In 1977, two men were approached by a possible sasquatch as they camped near the Neches River in Texas.
Date of Encounter
Time of Encounter
Thirty plus years ago…. a co-worker/friend (JS) & I left Houston one spring morning (believe it was March of 1977)… headed to Lake Palestine, Texas (about 15 miles southwest of Tyler in Smith County) to do some bass fishing, planning to fish most of the day,…camp that night,and fish the next morning before returning home. At this time, the lake was still filling up… facilities were practically non-existent with the exception of a boat launch area….which was closed at dusk. We weren’t allowed to camp there at the launch area at that time….so after fishing,…we stayed nearby…alongside a small road that I think, traversed parallel to the base of the dam….through a thick, swampy area that was river bottom of the Neches River…before development of the area. We had a cleared easement with the edge of the palmettos/brush only six to seven feet from the driver’s side of the truck.
We had started a small fire,…settled in about dusk….and began preparing our dinner as it became dark quickly in that river bottom. After our veggies cooked for a while, we started grilling a couple of ribeyes…intending to time it just right….when everything was ready at the same time. We were discussing the success of the day’s fishing…planning where we’d fish in the morning….how comfortable the weather was….( a little overcast but stable). It was pitch black dark…no stars or moon visible. A light breeze was coming through the swamp,…from the direction of the other side of the road….. towards us….carrying our smoke away from us into the swamp… towards the dam. During the whole time that we were preparing dinner….we had to talk loud enough at times,…to be able to hear each other over the surrounding chorus of hundreds, sometimes, probably, thousands of various frogs’ mating calls….it was spring! We were in a swampy area…..just what you’d expect! Then suddenly,…the frogs,… almost in unison,…stopped calling within a matter of seconds. We joked about being in a monster movie scene….the way it happened was fascinating! Loud to virtually silent…..quickly! Talking and laughing for a moment,….we paused….and heard something moving in the swamp (on our side of the road). We figured it was at least a hundred yards away when we first heard it. It was so quiet, ……we could hear whatever it was fairly well. It became evident that it was coming towards us slowly but steadily. It sounded like a very large man was walking through the swamp – bipedal.
Now,….JS was born and raised in a rural area in central Texas,….was an experienced outdoorsman,….lifetime experience with livestock. I too had been around livestock most of my life and an outdoorsman. We could tell the difference between a four legged and a two legged animal walking through water….actually,…it sounded more like “slooshing”….like it wasn’t raising its foot when stepping,….but rather sliding its foot and dragging the leg through the water….as though feeling its way through the swamp. (We later estimated the average depth to be one to three feet deep). Long bipedal strides through the water ,….along with the breaking of limbs and pushing through the underbrush was the opposite of being stealthy. I know of no man who would risk going through a swamp…without a light, in pitch black darkness. A desperate man, maybe….but he’d want to be found/rescued, right? Cry out, maybe? It took about ten to fifteen minutes for it to get from where it was when we first heard it…to within a few yards away. During that time,….it would occasionally pause for a short while… then resume its course. After listening for a few minutes,….we decided that it wasn’t a man…. out there frog giggin’ or hunting something else….since we couldn’t see any light….and considering the noise it was making coming through the underbrush. I even climbed up on the truck to try to spot any light from a higher vantage point. Our meal was ready at some point during all this….being hungry, we decided to eat quickly…all the while listening…as the creature kept on course….towards us. When it got within twenty – thirty yards/meters from us,….we set our plates down…and sat still. John suggested that I slip up to the cab of the truck,….which had an attached spotlight ( which swiveled…maneuvered from within the cab) and turn it on….since at about that moment it….it sounded like whatever was coming,…was only twenty feet or so away. I had moved up to the truck….positioned the spotlight (off at the time), trying to point it toward where I thought the “creature” was going to come through the underbrush. Adrenaline was flowing…..I was trembling…..the hair on my neck was standing up…..to make matters worse, the creature had slowed down its approach….seeming to move cautiously towards the opening. Suddenly,….the sound of a large limb cracking startled me so much ,..I turned on the spotlight. The instant the light came on….whatever it was,… crashed through the brush…AWAY from us….like it was running….but only for maybe five or six “steps”….(sounded more like a car crashing into the woods). A simultaneous combination of limbs breaking, water splashing (big time) and us yelling (involuntarily,….. mind you)….was followed by absolute silence.
The spotlight beam only lit up the immediate area….unable to penetrate the brush more than a few feet….but I was able to see the tops of a couple of small trees swaying as the creature pushed through the brush during that unsettling moment. I swept the light beam slowly across the area….without a successful sighting. I believe that whatever “creature” we encountered….wasn’t trying to be hurtful….don’t really know for sure….but I’m convinced it was tempted by the smell of our dinner that night.
I’ve considered it unfortunate that we didn’t get to SEE the creature. We didn’t smell anything….guessin’ that was because of the light breeze blowing into the swamp,….away from us. We were standing together….listening, waiting for something else to happen….whispering our concerns, our speculations. We waited quietly for what seemed like an hour….before the frogs started back up again. By this time,….we weren’t shaking anymore. Looking back,…I realize that I think what alarmed me most,…was the fact that my friend, JS…(who was about twelve years my senior) was so startled by the event….frightened. I was too,…but I guess I had respected him so much for his outdoors savy….that I didn’t expect him to react….much the same way I did….not that it was a bad thing…just unexpected.
We discussed packing up and driving home right then…..but we agreed to remain, as planned. We never heard another sound…other than the frogs,….and I’ll admit that I fought fatigue trying to remain awake,…listening for anything,…..but finally I fell asleep….with a steak knife on my chest….just in case I needed it for some sort of defense. We slept in the “camper” shell mounted on his truck…with the windows open for comfort…..I remember thinking that it was adequate protection from the elements, but might as well been tissue paper….if what I thought we’d been exposed to,…decided to open things up. That next morning,…we tried to survey the area …where we thought the creature had been ,…near us…..but we couldn’t see anything like broken branches, etc……..it was just too thick to see beyond the palmettos in the forefront….neither of us wanted to get wet wading out into the swamp….to try & find any evidence of what occurred that night….(John didn’t want his truck interior to be wet with swamp water)…had I brought a change of clothes, I would have….but I didn’t….wish I had now. JS and I had never discussed the subject of “Bigfoot /Sasquatch” before…..we sure did discuss it thereafter. I had been intrigued by the possibility since I was a young man. On the return home,….JS suggested that we not discuss this with our co-workers…the following week or thereafter…..but we still did….too exciting! We were laughed at and teased about it for a while…..although a few of them believed our story.
(SRA-Todd) I talked with the witness and don’t really have anything to add. The report itself is quite comprehensive and the discussion didn’t bring up any additional details. The only thing I can add is he did become quite emotional during the telling of the experience, having to stop a couple of times as he recounted what he was feeling. It was quite apparent that he was being truthful and was reliving it as we talked.