March 9, 2009

Skunk River & Other Iowa Hominoids

Devil Monkey in Iowa? © Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe 1999, 2006; © Harry Trumbore 1999, 2006.

I know you may have already read the following recent account of a “Bigfoot” seen along the Skunk River, Iowa. But I wish to revisit it, to place it more broadly into its historical context.

First a quick review of the basic elements of the reports, void of the manager’s opinions.

Fairfield (Iowa)– It’s big, it’s hairy, and it’s been sighted in Jefferson County. Just don’t call it Bigfoot.

“I’m not saying that is what it is by any means. I just had somebody call this office and report that is what they’d seen,” said Shawn Morrissey, operations and natural resource manager for Jefferson County Conservation.

Morrissey has received two reports of a large biped roaming the Skunk River valley on the eastern side of the county in as many years.

The first report came during the summer of 2007, and the second during the fall of last year.

The most recent caller claimed to have waited several months to contact officials after seeing what he described as a large hairy beast walking on two legs.

* * *

The sightings have not been investigated by county officials. Morrissey said he did not know the names of those who made the reports.

* * *
“Reports: Large, hairy two-legged animal seen,” by Nicholas Bergin, The Hawk Eye, March 2, 2009.

This hints at the beginnings of the same kind of cycle experienced a few decades ago. Let’s examine what happened in the past, in Iowa.

Janet and Colin Bord have looked at historical sightings in the state, in their 2006 edition of Bigfoot Casebook Updated.

They referenced the work of Mark A. Hall, noted in his “Stories of ‘Bigfoot’ in Iowa During 1978 as Drawn from Newspaper Sources,” The Minnesota Archaeologist 38(1):2-17 (February 1979), his “The Yeti in Iowa,” Wonders, Volume 9 (March 2005), and his The Yeti, Bigfoot & True Giants, to organize their data in a helpful timeline.

Hall and the Bords shared a good overview of the state’s reports via the following chronology:

Sept. 1869 (yes, this is from 140 years ago)
Area of East Davenport & Gilbert, IA
Huntsman
Saw ugly, sandy-haired ‘wild boy’ eating fish in river.

1966
Maquoketa, IA
Gary Koontz
Shot at 4-5-ft Bigfoot which screamed like a woman and disappeared into the brush.

1960s
Denison, IA
Barry Bergamo & another
2 students saw Bigfoot in woods behind college.

Summer 1971
Stone Park, nr Sioux City, IA
Gary Parker & two friends
Saw Bigfoot on hilltop; earlier, group of teenagers in car had hit a ‘man-like’ creature in the same park.

Jan. 1972
Nr Stone Park nr Sioux City, IA
Jim Britton
Saw 7-ft Bigfoot with 6-in brown hair; when he shot at it it ran away on all fours

End Aug. 1974
Sioux City, IA
Man
Saw Bigfoot outside his house.

Aug. 1974
Sioux City, IA
Woman
Saw Bigfoot only 3½ tall eating tomatoes in her garden; footprints found.

1974
Nr Stone State Park, Sioux City, IA
Man
Wounded Bigfoot with deer rifle

3 Oct. 1975
Turkey Creek area nr Lockridge, IA
Herbert Peiffer
Driving tractor late at night, saw 5-ft shaggy black creature on all fours get on hind legs and walk towards him. He left the area quickly. A hunt was unsuccessful, but partially eaten turkeys were found.

22 Aug. 1976
Ocheyedan River, nr Ocheyedan, IA
Dan Radunz (13)
Saw Bigfoot drinking from river.

Mid Dec. 1977
Mich Coal Mine near Oskaloosa, IA
Theresa McGee
8-10-ft Bigfoot with ‘bristly-like fur’ and arms held out jumped from shadow of tree when witness went to sweep snow.

c.25 Feb. 1978
Pella Bridge nr Harvey, IA
Boy (10 or 11)
Saw Bigfoot on road near bridge; it looked at him, then went into woods.

27 July 1978
Ottosen, IA
Donette Henkins (9)
Saw “short, hairy, apelike animal with fangs and deep-set eyes” which stood in shadows a few inches away and growled.

27 July 1978
Ottosen, IA
Mrs. Jan Henkins & two others
After Donette’s sighting, saw similar creature between 2 buildings while walking downtown.

30 July 1978
Ottosen, IA
Dawn Henkins (11), Mrs. Henkins & neighbor
Apelike creature with wide forehead walked from between buildings on Main Street at night.

31 July 1978
Ottosen, IA
Three or four boys aged 10-12
Saw Bigfoot in shed, and again later. It did not attempt to attack.

28 Aug. 1978
Dean Bottoms nr Moulton, IA
Two students
Saw 7-8-ft Bigfoot on dirt road at night; next day 3-toed prints 14 inches long found at the site.

29 Aug. 1978
Benton, AR
Mrs. Mildred Wilton
Saw 5-ft dark Bigfoot rattling chainlink fence late at night.

Aug. 1978
Nr Owensboro, KY
Larry Nelson, brother & two friends
Fired 3 .45 bullets into Bigfoot’s chest from 45 ft; it ran away into woods apparently unhurt.

11 Sept. 1978
Ottosen, IA
Anna Dodrill & Elery Lynch
Red-eyed, blackfaced Bigfoot stared in at kitchen window.

Sept. 1978
Ottosen, IA
Robert Newell IV (18)
Watched tall, hairy, hunchback Bigfoot exploring farm buildings early in the morning.

27 Sept. 1978
Farm S of Renwick, IA
Forty high-school students
Saw two Bigfeet in cornfield, one with red eyes and one with blue eyes.

27 or 28 Sept. 1978
N-W of Renwick, IA
Mark Thompson (16)
Saw 7-ft, brownish-black-haired Bigfoot in soybean field. Moved away when witness flashed pickup lights and honked horn.

Sept. 1979
Nr Manchester, IA
Jerry Erwing
Saw 7-8-ft Bigfoot with ‘topknot’ walking bent over.

12 Oct. 1979
Nr Webster City, IA
Bryon Davis
At 3:30 am saw 7-ft, reddish-brown Bigfoot in woods. It got up and left, as if disturbed while sleeping.

15 Nov. 1979
Minburn, IA
Larry Wilson
Saw dark, hunched Bigfoot in farmyard; officers found prints in grass but no creature.

Early Jan. 1980
Adel, IA
Larry Wilson
Farmer went outdoors when dogs barked and saw’hunched over, dark thing’ in yard; police found foot-long prints in grass.

13 Jan. 1980
Nr Edgewood, IA
Tim BuShaw & friend
Saw 8-ft Bigfoot with ‘topknot’ and long hair within 6 ft of their car.

15 Jan. 1980
Nr Manchester, IA
Cyrii O’Brien
Railroad engineer on train saw strange creature on all fours eating carcass; 6-toed tracks found in area.

You can see a wide-variety of descriptive features can be assumed from these eyewitness accounts. Reports of smaller “Bigfoot” heights, of three-toed tracks (or overlaid tracks), and of creatures seen dropping to or running on all fours are more frequent than in the traditional Sasquatch areas of the Pacific Northwest.

Intriguingly, also, there is an encounter, in the midst of these records, with what has come to be known as a “Devil Monkey.”

July 1975
Turkey Creek area nr Lockridge, IA
Gloria & Wendell Olson
Saw large bushy-tailed animal with monkey face near deserted farmyard.

Field Guide to Bigfoot

Perhaps not is all that it seems in Iowa?

The topic of possible “Giant Monkey” or “Devil Monkey” sightings in North America is discussed on pages 34-37 and 60-61, in The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman

Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct).

Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015.

Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

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