He was 10 feet tall, with a long beard and yellowish-blond hair, Tim Peeler says.
And in the early-morning hours of June 5, Peeler told authorities, the creature – a Cleveland County version of Bigfoot – wandered onto Peeler’s property in the rural northwest part of the county.
The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office has filed the case as a “suspicious person report” but says it is keeping an open mind.
Peeler lives on Vanada Drive, northwest of the town of Casar. There is little or no civilization between his property and South Mountain State Park, one of North Carolina’s least-developed recreational sites. He told deputies he heard screeching and grunting sounds, came outside his cabin, and saw the creature near his mountain home. Peeler told authorities he thought the creature might be menacing his dogs.
“I rough-talked him and said, ‘You get away from here,’ ” he told NewsChannel 36, the Observer’s news partner.
Peeler, who said the creature had six fingers on each hand, told WCNC the Bigfoot left his property but came back a short time later.
“And I said, ‘Get! Get!’ And he went back down the path again,” Peeler told the TV station.
These reports aren’t new to Cleveland County, although it has been three decades since Knobby – the county’s other well-publicized Bigfoot – was in the news.
In the winter of 1978 and ’79, a number of people in the area near Carpenter’s Knob, north of Kings Mountain, reported seeing a large creature with long back hair, walking on two legs. Authorities surmised residents were seeing a large black bear, but the reports persisted.
One property owner reported one of his goats died of a broken neck, and newspaper stories from the time report of manhunts – or Bigfoot hunts – by some of the area’s braver residents. Those stories tell of large footprints being found, and of theories that the creature might have been a panther.
Reports of the sightings died out in the spring of 1979, however.
The sheriff’s office says it patrols the area near Peeler’s property regularly.
“If we see something, we’ll try to capture it and take it into custody,” Sgt. Mark Self told NewsChannel 36.
The sheriff’s office says residents should use caution around any creatures – in case they find themselves dealing with a not-so-friendly bear.
NewsChannel 36 contributed.