Thursday, August 8, 2013

Historical Wood Ape Report: Walker County, Texas

A couple of weeks ago I made a trip to East Texas to interview a gentleman who claims to have had a rather intense encounter with a wood ape back in 1983. While the incident was not recent, I was very interested in speaking to this witness due to his job and where he lived. I think you’ll understand what I’m talking about once you read the account below. It turns out the report featured a unique detail that I’ve never come across before in my decade, or so, of investigating the wood ape phenomenon.

This investigation was conducted as a result of an incident that allegedly occurred in Walker County, Texas, in the Sam Houston National Forest, 20 December 1983.

The witness is a camp host at one of the improved campgrounds located in the Sam Houston National Forest. He has hunted the SHNF regularly since 1966. NAWAC Associate Member Dave Dion met the witness while staying in his campground. While there, Dion decided to engage the host in conversation and asked him flatly, “Have you ever seen anything strange out here?” The witness replied quickly and without hesitation, “You mean one of those woods apes?” The pair went on to have a lively conversation in which the host related several odd events that he had experienced over his more than four decades of hunting the SHNF. Dion contacted me and a formal interview with the witness was arranged. The host related the same events that he had shared with Dion to me. The most intriguing account, and the only one which involved a visual, is related below.

The witness told me that he had always wanted to hunt in the snow. As a Texan, he had few opportunities to do so but on December 20, 1983 he finally got his chance. It was a very cold day. The night before had brought sleet and snow flurries which had created a very light dusting of white on the ground. The witness decided to hunt an area East of the Stubblefield Recreation Area. He had been walking for about 15 minutes on an old logging road when he heard something move off to his left. He turned to look and spotted an animal of some kind in the underbrush. The animal was a reddish brown and seemed to be hunkered down as if trying not to be seen. The witness had his rifle slung on his shoulder and decided to glass the animal in the hope of identifying it. He glanced down briefly to bring his rifle up to the high ready position; however, in the short interim in which he had taken his eyes off the animal it had disappeared.

The witness didn’t think too much of the incident and continued on his way. He had only walked 50 yards, or so, when he heard a large limb snap to his left. He wheeled around to catch a glimpse of something upright approximately 90 yards away. The upright figure was partially obscured but the witness was able to get a fairly good look, as much of the underbrush was not green at the time. Again, the witness swung his rifle up in order to glass the subject. Unfortunately, the result was the same. The figure was gone and despite waiting and looking for several minutes the witness was unable to get another look at it. When asked to describe the upright figure, the witness said it was very big, very tall, and very wide. He said it was the same reddish-brown color as the first animal he had seen. When asked if he thought it was the same animal the witness said he could not be sure but felt it was likely.

The witness was now mildly disturbed by these events but decided to continue to his hunting spot. He continued to ponder the events of the last half hour as he walked and decide he must have seen a bear. He knew there were not supposed to be any bears in East Texas anymore but had heard stories from hunting buddies and acquaintances from time to time relating bear sightings in the region. The bear theory fit, he thought, as the first visual was of an animal down low to the ground and the second, assuming it was the same animal, was upright. "What other animal could stand up like that?" he asked me. Also, he knew that black bears could be reddish-cinnamon in color. Satisfied, and feeling a bit more relaxed after coming to this conclusion, he walked on.

He had trudged on another 100 yards, or so, when he encountered a large tree that had fallen across the logging road. While holding his weapon in the low ready position (he had decided not to sling the weapon again), he went to step over the tree. His lead foot slipped on an icy spot and he fell hard on his backside. He said he cursed loudly and had begun gathering himself to get up when he heard something big approaching his position from his left.

The witness sat stunned as a huge, hair-covered, bipedal figure walked from the woods on his left directly toward his location. He watched the creature cover 20-25 yards very quickly and smoothly. The animal stopped just behind several small trees on the edge of the logging road. As the witness sat amazed, the animal pushed two trees apart and stepped into the gap. No farther than 10 yards away, the animal’s hands remained on the trees as it leered at the witness and huffed/grunted twice. The animal then stepped back, released the trees, which snapped back into place, turned and walked back toward the woods. The witness said it never looked back once it turned to leave. “It seemed very confident that I was no threat,” he said.

The witness described the animal as absolutely huge. He compared it to the overall size of a Kodiak brown bear “only upright.” He estimated the creature stood between 7 and 8 feet tall. The animal was covered in hair from head to toe. He could not recall seeing anything that might identify the creature a male or female such as breasts or genitalia. He did state that the animal did not appear to have a neck and the arms were very, very thick. The witness was struck by the sheer amount of air that the creature exhaled as it huffed/grunted at him. He could see the vapor pour from the creature’s mouth due to the extremely cold temperatures that day; so much so, that it obscured the animal’s face for a couple of seconds before dissipating.

When asked if he could describe the subject’s face in more detail, the witness again noted how hairy it appeared. He said, “There was no skin showing like on a gorilla’s face; just hair.” He noted that the hair below the nose and around the mouth was white from ice that had formed due to the cold temperatures. “It looked kinda like how some of those football players with beards get up in Green Bay and places like that,” he said. The witness then added that the eyes of the animal were huge. He struggled to come up with something the right size to which he could compare the eyes. I offered up the example of one of those old football shaped coin purses that you would squeeze at the ends to open. He said he knew exactly what I was talking about an that the eyes weren’t quite that big but not too much smaller. He then added that eyes were a “bright aqua-marine” color. When asked if he was sure about the color, he remained adamant that they were a very light bluish-green.

The witness did add one more detail that he noticed as the creature walked away. He said that the torso was long and the legs relatively short. He noted, “The torso to leg ratio (length) was opposite of what you see in most people.”

The description of the creature’s eyes being a light aqua-marine color is something unique that I have not come across before. I admit to being a bit troubled by this detail. I have considered the possibility that the witness observed some sort of reflected bluish eye-shine due to the snow and ice on the ground that day but do not find that possible explanation particularly satisfying. I’ve discussed the matter at length with some of my fellow NAWAC members. None of them have ever heard a witness claim a wood ape had anything but dark eyes. Many opinions and possibilities were bandied about. Could the ape have had cataracts? Maybe the witness caught some sort of daylight eye-shine? My previously mentioned theory on the color having something to do with light reflecting off of snow or ice was brought up as well. In the end, we were all left scratching our heads. While it is true that none of the other great apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans and bonobos) have light colored eyes, other primates do- Sclater’s Lemurs (Eulemur flavifrons) being one such example. Homo Sapiens also exhibit light colored eyes thanks to a mutation that occurred roughly 10,000 years ago. If such a mutation could occur in us then why couldn’t it occur in another large primate species?

The witness is quite a colorful individual who was very open and straightforward in his recounting of the events of 20 December 1983. Fellow NAWAC member Dave Dion was present for this interview and told me that there were no discrepancies between what the witness originally told him and the account he gave me. I did not detect any signs of deception on the part of the witness. In fact, I saw goose bumps rise up on his forearms as he recounted the events of 30 years ago. He remains rattled by the experience even now. I am convinced that he saw something for which he has no explanation.

The NAWAC continues to collect and investigate reports of encounters, both contemporary and historical, with strange, bipedal ape-like creatures in Walker County and surrounding Big Thicket Counties. This part of southeast Texas continues to make up the most prolific region in the four-state area for reports of encounters with creatures fitting the traditional description of the sasquatch or wood ape.

Well, there you have it. To be totally honest, this report has befuddled me. Nothing the witness told me as far as the creature’s behavior gave me any pause. While an ape approaching a human so boldly is atypical based on my experiences, it is not unprecedented. The witness was very convincing.

The blue eyes reported continue to gnaw at me, however. I simply don’t know what to think about this. I guess, it is what it is and no more. I would be curious to hear opinions and comments (keep it civil) regarding this report. I would also be grateful to hear of any other accounts where alleged wood ape witnesses reported light colored eyes.

More soon.


  1. Very interesting report Mike! Very intriguing about the eyes, I think cataracts or a mutation are possible. That, or maybe it did just have light eyes. Thanks for sharing this, it's always interesting to hear more eyewitness data which sheds light on the wood ape phenomenon.

  2. I am in complete agreement with young Mr. Cooney on each count. The boldness of the creature does not surprise me. Even shy, retiring, reclusive creatures occasionally act outside what is considered their norm. Thinking silver back or alpha is enough to make it feasible, in my mind. Also, it appears it was assessing the situation... much like a protective donkey or mule might do. Deciding there was no threat, it moved off. Had the hunter/witness been standing, or acting confrontational there may have been a different outcome, or perhaps he would have never been approached at all.

  3. Nice post, Mike! That year, hurricane Alicia had hit Galveston, and that winter we had snow as far south as Galveston County. Although I have fished and hunted that area for quite some time (especially in the late 80's through the mid 90's) I personally never saw anything out of the norm. Those are, however some pretty thick woods to hikin' through, which made my walk to the tree-stand at 3:30 or 4:00 in the mornin' a little interestin' ...

  4. The low temperature on 20 December 1983 in Huntsville was 29 and the high was 40, so undoubtedly it was chilly in the woods that day.