HOLLISTER — A recent Bigfoot encounter sparked a group to camp and venture at Medoc Mountain State Park for three nights.

In the campground area of the park at site 23 was a party of four prepping gear to go out into the night on a trail inside the wooded area Thursday night at about 8 p.m. The team was comprised of Stephen Barcelo, owner of the Cryptozoology and Paranormal Museum in Littleton, Kal Morris of Roanoke Rapids, Frank Stroud of Garysburg and Michael Beaver of Raleigh.

The excursion’s purpose was to follow up with an investigation after Beaver said he had an encounter with what he believed — or knows — to be three Bigfoots that crept into his campsite in October. It all began when he took his second camping trip to Medoc Mountain with his family of six and three dogs to camp, he said. The first three nights were spent with his children until they ended up heading back home while one daughter stayed behind on Oct. 18, Beaver said.

“I’m into Bigfoot, and I’m interested in finding out if they do exist,” he said that Thursday night. “I happen to believe that they do exist. I’m what they call a knower. I know they exist. I’ve been in areas where they were around, and I knew they were there. I’ve had glimpses of them throughout my life since I was about 9 years old. I happen to believe that — or know that they exist.”

Knowing the sightings and stories told of Bigfoot in the area, Beaver said he was equipped with a parabolic microphone, which he and his daughter used to listen to amplified sounds of the wilderness at about 10:30 p.m.

“We were listening to the woods, and she said, ‘Dad, this sounds like something is walking around there,’ ” he said. “You could hear branches popping on the ground and kind of muffled breaks because it was heavy cover of leaves on the ground. So, it sounded like something big kind of walking around down there, and this was at night. I said, ‘Well yeah, this is Bigfoot country. There’s been a few sightings here in the Medoc Mountain area.’ ”

Beaver said the sightings were the reason for him visiting the state park.

“You never know what you might see,” he said. “You might get a chance to get a glimpse of one of these creatures running around.”

However, that was all to be heard that final night with his daughter, Beaver said. It was not until the next night when Beaver was alone listening again to the same sounds he heard, which he said made him curious, but soon went to sleep. At about 1:30 a.m., Beaver said he awoke to what sounded like acorns hitting the top of his tent.

“After about 15 minutes, I really woke up, and I realized my tent wasn’t under any trees,” he said. “Wait a minute, it can’t be acorns.”

Recalling the incident, Beaver said the beats of what he now assumes to be bits of pea gravel hitting the tent were hitting more frequently like rain as he tapped the picnic table in succession.

“It can’t be acorns, and so I figured it must be stones,” he said. “I thought then it was probably Bigfoot. Probably a couple of juveniles or something throwing rocks on my tent. I said, ‘OK, I got activity.’ ”

Beaver described his tent as a gazebo with a screen wrapped around it to see outside. He said he wrapped a tarp around the tent to cover the screen and hung a bug zapping lamp inside. Then lying down for nearly 30 minutes, Beaver said he heard something near his head outside of his tent where the tarp overlapped.

“I heard something at my head like trying to separate the tarps, and that freaked me out,” he said. “You’re laying there in your cot, and you hear this noise by your head, and so I hit the tent, and I yelled out, ‘Hey, get away from my tent!’ Because I realized it was Bigfoot or something trying to get into my tent or trying to look at me.”

Beaver said he reached for his flashlight and shined it around and nothing else happened.

“I didn’t hear anything, didn’t hear them run off, I didn’t hear anything,” he said. “I didn’t even go to sleep. I laid there until about 3 a.m. and went outside and shined my flashlight around, and there was nothing there. It was gone.”

However, Beaver said the next night was the night that frightened him.

“Let me calm down because Tuesday night, I had the dickens scared out of me,” he said, shaking as he proceeded to tell what happened.

At about 9 p.m. the next night, Beaver said he sat alone next to his fire with his headphones on, and the parabolic microphone pointed out into the dark wilderness. He said he could hear the same sounds again like the previous night with twigs snapping, leaves crunching and what sounded like heavy footsteps. But nothing prepared him for the strange noise what sounded like the chirping, Beaver said.

“It wasn’t really that cold, and I heard crickets chirping, but I heard this strange noise while they were coming up the hill,” he said. “I don’t really know how to explain what the noise was. It was like cricket and a ringing noise at the same time. They were calling to each other.”

According to research, researchers into the Bigfoot phenomena across the globe have reported hearing vocalization from what is believed to be the creature itself communicating. Some even claim they have heard soft whispers, yelling, primate calls, and forms of speaking in an unknown language.

Beaver said the sounds he experienced came from three different creatures with three different tones that were speaking to each other near his campsite.

“You could tell it was like a ‘Zinger zinga,’ and one of them would go ‘Zing,’ and then ‘Zinga zing,’ ” he said, trying to describe the sounds he heard. “One would say, ‘Zinga zinga,’ and then you would hear another one, ‘Zing, zinga zinga zing.’ I could definitely tell it was about three creatures coming up to my camp.”

Beaver admitted that he has watched shows and videos of the elusive creature and hoped that they would be close enough to see their eyes shine through the dense woods.

“They might throw acorns at me, and I might get a glimpse of one in the bushes, and they would stay back a ways or whatever,” he said.

Beaver said he was feeling tired and went to his tent at about 10:30 p.m. and sat on his cot with his parabolic microphone continuing to listen. It was then that he said he could hear the noises coming closer and then came into the camp. Beaver, with his background knowledge of the creatures, said Bigfoots are not known to be so bold when approaching a site with a human in close proximity.

“They got closer, and they’re making these calls back and forth, back and forth,” he said.

Beaver said he could see his fire across from him where he was inside his tent sitting on the cot until he saw a figure move between him and the fire.

“Then, that’s when I started to freak out a little bit because I realized they were in my camp,” he said. “They were pretty close to me. They’re on the other side of my picnic table, but they were in the camp. That’s when I started going, why are they in my camp? They’re not supposed to be in my camp.”

Being a retired electronic engineer and military veteran, Beaver said he began trying to rationalize what it was he was experiencing based on his knowledge from Bigfoot researchers.

“I see them moving, and they’re making this noise,” he said. “This weird alien noise. It sounded alien. It almost sounded electronic. It didn’t sound like a biological noise from a creature that you expect from this supposed creature — Bigfoot.”

At a point, Beaver said he took his headphones off and could not hear the odd alien noise that he was hearing, but only with the parabolic microphone.

“You couldn’t hear them making the calls back and forth while they were in the camp, which was kind of strange,” he said. “I put the headphones back on — I could hear them.”

Beaver claimed that few people in the area were camping.

“Nobody at all camping at the sites around me,” he said. “I was by myself down by the corner down there.”

Park Superintendent Kelley King said on Friday that she knew the site and night Beaver camped at those nights. King said that the park was packed and there were campsites booked next to him in his area.

On the picnic table near his tent, Beaver said he could hear the unidentified beings touching and moving things. It was not until he said he saw a large shadow figure out of the corner of one of his tent screens come down into view.

“It didn’t come from the side, it came from the top,” Beaver said. “That’s when I realized, ‘Momma, these things are bigger than the edge of my tent,’ and the edge of my tent was a good six and a half feet. They were huge, and that’s when I freaked out. I lost it.”

Not recalling the exact words he said at the moment, Beaver said he screamed at the creatures.

“But right as I yelled, then, went ‘Zinga zing,” he said.

Then the three figures disappeared into the night, Beaver said.

“Then I yanked the headphones off my head and threw them in the cot, and I jumped in my sleeping bag and curled up shaking,” he said. “I just laid there shaking for quite a while. Then I got up, got my big flashlight, and just sat there and just looking and looking. I didn’t hear nothing, and then I got up and went outside, and they were gone.”

Now with the incident over, Beaver said he has had strange dreams.

“I wouldn’t be here tonight if other people weren’t with me,” he said. “I mean it freaked me out. I can’t understand why they came into the camp.”

After reaching out to Barcelo and the others of the party, Beaver said that it was theorized that the elusive creatures assumed nobody was at the campsite due to the bug zapping lamp’s ultraviolet light.

“They may have thought that I wasn’t there, there was nobody in the camp, and that’s why they were trying to look in,” he said.

Some researchers studying Bigfoots claim that the creatures possess unique nocturnal eyesight like cats and dogs, such as picking up infrared light.

The party followed up to investigate for three nights, with the last night landing on Thursday. The group ventured into the woods performing wood knocks, playing the flute, looking for eye shine, and utilizing an infrared camera.

Barcelo, who was with the group, said it was a good investigation with some activity, but was more excited to see the image he picked up on his infrared camera when looking up a hill.

“We definitely seemed to have stirred some things up,” he said. “I saw this bright white thing moving up on the hill. It was hard to tell size. You deal with distance there, and as soon as you see something you try to move, a tree gets in the way, you lose it and not to mention we’re looking through hundreds of trees. I can’t tell ya what that was.”

Barcelo said he saw what looked like to be an upright bipedal creature, but said it could have been a hunter.

“Could I say it’s not a hunter?” he questioned. “I have no idea. Hunters shouldn’t be out there. Why would hunters be out there in the middle of the woods, but you do have somebody playing a flute down the road and on this trail, so I need to look at what I’ve got and see how clear.”

When asked about how he felt about Beaver’s encounter, Barcelo said it is rare for people who are seeking out Bigfoot to encounter one.

“We’ve had multiple people come through and the stars align and you get something,” he said. “I wish it would work that well for me. Generally, I’m the guy that does the follow up.”

Barcelo said Beaver did not want to be interviewed on camera so he could catch the raw moment of his emotions, but was able to convince him to do an interview on camera and participate in the investigation.

When asked why he did not want to be interviewed at first, Beaver said he did not want to relive the moment.

“I’ll slowly get over it but it scared the bejesus out of me,” he said. “I’ve never been that close to something that I know was there. All I saw was the shadow but I clearly heard them and I knew they were there. I felt the vibration of their feet. I remember that too. I felt the vibration of their [steps] while they were walking around. I know they were there and I know they were big. I know they’re real, I know they’re here in this park.”

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