By Kay Whatley, Editor
Driving through southern West Virginia, its cities and towns are interspersed among the state’s millions of acres of forests. What might look like wilderness in the daytime, at night flickers with house lights on hilltops and hundreds of feet up mountains. People living in these beautiful spans of woods are used to seeing deer, bears, and other wildlife. Recently, one couple encountered a unique animal, and are sharing the photo they captured.
Bill and Sheena Humphrey live in Fayette County, WV about ten miles from the New River and the famous New River Gorge Bridge, at an elevation of approximately 2,500 feet. The husband and wife live and hunt on woodland that Sheena’s called home for twenty-five years.
While Sheena believes in Bigfoot and has caught glimpses of it over the years, it wasn’t until October 21, 2019 that Bill saw Bigfoot for himself and became a believer.
Several things may have led to their encounter with the nine-foot tall creature they identified as Bigfoot. A neighboring property was altered to create a pond — adding a good-sized water source to their area. It was winter, and Bill was regularly taking food out into their hunting grounds to feed deer. (Food scraps were disappearing much faster than usual, Bill had noticed.) Then, on October 19, Sheena had a confrontation with, and killed, a black bear close to the Humphrey’s hunting blind. The bear was dressed on the spot so’s not to waste its hide and meat, and the scent of its blood may have drawn attention to the area.
Food scraps disappeared again that evening, although the bear was gone.
As it was archery season for deer, Bill stayed out in the blind the evening of October 19. He heard and saw something huge moving in the woods around the hunting blind but didn’t see what it was. He stayed out again on October 20, this time setting up a bright light. The woods were eerily quiet, he says, not like normal. After dark, a large shape moved through the woods, this time passing between the light and the hunting blind. Bill, who was watching for deer, didn’t get his cell phone up in time to take a picture.
The next night, October 21, Sheena joined him. Before it even got dark, about fifteen minutes after they’d settled into the hunting blind, Sheena saw a huge creature walk in front of the lightstand and pointed it out to Bill. He grabbed his camera and, from their spot inside the blind, took a photo of the large creature as it turned to look at them. Then it was gone.
“I didn’t believe in Bigfoot,” Bill says. “I thought people were seeing bears.”
Now, he believes. Asked if what they saw could have been a bear, Bill says it isn’t possible. The creature was about three times the size of Sheena’s black bear, which had weighed in at close to five hundred pounds. “I’d say this thing weighed eight- or nine-hundred pounds. It was massive.” He also said the Bigfoot had a distinctive cone-shaped head, no neck, and lighter, blondish hair around its eyes. Its thick arms and legs reminded him of a Silverback gorilla.
Since the Humphreys released their photograph, and a second version of that photo with enhanced colors, they’ve been approached by Bigfoot researchers. Just last week, a group came out to walk the area around the sighting. Bill said that other researchers have contacted him about coming to their property.
Bill hasn’t been taking food scraps to the area in recent months, though he has gone back a few times in 2020. On his most recent visit, he found the hunting blind destroyed. Still, the couple continue venturing into the woods on their property, and Bill plans to set up more trail cameras. If they’re lucky, they might catch the creature in a photo again.
Ed. Note: Check out this WV Explorer article (“local ” to the Humphreys). Note that WV Explorer Magazine has an online “Lore and Legend” section with articles on other WV Bigfoot sightings, Mothman, and more!