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UFOs and Deer Men in Oklahoma

A line of clouds began to roll into Lawton, Oklahoma, when Kyle Heying stepped outside his work at Dillard’s one summer evening in 2010. When he lifted his camera up to his eye, he didn’t suspect what the clouds would bring. “I took a picture of the sunset,” he said. “There was nothing special in the sky except for a summer thunderstorm that was brewing to the south.”

A dark metallic object rides this stormfront approaching Lawton, Oklahoma, in 2011. (Photograph by Kyle Heying)

A dark metallic object rides this stormfront approaching Lawton, Oklahoma, in 2011. (Photograph by Kyle Heying)

When he prepared the photograph to post on a social media site, he discovered he’d captured something more than clouds. “I did not notice the object until later while reducing the image size and preparing it for posting on my Facebook page,” he said. “I still have yet to identify what it is.”

A sharp, dark mark just under the approaching storm stood out. When Heying enlarged the photo, he found the object appeared to be metallic, and the shape unlike anything that should be flying over Oklahoma. “The object from that evening thunderstorm still does not make sense,” he said. “Everyone who sees it gets confused.”

A closer view of a dark, metallic object photographed in at the edge of a 2011 storm front approaching Lawton, Oklahoma. (Photograph by Kyle Heying)

A closer view of a dark, metallic object photographed in at the edge of a 2011 storm front approaching Lawton, Oklahoma. (Photograph by Kyle Heying)

Confusion from the object is nothing like what Heying saw in the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge just west of Lawton. Heying, who now lives in Stillwater, Oklahoma, has often visited the 59,000-acre preserve to take photographs of the night sky. One night, he saw something he wished he hadn’t. ”I’m an amateur astrophotographer and astronomer,” he said. “A friend of mine and I go to the Wichita Mountains to do a lot of our own … astrophotography if the weather is permitting.”

Heying and his friend arrived in the mountains near dark in early Spring 2012 intending to stay until 1 a.m., but around 10 p.m., something strange happened. “Shortly before 10, the wildlife began to make a lot of movements,” he said. “Normally while out there, we were at the entrance to Boulder Creek which is a popular astrophotography site at the mountains, you will have some longhorn, elk, buffalo, and coyotes in the distance or nearby even for that matter.”

Wichita Mountains

The coyotes yipped and howled as normal, but as the night crept near 10 p.m., the coyote sounds grew fewer, and more distant. A herd of Rocky Mountain elk, reintroduced to the Wichita Mountains, hurried by, followed by a small herd of normally aggressive America Bison that skirted the asphalt parking lot where Heying had parked, “by five feet and did not bother us.”

Then the feral hogs came. “We always go armed with either a handgun or one of our rifles for safety,” Heying said. “They are loud and extremely dangerous. They ran right past us.”

A large hog

All the animals ran south, then the air changed. “It became deathly silent, and the air became ominous, and we felt an odd pressure; we started packing everything into my trunk quickly,” Heying said. As the two men put their cameras and telescopes into Heying’s car, something rustled in the tall grass just north of them. And it was coming closer. The men jumped into Heying’s car, rifles at the ready.

“We moved to another observation site to the northeast at the base of Mount Scott, the highest point out there,” Heying said. “We did a U-turn in the parking area and as I made the turn my headlights lighted up a human figure with a head I can not easily describe.”

The creature didn’t look human. “It was as though it had the head of a buffalo or an elk, while standing upright with two legs and two arms that were human,” he said. But the eyes were what terrified him. “The eyes were a dark red.”

Terror consumed Heying, and he didn’t know if he were looking at a beast, or a man in a mask. As the car’s headlights moved over the creature, it jerked as if hit. Heying punched the accelerator and tore away from this red-eyed monster. He didn’t slow until he reached Medicine Park, Oklahoma, two-and-a-half miles away. “We were scared shitless,” Heying said. Sitting in the car at the creek that splits the town of less than 400 at the entrance to the wildlife refuge, the silence outside grew ominous.

“Things got even quieter when we stayed there,” Heying said. “While there we heard one ear-piercing screech or scream, almost a hunting screech of some sort that made my hair stand on end and gave me goose bumps even worse.” The scream echoed through the night; Heying is sure it came from Mount Scott, where they’d just been. Where they saw the beast.

“With that we left the mountains completely, we felt as though we were not wanted there that night,” he said. “The way the wildlife acted, the figure that we came across (that) the animals had to have ran from, and then the scream of which I can only find references to happens to be the Banshee.”

It’s been a year, but Heying knows the image of the beast he saw in the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge will haunt him forever. “I cannot forget that figure we saw, as well as the scream,” he said. “It was not human but it was not of any wildlife I am familiar with from out there.”

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  • Martin

    Jason, This article is surprisingly timely. As of late, on the /x/ imageboard of 4chan, many people have been swapping tales of encounters with what they erroneously call Skinwalkers, I say erroneously because the beings they describe mimic humans, not animals, and are far more reminiscent of another entity you wrote about: the Harlequin, however, these beings seem to be unambiguously malevolent, slipping in amongst people and terrorizing them, like the harlequin, it is described as being associated with an unexplained smell, although in their case it is burnt hair and blood, not fresh rain. It is also described as moving awkwardly, and having some association with phantom sounds. However, more closely related to skin walkers AND this article, One person did repor having encountered and heard about encounters with a violent being almost exactly like the deer man you describe. I would be happy to post some of the stories as image files, if you or others are interested.

  • Stormeye

    If you have ever seen a vehicle with OK plates, you will note that the license plates say “Indian Country”. There are reservations scattered all through the state and a huge population of Native people in the area. The figure described sounds a lot like one of the cave paintings from France that depicts a human with an animal head (a deer or stag, if I remember correctly). If we set aside the idea that this was a hoax, several interesting ideas come to the fore.

    Part of sympathetic magic is creating a link between the magician and the person, place or thing being acted on. In tribal cultures, it was not uncommon to imitate animals by putting on their skins and the conjecture is that this was to attract the animals for a good hunt. So, Mr. Heying may have run across the apparition of a long dead medicine person “in costume” for such a rite.

    It’s possible that Mr. Heying stumbled across a spirit of that land. The tribal people of North America often teach that animals are people as well and that, under certain circumstances, you can have a “talk” with a member of one of the animal tribes. Native tales are rife with animal “people” and people who are part animal.

    There is also the chance that Mr. Heying encountered a guardian placed on that land (a thought form, if you will) by one of the local tribes. Remember that almost all the Native population in OK consists of people transplanted from their traditional homelands. These folks have no reason to love the Europeans and their magical practitioners may well have left some interesting things wandering the land to protect hunting grounds or areas where ritual was performed.

  • This is one of the most ancient artistic representations in the world, commonly interpreted as a ‘shaman’ undergoing an hallucinogenic trip.

    But perhaps it’s something else…

  • PS: Am I the only one seeing the shape of a bison in the reddish cloud formation shown in the 1st photo?

  • Lets see..they had rifles with them but didnt take a shot? Just once I would like to see a story like this that didnt have an obvious hole
    in it. Good campfire story…but I call BS.

  • Kyle Heying

    Jeff your skepticism is appreciated and welcomed. However, that night we were out there we still do not know what it was that ran off the wildlife and us. And no we did not go and take wild shots off into the night air to ‘scare’ it away. I’m sorry our refusal to shot into the night air is described as an obvious hole to the campfire story, especially when where we would be firing is in the direction of a roadway that goes through the Refuge. And I doubt the rangers would have appreciated the rifles being fired into the air, and not being used in legitimate self defense. Contrary to what you may or may not think of it, I do not find encountering this to be fun and getting away from it was the best thing we felt we could do.

  • Martin

    The sorcerer, right?

  • Tslyjr

    It’s a violation to transport and possess loaded firearms on the refuge without a state hand gun license. It would be an additional violation for discharging a weapon if not in self defense. Poaching would be a problem as well if it turned out not to be a supernatural being. It’s another violation to be out on the refuge driving around, recreating or doing anything other than fishing in open areas or driving through after hours (after dark). I’m not in disbelief, but you better pay attention to the regulations before you get yourselves into more trouble than its worth! Just. Grab a brochure, it’s all there…

  • morchilla

    I am originally from Los Angeles, now living in Northwest Arkansas, not too far from Oklahoma. One night about five years ago I was asleep with my boyfriend at the time (who has lived in NW Arkansas his whole life and knows much about the area and wildlife) when I was awakened by the most blood curdling evil gut wrenching awful humanesque yet nonhuman noise I have ever heard in my life. It sounded like a mix of women singing with gutteral demonesque howling and children crying all at once. I was so terrified I didn’t move or make a sound, until I heard it again, this time closer (there was acres and acres of woods right behind where we lived). As the howls became more intense I turned to my boyfriend and tried to wake him, but he was already awake. I asked him “What the hell is that?!” and he replied “Just go back to sleep.” He, being particularly knowledgeable of the area and also one who is naturally curious about UFO and other phenomena, not investigating the noise and simply telling me to ignore it, was all I needed to hear. I lay there stiff and terrified (I’m pretty sure neither of us actually slept at all) until the sound went away. The next day I mustered up the courage to ask him what the noise was again. He had no explanation. I myself have heard mountains lions, owls, bob cats, bears, coyotes, even wolves… there was nothing early that compares to this noise. Since I have searched extensively for a sound clip that matches the one we heard that night… but to no avail.