This week is a re-run of Pike’s Past of March 4, 1996. Shirley Parks is the daughter of Homer Van Scoy who has contributed many stories to this column. Homer was born and grew up in Pike County but is deceased.
Fact or fiction, decide for yourself ...
By Shirley Parks
Being a modern and somewhat sophisticated woman, it’s hard to believe or even comprehend that a Bigfoot creature could possibly be alive and thriving in Pike County.
But wait, before you gasp in disbelief, let me tell you my story and together we will explore the possibilities of Bigfoot’s existence.
It was the winter of 1987. A few months earlier, my husband Terry, son Greg and myself moved to Pike County and into a trailer on Chenoweth Fork Road. Everything was going along as planned. Only one thing tended to cause ripples in our sea of tranquility.
Greg was 15 and suffering with his first pangs of discontent and disillusionment with mom, school and life in general.
It was simply beautiful where we lived. Horses grazed in the pasture behind our trailer, deer gathered in our front yard at dusk and just across the road, you could spend the day with nature in the gently rolling hills. Being a city girl at heart, I’ll admit, I too felt rather isolated. But how splendid, if but a wee bit frightening the full moon was, as it cast grotesque, dancing shadows upon the darkness of night.
And the stars were brilliant, twinkling like millions of diamonds in the night sky. But it wasn’t enough. Greg had no desire or need of being one with nature.
Greg was a city person too and defended his cause with justice, stating that we were too far from town. He wanted to be around city lights, crowded streets and Wendy’s or Burger King would be great. As if it were an afterthought, he complained that some of the night sounds in this place civilization had forgotten, sent shivers down his spine.
After much family discussion, it was decided, Greg would go to Floria and spend some quality time with his natural father. He could hardly wait to leave mom’s restraining arms and the isolation of Chenoweth Fork Road. He wanted to see streetlights, not moonlight.
Winter was upon us with full force and it was bitterly cold. Knowing the roads would be icy and dangerous at that early morning hour, it never the less was planned we would depart at 3 a.m. to travel to Huntington. There Greg would catch a bus and be on his way to Florida.
Through no fault of my own, I’m not a morning person, so after arising and loading the suitcases into the car I begged my way out of the trip to Huntington. After lengthy goodbyes, I gratefully slipped back into bed to wallow in the warmth as well as a little self pity.
Now the adventure belongs solely to Terry and Greg. What happened could have been sleep deprivation or something as simple as an overly ripe imagination. Never the less, I’ll continue the story as it was told to me.
It was somewhere between 3:30 and 4 a.m. The early morning was quite with a frozen and desolate landscape. Moonlight filtered through the bare, forested trees. Terry was concentrating on driving and Greg was drowsing, no doubt daydreaming of the adventure he was about to embark on.
They were about two miles off Route 32 on Sunfish Creek. Houses and barns, like sentinels, dotted the frozen countryside. Fields, fertile just a few months back, now laid empty and deathlike.
Suddenly, in the brightness of the headlights, Terry could see the vague figure of something standing in the road. Assuming it was a farmer out early to feed his livestock, Terry slowed the car to a full stop. To his amazement, it wasn’t a farmer. As a matter of fact, it didn’t look like anything he had ever seen before.
As if frozen like the night, some unknown creature stood directly in the headlights, staring at the two people in the car. About 10 foot tall, it was tremendous and bulky. Coarse looking, black shaggy, matted hair covered the entire body. Mesmerizing green eyes that seemed to glow, stared in curiosity and fear.
Clouds of steamy vapor escaped from the mouth and nostrils, creating a mist around the head. A strange and strong, unclean odor filled the car. After what seemed an eternity to the two people, the creature as if suddenly awaking from a trance, bolted and ran.
With hair bouncing around the body, the creature ran with an unusual stiff legged gait, into a barn that sat off the road just a few feet.
Terry continues to this day to swear it is all true, while Greg stares, volunteering nothing. Greg did go to Florida but decided after two months that he missed mom’s protective and nurturing ways and returned, never to leave again.
Needless to say, we moved back into town. We try not to speak too often of the hauntingly ugly creature they encountered on that cold lonely morning in a sparsely populated area of western Pike County.
Now, you decide what you think, but beware. If you’re a farmer and encounter a strange and bizarre odor in or around your barn, remember the possibilities.
Note: A Bigfoot Society in Ohio exists yet today. Several have been sighted, mostly in southeastern Ohio.