“It happened very quickly; so quickly that
I never had time to brake…”
[See end of report for additional updated information: latest updates 1/13/2018, 1/7/2018]
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word cryptid as “An animal whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated, such as the yeti.” For the following witnesses to living cryptids, there is no dispute. In this series of National Cryptid Society’s case files, you will read what the witnesses have experienced in their own words.
Keep an open mind when reading these accounts, and also remember one’s perception and memory of an event can be influenced by the emotions felt at the time of the occurrence. The contributors to this series of articles are doing the best they can to recount what are in some cases very shocking and traumatic experiences.
If you have a personal cryptid sighting story you would like to tell us, please visit our “Make A Report” page on this site.
NCS Case File #61: A Late Night Encounter on Hwy 21 in Texas
Submitted by: Mark
Date and Time of Encounter: 08 June 2001 between 2000 & 2100 hours
Location: Cherokee County, Texas on SH 21 between Caddo Mounds State Historic Site and the Neches River bridge
“Although it’s been several years ago, I am positive of the date because my family and I were returning from a funeral in Nacogdoches. We were headed to my parents’ home in Crockett on State Hwy. 21. Under normal circumstances, I would have taken Hwy. 7 as it is a much better road, but it had been raining all week (over 9 inches on that day alone) and roads were washed out everywhere.
A family member at the funeral had assured me that the drainage on 21 was much better than 7, and I didn’t want to risk getting stranded or washed away, so I followed the advice and as it turned out, we made it to our destination albeit later than expected. I also wasn’t expecting what I saw on the way.”
“As I said, it had been raining for days, and it was pouring rain for almost the entire drive. The area along Hwy. 21 is very rural and very dark at night because it’s mostly farmland with the homesteads set far out and away from the highway. The traffic that night was all but non-existent fortunately because it was difficult to see well with it raining so hard. I was driving slowly with my low beams because the rain was all I could see with the lights on high. So I had my nose to the windshield, trying to stay on the road.
Just before you enter Davy Crockett National Forest, you come upon Caddo Mounds State Historic Site, which are ancient burial mounds on either side of the road. Right near the entrance to the site, and almost in the roadway, were four white-tailed deer behaving very erratically.”
“I came to a full stop, thankful that I’d seen them before I hit one. It was as if they weren’t sure where to go. It looked like they were in a hurry to be somewhere but didn’t want to get split up. One would dart one direction and the others would follow only to stop and change direction again. They seemed to be oblivious to everything around them. I eased past them as quickly as I could because one almost ran into the side of my car.
My wife, who was up front in the passenger seat, said, “That was odd.” My son was sitting in the middle of the back seat between his two sisters. He came to attention when I stopped, wanting to see what was going on. I asked them both to help me watch for more deer because hitting one would have been a disaster in that downpour.
My son asked me what were deer doing out in the rain instead of seeking cover. At the instant that I was about to answer–we were now inside DCNF and nearing the Neches River–something ran out in front of the car on two legs from right to left. My headlights illuminated the lower half of its body, but I could see the silhouette of the upper body as it ran.”
“It was enormous. It happened very quickly; so quickly that I never had time to brake. The strides were so long that I don’t think its feet hit the pavement more than twice. I remember that the legs were covered with dark hair, and it seemed to have no ankles. The thickness of the legs was consistent down to its feet. My son immediately turned around to get another look and exclaimed, “What was that?!” I said that I didn’t know nor did I wish to know.
We discussed it with each other during the remainder of the trip and with my parents that next day. No one had ever heard of anything like it in that area. Most everyone I told it to believed that the rain had obscured our vision and it was probably a buck looking for the deer we had passed back down the road. I know what I saw. Deer are not as fast as what crossed the highway that night, and they don’t run on two legs.”
Follow-up questions from NCS and witness responses:
1) How tall would you estimate this creature was?
“The height of the creature was certainly taller than a human. I only saw the upper body in silhouette, but I am certain that it was easily at least 8 feet tall. I recall being more startled by the bulk and girth than by the height.”
2) Were the feet hair-covered as well, or were you able to see them clearly enough to describe them?
“I don’t remember the feet specifically. They must have been covered with hair because if they were bare, that would have stood out I think. I do remember the ankles very well because of their thickness.”
3) Exactly how many individuals were in the vehicle at the time of the sighting?
“There were five of us in the vehicle. I was driving, my wife was in the front passenger seat, my son was in the middle of the back seat, and my two daughters were seated on either side of him. Only three of us witnessed the sighting, though. My daughters were preoccupied with something else.”
4) I understand you included some of your son’s statements in the report but what was your wife’s reaction to the encounter?
“My wife’s reaction was initially guarded. I don’t remember her saying anything during the encounter, but we did discuss it immediately afterwards. She didn’t want to admit to herself that she saw what she saw. But she didn’t dismiss it because she saw the same thing my son and I saw: a very large, bipedal creature covered with hair and running very fast. She will freely admit that she saw all this, but she won’t draw a conclusion as to what it was.”
5) Could you estimate the speed you were travelling on HWY 21 right before the time of the sighting?
“I’m positive I was driving below the speed limit because I was being extra cautious looking out for more deer in the rain. I would guess between 35 and 45 MPH. Certainly no more than 45.”
6) How did the rain impact your visibility during the sighting? I understand that others that you have told about this sighting have suggested that the rain obscured yours and the other occupants’ visibility during the encounter, but could you describe was it raining heavily, light, steady… etc?
“Yes, it was raining steadily. But visibility was good with windshield wipers. It wasn’t such a heavy downpour that the wipers couldn’t keep up. I am certain that my vision wasn’t impaired significantly, if at all. Not when two others from different vantage points saw the same thing.”
7) Have you or the other witnesses reported this encounter to any other organization (where Bigfoot sightings are reported), Fish and Game or law enforcement?
“I did submit this sighting to the BFRO a few months after it happened when I was looking for answers to what I saw. They never contacted me afterwards. I didn’t report anything to DPS, Fish & Game, or the sheriff’s office. Over the years, I’ve wanted to share what I saw with a reputable organization, but I was just never satisfied with my options. They always seemed to me to be too sensational or exploitative.”
8) What emotional responses or impacts has this encounter had on you and your family?
“The experience certainly had an impact on each of us. For me, it wasn’t so much emotionally disturbing as just the feeling that I saw something I wasn’t supposed to see. Almost ashamed in a way. It’s difficult to explain. Now, had this been a face-to-face encounter, I’m sure it would be a different story. At least for me.
I did think of it a lot in the months following, but I never had nightmares or fear of the outside darkness. As mentioned above, my wife took it as unexplained, and she’s happy to leave it at that. My son was more excited than disturbed. He was fourteen at the time and has always considered the experience rare stroke of luck.”
Additional Witness Statements:
“In my report, I think I said that the national forest begins before you reach the river as you travel west. Now that I look at the map, I see that the river is actually the forest boundary.
BTW, in the days following my sighting after the water receded, my brother and I hiked up and down both sides of the river beneath the bridge on Hwy. 21. I was still searching for answers, but we found nothing substantial.”
- The witness described the heavy rains occurring the evening of the encounter. This claim is verifiable as tropical storm Allison[i] was battering Texas and Louisiana at that time.[ii]
- This report shares an uncanny similarity with a report from the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) in Cherokee County, Texas that described an encounter with a large bipedal creature during a thunderstorm in the spring of 1981.
- Two individuals were camping and fishing in a rural area near Hwy 84 when a thunderstorm forced them to take shelter in an old barn nearby.
- Excerpt from BFRO report:
“I saw something approx 7-8 feet tall, walking fast on [its] rear legs, with [its] arms swinging in a natural humanoid motion. I had a visual on this creature for 3-4 seconds between lighting flashes. I turned to cousin to see if he had seen what I had seen and he said he had. The creature was dark colored, walked upright on its rear legs naturally and averaged 4-5 feet between steps (I have no way to prove that as the rain washed away any tracks). Also the next morning the fish on the stringer were eaten.
I have been around animals my whole life, both domestic and wild. I do not understand why this creature would be moving during a thunderstorm. I still don’t know what we had seen that night but I know that we saw something[iii].”
Author Denver Michaels Analysis:
- Denver Michaels, an author with a passion for cryptozoology, the paranormal, lost civilizations, and all things unexplained. Michaels is the author of “People are Seeing Something: A Survey of Lake Monsters in the United States and Canada,” “Water Monsters South of the Border” and his latest book “Wild & Wonderful (and Paranormal) West Virginia.”
“When I first read this report, I was a bit perplexed as to why a bigfoot-like creature would be out in the conditions described. At first glance, I tended to believe that perhaps the witness’ vision was impaired by the rain. However, after the NCS received answers a series of follow-up questions, I am confident that the witness (and two passengers) did see a sasquatch (or something similar) while driving.
As far as bigfoot sightings go, reports are common in which the witness spots a sasquatch while driving. Off the top of my head, I can think of three reports from the late 2000s that occurred off of a main highway in West Virginia near Seneca Rocks. In one of these reports, a cold, steady rain was falling and the witness wondered at first why someone would be out in such weather. Of course, the witness quickly realized that it wasn’t someone walking in the rain, but something!
While it is still hard for me to figure out why a Sasquatch would be out in the weather conditions described, these reports are not entirely uncommon. Beyond that, it had been raining for several days. In my own observations, I have noticed that game animals often start moving after prolonged periods of foul weather.
Other than the weather, there is another aspect to this case that stands out to me: the sighting occurred in the vicinity of Indian burial mounds. In my opinion, this is a very noteworthy aspect to the case and allows for the possibility that the creature spotted may have been something more in line with the paranormal rather than a flesh-and-blood animal. Take for instance the Ohio Valley and West Virginia’s Kanawha Valley—these areas are well-known for strange activity such as mysterious lights, unexplained creatures, ghostly activity, UFO sightings, and more. Many Adena burial mounds are located there, and at one time, hundreds of mounds covered the areas. Many believe, myself included, that the mounds act as some sort of gateway into a realm that we do not yet understand.
Strange activity near burial mounds was described by Butch Witkowski, director and founder of the UFO Research Center of Pennsylvania, in an appearance on The Existence of Strange Things, an internet radio show, in December 2017. Witkowski spoke at length of 8–10-foot-tall, bipedal, wolf-like creatures that are being spotted in Pennsylvania in an area that has several burial mounds.
In summary, I believe a Bigfoot was spotted by the witness and two of his passengers that night. After several days of torrential rain, it may have decided to move and probably spooked several deer in the process. However, given the proximity to a couple of burial mounds, I think it might be wise to leave room for a paranormal interpretation as well.”
Thoughts from the Texas Cryptid hunter:
- Michael Mayes: a prolific blogger who describes himself on Twitter as “An amateur naturalist who is interested in out of place animals and creatures that may or may not exist.” Mayes is also the author of “Patty: A Sasuatch Story.” Mayes is best known for his robust blog “Texas Cryptid Hunter” and his work with the North American Wood Ape Conservancy (NAWAC).
“On the surface there does not appear to be anything outlandish to the report (other than seeing an 8-foot tall ape, lol). No immediate red flags. There are certain details that could be double checked to ensure the veracity of the report; the weather that night, corroborating statements from the others in the vehicle, confirmation of the original BFRO report, etc. It is my practice – and that of the NAWAC – to talk to each witness before publishing a report. Also, if possible, I meet with a witness in person at or near the site of the encounter. Very few people who are lying about their experience are actually willing to meet with you face to face.The sighting may, indeed, be valid. The area has a bit of a history though not as much as you might expect. SE Texas has many more sighting reports (Big Thicket, Sam Houston National Forest) though this could simply be due to the fact that there are more people down that way to see an animal. Bottom line, if the details you can research (weather, BFRO report) check out, the other witnesses back up the story, and the witness is willing to meet with you face to face, you are likely looking at a legitimate encounter. The possibility of mistaken identity still must be considered but that seems unlikely in this instance.”
Further information provided by readers:
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