the turn of the season when the first cool snap moves in, and the
Pineywoods are speckled with red and gold autumn leaves, east Texans
begin to notice it is getting dark earlier. The dense pine trees cast
a shadow that make the darkest night darker, every surrounding sound
seem louder, and the hair on the back of one’s neck stand straight
Texas is home to many creatures of the night
that humans fear, and occasionally claim to encounter. East
Texas has given way to Bigfoot sightings, alien encounters, and
close calls with blood–sucking creatures. Individuals claiming to
have come in contact with numerous unexplainable creatures all share
one thing in common, and that is a certain look engraved in their
faces, that can only be made by fear of the unknown.
East Texas is known for
its legendary, hairy, apelike creatures said to dwell deep in the
pineywoods. The bi-pedal creatures have been spotted all along the
Texas-Louisiana border, making little known towns famous. What Houston
and Anderson County
creature seekers may not realize, is these woolyboogers have been
reported in the area on a somewhat regular basis.
Neches and Trinity rivers produce regular sightings of the creature.
Hunters camping on the banks have made numerous claims of encounters
with large, hairy creatures."
otherwise known as Sasquatch, the Forest Giant, or the wild man
of the woods, has been a topic of discussion for over 400 years.
Sighting of the illusive creature have reached the thousands, and
many of those reports have come from East Texans. Throughout the 1970’s
and 1980’s Bigfoot made headlines in East
Texas by way of local newspapers. The pineywoods are said to provide
the perfect conditions and plentiful food sources that would allow
the creature to not only survive, but thrive in the area.
of the individuals who have claimed to encounter the hairy legend
wandering about East Texas
describe the first impression as undeniably human-like. Bigfoot is
said to have 10 fingers and 10 toes, human-like facial features and
expressions, and capable of walking upright.
Those who cross the hairy creature almost immediately notice a profound
difference in size to that of a human. The overall massiveness of
the creature, which is hard for witness to put in proportion, makes
up the powerful build that many witnesses report. Others report a
malodorous smell permeating in the air.
to the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy (TBRC) many witnesses
who spot the up-right walking creature hesitate to share their stories
of the strange animal. Though each sighting that does get reported
varies in some form or another, the details of the creature are always
similar, if not the same.
The Neches and Trinity rivers produce regular sightings of
the creature. Hunters camping on the banks have made numerous claims
of encounters with large, hairy creatures. The Davy Crockett National
Forest is also said to be home to Bigfoot, and has produced several
sightings in recent years. Anderson
and Houston County
also have a history, nearly a half century long, of sightings coming
from within county lines.
2004, a hunter filed a report with TBRC concerning a sighting in the
Davy Crockett National Forest of not just one, but two sasquatches,
one male and one female. The observation made by the hunter was a
lengthy encounter, during which he claimed to have witnessed the pair
moving about the brush and feeding, at approximately 8 a.m.
The witness reported to TBRC Investigator, Mike Hall, that he heard
mewling, guttural noises, accompanied by whistling and clicking noises
coming from the animals. He believed the two creatures were mates
and communicating with one another through the various noises.
Hall interviewed the witness extensively, and referred to the encounter
as “compelling.” Hall also recorded in his in depth report and analysis
that he could find nothing that lead him to believe the witness was
fabricating the story.
Just north of Houston
County, along the outskirts of Palestine,
area residents have laid claim to encounters with the creature said
to roam the area.
1998, during the cold winter months of February, two young men, approximately
16 years old, were rendered speechless after encountering, what they
claim, could have only been a Bigfoot. While on a camping trip, on
family owned property, near the Gus Engeling Wildlife Management
Area, the two teens allegedly got a look at massive upright creature
from roughly 20 yards away.
At approximately 2 a.m. the young men were spotlighting for rabbits.
The two teens were slowly fanning the spotlight when they saw something
much larger than a rabbit. Just ahead of the light they noticed something
big, allegedly eight feet tall, and moving quickly trying to avoid
the light. The boys said the creature appeared to have grayish-brown
hair covering its body, and long arms.
The creature allegedly crossed a five-strand barbed wire fence with
no hesitation and great ease. The witnesses reported hearing no sound
in the event of the crossing.
This report was published after the two boys’ parents saw a special
report with Jonna Fitzgerald on NBC Channel 56 of Tyler
and Longview, about
the TBRC and Bigfoot sightings in East
Texas. Parents of the two teens contacted the TBRC and put the
boys in touch with researcher and investigator, Craig Woolheater.
Woolheater’s report said after the sighting the two young witnesses’
encounter they sat “in stunned silence” for a few moments before leaving
the area as quickly as possible.
Hunters regularly claim to encounter the wild man in East
Texas, due to the amount of time they spend in the woods. Hunters
are outdoors in remote areas, significantly more than the average
person, seeking the perfect hunting spot. Though hunter’s reports
of Bigfoot encounters are perhaps more lengthy than others, they are
certainly not the only people encountering the creature.
the TBRC, in Oct. of 1998, another report was made near the South-East
Houston and Anderson
County border. The report did not come from a hunter, but rather
a local man that had to pull his vehicle over in order to relieve
The man allegedly stepped from his truck over to the edge of the woods,
approximately 20 yards away, and began to take care of business. The
witness said he began to hear leaves crunching, under what sounded
like heavy footsteps. The nervous and quickly headed back towards
his truck and away from the woods.
According to the report made to the TBRC, as the witness made his
way back to his vehicle he noticed that when he stopped walking, so
would the footsteps of the unknown stalker that were coming from within
the darkness of the woods. Suddenly the heavy footsteps that had been
stalling began to gain speed.
The frightened witness bolted for his truck. He jumped into his truck
and fled the area. The man claims that as he was speeding off he looked
into his review mirror and saw “something big and black, standing
on two legs” in the road behind him.
The witness’s report to TBRC, researcher and investigator, Daryl Coyler,
claimed the “wide and thick” creature was within 10 yards of his tailgate
at one point. The Anderson
County witness could not discern further details, due to making
such a quick getaway.
Texas Tales of the legendary Bigfoot have
captivated and haunted locals for many years. The deep dark Pineywoods
are capable of implanting fears in those who enter their piney domain,
and instilling skeptics with new found beliefs of the creature’s existence.
Though there is no hard proof that Bigfoot inhabits the Pineywoods,
those who claim to have come face-to-face with the legend are convinced
the creature lives among us, and is watching us.
The TBRC is funded by membership dues, fundraisers, and the annual
Texas Bigfoot Conference, in addition to donations and grants. It
is the TBRC’s desires to enhance the credibility of Bigfoot research,
as well as facilitate a greater degree of acceptance by the scientific
community of the likelihood of a biological basis behind the sasquatch
Ffor more information regarding the creature or the TBRC log on to
© Dana Goolsby
"In The Pines With Dana Goolsby"
February 1, 2011 Column