I love accounts of "monsters," "gorillas," and "wild men." I find sighting reports prior to 1967 - the year the Patterson-Gimlin footage was captured - especially interesting as "bigfoot" was not yet embedded in everyone's consciousness. Below is an account from the Sherman Democrat that was originally printed in the July 20, 1960 edition. It is one more piece evidence that proves sightings of wood ape-like creatures predate the famous Patterson-Gimlin footage.
Huge Ape Reported Seen At Blue Creek
By WILLIE JACOBS
Democrat Staff Writer
(July 20, 1960)
BLUE CREEK- Is there a gorilla loose near this small community?
J.O. Conrad, his wife and son, who live here three miles east of Sherman on Highway 82, say they saw "a seven-foot gorilla or some kind of monster" Monday night near their home. His story came to light only Friday.
The animal has been reported seen near Bells by one other person. Some people merely shake their heads and smile at the story while others stand behind Conrad's report.
Gorilla or not the citizens of Blue Creek are keeping their doors locked tight and firearms handy.
Conrad said he had just gone to bed Monday night about 10:30 or 11. "I was smoking a cigarette when the dog started barking," he said. " I looked out the east window and saw him, He looked to be seven feet tall and about three feet wide across the back. He stood upright but hunched over."
At first glimpse Conrad said he thought it might be a man walking through his yard. "Then I saw it was too big to be a man," he explained. "I jumped out of bed and got my flashlight and gun." Mrs. Conrad and their son, James, 13, watched the creature from the bedroom window.
Conrad said he stepped off his front porch toward the animal and fired three times. "I know I hit him at least once. but he didn't even flinch. That's when I went after my shotgun," Conrad said.
Mrs. Conrad called the sheriff's office in Sherman. Deputies warned against shooting the animal, afraid a bullet wound would cause it to attack.
"I fired the shotgun over his head, but he didn't run, just shuffled of to the east down the side of the highway," Conrad continued. "I jumped in my car and followed. I got a real good look at him in my headlights while I was following him.
"He looked black as coal. He was real hairy except for his face," he said. "I was about 20 feet from him when I shot, and I didn't try to get closer. I was scared."
All the way to the Blue Creek bottom, a few hundred yards east of the community, Conrad said the animal swayed and shuffled slowly along on his back legs. "His front legs were just hanging down and swinging around," he said.
After the animal went into the underbrush at the creek, Conrad said he gave up the search, afraid to follow the beast in the brush.
Mrs. Curtis Wilson, who lives about 100 yards east of Conrad across the highway, said she and her husband were awakened shortly before Conrad saw the animal. "We heard something rattling around in the shrubbery beside the house, and our two dogs were going crazy," Mrs. Wilson said. "Then we heard something thump against the house and the dogs hushed, just like they had been turned off."
When her husband went outside, Mrs. Wilson said the dogs were cowering in a corner on the porch and "shaking just like somebody had whipped them."
At the same time, Mrs. Wilson said the Wilson's cows hehind the house had begun an uproar. The Wilson's first thought of a wolf. "Then we heard Mr. Conrad shooting and my husband got his deer rifle. But by the time he got out to the highway, whatever it was had gone into the creek bottom brush," she said.
Mrs. Wilson said most of the people living near the community had kept their dooors locked since. Conrad said his wife was so scared that she did not go to sleep the rest of the night and had to have medical treatment the next day.
W.B. Thompson of 716 S. Burdette, Sherman was working the same night at an all-night station in the Star community between Bells and Denison. He said a man drove into the station for gas and told him he had just seen a large, strange-looking animal along the roadside near Bells. Thompson did not get the man's name.
Conrad said that as he started to follow the beast in his car another car came down the highway approaching the animal from behind. "That fellow must have seen the gorilla because he threw on his brakes and almost stopped at the side of the animal. Then he stepped on it and got out of there. I thought he would stop and help me, but he must of been scared, too."
Grayson Sheriff's Deputy James Spaugh answered Mrs. Conrad's call for help. He said that as far as he is concerned "Conrad definitely saw something and it wasn't a man."
Next morning Conrad took his wife to the doctor. When he returned around noon, he could find no tracks on the hard dry ground. "Some men who work around here had drug a wrecked car over the spot where I saw that thing standing. There weren't any tracks left," he said.
Conrad said he had never seen a gorilla before. "I looked in my dictionary the next morning and found one. I know I saw a gorilla," he said.
At the suggestion of a possible hunt for the beast in the Blue Creek bottom, Conrad said: "With that gorilla down there? Not me, buddy. I'm scared."