Bigfoot is everyone’s favorite cryptid. It’s big, apelike, and there are stories of Bigfoot in almost every state or country you can name. There are rumors of government conspiracies surrounding this mysterious being, and, quite simply, too many stories to count of sightings and cover-up operations to ignore. Some people dedicate their lives to proving its existence, but there’s so much proof that it hardly warrants any more investigations. The world is a vast place, and there are many things hidden in the nooks and crannies that humans do not occupy. Where the Bigfoot enthusiasts struggle is making the government acknowledge that Bigfoot, and, in turn, many other cryptids exist.
Hairy, ape-like cryptids are almost always lumped into the “Bigfoot” group. The key things that Bigfoot researchers look for when classifying a new cryptid as a Bigfoot is height, appearance, and smell. Bigfoot are always tall, at least six feet, but sometimes over ten, and are usually covered in a thick, matted layer of hair. The stench is often overpowering, though distinctly primate in nature. They are intelligent, elusive, and frightening to stumble upon, as they do not seem to welcome human interaction.
But, interesting as Bigfoot is, there are quite a few hairy things out there that are not, in fact, Bigfoot. There are also quite a few smelly beasts that are not Bigfoot. Not everything mysterious that resembles an ape can be lumped into the same category. For starters, there are bound to be actual cases of escaped primates from zoos or circuses. Many Bigfoot enthusiasts are quick to jump on any ape sighting that is outside of the norm and pin it on Bigfoot.
Illinois is a state chalk full of strange happenings, most of which revolve around hairy, smelly beasts, and these creatures are not Bigfoot for a refreshing change. Or, perhaps they are. There could be numerous kinds of Bigfoot creatures out there, all the same, but slightly different. But, Bigfoot or not, these cryptids are all unique and interesting in their own ways, and quite possibly horrifying for those involved.
The Tuttle Bottoms monster is one of the most elusive cryptids that this state has to offer, but also one of the most interesting. Information on it is scarce, yet over fifty people have reported seeing it since the first recorded sighting in the 1960’s. The first sightings of this monster were not even reported by the first witnesses, but rather by a police officer who stumbled across a large gathering of teenagers with guns on the outside of Harrisburg, Illinois. When asked what they were intending to do, the teens explained that many of them had spotted a strange creature while gamboling about in the local young peoples’ hotspot, or lover’s lane area. They described it as an eight-foot-long ape-like creature with a face like an anteater. It lumbered into view on all fours before rearing up in front of them, beady eyes inspecting the cars curiously. Everyone had been too stunned to react at that point, so eventually the odd animal lost interest and retreated into the woods without doing much of anything. Determined to confirm what they saw, the teenagers rallied and were going to go hunt down the creature.
The officer sent them all home, sensing the danger of allowing such a large group of jumpy kids to go hunting in the woods at night. It wasn’t long before many people throughout town began to see the thing as well. Looking past the fact that many people described distinctly ape-like qualities on the creature, it was largely dismissed as an escaped zoo animal. Sightings are few and far between, but anybody who lives nearby believes wholeheartedly in the creature’s existence, possibly because that is not the only strange animal to be discovered in the Tuttle Bottoms area. Where the Tuttle Bottoms Monster seems apathetic at best, wandering aimlessly about the outskirts of town, there are stories of hostile creatures, too.
One man recalls sitting in the car next to his babysitter as she drove him home, taking him past Tuttle Bottoms on a narrow, two-lane road. As they crossed a bridge, a massive, bat-winged creature that he described as a “pterodactyl” dove at them, scratching and pecking at the roof of the car. His babysitter screamed and floored it, leaving the creature behind quickly. But he says he will always remember that day, and he is not the only one to meet strange animals in and around Tuttle Bottoms.
Another interesting occurrence that isn’t Bigfoot-related is the Enfield Horror. Perhaps one of the most peculiar cryptids in the world, this thing was seen hopping around the city of Enfield, just generally causing mayhem. It was short, three to four feet tall, with T-rex arms and massive pink eyes that jutted out like flashlights. Witnesses say the thing was covered in thick gray hair. It was first spotted attacking a young boy as he played in his backyard, flattening him to the ground and lashing out at him with tiny, ineffective little arms. It bounded away easily when the boy’s father ran at it, covering distance at an astonishing pace. The second time it was seen it was scratching at the door of another man’s home, who shot it in the face as soon as he opened the door. This, of course, frightened the creature and sent it hopping away, just as before, but did not seem to damage it overall. It was seen wandering along the roadside several times after this, face fully intact, but it never did show itself again in a populated area.
The Enfield Horror was so odd and out-of-place that even Bigfoot enthusiasts couldn’t place it under the same umbrella as their favorite cryptid. But throughout Illinois there are still a few creatures that bear a striking resemblance. The Farmer City Monster, the Cole Hollow Road Monster, the Murphysboro Mud Monster, and the Bull Valley Monster all have very Bigfoot-like habits and characteristics.
The Farmer City Monster was spotted in the 1970’s, roaming the areas around Farmer City, Bloomington, and other nearby small towns. What people saw most vividly of the creature was its eyes, round and yellow, sometimes described as glowing. This monster seemed to be a very shy spirit, and would run away from humans as fast as it could whenever it was seen. Many people said that it looked like a man in a suit until they saw the face and looked into those eyes.
The Cole Hollow Road Monster is said to be a great, shaggy being with mop-like hair covering its face. It is ten feet tall and will throw heavy rocks at cars passing through Cole Hollow Road, as well as a few other secluded roads. It shares this in common with the Bull Valley Monster, but unlike the Bull Valley Monster, people have actually seen the Cole Hollow Road Monster, one sighting even as recent as 2000. One man was driving down the road and was forced to step on the brakes when a huge thing rose up in front of him. He described it as a white, hairy beast that towered over his car. Thankfully, it did no damage to him or his vehicle. It stepped aside after watching the car for a few moments, allowing it to pass.
Bigfoot or not, it seems like Illinois might be the place to go if cryptid-hunting is one of your hobbies.