukwudjies are often described as only knee-high and covered with smooth gray skin rather than black fur.
If it was a juvenile Bigfoot, there may be a family group that is still somewhere in the area. In Monsters Among Us, I told the story of a family who believed a Bigfoot was watching their children play in their back yard near Neillsville (only half an hour east of this sighting), and who had seen several of them over the past five years. The whole Eau Claire area is surrounded by forests and wildlife preserves that would create prime habitat for Bigfoot.
One more note: this report is also one of a growing number I’ve received wherein the witness prays or calls out to God in fear, and the creature is immediately gone. I do not know for sure what this creature was, but even though it appeared years ago and did no physical harm, residents in that part of the state may want to keep an eye on their tire swings!