Probably the most famous alleged bigfoot activity in North Carolina took place in the winter of 1979. The alleged activity took place near Toluca in Cleveland County about an hours’ drive west northwest of Charlotte NC. The area of this activity of a creature referred to as Knobby, is just north of Kings Mountain NC where there were alleged bigfoot sightings in the summer of 2006. The reports below of Knobby are from the Gastonia Gazette:
Wednesday, January 17, 1979
Bear of Bigfoot: Knobby’s Got ‘Em Buzzin’
By Jennie Palmer
TOLUCA – Lewis Barts declares it’s a bear. Jim Hollingsworth says not, it sounds like Big Foot. And folks around this upper Cleveland County village say whatever it is, it’s striking fear in their hearts as it roams the back roads and branch banks, “wailing in the night like a woman in pain.”
“All I can tell you is what I think, and I think that its a bear. There’s been a bear in that area for close to a year,” said Barts, a wildlife protector who lives in Shelby, the county seat.
Two weeks ago and again last week, Barts searched the woodlands around Toluca for signs of “Knobby,” the mysterious and yet unidentified creature local residents have reported seeing around Carpenter’s Knob since late December.
“The first time I saw bear tracks,” he said. “Last week I looked again, but I didn’t see anything fresh.”
Hollingsworth, a park developer for the state, didn’t see anything the day he drove up from Pikeville in Wayne County near Goldsboro. He did, however, talk to people who claimed to have heard strange cries in the night. And their stories were enough to convince him that the possibility of being on Big Foot’s track is “good.”
“I interviewed two people who heard something – not this Saturday but the Saturday before (Jan. 6),” he said. “Their descriptions surprised me.”
“They describe it as a sound that varies in pitch from a low growl to a high scream, as being like a bull bellowing, but with its own sound. They also say that after it screams for a few seconds it has a yodeling type sound.”
Hollingsworth has been tracking Big Foot, the supposed gigantic, hairy link between ape and man, for six years. As an investigator for the North American Research Association, based in Eugene, Ore., he has spent most of his search time in the Green Swamp south of Wilmington, where this time last year he followed “big foot” tracks along a five-mile stretch.
“Sounds from “Knobby”, Hollingsworth said, are akin to “sounds made by a type of creature out west.”
When he came to Cleveland County to check out recent sightings, he brought along a tape recording of sounds made in the High Sierras. After listening to descriptions of “Knobby” sounds, he said, he played the tape for Toluca residents who claim the growls were similar.
Even so, Barts says he’s sticking to his theory that “Knobby” is a bear who wandered into the Smoky Mountain foothills in search of food. And he thinks area hunters may be taking advantage of “Knobby” reports to reap their own rewards, particularly since search parties have been organized to find and capture the creature.
“It could be an excuse to hunt bear out of season,” he said, “or it could be folks spotlighting deer. Either way, hunting any game animal at night is illegal, and if this keeps up I may have to bring some of them in. My fear is that these hunters will get out and shoot at anything that moves. Someone could get hurt.”
There’s at least one other theory floating around. D.H. Canipe, whose wife claims to have seen the mysterious creature, believes “Knobby” is a mountain panther which has wandered out if its mountain habitat.
He said earlier this month he based his theory on physical and vocal descriptions. The sound, he said, “is like a woman in pain.”
Saturday’s icy weather forced Toluca residents to cancel their planned hunt for the creature, fist seen by 88-year-old Minnie Cook near her house on Dec. 21.
Several carloads of searchers had planned to comb the area looking for what sighters claim is a 200 pound, six-foot-tall, dark, hairy animal with a small head and flat face. One person who claims to have seen “Knobby” says the animal walks on four legs; another says it walks upright.
A search party from Casar, a community near Toluca, went looking for “Knobby” Sunday and reported finding tracks and an animal den.
Thus far, several sets of tracks have been found but none have been directly traced to the creature folks claim to have seen.
According to one newspaper report, daniel Cooke of Fallston claims to have found tracks at the mouth of a cave in a densely wooded area of Carpenter’s Knob similar to those of an ape.
But reports of tracks are not the only things keeping upper Cleveland people on edge.
Last Sunday morning, Forest Price found his full-grown goat, Bill, dead of a broken neck.
“I didn’t see it happen. I don’t know how it happened. All I know is that something just killed the hell out of Bill and now I’ve got to get me another goat,” he said.
A few days earlier, Price said, something frightened his animals, causing a mule to beak a rope and escape. He said he has seen tracks and heard animal screams but has not actually seen “Knobby”.
But his brother, Sammy, and his wife do claim to have spotted the creature after several nights of hearing animal screams.
“I was out in the yard and heard something,” sammy Price said. “It was the awfullest scream you ever heard. I looked over in yonder woods and saw him.”
The tracks and animal den found by searchers from Casar are located about two miles from the Price houses. The searchers say they found animal hair on a log and tracks at least as large as a man’s hand and similarly shaped, even with a thumb-like protrusion.
Sunday, January 21, 1979
Knobby: Where is He? What is He?
By Jennie Palmer
TOLUCA – From the back roads that wind through the Smokey Mountain foothills and from the cities that lie below, the masses are converging on this usually quiet Cleveland County community that it’s fair week.
And they’re all searching for “Knobby”, the mysterious ape- like creature folks around here have reported seeing for almost a month now.
Stop at any one of the country stores and many of the homes that dot the hillsides and you’ll hear the latest “Knobby” tale. If your face is strange, no one will ask why you’ve come. Instead, they”ll offer to direct you to Minnie Cook’s house or Sally White’s for a first-hand account of the sightings.
Minnie, an 88-year-old woman who became the first to let her story be known, is so terrified of what may be lurking outside her front door that she won’t talk to a visitor unless she’s been forewarned of his arrival by her son, Elbert, or daughter-in-law, Ruby. Each time Minnie goes outside the house, Ruby said, she carries a rifle.
“People aren’t just saying they saw it,” Ruby said Thursday afternoon as she sat inside the store she runs with her husband. “They have seen it.”
The Cooks’ store lies in the afternoon shadow of Carpenter’s Knob, the foothills hill point just west of Toluca and the landmark from which the creature draws its name.
The store and nearby Mountain View Grocery are where area folks gather to swap their “Knobby” stories and where outsiders stop to track down leads to its whereabouts.
“Everybody that comes in here talks about it,” Ruby said. “A lot of them are scared to death. Me? Well, I’ll just tell you I’m not about to go out looking for it.”
But others are.
Throughout the day Thursday a Shelby radio station crew broadcast live from a campground near the base of the knob. The crew, a smattering of newsmen and a host of curious searchers spent the night hopping from spot to spot in hopes of sighting the creature that’s causing the stir.
Robert Shoup and Butch Craig cut their high school classes to sit all day by a campfire near the top of the knob. “We’re just waiting and looking for it,” Butch said.
And Russell Cook took a day off work to go “Knobby” hunting with Rondal Huffman. “We’ve been all over these woods looking for signs of it but we haven’t seen a thing,” Rondal said.
Their last trek of the day was through a deep gully that runs behind Sally White’s house, the site of one of the most recent “Knobby” reports.
Mrs. White claims to have seen the animal three times, the last on Tuesday about 8:30 p.m.
“I heard the dog barking and I looked out,” she said. “he was barking and jumping up. When he did that I knew there was something outside that was more than another dog.”
“I looked down the path and I saw it – something long and black coming up through the woods. Its the same thing I’ve seen twice before, once before Christmas and once right after.”
That’s the best description, Mrs. white says, she can give of “knobby.” But others who claim to have seen it wandering along the roadsides, snatching food from a trash dump and making his way through the woods say “Knobby” is about six feet tall, weighs about 200 pounds, has a small head, flat face and dark, hairy body.
Speculation about the creature’s identity ranges from wandering mountain panther to escaped carnival baboon to misplaced bear to Big Foot, the supposed missing link between man and ape.
A state park developer drove from eastern North Carolina to Toluca to check the Big Foot possibility. Two other researchers, working on a project for a Massachusetts university, spent at least one night on Carpenter’s Knob checking out their own theories about “Knobby.” Area residents say they do not know whether the men have left the area.
At least 16 “Knobby” sightings have been reported since late December in the vicinity of Carpenter’s Knob. Earlier this week Forest Price of Casar, a community located about 10 miles west of Toluca, reported finding his goat dead of a broken neck and speculated that “Knobby” may have been the killer. His brother said he saw the creature roaming the woods near their homes.
An animal den and tracks were found about two miles from the Price houses. Searchers said the tracks were at least as large as a man’s hand and similarly shaped with a thumb-like protrusion.
But most people, both hunters and wildlife protectors, are turning up no trace of the mysterious creature as they comb spots where sightings have been reported.
“Most of this talk is just plain old hearsay,” said Clyde Price, whose relatives own a large tract of land near the top of Carpenter’s Knob. “When something like this gets started it gets bigger and bigger.”
(Note: Three photos: 1. Two hunters searching for Knobby 2. Photo of carpenter’s Knob 3. Sally White, who saw “Knobby”
KNOBBY MAP showing sightings on N.C. route 10; RPR 1623; St. Paul’s Church Road; Carpenter’s Knob, Garbage dumb; Bellwood Casar Rd., Casar, Pond and Methodist Camp Ground.