01 Feb The Logan Creek Incidents
In October of 2008, the body of an eleven-year-old boy was discovered under a shallow layer of vegetation over fifty miles from his home. A group of hunters found him laying on top of a hill in Logan Creek State Forest, located in Reynolds County, Missouri, near the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. The remains were turned over to local law enforcement, where they were DNA-matched to Billy Evanston, who was reported missing in the summer of 2005. He was later positively identified by members of his family.
An autopsy failed to provide sufficient answers to the many questions this case presented. Evanston’s was the fifth body associated with what authorities dubbed the Logan Creek Incidents. Each victim was found in the same forest and bore peculiar similarities. Evanston was no exception.
First, despite having been in the woods for over three years without any kind of preservation methods undertaken, the body showed no signs of decay. There was no obvious cause of death; however, an autopsy revealed that there was no blood anywhere in his circulatory system, and tissue damage to blood vessel walls led the medical examiner to believe that it had somehow combusted and burned away without damaging other parts of the body. Also, in each of the victims, the optic nerve inexplicably appeared to have been severed.
A disposable camera was discovered with Billy Evanston’s corpse, along with a pocket-sized composition notebook belonging to seventeen-year-old Eric O’Neil, the first victim of the Logan Creek Incidents. His body was discovered in 1997, but there was no other evidence found. It is unknown why or how the notebook reached the opposite side of the forest as O’Neil, but graphological analysis revealed that the handwriting inside belonged to him. The notebook, camera, and a series of drawings attributed to the third victim, seven-year-old Jennifer Marlow (discovered in 2001), form the entire foundation of this case, as documentation of the events leading up to the other victim’s deaths have not yet been found.
The film in Evanston’s camera was developed and the pictures thoroughly reviewed by an investigative team. Eight photographs were taken; the remaining sixteen left on the reel are blank. Three highly accredited photo forensic analysts agreed that the images were in no way altered. The aforementioned investigative team worked tirelessly to match descriptions from O’Neil’s notebook to each photo. These excerpts bear striking similarities to the photographs, even though they were written eight years before the photographs were taken. These similarities helped investigators piece together a rough timeline all the Logan Creek victims likely follow.
Photograph #1 (dated 07/08/2005): This is a photo from Billy Evanston’s eleventh birthday party, where his mother gave him the camera as a gift. The young boy is seated at his kitchen table surrounded by a group of children from his class. A cake reading “Happy Birthday, Billy” sits in front of him. His father is pictured lighting the candles. His mother is the photographer.
Photograph #2 (dated 07/11/2005): This image shows the Evanstons’ backyard at dusk captured from Billy’s bedroom window on the second floor. Billy is believed to have taken this picture. At first glance, there is nothing out of the ordinary, but upon further inspection, three slender, gray, finger-like digits can be seen curled over Billy’s windowsill. The owner of the limb is not pictured and remains unidentified.
*Corresponding journal entry (dated 11/30/1997): “I have no idea where I am. It feels like someone is driving an ice pick into my left eye, and my memory is fuzzy. The only thing I can remember is the end of the dream I had last night. I was in bed and heard something from outside in the middle of the night. I know that it was a dream because it was daylight, like, brighter-than-the-sun daylight, but in the middle of the night. I got out of bed and went to the window. When I stuck my head out to look around, everything went dark. Then, at least four hands clamped down on my shoulders and yanked me forward and then drug me upward.
I’m in the woods now, and I’ve wandered around all day. I am completely lost. I haven’t seen any hikers or campers or any other human being, and it’s getting dark. Sometimes, I can hear footsteps behind me, but when I turn around, I can’t see anything. There aren’t even any animals or bugs.”*
Photograph #3 (dated 7/15/2005): Taken the day Billy was reported missing by his parents, this is the first photograph of Logan Creek State Forest. Billy’s parents stated that they had no idea how he got there. They said they had put him to bed the night before and could not find him the next morning. His window was open, but there was no sign of forced entry or an intruder. Billy’s disappearance at this time was ruled a kidnapping.
The picture shows a perfectly circular clearing in an otherwise densely forested area. What little vegetation remains appears to be in the process of turning to dust. A thick blanket of gray ash covers the clearing completely but cannot be found outside the border of the circle. Three trees stand untouched in the center. Original speculation pointed to a fire in this area of Logan Creek Forest, but it provided no explanation for the geometric pattern of damage or the intact tress left behind. The photographer is unknown but believed to be Billy Evanston.
*Corresponding journal excerpt (dated 12/04/1997): “I thought it was ash at first, but our tool shed burned down when I was a kid. This isn’t what ash feels like. I’m not sure how else to explain it. Ashes are flaky and almost have a papery texture to them. This stuff feels just like sand.
There was this weird static “energy” or something in the circle. I don’t know how else to describe it, but all the hair on my body stood straight up, and I heard this quiet humming coming from the back of my head as I approached the trees. If I stayed there too long, I felt nauseous. I’m taking some of the sand or whatever it is back to have someone look at it if I can ever get home.*
Photograph #4 (dated 07/12/2005): This photograph shows a handprint on a tree trunk. It is the same color as the gray clearing, and three elongated digits connected to an oval-shaped palm contrast starkly against the deep brown of the tree bark. Investigators pointed out the similarities between the handprint and the three fingers in Photograph #2. The photographer is unknown but believed to be Billy Evanston.
Corresponding journal entry (no date): “I’ve lost track of how long I’ve been here. I’m beginning to think that I was not dreaming the night I was taken. My shoulders were sore, and I found purple and green bruises under my shirt. They weren’t human hands. They had a thumb of sorts but only two other fingers. I took my shirt off and found them all over my torso.”
Photograph #5 (dated 07/14/2005): This haunting image appears to have been taken at dusk. Pictured are the branches of several trees in the forest. The photo is blurry, but six pairs of glowing eyes peek out among the leaves. Further inspection revealed hunched humanoid figures woven between branches, staring down at the camera. The creatures have yet to be identified. The photographer is unknown but is believed to be Billy Evanston.
Corresponding journal entry (no date): “They are watching me. I can’t sleep anymore. I just sit on the ground, hugging my knees to my chest and keeping my eyes shut. I can still tell they’re looking at me. Sometimes, when I hear the footsteps behind me during the day, I can see a figure out of the corner of my eye for a second. I don’t know if I’m getting better at finding them or if they want me to see them.”
Photograph #6 (dated 07/15/2005): This photograph shows four lights streaking through the sky above Logan Creek Forest. It closely resembles many other photographs claiming to have captured UFOs or extraterrestrial life. A finger in front of the camera lens covers the top left corner of the frame. The photographer is unknown but believed to be Billy Evanston.
Corresponding journal entry (no date): “A huge whirring sound, like a jet taking off. They want me to think they’re leaving. Trying to take my guard down. I’ve been running now, but the woods just get deeper. There is no way out but up.”
Photograph #7 (dated 07/15/2005): This photograph is of a gray substance like what was found in the clearing from photograph #3. This one was taken from inside the clearing. The camera is angled down, showing a pair of legs from the knees down. Billy Evanston is believed to have taken the photo as well as have appeared in it. Particles of the still unidentified substance coats his feet and seem to be snaking up the rest of his legs.
Corresponding journal entry (no date): “Please help me, please help me. That humming sound is all I can hear. The ground has turned against me, and that gray dust can crawl, right up my legs and down my throat. It’s hot. It burns. There is no way out but up.”
Photograph #8 (dated 07/15/2005): The last photograph on Evanston’s camera is by far the most unsettling. Pictures is Billy Evanston being drug through the forest by two unidentified figures, which, though blurry, display striking resemblance to the figures from Photograph #5. They are not facing the camera. The figures appear tall but hunched over. Evanston’s mouth is open, as if screaming, but his body seems still. Some members of the investigative team believe that Evanston was dead when this photograph was taken. The photographer is unknown.
Corresponding journal entry (no date): “They took me up, but I can’t escape. There is no way out.”
Jennifer Marlow was reported missing in December of 1995 but was not found until March of 2001. When her parents were questioned about her disappearance, they responded the same as the families of the other victims: they had put Jennifer to bed the night before, but there was no sign of her the next morning, no evidence of a break-in or kidnapping. She had seemingly vanished into thin air.
When asked if they noticed any strange behavior before her disappearance, they provided a series of drawings done by Jennifer in the weeks leading up to her abduction. Her parents did not think anything of the strange creatures depicted, rather, they thought they were fueled by a seven-year-old’s imagination or too many science-fiction movies.
The drawings contain various everyday scenes such as family portraits, busy streets, and the Marlow’s backyard, but blended with the normal events are gray figures with elongated digits resembling those described by Eric O’Neil and photographed by Billy Evanston. Sometimes they are waving, sometimes hey held their hand at their side, but one of their arms was always extended with one finger pointing upward.
Originally, investigators believed this to be a kidnapping, an unfortunate abduction resulting in the murder of a child, but a prevalent crime nonetheless; however, the inexplicable details of the Logan Creek Incidents have lead several investigators to explore the idea of some sort of supernatural involvement.
No bodies have been discovered since Billy Evanston’s, but it is still unclear which of the thousands of current missing persons will return home and which end up in the Logan Creek State Forest.