Hairy Beasts Live Not Far From Cleveland, Many Eyewitnesses Say
ALLIANCE, Ohio -- Robert W. Morgan crunches across a frozen cornfield
on the outskirts of town
after midnight, hooting like an owl, sniffing like a dog and pausing here
and there to listen.
"Come on, you big hairy beast-scream," he shouts into the darkness.
But there is no peep from
anything big and hairy, only train horns, highway noise and protests a
Disappointed, Mr. Morgan hikes back to his car and tries to excuse another
in Ohio for the mythical beast, Bigfoot. Only he doesn't think the human-like,
ape-like being is
a myth. "Anybody who thinks Bigfoot isn't in Ohio hasn't lived here," he says.
Since arriving in October to visit family, Mr. Morgan has clearly boosted
Bigfoot awareness in the
Buckeye State. As sort of a professional Bigfoot tracker and promoter,
he has been giving
speeches to high schools, sitting in on talk shows, and setting up an
800-number to report Bigfoot
encounters. He also sells copies of a "Bigfoot Pocket Manual"
form containing a "Bigfoot Encounter Report" form asking readers
to mail in even third-hand details of sightings. The response has been
(what else?) monstrous.
He says he has received Bigfoot sightings reports from all over the state
-- 50 in all -- some near
Cleveland. Mr. Morgan, who says he has spied Bigfoots three times in Washington
State, estimates there are 18 living in Ohio, the seventh most populous
state. "Bigfoot is very urbanized and intelligent around here," he says.
Ron Brunner, an alliance farmer, saw a 9 -- foot -- tall creature in a
field across from his house
in December -- just 50 - odd miles from Cleveland. "My friends tell
me I was in the silo drinking
too much corn juice," he says. "But what I saw definitely was
Bigfoot." He says his 50 cows
were scared, too.
Barbara Bilinovich, in nearby Barberton, says three "humongous" creatures chased from the woods one night.
"It's just going nuts around here" with all the Bigfoot sightings,
says Steve Jones, a host of a hunting and fishing radio show in Akron.
While Mr. Morgan was a guest on his program, several sightings were called
in to the station.
The Bigfoot fuss is nothing new in Ohio. A few years back a Columbus TV
station reported that a band of Bigfoot hunters were taking women into
the woods to lure the animal. But no Bigfoot took the bait. A decade earlier
in Minerva, a 7-foot Bigfoot peeked in on Mary Ackerman's family through
their dining-room window.
Paul Rozich, a leader of Canton's Tri-County UFO Study Group, says Bigfoot
has become the main topic at its monthly meetings since several of its
85 members spied the animals in recent years.
Mr. Morgan, 56 years old, is strictly an amateur anthropologist. On the
evolutionary scale, he is about as distant from Bigfoot as one can get.
He is short and pudgy with a shaved head and blue eyes.
Nevertheless he feels for the Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, as the beast is sometimes
called. He fears their population, which he puts at 2,500 in North America,
is shrinking fast. His reasoning: Bigfoot is good at keeping out of sight
that he rarely runs across potential mates.
Mr. Morgan says the creatures -- "gentle people," he calls them
-- are nocturnal, semi-nomadic and highly intelligent. They use a written
language, scratched on rocks, which he claims to have seen in Arizona
and the Northwest. He is using a computer to decipher the symbols.
The scientific community finds Mr. Morgan's claims a bit Neanderthal.
While bones of a Bigfoot-type creature, Gigantopithecus, have been discovered
in China, and some scientists believe that the beast may even live today
in the Pacific Northwest, Mr. Morgan is practically alone in believing
the creatures are smarter than apes and live in Ohio.
"There's no scientific reason under the sun to expect such a creature
would ever have been in Ohio," says Frank Poirier, professor of anthropology
at Ohio State University. "The existence of Bigfoot in Ohio is more
in these people's minds than in reality.
Jim Shannon, a police captain Stark county, which includes Canton, rejects
Bigfoot on more empirical grounds. "We're a pretty urban county,
so there's not too many places for Bigfoot to
hide," he says. "When Bigfoot walks into one of our liquor stores
and pulls a hold up, then
I'll believe it."
Mr. Morgan compares himself to Galileo and Columbus, a "lone ranger" shunned by an ignorant, arrogant society that fears the truth. His goal
is to have the species protected, but he's in a bind. The government requires
proof that the thing exists, and Morgan is reluctant to catch one because
he considers Bigfoot human. Capturing a Bigfoot, he says, would bring
the Civil Liberties Union on his back.
Instead, he plans to get close enough to rip off a hunk of Bigfoot's hair
and flesh, though he hasn't yet decided what he'll do if this angers the
creature -- which, he admits, it well might.
He say's he first spied a Bigfoot on a hunting trip in Washington in 1957.
After seeing a Bigfoot article in a 1969 Reader's Digest, he says he quit
his job as a computer specialist to track Bigfoot full time. He lives
in Montana but has pursued his quarry in Florida, New Mexico, and the
Mr. Morgan says he supports himself with money from various business ventures
in marketing and films, many of which have failed. But he is optimistic
about his next project: filming a detective movie in Romania. While there,
of course, he'll hunt for Bigfoot. (Mr. Morgan did appear in the 1975
docudrama, "In Search of Bigfoot," which aired on network TV.)
Some have tried to take Mr. Morgan for a fool. In Washington, he recalls,
someone offered him, for 1 million, film of a man in an oversized jacket
shaking a tree. In Oregon, he says, a man tried to throw off the track
by running nude through the woods at night, covered in fish oil.
In Ohio, he persuaded Canton's Daring Publishing Group, specialists in
military and spiritual healing books, to print his handbook and provide
an office. He has recruited the publisher and a local paramedic to help
him track Bigfoot.
Daily, they pore over encounter reports at the office: a 38-year-old electrician
in Mantua spied the beast walking in the middle of the Cuyahoga River;
another man found Bigfoot crying one morning at a campsite off Route 87;
another found the beast covered with berries and walking down a dirt road
They plot the sightings on a map, and head out to investigate. It isn't
long before he pulls the off the road and darts into the woods. "Hmmm,"
he says pointing to a broken sapling. Yards later, some bark is scraped
off of a tree, and a patch of moss is missing from a log. "Hmmm."
Nearby, there's a smell of urine, or perhaps fertilizer. "Hmmm." He finds a cluster of dried leaves
draped over a branch. A signpost left by Bigfoot? "Hmmm."
He admits the find is not "conclusive." Even so, Mr. Morgan
believes he is getting warm. "We're on the verge," he says,
"of serious contact."
By Dana Milbank, Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal - Circa: 1996
Article courtesy Tim
Back to What's New?
Back to Newspaper & Magazine Articles
this website are reprinted under the Fair Use Doctrine of International
Copyright Law as educational material without benefit of financial gain.
This proviso is applicable throughout the entire website.