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2015 BFRO Upper Peninsula of Michigan Expedition
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jsherman
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 Posted: August 29th, 2015 07:11 PM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

BFRO Michigan Upper Peninsula Expedition 2015

The location for the 2015 Michigan Expedition was a place where many of the Michigan investigators have been before. This would be the third and last time at the location. We decided it would be a great area for the expedition because there were parts of the surrounding environment that we felt needed to be further explored. This area also afforded the opportunity for people to pull in trailers at base camp yet allowed satellite camping at two nearby locations for people who wanted to get away from a large group. There are significant areas of State and Federal land in the vicinity that contained numerous rivers, lakes and seemingly endless tracts of forest. Throughout, two-tracks allow access both day and night. We also found areas of recent clear-cutting that might offer great nighttime thermal activity.

This spot has been the location for previous Sasquatch sightings most notably the Fodi sighting documented on Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot Super Yooper episode. During past expeditions people have experienced road crossings, howls and even the appearance of strange lights that looked like eyes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXyy4e_AC-0

We knew we had a previously active location but would it continue to be so?

The organizers for the expedition were Caroline Curtis, Rich Meyer and Jim Sherman. Caroline set up at Base Camp, Rich was at the River Site ten miles north and I set up at the Creek Site ten miles south.
We decided to break into groups for a Wednesday night trip with the folks who had arrived early. We headed north and sortied from Rich’s River site. One group went along the river and documented some possible Sasquatch tracks that trekked across a mossy area. We had documented similar tracks three two years previously.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcLYFNPbekk

They also reported hearing sounds as if something had followed them back to the campsite in a parallel fashion i.e. moving when they moved and stopping when they stopped.

My team went into a field and walked the perimeter before it got dark. Our idea was to attract attention and then sit down with thermal and night vision gear to see if anything approached us. When we reached the turn-around point I had the rest of the group continue on down the trail leaving me behind. I waited, hidden behind a clump of trees, until I thought the group had gotten about a ¼ mile down the trail. When I stepped out into the field I was greeted by a low growl. “That was a bear,” I thought to myself. I picked up my pace to get back with the rest of the group. Earlier in our hike we found a single bear print in the trail so I knew we had company.

We established radio contact with Rich’s group and they did a howl and we returned a knock but that was all the noise we really made that night. While walking back to a good location to sit down and watch we heard more growling. We tried to see the growlers with the thermals but had no luck. The bears (there were at least two of them) were not happy about our presence. We just kept loud and continued to walk back to camp. Sitting down there was no longer a smart option.

Both Northern and Southern locations were very quiet (and spooky for me as I was the only person around) that first night as we turned in.

Thursday we met for breakfast at a local diner. In the UP Yoopers know to say ½ order for everything. Well, the rest of us had lunch and dinner that morning. We sent out scouting groups to look for more areas to send people and plotted them on our GPS. Later that day as folks began to arrive we had our potluck dinner and meet and greet. We had a demonstration of audio collected from Michigan and discussed field etiquette. Then we set up team leaders and allowed the attendees to choose where they wanted to go that night.

I suggest that organizers provide attendees with a map of the area and for each night out provide the length of the trail, the difficulty of the walk, what you are planning on doing and the time you expect to return. This gives them more control over their experience.

Thursday night Mattress Group (which I led) went to an area overlooking the river and we set up a nice fire. We heard coyotes and critters moving on the other side of the river but nothing terribly exciting happened. Ridge Group went to the ridgeline where previous attendees had seen shadowy figures and multiple blue “eye-like” lights. They wanted to check out “Baby Ranae” a doll that had an attached speaker system. The speaker call blasted monkey sounds, whales, and a crying baby. We had spent part of the day setting up a dummy camera and then a real one (superbly hidden) to try to trick our quarry into investigating the lost child. They did not report any activity either.

The issue was that we were both in the wrong place. Back at my camp we had left Ruth. She wanted to sit by my fire as she had recently undergone knee surgery. There was a frantic radio exchange and Ridge Group quickly hiked back to Creek Camp to check on Ruth.

These are her words as dictated by her husband:

“It was Thursday night and everyone else went out to different spots along River road, which parallels [the] River, while I stayed at Jim's camp because my knee was bothering me. Don't know what time it was but I think it was a couple hours after everyone left; I was sitting facing the river with the creek to my right side and on the other side of that creek was a boat ramp with woods behind it and high grass near the creek. I could hear a little bit of the conversation on the radio from time to time.

I was really enjoying just sitting there watching the campfire, enjoying the peacefulness of the night, when I heard something in the grass across the creek. I just thought that it was a raccoon near the creek’s edge, but a couple seconds later there was a splash in the creek from a good sized rock.

I got out of my chair to try to see what caused it, but it was dark and I couldn’t see but a few feet past the campfire light and it was then that I heard something going through the high grass away from the creek towards the woods and a few seconds after hearing the sound in the high grass I heard this call and it scared me so bad I thought it might be my husband playing a joke on me, because he's good at that.

I said on the radio, “Richard if that's you I'm gonna beat your butt until the cows come home.” I got into Jim's car, locked the doors and when no one answer I called on the radio to see if anyone was around Jim's camp.

Lisa answered and said “No.”

I told them what was going on and they came back to Jim’s camp.

Lisa walked across the bridge to the boat ramp to investigate. They found grass matted down in several spots and at the same time, Rachel sees eye shine coming from the other direction. I didn't see it, but I was still nervous from what happen.

But when they were coming back from that the boat dock, Rachel and I heard a rock hit the water by the river on the far side of the boat dock.

I did learn later that the call I heard was from Lisa. (We only do calls or knocks on the ½ hour)

We all heard some wood knocks and we also believe that we heard another call too.

I been fishing a lot as a kid and an adult, but the sound I heard was a rock, not a fish jumping and the other night after coming home we were watching Finding Bigfoot and after Willow Creek one of them had a beaver slapping his tail in the water so I know it was a rock.

Earlier in the day, Jim and a few people where leaving camp to head back to base camp and saw a bear cub not far from the area I was at, but on River road. I thought about that for a while and yes it may have been a bear in the grasses, but the rock I heard could have been from a bear walking across the little bridge, but the rock in the water sounded a lot closer to me than the bridge.”

Later that night a few more people showed up at the Creek site and Wisconsin investigator Bernie recorded a howl that my recorder missed. It can be heard in the video that will appear during the description of Friday’s adventures.


On Friday we had breakfast at Mike’s camp. Bacon, eggs, and real UP Maple syrup prepped us for the day. The organizers set up a fishing challenge. The biggest fish caught from breakfast until 4pm received pride and a net we found. This encouraged folks to go out and explore the area. The winning fish happened to be a Brook Trout and the net is hanging in my garage.

Mike led a casting demonstration at 4pm and Caroline prepared a huge fiesta that we shared at base camp. We sent a group out to check the location of the bridge for prints and found a few areas where something likes to sit and watch the bridge but nothing else of note. We then formed groups for the night activities and we went about preparing our gear.
Rich and Darrin took my canoe down the river from base camp. They expected a two hour trip but it got dark and foggy and they somehow made it back to my camp four hours later.

We sent a group to Mattress Site and I led Ridge Group. We wanted to set up on the ridge overlooking the swamp so that we could draw attention to ourselves and then back away to Don’s camp and scan with our night vision and thermals as our quarry might be silhouetted against the skyline. We saw a scintillating star (one that appears to move and change color) the ISS (it spins and flashes) but nothing else. It looked like the night was going to be a bust. That was, until light thuds were heard. It sounded like a person stomping on the ground. Bear will do this and I had had enough bear for a while. This was different. It was not a deer stomping as a warning. It raised our awareness level. Then I heard something moving below and behind me. This was between the ridge where we were and Don’s camp below. Was one of the groups returning? I made a radio call and everyone was in place. It continued for a few seconds. Then a rock hit next to me. Then while I was contemplating that, another hit in the same place. That was weird. Here is the audio of that experience:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf4XzwD8sVc

The rest of the night was fairly calm at all locations except at the bridge:

While all of this was going on a small group travelled from base camp and set up chairs near an old bridge. This was an area that had activity the last time we were there as seen in the first video of this report.

This is what transpired in their words:

“My Dad and I hiked into the [ ] with eight other attendees to set up our camping chairs at the bridge and listen. We arrived at roughly 9:15pm, and it was 9:30 by the time we made it to the bridge. Dad did three knocks on one of the wooden guardrail posts, but the sound reverberated the metal, producing a very tinny sound that echoed like crazy. It sounded awesome, though not like your typical wood knock. Five minutes later, I did a howl, but we didn’t receive a response. So, we waited. And waited. And finally, around 11:15 or so, things got interesting.

We heard two knocks across the bridge (their territory) to the left (south). Then we heard another two knocks to the north. And for the next hour and a half, we heard continuous wood knocks in three distinct locations (sometimes four spots, and a few times even five) that ranged from one knock at a time all the way up to six in quick succession (though the majority were in 2's and 3's). They weren't echoes of each other, either, because you'd have location #1 do two knocks, and then location #2 would respond with three knocks, for example. J clapped back, and we got stronger responses with more knocks. I did a few intermittent whoops throughout our time there, and we got even more! No vocalizations, just more knocks. But, the thing that really blew us away and had us practically giddy with excitement was when we got the idea to try different knocking patterns. J would do two claps, a pause, and then one more clap. Then we'd hear two knocks, a pause, and one more knock in response! He'd try three claps, a pause, then three claps. We would hear three knocks, a pause, and another three knocks! They didn't always copy our patterns (which means it wasn't an echo), but they did several times, and it was just amazing.

The sound was very loud, crystal clear and distinctly wood-on-wood. J worked in the logging industry for twenty years, so he knows exactly what that sounds like, and he said that it couldn't be trees hitting each other in the wind, because even though they can make strange sounds, they never make the same sound over again, consistently, let alone for an hour and a half. The intervals between each knock in a series were the same - they were always in quick succession, like someone tapping two pieces of wood together, not like someone swinging an axe handle into a tree.”

There is a type of frog (the Mink Frog) that makes a sound like a wood knock. It does live in the area and they are active during that time of night and that time of year. This may have explained the multitude of knocking sounds but does not explain the initial louder wood on wood sounding knocks. Might the mimicry have been a coincidence? I analyzed the audio provided and it only contained some of the latter knocking sounds and those were inconclusive. Unfortunately, the full audio was not recorded because the recorder was on loan and not familiar to the operator. Who knows? But the folks in the field that night were not new to the woods.

The next day we sent a group to check the area and all that was found was an area overlooking the bridge that had been used by something as a place to spend a great deal of time. It was matted down and the grass was missing leaving only flattened and bare soil.

On Saturday we decided to all meet at Creek Site. This was the area with the most activity so we thought we would give it everything we had. Also, this area and at other expeditions I have been on have seen increased activity on the final night. Why not put all of our people and gear here and go for broke?

While standing by my campfire I mentioned that my group would be setting up at a swamp I had just discovered and that we would be telling ghost stories. We would have a Road Walkers Group, Don’s Camp, Mattress Group, Creek Camp (featuring sparklers and S’mores), and Ghost Group.

We broke into groups and went out when it was fairly dark. Ghost Group contained members from Don’s Camp Group as we would drop them off on our way. We were waiting for Bernie to catch up and we saw his red light on the trail. It moved in the wrong direction and headed toward the woods. Rachel let me know Bernie was heading the wrong way. I had not seen the light but I radioed Bernie. He had not left the camp. So. What was that light? We were all accounted for. I had Rachel walk me to where she had seen the light and something big ran away from my location. Strange.

Don’s Camp Group set out and Ghost Group headed into the swamp. We set up a fire and began telling stories. Then things got weird. Here are some of the accounts of what went on:

Don--Michigan Investigator,
“I arrived on Friday afternoon and set my camp up out at the ridge. Jim led a group to the ridge Friday night. It was very quiet with no activity. After everybody left that night I sat up listening and scanning with a thermal without seeing or hearing anything. On Saturday Fred and I took Fred’s canoe from the big cedar campground to mead campground to look for tracks along the banks. We both got excited when we seen tracks with toes. Bears have toes. It was a great paddle with lots of great vantage points for squatches to watch paddlers without being seen. On Saturday night Fred joined me on the ridge for the evening. We were sitting in the screen tent to get a reprieve from the bugs. Fred said he thought he could see movement among the trees on top of the ridge. It was getting pretty dark at this point but the sky was still light enough to backlight the ridgeline. I should have scanned with the thermal then but I wanted to sit and act like we were just camping and act like we didn’t see anything. I believe giving them the security of having the ridge to themselves is important. It gives them a natural travel route that affords them a great view with the tactical advantage of high ground with hiding spots. After the group led by Larry arrived after dark, we sat and talked for a while. After a while Larry began to walk back towards the road to meet up with the other group. He had only been gone a few minutes and traveled a couple hundred yards when we heard a single, distinct whoop. Larry stated on the radio that it originated between ridge camp and himself. Larry continued on towards the road alone and bravely I might add. A short time later we heard another whoop up past the ridge. At this point I was scanning with the thermal and continued to do so, with no sign of anything alive. Fred did a good moan howl later and the group at river camp said they heard two replies to Fred's howl.”

Larry contacted me and asked me to meet him so that he could find Ghost Group’s location. No problem…then we heard the whoops. They were obviously between us and the ridge. I turned on my red headlamp. Anyone who has been in the field with me knows I like to go without the lamp but now it felt reassuring. I had an unpleasant and spooky feeling. The one I have had before when you get a close howl and then even closer taps then it all goes quiet. Yep, that feeling. It took a while to meet up with Larry.

When I we got back to the fire at Ghost Group, Rachel thought she saw something in the woods.

“Saturday night was the night, I went with Ghost Group to a clearing Jim found earlier that day. We started walking a little after dark to the clearing, a few of us saw a red light in the woods just before the turn to the Mead entrance. Jim being Jim started walking towards it and then commented saying something scattered from that stop as he was walking up to it. We made a fire, and just talked. It was nice to get to know people on a person level and just bond. I saw a red light again, and that made my hair stand up. IT WAS NOT a reflection cause there was nothing there to reflect. No one had their lights on. The first time it was looking at me for a good 10 seconds. Then it was gone, back again a couple seconds later but about a foot to the right. It was on for about 6 sec this time (I told Jim to look). It faded away like an eyelid closing. IT WAS amazing, crazy, and just neat all in one. I walked to the wood line and just kept watching. I felt compelled to keep watching. Maybe just maybe I’ll see it again. I NEVER DID.

That night I also jumped in someone arms because I stepped on a piece of wood most likely but my senses were all on alert and it was the end of the night. I thought I was brave all week so I think I did good, because I only jumped ONCE and it was the last night.”


My audio recorder was working poorly that night as I had broken the microphone and was using the internal mics. It did not pick up the howls well.

The Road Walkers Group had their own excitement that night.

“Saturday night, Jon and Kristi, Jeff, Kevin and Daniel, Darrin and I met at Jim Sherman’s campsite and started walking from there to Overlook 1. When we arrived there we announced on the radio we would be doing a Knock, we did with no response and with the Mosquitoes as bad as they were we decided to move to Overlook 4 and then to Mattress. Upon arriving at Overlook 4 we could see another group had gone to Mattress Site and had a fire going, at this point we decided to continue walking up the road until we had walked for approximately an hour after leaving the campsite. We then had Kristi do a Whoop and immediately had a response which was confirmed by Don at the Ridge and the group at Mattress on the radios. We then started to walk back to the campsite with Kristi doing whoops every 15 minutes. The second whoop was also met with a response and confirmed by other groups over the radio. At about this time we heard a stick break as if it had been stepped on that was loud enough it was heard over our talking at normal conversation level of volume, we also started to get the feeling that something was pacing us on the north and south sides of the road and also sounds from a few yards in front of us as if we were being lead down the road. Shortly after this we could hear Larry on the radio saying he was at Overlook 1 looking for us and we continued in his direction (Larry left Ghost Group to bravely walk toward the rest of our people), still feeling like we were being followed and hearing the footfalls and stick breaks to our right or south of the road. About this time Daniel was walking at the back of our group with a parabolic microphone and came to a complete stop in the middle of the road. He then told us he saw something move between trees and "walk" away on the left or north side of the road. From his description the figure would have been 7 to 8 feet in height. We then continue to walk back toward Larry who had buried himself in the brush on the side of the road long with Jesse to see if we could "Pied Piper" a sighting for them. We continued back to the campsite and waited for everyone to come back there. While sitting around the campfire we heard a howl and two responses followed by an Owl which was also confirmed by other groups.”

Sunday came and we all went home…tired, but still very excited about what had happened the night before. You know the moment when you turn off your radio for the last time? Well, I cannot explain the red lights we saw. I cannot explain away all of the howls. I can say that proper scouting and the tactics we have used in the past and improved on put some people in places where they may very well have had a Sasquatch encounter.

Thank you for reading.
Respectfully,
Jim Sherman
Michigan Investigator

Jim Sherman
BFRO Investigator, Michigan Northern Lower Peninsula Expedition 2011, Michigan Upper Peninsula 2012, co-organizer MI UP 2013, Wisconsin 2014 and 2015, co-organizer Michigan UP 2015.
 
 
Indie Farmer
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 Posted: August 29th, 2015 09:55 PM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

Nice report, Jim. I was at your camping area three years ago for the first public expedition there. It was crazy active then. What a great location.
If your mind is empty, it's always ready for anything and is open to everything. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few. 

Shunryu Suzuki 
 
 
jsherman
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Posts: 78

 Posted: August 29th, 2015 10:09 PM  Edit Post Delete post Back to top

Yes sir, you know the place well. I was again camped near the bridge. I only saw the single red light again. Just weird.
Jim Sherman
BFRO Investigator, Michigan Northern Lower Peninsula Expedition 2011, Michigan Upper Peninsula 2012, co-organizer MI UP 2013, Wisconsin 2014 and 2015, co-organizer Michigan UP 2015.
 
 




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