Here is last week's column in our local paper. Although it mostly refers to local sightings, I'd love to hear stories from where you are, too! And in case you're wondering: Do I believe? I can't say that I do or don't. Ask me again after the DNA evidence comes out. (Yes, safe answer.) Whether the stories are fact-based or folklore, I love to hear them. They are interesting either way.
I know, you don’t want to talk about it. It’s silly. How can grown men and women believe there are 8-foot-tall hairy creatures roaming the woods? It can’t be true. Surely there would be evidence…bones, or something. If it was true, National Geographic would be all over it.
Yes, it’s silly, you say. But you’re still reading, aren’t you?
Shortly after we moved to Kitsap County in Washington State nineteen years ago, there was an advertisement in the newspaper asking anyone who had experienced a Bigfoot sighting along Lincoln Road in Poulsbo to please call the given number. I laughed. Now I wish I had kept the ad.
Not that I’ve had a Bigfoot sighting, but I’m curious. I’d like to call the number and see who placed the ad. Someone local? Someone from an organization such as Bigfoot Field Research Organization (BFRO), whose website FAQS include, “What is a bigfoot or sasquatch?” and “How come there’s no bigfoot road kill?”
Awesome. Tell me you don’t want to live in a world with facts like that.
I’m not making fun of believers. In fact, six out of eight people sitting at my dining room table last night believe that Bigfoot sightings are not out-and-out hoaxes, that those who report them are seeing something. But what? Here are some possibilities we came up with:
1. Perhaps the Bigfoot and werewolf legends really stem from the same creature. What if once a month during the full moon, some people turn into 8-foot-tall Bigfoots. Shy, elusive, sad creatures for a few days, every month.
2. Pretty much the same as number one, but with dogs. We may have witnessed just such a transformation on the way home from church a while back.
3. Lost hippies, who only give the impression of great height because of their startling appearance.
4. Prehistoric creatures who have somehow come to live in the modern world, but not of the modern world.
Or maybe the Bigfoot species exists, but has managed in this world of scientists and explorers to not be discovered yet. Odds are slim, but it could happen. For years the giant squid was a bit of a sea legend, but in 2004 a 26-foot squid with 18-foot tentacles was photographed in the Pacific. What if someday Bigfoot lore gets concrete validation?
A 2003 National Geographic News online article by Stefan Lovgren reports that scientists are studying forensic evidence to decide if it’s possible that Bigfoot exists. Here is a quote from the article:
"'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."
Did you catch that: professor. The article also states:
"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."
Despite these endorsements, however, the article still approaches the subject with a smirk and a ten foot pole. Most of my local friends and acquaintances do the same. To stay credible, you kind of have to. Bring Bigfoot into the conversation, and most people laugh. But mention sightings you’ve heard about, and suddenly everyone has some unusual story to share.
Check out BFRO online (which frankly sounds like some sort of hairdo; not sure why they chose those initials). You’ll find thirteen Kitsap County sightings reported, mostly in the Indianola and south Kingston area. I’m hoping this column will encourage those other shy, elusive creatures: local people who have seen or heard something they couldn’t explain, but were too embarrassed to say maybe, just maybe, it could have been Bigfoot. If that’s you, please fill out a report form. I’ll read it. Or, comment here. Let us know.
Meanwhile, I’ll keep an eye out. Whether driving down Lincoln in Poulsbo or walking along the back roads of Kingston, I watch. Close to home the only hairy creatures rustling through my bushes are the dogs, or Dirk, but they aren’t that tall. If something’s there to see, I want to see it.