A Cold Case of a Ghost Creature: The Corndog Creature of Macon County

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on January 8th, 2015

The following report is shared with the Cryptomundians by cryptozoologist and author Jerry D. Coleman:


Overview: Ghost Creatures
Event: Sighting of an Unknown Animal
Place: Macon County, Illinois
Date: August, 1983
Time: Mid-morning
Witness: Nancy Bengston
Researched by Jerry D. Coleman
Artwork by Paula K. Churbuck

A Cold Case of a Ghost Creature: The Corndog Creature of Macon County

From the darkest areas of shadows and the closed corners of our mind emerge the Ghost Creatures. From time to time our senses detect the Ghost Creatures which quickly disappear back into the closed dark areas of time and space. These often reported, undocumented, strange, unknown creatures are real. But what is real? Witness after witness may: see, smell, hear and even, on occasion, find physical evidence of it. Occasionally, tangible items or blurry pictures are documented. Groups of people have claimed to experience similar encounters. Some individuals report multiple encounters. For these people, it IS real.

Every serious researcher and actual witness of a Ghost Creature would readily admit that a large percentage of such reports are hoaxes, misidentifications, exaggerations or out and out lies. What remains is that small percentage where the window to the unknown is still cracked open. And that too is real.

The following type of encounter often leaves a witness in a state of fright or curiosity. An event that might become a search for answers or a memory they cannot escape from – one which may even follow them while they sleep.

In August of 1983, Nancy Bengston lived on the outskirts of Decatur, Illinois. The newly built-up addition of single family homes is located northwest of the city limits and about three quarters of a mile passed the Macon County Fair grounds. This area in ’83 was still considered remote by many. Farmland, corn and soybean fields, patches of woods and unpaved country roads was the lay of the land. Even the modern homes were still without city services in those days. Nevertheless, it was a great place to bring up children and get away from a town that was on a downward spin.

Nancy never took an overzealous interest in the wilds of the area, save for the deer population. That was and remains her true natures thrill – to see a wild deer along the road or notice a fawn in the bush, still excites her. Some even know her only as “The Deer Lady”. She often took evening rides for the sole purpose of deer watching. It calmed her, she said. Her ability to spot a deer is uncanny. Whether she’s driving or not, on the phone or singing to the radio, in an instant she’ll see them. This is a woman that can easily spot deer constantly from 100 yards off, even, at times, in thick brush! It’s amazing!

But one morning in mid-August 1983, things would change. She had decided the evening before that she’d get up, feed and bathe her four month old baby boy, then they’d go into town to run some errands and maybe even do some window shopping exercise. Since it was going to be another beautiful warm day she planned on starting out early. The next morning came quickly. Her day had begun at 6:30 a.m. The warmth and rays of the sunrise now came in her kitchen window and the rich, clear blue sky put a skip in her step. The baby was in a wonderfully content mood and soon bathed and fed too. Now it was almost 8:15. The neighborhood was quiet, most all had left for work an hour or so earlier. A few more chores around the house and out the door they went. It was now 9:30 a.m.

Her house was on a dead end road. The road surface was oil and gravel in those days. It was approximately two miles until she’d turn onto the paved highway 121 into town. The heat of the day had not yet hit, so she put down all the car windows two inches or so on her 1981 red Ford Tempo. The baby was safely strapped in the backseat and the radio was tuned into her favorite station but nothing good was on so she shut it off. She pulled out of the driveway onto Needle Road, already looking across to the west field for deer and the condition of the corn. Then south she went for about 300 yards and a left turn onto Ash Avenue for approximately one-half mile turning south onto North Westlawn. Traveling south now, she was going extremely slow, no more than 25 miles an hour. Tall corn border both sides of the road. As she drove, she watched for deer and thought, “Well, in about another month the corn will be harvested”.

Now, before we go any further, let us learn a bit more about our witness, Nancy, and try to consider the reasons for her silence, until now. Her family owned three Standard Stations in Decatur, Illinois. In high school she was in the Library Club, French Club, Office Occupations and on the Year Book Staff. Her college years were spent at Richland Community College. Her employment found her as a Dispatcher for the Macon County Sheriff’s office, a Patient Care Tech for an OB/GYN doctor and a Teaching Assistant for Decatur Public Schools District 61, which she ultimately retired from. She was an active volunteer for the less fortunate through her church and school. And in the midst of these jobs, deeds and education, she raised two children; a boy and a girl, plus, cared for the elder folks of the family.

The Encounter

So, as Nancy is tooling south on North Westlawn at the breakneck speed of 25 mph, thinking of the seven foot tall golden corn being harvested and hoping to see a deer scampering off, a BEAST APPEARS!!! Yes, an unrecognizable animal!!

Nancy’s words of the Event:

“The creature had appeared some 60 yards in front of me. It had emerged from the cornfield to the left [east] of me on all fours. I tapped the breaks. From the offset I knew it was not a deer, dog or coyote. I had started coasting, not knowing which way the thing was going to go. As I coasted, getting closer by the second, I could see it had stopped and started looking north then south then north again. It started taking small steps, like in a slow motion movement, as if it were contemplating whether to continue or retreat to the field. However, it did not seem alarmed or in a hurry. Two small steps were taken, then it sniffed the ground or was listening or something.” She continued, “It kept sniffing all the way to the roads edge, some 10 feet. Turning it’s head continuously – north to south, north to south. Now I was 30 to 40 feet from it. I kept tapping my breaks. At this point, it was at the gravel road edge and stopped sniffing, then the head turned again as if looking for traffic. It lifted it’s head and stepped upon the road. My vehicle is now at a crawl. At approximately one half way across the road it slowly began to rise. I’ve never seen anything like this! By the time it got to the other side, it was standing erect on two legs, walking!!! It moved at a snails pace, again turning it’s head from side to side. I’m now less than 20 feet away. Approaching the west side of the cornfield it’s left appendage reached out and pulled back the corn – as if opening a curtain. As it went into the corn I was all but even with it. Then it immediately disappeared into the field. The vehicle was at a dead stop. I even backed up, then pulled forward but could not see it.”

Nancy’s description of the Creature

“Straggly long hair hanging 2 inches off it’s upper arms. Back hair was thick looking as if it was in need of a really good brushing. It’s tail was about a foot long, straight and bushy. Ears were located on the side of it’s head and the size of a human, teardrop shaped, with hair hanging off of them. The corn was seven foot tall and this critter was at least six foot tall. It was so thin, like under nourished. The hair color was reddish-brown possibly due to the sunshine, it was bright that day. My only memory of the eyes is DARK. The muzzle was like a wolf. It never opened it’s mouth. Long hair was also hanging off it’s paws or whatever they were. I didn’t get a look at the feet. It never made a sound and I didn’t smell anything strange. It never really looked at me, more like it was looking through me or passed me. I honestly was never nervous.”

Additional random facts of this case:

There were no other area sightings reported. The baby in the backseat never woke up. The entire visual sighting lasted between two and three minutes. After the creature disappeared into the corn, the witness drove back and forth for roughly five minutes, searching, and saw nothing. For years after the event she would often slow her vehicle to a crawl hoping to see it again, she never did. There was no traffic pervious to, during, or five minutes subsequent to the sighting. Nancy had occasional dreams of the event for decades. At the time of this event; no other area sightings were reported. No past area myths, tales or related type creatures were known to Nancy. This was and remains a unique experience to her.

About the Witness:

Nancy’s age at time of encounter was 32. The witness follows a pattern trusted to be truthful – true in as far as to say – this is what they truly believe was experienced. This is a person that had an encounter and never said a word to anyone due to the jobs she had which would have frowned upon such statements. She only spoke up after her retirement. She has never been interested in Cryptozoology, Fortean topics or even the paranormal. Church and family has been her world as well as volunteering throughout her life to the community. In short, a person which would wish or want anything other than a memory of a wild beast running loose in the cornfields near her home where her children played.

Research comments

Recently, this writer did an extensive canvass of the surrounding area and plans to revise the area in the spring/summer of 2015. The location, now over 30 years later, still supports a respectable number of deer, coyote, fox, raccoon, opossum and birds of prey. The farm fields remain, the patches of woods have thinned but exist, the roads have been paved and city services installed. The County Fair ground buildings, up the road, are in dire need of repairs. Some, but few businesses have been built up in and around this rural area. Other Ghost Creature encounters of this description are known to exist from Macon County, Illinois, but seldom are publically reported. Greene County, Illinois, 100 miles southwest of Macon County, also had reports of such a beast some three decades ago. The locals would speak of it within their own circles and dubbed it the Newport Monster. The Newport Monster was also seen going and coming from cornfields. It has been said the Newport Monster resembles the Dogmen of Wisconsin. Nancy’s sighting dubbed, “The Corndog Creature of Macon County” remains a mystery.

The Mystery

After such a sighting, one is left with only the mystery. A cosmic game partially played out where questions, speculation and assumptions of belief or disbelief is all which remain of the Ghost Creature. If such an encounter is taken at face value for a moment, then what is this sighting and others like it? A wide variety of answers exist. Some answers that are stranger than the beast itself. Was it a shape-shifter? Time traveler? From another dimension? A new uncatchable species? A spirit? Extraterrestrial? …

A Ghost Creature is an umbrella term used to initially place ALL unexplained sightings of strange beasts and beings. Classifications such as cryptids, paranormal entities, aliens, hoaxes, spirits and misidentifications can wait for the mystery of a Ghost Creature to develop to a level where the unexplained MIGHT begin to find that explanation we all seek. Did the creature want to be seen, or did it not see us at all? Did the witness, for those moments, unknowingly open their mind to something which is there but normally goes unnoticed? Or was it both, the Ghost Creature and the witness that came together at that time and place for reasons we are yet to comprehend? No reason for the rhyme IS the mystery.

Jerry D. Coleman is the brother of Loren Coleman and the author of Strange Highways and More Strange Highways.



About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

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