The events of 25th April 1973 in Enfield, Illinois is still the subject of investigation and fascination today, almost half a century after they occurred. Multiple residents witnessed a strange, beast-like creature in and around the community. One that was monstrous to look at and seemingly possessed an ability to move with alacrity as well leap remarkable distances.
Was this strange creature a strange Bigfoot-type beast? Or might it have been a previously unseen and unknown animal that had long called the region home? Or might it have even been an extraterrestrial or an entity from another dimension? The truth is, all these decades later, researchers and investigators are no closer to solving the mystery of the Enfield Monster. However, it still continues to fascinate people with an interest in such matters today.
The incident is perhaps one of the best-documented encounters with an apparent cryptid creature of some kind. And, as we shall see, another case that appears at first to be an isolated run of sightings but just might share connections with other seemingly isolated cases involving very similar creatures.
The Beginnings Of A Highly Strange Night
Most retellings of the account begin on the evening of 25th April 1973 at around 9 pm, when 10-year-old Greg Garrett was in his backyard watching the stars overhead. Every now and then he would make an attempt to catch one of the fireflies darting about around him. It was as he was doing this, in fact, when the evening took a drastic and strange turn.
There, in front of him, was what he would later describe to his parents as a monster, approximately four to five feet tall with slimy, grey skin and glowing red eyes. What’s more, this strange beast had three legs as well as tiny arms with sharp razor-like claws. The monstrous creature stepped toward Greg, one of its legs even making contact with the young boy’s foot and tearing his tennis shoe. It was then when Greg turned and ran in terror toward the house.
He burst through the front door, immediately informing his parents of what he had just seen. Concerned but uncertain of what they should make of their son’s claims (he wasn’t known to invent such wild stories), the Garretts called the local police. Officers arrived a short time later and conducted a thorough search around the property. However, they could find nothing there and no clues to suggest that anything had been.
Unbeknown to the Garretts, their neighbors, the McDaniels, had returned home to similar claims of a monster-like beast around 30 minutes after Greg’s encounter, around 9:30 pm. According to Henry McDaniel, their two children claimed a “thing” had tried to enter the house – once through the front door and another time through the window-mounted air conditioner. What’s more, as the two excited and frightened children were telling their parents of the attempted entry, Henry heard a strange scratching coming from the front door.
A “Monster From Outer Space” That “Hissed Like A Wildcat!”
Still listening to his children, although seemingly not making the connection that the scratching could be a result of the beast they were describing, Henry went to the front door to open it. Upon doing so, he found himself face-to-face with the creature his children told of. After bringing himself to his senses he slammed the door shut and stepped away from it.
He immediately reached for his .22 pistol and grabbed a flashlight. He made his way to the back door, anticipating that the beast would seek another point of entry into their home. When he opened the door, the creature was indeed there in front of him.
Without wasting any time, he opened fire on the creature. However, much to his horror, the bullets appeared ineffective, even though he was almost certain he had hit the beast. He would state that it “hissed like a wildcat” before retreating away into the distance. He would further state it moved with a “hopping” motion, three of which covered an approximate 75 feet.
He would later describe the terrifying creature as having three legs and “a short body (with) two little short arms”. Furthermore, it had “two pink eyes, as big as flashlights” and had “grayish colored” skin. He would also state that it was around four and a half feet tall.
Like the Garretts, Henry would immediately telephone the local police. He would, though, state that he had just had an encounter with “a monster from outer space”.
A short time later the Illinois State Troopers arrived at the McDaniels’ home. They would immediately go about searching the area around the house. This time, unlike the police search of the Garrett property, the state troopers would discover several strange footprints. They were similar to that of a dog’s, only they had six toe pads instead of four. What’s more, the layout of the footprints appeared to suggest whatever had made it had three legs.
Further searches of the house itself did indeed reveal several strange scratch marks. However, despite the evidence seemingly corroborating the McDaniels’ version of events, there was little the state troopers could do, with some even appearing skeptical.
Things would settle down for a little over a week with no further sightings or signs of the strange beast. That, though, was about to change.
In the early hours of 6th May at around 3 am, the residents of the McDaniel household were about to experience another unnerving encounter. Henry was awoken first by the rampant barking of his neighbor’s dogs. Sensing something was wrong, he quickly got out of bed, reached for his gun, and made his way to the front door.
He opened it and once more saw the beastly creature he had witnessed several days earlier. This time, it was further away, casually moving along the railroad tracks that ran past the property. Henry watched it for several minutes, deciding against any action given the bullets had seemingly had little effect last time. After a short time, the creature showed the same speedy, hopping, ability and disappeared into the distance.
Several more days followed without any further sightings of the apparent monster. However, during this time, news of the incidents quickly spread around the community and, ultimately, much further. So much so, that people began to arrive in the town with hopes of seeing the strange creature for themselves. What’s more, many news reporters and even scientists eager to study a potentially unknown creature also made the journey to Enfield.
In fact, such was the attention and subsequent temporary increased population of the town, that the Sheriff of White County even threatened to arrest Henry if he continued to speak of such incidents. Several arrests were actually made, although these were of “hunters” of the beast who had opened fire on what they thought was the creature and were consequently charged with being a threat to public safety. It quickly became apparent to local law enforcement that the attention of so many people in the town was as much of a safety issue as the apparent monster might be.
This is an interesting point to note as several other cases of strange, paranormal activity has ultimately been washed away as a hoax or left uninvestigated by authorities due to the attention such events bring. For example, during the bizarre goings-on during the Bridgeport Poltergeist case authorities declared it as a hoax due to the increased crowds outside the property.
We might also recall the strange events known as the Mad Gasser of Mattoon where the increased attention on the town forced them to distance themselves from the case.
In each of those cases, then, it was the rampant attention and focus of so many people that became a concern to the authorities. this certainly appeared to be the case in Enfield.
The Last Sighting
There were, though, sightings of the strange beast from these visitors that didn’t result in arrest. One of which is perhaps the last sighting of the beast, that of WWKI Radio news director, Rick Rainbow. He would claim to have witnessed the monstrous creature a short distance away from the McDaniel home, near an abandoned property.
He would describe the creature as grey and “ape-like” in its posture and approximately five feet tall. Reports also suggest that Rainbow even managed to record the strange and chilling screams of the creature on audiotape. However, this recording has not been made available to the public, although several researchers and investigators at the time claim to have heard the recording.
The chilling screams and shrieks were heard by many people in the town over the following nights. Then, they suddenly stopped. The creature, it seemed, whatever it was, had vanished as immediately as it arrived. Of course, what it was, where it came, or indeed where it went, was, and still is, a complete mystery.
Similar Sightings In Nearby Southern Illinois
The year following the incidents, one of the investigators in the area during that time was Loren Coleman. He would write in the July edition of Fate Magazine, in an article titled Swamp Slobs Invade Illinois of some of his findings of the sightings. He had, for example, heard the recordings made by Rainbow for herself.
In the article, Coleman would write that the strange creatures – whatever they were – were “so far beyond our understanding that it’s no wonder stories about them excite incredulity”. However, the fact that so many sightings of the strange “abominable swamp slobs” were reported throughout the entire southern Illinois area, combined with the “obvious sincerity” of many of those who made such reports, very much suggested at least the possibility that “something awfully strange is going on in the backwaters of America”.
Coleman would then relay the account of just such a sighting of the strange creature in the Murphysboro region of the state. The first such sighting occurred on 25th June, a little after midnight. While parking on a boat ramp near the Big Muddy River, Randy Needham, and Judy Johnson heard a bizarre and unnerving shriek ring out – a cry they would describe as “about three times as loud as a bobcat, only deeper”.
However, before they could contemplate the cry much more, they suddenly noticed a strange upright creature bounding toward them. They watched for a moment or two as the seven-foot, white-haired creature got to around 20 feet of them before they brought the car to life and made their way from the scene. They would head straight to the police station and reported the incident.
Two police officers would attend the scene of the sighting and did indeed discover strange, large footprints in the mud. They would note how the footprints were “erratic” and that “no two were the same distance apart”. As a note of speculation, might these erratic footprints suggest that the creature might have had three legs as opposed to two as the Enfield creature appeared to have?
Further Sightings The Following Evening
One of the officers, Meryl Lindesy, agreed to retrieve a camera so they could photograph the impressions. The other, Jimmie Nash, went with Randy and Judy to follow the footprints. It was as they were doing so that the “the most incredible shriek” they had ever heard rang out.
They quickly realized the strange beast-like creature was only around 100 yards away, hidden in the woodlands. They quickly backed away from the area and returned to the police car. Incidentally, later that night, police officers would attempt to locate the reason behind a strange “splashing sound” in the area, thinking it must be linked to the strange sighting. However, they were unable to uncover the source of the noise.
The following night, though, the creature returned again, this time at a little after 10 pm. The witness on this occasion was 4-year-old Christian Baril, who would rush to his parents claiming that he had seen a “big white ghost in the yard”. They would insist that he must be mistaken and dismissed his claims. However, at around 10:30 pm, a similar sighting came to light from their next-door neighbors, Randy Creath and Cheryl Ray.
It was as Randy and Cheryl were sat on their back porch when they suddenly noticed something moving in the trees near their property. Cheryl would even later claim to have seen “glowing pink eyes” watching them, and what’s more, the glow was not a result of any kind of reflection and instead were glowing of their own accord. That aside, the description the pair gave of the creature was almost identical to that witnessed the previous evening.
After several moments, whatever it was, the creature retreated into the woodland and disappeared. As it made its way from the pair, it continued to shriek wildly.
The police were called and arrived a short time later to investigate the scene. Like the previous evening, they found evidence of the creature’s presence – this time, as well as several footprints, they also discovered crushed vegetation where the creature had obviously forced its way through.
They would decide to attempt to follow the trail.
A Strange Slime That “Left A Black Coloring!”
Officer Nash was again one of the officers who responded to the call. With him was Officer Ronald Manwarin. After discovering the makeshift pathway, according to their police report, Officer Jerry Nellis was asked to the scene to see “if the dog would track the creature”.
Upon reaching the scene, the German shepherd did indeed begin tracking the creature, leading the officers along what appeared to be its track. Nash noticed that every now and then a strange slime was visible along the route. According to the report, Officer Nellis picked up some of the slime to examine it. When he rubbed it between his fingers, “it left a black coloring” behind. Furthermore, the officers noticed that the dog would hesitate slightly before passing each of these traces of slime.
Ultimately, the dog would lead the officers to a heavily wooded area near a small pond. The area, though, was much too thick to negotiate. Nellis returned the police dog to the car, temporarily while they searched the vegetation a little closer.
Finding nothing, Nellis retrieved the police dog once more and then proceeded to search the region a little further, mainly to the south of the small pond. They would ultimately find themselves near an abandoned barn and decided to send the police dog inside. However, within moments of the highly trained canine entering the abandoned building it “immediately ran out”. Officer Nellis was dumbstruck as to such behavior, given it was specifically trained to search buildings. When he and Nash searched the barn themselves, they discovered nothing of interest inside. They would suspend the search a short time later.
“Good Honest People” Who Are “Seeing Something!”
According to the Fate Magazine article, there were several further sightings over the following weeks. For example, several carnival workers claimed they saw the strange creature seemingly watching their Shetland ponies during 4th July celebrations. Several nights later, a local woman heard a sudden “piercing scream” that appeared to come from one of the outbuildings on her farm.
When the authorities were pressed for comment on the strange reports and sightings, according to Coleman’s article, they had to admit they didn’t know. According to Police Chief Toby Berber, they “didn’t know what the creature is. But we do believe what these people saw was real”. He would go on to state that “these are good, honest people”, and that “they are seeing something”.
In the same article, Coleman goes on to note that another very similar sighting occurred several months later on the evening of 16th October in the small town of St. Joseph. On the night in question, four teenagers were driving their car when they believed they spotted a campfire near an upcoming bridge and pulled over to investigate.
Upon leaving the vehicle, one of the boys struck a match to see better. However, the light revealed to them that they were only a short distance away from a five-foot-tall “gorilla-like” creature. They immediately got back inside the vehicle and sped away. One of the teenagers, Bill Duncan, was later quoted in the Champaign-Urbana Courier as saying “I wondered if I was nuts or something” when he first contemplated what he was seeing. Whatever it was, the four teenagers knew they had seen something truly strange.
Might there be a connection to the sightings of the Enfield Monster only weeks earlier? Admittedly, some of the descriptions of the creatures are decidedly different. Might there be, then, a connection to be found in the location itself? Perhaps one that is home to all manner of strange beasts and creatures? One thing that Coleman asks in the article is what was the “mysterious light that the boys took to be a campfire?” This, and some potential explanations for it, and indeed the connections to these strange creatures, is something we will come back to very shortly.
The video below examines the Murphysboro case a little further.
1978 Investigation Of The Enfield Monster Case
Before we examine some further similar cases to the Enfield Monster sightings, we might do well to quickly examine an investigation carried out in 1978 conducted by several researchers. Some of their findings are certainly interesting.
They managed to only find three of the witnesses who claimed they had actually seen the creature for themselves – this despite the many sightings on record. Even those three people would claim that their accounts were largely blown up out of proportion by the media, as well as by “local gossip”. It appeared to the investigators that many of the reports, in retrospect, were claims that “snowballed” around the local community with each telling.
There was also the concern that there were very few pictures taken of the footprints, the scratches, or even Greg’s tennis shoe that the beast allegedly tore. And while hysteria and fear might account for this, it certain arms those with a skeptical view of the apparent incidents.
There are also those who believe that the sightings, at least the initial ones, might have contained certain elements of truth but were then exaggerated in order to attract enthusiasts and essentially, tourists. We might also note, if this was the case, it wasn’t a view shared by the police chief who threatened to arrest Henry McDaniel if he continued to speak of the creature of Enfield.
However, perhaps the main detail of the investigation that clearly lent a note of credibility to the case were the sightings of the two neighbors who, as we might recall, gave statements describing the exact same creature without knowing of the other’s encounter.
It is also perhaps worth noting that sightings of the creature of Enfield have not been reported since. We might suspect if a hoax based on wanting to attract tourism was behind the majority of the sightings that some further orchestrated incidents might have taken place.
The short video below goes over the basics of the case a little further.
The Cole Hollow Road Monster Sightings
It might be worth our time briefly examining very similar incidents that have taken place over the years. Perhaps a good place to start is with a brief spate of sightings that were documented in the 27th July edition of the Peoria Journal-Star newspaper.
A little under a year before the Enfield sightings, in May 1972 also in Illinois, although this time in Pekin in the northwest of the state, another encounter with an apparent beast-like creature unfolded. Known as the Cole Hollow Road Monster (sometimes referred to as Cohomo) after the street the unnerving incidents took place on, several friends, including the main witness, Randy Emmert, were on the street in question when they witnessed a “large, white-haired creature” close by.
What’s more, this strange beast made loud and disturbing shrieking sounds as it moved about. The witnesses would tell local police that they believed the creature had taken refuge in an abandoned house on the street.
However, only several days later by 25th May, the local police had taken more than 200 reports from the public of an apparent similar creature as that described by Emmert and his friends. And these reports suggested that the creature was moving through the woodlands, along the riverbanks, and even through people’s backyards. One witness even claimed the monstrous creature had wrecked their fence.
Sightings Continue Into The Summer Of 1972
In fact, the reports grew so much, that by July, a search party of local residents (numbering more than 100 people) was formed with a view to searching the woodlands near the Cole Hollow Road for the chilling creature. However, the searches would ultimately prove unsuccessful. Further sightings, though, would continue.
For example, on 25th July a local resident claimed to have witnessed a large man-like figure covered in hair swimming in the Illinois River. Three days later on 28th July came another report. This time, a local woman who was picking berries claimed to have seen the strange creature near an abandoned coal mine. She quickly made her way from the area, so scared she forgot to even gather her possessions.
Later that evening, another report came in. This one was referred to on the police report as coming from “two reliable witnesses” who would give a detailed encounter and description.
They would state the creature was between eight to nine feet tall and had white hair all over its body and with human-like hands. They also noted that a “putrid smell” appeared to accompany its presence, and once it had left, they discovered strange foot tracks that indicated it had three toes.
Following this last sighting, reports of the strange best died down almost as suddenly as they began.
We should also note that just short of 20 years after the incident, in 1991, the Peoria Journal-Star received a sudden phone call from Randy Emert. He would claim that he had essentially, “made the whole thing up”. And while this might, for some, allow the incident to be dismissed as nothing but a hoax, the fact is that many other people at least claimed to have seen the strange creature.
Whatever the strange creature might have been and whether it had connections to other similar sudden sightings of strange beasts is open to debate, and something we will turn our attention to shortly.
For now, though, we will examine other similar incidents.
The Similarities To The Mount Vernon Monster Incidents
Several years later, in 1977 in Dover, Massachusetts, for example, came an even briefer encounter with a very strange creature, known as the Dover Demon. Over two different evenings, a total of four different people witnessed a strange, white-grey-skinned creature with glowing red eyes, no less. What’s more, after the 48 hour period, the creature seemingly vanished into thin air and was never seen again.
In Victorian England, mainly in and around London, a bizarre entity referred to as Spring-Heeled Jack terrorized the community for years before seemingly disappearing into the nothingness of time. And while there are certainly marked differences in appearance, we might do well to note the apparent leaping ability of Spring Heeled Jack, which does bear similarities to some of the beast-like creatures we have examined here.
Perhaps one case, though, as noted by researcher Brent Swancer, is worth examining also.
Over three decades before the incidents that took hold of Enfield in the spring of 1973, in 1941 and 1942, came several sightings of a similar creature to the Enfield Monster in and around Mount Vernon, which is approximately 40 miles from Enfield (relatively speaking, a stone’s throw).
According to a report that appeared in the March 1946 edition of Hoosier Folklore, in the summer of 1941, a local priest was squirrel hunting and making his way through the woods near the creek, looking for his next catch.
As he was doing so, however, a “large animal”, similar in appearance to “a baboon” appeared from the woodland. Instinctively, as the strange creature moved toward him, the witness “struck at the beast with his gun barrel”. Although it was temporarily stunned, it wasn’t until he fired several shots into the air that the beast made a quick getaway back into the trees.
However, over the following evenings, the strange beast would seemingly make its presence known. Many of the residents in the area claimed to hear “terrorizing screams” coming from the woodland around the creeks. Furthermore, there were also several sightings of the creature in the woodlands, as well as strange tracks discovered.
The sightings and strange shrieking sounds would continue for several months, stretching into the spring of 1942. In fact, so regular were the reported incidents that most of the townsfolk were ready to hunt the beast down for themselves. Especially after a local farmer claims the monstrous creature had “killed his dog”.
Ultimately, however, they didn’t manage to track down or capture the beastly creature. Whether from some strange intuition or purely by chance, it appeared it made its way away from the area at the same time as the hunts began. According to the report, there were sightings in other areas of woodland around 40 to 50 miles away of a similar-looking creature over the coming days and weeks. Interestingly, some witnesses claimed the creature jumped through the air, covering around 20 to 40 feet per leap – very similar to the Enfield creature.
The “Devil’s Kitchen” – A Long History Of Bizarre Happenings
While some of the above creatures have been spotted in various places across America, and indeed the world, there is no doubt that the American Midwest, and perhaps specifically, the southern Illinois region, has had more than its fair share.
It perhaps shouldn’t surprise us, then, that the region in and around southern Illinois has a long history of bizarre and unnerving incidents and goings-on. So much so, that the Native Americans that have resided in the region for hundreds of years call it the Devil’s Kitchen” and, ultimately, believed the land to be cursed.
Many accounts indeed speak of beastly-like entities that roam in the dense woodland of the region, while others speak of strange orbs of light, dancing in the sky and above and around the trees. There are also tales of ghost-like figures, similar to shadow people entities, which lurk around the area. Even more alarming are the accounts of people hearing deathly screams and unsettling cries coming from the region in the middle of the night.
Whether we subscribe to the notion of curses and what they might be or represent or not, the fact is that all of these locations are home to a plethora of strange goings-on ranging from strange lights to monstrous beasts.
Are There Connections To Be Found?
In light of the above, we might begin to seek the connections between these strange locations and the multiple paranormal happenings that take place in abundance there. Might an understanding of these help us understand these individual aspects of the paranormal, for example.
We mentioned earlier of one of Coleman’s observations regarding the light the witnesses to the St. Josephs sighting in October 1973 that they believed was a campfire. Might this have, in fact, been the light of some kind of portal or gateway? While that sounds outlandish, even to paranormal researchers and enthusiasts, there have been documented cases of apparent portals appearing in the middle of nowhere and of strange creatures emerging from them.
We might be wise to recall an incident that unfolded during the NIDS investigation into Skinwalker Ranch in the mid-1990s, for example. During a night in August 1997, while monitoring the ranch for strange activity, two NIDS’ members (“Jim” and “Mike”) witnessed a strange yellow-orange light suddenly appear in the distance. What’s more, it appeared to be growing in size right before their eyes. While Jim would make attempts to photograph the light, Mike began to view it through his binoculars.
By this time, the light was approximately a foot across. And furthermore, it was continuing to grow. As he continued to watch in amazement, he announced to Jim that “It’s a tunnel…not just a light”. Then, he claimed that there was “something in the tunnel”. He would elaborate that “there is a black creature climbing out! I see his head…It has no face….it just climbed out!” He would continue that the creature, whatever it was, dropped onto the ground and then simply walked away from the tunnel, which immediately began to decrease in size until it disappeared altogether.
Might it be that the two investigators had witnessed not only a portal but a creature from another world or dimension emerge from it? And when we keep in mind that all manner of strange creatures and entities are sighted on Skinwalker Ranch, might these strange portals exist in southern Illinois as well as other locations across the United States and perhaps even the world? Might the “campfire” the four teenagers witnessed in St. Joseph’s have actually been a similar portal allowing the monstrous creature they witnessed entrance to our world?
Further Observations By Loren Coleman
Coleman also notes some further observations about the rash of sightings in the early to mid-seventies in the Illinois region of the United States, and even in neighboring states such as Oklahoma, Indiana, and Missouri. Coleman writes that:
The creatures reported are almost always bipedal, hairy, and sub-hominid in general appearance. Their color is variously as white, gray, or brown. The eyes are usually pink or red and glow in the dark!
He would also note the speed with which these creatures could seemingly move, as well as their ability to “leap enormous distance”, seemingly from a standing or sitting position. Each of the creatures also appeared to make horrendous shrieking sounds and is most often witnessed when it is alone.
There are things, though, that don’t match up so nicely.
For example, there is a considerable difference in the height of the beasts, with some being around four to five feet, while others are as much as nine feet tall. There are also discrepancies with the number of legs – the Enfield Monster very clearly was reported with three legs. Furthermore, there is also the number of toes or paw impressions that differ from report to report.
Coleman also notes that the strange creatures “occasionally appear in the company of that other uninvited visitor, the UFO”. While many researchers have highlighted comparisons between UFO hotspots and increased Bigfoot sightings for years, it appears that UFO appearances also accompany sightings of many strange entities. Might it be that the same speculative portal that the creatures at Skinwalker Ranch emerged from also gives transit to these otherworldly vehicles?
A Stand-Alone Case Or A Piece Of A Much Larger Picture?
While the Enfield Monster sightings most certainly stand on their own, as have examined, there are surely connections to other similar cases of strange creatures that appear amid a surge of sightings and then disappear just as quickly.
Might these creatures appear here only temporarily, perhaps due to a crossing of dimensions or realms of existence that allow them such temporary access to our world? Might this indeed result in the opening of portals? Or might the opening of these gateways be much more planned and predetermined, perhaps with a technology unknown to us on the other side of them? If that was to be the case then we need to ask, who controls this technology and why are such purposeful crossings through such portals taking place?
Might there be a connection to other, seemingly unrelated paranormal phenomena, such as UFOs, apparitions, and even hauntings? And might the existence of portals and other dimensions help us understand these connections?
Or might these strange and, at times, unnerving creatures be very terrestrial and of a flesh-and-blood nature that has somehow gone undetected by modern science? If that is the case, how did such a creature manage to go undetected for so long, and how has it seemingly managed to disappear without a trace since?
Like many such mysteries, the more questions that are asked, the more questions arise. And given that a certain amount of urban legend and myth can often work their way into such accounts over time, the already muddy waters grow even murkier.
The video below examines the Enfield Monster case a little further.
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