It happened nearly 60 years ago, but Margie Lytle still remembers that evening, when she is certain she was chased by "Dog-Boy," a hybrid creature rumored to have roamed areas including Jefferson Township.
"I saw it coming at me and it was on all fours," said Lytle, 67, of Mercer.
She recounted her experience and will again share her story Sept. 13 at the Community Library of the Shenango Valley in Sharon as part of the "Strange Cryptids of the Ohio Valley" presentation, which starts at 1 p.m.
"Oh, yes, I'll be there," she said, adding she had no problem deciding to come forward with her story.
Lytle met earlier this year with Brian Seech, one of the men leading the presentation. He also investigates and researches sightings and experiences like Lytle's through the two groups he and his wife Terrie run, the Center for Cryptozoological Studies and the Center for Unexplained Events.
Lytle and Seech first crossed paths in 2009 at a similar presentation in Sharpsville, and she decided to share her story with him, a story that she's been telling since it happened, when she was about 8 or 9 years old, living with her family in Jefferson Township.
Other researchers didn't follow up with Lytle, or didn't believe her, she said, so she was pleasantly surprised when Seech finally had the chance to come out in June and return with her to the scene of the incident.
"He was excited," Lytle said of Seech.
She hasn't lived in that area for quite some time, so some of the street names have changed, but she was able to point him in the right direction as they made their way to an area where an abandoned farmhouse sat, the same milkhouse from that night in 1955 or 1956 still standing.
"Nothing has changed," she said of the property, which is also next to a pond.
On that particular night, Lytle, her mother Mary, and a group of neighborhood children were out for a walk; it was early fall, between 7:30 and 8.
"We came upon the house, and my mom said, 'I think that's where Dog-Boy lives,'" Lytle said, referring to the creature that had become local legend, mainly because of unexplained "horrific howls" that several older kids had reported.
Her mother pointed out the small milkhouse at the edge of the property of the working farm; Lytle couldn't recall ever knowing who lived there, and they were about three miles from the Lytle home on Ballpark Road at that point.
Their group walked faster and crossed the road, away from the farm.
"Next we heard a howl and a screech. My mother turned and she said "Run,'" Lytle said.
Lytle was at the back of the group, and the creature managed to grab her left hand. Though it was getting dark outside, she remembers it had a lot of hair and it stood up on its hind legs as she briefly struggled to break its hold.
"It was absolutely terrifying for me," said Lytle, the youngest of six children; her father was Edward.
Her mother grabbed her right hand and was able to yank her free, dragging her away. Lytle noticed the creature go back to the milkhouse as she ran off with her mother to catch up with the other kids.
Lytle escaped unhurt, and kept thinking about how the creature was most likely Dog-Boy. One of its front arms appeared deformed, and it had black or dark brown fur or hair, and while standing on all fours, it reached her hip.
Its growl had ended with a high pitch, "like a scream," she said.
She later learned none of the kids saw anything, but she has come to discover that there are others out there who have had similar encounters, which is a comfort.
"All those feelings come back," Lytle said of sharing her story again with Seech.
She doesn't know if the creature is still around, or if it would have been able to reproduce.
"I never gave it any thought that it would grow up," she said, laughing. "But I get the feeling something is there."
Dog-Boy is also referred to Dog-Man and some of Seech's research includes sightings in the early 1990s in Hermitage in the areas of Elmo Street, Selina Boulevard and French Street Extension. Seech notes that the sketch provided from those reports differ from Lytle's sketch.
Published Sept. 3, 2014, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.