This story is a vivid recollection from my childhood, growing up in rural Pocahontas County. The encounter took place about 12 miles north of Neola, in the southern end of the county.
It was late spring or early summer of 1979, my mother, two brothers, and I were returning home late one evening when our truck died. It had lost a fan belt and overheated. We decided to abandon the vehicle for the evening and walk the rest of the way home. We had walked about half a mile when something let out a blood curdling scream less than a hundred feet away. My older brother Shawn had a D-cell flashlight and pointed it in the direction of the hair-raising sound. The flashlight shone only on dense brush and woods. The flashlight beam was only good for about thirty feet. The animal would always remain just out of the range of the light beam. We never saw it, but it was well aware of us and our position at all times.
We continued walking towards home, with this creature letting out a blood curdling scream at least every 90 seconds or so. It was systematically circling our position, so as to confuse us into thinking we were totally surrounded by numerous animals. I still believe it was only one.
At that time there was a huge fallen white pine across Anthony’s creek right beside the road. The animal demonstrated familiarity with the area by running across this tree to get to the other side. I heard the tree branches slap the creek water with force when it ran across.
We crossed the low water concrete bridge with the tin cabin to our right, and the old iron ore pile to our left. The creature had positioned itself, just out of sight, on top of the ore pile and let out one last roar as we walked past. My brother Shawn pointed the light in the direction of the noise. I noticed at that time he was shaking like Don Knotts. We saw nothing. The dogs at home began to bark. I thought if I can hear them then I know they can hear me…so I called for them as loud as I could. The dogs came running to us.
My mother claimed she heard the creature run up the hollow with the cinder block cabin. It is easy to assume that this was a Mountain Lion, Puma, or Cougar. We never saw it and only heard it scream multiple times.