Are Strange Creatures Caring For Missing Children?

A set of three North American wilderness disappearance stories that all seem to have a common trend.


For years, people have told stories of ape-like creatures living in the North American wilderness. Most of these claims seem completely fabricated for attention. Blurry photos that are most likely faked have become synonymous with this American cryptid. The existence of a “Bigfoot” has become almost a joke, and for understandable reasons. There have been countless hoaxes, to the point where a story relating to a creature like this is immediately thought of as fabrication or an overactive imagination. There have been a number of missing person cases in national parks relating to a creature like a Sasquatch, particularly those of children. Specifically, these creatures care for the children. Imagination goes hand in hand with childhood yet at the same time children are typically more honest than adults. They don’t worry about the polite thing, if they dislike something they won’t pretend they do. Children do not worry about the judgment of others in the same way an adult does.

The supernatural and mysterious are always met with conjecture on both sides. Regardless of stance on the topic, stories relating to it are always interesting. Below is a summary of three stories occurring at different points in time. They all share a common element of children interacting with what seem to be very similar creatures. Draw your own conclusions, are the stories of these children simply the product of a child with an overactive imagination, or is this evidence of something more?

The Disappearance of Dennis Martin

Child Dennis Martin.
Adult Dennis Martin.

There has been a trend in the stories of missing children that have been found over many years. One of the most prominent and well-known stories like this happened relatively close to home. The Great Smokey Mountains, many students, and staff of our school will have most likely been there at some point. It’s a beautiful getaway destination that can easily make for a great trip. The disappearance of Dennis Martin is one of the most infamous cold cases of North American national parks.
Martin went missing in June 1969. He was on a Father’s Day hiking trip with his father, some other adults, and two other children. The three kids planned to go ahead on the trail a short distance and hide. When the adults caught up, they planned to jump out and scare them. It was obvious what the kids were planning to the adults, but they let them continue their plan without spoiling their fun. The two other kids split up from Dennis. The two hid on one side of the trail and Dennis went to the opposite side.
When the kids enacted their scare and Dennis did not jump out with them, Dennis’s father immediately began to panic and search for the boy. They searched in the surrounding area, hoping that Dennis got turned around and hadn’t gone far. Later that day, a member of the hiking group made it to a ranger station and alerted them to Dennis Martin’s disappearance. By that time, a major rainstorm was ravaging the area.

The next day there was still rain and low visibility but still, a large search party for Dennis was gained. The search party grew so large that it hindered search efforts. When a search party is too large, clues are more commonly trampled and lost. The finds of the party were all minor and provided no real contribution to rescuing Dennis.

The Keys family was also hiking around the same time and location of Dennis Martin’s disappearance. They had a story to report of their own, although they had no knowledge at the time of the missing boy. Harold Key reported hearing a scream and a figure running through the woods. The Key’s child thought the figure looked like a bear, but the family determined later that it was a man hiding in the scrubs. The family said that the man seemed to be avoiding them.

The search and rescue professionals in charge seemed to think that the distance between the last known location of Dennis and the alleged location of the Key’s story made them being somehow related, unlikely. Despite this, many believe that they were related events anyway. So much so, as posting a reward for Dennis’s safe return.

Barely any remotely relating evidence as to where Dennis went was ever found. He is still missing to this day, and we are nowhere closer to discovering the truth. Many speculate on what fate befallen Dennis Martin, but it is unlikely any of these theories will ever be proved or disproved.
If you’re ever in the Smokey Mountains, you might spot a missing person flyer, a reminder of the mystery that will forever be entangled with this beautiful national park.

Casey Hathaway: In The Company of Bears

Casey Hathaway.

In 2019, three-year-old Casey Hathaway was planing in his grandmother’s yard with two other children in his family. When the others returned inside, Casey did not, the family began to search for him. They looked around the immediate area for approximately 45 minutes before alerting the authorities.

The terrain was difficult to traverse, and the temperatures were low but search and rescue officials from around North Carolina began their search for Casey. Great effort was put into locating the missing three-year-old. Many volunteers ended up giving up the search because the conditions were so harsh. Concerns were raised about the low temperatures and how unlikely it would be for a three-year-old child to survive alone in conditions like that for very long. Yet eventually Casey Hathaway was found.

On the third official day of the search, rescue teams heard a boy crying out for his mother.
In the emergency room, Casey started to give some information on his story. He told his family that a bear kept him company during the time of his disappearance. There has not been much more information than that published about Casey’s own recount of his story.

Although there is the least amount of information on this story when being compared to the other two in this report, its striking similarities to other more documented stories warrant it to be taken with more significance than it initially might seem on its own.

Katie Flynn and The Big Black Dog

Walhalla Postcard.

In Walhalla Michigan, 1868, three-year-old Katie Flynn went missing. Katie’s father Henry Flynn operated a lumber camp outside of Walhalla. Katie would play in and around the area of the camp while her father worked. When Henry returned home at the end of the day, his daughter wasn’t there waiting for him like usual.

Sometime during the day of Katie playing, she went missing. The search for the missing girl began almost immediately after her father discovered that she was missing. Henry searched along the trail and areas he knew Katie liked to run around on, and eventually found two sets of tracks. One belonging to what looked like the shoe prints of a small child, which Henry presumed to be his daughter. The other set was reportedly that of a large bear. The two sets of tracks gradually converged on one another. The area around the tracks was searched for the remainder of the day. The following morning, the search resumed. It went on all day, until late afternoon when distant cries were heard.

Following the noises lead those searching to a river. Upon getting to the river, a splash of something loud hitting the water was heard. According to the men, a large bear had jumped into the water as they approached the river and quickly swam to the other side and continued to flee. Katie Flynn was there at the river standing on a fallen tree, completely unharmed other than a few light scratches.

When Katie was taken back home and later questioned about her story, he described playing in the sand after her father had left. A large black thing then came and played with her. He eventually gave Katie its paw, and she walked away with the black thing. Later that afternoon, the creature left her for a short period and returned with a paw full of berries. Katie and the creature ate the berries together. The creature made a bed out of leaves and laid down with Katie, using its body to keep her warm throughout the night.

Katie was also asked about her missing shoe, as the search team only found her with one when she was rescued. She told the men, “A big dog ate it.”

“5 Unexplained Disappearances Of Children (Who Were Eventually Found)” by The Missing Enigma – YouTube. Link
“Feral humans in the Smoky Mountains? What happened to Dennis Martin” by John Gullion – The Smokies. Link
“A boy who was lost in the woods says a bear kept him company. No one can prove it didn’t happen.” By Amir Vera and Samira Said – CNN. Link
“Tiny Walhalla Girl Is Kidnapped By Large Black Bear – In 1868” By Louis C. Towns – Ludington Daily. Link

Image Links:
Walhalla Postcard
Child Dennis Martin
Adult Dennis Martin
Casey Hathaway
Feature Image