“Fence Fiend” Just Sighted

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 31st, 2006

This “Fence Fiend” was seen in Illinois merely days ago. It may still be out there. What could it be?

Arms on a fence

There’s a breaking sighting that just occurred in the 309 Area Code region. Some encounters don’t easily sort out as a Bigfoot versus some kind of other cryptid, without going through hours of work, including site examinations, eyewitness background checks, interviews, comparisons with other reports, and more.

Taking that all into account, nevertheless, I thought I would share the initial wave of early notes on this encounter, as a Cryptomundo demonstration of how word often comes to me and how a cryptozoological investigation begins.

This sighting occurred on May 22, 2006, to Lindsey H., at about 1 AM, and was first told breathlessly to me this way:

I live in Central Illinois and I think I saw something the other night on my way home from work. I didn’t get off till really late and I was on my way home on a really dark stretch of road. I was listening to classical music and really relaxed when out of the corner of my eye, I saw something coming over the guardrail. I would have thought it was a deer or a dog except that it used its front arms like we would to brace itself while climbing over the rail. I actually swerved my car because I thought it would jump in front of me. The road I take home is right along the river and there is a creek on the other side where whatever it was was crossing.

Asking the eyewitness to calm down and describe the creature more clearly to me, here is part of what I recorded from her:

It was probably between 3 and 4 feet tall, but very stocky, and I don’t know if it was bipedal or not. It could have been because it was coming over the guardrail like you or I would. Its head was kind of like a hyena, longer face and furry, but it didn’t have a long snout or anything. Its face wasn’t flat like ours, but like I said, it didn’t have a long snout either, I guess I might compare it to some kind of primate. It had dark longer hair all over it. I didn’t look for tracks.

Next, obtaining a drawing (above) of what she saw, she remarked upon her own reaction to her sketch:

This is the best I could do. It looks like a five year old drew it. This is just how it was coming over the railing with both hands and one foot over. Its face was long like this.

The “Fence Fiend” investigation is open, developing, and ongoing. If anyone has any recent similar sightings of something like this in central Illinois, near Henry, let me know.

If anyone thinks they know what it is, write down your suggestions below.

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.

27 Responses to ““Fence Fiend” Just Sighted”

  1. markcih responds:

    “front arms like we would to brace itself while climbing over the rail”
    “very stocky”
    “longer face and furry”

    coupled with “late (on a) really dark stretch of road”

    survey says

    Plus if you read her description she only actually saw it for probably 1-2 seconds unless she turned around and bathed it in the car’s headlights.

  2. flickerbulbcom responds:

    how big do racoons get?

  3. Godrock responds:

    Raccoons can go 30 lbs. in some parts I hear. Perhaps as big as a cocker spaniel; but I’ve been known to exaggerate.

  4. Tabitca responds:

    My old tabby cat cimbs over the back fence like that..he has a bit of arthritis.He’s also quite tall so stretched out in that position he looks massive.

  5. dambert responds:

    According to Raccoon Facts and Information, the largest specimen (raccoon) ever recorded was over 60 pounds!

  6. Scarfe responds:

    I don’t know much about Illinois, but are there bears in that area? The first thing I thought was that this might have been a young bear climbing over the railing. Given the anatomy of a bear, it certainly could assume a human like position by bracing itself on its front legs while pulling the rest of its body over the gaurdrail. I really don’t know much about bears though.

  7. planettom responds:


  8. fredfacker responds:

    My labrador is real bad about jumping fences. His method is to jump up and hook his front legs over, so he’s hanging by his armpits and then scramble with his back legs until he gets over. I’m sure he’s not the only dog who’s ever climbed that way. If the fence was that short he’d probably just jump it with one hop, but I have seen him climb onto chairs and such using a method similar to that pictured.

    Other things I’ve seen climbing over my fences here in Texas – cats, possums, racoons, rats. None of those would be four foot tall.

  9. mike2k1 responds:

    I agree markcih. Plus that is alot of detail for a sighting out the corner of the eye.

    “I was listening to classical music and really relaxed when out of the corner of my eye, I saw something coming over the guardrail.”

    Loren was there anymore detail to help with this. Did she stop, or turn around. Just trying to determine if what I read is plausible. Added details will help.


  10. bill green responds:

    hi everyone very interesting young sasquatch creature encounter please keep me posted ok. bill . p.s. i like the drawing of the creature.

  11. Caroline63 responds:

    Too bad it’s not close to me; I’d love to go to the area and check it out..see what kinds of animals are in that region…look for tracks. Of course, I sincerely hope that it is a true Fence Fiend…….we need more fiends in our lives..LOL.

  12. Toirtis responds:

    Really big raccoon, possibly a large marmot (not sure if they range that far)…hard to be sure…at night, your eyes play tricks, and if this is someone unfamiliar with types of local wildlife….

    Of course, there are/have been 2-3 primate sanctuaries in Illinois, and a number of private keepers….one can wonder if there might not have been an escape/release.

  13. mauka responds:

    I have to comment this does not sound like much. But, has there been any other sightings that could have been this creature? Sounds like a Bear.
    More Questions what color was it, how long was the fur, what did the fur look like (length)? Sounds interesting

  14. kamoeba responds:

    I also happen to live in central Illinois in a “twin cities” of 100,000 people or so. I can certainly vouch for the posts stating oversized opossums and raccoons. I once saw a possum in town that I mistook for a small pig at first because it was so big. It is not uncommon for deer to be sighted in town, and in recent years we’ve even had a large amount of skunks and foxes sighted. I do not know where “LH” lives, but in my community the explosion of urban animal sightings is due to rapid development of businesses and housing. In rural ares it is not uncommon to see “wild” dogs (dogs that belong to someone but are not kept on a leash or in a caged area, and thus roam freely for miles).

    Also of note is that in the town where I live, we have one of the smallest (if not the smallest) zoos in the United States. They have a wallaby area that is surprisingly inefficient at keeping the wallabys in the zoo. I sincerely doubt that our mystery beast is a wallaby, I’m just saying that in years past there have been wallabys that have gotten loose and then were sighted later by citizens. If someone wasn’t familiar with what a wallaby was, they may think they had seen some kind of cryptid. Perhaps that is what has happened here?

    I wish I knew exactly where “LH” saw this animal. It sounds like she lives in my neck of the woods. I have some free time this week and would love to go out and try to document some evidence, such as footprints.

  15. kamoeba responds:

    I’d also like to point out that my town has had a sasquatch sighting last fall. Here’s a link to our local newspaper’s article on the matter.

    I used to give a co-worker of mine a ride to work with me. This guy is about 6’2″ and weighs maybe 230-240 pounds. He has shaggy, almost muppet-like hair and an unkempt beard. In fact, when I first met him I called him “Sasquatch”. This past February I was giving him a ride and we got to talking about bigfoot somehow. That’s when he told me someone in his family owns Funks Grove and he hangs out there quite a bit. So I think I’ve solved the mystery of the Funks Grove sasquatch.

  16. twblack responds:

    Well if it was a crypto sighting it would be a young BF I would guess. But with only a few seconds of sight it might just be a known animal of some sort. Loren please keep us informed.

  17. scottmaruna responds:

    I too am from central IL and from the description, not far from the sighting. Just for the other posters’ sakes, there are no bears native to IL. The area south of Peoria is quite wooded and crossed by numerous creeks and streams feeding the Illinois River. There are of course historical precidents of strange sighings in this area: the CoHoMo monster of 1972, a BF sighting near Lewiston, and some recent anomalous prints found south of Pekin. We do have beavers around here though too…some pretty big ones…her picture and the shape of the legs in it specifically remind me of that. The way it is crawling over the fence reminds me of the movement of a porcupine too. They can be sizeable, but one hasn’t been sighted in IL since 1998, when two were seen in Northern IL. Just my 2 cents.

  18. Loren Coleman responds:

    Please see updates to the account added at 11 PM, Wednesday night, as to the specific date, time, and location for this sighting.

  19. Arkansan_88 responds:

    I would go with bear. I wouldnt say a opossum because Ive never heard of a 4 foot opossum. Raccoons do get big but not 4 foot. Im even sure if there are bears in that area but if so, then thats what I would guess. I cant think of any other possibilities.

  20. jpboyer responds:

    So I frequent this site. Probably daily. And I sort of just lazily clicked this post, as I do most of them, and to my surprise … and I mean utter shock, found a story about Central Illinois … and abot the 309 area code region! Haha, I’m a born and raised 309er! Haha, once I picked myself up off the floor I read the post and I have to think it was a possum or maybe even a raccoon from the description. I have my sincere doubts that it was a bear as they are by no means present in the area.

  21. Toirtis responds:

    We are, of course, all assuming that the estimate by the witness of 4′ tall is accurate. I have found that most people, even reasonably reliable and semi-trained eyewitnesses tend to at least slightly overestimate in these situations.

  22. M Valdemar responds:

    Let’s review:

    – driving late at night
    – listening to classical music
    – very relaxed
    – incredible detail seen “out of the corner of my eye”

    This was a hypnopompic hallucination – a waking dream. It seems very real when it happens, but it’s not.

    Hypnopompic hallucinations often occur when you’re driving late at night — it’s your brain’s way of scaring you awake so you don’t fall asleep and crash your car and die. See also: “lady in white,” “creepy old man,” and “vanishing hitchhiker.”

  23. moregon responds:

    With the mention of it coming from the area of a creek, and river along the road, you may also want to consider a beaver. They are found in every county in Illinois, and quite abundant in some. Adult beavers in the 60-70 pound range are about 41-46 inches in length, with adults known to exceed 90 pounds in weight.

    The long face and dark fur also fit. I’d check the area for possible trees being girdled or evidence of a dam being built.

  24. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    file under “not enough data yet”

  25. monk responds:

    I think you should call him the Desperado Monster, ’cause he’s “out ridin’ fences”! Ha. Haha.

  26. shumway10973 responds:

    could it have been a wolverine or badger type? Some of those weasel cousins have been known to get around (not quite) 4 feet tall. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was something of that sort. Although, wasn’t there reports of smaller versions of big foot down in the bayous, about 4 ft. tall? Maybe it was one of them hobbits? sorry, couldn’t resist.

  27. darthurs responds:

    Back in the mid-1970s when I was about 10 years old and lived in suburban Cook County, Illinois, I saw something similar to the fence fiend. We lived in a new subdivision that abutted a wooded area that had lots of trees, bushes and thickets. It was very dense in places. Although the county is very urban it is ringed by large forest preserves set aside by the park district and we were living on the outer limits of suburban sprawl then.

    I was messing around in the backyard when I heard footsteps in the bushes behind the backyard fence. I went to the house and filled a pail of water. Thinking that a neighbor was spying on me I planned to toss the water in their direction. With the pail of water in-hand, I went to the fence and peered into the trees looking for the source of the noise. I was just about to give up when two giant ragweed stalks shook violently back and forth. My eyes followed the motion down the stalks and suddenly I was able to see a 3-foot tall gray fur-covered animal standing on its hind legs, with the stalks in its hands and a simian-like flat face staring back at me.

    I dropped the pail of water and ran terrified into the house. My amused father searched the area about 30 minutes later and found nothing. After the coast was deemed clear, my sister and I searched the area ourselves and found fresh baby-size human-like footprints in some wet mud.

    Looking back on this today, I think it was a very large raccoon. I do not remember the mask coloring around the eyes though. They do leave human-like footprints too…and of course, like fence fiend, I only saw the animal for a few seconds. I was surprised to see a similar sighting and in Illinois too and wonder if anyone else has seen a “monkey man” running around parts of the Midwest. Because there are so many bigfoot postings and stories, it’s hard to find similar sightings, but of a “small bigfoot” or “monkey man”.

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