Vermilion county, IL
Nearest town: Danville
Nearest road: I-74
Location: Vermilion County IL just outside of Danville, a town of about 40K at the time. It's right on I-74 almost to the Indiana state line on an atlas. The area was Kickapoo state park NW of Danville (http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/Landmgt/PARKS/sitemaps/kickapoo.gif). If you find Inland Sea on the map, the red star by it is almost the exact spot where this occurred. If you'll note on the map, there's a trail that runs along the northern side of that body of water. The area behind the lake is clear for about 100 feet, which then slowly inclines to the top of the ridge to the trail. Heavy foliage flanks either side of the incline (at that time the trail had not been developed and was used mostly by deer).
Description of event: A buddy and I were fishing at the park as we had many times before. It was getting near dusk and we weren't catching anything so we were getting ready to leave, when my friend said he felt like something was watching us from the woods behind us. When I looked over in the direction he indicated, I didn't see anything, but the hair stood up on the back of my neck (like it is now). The sun was almost completely down and the sky was the dark purple of late dusk, and the wind had picked up, blowing the trees around.
Being the foolhardy 19 year olds we were, we went over to the beginning of the foliage to see what it was, perhaps a deer. There are no large predators in that section of IL besides coyotes and maybe a bobcat. I had my 6 volt lantern and shone it up the incline while my friend who was standing in front of me lifted the overhanging foliage to see up the hill. He said to shine it to his right, and nothing. He then said shine to his left, I did, and after a few seconds he backs up into me and says lets get the hell out of here! He had already started towards my car so I wasn't going to hang around either. We threw the poles in the trunk and sped out Dukes of Hazzard style down the road. When we were a mile or two away towards the main park road he said when I shone the light to his left he saw what he thought were 2 tree trunks, till he noticed they had brownish hair on them and they started to walk. He had been deer hunting with his father on several occasions and was adamant they were too human looking, not deer legs. He wasn't about to tell me to shine the light up in it's face which is about the point he backed up into me and we took off.
We went back the next day at high noon, my buddy with his compound bow and I with my BB pistol (hey, at least we could put it's eye out!) and climbed up the incline to the trail at the top of the ridge. We saw the grass there mashed flat like something huge had gone by. I don't remember smelling anything then or the night before (although the wind was blowing straight to the east past us, it might have carried any musk stench away). We followed the trail down the other side of the incline and did see evidence of something that had scuffed the semi-moist soil on it's way down that side of the hill. There were a few heavy indentations although nothing our untrained eyes could discern as a footprint. Finding nothing else we left the area and like many things that happen when you're young it fades to the back of your mind...
record updated:2005-03-01 00:00:00