All but about three of my 61 years have been spent living in Missouri, and the relatively brief period referred to was spent in southeast Kansas within a couple of hours of the border. It is only natural that the bulk of the paranormal investigation I have conducted throughout my adult life has involved incidents right here in America’s heartland: Missouri and the eight states that border upon it. Over the years of visiting with people, when the subject of my unusual ‘hobby’ comes up I have found most people to be sadly uninformed concerning the fascinating reports being made by credible witnesses on a literally daily basis. Oh, they may have read of an occasional UFO sighting or the Halloween season tales printed in many newspapers profiling the allegedly ‘haunted places’ in the area, but they remain completely unaware that the region described above produces a steady stream of encounters with the controversial creature commonly known as Bigfoot. Most of them consider it a phenomenon confined primarily to the Pacific Northwest, with an occasional sighting of a ‘Skunk Ape’ getting local publicity in Florida.

Many readers will be surprised to learn that there have been literally hundreds of documented reports of Bigfoot in the nine states under consideration here, ranging from as recently as April of 2013 back to historical accounts from the 19th century. They have, as you will soon learn, included some far closer encounters than witnesses would have preferred.

An excellent example of such a relatively recent heartland encounter of the hairy kind took place in a rural area of Douglas County Kansas on October 11 2006 and was reported by the witness (who never did specify if they were male or female; not that it matters) to a dedicated group called the Gulf Coast Bigfoot Research Organization (GCBRO). After verifying that it was a legitimate report, they in turn posted it on their website for the benefit of other such groups and independent researchers around the country.

The witness, who lives in a wooded area, started to step out onto their deck to have a cigarette after dark that evening. As they opened the door they noticed three things that were out of the ordinary, all at the same time. First, they became aware that something was blocking the light from the neighbor’s porch. There was also an overpowering odor similar to animal urine but much stronger. Finally, and most alarming, was a quite solid obstacle that prevented the door from opening all the way; an obstacle that grunted when the door hit it.

The resulting scene must have resembled a scene out of a comedy movie, as the witness and intruder obviously startled each other. The witness let out with an excited utterance to the effect of "What the ….?" and the uninvited guest let loose with what was described as "the craziest scream" as it turned and leaped from the deck to the ground below with a distinct ‘thud’. Now that it was not blocking the neighbor’s porch light, the witness got a brief look at their ‘visitor’. It was described as being quite large and muscular with little or no neck, disproportionately long arms, and dark colored fur covering its entire body. In daylight the following day the witness discovered apparent claw marks of something quite large in the hard wood of the deck railing and several large footprints in the yard.

I hope that you have enjoyed this brief journey into the fascinating world of the unknown and unexplained. But this column is only appearing in this newspaper on a four week trial run. If you enjoy it and wish to continue seeing it each week, please send a quick email to info@greenwooddemocrat.com and let them know.

(If you have had an encounter with any type of paranormal or unexplained phenomena, I would like to add it to my ever-growing files. Send me a complete account, with as many details as you can. Include your name and a telephone number or email address so I can reach you at if I need more information. Complete anonymity, if requested, will be observed if your experience is used for publication. Send accounts and comments to samuptegrove@gmail.com.)

Sam Uptegrove is a sixty-year old ex-law enforcement officer who has maintained a reference file of unexplained and unusual incidents. His files cover over 20,000 incidents from all over the world, but his primary focus is on the midwestern states.