Is Shawnee National Forest A Hotspot For Bigfoot Sightings?
Mystery Casebook

Report # 25362 (Class A) Submitted by witness on Tuesday, January 27, 2009.

Night time sighting by two witnesses at trailhead in Shawnee National Forest

YEAR: 2009

SEASON: Winter

MONTH: January

DATE: 22

STATE: Illinois

COUNTY: Saline County

LOCATION DETAILS: [Editor note: Directions were removed, but the location is in the Shawnee National Forest.]



OBSERVED: I attended two BFRO Expeditions last year, the Oklahoma trip in September and the Missouri Ozarks trip in November. After those trips I wanted to try to locate some Sasquatches in my area. There is a national forest close by where I live, and we've been hiking & camping there my whole life. But we never thought about Sasquatches possibly being in there. Since those expeditions we of course began to think about that. Me & my Dad have been scouting out this one area for a while now, with Harold Benny (BFRO Investigator) and on our own a few times. It is heavily wooded and has lots of ridges & valleys, and plenty of water sources too. Tons of deer. Just seemed like an ideal spot.

This was only our second time there at night. We went up the trail into some pines and built a fire and cooked some bacon and just talked. We stayed there for about 2 hours, and did two knocks. We weren't hearing anything, and the wind started to pick up....we were on a big hill. So we decided to pack up and head back down the trail, maybe try another spot or just go on home. We both had to work the next day.

By now it was dark, with a cloudy sky and some stars, so we had our headlamps on. Mine was green and his was red. About halfway down we stopped in the pines and he did three whoops just to see what would happen. As soon as we came off the hill it became still, so we could hear much better. We didn't hear anything after the whoops except coyotes. I thought I heard a long whoop kind of start off the coyote chorus but I wasn't sure. So we kept heading down the trail.

I was leading the way, and we were about 80 ft from the trailhead/parking lot. My truck's headlights were reflecting in my light. I was not expecting to see or hear anything, and just focused on watching where I was walking. Then Dad whispered, "Rachel, come back here....there he is". He had stopped and was looking into the trees to our left. I turned around and went back to him. I actually thought he was talking about a coyote because we'd seen a bunch in that same spot going in. I looked to where he was looking and saw EYES. Big round eyes. They were shining white-ish green. Then Dad whispers, "Turn your light off", and before I did we saw the head turn, he looked ahead then looked back at us. We both had our lights on him, and we could actually see the outline of his head when he turned. It was rounded like a persons, and I could see how the eyes were positioned on the front of the face. That's when it registered for me that it was in fact a Sasquatch. This is all happening in a few seconds.

As we flipped our lights off, he started to walk. I believe I took a step back and said "Whoa" because he was close. He was about 30-40 feet from us. He took some big heavy deliberate steps, about 6 or 7, moving down the hill. Then he stopped. Dad said, "Should I whoop at him...?" I said NO!! I really didn't want to spook/annoy/provoke him! He didn't seem very afraid of us though, or especially bothered by our shining lights in his face. So we just stood there for a couple of minutes and I talked to him softly, and whistled. As soon as I started talking he moved, then was still again.

My heart was just pounding. I could not believe it. It felt like he was waiting to see what we were going to do. So we left quietly.

What surprised me was how close we were to the trail head parking lot, and also that he was right there and not making a sound! If my Dad hadn't looked around at that moment we never would have known he was there. They are so stealthy & smart. I do think he might have been on his way up to check us out. The wind was blowing his way, so I'm sure he smelled the bacon.

I shined my light over the truck when we got home, and it had marks on it, that we are positive were not there earlier in the day. I took pictures. They look like finger swipes in the dust. I can't say for certain what made them, but they are weird.

Possible Bigfoot marks on vehicle

We are both very excited! This was our first definite bigfoot experience in our own state.

ALSO NOTICED: Afterward, when we were talking about what we saw, my Dad said he was seeing big red eyes. I saw big white-ish green eyes, but we were shining different colored headlamps on it, and standing next to each other. The eyes looked different to each of us.

OTHER STORIES: I think I've read a couple of BFRO reports from this county and surrounding ones.


Cloudy sky with some stars, it was pretty dark. About 35 degrees.

ENVIRONMENT: Some Pines, with other trees mixed in. We were coming down a ridge. There are deep valleys on either side, and rock formations. There are also caves in the area.

Report # 13070 (Class B) Submitted by witness on Saturday, November 19, 2005.

Editor's Note:

While researching these reports, I happened to notice that although these reports came in years apart, both occur in Shawnee National Forest and are in Saline County. See second report below:

Youth has pre-dawn encounter on the way to deer stand near Mitchellville

YEAR: 2005


MONTH: November

DATE: 18

STATE: Illinois

COUNTY: Saline County

LOCATION DETAILS: 8 miles south/southeast of Harrisburg, Illinois, 2 miles south of a small burg called Mitchellville, at the edge of the Shawnee National Forest.

NEAREST TOWN: Harrisburg

NEAREST ROAD: Illinois 145 South

OBSERVED: Note: the witness names have been changed for privacy.

My name is Jim, and I've reported a vocalization experience which happened approximately 11 years ago in the same area.

Regarding this following report, I'm submitting it on behalf of my nephew, who is the primary witness and who experienced the sighting.

I've discussed this experience with him, and questioned him at length about his sighting. I can confidently endorse this young man, knowing him to be intelligent and level headed, with no previous history of exaggeration or embellishment.

He is 14 years old, a high school freshman, and has lived in this area since his birth. However young, he has a substantial amount of hunting and wilderness experience, and he's familiar with the indiginous wildlife of the area. He contacted me by phone on the evening of the 18th to discuss his deer kill, along with his unusual sighting of the morning. I've followed up with him in person today, November 19, 2005, to reconfirm his account prior to posting the report to your organization. His account follows;

"My name is [Jason]. In the early morning hours of the 18th of November, prior to dawn, I prepped my hunting gear and left my house.

My deerstand is approximately 600 yards behind my parent's home. Directly behind our house is a large open field, with an estimated 250 yards east to west, and 500 yards north to south. The perimeter around this area is medium growth forest [e.g. Oak, Silver Maple, Elm, Sassafras].

I was walking back to my stand on the far edge of this field, along the edge of the forested tree line. I had parked my ATV at the treeline and began to walk the rest of the way back, and was carrying a flashlight and 20 gauge Remmington Express shotgun.

As I approached a turn in the treeline, I immediately saw something walking toward me, at a distance of about 45-50 feet. I could only make out a dark silhouette. At first, I thought it was my uncle who was also hunting in the area behind my house, but quickly realized that it was NOT my uncle, for several reasons; 1) it had no orange hunting vest, 2) it was extremely large, and 3) as soon as I saw the creature, it evidently saw me and it turned quickly, then ran into the tree line (towards my treestand). Again, it was extremely large.

Unfortunately, it was too dark to visualize any specific features, but the silhouette seemed to be approximately 7-8 feet tall. It was definately walking on two legs, and it was entirely too fast to be my uncle. (My uncle is a coal-miner who has an ankle injury and cannot jog or run at this time.) I didn't have any time to shine my flashlight on it, or pull up my shotgun to take aim.

The entire sighting lasted approximately 10-15 seconds, possibly shorter. I didn't notice any smell before or after the sighting, and didn't hear any sounds.

The creature moved with unusual quietness and stealth. I also heard no foot-falls as it ran, but I realize that I may have been too shocked to notice sounds. I then moved to my deerstand where I got up into the stand as fast as possible, then called my mother to let her know that I had made it to the stand and told her about the sighting.

ALSO NOTICED: Cold morning. Light wind. Just prior to daybreak.

OTHER WITNESSES: 2 individuals total. Primary witness was alone, traveling to a deerstand. Accompanying witness was approximately 300 yards away, traveling to another deerstand.

OTHER STORIES: Yes, had a previous experience years before, and other family members have heard screams. The previous account is a little long, but I'd be happy to speak to someone about it.


ENVIRONMENT: Small open field area surrounded by forested hills. Neighboring homes approximately 1/4 mile apart.

Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Stan Courtney:

I spoke with the witness by phone and can add the following details to the report:

He said that although the lighting was poor he was still able to tell that the animal was very tall, bipedal and had an athletic build.

The hair was dark - black or dark brown.

It was too dark to make out any facial details.

The witness and his family heard vocalizations five years earlier in the same area

About BFRO Investigator Stan Courtney:

Stan Courtney has a special interest in bird and wildlife audio recording. Stan has attended numerous BFRO Expeditions.

Stan Courtney can be reached at

Edited by Brenda Booth

Source & References:


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