It seems too soon for spooky Halloween stories, but this true tale out of Joliet, MT is giving me some seriously creepy vibes. According to a social media post today (8/9) from the Carbon County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded around noon on Sunday (8/7) to a report of children screaming for help.

Photo by Julia Kadel on Unsplash
Photo by Julia Kadel on Unsplash
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Multiple agencies raced to the area.

The Carbon County Sheriff's Dispatch Center received a call from a Joliet resident who reported hearing the sound of screaming coming from the Rock Creek area that borders the southern edge of the small community. Units were immediately dispatched.

Responders from the Carbon County Sheriff's Office, Joliet Fire, Joliet EMS, Montana Highway Patrol, Carbon County Search and Rescue, Red Lodge Fire, and Red Lodge EMS did not locate any children after a thorough search. Authorities searched extensively on foot and from the air with a drone. The department wrote,

After extensive searching of the area as well as downstream, the Carbon County Sheriff's Office has determined this incident to be unfounded with no evidence of anybody in distress or needing help found.

They added that there are no active missing person reports in Carbon County.

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Joliet, MT - Google Street View
Joliet, MT - Google Street View
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So what was it?

One Joliet resident said in the comment section of the Carbon County Sheriff's post that twelve people heard the sound of children screaming for help. If you rule out the supernatural, the most plausible explanation is that a wild animal was making the screaming-for-help sounds.

Photo by Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash
Photo by Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash
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It was probably a bobcat.

Jeff Ewalt (aka Jeff the Nature Guy) at ZooMontana told me a number of animals in our area can make sounds that are frighteningly human-like. He said,

There are a few, but one in particular, male bobcats.  They often wail out a breeding call that can make your skin crawl. Other possibilities could be a fox or even a coyote.  I’d put my money on the bobcat though. Or a Chupacabra.

Sorry, Jeff... my money is on a skinwalker. Jokes aside, we're glad this turned out to be a false alarm. Thank you law enforcement and first responders for checking everything out.

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