SC EP:1013 Why Is There A Gorilla In Virginia?

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John writes “This happened on the opening day of rifle season 1998 in the southwestern mountains of Virginia. Now to give a back drop to the property we used to hunt so you can get an idea. The parcel of land backed up to the New River, less than a mile above it.

When I say above, you could walk to the river if not for the 100 foot sheer rock cliffs, caves and caverns that fall off to the riverbank. We had built a tree stand in an oak tree about 75-100 yards down in a holler. This stand was a 2-sided stand with a roof over top. The front side of the tree where we built the ladder was about 20-25 feet off the ground, whereas the backside was probably 60-70 feet above the kill zone. It was strategically placed this way because of the kill zone. The zone I mention is what you would call a super highway for deer. 3 different points coming together in an opening with an unobstructed view and vantage point. The leaves had fallen, so that Sunday afternoon I had taken a rake and swept them off the path to the stand.

I always like to get into the stand by 530ish so if by chance I did spook a a buck it could have a chance to settle down. I got to the stand about 20 minutes late cause of forgetting my knife. I had walked this trail many times over the years so no need for a flashlight. Climbed up in full ghillie suit, got settled and waited. 20 minutes or so later, start hearing something walking my way. I could tell that it was on 4 feet, so I was expecting a deer at least. The sun had just started to come up, so I was just waiting on it to come to the bait pile that was set up about 30 yards from me. In the Laurel thicket im seeing movement and notice its too dark to be a deer. Well, I’m sitting there thinking to myself that’s got to be a bear, because deer do not make that much noise.

When this thing/creature comes into my view the first thing I think is what the hell is a gorilla doing in the mountains of Virginia. It/she (breast In full view) makes its way to the bait pile, looks around to the thicket and here comes a smaller one. When I say smaller, I mean it looked like Cha-ka off the land of the lost episodes on tv only it was black and not copper. The adult stands up on all fours, starts looking around the forest. She grunted towards the small one and it instantly climbed on her back. She is scanning the forest, I don’t know if she scented me or just knew something was off. I was sitting completely still, not sure I was even breathing.

She glanced up to the stand I was in and with a scowl on her face stared for a few seconds. She dropped back down on all fours, with the little one still on her back and let out what I can only describe as part scream part growl. 2 seconds later I hear a scream to the north from what I assume was another one, but this scream was much more intense, louder and more deeper. She turned and walked off down the trail. I sat there for at least an hour, maybe more without moving, barely breathing. After that time, I slowed lowered my rifle, which was a .270 ruger that I knew would have only pissed her off. Only way I think I could have done damage was a head shot, but the way I was shaking there’s no way I could have hit her.

Besides I was worried about the other scream/howl to the north. I backed out up the trail turning complete circles to make sure I wasn’t being flanked. Once I got to the clearing, which was probably 50 yards wide, I sprinted like never before. Climbed to the fence, got on my knees to make sure I wasn’t followed. I ran to my truck, got in and left. The bigger one, I’m guessing the mom was at least 7 feet tall and probably had to weigh at least 600-700 lbs. Those guesstimates could be wrong because at the angle I was at and the shadows. The baby as I said looked just like Cha-Ka from the tv show Land of the Lost. It was on all fours the entire time so I could get a gauge on the size. I’d say even at the same time it was at least 100-150 lbs.

When on all fours, they had a gait and body structure that resembled a hyena. The momma creature reminded me of a gorilla in the face. Sunken in eyes, protruding brow and flat nose. The face wasn’t hair covered. The body was completely covered in hair that seemed matted with mud. Hard to tell again with the shadows, but could tell it was somewhat long and unkempt.

The skin on the face, hands and soles of the feet were a greyish color. I could see the feet when she turned and walked away. I didn’t notice any ears, but did notice that when she screamed that it looked like she had canines.

I know you like to ask about what witnesses knew about the subject, so I’ll tell you. I thought ppl were crazy when talking about it. I laughed at a buddy once when he said he had seen one. I’ll never do that ever again. It’s been 25 years to the month and I have never spoken a word about this to anyone. I had seen the Patterson/Gimlin film and some things in the book but waved it off as delusional people.”