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Akron Beacon Journal 123178

The Missing Monster

John Nutter of Cuyahoga Falls was convinced he had proof of the existence of a large, hairy creature that Paris Township residents and Stark County were claiming as the their answer to a Bigfoot. The "Minerva monster," as it became known in media circles, has eluded law-enforcement officials and anyone with the camera during the hot, dry months of August and into September. Nutter walked into the Beacon journal with a roll of film. He said he and a brother were walking a wooded area near an abandoned strip mine that when the creature stepped out from behind a tree in front of them. Nutter said he snapped one picture of the creature before running to safety. The film was ceremoniously developed in the Beacon journal dark room yielded a murky picture of trees, brush and nothing else.

Here is the old pit pond where some of the Minerva reports came from, taken while we were there in 1978. The area was very off-limits, but we managed to search the area many times only to be chased out by dog packs and gun toting residents.

Akron Beacon Journal 062980

Minerva’s monster is almost like a pet

By Barbara Mudrak, Akron Beacon Journal Staff Writer Sunday June 29, 1980

He’s become, residents of the area say, a fixture in the neighborhood: Everyone knows he’s there, but no one pays much attention anymore. He has a few eccentricities, such as regularly pelting nearby houses with small stones, but mostly he keeps to himself and is generally considered a good neighbor, they say. The so-called "Minerva monster," who two years ago created an uproar the likes of which Paris Township had never seen, still is hanging around the densely wooded area behind the home of Herbert and Evelyn Cayton in southeastern Stark County, nearby residents report. "He’s almost like a pet," said Mary Ackerman, one of the Caytons’ daughters, who lives nearby.

’It was moving pretty good on two legs, pumping its arms like a track star. I got back in the car, rolled up the windows and locked the door.’

- Herbert Burke Jr.

THE CREATURE’S first reported public appearance came in August 1978 when Mrs. Cay- ton, her son, Howe, and another daughter, Vicki Keck, were walking up the banks of the abandoned strip pit behind the house. There, they said, they saw a creature - described as over six feet tall and covered with dark, matted hair - standing less than 50 feet away. Mrs. Cayton and Mrs. Keck, along with their friends, Becky Manley and Linda Jones, both of Canton, and Scott Patterson, of Minerva, said they got a better look at the creature a few nights later when he appeared outside a window, less than 10 feet from the kitchen table where the group was sitting. A powerful outdoor light over- head showed the creature clearly, but the witnesses said they could not distinguish arms or facial features because of the thick hair. They said the creature weighed at least 300 pounds.

THE FlVE said they noticed that when the creature appeared, the usual "night noises" from crickets and tree toads stopped and a strange, peculiar odor like that a stagnant water was evident.

They called the Stark County sheriff’s and deputy James Shannon was dispatched to the scene. Shannon paid he smelled a terrible odor when he arrived. He said later the sheriff’s department did not consider the sightings a hoax. Reports of the creature brought a horde of reporters, photographers, curiosity seekers and "bigfoot" hunters to the area. Some of the hunters came armed with shotguns, high-powered rifles, Dobermans and cases of beer.

TWO YEARS later, it appears no one is any closer to finding out what the Minerva monster is. Sheriff’s deputies who investigated in 1978 say they were never able to identify some pieces of hair and something that looked like a jawbone, found near the strip pits.

Herbert Burke Jr., 24, lived in the trailer park next to the Caytons and said he got a good look at the creature as it crossed Route 30 last summer. Burke, who now lives in North Canton, said he’d heard stories about the creature but decided he would "believe it when I see it." He said that one night as he was pulling into the driveway of the trailer park, he spotted something tall standing across the road. He ’said he shined his head lights on the creature - which was less than 40 yards away - then got out of the car for a better look. He said the creature was seven or eight feet tall, weighed more than 400 pounds, and was covered with dark, matted hair.

AS THE lights illuminated the creature, it began running toward the woods, he said. "It was moving pretty good on two legs, pumping its arms like a track star," he said." I got back in the car, rolled up the windows and locked the door." He said he and other residents of the trailer park often heard rocks hitting their mobile homes at night and a variety of strange noises coming from the woods. He said the noises ranged from a kind of laughter, to a loud scream, to something that sounded like a baby’s cry. The Caytons say they often find large footprints in the soft ground near their garden, and Mrs. Cayton has several snapshots of them. She said the footprints resemble those of a human and range from 14 to 21 inches long.

IN THE MONTS following the commotion two years ago, she said, she put out fruits and vegetables behind the house every night on Deputy Shannon’s advice. She said every morning the food would be gone and footprints occasionally would be nearby.

"This year I’ve got a garden out and if any of my vegetables are touched...," Mrs. Cayton said in a mock-threatening voice. The Caytons and their neighbors say that, on occasion, they still experience the eerie silence and smell the odor, which Mrs. Ackerman says smells like the "seaweed" her son Andy brought up from the lake in the abandoned strip mine last year.

WITH THE silence and the smell, they say, they know the creature probably is near. But they say they have grown accustomed to it and no longer make a fuss. "Whatever it is, it’s not dangerous," Mrs. Cayton said. "If it was going to hurt someone, it would have done it by now."

Akron Beacon Journal 062182

Strange light in sky reported in Stark

The chairman of a UFO (Unidentified Flying Objects) investigation committee said today he will look into reports 100 persons made to Perry Township police in Stark County about a "low, red light in the sky" late Saturday night (061982). The object was described as a large, red light close to the ground with no sound over the trees in a two-block area between Genoa and Jackson avenues north of U. S. 62. "When it’s that widespread, it must have been spectacular," said Mark Candusso, chairman of the citizens’ UFO committee.

Akron Beacon Journal, Sunday June 29, 1980


Hairy ’7-footer seen hanging around central Ohio farmland

By Bill O’Connor

Beacon Journal Staff writer

Drawing based on a description of the creature.

MARYSVILLE - Union County sheriff’s deputy William Griffith looked over some paperwork Friday while a white-hot sun beat against the window. Griffith often buys drugs from men with watery eyes. Some of those men now are growing old in Ohio prisons. On the other side of the room, Detective Mike Powers was reading a report that told about a tall, hairy fellow with 17-inch feet. "Hey Griff," Powers said. "What do you think of bigfoot?" "Don’t bother me with that unless he wants to sell some drugs," Griffith snapped. But residents of Union and Logan counties have been both bothered and amused by accounts that the legendary monster has taken up residence here. Those who live in the small towns and villages of these two mostly rural counties joke about bigfoot’s appearances. But those who live on the farms in the area of the sightings are a bit more cautious. They are cautious mainly because of the reputation of those who claim to have seen bigfoot. "Hey, I laughed at this whole thing at first," Powers admitted. "But now I’m not so sure. I think it should be looked into. You talk to Pat Poling and you won’t be so sure, either." Poling farms on the border between Logan and Union counties. He has the first to sight the creature in the area. There are 434 square miles in Union County. There are only 28,100 people, and 12,000 of them live in incorporated areas. There are a lot of lonely places in Union County. Logan County has 469 square miles, with a population of 37,000. About 13,000 of them live in incorporated areas. The rest of the population in each county lives on farms. There are 2,598 farms, about evenly split between the counties. When television commentators talk about "the heartland," they are talking about such counties as Union and Logan. Come summer, a farmer there spends long, solitary hours driving a tractor across one field or another. He is alone. He is miles away from other humans.

ON JUNE 17, Poling had been to a baseball game. Poling is in his 30s and has two adolescent sons. He returned from the game, where he had watched one of his sons play, and decided to do some cultivating in one of his cornfields before the light failed. It was about 8:30 p.m. Poling had worked for a short time when he glanced along his fence line at the edge of the woods. "Something caught my eye," he said. "At first I thought it was a bear. But it wasn’t no bear. It came out of the woods and had to duck under a branch hanging out over the fence. Then it stood up. It was about seven feet tall. But maybe more. I mean, it walked with its knees bent a little. It walked along the fence line. It wasn’t like anything I seen before. It wasn’t a monkey or a gorilla or anything. I watched it. I was really scared at first."

"But then I figured it couldn’t hurt me as long as I was on the tractor," he said. "So I moved toward it. It was walking along t.he fence, perpendicular to me. I wanted to see if I could turn it around so I could see its face. So I gassed the tractor to head it off." "That’s when it stopped and turned and looked at me. It turned around like this." Poling crouched, held his hands at his side and turned his whole body. When facing front, his palms were out in a curious gesture, almost as though in appeal for understanding. When asked about the gesture, Poling glanced in surprise at his hands. "Yeah," he said. "Like this. This is how he stood." Poling said he is most upset because he could see no facial features, even though he estimated the creature was only about 30 yards away. "I just couldn’t see any face. There was just nothing there," he said.

Poling is reluctant to talk about his experiences. He has been plagued with phone calls, he said, and goaded by radio and television people to make some controversial statement or other. One television crew came to his home while he was in the fields and took his two sons and talked the boys into taking them to where the creature was sighted. "I’m tired of it," Poling said, and shook his head. "I refused to go on television. The radio called and when I said I wouldn’t go on the radio and they said OK and then they taped the telephone call." "One television station told me everybody wants to be on television. I told them I didn’t."

Tired of the whole business, too, is Donna Riegler. A legal secretary, she is the wife of a Union County game protector. She was on her way home Tuesday. It was about 5:30 p.m. It had been a hot, muggy day. The sky darkened, electricity crackled and when the rain came it fell in large drops. "I was in a good mood. I just wanted to get home," Mrs. Riegler said. "I went over the rail- road tracks slow. I always do because I don’t want to knock my wheels out of line. Then I saw this thing laying on the road, hunched over. I thought it was a big dog at first. Then it stood up and I thought it was a man. I thought he was crazy, laying on the road. I couldn’t figure why he was out there. He had no golf clubs. No luggage. Then he turned around and looked at me." She said the creature was about 60 yards away.

Picture of the area while we were there in July, 1980. We spent a few nights traveling the back roads spotlighting (back when it was legal to do so in Ohio) and checking creeks by day.  We never found anything.

Akron Beacon Journal 062980, addendum to main article

Five have sighted big, hairy creature

Within the last two weeks, five people claimed to have seen bigfoot. The sightings were within a five-mile radius. Each witness gave basically the same description, although Donna Riegler said that a driving rain prevented her from seeing some details.

The sightings:

June 17: Patrick Poling, a farmer, while cultivating a cornfield, saw the creature come out of the woods.

June 19: Ray Quay said he came around his barn and saw tbe creature, yelled and it walked off into some heavy undergrowth. Quay’s son, Thomas. 17. said he saw the same creature a little later.

June 24: Mrs. Riegler, a legal secretary, saw the creature lying on a road while she was on her way home from work.

June 26: Larry Ramey saw the creature at the edge of a woods while Ramey was driving a farm tractor.

Each witness told of a man-like creature more than seven-feet tall, with long hair, broad shoulders, and a well proportioned body. The creature, they said, was not exceptionally long-legged or long- armed, but built like a very large man. Each said the creature moved stiffly and turned

its whole body, rather than just the upper portion. Donald Mathys, a neighbor of Poling, made a plaster cast of a footprint found near where Poling sighted the creature. The footprint is about 17 incbes long, seven inches wide and has four toes. Union County sheriff’s deputy Mike Powers took a team into the area Friday night. The group spent the night there. Powers told the Beacon Journal Saturday that "We found definite signs that indicate something is there. We have to look into it."

Powers said hundreds of people already have driven around looking for the creature. The county detective said he is concerned that gawkers could pose a threat. Some of them, he said, are armed, and he is afraid an overeager sightseer might shoot someone. Powers said there is no indication the creature is dangerous. But, he added, he wants no one taking chances and he wants no one shot.

Globe rag paper July 1980

Volcano May Have Driven Bigfoot East

Three citizens in Union County claim they each watched an enormous, strange-looking creature emerge from wooded areas. The first witness, Patrick Poling, said the monster was; "about seven feet tall and could weigh 400 pounds." Poling was plowing a field one evening before dusk, when the beast burst out of the woods and lumbered, along the edge of the clearing. Transfixed, he watched the creature until it was ahout 100 feet from him. "At first I froze. I didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t," afraid at the time and figured I was pretty safe on my I tractor." he told GLOBE. "He turned and looked at me and then he ran into the I woods. It looked like a big, hairy ape that walked like a man. It had long black hair that wasn’t fur because it hung straight down." Puling then rushed to a neighbor’s house to report the amazing scene. "I had a hard time convincing people." he recalls. "The first four or five thought I was kidding. I watched that thing for too long a time to mistake it for anything I’d ever seen before."

His neighhor Donald Mathys told GLOBE: "Patrick was real excited and said he’d seen an ape-man. I believed he saw something because he’s usually a calm individual." The next day, Poling, Mathys and a few neighbors went in search of the beast. "Near the edge of the woods I found three huge footprints that were certainly not made by bears or cattle or anything ordinary," said Mathys. To prove his discovery he made a plaster cast of one of the prints. It measures 17 inches long, seven inches wide and two inches deep. "Whatever it is, the creature seems to have four toes," he said.

Experts from the Mammal Research Team in Lima, Ohio, who specialize in tracking wild creatures that kill farm animals, rushed to the Union County in hopes of spotting the beast. Team leader Bill Sheets told GLOBE he has between 150 and 200 documented sightings of a similar creature in other areas of Ohio and has himself spotted a hairy beast three times. "In the Union County case we have reliable witnesses and the footprint as evidence. The sighting fits the overall description of a giant, ape-like creature that has been seen before."

Less than a week later, residents of nearby Logan County claimed they saw a hulking shape rush into the woods late one night. Two days after this, Donna Riegler of Marysville, Ohio, said she was returning home from work when she saw a gigantic, hairy creature lying on the highway. She was so frightened she put her car into reverse and backed away from the beast. Riegler reported it covered with hair and stumbled away with a robot-like walk.

The Union County Sheriff’s department put several officiers on the case. "There was no doubt on our minds that sombody saw something out there," said deputy sheriff Mike Powers.

Officials at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio are now studying the footprint and the Mammal Research Team is continuing its probe. "It may be that Bigfoot is migrating from the West," Sheets told GLOBE. "Maybe it's because of the volcano out there." "Regardless, we'll keep following it until we find out just what this creature is."

Rita Ross

Don Mathys as pictured in article with the footprint cast.

Akron Beacon Journal Sunday, April 28, 1985

Cults’ next sacrifices just may be human

By Bill Osinski

Beacon Journal staff writer

MARYSVILI.E – It started with a pile of dead, broken chickens. Then it was cats, then dogs, then lambs, then a caw. Finding the mutilated carcasses of about 200 animals dumped during the past year near private homes and public places in this mainly rural county was bad enough. It was even worse when police determined most of the animals had been sacrificed at Devil-worship rituals. But the really frightening part is what these bizarre happenings might be leading to. "We know the ultimate goal of these Satanists is human sacrifice." said Union County deputy sheriff John Lala. "We don’t want to see that happen."

During his investigation, Lala said he was told by current and former members of five Satanic cults operating in the Union County area that the progression of animal-sacrifice rituals can lead to the sacrifice of a child

See CULTS, page A8

Continued from page A8

born of a woman in the cult and a high priest. The child born from this union is considered a "son of Satan," he said. According to their beliefs, "giving the child back to Satan gives them more power," Lala said. Union County authorities take the activities of the Satanic groups seriously. Even though the animal mutilations may not constitute a crime – Ohio law protects as freedom of religion some animal sacrifices – Lala has been assigned to investigate the Satanists full time since December. What he has learned disturbs him. "It’s a very secret society; and the members are people from all walks of life – wealthy people, educated people, prominent people," Lala said. Lala said he wanted to distinguish between the Satanists and the neo-pagans who practice white witchcraft. "When you say witch, most people think of the black side, but there is a difference." Several of his sources have estimated there are as many as 1,500 practicing Satanists in central Ohio. At first, he thought those estimates were exaggerated, but the more he learns of these groups, the more he believes the estimates may be accurate. Lala’s assessment of the <lan-

þ ger from the cultists is shared by Dr. Jeff Hilson, a Columbus historian and an expert on cults. Hilson has unofficially reviewed the Union County case, and he believes the people involved are much more than malicious pranksters.

From the way in which the animal sacrifices appear to have become more blatant, Hilson does not think it improper to be concerned about human sacrifice. "They’re bargaining with their deity, and it is a very greedy god. They have to give it more and more to appease it," he said. Operating in a rural county also is typical of Satanists, he said. Besides providing the isolation necessary to conduct their rituals, the rural counties often have a large fundamentalist Christian population, people who believe in a real Satan and thus are more apt to be frightened by Satan worshippers. "The Satanists play off that kind of fear," Hilson said. Hilson also isn’t surprised some of the cult members have given police investigators information on their cults. "It’s the Dr. Faustus thing; these people get arrogant when they’ve gone on as long as they have," he said. (Faustus is a legendary character who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power.) The file that Lala has accumulated on the case reads like the log of a macabre slaughterhouse:

About 60 chickens were found in a pile. Many of their legs had been broken. Some of their heads had been severed and places in a line apart from the pile of carcasses. At least nine dogs have been found mutilated, including a female Doberman, whose pups had been smashed. Some of their joints had been removed. A cache of 24 dead cats, some starved, some with their heads smashed, were found dumped near the home of a worker for the county humane society. Near the home of another society staff member, a cow’s head and an unborn calf with some of its joints severed were found.

The carcasses of six mutilated lambs were found near the trash dumpster behind a Marysville grocery store. Some of the lambs had been shaved near the jugular area, possibly so that their blood could be used in Satanic rituals. A similar discovery was made early this year near a motel trash dumpster in a nearby county. Informants have led Lala to one of the ritual sites used by the Satanists. There he found a fire pit with some animal parts, and a tree marked with a red slash, a black dagger and some Satanic lettering.

People who have left the cults told Lala that the reality of the Satanic rituals was much worse than what they were led to believe when they were first invited to join. "Some people who have been involved now have serious mental problems," Lala said. "They can’t handle what they’re seeing and what’s going on inside the groups. It’s snapping their minds." Union County Sheriff John Overly said the fact that he has assigned a full-time investigator to the case shows his level of concern. There are only 29 people in his entire department. The problem he faces is that it is very difficult to build a criminal prosecution on what has been discovered so far, even as grisly as those discoveries have been. Ohio law states that animals can be used in religious services, he said. The Satanists have used this provision, intended as protection for some practices of orthodox religions, to protect their mutilation rituals, he said. Overly said he plans to lobby the area’s legislators to have the law changed. For now, it is difficult even to prove a theft charge, because the animals are mutilated too badly for owners to identify them accurately, he said. So the Satanists continue to operate with impunity. "They don’t mind doing these things, because they think they’re pleasing the devil," Overly said, "They want to go to hell."

Akron Beacon Journal 100480

Team searches for Bigfoot in Ohio

A Canadian dog trainer and tracker plans to lead a team into the Wayne National Forest near McArthur today in search of the legendary creature Bigfoot, which is said to have both human and ape-like features. Tracker Rene Dubros plans to join seven members of the North American Sasquatch Research Team in the search. Sasquatch is another name for the creature. Bigfoot first was reported seen in the Pacific Northwest. For the past month, sightings of the creature have been reported in southern Ohio. No photographs have been taken, although molds of footprints supposedly made by Bigfoot have been made in several locations.

Here is a picture of a creek in Vinton County, Ohio, taken during one of investigations in the 90's.

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