Interview with Stan Courtney, Bigfoot Researcher

Stan Courtney has had an interest in Bigfoot/Sasquatch since 1959, and had his first possible encounter near Springfield, Oregon in 1967. Stan has been a member of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization since 2004 and has interviewed 250 Bigfoot witnesses and posted over 160 reports on the BFRO website. He has also traveled to the 48 contiguous states, recording and researching sighting locations, given talks on the topic of “Bigfoot In Illinois” to various groups throughout the state of Illinois, and has been a guest on numerous radio shows.

When did you first become interested in pursuing Bigfoot sightings in Illinois? Did you have your own encounter with this legendary beast, or has this just been a subject that has fascinated you from an early age?

Although I have lived in Illinois since 1974 I was unaware of the long history of Sasquatch activity within Illinois until the advent of both the internet and the many TV documentaries. Being raised in the Pacific Northwest I have always had an intense in the subject. I had a brief sighting in July of 2005 near Seneca, Illinois.

Illinois isn’t generally known to be a hot spot for Bigfoot sightings, yet as you have documented, there have been hundreds if not thousands of sightings of “wildmen” in Illinois over the past two centuries. Why do you think Illinois “gets no respect” in this area of research?

As I recently wrote on the topic of “Illinois Gets No Respect” Illinois is not the first location to come to mind when you hear the word “Bigfoot”. Perhaps the reasons for this are that the public has the impression that these animals only live in the wilderness, high in the mountains and shun any contact with humans. By looking at the national databases it is soon realized that this is not the case, as there are reports in most of Illinois’ Counties. I have had a slow progression of understanding about what these animals are, where they live, and how they act. I now believe that there is probably a resident group of Sasquatch that passes through occasionally along most of the wooded creeks of Illinois. Illinois has over 87,000 miles of streams and rivers. Most of these are wooded and loaded with White-tailed Deer. So contrary to what the casual observer thinks, Illinois has a large amount of favorable habitat for these animals to live, eat and reproduce.

As preciously mentioned, you have meticulously documented hundreds of sightings and newspaper reports of Bigfoot sightings all over the state. Which of these incidents do you believe provides the most compelling evidence for the existence of such a creature?

Some of the more impressive reports are a footprint find (with pictures) near Franklin Grove, Illinois in 2003, stick structures and vocalizations recorded in Cook County in November of 2010 and the reports from certain areas that have had a lot of activity over a long period of time. That would include Murphysboro, Seneca, Edwardsville and Farmers City.  Although selected areas may have reports that hit the newspapers and be the topic of conversation for a couple of weeks and then die down, I believe that the animals are still in the general area but either aren’t seen or the information does not get published.

To me the greatest evidence is talking with the witnesses. I have spoken with hundreds of people, from all walks of life, who have had their world shaken up by seeing something that according to popular culture does not exist. The resulting fear of ridicule has put a damper on finding out about these sightings.

Please tell our readers a little about the “screaming hairy woman” sighted in southern Illinois. What happened to you during your recent investigation of these sightings?

The “Screaming Hairy Lady” of Southern Illinois is a story that was related to me by a friend from Carlyle, Illinois. The story goes that four or five carloads of teenagers were partying by one of the many creeks in the area. They built a fire along the water and as young people will do made a lot of noise. Several hours later as the four or five cars left the parking area they were escorted out by a very loud scream. It was loud enough that the occupants in the cars could feel the vibrations.

Attempts to find witnesses who have actually seen the Hairy Lady have not been fruitful. I would not think they would use the term “hairy” unless someone had actually seen her. I went to the location with several friends on the 13th of April and spent several hours along the banks of the creek. We did hear some unusual large branches breaking and heard a rather large rock being thrown into the middle of the creek. We heard no vocals so perhaps we did not play enough loud music.

It is my opinion that this bridge story may be related to a lot of other stories called “Cry Baby Bridge.” Most of these stories center around remotely located country bridges in woodsy areas. All of these stories have an elaborate story to explain the sounds people hear. But are these sounds really just Sasquatch, which are reported to make “cry baby” sounds, screams and yells?

How can our readers contact you if they have their own sightings to report, or if they would like to schedule you to speak at an event?

I am always interested in talking with folks who think they may be having activity or have had a sighting. I also am more than happy to give a presentation for a library, civic group or organization. I can be reached at

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  1. Josh Smith says:

    I am 18 years old, a very experienced outdoorsman(ive basiccally lived in and off of the woods my whole life)and also a native of illinois. i have seen many traces and tracks from sasquatch all my life. but just a few hours ago i seen one. i was really excited. i mean, ive been wating to see one all my life. i just froze in my steps and watched it for about 45 seconds. then it went into thicker woods so of course, me being me,i attempted to follow it. i say attempted ecause once i got approximately 50 maybe 60 yards into the woods he was too far away to get a visual. i live at 2901 ruble lane,salem il, 62849. i can take you to the exact location if you think you can follow me into the thicket. i will be availabe at all times,so please stop by. i have tried reporting it to authorities put they literaly laughed at me. so i told someone who whould appreciate it. i would also like to help you find it. i know alot about them and have studied them since i was 8. i one day want to go to school for cryptozoology. i will be awaiting your arival and i hope you bring lots of gear. anyway i will tell you more about my encounter if you come out.


  2. I am 25 years old now and today I took a friend out the bridge in which has been know as the hairy lady bridge. At the time I would have not even thought about it being a Bigfoot until I met a guy who was really into them. His name is Jeff. This is the guy I just took out there. When I just got back home I figured I would google the bridge and I could not believe that it was a real story. So I figured I would tell you the story.This story takes place at least over 5 years ago. But anyway the story goes that couple of friends and I went to the bridge we also had at least 3-4 cars. We went there starting yelling, screaming, doing all sorts of stuff to get this so called hairy lady to come out. We where there for at least over 30-35 minutes before we started to leave car by car. The last car which had my cousin and his girlfriend at the time heard this menacing scream or yell they could not describe it. So as we where heading down the road they where flashing there lights and honking there horns to stop us. I stopped of course thought there was something wrong went to their car and my cousin was pale white and would not look me in my eyes. He was really really scared out of his mind said “he could feel his insides shake from the scream”. Even though he did not want to go back we turned around and went back but then again got nothing. And yes this is around the Carlyle matter as a fact it was Boulder place with a bridge and a good size creek and lots of woods.



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