Bigfoot Lives Quietly in Decatur, Arkansas...Even Has a Daily Cup of Coffee at Diner

In October 2003, the small town of Decatur on the western side of Benton County found itself with a new resident. Normally, a new neighbor would not cause any kind of stir. After all, people pack up and move every day, but this time things were different.

Although a little shy, the new neighbor soon brought news crews and myth debunkers from all around into the tiny town as the local gossip began to circulate about just what the new guy looked like.

It did not take everyone long to realize that the new neighbor who had moved into the woods around Crystal Lake was, indeed, Bigfoot.

“We had some pretty interesting calls on it,” Decatur Chief of Police Terry Luker said. “I had one lady call me and I tried to explain to her that it was not a Bigfoot and that it was too small to be a Bigfoot.

“The lady stopped me and she said, ‘Well, you know, they have babies, too.’’’ Every day she hears someone in the restaurant telling their own Bigfoot story.

“He stays right out there,” Mickey Metz of Gentry said as he pointed into the woods across Crystal Lake. “Some people still say they can hear him way out over there, but we never see him and I do not stay out after dark.”

Paul Austin of Decatur says he remembers the excitement the town went through when Bigfoot was first seen in 2003, but after about a week he did not hear any more about the new neighbor.

“I am not a believer,” Austin added.

Kim Strobel of Gravette, however, is a believer and with good reason.

“I believe in him. I have heard him,” Strobel said.

While working on a wild-game reserve in Winston, Ore., Strobel and a group of his coworkers heard Bigfoot’s howl. When Bigfoot entered the reserve, all of the animals - the lions, the tigers, the monkeys - began howling and hissing and getting extremely nervous in their cages.

The official stance on Decatur’s Bigfoot sightings in 2003 is that the monkey-like creature people were getting fleeting glances of around town was actually a baboon that had escaped from the local wilderness safari in nearby Gentry.

The first spotting of Bigfoot was on Hill Street, and it was not long before the police department was getting calls from citizens who had seen Bigfoot on the west side of Decatur, Luker said.

“It was a lot of fun. I have not heard of any sightings lately,” Luker said.

“He is still around. He still comes in for coffee in the morning,” Denise Trammell, owner of the Gallery Café in downtown Decatur, said.

“He is a little shy, so sometimes he has to come in before we actually open,” Trammell said, noting the café has a deal with Bigfoot to not take photographs of the being that is surrounded with mystery.

“He has a family now. He is a pretty nice guy,” Trammell said, noting that he heard what he believes was Bigfoot letting out a sound that he is not likely to ever forget, he said.

“It was a quiet night. You could hear the grasshoppers chirping and then you could hear just a strange howl and all of the lions started roaring and the monkeys started going crazy,” Strobel said. “The next day we went out looking for him, and never could find anything. But being around animals all my life, I can tell you that sound was like nothing else.”

The mystery of whether or not Bigfoot really exists lives on in Strobel’s mind.

“I have been in quite a few places and you always hear about these stories, but none of us know what all God has created,” Strobel said. “I can not say it was Bigfoot. I can not say it was not. Two-thirds of the rumors out there are usually true, though.”

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