Bigfoot Encounters

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By Eddie Glenn, Press Staff Writer for the Tahlequah Press, Oklahoma

February 23, 2006 - About two years ago, the Press ran a story about sightings of – who else? – Bigfoot in Cherokee County.

To say that the story opened up a can of worms would be an understatement.

Calls poured in and they haven’t stopped.

Sure, they let up occasionally. But every couple of months, someone (usually insisting on anonymity – and understandably so) calls to tell us about a Bigfoot encounter.

In our 2004 story about the elusive – some might even argue, mythical – beast, reference was made to a sighting in 1990 in the Eldon community.

In that story, Jack Goss – then an investigator with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office – is quoted in a 1990 Daily Press story as saying, “We kind of shook our heads when we got the call, but the lady sounded serious. She said Bigfoot was in her back yard. We thought she might have seen a bear, but she was really sure that it wasn’t. She said it was hairy and stank really bad.”

Soon after our 2004 Bigfoot update ran, we received a call from a woman who lives in the Pumpkin Hollow area who said she and her relatives had been “spotlighting” Bigfoot for years in that community. She said the animals smelled of berries and urine, and once they were hit with a spotlight, moved too fast for anyone to take a shot at with a rifle.

After that, most of the calls we received about Bigfoot weren’t from local residents, but from film documentarians and Bigfoot researchers wanting to talk to locals about their experiences.

Then, last fall, the local sightings started up again.

Evidently, Bigfoot has been seen around Lost City for many years. One woman reported that three generations of her family had seen him, and that the creature seems to have an affinity for children.

The descriptions are always similar – seven to eight feet tall, covered in dark reddish-brown hair except on the face and chest, walking upright and smelling really bad. One witness said the odor smelled like a combination of berries and urine. Another said it a smell similar to “an old man in a nursing home,” (which may not be all that dissimilar to berries and urine).

One witness in the Scraper community said she heard a scream that was unlike anything she’d ever heard before, looked up and saw through the woods only the lower half of a hairy animal that was walking upright.

One of the more recent sightings was actually reported to the Cherokee County 911 office.

“In October, we received a call at about six in the morning from a man who said ‘I know this is going to sound crazy, but it’s not a prank,’” said Darryl Maggard, 911 coordinator. “He had just seen what he believed to be Bigfoot. It was seven feet tall and hairy, and from the anatomy it appeared to be female.”

Maggard said the man called from near the Welling Bridge area, and didn’t sound like he was in any way impaired.

“We’ve received calls in the past that you could tell were not believable – it was just someone who’d had a few too many,” said Maggard. “But he was obviously just a guy on his way to work. I really believe he saw something – there’s no doubt in my mind. But what do you do when you see something like that? I don’t know what I’d do. He decided to report it.”

If it makes anyone out there who’s seen such an animal feel any better, sightings of Bigfoot (and similar creatures that go by various names), or at least media reports of sightings, have been increasing all over the world. The Russian newspaper, Pravda, has even printed stories about sightings in Russia (which makes us here at the Daily Press feel a little better).

One of the most popular areas for Bigfoot sightings is southeastern Oklahoma, where the community of Honobia held their first Bigfoot festival in October. Evidently, it was so successful, they’re planning another one this year.

Several years ago, a film crew visited the community to shoot a documentary. The same crew has expressed interest in shooting a sequel of sorts in northeastern Oklahoma, but no definite plans have been set yet.

In the meantime (until all the local Bigfoot sighters can tell their story for the camera) Maggard said that – even though it’s not an official Bigfoot hotline – anyone who sees something that unusual can call 911.

“If they see something like that, and they feel like they could be in danger, or someone else could be in danger, by all means report it,” said Maggard.

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