Back on Labor Day of 2010 we had our first cold snap of the year. I had been feeling the itch to go camping for quite a while so I wasted little time heading out to the Smoky Mountains National Park for a two night stay. It was just me and my dog as my wife was still in Mississippi while we were in the transition of moving. I had always watched shows on TV such as MonsterQuest and other documentaries, but Bigfoot was honestly the last thing on my mind at the time. It was almost dark when I arrived and finally got camp set up. The area I was in was backed right up against the forest with nothing for miles in that direction. It was getting late so I decided to go on to bed. I had taken the canopy off the tent so I could watch the stars while laying there. It was nearing 1 am and I was still wide awake relaxing in my tent. The area was extremely quiet that evening. All of a sudden I started hearing at least two or three barred owls start calling to each other. This lasted about 10 minutes and then out of nowhere I heard a very loud "Whoooooop!!" from out in the forest! I immediately sat up in my tent and thought to myself "What the heck was that?!" The first thing that came to mind was that it sounded a lot like the gibbon monkeys I used to hear at the zoo when I was a kid.
After the loud "whoop" it was completely silent the rest of the night. All I could think about was there aren’t any monkeys in the smoky mountains! What in the world could have made that noise?!
Me on the camping trip where I heard the "Whoop". I took this picture for my wife back in Mississippi at the time.
The next morning after tossing and turning all night wondering what it was that I'd heard, I decided to cut my trip short and head on home so I could research the different animals in our area and what their calls sound like. I looked up every type of owl and bird I could think of, but nothing matched. For some reason I decided to look up Bigfoot calls. There were several websites that had supposed Bigfoot recordings, but the ones with the whoops got my attention the most...exact match.
From then on I was hooked. Little did I know I was about to begin a journey where I would never be able to look at things in the same fashion I always had. As one fellow researcher's blog post states...innocence lost.
The very next weekend I planned on heading back to the park and start looking around. While hiking several nature trails I found the trail head to a horse trail. This was to be my starting point.
For the next few hours I hiked up and down this trail snapping pictures over my shoulder and "talking" to the woods. I have a barred owl call that I always take with me into the woods. I would stop every so often and hoot a few times then listen. Most of the day was spent on this horse trail hooting, snapping pictures and listening.
After heading home I started reviewing my pictures. Slowly zooming into each one looking at each tree and examining each with a fine tooth comb. Out of nearly 200 pictures, one completely blew my mind. While hiking up a small hill on my way out of the woods I took a few photos over my shoulder. One of the photos seemed to show a large black creature watching me from behind the upright limb of a fallen tree. It appeared to be watching me walk up the hill. It was approximately 50-75 yards downhill from me and using a large tree in between us to hide itself. It had a cone shaped head that featured no neck, very large muscular shoulders (similar to a football player) and dark deep set eyes. It’s hand seemed to be grasped around the limb it was hiding behind.
Original horse trail picture with possible Bigfoot on far left circled in yellow.
Zoomed and enhanced shots
Comparison picture I took the very next day... subject is gone.
I was blown away. This couldn't be real...could it?? What is this thing?! I had just walked past that spot and heard nothing! It was completely silent along that trail. It had been so close it could have reached out and grabbed me!
All sorts of questions were racing through my mind. I had to get back out there and see what it was.
The very next day I went right back to the same spot and took some "after" pictures. All of which showed nothing in the same spot where the subject was the day before. Little did I know this was only the beginning...