The Tuttle Bottoms Monster

History, Mystery, and Hauntings of Southern IllinoisFrom History, Mystery, and Hauntings of Southern Illinois by Bruce Cline.

Southern Illinois has long been known for its reports of monsters and strange happenings and Tuttle Bottoms is known to have its share of strange creatures. Since at least the 1960s, the area north-west of Harrisburg known as Tuttle Bottoms has been the stomping grounds of what is known as the Tuttle Bottoms Monster. The Harrisburg Police Department has received over 50 reports of a strange big foot type of monster in the Tuttle Bottoms area since the early 1960s.

The Tuttle Bottoms Monster was first reported in the north outskirts of Harrisburg is the section of town referred to as Dorris Heights. The middle fork of the Saline River passes through the woods of this scenic area. Hunters and people who would park along the road in that area would make frantic calls to police and sheriff departments reporting a large furry animal that resembled an overgrown anteater. Others said the creature resembled a large bear. Strange tracks were often found nearby.

In the 1960s and ‘70s many high school kids would go to Tuttle Bottoms to drink beer and “make out.” It was rumored that some murders took place in the Bottoms. Parents warned kids to stay away from that area. I remember one hot summer night in the late 1960s when our sitter took me and my brother for a ride through Tuttle Bottoms. As we crossed the bridge over the middle fork of the Saline River, a large creature that resembled a prehistoric pterodactyl swooped down at the roof of the car, circled around and followed us for a short distance. Our sitter floored the gas pedal in her old car and we flew down that dark gravel road as fast as it could go. It was quite some time until I was brave enough to go back to Tuttle Bottoms.

Brian DeNeal, editor of the Harrisburg Daily Register wrote an article telling how the Tuttle Bottoms Monster was researched by Virgil Smith, founder of the animal research organization Shadows of the Shawnee. Smith believes that the creature known as the Tuttle Bottoms Monster was an actual animal released by the federal government. The creature was described as standing on two legs, covered in hair and lived near swampy areas. The creature appeared to be some type of primate and was not afraid of humans.

According to Smith, a former employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture said that the USDA had investigated the Tuttle Bottoms Monster. It is Smith’s belief that the creature known as the Tuttle Bottoms Monster was released by a government agency and that the creature had long since died.

Copyright Bruce L. Cline, 2014. You do not have permission to copy this post.



  1. Lesley Wood says:

    I grew up in Tuttle Bottoms,just one mile from this bridge…I lived there for 10 almost 11 years. It was an old farm house.It sat on a big hill to left
    just as you drove outta the bottoms.My siblings and myself ran every square inch of those woods. Daylight and Dark. All I ever whitnessed was drunks,horny teenagers,the occasional IYC escapee,an assholes dumping trash or animals.Best place I ever lived.


  2. Lesley Wood says:

    If anyone has any old pics of the old Peckenpaw farm house,in Tuttle Bottoms. Please give me a shout out. Thats where I lived as a child.


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