Butler, 1978—This local variation of Bigfoot exists in only a handful of sightings from in and around Richland County, several of them generated by the children from a single household. Those sightings were quite thoroughly documented in police reports, however, giving them a lot more weight than they might otherwise have.
The first of these reported sightings was made on July 8, 1978, in Butler, a village of about 1,000 people situated a half-hour or so southeast from Mansfield. At around 11 PM, the children heard some strange noises coming from a wooded area near their home on Elm Street, at which point they investigated and found the creature. They described it as being somewhere between seven and eight feet tall, with large red eyes and, most remarkably of all, a head that was about three-feet in diameter.
A few days later their sister was outside unloading hay with their parents. A train was coming down the tracks not too far behind their house, as one did a few times a day, but in this particular instance the train was whistling with uncommon frequency and for longer than usual durations. The girl eventually turned her flashlight in the direction of the train, and that’s when she saw the monster….or, really, just its eyes. These she said were the size of golf balls, and glowed the same orange-ish red of the lit tip of a cigarette.
She retreated to her bedroom with her mother, from where they could both hear “crying” noises—which they described like those of a cat, but deeper. The noises were accompanied by a very strong and very foul odor. The police came and took another report, but they apparently had just missed the monster again.
Illustration by Janie Walland