Sunday, April 29, 2012

Melissa Hovey Billed as the #1 Female Bigfoot Researcher in the Country

Chautauqua Lake Bigfoot Expo Bills Melissa Hovey as the Number One
 Female Bigfoot Researcher in the Country (click pic to enlarge)
The above is an edited and cropped screen shot from the official Chautauqua Lake Bigfoot Expo page. Recently the The Post-Journal, a paper based in Jamestown, New York, announced the inaugural Chautauqua Lake Bigfoot Expo set for May 4-6 in Mayville. We provide an excerpt below and a list of the speaker line up.

Expo To Discuss Bigfoot Sightings Event Set For May 4-6 In Mayville
April 22, 2012
The Post-Journal
MAYVILLE - The inaugural Chautauqua Lake Bigfoot Expo will take place May 4-6 at the Chautauqua Suites.
Melissa Hovey, one of the speakers coming to the Chautauqua Lake Bigfoot Expo and one of the leading female bigfoot researchers in the country, has defended herself against a copyright infringement of a photograph she owns and has copyright of a Bigfoot picture she will show publicly at The Chautauqua Lake Bigfoot Expo. [You will want to read Bigfoot Lunch Club's exclusive Melissa Hovey Photo Coverage]
Hovey will discuss at the Expo the emotional turmoil a witness to a Bigfoot sighting can go through, and the toll such an experience can and does have on the personal and professional lives of people who are simply talking about being witness to something they can't explain.
This turmoil and fear of has touched upon a number of eyewitnesses that have come forward to Peter Wiemer, Chautauqua Lake Bigfoot Expo chairman, in telling and emailing him about their personal eyewitness sightings here in Western New York.
"They are remaining anonymous, because of their genuine fear of being ridiculed and the fear of being outcast by their peers and professions," Wiemer said in a news release...
...Events open to the public include a town hall-type meeting on May 4; a Chautauqua Lake Bigfoot Golf Championship at WoodCrest Golf Course at 9 a.m. May 5; and a Bigfoot Expedition in the early evening on May 5.
The event culminates with the Expo on May 6, which will also include a Bigfoot Poster Contest for children and adults.
For more information, visit
The line-up of the four speakers from the article is below (these are the same bios that are pulled directly from the speaker line up at

Wildlife expert and educator Larry Batson and his wife, Cheryl, have appeared on television shows and traveled around the country with their wildlife show. They have rescued animals ranging from baboons to snakes to large felines and travel to many schools and public events educating children and adults on the natural history of wild animals. Batson will speak both May 5 and 6, and will have some of his animals with him.

Sasquatch expert says creature is alive and well in U.S. wilderness
Read more:

Melissa Hovey is a paralegal and Bigfoot researcher from Ohio. She is the president of the American Bigfoot Society. Melissa is also a member of Sasquatch Watch of Virginia, and a former member of the TBRC. Since beginning her research in 2005, Ms. Hovey has started her own blog and forum entitled "The Search for Bigfoot." In 2007, she began co-hosting Internet radio shows starting with "Let's Talk Bigfoot," then she joined, "The Sasquatch Experience," with Sean Forker in February 2008. In June 2008, she began co-hosting a new program on Blogtalk radio, with Monica Rawlins, her friend and former TBRC board member and field researcher, called, "The Grey Area." Ms. Hovey was also featured on the all-female expedition episode of the History Channel's "MonsterQuest" titled, "Bigfoot" during the show's first season.

Billy Willard is president of an environmental consulting firm. He oversees various types of environmental assessment and cleanup projects such as leaking underground petroleum tanks, environmental site assessments and soil and groundwater remediation. He is an OSHA hazwoper supervisor and holds many other credentials. He became interested in the Bigfoot phenomena early in life as a child after watching such movies as the "Legend of Boggy Creek" and the "Creature From Black Lake." In 2005, Wilard and his son Josh formed Sasquatch Watch of Virginia. Billy is vice president of the American Bigfoot Society, a director for The Alliance of Independent Bigfoot Researchers, member of the Northeast Sasquatch Researchers Association and a member of the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society.

In addition, Willard used to host an Internet radio program every Monday night at 9 p.m. on the Blogtalk Radio Network called "Sasquatch Watch Radio." Each week he has guests from around the world that include Bigfoot researchers and eyewitnesses. The shows are archived and available for listening.

Steve Kulls began his quest in 1998 seeking knowledge from other researchers in the field. Kulls said he believes in a "boots on the ground" methodology of obtaining evidence for or against, evidence regarding the Sasquatch mystery. Kulls said he has had five sightings in the last 12 years and a handful of what he describes as "most likely, close encounters" with the creatures, after initially entering the field quite skeptical. Kulls has appeared internationally on television, radio and in print as well as appearing on the History Channel's "MonsterQuest" series (Bigfoot in New York) and on the NatGeo Channel's "The Truth Behind" series (The Truth Behind: The Loch Ness Monster).

Skeptic Sharon Hill Takes us on a Bigfoot Media Tour

Sharon Hill takes on Bigfoot in the media at
"The group is governed by a set of pillars and is in the process of writing a “Book of Squatch,” with information, research and rules about the search for Sasquatch..." --Mark Kasting, Head Squatchman of Penn State's Searchers of Sasquatch

Sharon Hill is one of our favorite skeptics, we don't always agree, but she is fair and and extremely good at forming her argument. Better yet, she is thorough and a great fact checker, disciplines we think should be innate in any skeptic, but some self-proclaim skeptics just don't have the DNA for it.

She covers a few news articles we have also covered here at BLC. She mention the New York Times: How to Hunt for Bigfoot and the Hunting for Bigfoot in the Santa Cruz Mountains. You can read her take on both articles at Serious searchers seeking Sasquatch, or Shenanigans? (nice alliteration by the way).

She also showcases a third article we have not covered here at BLC, the Penn State paper, The Collegian, mentions an unofficial Penn State club titled, "The Penn State University Searchers of Sasquatch". You can read The Collegians full article below.

This is where Sharon's skill at going beyond the article is appreciated. In the article the Club claims 140 likes in it's "club," but in actuality it there are only 4 members. We can add to Sharon's reporting, at least two of the four Facebook members are not Penn State students, but Craig Woolheater of Cryptomundo and Sharon Lee of The Bigfoot Reporter.

At the very least The Collegian article is entertaining. Although it is not made completely clear this is a lampoon. There are some indicators like the, "The Book of Squatch" and the new method of "Bird Squatching". Please read the full article below.

Penn State's club Searchers of Sasquatch search for Bigfoot
By Grace Rambo
Collegian Staff Writer

In the darkest part of the deepest woods surrounding State College, he waits. His footprints dot the peak of Mount Nittany; he hunts in Sunset Park and wanders through the trees of the Arboretum. His existence has been questioned for decades, neither proven nor disproven. He is the Sasquatch.

At least, that’s what some Penn State students believe.

For those who have always known in their heart that Sasquatch exists, for those who believe the ever-elusive creature still roams the woods unseen and even for those who remain skeptical of its existence: the “Searchers of Sasquatch” are here.

Where it all began

It started with a TV show and a couple college friends hanging out and watching the popular show, “Finding Bigfoot.” The Searchers of Sasquatch, although not yet named an official Penn State club, is a group dedicated to searching for the mythical creature known as Bigfoot or Sasquatch, said Mark Kasting.

Kasting, better known as “head squatchman” and one of the creators of the group, said he and his friends watched others searching for Bigfoot on television and soon realized that they had a passion for it, too. They decided to form a group the week before spring break, Kasting (junior-astronomy and astrophysics) said.

And so, the Searchers of Sasquatch was born.

Kasting said the group is currently in the process of creating a club constitution and getting an adviser, although Kasting said that such a club requires a “certain type” of adviser.

Jack Bagby and Bruce Etter are two members of the Searchers of Sasquatch who helped create the club alongside Kasting. Bagby (junior-philosophy and Greek) said he focuses on the ethical aspects and issues that come with “squatching,” such as dealing with non-believers and skeptics, while Etter (junior-sociology, psychology and English) focuses on the social aspects, such as keeping up a strong group dynamic when students are out on the hunt.

Kasting, Bagby and Etter said their love of Bigfoot also goes hand-in-hand with the love they have for nature. Kasting and Etter have hiked the Appalachian Trail, while Bagby was a Boy Scout.

And Etter said he’s already discovered some photographic evidence of Bigfoot, citing a footprint he found in State College that he could not explain. Etter described the print as belonging to a “large, five-toed creature,” which was neither human nor bear nor dog.

Kasting said the Searchers of Sasquatch don’t currently have meetings because there is no on-campus classroom large enough to house their members, which reached 140 on Facebook as of press time Thursday.

Ruling the squatch

Searching for Bigfoot is not a free-for-all among believers, but an organized group effort that requires a set of rules for squatchers to uphold and live by.

Bagby said that any student who wants to join in the search for Sasquatch must remember to keep an open mind — an important trait if he or she is willing to join the Seachers of Sasquatch and submit to such a “squatchy existence.”

“We don’t want to make too many projections [about Bigfoot],” Bagby said. “It keeps us more ethically minded.”

The Searchers of Sasquatch are not just students who wander in the woods casually searching for the mythical creature, though. The group is governed by a set of pillars and is in the process of writing a “Book of Squatch,” with information, research and rules about the search for Sasquatch, Kasting said.

Some of the pillars include rules like “Everyone can squatch,” “No area is unsquatchable” and “Squatching is fun.” However, there are also very serious pillars, like the killing of Sasquatch, which is one of the most “unsquatchman-like” things a person can do.

Kasting also said another pillar is the idea that searching for Sasquatch becomes instinctive. The instinct to search for Sasquatch is usually triggered by “squatchy” territory. Kasting said a squatcher will feel in tune with nature and know when he or she enters squatchy territory.

One of the final pillars states, “Squatching is forever.” Etter wondered aloud when the hunt for Bigfoot would ever end, since the search for Bigfoot has gone on so long already.

But Kasting said that the hunt for Sasquatch will never end, even if someone were to find Sasquatch or one of his many offspring.

“We have to learn what they have to teach,” Kasting said, in regards to Sasquatch. “They know how to live what appears to be happy lives.”

Etter echoed these sentiments, saying that squatching is more than an attempt to find Bigfoot — it’s a lesson learned.

“Squatching teaches persistence in the face of adversity,” Etter said. “It’s sticking with what you believe.”

How to squatch

Being successful in the hunt for Bigfoot requires more than walking into the woods and taking a look around. There is a unique technique required if a person wants to have any chance of catching a glimpse of the mythical creature.

Bagby said the best place to search for Bigfoot is in large forests that contain big objects to hide behind, and the “further you get” into the forest, the “squatchier” it gets. He added it appears as though in the State College area, Bigfoots are not sedentary, and instead of settling down, they tend to just pass through the area.

Despite knowing where the Sasquatch prefers to live, it’s still difficult to attract them because they are intelligent creatures, Kasting said.

“Anyone who has ever tried has failed; they may be smart enough to know when we’re looking for them,” Kasting said. “It’s going to require a technique other than sneaking around. It’s going to require attracting the squatch to you through calls or noise-making, or showing the Bigfoot that you’re a decent group of people.”

Etter said that there are some important tips that can help anyone search for Sasquatch. One of the first things to remember, Etter said, is to be respectful.

“You’re a guest,” Etter said referring to sasquatch territory. “You’re walking in their home; you want to be courteous.”

Kasting added that keeping a good attitude is important because sometimes, the search for Sasquatch can be discouraging, especially when there are so many non-believers. However, for those who believe, Kasting said being attentive and observant of the qualities of nature will go a long way.

Despite displaying these qualities, Bagby said utilizing nature is also an important part of discovering Sasquatch. In particular, Bagby said a new type of squatching has developed, known as “bird squatching.”

Bagby said observing the way birds react to their surroundings in the wild can give clues as to where a Bigfoot may be hiding.

“Birds see the squatches that we can’t,” Bagby said. “If we watch their patterns, we are able to predict where the squatches are.”

The fascination with squatch

In 1967, Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin announced the first report of a Sasquatch sighting in the U.S. The pair claimed they captured video of a Bigfoot on film. While many sightings have been proven false, this sighting still stands as the sole evidence of Bigfoot’s existence.

Nearly 45 years later, the search for Bigfoot is alive and well, especially on Penn State’s campus.

Kasting said he thinks the biggest reason people still search for Sasquatch is for the pursuit of something unattainable.

“People like the search for something that hasn’t been proven,” Kasting said. “People search for meaning in their lives.”

Etter echoed similar sentiments, saying that everyone has their own “squatch” they are constantly searching for.

Aside from the philosophical search for meaning through squatching, Bagby said another reason people find such fascination in Bigfoot is the fact that Bigfoot is a creature more relatable to humans than any other creature.

“We could relate to this animal,” Bagby said. “A dog is a domesticated thing, but a Sasquatch lives on its own just like we do.”

But anyone, even those who don’t believe in Sasquatch, can join the group.

Kasting said believers and skeptics alike are welcomed to join the Searchers of Sasquatch. The main idea, Kasting said, is that people are coming together.

“Not everybody will see it the same way,” Kasting said. “The important thing is that everyone is out there doing it together.”

Etter said that he personally is unsure of the existence of Bigfoot. Despite his doubts, he said it’s crucial for all people who look for Sasquatch to have fun and keep searching.

“We’re just trying to get our feet wet and not take a question mark for an answer,” Etter said. “I believe in the possibility of the unbelievable.”
SRC: The Collegian

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Loren Coleman Talks Midwest Bigfoot History and BFRO Commercialism

Loren Coleman reminds us that the earliest reports of Sasquatch
sightings in the country came from Missouri and Arkansas.
“The most wrong-headed ideas are coming out of the BFRO. You’re just not going to find animals like this primate if you go into an area with 30 to 50 people looking for it. The noise and the camping activities will scare these creatures to the next valley.” --Loren Coleman

It should be mentioned that further in the article Coleman has high praise for the individual BFRO investigators themselves, he makes a definite distinction between the commercial group ventures and the respected individual researchers.

Mostly he talks about the history of hairy wild men and the sightings that took place in the Midwest--okay technically Oklahoma is considered part of the Intermountain Region, and the Midwest contains 10 other states, but that makes for a long headline.

Bigfoot sightings common in Four-State Area

By Josh Letner

— Woolly corners of Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma may support more than just black bears, mountain lions and wild hogs, according to one group of researchers. They believe the region also could hide a population of the legendary sasquatch.

They cite dozens of unexplained encounters in the Four States going back 150 years. But their search for a 7-foot tall beast has run up against more obstacles than bigfoot’s shy nature.

‘Old Sheff’

Loren Coleman, founder of the International Museum of Cryptozoology in Portland, Maine, says some of the earliest reports of sasquatch sightings in the country came from Missouri and Arkansas.

Coleman says there are reports of a “monstrous wild man” in the swamps of the Missouri Bootheel dating to the 1840s. A decade later, hunters in Arkansas reported seeing a creature that was “gigantic in stature, hairy, and having footprints that measured at least 14 inches long.”

“What we have to look for in terms of old reports are people talking about hairy wild men and there are many, many of those coming out of the Ozarks. It was a real hotbed for reports of these creatures in the 1850s,” he said.

A similar report emerged out of Crawford County, Kan., just after the Civil War.

“We of the Arcadia Valley, in the southern part of Crawford County, are having a new sensation, which may lead to some new disclosures in nature history, if investigated as it should be. It is nothing less than the discovery of a wild man or a gorilla, or ‘what is it,’” stated a report that first appeared in the Journal Free Press of Osage City, Kan., in 1869, and was soon reprinted in the St. Louis Democrat. “It has so near a resemblance to the human form that the men are unwilling to shoot it. It is difficult to give a description of this wild man or animal. It has a stooping gait, very long arms with immense hands or claw; generally walks on its hind legs but sometimes on all fours.

“The settlers, not knowing what to call it, have christened it ‘Old Sheff.’

“It cannot be caught and nobody is willing to shoot it.”

The letter was signed by M.S. Trimble.


Since then, there have been more than 200 reports of Bigfoot encounters out of Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas, according to the Bigfoot Field Research Organization.

Ron Boles, who lives in Springfield and is senior regional investigator for BFRO, said they are a volunteer group that catalogues, investigates, and rates Bigfoot encounters across the nation. A Class C encounter, for example, is non-visual evidence, such as a track; a Class B encounter may involve a vague or blurry sighting; the rarer Class A sighting, said Boles, involves a sober-as-Sunday-morning contact.

One such encounter occurred in Southwest City the morning of Sept. 6, 2010, according to Boles and BFRO.

It was Labor Day, and three fishermen were driving home at about 12:50 a.m. when they allegedly spotted a large creature hiding behind a trash can on the north end of Main Street. When they approached in their vehicle, the creature stood on its hind legs and fled. The fishermen pursued briefly before it escaped into the night.

The incident was reported by the driver to the BFRO and Boles says he investigated it, along with Larry Newman, a current candidate for sheriff in Jasper County.

“I was never more convinced of a Class A sighting than that one,” Boles said.

“Never in my life was I prepared for what I saw,” the witness told investigators. “It had long hair about 5 or 6 inches long and turned and looked at us twice to see if we were on his tail, I guess. This was a face-to-face encounter with this thing. He had his head in a trash can eating something. That’s how we got so close, he didn’t see us coming. He left a footprint behind and the police took a picture of it.”

Boles says the driver willingly gave his account but the others were reluctant to talk.

“I trust apprehensive witnesses a lot more than I do willing ones,” Boles said. “In some rural areas, people would rather go to their graves than lose face.”

Newman and Boles, who conducted their investigation six days later, described the witness as “genuinely frightened” by the experience.

“The footprint was 16 inches long and 8 inches wide,” Newman’s investigative report states. “They described a creature about 6 1/2 to 7 feet tall with a shoulder width of about 3 feet. Very heavy muscular legs, arms and body. The face had a wide flat nose, black around the eye area and small ears. The hair (not fur) was a reddish-brown color and not messy and matted as often described. The face was black.

“After this lengthy and detailed interview we believe this to be a close contact Class A sighting,” Newman wrote.

Boles and Newman said they did not want to release the name of the witness, citing the stigma surrounding those who claim to have sighted Bigfoot.

Newman has conducted other investigations for BFRO, and says he was contacted by the group because of his experience in law enforcement. He says he has investigated several reported sightings in the region. He says some seem legitimate while others are clearly false.

Newman says he has never seen a sasquatch himself, so he remains unconvinced of their existence. Boles says it is good for investigators to have a healthy dose of skepticism..

“We have been taught to be more skeptical of these reports than anybody,” he said. “If we’re not the most skeptical people out there, then that takes away the integrity of our research.”

Chetopa Hoax

Skepticism is warranted, too, because the Four States is not only noted for its woolly corners, but also for its practical jokers.

Such may have been the case in Chetopa, Kan., in February 1978.

According to BFRO and media reports at the time, the Chetopa Police Chief was alerted to more than two miles of tracks, with footprints that measured 17 inches in length and nearly 6 inches in width. Thousands of people came out to see them.

“After a while the chief supposedly found what was making the tracks, which was a 6-foot-6 kid named Chuck Bentley,” says the BRFO.

Bentley later admitted he made large wooden feet and stapled them to his boots, and created large strides by running while friends served as lookouts.

“I was just trying to add some excitement to Chetopa,” he said after he confessed.

However, the BFRO website implies the chief may have concocted not the story of the tracks, but the story that it was a hoax, to get people to settle down and to keep the curious from stirring up the town.

Bentley never returned telephone calls.


Clever tricksters aside, Coleman says there is still much in the world that remains undiscovered. The growing field of cryptozoology, derived from the Greek word “krypto” meaning hidden, is the study of creatures that are not known to science, but are hypothesized to exist.

While some people might scoff at the notion of cryptozoology, new species are still being discovered. He points to a new species of monkey discovered in Burma, giant lizards in the Philippines, and giant squid in the Pacific Ocean, which were first photographed only a few years ago.

“In our society today everything is instant, but people forget that it took 67 years to find the giant panda in the 1930s. It took over 50 years to find the mountain gorilla in Africa in a concentrated search area,” he said.

Coleman says he believes it is possible that a sasquatch could survive in the Ozarks. He says, although the area’s population has grown, it has become more concentrated in towns and cities.

“We go from one place to another on these strips of asphalt and we are increasingly ignoring the places that are green,” he said. “There are a lot of animals out there that people are absolutely ignoring.”

Boles says there is currently more forested land in the United States than at any point in the last century. He also points to skyrocketing populations of deer, turkey and feral hogs as a potential food source for sasquatch.

But Coleman says he is concerned that a recent activity — charging to search for sasquatch —  could undermine the scientific integrity of the quest to document cryptids.


In late February, the BFRO ran afoul of the National Park Service after an expedition of more than 30 Bigfoot enthusiasts — who had each paid $300 to attend — was stopped by park rangers in the Buffalo National River south of Harrison, Ark. The group was fined for leading an expedition without receiving a vendor’s permit.

Chief Ranger Karen Bradford said the group was acting as a concessionaire without the proper permits. She said that even if the group had applied for a permit, it is unlikely that the Park Service would have approved of a Bigfoot expedition because there was “no evidence of any Bigfoot, sasquatch, or yeti living in the Buffalo National River.”

Boles said the issue the Park Service was “an oversight, nothing more, nothing less.”

He says he is alarmed to hear that the BFRO would not be granted a permit in the future. He says the Park Service allows guided ghost tours at its Civil War battlefields, so why not Bigfoot expeditions in the wilderness?

“The Park Service is willing to acknowledge the possible existence of Civil War ghosts, but not an undiscovered primate?” argued Boles.

He also said the BFRO doesn’t guarantee that participants will have an encounter, but it does provide “the potential to have an encounter.”

“We offer an opportunity for people to come together to learn the signs that we look for and the things we do to draw them in,” he said. “You can’t go looking for them and hope to find one; you have to draw them in. You have to become the bait. You’ve to peak their curiosity and have them come to you.”

Coleman says BFRO guides have encouraged expedition participants to beat on trees and set off fireworks in an attempt to attract the reclusive creatures.

“The most wrong-headed ideas are coming out of the BFRO,” he said. “You’re just not going to find animals like this primate if you go into an area with 30 to 50 people looking for it. The noise and the camping activities will scare these creatures to the next valley.”

Coleman says the expeditions are “commercial adventures” that do not follow scientific method.

While Coleman is critical of the weekend expeditions, he has praise for the field investigations conducted by the BFRO of reported sightings.

“If you’re talking about the group and the weekend events, that’s much different than their individual investigators who also have a credible background in law enforcement. Those people are doing good research and good science.”

Boles says he is confident that there are many unknowns in this world that are yet to be discovered.

“I think there are a lot more mysteries left on this Earth than modern science will ever admit to,” he said. “Just because they don’t recognize it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Scientists haven’t been able to prove the spooklight in Joplin, but are you going to tell me that it isn’t there?”

SRC: The Joplin Globe

Grassroots Bigfoot Legend Ray Crowe in Hospice

Ray Crowe is the consummate Bigfoot organizer, from people,
to events, to research. Ray Crowe has organized them all.
Ray is the type of man that would invite anyone and everyone to share his passion about Bigfoot. At the second annual Oregon Sasquatch Symposium his name was mentioned several times as the man who introduced prominent researchers to Bigfooting. Before social media like Facebook Groups and Blogs, and before you could Google "Bigfoot", Rays Crowe's Newsletter, "The Track Record" was the social media Bigfooters used to gather and learn from.

I have only had the most recent fortune of meeting Ray Crowe. Thom Powell was kind enough to introduce me to Ray via email. We became instant pen pals and since last October I had gotten used seeing him at least once a month at his Western Bigfoot Society meetings located at Patti's Homeplate Cafe.

I marvel when I think how much successful effort Ray put into getting people together, investigating witnesses, and providing compelling research to anybody curious enough to learn about Bigfoot. A lot of what Ray did is still being done today, but not by any one single person. Despite technology allowing us to do many of these things easier, it takes a special personality to do all of these things well. It takes a Ray Crowe.

From Sasquatchpedia:

Ray Crowe
Charles Raymond Crowe (b. 1937) is a bigfoot researcher/archivist from Hillsboro, Oregon.
Ray's initial interest in the bigfoot mystery occurred after he went with a group of bigfoot hunters from nearby Vancouver, Washington (a rather militant group, according to Ray)[citation needed], who dropped Ray off on an isolated road near the forest. Ray found a set of tracks he could not explain, and he decided then and there to start a group dedicated to sasquatch research. He called it the Western Bigfoot Society and held monthly meetings in the basement of his bookshop.
Crowe also organized and held conferences in Carson, Washington called "Bigfoot Daze" in which he invited established researchers to speak. He also established a newsletter called The Track Record which told of the latest happenings in the bigfoot world, no matter how controversial or untrue. Crowe has a very open-door policy when it came to his meetings and newsletter, but he always warns his readers to "wear your skepticals."
Crowe was about to shut down the newsletter and organization in 2006 (by that time the organization had been renamed the International Bigfoot Society), but controversial researcher Tom Biscardi offered to continue the newsletter and the organization with funding, which he did. [The crossed out section is incorrect and should read, "Ray sold the IBS/WBS to David Paulides."] Ray continues to receive reports and media articles from around the world. After closing his bookstore, he continued to hold meetings in various places until he started holding them at Dad's Restaurant in Portland.
There should also be an update. As of October 2011, with the encouragement of Rhettman A. Mullis, Jr., Ray Crowe has restarted his Western Bigfoot Society monthly meetings. Mr. Mullis is President of Bigfootology and Ray Crowe is a senior member and advisor on the Bigfootology team.

Here is how others have characterized Ray Crowe.
[Ray Crowe is] not just a bigfoot hunter, but an editor, event organizer, field investigator, and generalized paranormalist and Fortean. He co-founded The Western Bigfoot Society...He kept an open mind, but always "kept his skepticals on." -- Steven Streufert, BIGFOOTS bLOG
"Crowe spent a lifetime researching Bigfoot, concurrently while establishing the Western Bigfoot Society, publishing one of the first Bigfoot newsletters, The Track Record. The newsletter was filled with valuable information about Bigfoot habitat, sightings, behavior and forensic data." -- Loren Coleman, Cryptomundo

Recently Ray Crowe has been admitted to Hospice. Rhettman Mullins has been updating tghe public through his facebook page. Below our Rhetmans updates:

April 25, 2012 update on Ray Crowe. The news continues to get worse. We have now entered death watch mode. The V.A. Hospital has determined that they are not going to treat Ray further and they are transferring him to a respite/hospice facility. They are expecting Ray to pass on at any time. At this point Ray is in God’s hands. There is still a chance that he may recover, but none of his doctors expects him to recover.

Kate and I talked today and have cried and prayed. She will call me later after they have moved him. Ray and Kate has asked me and my family to come down to Portland, and we are trying to figure out how to make that happen financially and personal time obligation limitations.

Pray for Ray, Kate, and Ray’s family.

April 26th update on Ray Crowe. Ray was actually up and about today. After eating all of this lunch he strolled down the hallway in his wheelchair and then was wiped out so he went back to bed and is sleeping now. He is in a lot of pain and his pain medication is not lasting as long as it is required before the next round of medication can be given. Other than that, Kate reports that he is in good spirit. I did not talk with Ray today because I did not want to disturb his sleep.

I appreciate, as does Kate and Ray, all of the well-wishers, thoughts, and prayers. Please continue to do so.

April 28th update on Ray Crowe. Ray is still doing okay. The vein in his neck is still collapsed and they cannot operate on it. The doctors have reiterated that it is not a good prognosis for him even though he is doing okay at the moment. He has some visitors today, Patti Reinhold, VP of the WBS, and her husband. Please keep your prayers coming and thank you for your continued encouragement and support from myself, Kate, and Ray.

Our thoughts are with Ray Crowe and his family and friends. If you would like to forward messages to Ray Crowe. You can do so at:
Ray Crowe
c/o Bigfootology
P.O. Box 193
Oak Harbor, WA 98277

Below is a n interview Stephen Colbert had with Ray Crowe.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Bigfoot Print Inspired Farmer Turns to Craigslist to Hunt for Sasquatch

Roland Withers's Photo of Possible Bigfoot Print
The Buzzfeed has written an article that has already been reprinted across the internet at and  International Business Times. Don't you wish he had put a quarter or a dollar bill next to the foot so we had some sense of scale? Read the short viral article below and the original Craigslist ad. 
Roland Withers was out trout fishing when he saw several oversized humanoid footprints in the mud. Since it had only just rained a few hours before, he knew the print was recent. Too large to be human, but a footfall pattern suggesting upright bipedal walking meant one thing:
Bigfoot was near.
Mr. Withers, a 28 year old part-time farmer, is now looking to gather a group of Bigfoot hunters along with night vision goggles and motion activated cameras to go on an expedition to capture Bigfoot on film.
I spoke with Roland, and so far three people have replied to his ad ready to join in the hunt. He's heard rumors over the years of Bigfoot sightings in his area of northern Vermont.
He doesn't plan on bringing a gun for safety, which I strongly urged him to. "We don't want to hurt him." If Bigfoot gets agressive, Roland says, "It would be cool to get beat up by Bigfoot.
Best of luck, Roland.
Roland Withers's Craigslist ad looking for strangers to help him find Bigfoot

Return of the White Bigfoot

Still from a prior frame that was not in the previous
MK Davis Video (Sent from MK, Click to enlarge)

Enlarged Still of previous frame (Sent from MK, Click to enlarge)

UPDATE!! MK Davis has provided some more detail  based on our question's about the black pixelation below. His new comments are in Green. 

We applaud MK Davis for reacting to previous questions and critiques. He has searched through his archives to find the footage that is minutes prior the previous released footage. In this additional footage he seems to have more audio artifacts that he suspect could possibly be a tree knock.

We still have issues with what we called the "leading dark pixel." We believe the leading black pixel is even more persistent in this previous footage. 

The same pic as above with an outline and black arrow pointing to
the dark pixels that seem to us attached
Hello Guy. Apparently the black halo that appears to wrap around or lay against the  all white subject is an artifact of digitization. I rendered the VHS tapes myself, so it must have occurred when I did that. It mostly occurs when the file is rendered to High Definition video. This is what I did. 1080 pixels. Once again my fault. I did not know that could happen. This is why, in the bent knees clip that something black appears along the back side as it walks. I believe that this is the explanation. M.K.

MK also provided a screenshot of another person who
digitized video and had black artifacts. (click to enlarge)

MK is pretty humble and would like to get feedback from the rest of you. He is curious what you see in the videos below. 

The First Video with the extended beginning footage

The raw and the boosted contrast footage

Sharon Hill: You are Not Entitled to Your Own Bigfoot Facts

Joe Friday from Dragnet insisted on the "Just the Facts"
Our favorite skeptic continues to keep us Bigfooters on our toes. In an article posted on Sharon Hill, who runs the Doubtful News website, questions the use of the word fact in our community. Sure, her article mostly focuses around Matt Moneymaker, who is an easy target for bold claims of Bigfoot behavior.

The only argument we have is not all claims of Bigfoot behavior (including the examples she uses) are presented as facts. True, they don't have the disclaimer of being speculation, but that's because everything about Bigfoot is, by default, speculation. Isn't it? Aren't we all guessing in the end?  

So, while we agree presenting Bigfoot behavior as facts is a little much, we would defend the practice of tossing out the modifiers that indicate we are speculating when describing possible Bigfoot behavior. It's Bigfoot, its all going to be speculation by default. When we claim, "Bigfoot prefers to be at a higher elevation overlooking game trails," we don't think it will be accepted as a fact but speculation by default. 

Below is a excerpt from Sharon Hill's article which we encourage you all to read and give your opinion. 
Self-styled Bigfoot researchers make claims that suggest they know more about Bigfoot than Bigfoot might know about himself. They can tell me what Bigfoot likes and doesn’t like, where he sleeps at night, how he avoids detection, and how he communicates. They tell the public that Bigfoot makes those sounds they hear at night. They find locations where a Bigfoot passed through or slept or built a shelter. These researchers even know about Bigfoots’ “culture”—what they do with their dead relatives, how they can fool humans. But apparently they don't know enough to catch one.
Fact? You Keep Using that Word But I Don’t Think It Means What You Think It Means
Perhaps there is confusion over what exactly is meant by “fact.” That word doesn't have a hard and fast definition, but rather one that is based on how the statement is verified—from universal on the left end to personal verification on the right. A scientific fact is at the extreme left end. It is incontrovertible, verifiable to anyone who wants to check it. Facts are the building blocks of theories that describe how nature works.
A more everyday usage of the term “fact” is in the middle: a statement that can be confirmed to the point where the consensus will be that it is true, it really occurred, or it is certainly the case. That infers that there was some process undertaken to establish some basis for what is stated. We accept a lot of things as facts not because we have personally verified them but because others probably have and/or because it is reasonable to accept those facts as true.
On the extreme right side is a fact based on personal verification. “Fact” is used as a label for a statement that a person very much wants to believe or believes to be true. It's a fact in that person’s mind because he or she has accepted it completely: “I know this is true. I’ve seen it.” You probably won't be able to sway that person’s belief with any counter facts of your own. Religious facts are in this category.
Read the rest of the article titled You are Not Entitled to Your Own Bigfoot Facts where Sharon Hill makes an example of Matt Moneymaker. But we will still stand by our position; some of us Bigfooters talk about Bigfoot behavior without acknowledging is is mere speculation, because speculation is inherent to all Bigfoot discussion.

Melba Ketchum Has a History of Failing to Deliver DNA Results

Dr. Melba Ketchum's DNA Diagnostics Better Business rating is an "F"
Disappointed by the delay in the Bigfoot DNA results? Get in line. A Post by Michael Merchant, of the Team Tazer Bigfoot Fanpage, linked to the Better Business Bureau® rating for Dr. Melba Ketchum's business DNA Diagnostics, Inc. Unfortunately on a scale from A-F, Melba's company gets an F. Why? Failure to deliver DNA Results. In these cases it is horse, cat and dog DNA results.

Under the additional complaint information header on the BBB page was this paragraph.
DNA Diagnostics has developed a pattern of complaints and has failed to correct the underlying reasons for complaints. Consumers claim have paid for services that have not been delivered or have not been delivered within a reasonable time. Further, they have not received a refund when services were not provided.
To be fair, we do not know the percentage of unhappy DNA Diagnostics consumers, we do know there have been 19 complaints submitted to the BBB and 18 are due to "delivery issues". 7 of the complaints were resolved with the aid of BBB, 8 did not get resolved, 3 have not even been responded to by DNA Diagnostics and 1 was determined as a good faith effort to resolve. Click the following link to read the entire details of every BBB DNA Diagnostic Complaint.

Here is a brief of each of the 19 complaints

  1. 04/19/2011 - Extremely poor custstomer service and communication. [Resolved]
  2. 09/01/2010 - Missing Feline DNA results. Pre-Paid. No results   [Resolved]
  3. 08/23/2010 -  I ordered 5 tests from Catgenes (Dna Diagnostics) and none of them were ever completed.   [Resolved]
  4. 08/04/2010 - Service not done. I purchased testing and sent in samples, which were received, and never got results.  [Resolved]
  5. 07/23/2010 -  I ordered DNA tests to be completed in the beginning of March, and have not recieved my results or had any phone calls/emails returned.  [Resolved]
  6. 04/14/2010 - I paid for a service (feline DNA testing) and never received the results.  [Resolved]
  7. 03/12/2010 - Provided a sample to be worked, they have not worked it and will not provide a refund or assistance.  [Resolved]
  8. 12/16/2010 - I submitted hair for a DNA test with Shelterwood Lab. almost a month ago and they have cashed my check but they have not returned calls or emails.  [UNResolved]
  9. 09/03/2010 - I ordered $320 worth of DNA tests in Dec., 2009. Results were promised in 3 weeks. In March, 2010: received incorrect results.  [UNResolved]
  10. 08/20/2010 - I sent samples to be analyzed & included full payment. Have received no results and almost no response to my inquiries over the past 12 months.  [UNResolved]
  11. 08/02/2010 - I submitted a request for an equine paternal test at the end of March 2010. It is now July 1, 2010. I still have not recieved test restults. [UNResolved]
  12. 08/02/2010 - Paid for a service in Feb 2010, and have not received test results.  [UNResolved]
  13. 07/30/2010 - Sent DNA in on two horses last week of March. Still no report on these. Have called numorus times . No responce.  [UNResolved]
  14. 05/17/2010 - I paid for services they did not give me.  [UNResolved]
  15. 05/13/2010 - For 2 1/2 months have been told at least 10 times I would recieve results of DNA test in 1 -3 days.I ask for a refund today and they say no refunds.  [UNResolved]
  16. 11/01/2010 - Sent samples with full payment in April 2010. I have recieved no results to date and have tried repeatedly to contact them for a refund. [Biz did not Respond]
  17. 06/25/2010 - Sent dog DNA in for testing 1/23/10 no results...  [Biz did not Respond]
  18. 07/20/2010 - Delivery Issues  [Biz did not Respond]
  19. 03/31/2010 - They have not provided me the diagnostic service as promised from June of 2009. [BBB Determined Biz made good faith effort]

We are not blind to the irony of the complaints. Most of them categorized as failing to deliver DNA results on time. Bigfooters have been waiting for Melba's DNA test results for a while too.

Again to be fair, some of the complications arose when Cat Fanciers Association.(CFA) stopped using DNA Diagnostics and continued to test with another DNA testing contractor. Why CFA decided to go with a different lab is unknown to us.

To put this in some further context. According to the BBB there are 19 other businesses in the BBB category of  "Laboratories - Medical" serving the Tyler & Longview TX area. None of them has had complaints within the last 36 months.

Another independent source also expressed frustration with Dr. Melba Ketchum. A company called International Genetics has this on their page.
April thru July 2008     Melba Ketchum became very tardy in extracting PinPoint’s DNA samples. This was the first period of delays that caused severe customer service problems. We then came to an agreement with Texas A&M to handle this process as well as the PID testing.
April 2009     The 2nd lawsuit was filed and this was the final straw between Dr. Ketchum and InGen. Due to Dr. Ketchum’s failure to properly research certain tests that are allegedly protected by patent, InGen was drawn into another lawsuit which eventually led to the early termination of the contract between InGen and Texas A&M. InGen severed its relationship with Dr. Ketchum which was the best thing that has come from that suit.
We attempted to reach out to Dr. Melba Ketchum for a response regarding the BBB rating and have not yet heard back from Dr. Ketchum. If she responds we will update this post.

We truly hope for the best, there is a good portion of people who sent samples to Ketchum that have good standing in the community. We would love to have all of our concerns proven to be baseless.

A final thought: when the press release comes out before the evidence, that press release might as well be a red flag.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

See Bigfoot Legend Peter Byrne at 2012 Ohio Bigfoot Conference

Bigfoot research legend Peter Byrne will be a
special guest at the Ohio Bigfoot Conference
The reminds us that one of the original four horsemen of Sasquatchery, Peter Byrne, will be a special guest this coming Sunday at the Ohio Bigfoot Conference. You can buy tickets at the door.

Read the article below and then the details of the event after the article.

CAMBRIDGE -- Peter Byrne -- a legendary adventurer, big game guide turned conservationist and seeker of bigfoot -- will be the special guest at the Ohio Bigfoot Conference at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center.
Byrne, who served for the British in World War II, made India his home for decades and developed an interest in the yeti. This interest culminated in a multi-year expedition in the Himalayas financed by Texas oil baron Tom Slick, who eventually convinced Byrne to organize an expedition to seek the sasquatch in the Pacific Northwest.
Byrne is founder of the International Wildlife Conservation Society. Other speakers at the event will include wildlife biologist John Bindernagel, surveillance and technology expert Bill Dranginis, and Believe It Tour sponsor Mike Esordi.
Tickets are available at the door for $10 ($4 children 12 and under). Civic center doors will open at 11 a.m.
Bigfoot related merchandise will be for sale and attendees will be entered for door prize drawings.

About The Event

Featured Speakers and Appearances Confirmed as of 3/06/2012

Mr. Peter Byrne - Special Guest

Dr. John Bindernagel - Speaker

A Special Mystery Keynote Speaker

Mike Esordi - Speaker

Bill Dranginis - Speaker

Date: April 29, 2012
Time: 1:00 p.m. to about 6:00 p.m. - Doors will open at 11 a.m..
Location: Prichard Lauglin Civic Center, Cambridge, OhioGeneral Admission Tickets (Up to 400 tickets available at the door) - $10 for adults,  $4 for children age 12 and under.

VIP Packages are limited to a few possible non-pays, you can be added to a waiting list.
An educational gathering of everyone from the devoted bigfoot researcher, to the novice and even the mildly curious. Hear from established national and local speakers, share ideas with those interested in the enigma of bigfoot, see old friends and make new ones,  or learn how to become involved in a family friendly, healthy outdoor hobby. There will be a vendor area for books, clothes and everything bigfoot.
With the recent explosion of bigfoot in pop culture, we will be setting aside time and a special seminar specifically for those that are new to the field and want to learn more.

On Saturday, 4/28/2012 a Bigfoot Festival will be held.  There are more details on the Activities and Schedule page.


 For over 20 years, Don Keating has been organizing and hosting a bigfoot conference in an area he has named the Sasquatch Triangle. It has grown to be the marquee bigfoot related event east of the Mississippi, boasting attendance in excess of 400 enthusiasts and consistent praise from those in attendance. The 2012 edition of the Ohio Bigfoot Conference is a transitional year as he entrusts this event to other respected and long-time Ohio bigfooters who have committed to continue the tradition of a quality bigfoot focused conference in the Sasquatch Triangle.  The Ohio Bigfoot Organization (OBO), led by Marc DeWerth,  is the host group for the conference.

Tri-State Bigfoot Changes Leadership

Keating holds a plaster cast of a large footprint. 
“If I get a report (of Bigfoot activity) I will investigate it,” Keating said, but I will not devote as much time as I have in the past.”

At the they announce the Tri-State Bigfoot changing of the guard; from Don Keating to Marc A. DeWerth of the Ohio Bigfoot Organization. Don Keating was the organizer of the Ohio Bigfoot Conferences and in 2009 allowed an entertainer who claimed to be a TV producer and an expert on the New Zealand variety of Bigfoot to speak on those fake credentials. The fake presenter even claimed to own the world’s largest feces analyzing machine. You can read the details at our previous post Hart-less.

You can read the complete TimesReporter article below.

Search for Bigfoot gets a new leader

By Joe Mizer staff report
Posted Apr 25, 2012 @ 11:54 PM

After investigating the Bigfoot phenomenon for more than three decades, Newcomerstown native Don Keating is turning over leadership of the Tri-State Bigfoot Study Group to his hand-chosen successor.

While Keating is not totally withdrawing from the search for Bigfoot, he wants to devote more time to his interest in meteorology and weather, having founded “Ohio Weather” and in late 2010.

Keating, who left Newcomerstown in 2006 and now resides in Cambridge, intends to be a big part of Sunday’s “Ohio Bigfoot Conference 2012” in Cambridge.

He also plans to hold Bigfoot study group meetings in August, October and December.

“If I get a report (of Bigfoot activity) I will investigate it,” Keating said, but I will not devote as much time as I have in the past.”

The 49-year-old has found what he calls “interesting artifacts in the ground.” Although he knows some to be fake, others tracks appear to be real.

After more than 30 years of trying, Keating has never been able to obtain any body parts that scientifically can be proven as being from a Bigfoot, also known as a Sasquatch.

“We just don’t have the scientific evidence,” he said.

Keating began his interest in Bigfoot in 1980 by writing an article on the topic of an alleged sighting near Newcomerstown. He officially started investigating in July 1984, and he’s been holding conferences since March 1989.

Keating is turning over most of the group’s reins to Bigfoot researcher Marc A. DeWerth of the Ohio Bigfoot Organization.

DeWerth said Keating asked him last fall to be his successor, “which after some thinking and family discussion, I gladly accepted.”

He credits Keating with growing the “Annual Bigfoot Conference” into the largest event of its kind anywhere in the world.

The Ohio Bigfoot Organization, DeWerth said, is dedicated to continuing the conference every spring for years to come. Members are hoping to grow it to a three-day event,  Friday through Sunday.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Our Pal Steven Streufert of Bigfoot Books will be on Coast to Coast AM Tonight!

Bigfoot & The Fouke Monster
Date: 04-24-12
Host: George Noory
Guests: Steven Streufert, Lyle Blackburn, Dr. Tony Youn
In the middle two hours, scholar of Bigfoot history, Steven Streufert, will share both the history of the creature, including the Patterson film, as well as current reports of sightings around the country. In the last hour, cryptozoology advisor to Rue Morgue magazine, Lyle Blackburn, will discuss reports of a strange beast known as the Fouke Monster that have circulated among the locals in southern Arkansas. Find your affiliate station 

First Hour: Plastic surgeon Dr. Tony Youn talks about bizarre and botched surgeries.



The Beast of Boggy Creek
In Stitches


Steven Streufert: A scholar of Bigfoot history, Steven Streufert runs Bigfoot Books, an all-purpose used and rare book shop located in the heart of Bigfoot Country, and specializing in Sasquatchiana, among many other interesting things.

Lyle Blackburn is a frequent contributor and cryptozoology advisor to Rue Morgue magazine, one of the leading horror media publications in print today. Lyle's Monstro Bizarro blog is featured on Rue Morgue's website and his "Monstro Bizarro Presents" news column appears monthly in the print magazine. He has also contributed to websites such as, and has been a featured speaker at paranormal conferences and horror conventions around the country.

Growing up in Texas, Lyle has always been fascinated with legends, lore and sighting reports of real-life "monsters." He has studied the phenomenon in legend, fact and film, and is the author of The Beast of Boggy Creek: The True Story of the Fouke Monster.

Lyle is also the founder and frontman for the Texas-based rock band, Ghoultown. Since 1998, Ghoultown has released eight albums, toured extensively in both the U.S. and Europe, and has appeared on several horror movie soundtracks. Most recently, Lyle and his band collaborated with legendary television horror hostess, Elvira - Mistress of the Dark, to create her new theme song, which was also turned into an extended music video. The video was featured on Elvira's Movie Macabre television show, which is syndicated throughout the U.S. on local stations.

Tony Youn, M.D. is a board-certified plastic surgeon. Youn made his national TV debut on Dr. 90210 and has been a frequent guest on The Rachael Ray Show and The CBS Early Show. He has written articles for RADAR magazine, and CBS Tony's blog is the most popular blog by a plastic surgeon in the country.

Bigfoot Discovery Museum's Mike Rugg in SantaCruz News

Mike Rugg at the Bigfoot Discovery Museum
 with Paul Rueben A/K/A PeeWee Herman
Mike Rugg is has a long history with Bigfooting. He is owner/curator of the Bigfoot Discovery Museum in Felton, CA. He has been doing research on the subject for over half a century. Through his museum he attempts to educate the public at large about the probability of bigfoot and the current best guesses as to its habits and its place in the natural world. He is also involved in field studies as he has discovered that the local mountains have a history of bigfoot sightings beginning in the 1870’s and continuing to the present day. he also hosts the annual Bigfoot Discovery Days.

You can read our previous Mike Rugg coverage, you'll especially want to check out the Amazing Amanda interviews.

Below is the full article of  from Enjoy.

Hunting for Bigfoot in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Mike Rugg knows Sasquatch is out there
by Aaron Carnes on Apr 24, 2012

Ashley Membree, Michael Rugg and Ralph Jack
 hunt for a Bigfoot around Felton. (Chip Scheuer)
When I found out I’d be going Bigfoot hunting with Michael Rugg, I figured we’d hike deep into the woods to some remote destination to conduct our search. In actuality, we spend most of the time in Felton, right along the road and close to the nearby homes.

“Bigfoots don’t have to be in a big wilderness area to exist,” Rugg, who owns the Bigfoot Discovery Museum, explains to me on our outing. “They can exist around the edge of town.”

I meet up with the crew at Taqueria Vallarta in Felton, where we eat tacos and wait for the sun to go down before heading out the crew’s usual spots. The first place is partway up a winding road in a neighborhood where Rugg says he’s gotten several reports of Bigfoot sightings. We park in a dark space between two homes and settle in, and I get a chance to get to know the team.

Rugg, the undisputed leader, has a commanding presence despite his small stature and calm voice. At 66, with a gray beard and full head of gray hair, he’s surprisingly energetic and passionate. Ralph Jack, who has been working with Rugg since 2006, is a funny, happy-go-lucky guy with long hair and a thick California accent. Jack says he was actually a prospector in his younger days, and that he owned a landscaping business until recently. In stark contrast is Ashley Membree, a Cabrillo College student in her early twenties who’s been volunteering at the museum in her spare time for a few months.

Bigfoot hunting, it turns out, involves a lot of sitting and waiting. Membree holds a boom mic and headphones, aiming it at the nearby mountain range. Jack has a camcorder and audio tape recorder on constant record, just in case. Rugg looks at different pockets of trees with a pair of night vision binoculars.

“Did you hear those coyotes?” Jack asks me. “Where there are coyotes, there’s sasquatches.”

I put on the headphones, but can only hear coyotes.

Rugg explains to me that normally they go out much later in the night, usually starting around 11pm, when all the people and cars have quieted down. But even late, he tells me, they detect very little activity most nights.

“We have some Bigfoots down here (in Santa Cruz County) that are real people-savvy. They’ve been hanging around us for years and they know how to get around us,” Rugg explains.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t successful nights. Earlier at the museum, Rugg played me two audio clips. The first was recorded at the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park in Aptos three years ago. It starts out with a group of coyotes howling. Then something else, a totally different high-pitched howl, arises in the background. It gets louder and quieter and louder again, lasting a minute and a half.

The second clip also starts out with a bunch of coyotes, but in the middle of their howling, something—it sounds like a gorilla—grunts.

Rugg shows me video from the night of the first clip. They had gone to this particular spot because someone had called them up and told them that they’d recently seen signs of a Bigfoot. Jack, of course, recorded the whole evening on the camcorder. As they were walking they caught a pungent odor and heard that high-pitched howl. Later, when they walked back to that same spot, the odor was gone. They determined that meant the odor was transient and couldn’t have been coming from a rotting animal carcass. The way they figured it, that smell came from something on the move.

When they later watched the video, they saw in the distance a blurry figure moving between two trees. When Rugg shows me the footage it’s hard to tell what the image is, but clearly it’s something moving. Because of all these factors—the howl, the smell, the report of a sighting and the footage itself—Rugg believes they taped a Bigfoot.

Of course, he also realizes that this isn’t the kind of thing to make any public announcements over. They need something bigger.

“We’ve been sitting back quietly collecting evidence, building a database, going out and testing stuff, watching what everybody else is doing and realizing all the mistakes that are being made and all the crap that is going on,” Rugg says.

It annoys Rugg that other members of the Bigfoot community, some of whom he’s friends with, make public statements of having found evidence when it’s only circumstantial. But, as Rugg notes, these are the people getting the funding, while The Bigfoot Discovery Museum struggles every year to keep the doors open.

Refuge for Believers

When Michael Rugg was 4 years old, he saw something that forever changed his life. It happened on a family camping trip near the Eel River in Humboldt County, after he had wandered off into the woods alone. Here’s how he describes it:

“As soon as I turned, there was this great big man. We made eye contact. There was nothing threatening about it. I was just awestruck because I had no frame of reference for this thing. I heard my parents screaming, ‘Mikey, where are you?’ So I ran back. I told them, ‘Come see the big hairy man.’ We went running back over there and it was gone. My parents looked around and said, ‘Don’t worry, it was probably just a tramp.’ Well, that was the weirdest tramp I’ve ever seen.”

That was in 1950, one year before reports of Yeti were coming out of the Himalayas and eight years before reports of Bigfoots were being published in the Humboldt Times.

Now, 62 years later, Rugg has spent his life searching for indisputable evidence that Bigfoot exists. He’s never had another face-to-face sighting like that first experience, though not from a lack of trying. While most of Rugg’s time has gone into research, he has made several trips back up to Northern California to find another Bigfoot. And for the last eight years, Rugg has gone Bigfoot hunting nearly every night here in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

In 2004, Rugg turned his Bigfoot obsession into a Bigfoot business. Located on Main Street in Felton, the Bigfoot Discovery Museum occupies a small unassuming building with several wooden Bigfoot statues out front. The front part of the museum is set up like a roadside attraction, packed with toys, comic books and album covers. The second half is more of a research center, loaded with newspaper clippings, video clips, books, skulls and other items Rugg believes point to the existence of Bigfoot.

But the real treasure in the museum is Rugg. He’s a walking Bigfoot encyclopedia.

“There are few people on the planet that have thought about Bigfoot as much as I have,” Rugg says.

At the Bigfoot Discovery Museum, I watch as Rugg tells his visitors about his Bigfoot encounter and eagerly answers all their Bigfoot questions. He isn’t lying when he says he’s an expert on the subject.

“I heard something about Patterson giving a deathbed confession,” one guest remarks, referring to the infamous grainy 1967 footage Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin shot of a hairy lumbering creature they claimed was a Bigfoot.

“That’s a common myth,” Rugg responds. “Neither man have claimed it was a hoax. I’ve met Robert Gimlin. He’s never made a nickel off that film. Still, to this day he swears he watched his buddy film a Bigfoot.”

One of the first things Rugg explains to me is that many people come to the museum because they’ve had a Bigfoot experience, or maybe even a paranormal encounter of some sort. They have no one to talk about it with, and they’re afraid their friends and family will laugh at them.

“I hear their stories. I don’t put down witnesses. They can come in and tell me the sky is red and I’ll listen to them. The museum serves a psychiatric purpose,” Rugg says.

It doesn’t take more than a couple of hours before I see exactly what Rugg is talking about. A couple in their early thirties comes into the museum, and the guy tells Rugg he saw a Bigfoot seven years earlier in Big Basin. He’s kept this experience a secret from everyone in his life except his girlfriend for fear of being ridiculed.

Rugg patiently listens to a detailed account of the sighting, then tells the man about other such sightings in the Santa Cruz Mountains and comments on how similar their descriptions of Bigfoot have been to his.

“I didn’t know other people were seeing Bigfoots out here,” the man says, clearly feeling better.

“We’re advocates for eye-witnesses,” Rugg tells me later. “We’re saying people that claim that they’ve seen little green men and stuff like that might be telling the truth. How can you be so goddamn sure they didn’t?”

Hairy Situation

It’s not surprising this topic gets Rugg riled up. He’s had his fair share of negative experiences for being so candid about his belief in Bigfoot. The one experience that angers him the most, he says, happened in the mid-1960s when he was a student at Stanford. Rugg wanted to write his final paper for a physical anthropology class on Bigfoot. The professor objected, telling Rugg point blank that Bigfoot wasn’t real. Rugg, of course, insisted, and the professor told him he could write the paper so long as he provided a bibliography that didn’t include True Magazine or Argosy, both popular pulp magazines of the ’60s.

Rugg went to work with a vengeance, turning in a 38-page tome with a four-page bibliography instead of the required seven pages total. He got a C and a note saying, “I don’t think you’ve made a case. This is still in the realm of UFOs.” 

Forty years later, Rugg still deals with people’s teasing and harassing.

“I get the one-finger salute quite often walking down the street,” Rugs says. “People driving by, they flip me off and yell, ‘Bigfoot sucks!’ I’ve had people stuff notes in the door saying, ‘Good luck with your scam.’ I’ve had rocks heaved at the museum.”

He hopes at least that he can help other people dealing with these sorts of things by making his museum a sanctuary for people with experiences of the unexplainable.

“People have been talking about sentient beings that they come in contact with that seem to be coming from some other place or reality for centuries. It sounds crazy. It sounds impossible. So those people are shoved aside. They’re marginalized. They’re considered to be nutcases and some of them end up in insane asylums,” says Rugg. “I think some of them have had genuine events that we don’t understand. I’m not going to call those people all fools and liars.”

Rugg isn’t without people anxious to help him keep the museum alive. One of them is Kepi Ghoulie, former lead singer for the pop-punk band the Groovie Ghoulies, who were famous for singing songs about ghosts, vampires and, yes, Bigfoots. Three years ago, Ghoulie put together a fundraising concert at the Bigfoot Museum with several bands. The year after that, he held it at the Crepe Place. While he couldn’t do one last year, he is tentatively planning to do one this year in August. 

“I love the museum,” Ghoulie says. “I love Michael. I love the idea of it. I love roadside America. I want to do whatever I can to keep that thing stay open. I love having faith or belief in magic or whatever you want to call it. Why not? If you want to believe, then you can go to the Bigfoot Museum.”

Going Against The Grainy

Avid discussion of sasquatches isn’t anything new. People have been talking about large hairy bipeds hiding in the woods for hundreds of years. But it wasn’t until the 1950s that Bigfoot reports made the mainstream media and had people all over the world talking about them. In 1967, footage dubbed the Patterson Film was shot in the mountains of Northern California allegedly capturing an actual Bigfoot walking through the woods. Whether the film was a hoax or the real thing is a subject of great controversy. But there’s no question in Rugg’s mind. He has the footage playing on an iMac in the museum on continuous repeat.

“I accept that film as a type specimen. To me that’s as good as a dead one on a slab. It’s still the single best piece of evidence for Bigfoot,” Rugg says.

But Rugg understands that this footage alone isn’t good enough for everyone. He hopes to find actual DNA evidence, which he’d like to see tested, vetted and written about in a scientific journal so he can end the Bigfoot debate once and for all. He says he’s confident this will happen, and whether he’s the person to do it or someone else doesn’t matter, just so long as it happens in his lifetime. In fact, Rugg announced a couple years back that he would not cut his hair till someone proves Bigfoot’s existence.

The decision to open the museum and devote 100 percent of his time to Bigfoot came after a brief stint in the corporate world. After graduating Stanford in 1968 with a degree in art history, Rugg spent most of his life living like a bohemian, selling handmade dulcimers and doing freelance graphic design work to make ends meet. But in 1997 he landed a lucrative full-time position doing graphic design for Cintara, a brand building company in Silicon Valley. In 2000, when the dot-com bubble burst, he, like a lot of people, was out of work. He spent a couple years re-evaluating his life. 

“I came to what you might call a mid-life crisis. I was getting older. I didn’t want my headstone to say, ‘He was another idiot that chased Bigfoot.’ I want it to say, ‘He told you so,’” Rugg says.

In other words, Bigfoot could no longer be a part-time pursuit. From that point on he would eat, sleep and dream Bigfoot.

One thing Rugg hadn’t counted on was that he would meet so many people that had seen Bigfoots in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Rugg writes down every story people tell him about a Bigfoot sighting in Santa Cruz County. He has a large map in his museum and puts pins at the locations of the most compelling sightings.

One former Santa Cruz resident, Colette Alexander, told Rugg she saw a Bigfoot in 1999 up Highway 9, just one mile from downtown Santa Cruz. She related her story to me. 

“I was eating lunch with a friend. I looked over into the bushes and I saw this young juvenile Bigfoot. I was shocked cause it was actually mimicking me eating my sandwich,” Alexander said. “It looked strangely human.”

Before this encounter, Alexander says she didn’t have an opinion one way or the other on whether Bigfoots were real or not. She found Rugg on the Internet and contacted him.

“It was absolutely insane. I thought this was kind of weird, like, I don’t know, a Bigfoot near downtown Santa Cruz. I talked to Michael and he told me about other people that had sightings in the area,” Alexander said.

Rugg hears stories like this every day. He’s heard so many, he’s altered his theories on the intelligence capacity of Bigfoots.

“It doesn’t seem logical that a dumb ape could be so adept at hiding and so aware of us and our relationship to them,” Rugg says.

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