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Footprints in Chatham

//Footprints in Chatham

Footprints in Chatham

This is the first of six possible incidents in the Chatham, Illinois area this month. The other reports will be posted in the coming weeks.

Chatham is a village just south of Springfield, Illinois. Not the first place one would think of as having any bigfoot activity. It is an area of soybean and corn fields with several small creeks that drain into Lake Springfield.

Facebook seems to have become the means of mass communication in the last couple of years and was the means that I became aware of this incident.


15 June 2011

My mom found a Bigfoot footprint in her backyard!

In Chatham

I actually seen one before too … kinda creepy huh ? ­čÖé

I’ll post a pic

I have a friend who investigates this kind of thing. He’d freak if he saw those pics….

Ok…I will!! His name is John Winterbauer. Texting him now! Wonder if I can show him the pic somehow??

I can text it to you or to him

The neighbors German Shepard has been going crazy too

Is there just one print? Got the pic…thanks…sending it to him…

Yeah just the one. It’s under an apple tree and there are no baby apples above the print but there are elsewhere on the tree.


Can I have him call you? He is asking me for details.


That is a legit footprint!!! Omg!

That’s freaky

The police are on the way to my moms to look at the bigfoot footprint. What else do the Chatham cops have to do?

Lol please tell me this is a joke

No! lol. They’re calling Dept of Natural Resources tomorrow.

So a friend of a friend contacted me thru here and he is a Bigfoot fanatic and investigates sightings around Illinois. He’s coming to see it tomorrow.


So the above was the conversation on Facebook on the evening of the 15 of June. A friend of the witness contacted John Winterbauer, a friend of mine who is also interested in bigfoot research. John in turn contacted me.

The next day my wife and I visited the two witnesses in their suburban Chatham home. Location details have been kept confidential. The home property does back up to a wooded stream which flows into Lake Springfield. The family has raised apples for years, but always wondered what was taking all the apples except those at the very tops of the trees. They assumed the apple picker was a raccoon.

The family was getting the liner to their pool changed, when workmen brought the footprint to their attention. At that time the witnesses were concerned about their safety from what appeared to be an intruder and called the Chatham Police to investigate. An officer came to the family’s home and looked at the footprint. He made no comment to the family about what he thought made the print. The area had lots of rain in the preceeding days making the area underneath the apple tree very muddy. Other than this lone print there were other depressions but none of ├é┬áthem as clear and complete as this one tract.

The right foot imprint showing the length of eighteen inches.

The right foot imprint showing the width of seven inches.

The family over the years has at times heard unusual vocalizations but had always passed them off as being some common forest animal. The night before the footprint was found a neighbor had commented about unusual sounds and his large German Shepherd dog was reluctant to go into the backyard and even was demanding to sleep in his master’s bedroom.

The Jonathan apple tree under which the footprint was found.

During our conversation I mentioned to the family that many times bigfoot leave gifts as a show of appreciation for food left out, whether intentional or accidental as in the case of apples. Later that day I received a phone call from the witness stating that he had found a rabbit in the backyard that appeared to have its head pulled off, not bitten or cut, but just simply pulled off.

The remains of a rabbit and a possible gift.

Everything has returned to normal with the witnesses, nothing new to report in the last couple of weeks.

By | 2011-06-30T13:32:52+00:00 June 30th, 2011|My Research|16 Comments

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  1. Wayne Blevins June 30, 2011 at 9:46 am

    The heel, instep and pad of the print seems to look older and more weathered than to toe prints to me. I am absolutely no expert in footprints. Can you explain this to me.



    • stancourtney June 30, 2011 at 9:51 am

      The print has weathered quite a bit in the rain. Our guess was that the animal was reaching for an apple and most of the weight was on the front of the foot. One thing to remember is that footprints are not necessarily a good representation of what the foot looks like. I don't think in this case the weight of the animal was equal on the complete step.


  2. Wayne Blevins June 30, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Thank you sir…it's just the toes look so fresh…comparatively.

    Thanks for the GREAT work!!!

  3. Scott McMan July 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Those "toes" look an awful lot like toenails or claws. In fact the front of that print is fairly close to a bear.

    Since there are not supposed to be any bears in Illinois, it may be an isolated bear that came from elsewhere.

    • stancourtney July 8, 2011 at 8:14 am

      I think the print looks unusual because the animal was leaning forward to pick apples. I doubt a bear could have an 18 inch footprint and there have been no sighting in Central Illinois in over a hundred years. However there are six possible bigfoot reports close to Chatham within the last month.

  4. Diann E Glenn July 9, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Chatham!!! Holy cow. I knew I should have planted fruit trees. Great find, keep us informed please.

  5. Charles Lamb, Hanna July 10, 2011 at 7:09 pm


    I agree with Scott, the toes do look to much like claw marks. They are certainly narrower than the toes on other bigfoot print photos that are out there.

  6. Scott M in Iowa July 11, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Hi Stan. We let our 16 lb gray tiger domesticated and completely declawed cat out most nights during the summer, and most mornings we find a headless usually juvenile rabbit on our back deck of our suburban home. It's a bit disturbing, but the cat who my wife and kids adore and who spends most of the time in my house on someone's lap will stalk and kill rabbits and eat only the head (i.e. brains). My wife has seen him do it. The bodies are otherwise intact just like the picture above. Not sure if there are big domestic cats or native wild cats in the area, but they could be responsible for the rabbit.

    Now a 17 inch footprint..that's harder to explain. Assuming it's real (and I truly hope it is) the primate that left it would probably be more than 7 or 8 feet tall. This is mostly a rhetorical question…but where the heck can that thing hide during the day in that location and not be clearly seen eventually by someone?

    That's usually the question I have for the bigfoot sightings I know about from Illinois and Iowa, even though I know both states are more wooded in parts than many people realize. Especially if there's a self-sustaining population.

    It seems a trail cam would be order for this apple orchard considering the long-term ongoing nature of the illicit apple harvesting.

    Thank you again for sharing your work.

    Scott M in Iowa

    • stancourtney July 11, 2011 at 12:27 pm

      Thanks Scott. There is a heavily wooded stream from the home to the lake which is only about a mile. If they move in nightime no problem at all moving and not being seen.

  7. Scott Mcman July 20, 2011 at 8:22 am


    Just because the print looks singular in nature does not mean it is. This could definitely be two prints joined together.

    As for Bigfoot, you yourself know that this would be an awfully strange bigfoot print. Not only is it topped with claws but the instep (if it is an instep) is conspicuously narrow.

    Regarding the chance it is a large cat, there is the mini zoo not that far away which housed some big cats in it's time. This would definitely explain the length as the cat could have been crouching down with it's second joint in the dirt while waiting to pounce on a rabbit. It makes the initial print with it's claws and then rolls back to a crouch which would lengthen the print out in soft dirt.

    Suffice it too say, and that's considering my belief level at 50%, I just don't see this as being a Bigfoot print.

  8. Sam Ferguson July 21, 2011 at 4:49 am

    This whole thing is the biggest scam I have ever read. Let me ask you this Mr. Courtney, how can you claim that animals like a Bigfoot like to repay gifts with gifts and usually give animals or flowers??? Are you telling me that Bigfoot is a florist??? Furthermore, the only way to ever be able to learn habits such as that would be to visually see them doing something like that multiple times. And if you saw that happen multiple times why no pictures?

    I'm sure you won't post my comments because they point out good discrepencies, but oh well. Oh, and one last thing. The woods that Bigfoot is supposedly staying in right now are not as big as some of the other ones he has been spotted in. If you are so sure he is out there, why not put together a volunteer group of a couple hundred people and comb the woods until you find him? Something that big wouldn't be able to hide.

    Another thing, there have been Bigfoots sightings for a very long time yet no one has ever come across the remains of a dead one nor have we ever seen piles of dung all over the woods where they supposedly live. Don't you think an animal that large would leave quite a pile???

  9. Scott McMan July 27, 2011 at 5:16 am


    Although I have heard of BF leaving gifts, I don't really believe it.

    However, I love it when someone throws that old dead body thing out there like dead animal bodies litter the landscape. I've been hunting, fishing and just walking the woods for 30+ years and have never seen a bear carcass and other than hunting season, I've only seen deer remains on 3 occasions. Furthermore, once dead, animal carcasses break down quickly and lets not forget scavengers. Now, many who study BF claim it to be a very intelligent animal. Who's to say they don't carry their dead off and dump them into bogs or dispose of them in other ways? Sure, it's a stretch but if BF is intelligent, who knows what they may do?

    As for dung, come on! Unless you are specifically looking for it, what makes you think you will come across it? Do you think BF is crapping in peoples back yards? And then there's this natural happening called rain which tends to wash dung away. That is if beetles and other dung loving insects haven't dismantled it.

    Your arguments are weak and by the way, hundreds of NEW species are discovered every year. In fact it wasn't long ago that a 6 foot long lizard was discovered? Tell me, where was that hiding? Were were the carcasses and dung from that reptile?

    While I don't see eye to eye with Stan on everything, at least he's out there doing something.

  10. stancourtney July 27, 2011 at 10:44 am

    There seems to some confusion over the "flower" statement. I never said or wrote that squatches leave gifts of flowers.

    That reference came from newspaper quoting someone else quoting myself, which was misunderstood.

    However, I have spoken with probably over a dozen witnesses who have have left out food and later had dead animals show up in their yards near their homes. That would include deer, raccoons, o'possum and squirrels. This assumption did not originate with myself but has been written and talked about for years among researchers.

    I did not see the rabbit personally in Chatham. John Winterbauer, who was also one of the investigators, arrived on the scene after I had left and said that the rabbit did not show any bite or claw marks but its head was ripped off by something that appeared to have hands.

  11. Jim M August 3, 2011 at 2:02 am


    Cant wait to read more about the other possible sightings. I'm very familiar with the area and spend a lot of time out there photographing deer and other wildlife. I also spend a lot of time out in the woods in that area in the late winter and spring shed hunting for antlers. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for anything strange.

  12. stancourtney October 10, 2011 at 2:50 am

    From a reader by the name of Jim,

    My sister, who lives in California, mentioned today that she planned to send me an article about Bigfoot in Chatham — she thought it was funny that she had read about in one of the grocery store tabloids. Also, she told me about a strange incident that happened when she lived in Chatham in the mid-1960s.

    Just after completing nursing school she lived in a trailer there, and she said that one night something shook her trailer from side to side and quite understandably caused her cat to go berserk inside the trailer. She immediately thought of that incident when reading the recent reports from Chatham.

    I decided to check this out with a Google search and found your fascinating site.

  13. Michael December 20, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Firstly Stan, thank you for your excellent work, it is a joy to read ur recollections. Personally I believe that these creatures exist, but I always find it interesting people's opinions and reasonings both for and against. Scott for instance, appears to be very intelligent and offers plausible scientific explanations for these things, promoting healthy debate which is good. And then there are people like Sam who seems to not believe at all yet wants to attack those who do. As scott has already stated, the gift giving may or may not happen, however these animals seem to be intelligent from interactions that have occurred. If you look throughout the higher animal kingdom, the leaving of animals etc is not uncommon. Furthermore, in reference to the fact they are rarely seen, the animal is usually tracked through its own habitat. Any animal would know the terrain better than any human and as such could easily evade detection, for every time you spot one bear/coyote etc there are ten times you do not. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I don't see Bigfoot believers ever attacking a non-believer. It would be nice to see the reverse also true.