AUGUSTA TWP. – Filmmaker Seth Breedlove was riding in an all-terrain utility vehicle over the rolling countryside in the rural Minerva area when he suddenly saw what he believes was a bipedal, hairy creature sprinting across a clearing about 50 yards in the distance.
"We were up at that abandoned cabin ... and we were coming out to put trail (cameras out) ... and left the cabin," he recounted while standing in a grassy field below a steep incline on a wooded property in Augusta Township in Carroll County.
"All I know is we're driving and then bam, there's this huge, brown (two-legged figure running). When I say huge, for some reason the detail that sticks out to me was the musculature in like the biceps.
"So this thing is running at an upright (gait) with dark brown fur at a dead sprint ... like an Olympic runner, and it cleared ... that space in maybe like an eighth of a second," he saidwhile gesturing toward the long, narrow clearing up a hill flanked by woodlands.
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Breedlove's experience, and whatever he saw, will be the focus of the first episode of his new YouTube series, "The Bigfoot Project," scheduled to be released today to paid subscribers of the Small Town Monsters YouTube channel.
The film can be viewed for free on YouTube starting Nov. 18.
Breedlove said he was traveling with two other people when he spotted the figure running. He screamed for the driver of the vehicle to stop but had already jumped out at a speed of roughly 20 mph.
"I like hit the ground, and ... it's a decline down here ... and just take off running," he said of the mid-September encounter. "And I'm like running ... trying to get this thing (on camera), but maybe 10 yards down, the thorns just were like all the way up to (above his waist) ... and I had to stop.
"I did not get it on camera," Breedlove said. "There's what looks like a brown smudge moving into the tree line."
Breedlove admits he's now on the other side of the Bigfoot story he's been chasing since releasing his 2015 documentary, "Minerva Monster." The film explored the reported sightings of a large, hairy creature in the 1970s in Stark County.
Breedlove, 40, acknowledges he was previously a skeptic and even had considered giving up on his quest for Bigfoot.
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"It was broad daylight, and I can recount things like the musculature and all that, but I'm still like, 'Did I see a deer, did I see like the back of a deer?'" Breedlove said. "The color isn't right for a deer."
Asked if he was certain he spotted a two-legged animal or cryptid (defined as an animal such as Sasquatch never proven to exist), Breedlove paused and nodded: "Yes, 100%."
"My question was what the heck was the thing doing moving across a hill like this in broad daylight when there's a motorized vehicle coming that you can hear from pretty far away?" he said.
When the Bolivar native returned to the site in mid-October, he immediately noticed that thickets and brush had been cleared from the start of the hill — around the midway point of the incline is a wide grass and dirt path, or what Breedlove referred to as a "road."
"We didn't even know this road was here until we got here," he said of the subsequent visit. "It makes sense that the path of least resistance is the one it's going to be traveling along."
Breedlove said he fully understands that some members of the general public may deem him a crackpot or the perpetrator of a hoax.
"The question that you'll get is like was it a dude or did you just see a man," he said. "If I saw a man, it was a guy in head-to-toe coveralls, dark brown with huge muscles, because I could pretty clearly see the musculature."
Breedlove said he believes the Minerva area wilderness is remote enough for an undiscovered primate-like creature to exist.
"If you look ... at that area on a map, it is extremely dense when it does come to the forest," he said. "I think the difference with that part of Ohio and maybe some of the (areas) further south is the forest is broken up by the occasional farm or field ... but I would not call it populated ... by any stretch of the imagination.
"It's pretty remote in some of those woods, and I don't know if these things need a ton of forest to hide out in," Breedlove added. "They need enough to move about, but I don't know if they're even in the same place even on a nightly basis from what I've experienced — I think they keep on the move."
Other strange things
Breedlove and Heather Moser, a folklore researcher and storyteller and employee of the Wadsworth-based Small Town Monsters film crew, said they also have heard wood knocks and witnessed "eyeshine" detected through night-vision video equipment in a remote part of the same property.
Located southeast of Minerva, the cabin and property are owned by Moser's family. Moser and Breedlove asked that the address and specific description of the private site not be reported.
Breedlove had been riding with Moser's husband, Cory, and a crew member when he said the sighting occurred.
"As far as the credibility of Seth, I would say just watch any of his work," Heather Moser said. "And that should speak for itself because he treats every interview and every story with respect."
Breedlove "presents a story, so that story gets recorded," she added. "He doesn't ask you to believe it or doubt it — he just lets you make up your own mind."
Moser said Breedlove only discovered the property after she told him she had been ghost hunting in the woods when weird things happened.
"There had been some howls I had heard and some wood knocks, and knowing how close we were to (where creature sightings were reported in the Minerva area in the 1970s), he just came out to check it out, and it got more interesting as time went on."
At night outside the cabin in September, wood knocks were heard from multiple directions, Moser said.
"There are these drums in the woods up over the ridge that they hit," she said. "Sometimes you would just hear multiple things happening within seconds of each other in multiple areas. I'd say there had to be three or four minimum because of how much we were hearing in multiple directions."
At one point in the new YouTube film, "when we're hearing everything around us, (Breedlove) points (towards sounds in the woods) and you can see eyeshine that pops up and walks behind him as I have the camera pointed at him.
"... It was hunkered down low near his waist level and then you see it (through night-vision footage) get up and run behind him," Moser said.
Breedlove said he felt as if the group was "encircled by these things."
And "they just walked towards you," he added. "You could hear footfalls clearly ... in different directions, which was as loud as could be with no attempt to hide, which is really weird."
Asked what she thinks may be lurking in the Carroll County wilderness, Moser said a Bigfoot-like creature can't be ruled out.
"We're finding tracks and you see eyeshine, which would make it seem like it was a physical animal," said Moser, noting her past research has focused on the paranormal and not Sasquatch. "And it seems like there's the intelligence behind it. I'm pretty open-minded about stuff.
"I don't doubt the existence of a creature like Bigfoot, so sure, it could be Bigfoot," she added. "Until I see it, I won't know for sure."
In a Facebook promotion for the new YouTube series, Small Town Monsters calls the events "mind-blowing" while describing the property as having a "forest that seems to be inhabited by creatures that have lived here for decades."
Compared to some of Breedlove's past work, which has included traveling across the country and into the remote wilderness of New York, the Pacific Northwest and Oklahoma, "The Bigfoot Project" is low-budget and based on hand-held camera footage gathered by Breedlove, along with help from his crew.
He plans to continue visiting and monitoring the Minerva area site while including his findings in future YouTube episodes of "The Bigfoot Project."
"I would think if we're out there long enough and activity continues, we're going to capture something really extraordinary," Breedlove said. "I think we have in the first episode."
Breedlove also is releasing "On the Trail of Bigfoot: The Discovery" this month for rental or purchase on streaming platforms, including through Amazon and Apple.
The documentary, as well as other Small Town Monsters films, also can be ordered at www.smalltownmonsters.com/.
Breedlove said the recent Minerva area experience is as compelling as anything documented on his large-scale expeditions.
"I've been all over the country, and everything I've experienced would lead me to believe it's a primate, a very intelligent ape," he said of the Carroll County investigation. "At this point, I don't think I'd be wrong to say I've been to more locations than most of the Bigfoot folks that are out there ... into very active areas.
"There's only one place (in southeastern Oklahoma) where there's been anything I've experienced comparable to this."
Reach Ed at 330-580-8315 and firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter @ebalintREP
This article originally appeared on The Repository: Ohio filmmaker investigates possible Bigfoot sighting in Minerva area