By Donna Campbell Smith
I believe in the existence of bigfoot. My interest is rooted in stories Daddy told when I was a young person. He listened to ‘talk radio” at night and he’d relate the stories he heard. That had to have been in the 1960s or maybe the late 50s. I also remember him talking about a “wild man” that lived back in the mountains or hills near where he grew up in upstate New York.
Being a child, who should be “seen and not heard,” I didn’t ask questions about this wild man. So, I don’t know if it was just a story he’d heard or someone he knew saw it. I am pretty sure he would have said so, if he’d actually had a sighting. Daddy also had a reoccurring nightmare about wrestling a wild man. I don’t know if this wild man that triggered Daddy’s nightmares was a bigfoot or not, but thinking back on it, I think possibly so. New York is one of the top eight states in numbers of reported bigfoot sightings. In any case, I got my enthusiasm for bigfoot stories from Daddy, who believed.
When I first had access to the Internet, I found a website that collected bigfoot sighting reports from all over the world. Being from North Carolina, I looked up the NC sightings first. The Bigfoot Research Organization (BFRO) posts over 100 reports in North Carolina, the earliest from the 1970s until the most recent being present day. Most occur in the mountains. But sightings are sprinkled across the map that BFRO provides on their website.
I’ve recently written and published a novel, *My Neighbors from the Woods, with a bigfoot theme. In writing the fictional story of Maggie, who discovers she has a family of bigfoot living in the woods adjoining her farm, I spent many hours researching the subject for my book. I’ve learned that even if you don’t see the hairy beast, it often leaves signs of its presence. Here are the top ten signs that you might have had a close encounter with a bigfoot:
- You find huge barefoot prints in the mud or the snow. These are probably the most publicized signs of bigfoot. To distinguish a bigfoot footprint from a bear’s we are reminded that bears have claws while bigfoot prints do not have claw marks. The bigfoot print looks like a human foot except its much bigger. Some are reported to be up to 24 inches long and 8 inches wide.
- You smelled something so awful you can’t describe it. Some try to describe it as skunk-like but way worse. Some say it smells like rotten eggs or decaying meat. The why bigfoot stinks vary in theories from it being a fear response, mating attraction, or simply poor hygiene. It is interesting to note that male gorillas also emit a foul odor at times. But then so do bears.
- You heard something walking and you KNEW it was bipetal and it was BIG. This seems to happen when folks are camping or walking in the woods. Some folks have reported hearing something follow or track them while they are walking in the woods; some hear it walking around outside their homes. I think you have to have had a lot of experience to tell if something you hear walking through leaves has two or four legs. If you hear something walking around on two legs you might have a bigfoot checking you out.
- You have heard a variety of sounds that you are positive did not come from any known wild creature or bird – whoops, yowls, growls, chatter, and grunts are some sounds possibly made by bigfoot. Sometimes it is so loud you feel it vibrate right through your body.
- Something is throwing rocks at you – big ones or little ones and you KNOW no person did it. What else could it be? It takes hands to grasp and throw a rock, right?
- Something left you a gift – rocks, feathers, shells, and other assorted items. Some people who suspect it’s a bigfoot leaving these gifts reciprocate and leave it gifts in exchange. It is reported that bigfoot especially appreciates sweets.
- You heard a loud knock like someone hit a tree with a baseball bat. This is apparently a form of communication between two or more bigfoot. It may also be a warning to human intruders.
- You’ve found trees that were twisted in two and teepee structures made of limbs and small trees. Again, we don’t know the purpose. It could be the makings of a shelter, trail markers, or again, a form of communication.
- It talks. This one is rare. Some say they’ve heard bigfoot talk out loud in its own language. Sometimes bigfoot are talking among themselves. The person hearing this cannot understand what the bigfoot is saying. Still other folks have had a bigfoot communicate directly with them either out loud in a language the person couldn’t identify, or by some sort of mental telepathy. In those cases, the human can sometimes understand what the bigfoot is saying.
- You saw it. Maybe it ran across the road in front of your vehicle, or you saw it in the woods when you were hiking, or near a body of water while you were fishing. Maybe, you saw it peeking in your window. The most famous bigfoot sighting happened in 1967 in Northern California. The incident was caught on film and you can find it all over the Internet. Just Google Patterson – Gimlin Bigfoot Film.
Over decades thousands of people have reported seeing a bigfoot. The BFRO says their data shows 23,000 reported sightings across America. Who knows how many saw, and didn’t tell. A recent Angus Reid Public Opinion poll reports that 29% of Americans and 21% of Canadians believe bigfoot really exist. There are plenty of folks who’ve never seen bigfoot or any of the above signs of one, yet, they still believe.
As for North Carolina, one bigfoot “hotspot” is Uwharrie National Forest. The BFRO has more reports from Montgomery County, where the forest is located, than anywhere else in the state. Medoc State Park is another place that the hairy beast has been reported, although the BFRO does not list any sightings from Halifax County. Still, there is enough interest to merit a bigfoot museum in nearby Littleton, NC. While most reports come from the mountains, folks have seen bigfoot as far east as Pasquotank County and all regions in between.
Interested to know if bigfoot lives near you? Newspaper accounts, TV news accounts, You Tube videos, and groups that will take you out on bigfoot expeditions can be found in a simple Internet search. There are also theories about what bigfoot is. Got time on your hands? Have fun learning more about bigfoot aka the wild man, hairy beast, sasquatch, yeti, swamp ape, and the abominable snowman. He’s out there.
Bigfoot Grammar lesson: One way to look at it is that the plural of bigfoot would be bigfoots since the word bigfoot is referring to the beast rather than feet in general. If it were big foot, the plural would be big feet since in that connotation we are talking about a body part rather than a beast. Other sources state the plural of bigfoot is bigfoot, just like deer, bison, or sheep. This writer feels that bigfoots just feels weird rolling off the tongue and chooses to write bigfoot for both singular and plural. The word bigfoot is written with a lower-case b, same as any other animal such as bear, deer, dog, or cat.
Bigfoot Research Organization — Their website, www.bfro.net, has a wealth of bigfoot information and the popular database of sightings.
Bigfoot Research of NC Facebook — www.facebook.com/groups/BigfootNC This group shares information about bigfoot in North Carolina.
Colorado Bigfoot — Their site, colorado-bigfoot.com, includes history of bigfoot in the state and encounters. There is a link to their YouTube channel as well.
Buckeye Bigfoot — Nance Warren’s YouTube channel shares stories from her listeners.
New York Bigfoot Society — Facebook group at www.facebook.com/NewYorkBigfootSociety.
Cryptozoology and Paranormal Museum — The museum is run by Stephen Barcelo, in Littleton, NC.
Dixie Crypid YouTube Channel — The Dixie Cryptid, Cameron Buckner, reads stories listeners have sent him about their experiences. He also runs the What if it’s True Podcast.
*Donna Campbell Smith Writes — Find books by Donna Campbell Smith on Amazon or visit DonnaCampbellSmithWrites.com.