On a cold January morning in 2001, Gloria, 68, and her husband Dan, along with Dan’s son and his fiancé departed Queen Wilhelmina Lodge in the wilderness of western Arkansas to hike to nearby “Lovers Leap” and its scenic overlook. Halfway there, about 200 yards from the Lodge, Gloria decided to return to the warmth of the hotel lobby while the others continued.
She vanished on her walk back, leaving not a single clue as to what may have happened to her. Frightened tracking dogs refused to trail her. Police search teams, road patrols and helicopters came up with—nothing.
Incredible as it seems, unwilling though searchers are to consider it, everything points toward Gloria’s having been seized by something as fantastic as—the Sasquatch Monster. On three separate occasions within two weeks of her disappearance, five different people witnessed a large, fearful creature prowling the vicinity.
An elderly farm couple living at the base of Queen Wilhelmina was the first to come forward, sheepishly, as though they knew no one would believe them. They had spotted a tall, dark, and hairy apparition running on two legs across a fallow field on their farm.
An over-the-road truck driver provided the second sighting. He was traveling Arkansas 6 between Acorn and Mena when a hairy form of shocking proportions darted across the highway in front of him.
“It wasn’t a bear! It wasn’t a man either. I don’t know what it was—but I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Don Thomas is an experienced outdoorsman and wildlife expert—and a member of the sheriff’s posse looking for Gloria. On January 13, less than two weeks before Gloria’s disappearance, he and a buddy were scouting out hunting territory in the vicinity of Queen Wilhelmina when several deer bolted out of the woods, spooked. That was when the two woodsmen spotted a dark beast about six-and-a-half feet tall and cloaked in dark brown or black hair. While they watched, astonished, the creature turned and walked upright like a man down the other side of the mountain and back into the pine woods.
Each of these witnesses, independent of the others, was adamant about what he had seen.
“Call me crazy,” Thomas explained to me earnestly, “but he may have been lonely for a mate. He came across Mrs. McDonald alone on the trail and her perfume attracted him to her.”
Law enforcement officers aren’t about to name “Bigfoot” as a suspect. But whatever happened to Gloria McDonald on that winter day in Wilhelmina Park, her disappearance remains one of the mysteries of the century. No one has heard from her since.
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