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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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