Ghosts are my favorite. Everyone knows that. But I am also fascinated by cryptids like the New Jersey Devil or Mothman, as well as "weird" things that turn up and are usually explained away like the red-haired giants in Nevada who once waged terrible war against the Paiutes and whose bones were purportedly discovered (and ignored) back in the 1920's and '30's. Since it's October, I decided to take a look at Bigfoot to see how widespread he is in this country. And he is literally all over the map.
Most people know there are versions of Bigfoot the world over, the Yeti and the Alma being the most noted. However, there have been Bigfoot (or "big, hairy mammal") sightings all over this country. Many years ago I ran across a book called Weird America and immediately purchased it. I'm sure it's out of print -it's certainly out of date- but every now and then I still pull it out and look at it because it's a compendium of strange stuff from all over the country, categorized by state. I LOVE THAT STUFF. It includes ghosts, of course, but today I went through it looking for Bigfoot. And found all of this.
We know he frequents Oregon, particularly the Dalles. More on that later. But here are other states where he has been documented:
Arkansas: Greene County
Florida: Outside of Tampa, and throughout the wild and wetlands in the state. He's called the Skunk Ape there, and since he doesn't recognize state boundaries, this same cryptid has also been spotted in North Carolina, Louisiana, and Arkansas.
Illinois: Murphysboro. And believe it or not, outside the very posh and elegant Medinah Club in Medinah, Illinois.
Kentucky: Rockcastle County near Mt. Vernon
Michigan: Sister Lakes
Montana: Great Falls
New York: Huntington, as well as loitering around the Office of Tibet in Staten Island (Is the Office of Tibet still there?)
North Carolina: Mt. Holly, about twelve miles northwest of Charlotte. This was different from the Skunk Ape sightings.
Ohio: Cleveland and Lorain
Oregon: The Dalles
Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and to the east of the city
Washington: Mt. St. Helens (this book was written before the volcano blew so I don't know if they're still hanging around that area)
I knew people who saw Bigfoot while on a train that went through the Dalles area. They were a married couple: he was a dentist, she was his hygienist. Neither of them were particularly inclined to my way of looking at things. In fact, he was a pretty hard-core, science-only skeptic. So I was pretty surprised when they told me they had seen a Sasquatch looking at their train when it had pulled up for a rest stop at a small station. Since the train wasn't moving, they had a chance to study the old large, hairy mammal, and told me they saw it standing beside a tree, just staring at the train. The husband told me he estimated its height at between six and seven feet. They looked at it and felt like it was looking at them although they can't be sure if it had spotted them or was just curious about the train itself. Before the train started moving again, it apparently lost interest and wandered back into the woods, so they knew they were looking at an animate creature, not just mistaking a tree for a Bigfoot.
When they reached their destination, they stopped off at a ranger's station to report what they had seen, and the man in the office simply handed them a huge book and told them to write up what they observed. The wife told me the book was filled with other people's experiences and sightings, and that the ranger they spoke with didn't even bat an eyelid when they explained why they had stopped in. He heard the same story, more than once, pretty much on a daily basis. Now, that ranger's reaction, or lack of one, not only ignores the whole Sasquatch does/doesn't exist debate, it pushes the needle all the way over into the does-exist end of the spectrum and almost into the far reaches of ho-hum. Sooo cool.
Seeing a Sasquatch in person is not necessarily on my bucket list, but I wouldn't mind getting a glimpse.
And I may peruse my old Weird America book still further as I go along, because it also lists lake monsters (Champlain is not the only American lake to have one), ghost lights, and archeological finds that cannot be explained. Hmm. Maybe instead of just leafing through it, I ought to take some road trips...