The Trickster

Recently I was invited by two fellow researchers to visit their research site here in Central Illinois. In the past they have heard odd vocalizations and wood knocks. Recently they experienced a roar and voices coming from the woods.

My wife and I camped in the area and after meeting up with our friends spent two nights investigating.

Belle, my Karelian Bear Dog, anticipating her next adventure.

First night: 11 Aug 2013

At around 8 p.m the first night we walked about 1/2 mile down a trail and spent about two hours in the area. We did a couple of wood knocks as we slowly walked back towards the vehicles. When we were about 200 yards from our vehicles two of us heard what sounded like children talking loudly. Five minutes later we again heard the same sounds and it appeared they came from where we were parked. A couple minutes later we heard one bark from my Karelian Bear Dog, Belle, who had decided she needed to guard our truck and hurried ahead to confront the noisemakers. Five minutes later we arrived at our vehicles, the area was totally dark and devoid of any humans. This is only the second time in eight years that Belle has returned to the vehicle and barked.

Second night: 12 Aug 2013

Because of the “children voices” that we heard the night before I left a small recorder on the truck hoping to record any visitors while we were gone walking the trail.

We slowly walked the trail. Belle stayed fairly close for about twenty minutes and then was gone. Typically on an investigation Belle will come and go making contact every so often. She normally hunts for raccoons or other varmints and is usually very quiet, however she will bark if she trees a coon. When she didn’t return in an hour and a half I didn’t get too concerned.

While walking we heard a distant wood knock that I responded to with one wood knock and twenty minutes later we heard a much softer but closer wood knock. We did not hear any vocalizations or other unusual sounds the rest of the evening. We stopped along side the trail perhaps 300 yards from the vehicles for about 20 minutes. While there Belle ran up and I had never seen her so excited to see me, she was overjoyed.

We returned to our vehicles and called it a night.

The location of the antenna on my truck and the front tire where the audio recorder was left.

On return to base camp I reviewed the nights audio.

Here is a summary from the audio recorded at the truck:

All times p.m.

7:00:00 Arrived at location

7:06:00 Started walking down trail

7:33:30 Antennae struck

7:33:55 Belle arrives back at the truck

7:34:10 Belle appears to take off running full speed

7:42:22 Belle again comes back to truck winded, panting and whining

8:02 Belle’s first bark

8:07 Sundown

8:08 First katydid’s begin to strum their mid-summer chorus

8:22 – 8:34 Belle – intermittent barking and whining

8:45 – 8:56 Belle – intermittent barking and whining

8:57 Belle leaves the parking area

9:02 Belle returns to me and the other researchers

9:22 We all return to our vehicles.

The sounds:

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Antenna 1 – Recording of the antenna being struck with enough force to continue to make it vibrate for 10 seconds. Unfiltered.

Click here to listen to sound clip: Antenna Being Struck 1

Waveform View

Spectral View

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Antenna 2 – The complete sequence. First, the antenna is struck, then Belle arrives at the 22 second mark. You can hear Belle’s collar jingling as she (I assume) runs a large circle around the truck and then at the 36 second mark takes off running at full speed. Without changing the gain on the recording it is impossible to keep all the sounds at the same volume. Unfiltered

Click here to listen to sound clip: Antenna Being Struck 2

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Antenna 3 – By taking out the sound of the antenna being struck I can turn the gain up you can better hear Belle’s collar jingling and her taking off running. Normally I would remove some of the bass rumble but to do so eliminates many of the softer and subtler sounds of Belle’s movements. Unfiltered

Click here to listen to sound clip: Antenna Being Struck 3

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Conclusions:

# 1 – It has long been understood that when hikers park their vehicles and hike out of the immediate area that sasquatch may approach their vehicles. I don’t presume to know why they do this other than out of curiosity. With the “childlike voices” we heard the first night I assumed that this was what was happening. I assume they wanted us to hear them, they were not soft but louder that humans without yelling. Belle’s protective behavior the first night to race to the vehicle and bark is something I had noted only one other time in the past eight years when out hiking. My goal the second night was to put her under lead after we reached the end of the trail. I had no idea she would double back early on and return to the vehicles. Did she sense that the “visitors’ had also gone to the vehicles? I have no idea.

# 2 – As to what exactly happened the second night I have an opinion but nothing more. I think Belle sensed that the vehicles may have been approached. She had stayed with us for over a half mile before she headed back to the vehicles. As she got closer to the truck did they hear her coming and give the antenna a yank and then take off? It was only 25 seconds between the time of the antenna noise and Belle’s arrival. Were they juveniles just having fun? Did Belle pick up the scent and give chase only to return 8 minutes later to guard “her masters” property? As it got dark did they then come back? Why did Belle have two bouts of extreme barking and fear (in which she jumped many time onto both sides of the truck and kept trying to get in.) Why didn’t she return to me out on the hiking trail? Did they perhaps have the way blocked for an hour?

15 Responses to “The Trickster”

  1. Alicia says:

    Very cool pick up on the antenna!

  2. Aaron says:

    Stan it is always a pleasure and treat to hear these recordings, the only comment I have is in the form of a question, on the third recording with the boosted gain, at approx. 22 seconds there is a faint whistle, it is just before Belle bolts at full speed near the recorder, my question is this, was that you or your visitor or maybe a lookout for visitors, or is it a recording anomaly? Aaron W, from Seneca Il.

  3. femmeflashpoint says:

    Oh my goodness!

    That's some fascinating activity going on during your investigation, but I can't help but feel sorry for Belle.

    Really happy she came home safe with no scrapes!

  4. Sherry Franklin says:

    That's really impressive, Stan!! Plus, you know your dog, and her habits/actions better than anyone. SHE knew some'thing'/s was messing with your truck and antenna. I'd think if it were people, she's act differently.

  5. stancourtney says:

    I think that sound was just an anomaly.

  6. Rizzo says:

    Is that antenna bent forward, or is that normal for it? The sound is similar to bending the antenna down quite a ways and then giving it a quick release. That's likely why it made the slowly diminishing repetitive sound. Most antennas slowly bend toward the rear of the vehicle because of the wind speed. At least we know Belle didn't do it.

  7. stancourtney says:

    Yes, the antenna is normally vertical.

  8. Barry Cullen says:

    1st & 2nd pics, what is attached to your rear view mirror? – BC

  9. stancourtney says:

    Mirror extensions for towing.

  10. Roger says:

    can you put a camera on Belle?

  11. stancourtney says:

    I have experimented but haven't come up with anything that works.

  12. Roger says:

    Will she wear doggie saddlebags? a small usb type camera hooked to a small recorder?

  13. stancourtney says:

    I am experimenting.

  14. Red Angus says:

    Just a suggestion, but what if you left someone hidden in your truck with a camera? Or mounted a motion detection camera somewhere on the truck?
    I believe that bigfoot exists and enjoy being able to read about and listen to the material that you and others provide through your research.

    Thanks,
    Red Angus

  15. stancourtney says:

    My goal is audio recording.

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