More than 50 Bigfoot sightings tallied in W.Va.
March 16, 2008
Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part series concerning an
international group’s effort to locate Bigfoot inside West
The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, an Internet scientific community charged with unraveling the mystery of Sasquatch, lists more than 4,000 sightings and trackings of the furry fellow throughout the United States and Canada.
The Web site www. bfro.net has documented more than 50 sightings in West Virginia alone since 1975, with a majority of them occurring in southern West Virginia. The most recant Bigfoot sighting occurred last summer in Monroe County.
BFRO founder and director Mathew Moneymaker last week revealed for the first time the approximate geographical area in West Virginia where the group’s April 10-13 outing is scheduled. The group last explored a similar area in 2006.
“Our expedition will focus searching for Sasquatch in the Greenbrier River region area encompassing a span of three counties,” said Moneymaker, a law graduate and computer consultant from California.
Moneymaker began compiling his “comprehensive sightings database” in 1995 while still in law school. Since then, he’s received more than 20,000 submissions about sightings, but only about “one out of four have credible enough evidence to document and post on the Web site.”
The database, the first of its kind, gives a county-by-county breakdown not only of sightings and trackings, but also first-hand accounts. Some reports are buffered with notes from BFRO investigators such as retired Army Sgt. Stephen Willis, who will lead the Greenbrier River expedition.
Willis will most likely be searching for Sasquatch somewhere in Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties, which lists five previous sightings. A 1994 Greenbrier eyewitness account documents a man and son who saw “three creatures ripping limbs and bark from trees” at Sherwood Lake.
“I saw two very large black upright creatures ... it appeared they were eating bark. The smallest of the two had an arm reach about 10 to 12 feet. The larger of the two was several feet higher, later a third one stepped out. That’s when I told my son, ‘we have to run,’” the unidentified witness wrote. “I grew up in the area and I spent a lot of time in the woods, and it takes a lot to scare me. Through the years, I stopped talking about it because no believed me or my son.”
BFRO officials said many encounters are never documented because eyewitnesses fear they will be ridiculed after coming forward with information.
The Web site also documents a 1987 Nicholas County sighting by three friends of a “7-foot tall, legged, hairy brown animal” at the “Krofford Hole on the Gauley River.”
“I estimated by the tree limbs that it had to be over 7 feet tall,” the witness, known only as D.A., said. “I am a believer now and I will always be.”
- - -
Moneymaker said BFRO officials are continuing to input information from their expansive database onto Google Map, which he feels will allow him to glean even more information about the elusive, legendary character.
“By mapping the most credible instances, we will learn more about their behavior and use that to target their locations and possibly trick them to walk in front of cameras,” Moneymaker said.
And what of his critics who say Bigfoot is just a hoax? Moneymaker said, “We have been able to convert the best trained skeptic after seeing all the evidence. It’s not a magical thing or something you can show in one photo; it’s a collection of things.”
The state’s most recent Bigfoot sighting, a Monroe County encounter last summer, purportedly occurred just northeast of Lindside near U.S. 219.
“I was walking up to the driveway after getting the morning newspaper,” the unidentified witness wrote. “I saw a big, tannish brown creature that sort of had a bump in its back. Its fur was short and clumped.”
The witness said the creature also “banged on trees in the yard.”
Willis visited the family and set up a trail camera, but “(it) recorded three images, none of any interest.”
- - -
Will the mystery of Sasquatch finally be answered in the Greenbrier Valley? Moneymaker hopes that will be the case.
“Our group wants the rest of the world to know these animals are real and we are out to prove the existence of Bigfoot,” he said.
The creatures are real enough to those who say they have spotted them - but most scientists remain sceptical about their existence.
Investigator Jimmy Chilcutt of the Conroe Police Department in Texas, who specialises in finger and footprints, has said he believes he is certain around six footprints found - claimed to have been made by Bigfoot - are genuine.
He added that one 42 cm (18-inch) print found in Washington in 1987 has convinced him.
"The unique thing about this cast is that it has dermal ridges - and the flow and texture matches the ridge flow texture of one from California," Mr Chilcutt told BBC World Service's Discovery programme.
"The ridges are about twice as thick as in a human being."
Before becoming involved in bigfoot studies, Mr Chilcutt had amassed a huge collection of ape and monkey prints as part of a police research project.
"The ridges run down the side of the foot - in humans, the ridges run across the width of the foot," he said.
"That's what makes it unique. The only other animal I've seen this in is a howler monkey in Costa Rica.
"As a crime scene investigator, I don't deal in what I believe or what I think.
"I examine physical evidence and make a determination... I know there's an animal out there, because I've seen the physical evidence."
The Bigfoot is considered to be a North American version of the yeti of the Himalayas. The name bigfoot comes from several huge, mysterious foot impressions found in 1959 in a Californian forest.
Hundreds of other prints have been found since, although many have turned out to be hoaxes.
"There have been reported sightings in every state of the United States, other than Hawaii and Rhode Island," said Craig Woolheater, director of the Texas Bigfoot Research Center.
"It's not the missing link, it's not an extra-terrestrial, it's just an animal - a flesh-and-blood primate that has learned to be elusive around man and avoids man where possible."
Mr Woolheater's organisation investigates about 100 Bigfoot sightings in the state each year - as well as the surrounding states of Arkansas and Louisiana.
So far it has proved unsuccessful.
However, other evidence gathered through time includes footprints, audio recordings and "limb twists" - where branches of trees have seemingly been twisted by a type of primate with massive strength.
These twists are a common aspect of primate behaviour and Bigfoot hunters say they occur in areas where there have been a number of sightings.
But most of the evidence - such as photographs, hair samples, and even blood - has turned out to be fake.
"There is a significant amount of evidence for Bigfoot - there are tracks, there are fuzzy photographs, there are hair samples, there are sighting reports - the problem is that it's not good evidence," said Benjamin Radford, managing editor of Sceptical Inquirer magazine.
"I liken it to a cup of coffee - if you have many cups of weak coffee, they can't be combined into strong coffee.
"It's the same with scientific evidence. If you have lots of weak evidence, the cumulative effect of the evidence doesn't make it strong evidence - and what science needs to validate a Bigfoot is strong evidence."
Bigfoot is probably the best-known of the subjects of "cryptozoology" - the study of hidden creatures.
Some scientists are highly sceptical, believing these creatures to be nothing more than tricks of the mind.
"What often happens is that people will be out in the wilderness and they'll see something out of the corner of their eye - something dark or hairy or fast - that will surprise or shock them.
"If they're already thinking that there's a Bigfoot in the area, it's easy to make the leap between saying: 'I saw something, I don't know what it is,' to: 'I saw something and it's Bigfoot.'"
But others say it is best to keep an open mind.
"Every now and again big things turn up," Colin Tudge, zoologist and author of the book The Variety Of Life, told Discovery.
"The okapi - a horse-sized relative of the giraffe - turned up only in the early 20th Century.
"A few years ago somebody discovered an absolutely enormous shark in the ocean.
"The most recent - and I think the most spectacular - is an animal that people think is a goat-antelope, some kind of relative of the shamuar, which has turned up in the forests of Vietnam.
"This is an animal about the size of a Shetland pony with long horns, that nobody even suspected was there until just a few years ago - it was finally identified in about 1994."
Forensic Expert Says Bigfoot Is Real posted 2-1-05
for National Geographic News
October 23, 2003
It's been the subject of campfire stories for decades. A camera-elusive, grooming-challenged, bipedal ape-man that roams the mountain regions of North America. Some call it Sasquatch. Others know it as Bigfoot.
Thousands of people claim to have seen the hairy hominoid, but the evidence of its existence is fuzzy. There are few clear photographs of the oversized beast. No bones have ever been found. Countless pranksters have admitted to faking footprints.
Yet a small but vociferous number of scientists remain undeterred. Risking ridicule from other academics, they propose that there's enough forensic evidence to warrant something that has never been done: a comprehensive, scientific study to determine if the legendary primate actually exists.
"Given the scientific evidence that I have examined, I'm convinced there's a creature out there that is yet to be identified," said Jeff Meldrum, a professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University in Pocatello.
Thousands of Sightings
Sasquatch stories go back centuries. Tales of mythical giant apes lurk in the oral traditions of most Native American tribes, as well as in Europe and Asia. The Himalaya has its Abominable Snowman, or the Yeti. In Australia, Bigfoot is known as the Yowie Man.
Bigfoot advocates hypothesize that the primate is the offspring of an ape from Asia that wandered to North America during the Ice Age. They believe there are at least 2,000 ape men walking upright in North America's woods today.
An adult male is said to be at least 8 feet (2.4 meters) tall, weigh 800 pounds (360 kilograms), and have feet twice the size of a human's. The creatures are described as shy and nocturnal, and their diets consist mostly of berries and fruits.
Matt Moneymaker had been searching for Bigfoot for years. In the woods of eastern Ohio, he claims he finally came eye to eye with the elusive primate.
"It was 2 o'clock in the morning and the moon was a quarter full," recalled Moneymaker. "Suddenly, there he was, an eight-foot-tall creature, standing 15 feet away, growling at me. He wanted to let me know I was in the wrong place."
Moneymaker, who lives in Dana Point in southern California, is a lawyer who runs his own marketing agency. In his spare time, he leads the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, a network of more than 3,000 people who claim to have seen the Sasquatch.
Unfortunately, no one has been able to snap a clear picture of the beast.
Perhaps the most compelling photographic evidence of Bigfoot is a controversial short film shot by Roger Patterson in 1967, which appears to document a female Bigfoot striding along a riverbank in northern California.
"It certainly wasn't human"
Now, Bigfoot advocates are increasingly turning to forensic evidence to prove the existence of the giant creature.
Investigator Jimmy Chilcutt of the Conroe Police Department in Texas, who specializes in finger- and footprints, has analyzed the more than 150 casts of Bigfoot prints that Meldrum, the Idaho State professor, keeps in a laboratory.
Chilcutt says one footprint found in 1987 in Walla Walla in Washington State has convinced him that Bigfoot is real.
"The ridge flow pattern and the texture was completely different from anything I've ever seen," he said. "It certainly wasn't human, and of no known primate that I've examined. The print ridges flowed lengthwise along the foot, unlike human prints, which flow across. The texture of the ridges was about twice the thickness of a human, which indicated that this animal has a real thick skin."
Meldrum, meanwhile, says a 400-pound (180-kilogram) block of plaster known as the Skookum Cast provides further evidence of Bigfoot's existence. The cast was made in September 2000 from an impression of a large animal that had apparently lain down on its side to retrieve some fruit next to a mud hole in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State.
Meldrum says the cast contains recognizable impressions of a forearm, a thigh, buttocks, an Achilles tendon and heel. "It's 40 to 50 percent bigger than a normal human," he said. "The anatomy doesn't jive with any known animal."
A few academics believe Meldrum could be right.
Renowned chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall last year surprised an interviewer from National Public Radio when she said she was sure that large, undiscovered primates, such as the Yeti or Sasquatch, exist.
But the vast majority of scientists still believe Bigfoot is little more than supermarket tabloid fodder. They wonder why no Bigfoot has ever been captured, dead or alive.
"The bottom line is, they don't have a body," said Michael Dennett, who writes for Skeptical Inquirer magazine and who has followed the Bigfoot debate for 20 years.
Bigfoot buffs note that it's rare to find a carcass of a grizzly bear in the wild. While that's true, grizzlies have not escaped photographic documentation.
Hair samples that have been recovered from alleged Bigfoot encounters have turned out to come from elk, bears or cows.
Many of the sightings and footprints, meanwhile, have proved to be hoaxes.
After Bigfoot tracker Ray Wallace died in a California nursing home last year, his children finally announced that their prank-loving dad had created the modern myth of Bigfoot when he used a pair of carved wooden feet to create a track of giant footprints in a northern California logging camp in 1958.
Dennett says he's not surprised by the flood of Bigfoot sightings.
"It's the same kind of eyewitness reports we see for the Loch Ness Sea Monster, UFOs, ghosts, you name it," he said. "The monster thing is a universal product of the human mind. We hear such stories from around the world."
Bigfoot Attacks posted 4-1-04
Over the years, there have been a few reports of people being threatened or even attacked by Bigfoot. Here are a couple of examples:
In 1912, Charles Harper was camping with a group of fellow surveyors
on Currockbilly Mountain, New South Wales, Australia. The men became
concerned about some strange noises they heard and built up their camp
fire in an
attempt to calm their fears.
The fire's light revealed a "man-like animal" standing approximately
20 yards away. It was growling and thumping its' chest with its'
hands. The men were able to observe the 5'10" long-haired creature for
before it retreated into the forest.
A second disturbing encounter took place at Ape Canyon, Mount St.
Helens, Washington. Prospector Fred Beck and his companions shot
at a Bigfoot that had been watching them from behind a tree. It ran
off. Later that day,
Beck shot and killed another Sasquatch, which fell into a canyon.
That night, the miners' camp was attacked by several of the creatures.
For five hours they were subjected to repeated pounding on the door and
walls, along with rocks being thrown at the roof. The attack
went on until almost
dawn, when the Sasquatch abandoned their attempts to gain entry. Several Bigfoot tracks were later found around the cabin.
submitted by CurlyJoe@theshadowlands.net
Campbell County Skunk Ape posted 4-1-04
October 2003 - Residents of Campbell County, Tennessee, have reported several sightings of a large primate in the area. Both the local Sheriff's Department and Animal Control have received reports concerning the mystery animal, which is said to have a distinctive odour. Animal Control officials have also received more than 100 reports of missing cats and kittens.
While one eyewitness claims the creature is an orangutan, this seems unlikely since orangutans are vegetarians.
Cryptozoologist Chris Dotson has put forward the theory that a skunk ape is indeed living in the area. Skunk ape sightings have been reported in the American Southeast for the last 40 years.
submitted by CurlyJoe@theshadowlands.net
Bigfoot in Vermont? posted 4-1-04
Ray Dufresne, 45, was driving on Route 7 when he observed what he
described as a "big, black thing" walking upright. Dufresne, an avid
hunter since the age of 15, stated that the creature was completely hairy
from head to foot
and didn't walk like a human being.
He was able to observe the animal from a distance of approximately 140 feet and noted its very long arms and "long, black hair" before it disappeared into a wooded area near Glastenbury Mountain.
Dufresne's first thought was that this was an person in a gorilla costume, but due to the lack of homes or abandoned cars in the area he soon came to the realization that he had seen some type of animal.
submitted by CurlyJoe@theshadowlands.net
Dr. Jane Goodall States "Undiscovered" Primates Do Exist! posted 2-1-04
Dr. Goodall made this statement during a Talk of the Nation:
radio broadcast on September 27, 2002. Dr. Goodall bases her opinion on
reports of sightings from all over the world: Witnesses have described
similar animals and hairs have been found that do not match any known
submitted by CurlyJoe@theshadowlands.net
Skookum Cast Found posted 2-1-04
In September of 2000, researchers discovered a body print in southern
Washington State. The print, measuring 3.5 x 5 feet, required 200 lbs. of
plaster to fill in. It was dubbed the "Skookum Cast" because it was found
in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest's Skookum Meadows area. Hairs
belonging to several animals, including an unidentified primate, were found
on the cast. Further examination of the cast led scientists to conclude
that it did not match any known species and was probably made by a living
The cast shows the impression of a hip, thigh, heel, and left forearm
large animal. Skin ridge patterns (similar to finger prints in humans) were
discovered on the impression of the heel. It was examined by a wildlife
biologist, a physical anthropologist, and an animal handler. All three
concurred that it did not correspond to any known animal in the region and
that the impression could have been made by an unknown primate.
submitted by CurlyJoe@theshadowlands.net
Many Names, Same Animal? posted 2-1-04
Reports have been circulating for years about a large primate-like
in the Pacific Northwest. Witnesses have reported seeing an animal between
six and nine feet in height, weighing between 400 and 1,000 lbs. Colour of
the hair varies from light and dark brown shades to black. Bigfoot or
Sasquatch makes his/her home in dense forested areas along the west coast,
from British Columbia all the way down to California.
Similar creatures have been sighted in the southern United States
Midwest. This version of Bigfoot, known as the Swamp Ape or the Skunk Ape,
is said to have a strong odour and a deep dislike of dogs. Footprints
measuring between nine and 16 inches have been found. They are said to be
Reports of Almas or "Wild Men" have also come out of Russia.
individuals are approximately five feet in height. Hunters in Georgia
apparently captured and domesticated one of these animals in the 1800's.
The Alma, a female, was trained to do simple tasks, such as grinding corn.
She had great tolerance for the cold and was uncomfortable in a heated
environment. "Zana", as she was known, enjoyed wine immensely and often
drank until she passed out. She became the mother of several children by
various village men, most of whom sickened and died when she tried to wash
them in the frigid waters of the local river. After a time, Zana's children
were taken away from her and raised by village families. They learned to
speak like any other children. Zana passed away in 1890; the last of her
children died in 1954. Sightings of Almas have also taken place as recently
as 1957. Locals allege that they steal common household items and take them
into the mountains.
In Australia, Bigfoot is known as the "Yowie". Aborigines have
known of its
existence for thousands of years. It is described as being between five and
eight feet tall and covered with dark hair. Footprints are between 12-15"
long and quite human-looking. The Yowie enjoys a variety of foods,
including fruit, insects, eggs, grubs, roots, mice, and road kill. This
animal is thought to be noctural and will throw sticks and rocks if
confronted by a human. Like the Skunk Ape, it does not like dogs and has
been known to attack and kill dogs.
Similar animals have also been reported in Laos, Cambodia, and Viet
Local legend has it that they are responsible for attacking and killing
residents of the area.
Some two million years ago, a giant ape (Gigantopithecus Blacki)
home in China and southeast Asia. Scientists have estimated that
Gigantopithecus Blacki grew to a height of 10 feet and weighed in at
600-1200 lbs. Scientists have thought this animal died out 500,000 years
ago. Could it be that this animal still exists and is now known as Bigfoot?
submitted by CurlyJoe@theshadowlands.net
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