The event occurred when the couple were camping at Manistee National Forest in late May 1979.
On a sunny morning in late May of 1979, Charles and his wife, Deborah, took a walk near their campsite outside of Bitely, Michigan, deep within the Manistee National Forest. Manistee is a half million acres of protected wilderness on the western side of Michigan’s lower peninsula. It’s a popular place for people to take a break from urban life, and big enough that campers can enjoy solitude in nature. Charles described the forest around the campsite as they walked: “It was quiet, it was beautiful, the sky was completely blue.”
This was a notable contrast to the previous night, when Charles sat by the campfire and heard something walking through the trees just out of sight. He assumed it was a fellow camper, until he heard the scream.