October 1972, Beaver Lake near Rogers AR
I was 18, my husb at the time was 20 and my brother was 16; my 2 children were 14 mos. and 2 mos. old.
Went camping in a 1968 VW van with center seat removed so the back ledge over engine was for children to sleep on, I was on backseat , husband was on center floor and my brother was to camp out in a small pup tent.
The park had only opened to camping that very day! Brand new Army Corps project. It was said the movie Deliverance was loosely based on this project as it displaced so many homes and mountain people. The area was submerged after the dam was put in.Camping with 2 infants was not unusual for me- my brother sleeping on the ground was the norm; traveling was our pastime so going to AR was an adventure. My husband had worked thru hi school at a place and got full time work there upon graduation. We made a good living (for ones so young) and were middle class earners.
Arriving at the new campground areas we found a secluded spot so the children waking in the night wouldn't bother anyone else. It was a cul de sac site with only a few sites, had just a fire ring and a picnic table.
It was in a forested area with a tall rock ridge in a horseshoe shape around it and at the top it was wooded and along the sides it stepped down in terrace like sandstone formations with dots of brush and small trees on them.
As you came down the road to the sites the ridge ran along the left side and ranged from 50' high to 10 -20' high as you went right.
At our site, It was around 50' tall at far left of horseshoe and going up to 125' tall or so, at apex of horseshoe, then center rt. side of horseshoe ridge was around 75' then to ground off in the forest. There was a site downhill from us. We pulled in face forward and had the back of the van toward the center of the rock wall. The site next to us was about 30-40' away and 10' down from our upper terrace site and they were basically on the road. There was some short brush and wispy trees between sites. The fire ring and table at our site was about 15' from the rock wall and the van was about about 15-18' away from the wall.
We chose the upper site due to incoming storms and wanted drainage away from our site. Though forested, we had a wide open sky above us, due to the layout of the rock ledge and the road in, that formed a bowl like area.
After setup we went exploring .The swimming area by the dam was opened and we were enjoying a sunny break in the rainy day- warm enough to swim. Rain however came as we were exploring and we had a drenching downpour last about 3 hrs. We went to camp ate sandwiches (no fire possible) and to bed early. It rained a lot during the night. It was quiet and a very secluded spot.
Next day we went to the swimming area and saw the whole area was flooded and even the parking lot at the swim site above the dam was under 4' of water in places. My brother and I had no intentions on swimming- even though it was now sunny it was too cool for us, but my husband was going in. He swam around the area of a tree submerged about 4' up it's trunk and then went out a little further. I looked up and realized I could not see him any more! I called my brother over and we searched for him in the water- no sight of him. Brother goes in swimming to the tree and sees his head pop up far out in the lake! He tried to come to shore but a current kept him out there! So my brother was holding onto a branch at the tree that was at 3' water level, at the tree in the parking lot, now part of the lake- when it suddenly broke off and the current pulled him out to where my husb. was! BUT my bro. was not winded from swimming so he was able to reach the branch to my husband and swim them back to land. My husband was not able to stand and had taken in water- we rushed to the van and drove off to the hospital at Rogers. I had only tried driving a clutch once before this so it was a choppy drive!
My brother worked on reviving him and he was coming to- blue in the face and gasping. He vomited water and coughed horribly til we got to the ER. After X-rays confirming near drowning- pneumonia ; he refused to stay in the hosp. even though we were insured- and after an all afternoon stay, we went back to camp around 5 pm.
We wrapped him, shivering and coughing , in our sleeping bags in the center floor of van- as we ate sandwiches etc. and watched over him. At 1st sign of fever or lost consciousness, we would go to the ER.
We ran the van heater and watched him til dark and he slept, so we shut down. My bro. and I were to take turns watching him overnight then would leave for home. At this time in 1972, the roads we got there on in daylight were terrible, mainly dirt and gravel and at night'd be dumb to try.
I kept first watch and my bro. tried to sleep in the pup tent- it was a fair night around 60 degrees or so. I had the kids out with me and fed them and watched the fire til it got low and put them to bed hoping they'd sleep. My husband was delirious and breathing noisily ,coughing fits and all. It was full on darkness when a pickup w/a popup tent camper pulled into the lower road side spot next to us. A man, woman and maybe 2 kids opened up the camper and went to bed- no fire or etc. I had no problem staying awake as tensions were high- I just knew he was going to die in the night! I heard small animals outside and some usual noises from the almost gone fire- when a weird gruff or HUFF sound was heard ; and immediately after a long LOUD howling WOOooot! Almost a whistling sound, far back atop the rt. side ridge next to us!! Started like a hound dog howl 'wooooo' and went up in tenor to a whistle like ' ooooot!' It was as loud as if a really BIG hound had howled from 30-40' maybe!
My brother bugged out of his tent and got in the van...he was weirded out by the howl too. We sat in silence hoping the babes would not wake...there was a clear sky and stars out and the fire pit cast a glow 10' around it still, once in awhile it's flare up and cast more light on the rock ledge. My husband was awakened by the sound too but was too ill to move - he asked what it was...if we saw anything outside . Barely finishing his question, there was SUDDENLY, a HUGE BANG that hit the side of the van where my head was on the ridge side (pup tent, fire ring side)... like King Kong hurled a softball at the van! We 3 yelped and ducked down instinctively, a few seconds later my brother peeked up and out the rear view mirror of the van at seeing movement out the rear window. A large, shadowy figure passed behind the van 15'-20' away headed down the hill to the road and other campers! The babies stirred but slept on!!!
My husband was up and getting out of the sleeping bags and after about 10 minutes he and my brother got out and checked the side of the van for a dent. NONE!
The 2 guys were moving to get into the front seats of the van after standing outside trying to see something for 5 or so minutes when they both swung their heads toward the campsite below us. I looked too and the folks were awake - up and talking loudly in the tent camper, then hustled themselves into their pickup truck- we saw the dome light go on, and the tent camper close somewhat down by flashlight, not packed or totally closed down; and they left it and drove off pretty swiftly.
My husb. said let's go too, that we could come back next am for the tent & stuff. They got into the van and then another ' WOOoot' came from the back of the van (rock wall area) and also crackly, brush crunching sounds. We sat frozen...it moved from the fire pit side of van around the ridge wall , heading in a direction toward the popup tent campsite and the road. A moment passed and out of the blue, my husband hit the van headlights!
The scuffling sounds turned to loud , breaking brush and rocks falling, as it moved faster and more roughly now, on the passenger side of the van (we pulled in face front and rear of van toward the center back wall) where the ridge was close by the fire ring- and in the headlight glow we saw something 1/2 way up the ridge coming down the terraced sides and moving toward the apex or center of the horseshoe ridge behind us, toward where the first sounds had also been heading!
It was hairy, with glisteny silver tipped hair, grey silver strip on its back and shoulders, standing upright and manlike but as it stepped down the ridge rocks, it bent down and stood and walked a bit and then bent over forward etc very quickly, until it was behind us in the darker area. It moved twitchily...up down- look around repeat.
Its fur looked like German Shepherd fur, it stuck out from the body a bit and then laid down and had the light color tips to it that shined glisteny in the light. It seemed like 2" or so long and 4" at the head area- it had no noticeable neck , long arms that it used to grab brush and support itself on the way down the ridge, arm hair was real short it seemed, not flowing etc., and I got only quick glimpses of the face out the back window of the van. The guys saw it more clearly. I did see the head shape as rounded but went to a slight point at the crown or the hair did, and a bald face...flatter blunt nose than a humans and snout like, but not stuck out from the face as much as a dog's. The hair at the body was darker it seemed and as it went out from the body it became silver tipped. A silvery streak at the shoulders and a bit down the spine- turning to a dkr. grey tipped area down the back. Was like a tall man 6' or more, with a large defined barrel chest. I saw enough face glimpses to say it was not ape or monkey like really. It had small ears on the side of the head where a mans are, that had tufts of silver tipped hair- kind of lynx like. His eyes had a red glow and were evil looking due to that color! It used hands- not paws to pull brush away from it's path. I never saw it from the knees down as it was in brush. Again , it looked up, down then glance our way constantly and very nervously- twitchy is best word for it. As it glanced at us it's eyes would flash in the light from fire pit and van headlights, even though the headlights faced the opposite direction, enough light hit the creature to get a view of shape and size and features. It had the cruelest, most vicious look to it. It continued to very quickly move down and to the right towards the road and other campsites.
The guys then- crazily- jumped out of the van! They cowered down by the front of the van on the door side of the drivers side headlight, and as it went down on the ridge they kept low and slowly inched down the drivers side of the van, (toward the back) and got by the driver's door handle, when we all lost sight of the thing in the dark and brush. All of a sudden a rock shower! A rain of gravel hit the van and the 2 guys; like a bucket full of gravel thrown laterally, at a high rate of speed; came down the side of the van and at their heads!! They bolted into the van and we left as fast as possible!
We are all 3 watching the windows as we backed out of the site; trying to figure out what we'd just seen. Scared out of our wits, shaking and nerved up, we all thought we were going to get caught by it and eaten or torn apart. I yelled they guys asking what they were thinking when they got out of the van- they both said they saw it at one turn and thought it was a guy... so they were going to harass him for scaring us!
My husband was so ill and shaking so badly as we drove away we found the first lighted spot on the road we could- about 10 miles maybe, at a country store with a small street light. The entire drive and 1/2 the night we asked what ea. other saw, heard, thought it was and the longer we talked the more the guys said it was a deformed animal, a bear with deformities and my brother kept telling himself and us that it was a very Lg. German Shepard with severe deformities...while I kept saying 'they don't walk like a man- did you see it's eyes?'...and asking more details of the face since they had seen it while outside and my view of the face was so brief...I was dealing with the 2 babies and listening to the guys go back and forth and freaking out. It had to be well after midnight when we parked and the guys eventually fell asleep and I dozed, checking my husband as he coughed and sweat as he slept.
When 2 people came and opened the store, I went in to use the bathroom and get some baby food jars and cough syrup and I got up the nerve to ask the man at register questions, as the woman dusted shelves near me. I asked about the BIG creatures they have in the woods here- got dead stares- probably thought I was a druggie- so I told him where we were from- that we were camping with 2 kids etc. ; how we got spooked out of our campsite by this big animal etc. Asked if they had a bear here that walked upright a lot- whoooped, or had silvery hair characteristics....the woman did nothing but dust and work on cans on shelves and the man said he was sure the bears here were normal and did not walk upright. He was as deadpan faced as could be. He asked where we camped- and said it was all new so maybe displaced critters were the cause. He said previous campers and hunters did say they heard noises in area like hollering or screechy ape sounds.
I said YES that was what we heard ( at least a woooot) and we and another camp family were chased out by a creature in the campground. He said 'tell the ranger I guess, they have reports in the paper on hollers I think...'
I got no more from him not even eye contact.
Went home- sharing driving- husb. was ill, ate our camp foods and stopped for gas and potty breaks only. The guys said not to tell anyone- we'll be called crazy or my dad'd think we were druggies etc. , said because of his drowning accident we came home early - after all they were surprised at our early arrival home.
I wanted to tell Dad at least but the guys made me swear not to- my bro. risked not getting into a school he was trying to go to and my husband risked his well paying job and parents' disapproval too. I did not agree until I was convinced no one in their rt. mind would believe me anyway.
Later I saw the bigfoot sightings and books, I almost fainted....I began reading everything etc. , but after our encounter, not going out to find any! Although I always knew my encounter wasn't the archtypical bigfoot I knew only that it had some attributes, like the whoops, the hairyness, the head shape and size. But itwas the fierceness that got all of us...we just knew we were on the menu if it could get to us.
On size, we came to think it would have to have been 7' or so; and it was built like a buff NBA player with a round barrel chest. Today I have told my present husband, my best friend and my daughter- then I told Bigfoot hotspot radio listeners this yr. and Will Jevning brought to my attention that it was a dogman type of sasquatch animal- likely- I had never even looked at dogman/werewolves before! I think I'd heard about them but thought they were paranormal and not flesh and blood! After listening to the guys on BFHotspot radio and others, I knew it was one of these. It is the nose mainly- a rounder, longer snout that is akin to a baboon , sort of. The looks and meanness also are characteristic.
I was pointed to a photo of a dogman supposedly, on you tube- that seems to be carrying a small dog,
I presently live in the Cascade mtn. area of western Oregon and have had no sightings, although the entire area around Eugene is littered with Bigfoot- everyone knows someone who has or have seen one themselves, it seems.
my drawing - nose just isn't right though