The Enfield Horror: Illinois’ Three-Legged, Red-Eyed Terror

In the shadowy corners of Enfield, Illinois, the 1970s saw the emergence of the Enfield Horror, a grotesque, three-legged, furry creature with glowing red eyes and a haunting screech. Despite numerous attempts to capture it, this elusive entity remains a chilling reminder of the unknown lurking just beyond the edge of the familiar.



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A Monster Comes to Enfield

For 11-year-old Greg Garrett, this night had been like any other night. His routine had always been the same: finish homework, do a couple of chores around the house, eat dinner with family, then go outside to feed the dogs before getting ready for bed. But on this night in particular, as he greeted his dogs and scooped kibble into their bowls, Greg heard a strange noise behind him. Initially, when he turned, he didn’t see anything unusual, just a few fireflies floating around and the neighborhood cat flickering its tail across the street. 

As he turned back to finish feeding the dogs, though, he heard the strange rustling sounds again, but only more aggressively this time. As he whipped around to see where the strange noises were coming from, something quickly struck him, knocking him off his feet. Fearful of what might be in his backyard, Greg quickly got back up on his feet and tried running back inside, barely missing the creature claw at his feet right as he burst through the door. Hysterically, Greg began crying, relaying to his mom and dad what had just happened. 

Deeply concerned for their son, Greg’s parents jumped up from the TV and quickly ran toward him. Seeing that Greg was pretty shaken up, they looked at him extensively, trying to identify any claw marks or deep bites. Although his shoes had significant rips and tears through them, they were relieved at not having found any physical injuries. Knowing that their son was not one to make up stories and was clearly upset, they tried calming him down and asking him for more details on what he saw. 

But, because it was 9 pm and completely dark outside, he couldn’t accurately describe what exactly he saw. Unsure of what to make of his encounter, his father gave his story some considerate thought and eventually concluded that Greg probably just accidentally stepped on a snake with the result of it recoiling and trying to attack out of defense. Little did the Garrett family know what would take place at their neighbor’s house just down the street. 

The Second Encounter with The Enfield Horror

Henry McDaniel, a disabled World War II veteran, had been raising his children in this neighborhood for years. As his home was positioned nearly 30 yards from the train tracks, he was accustomed to the rumbling sounds of the train passing through. And, of course, there was the daily traffic with school buses and parents heading into work, as well as the wandering neighborhood cats and dogs and children playing in the street. This town was just like any other town in the 1970s. Nothing strange had ever really occurred, and nothing newsworthy ever made it to the paper. That is, until he came face to face with the very creature Greg Garrett had nearly escaped just a few moments before. 

Henry glanced down at his watch as the sun was setting and realized it was getting pretty late. He and his wife had been out all afternoon running errands, and he still had a little bit of work to do when they got home, not to mention helping make dinner and getting the kids ready for bed. So, they grabbed their last bit of groceries, loaded the trunk, and headed home. 

Moments before their arrival, though, Henry’s three kids were startled by the scratching sounds coming from their front door. At first, they brushed it off, thinking one of the neighborhood dogs had gotten loose. But they started to panic when the scratching sounds got louder and more frequent. Unsure of when their parents would be home, they nervously huddled together in the living room, not wanting to bring attention to themselves, fearing a wild animal or even a burglar trying to get in. After about 20 minutes of this sound constantly traveling from the front door to the back, the children finally saw their parent’s headlights shining through the window. 

Running to the front door, they were frantically yelling over one another about the strange sounds and begging their dad to go back and check it out. Not thinking of it, Henry tried to convince his children that there was nothing to worry about. Especially because there hadn’t been any strange noises once they arrived, but due to their constant plea, he finally promised that once they finished eating dinner and getting ready for bed, he’d take a flashlight and walk the perimeter of the house just in case. With this, the children were relieved and walked into the kitchen to help their mom unload the groceries.

At about 9:45 pm, belly full from dinner and eyes tired from a long day, Henry reluctantly grabbed his flashlight, unlocked the deadbolt on the door, and began to turn the knob. Not knowing what to expect, Henry had his guesses at what would be waiting on the other side. At best, he half-expected to see a dog scratching at the door. Worst case scenario, he thought a bear might be trying to break in as bears had previously been known to roam around in their yard. 

But when he opened the door, Henry was mortified. Standing on his front stoop, a dark, beastly figure stared directly back at him. Henry described this beast as being covered in grey fur, “having a round head on a torso,” with red eyes about 3 inches apart that looked like truck reflectors  , and standing about “four-and-a-half feet tall with three legs”.” 

Terrified at this beastly sight, he quickly slammed the door shut, ran across the house, and went to grab his .22 and a flashlight. Seconds later, he was once again out the front door and shooting towards the creature. Having fired four times and completely missed, he could hear the creature hissing with every shot. Each miss caused the monster to take three large jumps in the air, covering about 75 feet and disappearing off in the shadows. 

Henry would later say that the hissing sounded much like a cottonmouth. This gives some credibility to his neighbors, the Garrett family, when Greg’s father theorized a snake tried to attack their son. With this, Henry immediately called the cops, saying, “The state police had somebody here in a hurry.” But, to Henry’s dismay, they never found the beast. However, they did find several footprints that resembled a dog’s foot, only with six toes instead of four, with two of the tracks being four inches wide. The police also discovered a series of scratches on the house siding and even found patches of grey fur in the nearby bushes. But with this information, they pretty much left it alone. 

What’s interesting, though, is that about a week later, as Henry was heading towards work, he once again noticed the familiar yet strange-looking figure walking down the railroad tracks and was immediately convinced this was the same creature. According to Henry, “I saw something moving out on the railroad track, and there it stood. I didn’t shoot at it or anything. It started on down the railroad track. It wasn’t in a hurry or anything.”

After these two occurrences, Henry received countless phone calls inquiring about his encounter with reporters, trying to get a statement about what really happened that first night. He even showed one reporter the badly damaged screen on his back door. According to Henry, the shredding in the screen was most likely due to the creature’s claw and was probably the culprit behind the strange scratching noises his children heard while they were gone.

With this, the “Enfield Horror” was born. 

A Mountain out of a Mole Hill

Although Henry believed without a doubt that he had faced a real monster, other Enfiled community members, including the White County Sheriff’s Department, weren’t so sure he was telling the truth. In fact, Henry talked about the sheriff’s disdain for his story and admitted he was threatened with being arrested if he continued to share it. While he never personally got in trouble with the law, others did. 

According to Henry, “There were five fellows up here with guns looking for [the monster], and one of them claims to have seen it, but they were arrested by the sheriff’s department. What I can’t understand is why they want to keep it so hush-hush and why, if those fellows were in the pursuit of the creature, the White County Sheriff’s Department didn’t help them.”

Following his statement, a deputy responded, “There ain’t a thing to it. This thing has been promoted beyond reason. I’ve done my best to get Henry locked up. I let all that stuff go until he got people with guns out there. Then I went out and told him, ‘If I hear any more from out there, I’m haulin’ you in”.

Although much of the local community thought the Enfield Horror was one big hoax, that didn’t stop all the commotion over the next few months as crowds began pouring into this small town hoping to catch the creature. From monster hunters to thrill-seekers with guns, several men went into the woods to try and catch this “gray thing.” Apparently, Mike Mogle and Roger Happy, two hunters from Elwood, Indiana residents, had been caught when they swore they had witnessed a “gray monkey” quickly move through the underbrush and tried shooting at the creature. With this, the sheriff threatened Henry with jail time if he wouldn’t end these rumors about a monster terrorizing their town, although Henry continued to stick to his story. 

However, the sheriff did arrest a couple of the hunters to protect the local residents as he described the men as just “out drinking and raising hell” rather than truly making a difference in the community and later charged them with hunting violations. White County Deputy Sheriff Jim Clark shared, “Nothing I know of is in season now, especially monsters. Anybody we know of out hunting masters, especially with guns, will be put in jail; We’re afraid they’ll kill somebody. 

And the sheriff isn’t the only person in town who thinks the Enfield Horror is completely made up. When reporters later asked the owner of Reba’s Cafe, a local cafe about a mile outside of town, she stated that everyone was “making a mountain of a molehill.”

However, a couple of individuals were a bit more open-minded. 

Rick Rainbow Seeks the Truth

First, we have Rick Rainbow. Rick Rainbow, a former news director for WWKI in Kokomo, Indiana, about a 4-hour drive from Enfield, wanted to discover the truth. So, he packed his bags, invited a few of his friends for the ride, and headed to Enfield to investigate this bizarre story, where he would eventually spend a couple of days inside Henry’s home.

While there, Rick and his three friends were searching the area when they spotted a strange-looking creature about five and a half feet tall with grey fur hunched over and running off at unnatural speed. Although the creature had seemingly vanished into thin air, they just so happened to catch its shrieking noise on their tape recorder as it ran off. When later asked about his Enfield experience, Rick shares, “We got some kind of noise on tape that resembled that of an ape.”

With this, Rick believes there is some truth to Henry’s story. In his words, “I was down there about four times, and I heard Henry give the same story to over 200 reporters. Each time, he stuck with the same story, never changing it. 

As for his thoughts on the demeanor of Enfield residents, that’s another story. He agreed that “for some reason or other,” the White County Sheriff and most of Enfield’s residents wanted to keep the story quiet.

However, not everyone thinks this story should be ignored. In fact, Rick Rainbow also spoke with someone else who may have also encountered this creature: Greg Garrett himself. 

As Greg recounted his experience, from feeding his dogs to something wrapping around his tennis shoes along with mysterious tears in the soles, Greg’s father shared his theory that while it was evident Greg was shaken up, the monster in question was merely a snake and nothing more—or, at least, that’s what Greg experienced. However, Rick doesn’t buy this theory. He said, “Anyone knows a snake can’t rear up a tennis shoe.” 

Loren Coleman Weighs in on the Enfield Terror

Now that we have Rick Rainbow’s theory—which is basically the assumption that Henry definitely saw something strange that night—we’re just not exactly sure what it is other than it’s not a snake. So, where does this leave us? Well, there’s still yet another theory. 

If you ask Loren Coleman what this creature might be, the answer may be less of a menacing monster and more of a natural type of beast that you might find at your local zoo, a beast many believe is humans’ distant cousin. 

If you recognize Loren Coleman’s name at all, then you’ve probably heard us mention this well-known cryptozoologist a time or two on the show. Before Loren Coleman founded the International Cryptozoology Museum in Maine and became a common cryptid household name, Loren began his anthropological studies at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. Around the time the Enfield Monster incident took place, Loren was attending his classes when he caught wind of this story. Of course, sparking his interest, Loren quickly went to Enfield. 

However, once he arrived and started his own investigations from hearing Henry’s story, listening to Rick Rainbow’s recording, and trying to get a grasp of what was really happening in Enfield Loren had a hypothesis, one that was more science-based than wild speculation. 

Before his arrival, Loren had recently completed a research paper titled “The Occurrence of Wild Apes in North America,” where he attempted to prove the existence of apes, specifically focusing on the Mississippi River. In this paper, Loren also gives numerous recorded reports of sightings of apes throughout North America over the past 100 years – with most of these reports coming from the Midwest, with the occasional ape sightings coming from Florida. 

With a quick side note: I think it’s worth mentioning that the first Skunk Ape sighting occurred in 1970, just a few years before this Enfield cryptid sighting, but that’s another conversation we will have to circle back to. 

When asked whether he believed Rick Rainbow’s tape recording, Loren surprisingly shared that he also had a startling experience where he “heard [d] something that resembled Rainbow’s tape,” describing both sounds as similar to those of a chimpanzee. 

In his paper, Loren includes various “photographs of foot prints and some pictures of carvings made by Canadian Indians.” According to Loren, these carvings “closely resemble the composite picture that can be drawn from all the reports of American apes.” In other words, “The American apes do, in general, appear to be chimpanzees.” 

In the June 10th, 1973 edition of the Evansville Press, the article states that “footprints,” rather than screeching noises, “seem to be the important factor” in deciphering typical animal activity in the area. And “while there are arguments for and against the existence of apes [activity] in America,” Loren also highlights the importance of footprints as being ‘the most concrete support of an undiscovered species.”

If you remember, state police did, in fact, find oddly shaped footprints outside of Henry’s home. Unfortunately, though, when Loren went to view the site where the monster’s footprints had reportedly been left behind, someone had made plaster prints, and the original tracks had been destroyed. Sound familiar? To me, this sounds eerily similar to other cryptid stories we’ve told—like many “big foot” stories we’ve shared in the past. 

However, when asked if he thought the Enfield Horror was just another “Big Foot,” Loren argued that Big Foot is reported to be much larger—8 feet tall, in fact—whereas these bottomland apes are smaller. Again, if you remember, Henry reported the creature being roughly four and a half feet tall, not 8 feet tall, so the Big Foot theory may fall flat, at least in this instance. 

Could this be the Explanation for the Enfield Horror?

We have Henry’s theory of a menacing unknown beast terrorizing Enfield. Then we have Loren Coleman’s theory of a wild ape or possibly a chimpanzee roaming about. And we also have Rick Rainbow’s theory that it’s possibly something in-between. So, where does this leave us? Well, the Enfield Horror may have yet another speculation—one that’s a little bizarre, but I guess it’s not completely out of the question. 

According to the July 28th, 1973 edition of the Daily Dispatch, Myrtle Fields, Enfield’s treasurer, apparently got ahold of a letter addressed to the publisher of the Enfield newspaper. Ironically, an Enfield newspaper didn’t exist, so out of curiosity, Myrtle took it upon herself to open the mysterious letter. 

Alan Yorkshire, an Elyria, Ohio native (about a 7-hour drive from Enfield), apparently caught wind of everything happening and decided to end the rumors once and for all. The Enfield Horror isn’t a snake. It’s not a primate. It’s certainly not a menacing monster looking to terrorize the people of Enfield. 

According to Alan Yorkshire, the Enfield Horror is none other than his missing pet Kangaroo, Macey, who was reportedly lost or stolen over a year ago. Because of this, he is willing to offer a small monetary award for anyone who offers information leading to the capture of his beloved pet.

You know, this might be strange, but if you ask me, it’s not entirely implausible. I mean, Henry did say that when he shot multiple rounds toward the unknown creature, it took “3 large jumps in the air, covering about 75 feet and disappearing off in the shadows”. Now, kangaroos can reportedly let about 30 feet high and can travel more than 30 miles per hour – 

Which fun fact for you: Kangaroos belong to the Macropus, which is a marsupial genus in the family Macropodidae, where the term macropus is derived from ancient Greek, translating to “long foot” or, as National Geographic put it, the true “big foot.” 

If you ask Henry about his thoughts on the claims in Alan’s letter, he doesn’t believe Alan will ever see his kangaroo again, or at least not in Enfield any time soon. Why? According to Henry, “I used to have one as a pet myself, until I sold it to this fella that had an animal store. And kangaroo tracks have claw marks, and a kangaroo has a narrow face. This wasn’t a kangaroo.” 

Still, Henry is fiercely convinced that whatever he saw on his front porch that night cannot be explained away by snakes, apes, or kangaroos. Henry believes he saw something unnatural that night and is sticking to his story, no matter what anyone else believes. 

In his words, “They think I’m crazy. I can’t help what I saw. But it’s not my problem. If that thing kills something, it just isn’t my problem. If I see it again, though, I’m gonna call the FBI, not the sheriff. There are other people who’ve seen it, too. They just ain’t saying anything. If they do find it, they will find more than one and they won’t be from this planet, I can tell you that.”

The Mount Vernon Monster: Enfield’s Cryptid Cousin

With all the back-and-forth speculation – from menacing cryptid to wild ape or even a long-lost pet kangaroo, the Enfield Horror still remains a mystery to this day. Whatever creature was roaming around Enfield in 1973 indeed caused an uproar – a constant fight between Enfield natives sharing their wild encounters, reporters flocking Henry’s home to be the first to catch the story, out-of-towners coming in and doing their own investigations, and men with guns shooting blindly out in the woods, all while local police trying to keep the town calm and quiet the wild speculations. While we still don’t know the whole truth of what went down in Enfield, there is yet another short story worth mentioning. One that goes back in time, about 30 years. 

It’s said that “between 1941 and 1942, there was a string of similar sightings that caused a ruckus in Mount Vernon”, a small town roughly forty miles away from Enfield. These sightings also involved “a mysterious leaping beast that terrorized the local people and is supposedly responsible for numerous animal deaths and mutilations in the region.” 

Because these sightings happened in Mt. Vernon, this mysterious creature was called The Mt. Vernon Monster. Coincidentally, this creature was described as “vaguely baboon-like in appearance and able to leap anywhere from twenty to forty feet in a single bound.” Sound familiar? Of course, this creature couldn’t have been Alan Yorkshire’s missing kangaroo as the mt. Vernon monster predates it decades in the past. 

More specifically, many Mt. Vernon locals speculated that this specific creature was actually a Devil Monkey, a baboon-like cryptid originally spotted in the wooded areas near Flagstaff, Arizona, in the early 1930s. Knowing this bit of history, I believe that the famous cryptozoologist Loren Coleman may have been onto something when he speculated the Enfield Horror was more primate-like in nature. 

Regardless of the true nature of this beast, the Evansville Press said it best when they wrote, “If the [North American apes do] exist, it remains to be seen. You can’t rule out anything when you’re tracking down monsters and, in this case, the unknown. Coleman is pretty sure that his ape and McDaniel’s monster are one and the same. But still, there are those who think the entire story is nothing but monkey business. 

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Thanks for touring Cryptids Across the Atlas. Until next time, keep your eyes open. You never know what you might see just on the edge of the road. 

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