The following story is presented unedited. This is just an example of the many real-life encounters included in Phantoms & Monsters: Cryptid Encounters
“Hello - I saw the e-mail link at the bottom of your page and wanted to sent these accounts to you. Though I’ve lived in Florida for just over 12 years now, I grew up in Ohio. I’m convinced that we had a Sasquatch that would pass through the area on a regular basis. This conviction is due to both sightings of it (them?) and other evidence. I had actually e-mailed Autumn Williams with these accounts several years ago after watching a few episodes of Mysterious Encounters when it was in production. She never bothered to write back in response, so I don’t even know if she received the message. Since then, I contacted a researcher in Ohio with these events. Sorry to say, I don’t recall the man’s name. He was excited about it when he replied back to me with questions, but I’ve heard nothing since.
My parents and I moved into a house that was only a couple hundred yards from an abandoned railroad bed in Marysville, Ohio when I was 5-years-old. It wasn’t long after that we, my friends and I, started our forays to the railroad bed. During the Summer months, the weeds there would grow far taller than we were. For us, it was akin to being in a forest. Each Summer, we’d carve a path through, using sticks to hack and slash at the weeds, cutting out a narrow, curving path and a larger open area where we’d gather to talk and whatnot.
When the Sasquatch first turned up, or, I should say, when we first noticed it, we were still young. We had no idea what was there. We felt that something was there on occasion, watching us. But for a long time we saw nothing. Then one of my friends reported having seen something large and hairy there one night. He saw it from a distance and only briefly. The rest of us didn’t take him too seriously at first. He kept hounding us with it, though. Then another friend, a girl whose grandparents lived in the lot adjoining the railroad bed, saw something one night. She mostly lived with her grandparents due to family issues and her bedroom window looked right out at the old railroad bed. Having a second report of something large and hairy up there at night made us all take it more seriously. Still, we were young and stupid. And the railroad bed was our place to go to get away from our parents. It was our place. We weren’t going to give it up easily. Being so young still, we had no idea what we had. We started calling it a Troll. As we never had the impression that it was there full-time. So, we learned to live with it.
It’s been suggested to me before, upon sharing these events, that the Sasquatch may have been young itself. I don’t know.
Several years went by. We were easing into our early teens. That’s when things started to pick up. Maybe there was a juvenile. Maybe it was just watching us grow and decided that, while it was willing to allow young children to play there, it wasn’t going to be so tolerant of older children. But the girl who lived right next to the railroad bed had several more night-time sightings. She was actually so afraid of what she saw that she convinced herself that she dreamed these, rather than truly admit that there was something there. I had three sightings of it/them over the years. She was with me for the first. We were in her grandparents’ yard, walking up the short, gentle hill to the railroad bed. She froze and put her arm across my chest, stopping me. I looked at her. She was staring, open-mouthed and wide-eyed, pointing straight ahead. Through a narrow gap in the weeds, I saw what looked like the head and shoulders of a large humanoid figure with dark black hair. It was either sitting or crouched, holding perfectly still. We were seeing its profile. We backed slowly down the hill until it was out of sight, then turned and ran.
After that, she refused to ever go back up there. Not even as part of a group. The following day, we told another friend. He wanted to see the spot where the creature had been seen. It was broad daylight, so I took him up there, albeit reluctantly. The only sign we saw of it was a large patch of flattened grasses where it had been.
Somewhere in there, he and I also found what we referred to as the “vine cave”, which I now believe to have been a nest. From our point of view, it simply popped into existence literally overnight in the large, open area we’d carved. He and I actually crawled into it a few times, but always felt very uncomfortable in it and always left quickly. Not long after the discovery of the “vine cave”, a couple of rival kids destroyed it, thinking we’d built it. I think that may have well caused the increase in encounters with the Sasquatch and it’s attempts to chase us away.
My second and third sightings were spaced out over the next few years. Each time I saw it was in broad daylight. I was in our driveway, pulling weeds that were growing up through the gravel. Movement from up at the railroad bed caught my attention. I looked up there to see a tall, humanoid being with long arms walking along the hill, moving to my right. It was covered in dark black hair. I’ve always suspected it was the same creature I saw on my first sighting, but don’t know for sure. I watched it walk for a few seconds until it was blocked from view by a neighbor’s storage shed. Then I turned and ran into the house. I didn’t go back up to the railroad bed for weeks.
My third sighting was from a far greater distance. On the other side of the railroad bed was a fenced-in area of cow pasture and the local water tower. Beyond that was a trailer court. I was in our upstairs back bedroom one afternoon, again, during broad daylight. I saw what I first took to be a rolled-up rug by a trash can back in the trailer court. I could just barely see it, due to the distance. I looked away, and then looked back. What I was seeing seemed shorter, as if it had sagged, or crouched. I kept looking away, and then looked back, wanting to see if it moved. I couldn’t tell if it was moving or not. Finally, I looked away for about ten minutes. When I looked back, whatever it had been was gone.
Another friend of mine lived in a house just beyond the far side of the trailer court. A wooden privacy fence divided his back yard from the trailer court. He once told me that he and his family would sometimes smell a heavy, musky scent at night. They would sometimes hear what sounded like heavy footfalls outside their house at night. He said his mother even claimed to have heard a loud heartbeat on occasion.
All in all, we were lucky. We gave it plenty of incentive to lash out at us. Luckily, it never did anything to hurt us. Just scare us, employing fear tactics. We were just too dumb and stubborn to pay close enough attention. Even after we’d all seen it.
Aside from the direct sightings of the creature(s), we had other evidence that it was there as well. Once, when I was in my teens and at the railroad bed alone, something that sounded very large was in the weeds and brush ahead of me, thrashing at the weeds, causing them to move and make a lot of noise. I thought at first it was the same friend who’s wanted to go check out the site of my first direct sighting of the Sasquatch. About the same moment I realized that whatever was ahead of me was too large to be him a rock about the size of my fist was thrown at me, just narrowly missing hitting me in the head. I ran and refused to go back to the railroad bed for weeks after. Next time I was there alone I was in the same place and the same weed-thrashing occurred again. Luckily, no rock was thrown that time. Another time that same friend who wanted to see the spot of my first sighting and I were at the railroad bed by ourselves. There had to have been at the very least two of the creatures with us, one on either side of us. Nothing was thrown at us, but the same weed-thrashing noises started up to each side of us. Oddly, this time, nothing was moving that we could see. Both of us clearly heard the sounds, but couldn’t see a thing moving. Still, after holding our ground for only a few moments, we both ran.
This same friend also decided to step up our own claims on the railroad bed after he had found a rock cairn built on our path one day. The cairn was small. My friend spouted his usual line of, “No f^*&ing monkey is going to chase me away!” and promptly kicked the cairn, scattered the stones. We gathered up new stones and built a new, larger cairn in place of the one we’d found. We left and went back the next day to find our own cairn scattered and a new, larger one in its place. My friend immediately kicked it apart and we built a new one, larger still, in place of the one we’d found. This went on for days; each day we’d find that the cairn we’d built the day before had been wrecked and new, larger, one would be in its place. Each day my friend would scatter the new one and we’d build our own, larger yet, in place of the most recent one we’d found. Secretly, I thought he was going back up to the railroad bed later and building the new cairn we would “find” the next day and he thought the same of me. Finally, after this had gone on long enough that the cairns were getting to be a bit larger than shoebox size, my friend decided to go one better and scent mark the cairn we’d just built. He told me what he was going to do and promptly unzipped his pants and urinated on the rock cairn we had just built. Afterward, we left and went to his house. We hung out on his front porch for two or three hours, talking, then decided to go check on the new, scent marked cairn. The smell hit us when we were still a good hundred yards, maybe more, from the cairn. We knew what we’d find and it scared both of us. As we’d been together for the entire intervening time, each knew that the other had not gone back to the railroad bed to do anything. The scent was an overpowering musk that was so strong it made us sick. Think skunk concentrate. We held our breath, ran in, saw what we knew we’d find - a new cairn that was noticeably larger than the one we’d built a few hours prior - and ran back out into clear air to breath. That stench lingered for days, but that ended the rock cairn war.
There were other times, before and after that, when my friends and I would be at the railroad bed and smell what smelled like a skunk. We also once found what looked to be shallow, crude pit toilets. We saw what looked to be finger marks in the mud and suspected they’d been dug out with very large bare hands. Several of the toilets contained what looked to be human fecal matter, only far larger.
The next door neighbors we had while I was growing up were very wasteful people. They didn’t believe in leftovers from meals. If something wasn’t eaten, it went into the trash, not the refrigerator. Their trash was torn open many, many times. They went to the expense of having a 5-foot-tall brick wall built around the area they kept their trash cans in. There was a green picket gate on the front for the garbage collectors to open to get access to the trash. They also bought trash cans with locking lids. None of it did any good. Whatever kept tearing into the trash would sometimes open the gate, leaving it open, and knew how to unlock the locked trashcan lids. I have often wondered if their trash wasn’t why the Sasquatch liked that area and if it wasn’t using the railroad bed as a convenient staging place to raid both their trash and trash from the aforementioned trailer court.
I have no evidence to support these claims. We were young and never thought to gather any evidence - something I kick myself for to this day. Having a Sasquatch passing though so closely so often didn’t seem special to us because we were growing up with it.
The address for the house my parents and I lived in while all this went on is (redacted). We moved in when I was 5-years-old and moved out in 1998 when I was 22, only days before my 23rd birthday. Later I was told the railroad bed area has become even more abandoned and overgrown. But I have no idea if the Sasquatch is still there, or not.” - S.H.
NOTE: Since receiving this narrative, I have kept in contact with the witness and believe him to be very credible. Lon
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