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While Bigfoot is generally thought of as living in the mountains and forests of the northwest coast, a surprising number of incidents involving large, hairy apelike creatures have taken place in Indiana.

The strange creatures seen in Indiana superficially appear to resemble flesh and blood animals. However, the chance that large, wild, human-like creatures could live in Indiana is extremely small. Some researchers have suggested that Bigfoot could migrate throughout the country by using rivers and creeks to remain hidden. In fact, Indiana's Bigfoot does seem to have a fondness for appearing in areas with such waterways nearby.


Three-toed Tracks





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On the evening of May 19, 1969, near the southern Indiana town of Rising Sun, George Kaiser walked through the family farmyard, when he was startled to see a strange figure standing about 25 feet away. George had the chance to observe the creature for a few minutes and noticed that it stood in a fairly upright position, although it was bent over at about the middle of its back.

The creature was around five feet, eight inches tall and was very muscular in build. The head sat directly on the shoulder and the face was dark, with hair that stuck out on the back of its head. It was covered with a dark-brown hair that covered its entire body, except for the face and the back of its hands. When it noticed the young Kaiser watching it, the animal "made a strange grunting-like sound," turned, leaped over a ditch and disappeared down the road. The next day, large footprints were found in the dirt by the ditch, when plaster casts were made, they showed a foot with three toes plus a large big toe that stood out like a thumb.

Rising Sun Indiana, in Clark county, sits along the banks of the Ohio river. Perhaps the Ohio is a favorite river of Bigfoot because, on April 13, 1977, Tom and Connie Courter spotted something that looked like the traditional Sasquatch in an area between the towns of Aurora and Rising Sun.

The Courters arrived home in their car around 11:00 P.M.. Tom got out of the car and heard a strange noise which sounded like an "Ugh." When he looked up, he saw a large hairy animal about a foot away from him. The creature appeared to be more than 12 feet tall, black and hairy, with large red eyes. Its head appeared to resemble a human, but its arms were long and hung to the ground.

Tom quickly jumped into his car and spun the tires, as the creature swung its arms and struck the car, denting it. The couple quickly left the area and spent the night at their mother's house. The next night Tom and Connie returned to their trailer with a .22 rifle and again saw the large creature standing near a tree next to the road.

Tom fired one shot at the animal, but missed. He fired several more shots, but they, too, had no effect. Tom and Connie both said that the animal seemed to dive to the ground and vanish. Connie Courter said that the creature was so large that "If my husband stood on my shoulders he'd still have to look up at it, and it wasn't a bear."

This Bigfoot story seems to indicate that the creature might not be a flesh-and-blood animal. The large, glowing red eyes are a common report with unnatural creature sightings. Also, the fact that Tom Courter shot several rounds from a .22 rifle into his creature with no effect, and its mysterious vanishing act seems to indicate that something more unusual than a physical creature was walking the night in southern Indiana.


The Roachdale Creature

In west-central Indiana, in the town of Roachdale, another ghostly Bigfoot type creature made itself known after several nighttime UFO sightings were reported in the area. Mrs. Lou Rogers was the first person to hear the unusual intruder in August 1972.

She had stepped outside of her house one evening when she was startled by a noise somewhat like a growl which was followed by a "boo" or "oo." Turning around, Mrs. Rogers looked in the direction of the sound, but due to the darkness, could see nothing. She did have the feeling, though, that something was watching her and she quickly retreated back into her house.

The following evenings the strange sounds returned followed by something banging on the doors and windows. Lou Rogers commented that "whatever it was, it must have gotten braver because the noise got louder and louder each night. It would always come around ten to eleven thirty each night, you could feel it coming, I don't know how to explain it, and then the knocking would start."

When the Rogerses would go outside they would sometimes catch a glimpse of a large, broad-shouldered "something" running away through the cornfields. Mrs. Rogers commented, "We tried to think of a rational explanation, maybe an ape had gotten away from a zoo or circus. It would stand up like a man, but would run on all fours, even bent over on all four feet it was still taller then my husband, and it stank, like rotten garbage." Mr. Rogers continued: "The funny thing is that it never left footprints, even in mud, and when it ran through tall weeds you couldn't hear anything. And sometimes when you looked at it, it looked like you could see through it, like it was a ghost or something."

The Rogerses weren't the only people in Roachdale to sight the mysterious animal. On August 22, around nine o'clock in the evening, Carter Burdine and his uncle, Bill Burdine, discovered at Carter's farm, the remains of over sixty chickens that had been ripped apart and scattered along a path from the chicken coop, to the front yard of the house. None of the chickens had been eaten, just torn apart and dropped.

After Town Marshal Leroy Cloncs arrived, the men stood outside discussing what could have attacked the birds in such a strange way. Suddenly they heard an unusual noise nearby. Cloncs got into his patrol car and slowly went down the road while Bill Burdine walked behind. After the car passed, something large jumped out of the roadside ditch and ran between Bill and the patrol car. "It ran so fast I couldn't get a good look at it in the dark," Bill said. "Whatever it was, it was big. The fence it ran over was mashed all the way to the ground, and you could see where it had trampled the weeds when it ran away."

After the Town Marshal had left, Carter and Bill returned to the chicken coop to find the creature standing in the chicken-house doorway. "The thing completely blocked out the light in the chicken-house," Bill said. "The door is six feet by eight, its shoulders came to the top of the doorway. It looked like a gorilla with long brownish colored hair. I never saw its face, but it was making an awful groaning sound."

The creature ran from the coop with Bill shooting at it with a pump shotgun. Like other ghostly Bigfoot encounters, the Roachdale creature seemed unharmed by the hail of shotgun pellets, and once again disappeared into the nearby fields. This time the animal had killed one hundred and ten chickens, all had been ripped apart and drained of blood. Out of two hundred chickens, Carter Burdine lost all but thirty. After this incident, reports of the strange beast subsided. Whatever the monster of Roachdale was, it vanished as mysteriously as it had arrived.



In August 1979 in northeastern Martin County, Indiana, nineteen-year-old Andy Keith had an early morning encounter with an unusual visitor to his neck of the woods. Keith, an employee of the Martin County Highway Department, was heading to work at about 6:30 A.M.. His commute was a l5-mile drive along the narrow country lanes that wind through the wooded hill country to Shoals, Indiana. According to the October 7, 1979 edition of the Vincennes Sun-Commercial, Keith had just topped a gentle rise in the road a short distance from his trailer home when he saw a strange creature cross the road some 200 feet in front of him. The creature appeared to be half man and half beast, not unlike the legendary "Sasquatch" or "Bigfoot".

"I got a real good look at him," he said.

Keith said the "thing'' appeared to have come across an open field from the direction of Indian Creek, and it disappeared into the heavy underbrush on the other side of the road after being sighted.

It was from six to seven feet tall and had shoulders about three and a half feet wide, according to Keith. It was covered with long black hair, streaked with gray, and had a strangely sloping head with human facial features; its arms were apelike and hung to mid-thigh.

Keith said when he saw it, the odd creature appeared to be in a hurry, looking neither to the right nor left, and "taking" the road in about three five-foot-long strides that were curiously manlike. It left in its wake a strong, sickening odor of dead fish. According to Keith, it was the odor, more than fear, that prevented him from following the weird being.

"It stunk" he said. "When I smelled it, I thought it was kind of crazy to follow anything that smelled that bad."

When asked whether Keith's neighbors in the sparsely populated hill community near the Martin-Lawrence County Line were skeptical about his unlikely encounter, Keith said, "They believed me . . . they just weren't sure what I'd seen."

The following Sunday, Keith and two Bloomfield men were searching for some trace of the "thing's" earlier visit when Keith discovered fresh footprints in a bottomland cornfield about one-half mile southeast of his home. Some corn stalks had been eaten off in the area of the prints which were at the edge of the field.

The footprints had to have been made sometime Saturday night or early Sunday, Keith explained, because it had rained earlier and there was no water standing in the indentations. There were two prints, 20 feet apart. One was in a grassy area, but the other was clearly defined in the rain softened field, and Keith made a plaster cast of it. The plaster cast shows a 15-inch-long "foot" that measures seven inches wide at the widest part and four inches wide at the heel.

The print indicates that the creature had only one big toe and no arch to its foot. Because of the depth of the imprint, Keith estimates the weight of Martin County's "Bigfoot" to be anywhere from 400 to 500 pounds. He said one of the men with him when the tracks were discovered weighs about 250 pounds. The man tried in vain to make an imprint as deep as the one found.

"He couldn't come close in it," Keith said -- even by stomping as hard as he could.

Andy Keith's experience with "Bigfoot" isn't the first among the people in this small community. At least one man reportedly had an uncanny encounter with the strange creature three or four years ago, and rumors have had Bigfoot roaming the area for some time. Area residents are hesitant about reporting such sightings however, fearing ridicule. Keith said he, himself, sought no publicity but word of his plaster "proof" leaked out, and he has been the subject of numerous radio broadcasts and newspaper stories throughout southern Indiana.


Pinkish Face and Big, Glassy Eyes: The White River Monster

A man fishing in the White River bottom land near Highway 50 saw a "creature" on August 22, 1981. Jack Lankford had anticipated a "good bit of fishing" when he went to his favorite spot on the lower part of what is called Beaver Dam in eastern Knox County. The fisherman had built a campfire a few yards from the bank and was using a lantern to watch his lines.

The Washington, Indiana, resident had been there a couple of hours when he started having an "eerie feeling" that someone was watching. About 20 minutes later Lankford looked up and saw two eyes, each about one inch in diameter, glowing red from the lantern and nearby campfire glow and staring at him from about 50 yards away. Lankford could see a hairy body sticking about four feet out of the water, but the light was too dim to reveal the face, he said.

Lankford said the creature looked like a well-build, big-boned man with "extra"-long forearms and covered with brown, matted hair. It apparently was standing in about four feet of water.

"It just stared at me and me at it. It was trying to figure out if I was looking at what I was seeing," he said.

The "booger," as Lankford's grandmother called it, appeared to study Lankford, tilting its head from side to side and making no noise, he said. After a short time, the creature turned away, reached to grab a tree limb, and pulled itself from the water. As it walked away Lankford noticed that the arms extended to around the knees and that it had to weigh "well over 200 pounds." He said, "It made a loud squeal or high-pitch shriek when it left, something like a young pig would make when you try to hold on to it."

Lankford heard the sound again while he was hurriedly packing his fishing gear. He says he has heard the noise in that area three or four times since early spring, but didn't think much of it. Since seeing the creature, Lankford has not heard the noise. He said he would like to meet it again.

"The last time I didn't think to follow it because it didn't show any sign of wanting to harm me. I'm one person who respects other persons and beings, and I would like to see the creature captured unharmed and studied," Lankford commented.

Lankford told only his family immediately after seeing the creature. He decided to report the incident to the Davies County Sheriff's Department after reading a newspaper article about a strange attack on a nearby house.

"I've talked to people who live in the area, and they said if it is someone trying to pull a hoax they are taking a big risk of getting shot. The sheriff's deputy told me the same thing," Lankford noted.

Roger and Barbara Crabtree said they lived in fear of a "hairy creature" they saw twice near their Decker Chapel home in southern Knox County close to the White River. On September 26, 1981 at about 2:30 A.M., along the Decker Chapel Road, west of Highway 41, Roger Crabtree was returning with his family from Princeton and was less than two miles from home when he saw "something big" walking in the road.

As Crabtree came closer, he noticed fur, long arms and a "skipping walk like an ape." The headlights appeared to startle it, Crabtree recalls, and the creature swung its arm at the car. Crabtree swerved off and back onto the road to miss the creature and stopped to watch as it continued its walk down the road.

Crabtree's wife, Barbara, who was awakened by the quick turn, persuaded her husband not to follow and to call the Knox County Sheriff's Department. Mrs. Crabtree said she had seen it the day before in a cornfield near the family's backyard, a "dirty, white-haired creature" not more than 50 feet away.

Mrs. Crabtree grabbed her two preschool daughters and backed to the front porch, she said. The creature "took a couple of steps" toward her but stepped back when the family dog started barking and ran toward it. She got her daughters and nine-year-old son, who was throwing rocks at it, into the house and locked all doors and windows. She tried to call the sheriff but was unable to get through because of a busy party telephone line, she said.

In her view the creature was about seven to eight feet tall and weighed around 500 pounds. It was covered with "fuzzy" dirty white hair except for its head, which was brown hair.

"It had a pinkish face and big, glassy eyes. The thing had an awful, sour smell, something like dead meat that had set out for three or four days," she said.

The creature also made a growling noise, which the family has heard at least two times since the second sighting, Crabtree said. "I don't care what anyone thinks. I saw what I saw and no one has to believe me. When nightfall comes around here, my family is plenty scared. I don't even go out after dark."

In nearby Vincennes, Terry and Mary Harper didn't see anything, but something attacked their house. The unknown assailant ripped and apparently chewed on aluminum siding and tore away part of the metal trim around the backdoor of the house. It left behind teeth marks, blood and tufts of white hair about two inches long.

The Harpers, their children and neighbors did not hear anything out of the ordinary between midnight and 6:30 A.M. on August 26, but during that time about four or five feet of siding some three feet high was ripped and chewed, along with metal trim around the backdoor. One piece shows what looks like a claw mark.

"We had the house fans on all night and they can be noisy. We really didn't hear anything," she said.

Terry Harper was leaving for work when he saw the damaged siding. The damage amounted to about $500, Harper said, and included blood, large teeth marks and white hair. Blood was also found near the back light about six to seven feet above the ground, Mrs. Harper said. The dog refused to come out of its house and had its paws over its eyes and whined when it was checked.

Officials from the Knox County Sheriff's Department have told the Harpers that tests on the blood revealed that it was not human, and that a wolf or some other wild animal may have done the damage. Investigating officers told Mrs. Harper that hair taken from the scene has been lost.

"We don't know what to be frightened of, and I can't say that it is a Bigfoot or not," Mrs. Harper said.

Obviously apelike creature sightings are not new to southern Indiana. The March 1946 issue of Hoosier Folklore reported a large ape creature who could jump 20 or 30 feet at a bound. This agile beast eluded bands of hunters with dogs throughout 1942 and 1943. Tracks were found, piercing screams heard, but no dog could be found that held a trail for long.


The Loup Garou

The southwestern section of Indiana around Vincennes had a heavy French influence during the 18th century as traders moved along the rivers from the north into the southern wilderness. This influence can still be seen today in the form of myths and legends of the Loup Garou, or werewolf.

The old French settlers of Vincennes had to deal with the Loup Garou that prowled at night along the Cathlinette Road, south of town, attacking hapless wayfarers. The French believed one became a Loup Garou by failing to attend mass and the sacraments for seven years.

One such story was told to historians in 1935 by an old French woman who had lived her entire life in Vincennes.

It was reported many years ago that some kind of wild animal was running loose out by the old French graveyard. It was claimed that several queer animals were not animals at all but people that had been bewitched. John Vatchet claimed that one of these animals sprang at him one night as he was going through the old graveyard and that he had quite a tussle for his life.

Charles Vatchet lived down by the site where the present hospital is located. There were a number of apple trees along this street, and as this was before the time of street lights, the place was very dark. One night as Mr. Vatchet was going home, an object having the shape of a wild animal sprang at Mr. Vatchet. He cut the animal with his knife in his struggle, and the object turned into a man. He gave Mr. Vatchet his name and address (the man was from Evansville), and requested that he should not tell anyone for one year and a day or he would turn back into an animal. When the animals were injured to the extent that brought blood, the charm was broken.

Another hazard to night travel was the "fifollet," a kind of will-o-the-wisp, or dancing light, which would lure the unwary traveler to drown in the swamps. The French believed that fifollets were souls of those who died without baptism, and, unable to enter heaven, had to wander about on earth.


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