Report # 63646 (Class B)
Submitted by witness No. Keep everything private. on Sunday, November 17, 2019.
Camper describes stalking by Bigfoots near “Devil’s Bathtub” in the Black Hills
STATE: South Dakota
COUNTY: Lawrence County
LOCATION DETAILS: I parked my vehicle at Devils Bathtub trailhead on Cleopatra Rd, just off the Spearfish Canyon Highway. The time was roughly 2pm. I hiked into the Devil’s Bathtub trail and reached the end of the trial where there was a fence that said “No Trespassing”, so adventurous me scrambled, parallel to the boundary, up a steep loose dirt incline for what felt 30 yards up the side of the small canyon. I came to a game trail and made my way north, back was facing the boundary, for a quarter mile to where there was a disused logging trail. I then started heading up the disused logging trail farther and farther up to the rim of Spearfish Canyon, maybe 2-3 miles.
NEAREST TOWN: Spearfish
NEAREST ROAD: Cleopatra Rd
OBSERVED: I would like to start by saying i’m an avid hunter, hiker, and all around outdoorsman. I was going to the SD School of Mines at this time for engineering. It was late October 2012. I went solo camping in Spearfish Canyon area on Black Hills forest land. The location is near Devils Bathtub.
I was going up an unused logging trail when I noticed the sun was getting low so I knew I had to find a place to rest or I’d end up setting up camp in the dark. I quickly found an overgrown logging trail that veered off to my right. The foliage consisted of either aspen or a birch thicket butting up to the edge of the trail with very little room to walk on the gravel trail. This continued for 20 yards at which point I came out into a fork in the trail. The fork had a patch of grass just big enough in it for me to set my tent up as the surrounding area was strung with rock, uneven ground, and thick overgrown trees.
I watched as the sunset and laid in my tent for what felt like an eternity as the sun was setting by 7ish at this time of year and I of course forgot my book back in my vehicle.
I startled from my relaxed state for all of a sudden I received a call. This was unusual because cell service drops when you go into the canyon, but I was high enough up to get a few bars. The call was from an officer working for the Spearfish Sheriffs Department. He had seen my car at the trail head. Usually only people go on day hikes in this area as the terrain is too aggressive for any camping, and it’s very popular for inexperienced hikers to get hurt on. The sheriff thought the worst and was able to look me up on Facebook and found my phone number, thus explaining the call. We chatted for a short while and once he figured out I was well equipped and knew what I was doing it put him at ease and called off a supposed search party! Apparently the party hadn’t left Spearfish yet, but still. The sheriff told me to give him a call once i made it back to my vehicle the next day. Real down to earth guy he was.
I then called my parents who had been informed I was “lost” to put them at ease. I finally attempted to go to bed. Of course sleep would elude me this night.
I had been laying in my tent for a couple hours not able to sleep. It was 11PM when it all started. First I heard what sounded like a bird whistling a short tune a couple feet to the east of me, but it sounded more like a person. A second after that, what sounded like a tree trunk hitting another tree trunk came not too far away from my tent to the south and 15 seconds after that something, on two feet started walking towards my tent. The steps where slow, long, and heavy. All I could hear was the steps and then came the skunk-y-trashy smell that almost burns the nostrils. I sat up in my tent (rain fly wouldn’t allow me to see outside of it), drew my hunting knife, and I screamed at the top of my lungs all the profanity I could muster at what ever had approached my tent. The scariest part was, it stopped for a second and continued with it’s long slow heavy stride beside my tent and headed in the direction of the tree noise heard earlier. It made no other noises but the smell lingered for a good fifteen minutes as I laid in my tent quivering. I called the sheriff about a half hour after this and described the whole account. We talked about every detail I could think of and walked through every animal it could have been in the hills. Nothing matched up. He told me he was an avid hunter of the area and it sounded like nothing he’s ever encountered. He then asked me if I was planning on coming back down that night. I made the decision to stick it out since I didn’t want to be stumbling around in the darkness with whatever was out there, probably not to far away.
I passed out from all the adrenaline. This was not the end of my experience. I awoke at around 2AM and started hearing more tree knocks in the same general area of the last time and then the whooping noises started. First came a whoop near the tree knock area and then whops where a few seconds apart maybe a mile away and MORE whooping noises and tree knocks where heard even farther away possibly across the canyon. I laid there in the thick of it not ever experienced anything like this, shaking in my sleeping bag with my sorry excuse for a hunting knife. I can truly say I’ve never been that scared in my life. I felt like the noises where coming from all over the forest. At this point I excepted my fate and was comfortable with the thought of death as I didn’t know the intentions of these creatures. I look back and laugh at the thoughts I had.
These literal monkey-like whoops continued for about 15 minutes and I didn’t once think of recording it due to my paralyzing fear. Each whoop sounded different depending on the area it was coming from and would differ in length and strength.
As soon as the hint of light crept over the trees I slowly unzipped my tent to find not a single sign of what ever had been there that previous night. Of course I didn’t know what to look for at the time. I quickly packed everything up and hiked out of the same way I came.
Before I left that offshoot trail I turned around and said “thank you” and bowed, in case something or someone was listening. I wanted to let it know I was grateful, even though it wouldn’t understand.
I called the sheriff as soon as I charged my phone in my vehicle let him know what all he had missed. Once again he was dumbfounded. I never was big into Bigfoot before this but ever since then I go into the woods with a different level of respect.
ALSO NOTICED: None
OTHER WITNESSES: None
OTHER STORIES: My friends told me they had told a guy my story and he when he was a young boy he had gone out hunting by himself in Spearfish canyon. As he was going up a draw he saw something moving on the other side of it. He pulled up his sight on his rifle and saw a brownish hair covered bipedal creature going strait up this draw like it was sprinting on flat ground. He was so afraid that he went straight home to his father what he saw. This sighting probably happened 10-15 years before mine. The father then told his son that he had had a similar experience at his age roughly 20 some years prior. I’m unsure of the guys name and I’ve been trying to figure out who spoke to my friends that night ever since.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: 11pm and 2pm weather was clear to partly cloudy with a no wind and probably 30-40F.
ENVIRONMENT: Pine forest / aspen or birch thicket
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Carter Buschardt:
I had a very nice chat with the witness. He was glad to get it off his chest. He also had many questions.
As he mentioned, he was there just to get away from civilization for a while. Not hunting, just camping. Just some peace and quiet in the forest. Well, he didn’t get the peace and quiet.
No fires were allowed that year due to drought. All he had was a head lamp. That was all he needed because he was just going to read a book. But he forgot his book so he was just laying there watching the forest go from light to dark.
When the whistling began it seemed like “more of someone whistling a tune, more than a bird call.” This was “just a few feet away from me literally” and within seconds came the tree knock. As stated the whistle was from the east of him and the knock to the south. Then came the steps. He estimated they began no more than 10 feet away. He “felt the heavy thud-thud-thud of the steps and I could hear the gravel and rocks crunching under the feet”.
He screamed “every profanity I could muster.” The creature stopped (as if to listen?) and then kept going. He felt the creature “stopped no more than 1-2 feet from the front of my tent” while he was screaming. He could see nothing because of the rain flap configuration on his tent.
After it (or they) walked off the forest became silent. He gathered himself for about 30 minutes before he called the sheriff. The only thing to add to the conversation with the sheriff (documented in the report): Neither of them brought up a Sasquatch.
Second event: He was awakened by the sounds of knocks around 2AM. He started hearing more tree knocks in the same general area of the last time, and then the whooping sounds started.
First came a whoop from the nearby tree knock area, and then some whoops a few seconds apart maybe a mile away, and then more whooping noises and tree knocks even farther away, possibly across the canyon.
The witness had no working knowledge of Sasquatch before these events, nor any preconceived notions. He had heard of them, probably seen an item or two in the media but that was it. Even though he is a hunter and spent hours upon hours in the forests, nothing ever gave him pause for thought about Sasquatch, until that night.