R. D. Bedwell
Here is the story I’ve heard since I was a kid. The series of events took place near Lewistown, Illinois, in October of 1968. I’ve researched this story and found only one press release in a local newspaper — the Fulton County Democrat, Wed., Oct 23, 1968. The story printed is very vague, and from my interviews not very accurate. The actual first encounter was Friday, Oct. 18, 1968, between 7:00 and 8:30 pm. on the Dutch Henry gravel road just a few minutes outside of Lewistown.
Dutch Henry Rd leading off west of U.S. Rt 24 and southwest of Lewistown, Illinois.
The First Sighting
Like most high school students from around the midwest, trying to find something to do in small town U.S.A. on a Friday night can be a challenge. So like many others, cruising and parking on the back roads is not uncommon. But this particular fall evening proved to be much different. In two separate vehicles, one following the other, they come upon what they think is an animal stunned, lying in the middle of the road. Both cars come to a stop, headlights on. They all get out and start walking towards this animal. As they get within ten feet or so from it, it stands up. Shocked at what they see, they think it is someone dressed up in a monkey or gorilla suit (after all it was almost Halloween). So one of the guys yells at it, “You-little-son-of-a-b—–, you better get out of here before I beat your ass!!” This creature bent over and slapped the ground, then picked up a handful of dirt-gravel and threw it at them, hitting a few and the first car. Now the guy charges the creature, it turns to get away, as it spins, it back-hands the teen across the chest area. The guy flies into the roadside ditch, the others run to their cars. The creature leaps a nearby fence with ease. I was told that it moved as fast as a deer, no way could a person be that fast or strong. All seven who witnessed this made a police report. The police went to the Dutch Henry road later that night and found nothing.
The Second Sighting
The very next night around 9:30 pm., a Fulton County police officer was driving on route 24 near the Dutch Henry road turn-off when a wild-ape ran in front of his patrol car. He turned down the gravel road but lost sight of the creature. For about 3 weeks people reported seeing this wild-man, then all the sightings stopped.
Description of the Creature
The animal was described as 4-5 feet tall and had dark brown hair or fur. It was very stocky and had long arms. The face looked human but it moved like an animal, though running and walking upright. No smell was noticed, but it did make some grunts.
First, my half-brother was one of the teens that witnessed this event. He would not lie about this! He doesn’t believe in bigfoot/cryptozoology, he thinks its all B.S., but he doesn’t have an answer as to what he and his friends saw that night in 1968. My dad remembers other reports on the local radio, he said the radio was saying it was just a Halloween prank. But he really feels something was there and that my brother wouldn’t lie about it. I asked my half brother just last year if it was the truth – I told him after all these years there was no reason to hang on to a Halloween prank. He said, “I saw what I saw, don’t know what that thing was, it was real, it happened!’ He is now in his mid 50’s.
Second, I think there are a small number of North American Apes that travel by water and use obsolete railroad tracks, and possibly stay in old mine shafts for shelter. Many sightings take place near train tracks, creeks and rivers.
Return of the Dutch Henry Monster?
I did an interview in the mid-1990’s with a lady named Rhonda Bybee, she told me that in September of 1991, around 8:00 pm, she was driving down route 100 near St.David, Illinois (about 10 miles from Lewistown). She saw something at the edge of the pavement, it was down on all fours. She thought it could be a hurt animal until it stood up and crossed the road in front of her car. It was acting stunned or hurt, then it went down into a ditch, and up and over the railroad tracks, then into the woods. She was terrified! Another car that was coming from the other direction must have seen it too, as it sped off very fast. She told me that it had black or dark brown fur-hair, was about five foot tall, and very dirty looking, like it had mange. Could this have been the return of the Dutch Harbor Monster?
Well, for now this is all the information that I have been able to piece together about the strange events of 1968, I hope that one day the Dutch Harbor Monster will return, or could it be that it’s still here?