There have been numerous sightings of Bigfoot type creatures in Illinois,the earliest sighting recorded appears to be in 1912. A woman named Beaulah Schroat reported that she and her brothers had often seen a huge, hairy creature near their home in Effingham. Then a "huge gorilla" was reported as seen in the woods near Elizabeth in July 1929.
In 1941, the Reverend Harpole was hunting squirrels near Mount Vernon and encountered a large creature that "looked something like a baboon". He struck it with his rifle and fired a warning shot that sent it scurrying back into the underbrush.
In 1962 a grey coloured creature was spotted by Steven Collins and Robert Earle . The creature vanished into the woods and the witnesses told the local newspaper that it was "like no other animal we had ever seen before."
In September 1965, four teenagers were parked in a car near an undeveloped area outside of Decatur called Montezuma Hills. It was a secluded area used by locals as a "lover’s lane". The young couples were sitting in the car when a black, man-like shape approached the vehicle. The creature seemed massive and frightened the teenagers badly. They drove off in a panic but after dropping off their girlfriends the two males returned to the area for another look. They once again saw the monster and it walked up to their car as though it were curious. They were too scared to get out, but even with the windows rolled up, they could smell the monster’s horrible smell. Then they summoned the police, who searched but did not find anything.
In 1968 there was another sighting near Chittyville . Two teenagers Tim Bullock and Barbara Smith, were driving north of town on August 11 when they spotted a 10-foot tall monster that was covered with black hair and had a round face. It threw dirt at their car and they left to summon the police. When the authorities returned, they found a large depression in the grass that was apparently a nest.
Same year in July , a couple driving near Weldon Springs State Park, outside of Clinton, saw what looked like a huge "bear" in the river. Later, a policeman and a conservation officer found tracks along the water‘s edge that definitely did not belong to a bear. They were reportedly very large and human-like.
In 1972, there were reports coming in from the Pekin and Peoria areas. In May, Randy Emmert, and some friends, reported a large, hairy creature near Cole Hollow Road. This monster was 8-10 feet tall and whitish in color. The witnesses stated that it made a loud, screeching sound and they suspected that it was living in a hole beneath an abandoned house. It also left very unusual tracks, having only three toes on each foot. Others also reported seeing a monster and it became known as "Cohomo", short for the "Cole Hollow Road Monster". This lead to local police logged more than 200 calls about the monster, including one where the creature destroyed a fence. The police departments were naturally sceptical, but the calls kept coming in. Cohomo was seen again on July 27 as East Peoria Police reported that he was spotted by "two reliable citizens" swimming in the Illinois River. They got close enough to him to know that he smelled awful and looked like a "cross between an ape and a caveman". That appears to be the last sighting of Cohomo..
In 1973, three men who were walking along the Sangamon River near Decatur saw a large, hairy man that walked like an ape. The creature disappeared into the underbrush.
In 1990, a woman living in a mobile home near Eldon reported to Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department she heard noises, noticed a bad smell, and saw a creature about 10 feet tall and about 400 pounds. A deputy investigated and found impressions big enough to place both his feet in. Just two days later, an 8-year-old girl and her mother described a creature 8 feet tall with dark brown, frizzy hair and standing on two feet rummaging through a trash pile near their house.
In 1996, a man living in the Vian Bottoms, about two to three miles north of the Arkansas River, saw a black figure moving in and out of the trees. He said it looked to be about 8 feet tall, huge, muscular build, with very long stringy hair, and walked upright on two legs.
In July 2000 in Essex, Illinois ,Andrew Souligne was driving into a local cemetery one night when a large, hairy shape walked out in front of the car. The creature froze in the headlights and turned towards the car, apparently stunned by the bright lights from the vehicle. Souligne (and the other passenger of the car) were pretty shocked themselves and the driver immediately put the car into reverse and back away from the monster. Moments later, the ape loped into the woods and vanished.
In 2001 a woman driving near Green Leaf Lake , saw something cross the road in front of her. She said it was about 6-1/2 feet tall, with long, dark hair except for the face area, and had a thick build. She described the creature further as looking “like a person with hair.”
In October of 2005, Tahlequah 911 received a call at about 6 a.m. one morning from a man near the Welling bridge who said he had just seen what he believed to be Bigfoot. It was 7 feet tall and hairy, and from the anatomy it appeared to be female.
In July 2008, a woman living in an area known as Murphy’s Hill, near 14-Mile Creek, said she was receiving a curious and regular visitor that was “getting bolder” and “coming out in the daytime.” She said one “Sunday afternoon the wind shifted, and we smelled it.” She said she went into the yard and found the door to her dogs’ pen broken almost in half. And, that the dogs get really quiet when this thing is around.
So Illinois, a haven for types of Bigfoot? There does seem to be an element of hysteria in some of the accounts, especially the 200 calls the police received in one day. It is also reminiscent of The Swamp Ape which is said to be smelly. Could it be a relative or had people read about it and it fixed it in their minds? But with that many sightings, even if only a third are reasonably sound, it is still a lot of sightings, whether mistaken identity or not, of something strange in Illinois.
Farmer City Bigfoot article