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  1. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    Ouch!! Watch that thorn bush!!
    Yeah, one of the (many) strange parts of our encounter was him drawing attention to a certain anatomical area. He pointed to a scratch near his pelvis and joked, "occupational hazard." We (my hiking buddy and I) didn't laugh. We just hiked faster.

  2. #142
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madfarmer View Post
    Yeah, one of the (many) strange parts of our encounter was him drawing attention to a certain anatomical area. He pointed to a scratch near his pelvis and joked, "occupational hazard." We (my hiking buddy and I) didn't laugh. We just hiked faster.
    As I recall very little information was shared with the public in the immediate aftermath of Scott Lilly’s murder. They would not even confirm the death was a murder (as opposed to a suicide) for a long time, despite reportedly finding him in a shallow grave. Even today, not much is known by the public.

    I believe hikers like you were advised to take just normal precautions in the area, which struck me as a bit odd at the time.

    Questions:

    Did the FBI meet with you to review details of your interaction and carefully go over the the man’s description, or was this a situation where they interviewed you over the phone? Did they reinterview you after you saw him again 100 miles down the Trail? Or get out any BOL type advisories advisories to the hiking community?

  3. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    As I recall very little information was shared with the public in the immediate aftermath of Scott Lilly’s murder. They would not even confirm the death was a murder (as opposed to a suicide) for a long time, despite reportedly finding him in a shallow grave. Even today, not much is known by the public.

    I believe hikers like you were advised to take just normal precautions in the area, which struck me as a bit odd at the time.

    Questions:

    Did the FBI meet with you to review details of your interaction and carefully go over the the man’s description, or was this a situation where they interviewed you over the phone? Did they reinterview you after you saw him again 100 miles down the Trail? Or get out any BOL type advisories advisories to the hiking community?
    We had a hard time finding information, as you say, but hikers were gossiping at the shelters each night. My partner and I stealth camped for two weeks south of the Priest just to avoid the strange talk at shelters. I initially spoke with local police who asked minimal questions. Then, when I encountered him a second time a considerable distance later, I called police again and was directed to the Blue Ridge Parkway authorities. It was the FBI agent who contacted me. At that point, "suspicious death" was all we'd heard on trail. The FBI basically confirmed it was a murder investigation (implied, not directly) through our talks. We only spoke on the phone, but he called several times for a week. We discussed vehicle descriptions at road crossings, physical traits of the man, snippets of our conversation, etc... Very unsettling. I was happy to finally leave Virginia and enjoy my last month on the trail.

  4. #144
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    I can understand why you were unsettled.

    Were you aware that the FBI and ATC made a special effort to calm people’s concerns?

    It took a week after Scott Lilly’s partially buried body was found for the FBI to publicly categorize his death as “suspicious” — and months longer before anyone would acknowledge his death to be homicide. Just a week after Lilly’s body was found the FBI felt confident enough about the circumstances to tell the public that investigators had no information “that would lead (them) to believe other hikers would be targeted.”

    The ATC reinforced this perspective: “
    People should trust their instincts,” Conservancy spokesman Brian King said. “That is the core of the advice. Right now, we don’t have any reason to believe there is a threat out there.

    Easy for people to say when you are not on the trail, or being stalked by a man with no clothes, I suppose.

    Out of curiosity, did the FBI agent take any special interest on the naked man’s shoes or lack of them? Lilly’s Ozark Trail hiking boots were reported to have been taken — which is something a naked man without shoes might want to do if they were intent on leaving a crime scene quickly.

  5. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    I can understand why you were unsettled.

    Were you aware that the FBI and ATC made a special effort to calm people’s concerns?

    It took a week after Scott Lilly’s partially buried body was found for the FBI to publicly categorize his death as “suspicious” — and months longer before anyone would acknowledge his death to be homicide. Just a week after Lilly’s body was found the FBI felt confident enough about the circumstances to tell the public that investigators had no information “that would lead (them) to believe other hikers would be targeted.”

    The ATC reinforced this perspective: “
    People should trust their instincts,” Conservancy spokesman Brian King said. “That is the core of the advice. Right now, we don’t have any reason to believe there is a threat out there.

    Easy for people to say when you are not on the trail, or being stalked by a man with no clothes, I suppose.

    Out of curiosity, did the FBI agent take any special interest on the naked man’s shoes or lack of them? Lilly’s Ozark Trail hiking boots were reported to have been taken — which is something a naked man without shoes might want to do if they were intent on leaving a crime scene quickly.
    We were aware of the ATCs official statement; we had heard almost verbatim what you just wrote. No other information was available. The rumors kept talking about the Priest but no specific location mentioned. We'd heard talk of "shallow grave" and "strangulation" possibly involving shoelaces or a plastic bag. It turns out the first shelter we stayed at after stealth camping for a week or two was Cow Camp Gap (we needed water). Turns out, that's where the body was found (I think). A hiker the next morning told us that when we mentioned staying there the previous night. We had noticed that the log book had suspiciously few entries compared to other shelters. There was also a 4x4 road that seemed to lead up to the shelter, making it accessible (maybe) using a non-AT approach. It was the VERY NEXT DAY that we encountered the naked man. He followed us for 8 miles, saying strange things about slaves, helicopters, cornbread, primates... random topics. He did say we were the first people to "catch him like this" (naked) but then said, "well, there was one time, but..." but trailed off without finishing the thought. We, of course, were thinking, "but WHAT!?" He mentioned wanting to have camped out the night before but having to work a night shift, so we couldn't help but wonder if he might have showed up at Cow Camp Gap (we were the only 2 people there... eerie). He asked if he could hike with us and finish the trail (again, we are now 8 miles deep from the last road, and he has no shoes or water...). He also asked to try on my backpack. We jumped in front of him at a bridge (he wouldn't let us pass for the first few miles). He then followed us, just off trail, running tree to tree, for another few miles.

    We hiked 26 miles without stopping that day. Peed while hiking and forewent water fill ups. No telling when he finally turned around. Then we saw him again a few days later...

    Hadn't thought about the shoe connection, but he must've had calluses. When I called the cops after the second encounter, he disappeared straight down a ridge off trail. Rangers parked at both ends of the segment of trail we were on and hiked toward one another but never found him.

  6. #146
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    I spent the night at the cow camp shelter almost 1 year to the day after this murder, not in the shelter, tent. And as you said I believe he was drug a couple hundred feet from the shelter and tucked under a log with leaves covering him a couple days later folks retrieving water found him. So the next morning I was walking around camp knowing all this drinking coffee wondering why the hell a hiker would strangle another hiker deep in thought and 2 f-18 fighter jets came down tree level full bore !! I hit the ground instinctively wow scared the craps out of me.

  7. #147
    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    I've always felt the murder was done by a local.

  8. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPritch View Post
    I've always felt the murder was done by a local.
    Whys that?

  9. #149

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    Quote Originally Posted by madfarmer View Post
    We were aware of the ATCs official statement; we had heard almost verbatim what you just wrote. No other information was available. The rumors kept talking about the Priest but no specific location mentioned. We'd heard talk of "shallow grave" and "strangulation" possibly involving shoelaces or a plastic bag. It turns out the first shelter we stayed at after stealth camping for a week or two was Cow Camp Gap (we needed water). Turns out, that's where the body was found (I think). A hiker the next morning told us that when we mentioned staying there the previous night. We had noticed that the log book had suspiciously few entries compared to other shelters. There was also a 4x4 road that seemed to lead up to the shelter, making it accessible (maybe) using a non-AT approach. It was the VERY NEXT DAY that we encountered the naked man. He followed us for 8 miles, saying strange things about slaves, helicopters, cornbread, primates... random topics. He did say we were the first people to "catch him like this" (naked) but then said, "well, there was one time, but..." but trailed off without finishing the thought. We, of course, were thinking, "but WHAT!?" He mentioned wanting to have camped out the night before but having to work a night shift, so we couldn't help but wonder if he might have showed up at Cow Camp Gap (we were the only 2 people there... eerie). He asked if he could hike with us and finish the trail (again, we are now 8 miles deep from the last road, and he has no shoes or water...). He also asked to try on my backpack. We jumped in front of him at a bridge (he wouldn't let us pass for the first few miles). He then followed us, just off trail, running tree to tree, for another few miles.

    We hiked 26 miles without stopping that day. Peed while hiking and forewent water fill ups. No telling when he finally turned around. Then we saw him again a few days later...

    Hadn't thought about the shoe connection, but he must've had calluses. When I called the cops after the second encounter, he disappeared straight down a ridge off trail. Rangers parked at both ends of the segment of trail we were on and hiked toward one another but never found him.

    This is just wild. Cant imagine

    When you say he was following you, off trail, running from tree to tree, do you mean trying not to be seen by you? Or was he just being weird right off the trail while maintaining contact with you?

  10. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue indian View Post
    This is just wild. Cant imagine

    When you say he was following you, off trail, running from tree to tree, do you mean trying not to be seen by you? Or was he just being weird right off the trail while maintaining contact with you?
    I mean, he was trailing us about 50 feet back, peering around trees as if being stealthy. No more verbal contact was made after we jumped in front of him. The odd thing was, we clearly saw him staring at us from behind various trees. I'm sure he knew that we could see him, but he just kept trailing us and peering around trunks all wide-eyed.

  11. #151
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    Weirdest (to me) was on the AT I met an American born Hari Krishna monk who had been deported from India and didn't have anywhere else to go. But I'd say weirder still was on the Pinhote trail I ran into this guy, mid 30's, a bit rough round the edges, with a framed backpack that looked to be from the 70's. He said his wife had left him and he was trying to find himself on the trail, said he planned to walk the Pinhote to the AT and on up to Katahdin. I paused for a second, I asked him, "Do you realize you're going South?". Long story short, he took the wrong trail head and had walked for 3 days in the wrong direction. He was also out of food. I was close to the end of my hike so I took him to a grocery and dropped him off back where he started in the wrong direction. Somehow I don't envision he got very far.

  12. #152
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    I met a women many years ago who told me near a trail head that she was once Jim Morrison's lover and that he was still alive and she was looking for him! I told her I loved the Doors and Jim as well and can relate to her experience and then got the hell out of there as fast as I could!!!
    "I told my Ma's and Pa's I was coming to them mountains and they acted as if they was gutshot. Ma, I sez's, them mountains is the marrow of the world and by God, I was right". Del Gue

  13. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by double d View Post
    I met a women many years ago who told me near a trail head that she was once Jim Morrison's lover and that he was still alive and she was looking for him! I told her I loved the Doors and Jim as well and can relate to her experience and then got the hell out of there as fast as I could!!!
    Ah the LSD days.

  14. #154

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    This sounds like “Meandering Snail” to me... dude we met in Maryland in 2017, definitely the oddest duck ive met



    Quote Originally Posted by slammer View Post
    Weirdest (to me) was on the AT I met an American born Hari Krishna monk who had been deported from India and didn't have anywhere else to go. But I'd say weirder still was on the Pinhote trail I ran into this guy, mid 30's, a bit rough round the edges, with a framed backpack that looked to be from the 70's. He said his wife had left him and he was trying to find himself on the trail, said he planned to walk the Pinhote to the AT and on up to Katahdin. I paused for a second, I asked him, "Do you realize you're going South?". Long story short, he took the wrong trail head and had walked for 3 days in the wrong direction. He was also out of food. I was close to the end of my hike so I took him to a grocery and dropped him off back where he started in the wrong direction. Somehow I don't envision he got very far.

  15. #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    Ah the LSD days.
    Haaaaaaa, very correct JN164, very correct!!! Very surreal encounter I had, as I still remember it like it was yesterday (it was the summer of 1992).
    "I told my Ma's and Pa's I was coming to them mountains and they acted as if they was gutshot. Ma, I sez's, them mountains is the marrow of the world and by God, I was right". Del Gue

  16. #156
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    I see Dad on 12-6-13 had posted running into a guy that had 2 barbell weights and was talking about “research on illness”.... in 2008 on the AT thru I think I ran into the same guy. He was hiking with no pack and was carrying two plastic (normally concrete filled) dumbbells and was talking about doing a lot of research and knew that the end of the world was going to happen in July of that year. We said “thank you for that vital information!” And made distance between ourselves and him.

  17. #157

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    Not the strangest encounter Ive had, but noteworthy because I was on the AT yesterday.

    I was on Justice Mnt (I think) in Georgia with my dog. We were on a rock ledge where on a clear day you can see Atlanta. We were relaxing and taking in the view.

    The army Rangers have a big facility near by and I know they train in the mountains and very near the AT. I've even heard stories about exercises where soldiers will practice their "hiding" skills in front of hikers.

    I got that feeling that I was being watched and my dog would not stop staring over the side of the mountain in one certain direction. I personally could not see anything or anyone but I trust my 6th sense and even more, my dogs. I even stood up and looked around and stared into the direction the dog was looking. Never saw or heard anything

    On our way off the mountain, we did indeed pass a solider in full fatigues and fully loaded army gear/pack. But he was on trail, and the dog was staring off into the woods off the side of the mountain. I cant help but wonder if there was a solider or two practicing their camouflaging skills.....Army Ranger or Sasquatch? I will never know

    I personally dont care for the idea of them purposefully hiding from hikers just trying to enjoy a peaceful day on trail.

  18. #158
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    I was in the Mountain Phase of Ranger School in 1976. We reconned Hawk Mountain shelter one night, I was somewhere out on security.

    We might have observed the trail if a patrol got near it. We definitely did not want to be seen by a hiker.
    76 HawkMtn w/Rangers
    13 HF>CramptonsG
    14 LHHT
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    16 Kennerdell/Cranberry-Otter/DollyS/WRim-NCT
    17 BearR
    18-19 AT NOBO 1540.5

  19. #159
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    I’ve had several encounters from encountering a lone seemingly new orange resting on the middle of the North Country Trail in a remote part of The Upper Peninsula of Michigan (funny too as I was craving citrus) and their was no person on the trail in quite some time as it was overgrown, no sign of people going through in quite some time (is no boot marks in the mud, moved tree branches, deadfall, etc). On the AT, came up on a rabid raccoon sitting smack dab on the trail during daylight not acting right and preoccupied with biting itself swinging it’s head around sitting and not even paying attention to us dirty hikers who slowly backed away and waited awhile till it left and reported it later. ...then again seeing a lot of camping equipment on the side of the trail on the approach trail up to Springer Mountain was unreal.

  20. #160
    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    That orange is what we call trail magic!

    The abandoned camping gear is not uncommon in GA unfortunately.
    While searching for that unknown edge in life, never forget to look home. For the greatest edge you can find in life is to stand in the protective shadow of those who love you.

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