It was 10 p.m. when the couple spotted the cryptid in the Westwood Hills subdivision of Murphysboro, Illinois, in the summer of 1973.
Randy Creath, who became a minister at the First Baptish Church in Sheffield 10 years after the incident, was on a date with her highs school classmate Cheryl Rath.
“Randy and I were sitting in my parents’ breezeway when we heard something in the woods,” Rath told Ann Schottman Knol in 1985. “We both went down, but Randy was walking a little bit ahead. Then he said ‘Come here,’ and there it was. We stood there looking at it.”
But what Creath remembered well was the animal’s shape, “its human form”, he said, and the smell of the slimy substance it appeared to be covering its body.
“It was about eight feet tall, and at least as stocky as any football player,” he reported.
They were only 15 feet from the creature, which allowed the couple to see details other witnesses have not been fortunate enough to observe. Like the texture of its fur, for instance, which she reported as being long and and hairy, like that of “an English sheepdog” . It stood there, looking like an ape, but “without human features”.
“I think it was white, but it was dirty, matted. It had a real bad odor. It was really rank. I never smelled anything like it. It seemed like an eternity we stood there, and then it just turned around and walked off into the woods. We could hear it trampling through the woods,” Rath explained. “I wasn’t going to make up anything like that. I got a lot of kidding but I know what I saw.”
When the couple reported the unusual encounter to the authorities, police officer Ron Manwaring rushed to the scene. He found enough evidence to take the sighting seriously.
“I heard some unusual shrieks, smelled the foul smell, and saw the ground trampled down in the area, where they said this thing was standing,” the officer said.
But what’s remarkable about this sighting is that four minutes earlier, according to police reports, 4-year-old Christian Baril had told his parents about a “large ghost in his back yard.”
And there was more; the night before another couple had reported a similar creature walking on two legs toward their car. This event had also generated a police investigation where the officers involved described a “loud shrill scream” coming from a wooded area, prompting one of the men to even drop his gun.
Other reports of the creature came days later, all very similar in nature, like the one where a few workers said the cryptid had approached a few carnival ponies with apparent curiosity.
The locals nicknamed the beast the “Big Muddy Monster”.
Creath said he didn’t like talking about the incident, but he admitted it had changed its life.
“It reinforced my belief that humanity is not nearly as intelligent as we think,” he said. “Our system of natural laws is not really as fixed as we would like to believe. We don’t know nearly as much about the world as we pretend.”
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