Most of the bigfoot sightings that occur in Illinois happen in the very southern part of the state, but there was one main attraction about going further north than this: Stan Courtney. Stan has been actively pursuing bigfoots for a long time, and over the years we have become friends.
Stan was one of my influences in bigfooting in that his diligence in collecting data in the form of sound recordings is admirable. He routinely puts out a parabolic dish to obtain recordings of whatever noises the forest has to offer. While many of these sounds are the vocalizations of typical forest animals, there are some that defy identification and could very well be bigfoots.
There have certainly been plenty of bigfoot sightings reported in Illiniois near where Stan lives, and more of these keep coming into me via my sighting report forms on a monthly basis. In fact, Stan sometimes checks out reports for me as one of my representatives working in this area.
The recording we came to investigate is not, in my opinion, the best that Stan has to offer. It strongly reminds me of a coyote howl, but Stan hears some qualities in it that suggest to him it is something imitating a coyote. This logic, though sometimes applicable to bigfoots, unfortunately gets us nowhere. I prefer bigfoot recordings that sound like the noises that bigfoots seem to make the most.
While filming at Stan’s home, we had an opportunity to catch up. It had been a couple years since I was able to hang out with my friend, and he played me a couple recordings that sounded like bigfoots to me. I asked him why didn’t we use those for the show, and he said that they weren’t as clear as the Illinois Howl that we used. To me, though, they were more compelling. I encourage the reader to go through Stan’s recordings and see which ones might be bigfoots to your ear.
Like much of the Midwest, this part of Illinois is flat farm land, but there are some pretty heavily wooded areas. Most of the bigfoot encounters we heard about were from low-lying river bottoms, as tends to be the case in such terrain. The bigfoots themselves seem to have been moving through the area, though there were a couple spots where they seemed to hang out for longer periods of time, or where they passed through more often. One of these spots was not far from Stan’s home, and the river bottom connected to the lake next to Stan’s home. This is where we held our first night investigation, though nobody seemed to be home on that particular night.
The last night investigation was pretty great. First of all, I got to play bass guitar very loudly in the woods smack dab in the middle of a compelling sightings cluster. Secondly, it was my birthday, and I tend to have good luck on my birthday.
We chose Pere Marquette State Park for our night ops because it was off limits during night, there was no hunting when we were there, and several people at the town hall meeting told us about sightings that happened either right outside the park, along rivers that connected to the park, or where actually inside the confines of the park.
We got some interesting results within the first hour of the night investigation. Bobo and I heard something walking through the thick leafy layer a ways below us in the ravine near where I was playing bass. I kept on playing, but Bobo went to the edge of the ravine to peer down using the FLIR. He didn’t see anything, but it was encouraging to think that we might have generated some interest.
After an hour or two, we went off in the general direction where Matt and Ranae headed, but while they kept up on a ridge, Bobo and I descended into an adjacent ravine. Part way down the slope, we were greeted by a clear wood knock from deeper into the canyon. Of course, that really started our adrenaline pumping, so we picked up speed a bit and pushed further into the dark in the direction of the knock.
While turning a corner in the trail, we got another knock, and it was followed by something large pushing through the brush uphill away from us. The brush popping noise only went on for a few moments, so I thought that whatever it was might have hunkered down and might be watching us. We rushed around the corner to try to get a look at the culprit, but the FLIR didn’t turn up anything. I decided to push up the hill through the brush to see where it could have gone.
The brush was pretty thick, and navigating up the slope wearing my backpack camera was a tangly mess. I made my way to a bench in the hillside to find that a dirt road crossed the animal trail. Then it became clear what could have happened. I believe that whatever it was pushed its way up the hill and then moved silently down the road away from our position. Was it a bigfoot? I’m willing to say very possibly, based on the tree knocks and behavior.
Over all, I was given three tree knocks for my birthday by some local Illinois bigfoots. I couldn’t ask for a better present. It was so interesting to see the lights of nearby St. Louis, MO from the hill top above the valley where the bigfoots were that night. I wondered if the citizens of that city knew there were bigfoots so close?