Bigfoot Encounters

The Man Who Spied Bigfoot Comes Forward
by Scott French

Concord Monitor, NEW HAMPSHIRE -- Walter Bower Sr., a man of sound mind and sober spirit, swears he saw Bigfoot while hunting pheasant in Salisbury. He told the chief of police, who told the boys at the Crossroads Country Store, who laughed their fool heads off.

Now, ask yourself this. Why would Bowers, a retired caretaker at the New Hampshire Veterans Home, make up such a story? Why would he subject himself to such ridicule? "I don't like to be made a fool of,: he said. "But I know what I saw." Bowers stepped forward after reading about the uproar his story had created in Salisbury. He agreed to take me out to the field where he saw whatever he saw. Maybe we could find some tracks in the snow. "It don't bother me any to go out with you," he said, "but I'm not going to go unarmed. Not after I see what that thing is." He grabbed me at his trailer on Pheasant Street in Webster with a .357-Magnum strapped to his hip. "I'm not gonna shoot it," he said, "but I'm not gonna let it get a hold of me either."

Snow squalls darkened the sky as we scrunched into my car and headed for Salisbury, talking all the way.

Bower, 70, is a lifelong resident of Webster. He started hunting when he was old enough to carry a gun. Now retired, he likes to hunt pheasant in a field known as Bob's Big Interval, next to Mill Brook in Salisbury.

About three weeks ago, a hunter from Warner told Bowers he had seen two strange beasts walk across the field early one morning. "I didn't pay much attention," Bowers said. "I just went out bird hunting, two days, three days afterward." As he crossed the field with his .12-gauge shotgun shortly after daybreak, he had a strange feeling he was being watched. He passed between two stands of trees, turned to the right, "and there he was. Standing right out in the middle of the field." Bigfoot, Sasquatch. Whatever you want to call it.

"This thing was BIG," he said. "I would day at least 9 feet. Maybe less, maybe more, because I didn't stick around too long to do any measuring...The whole body was covered with hair...I would day it was kind of a grayish color, from where I was standing. Of course the sun was coming up facing me, but it wasn't that bright...The face, I couldn't make that out too good...The hands were like yours or mine, only three times bigger, with pads on the front paws, like a dog...Long legs, long arms. It was just like, I would say, like a gorilla, but this here wasn't a gorilla...I'm telln' ya, it would make your hair stand up."

After a few moments, the creature ran off toward the large swamp behind the field. Bowers hustled back to his car, glancing over his shoulder to make sure he was alone. A few nights later, he told Salisbury Police Chief Jody Heath, a family friend, what he had seen and asked if he could shoot the beast if it attacked him. Heath, biting his lip, promised to find out. "He sounded like everybody else," Bowers said. "I don’t think he really believed me." Bowers tried the game warden next. "He just laughed at me. He said 'There's no such thing.' I said 'Nuts.' He said, 'It was probably a bear or moose.' I said, 'Look, I can tell the difference between a bear and I can tell the difference between a moose. This was neither.' He didn't believe me. He got mad and hung up."

Bowers has shot four bears in his lifetime, so he knows what they look like. As for moose, has anyone ever seen one standing on its hind legs and walk like a man? "If a man can't tell the difference between a moose and a thing like that," Bowers said, "he hadn't ought to be hunting whatsoever, in my book. He hadn't ought to be in the woods hunting if he can't tell the difference." Hundreds of people have reported seeing half-human creatures like Bigfoot, usually in the vast forests of the Pacific Northwest and Asia, but nobody has ever caught or photographed one clearly. Bowers figures creatures like the one he saw live and die in swamp caves, where no man can find them. They probably some out in the morning to look for apples, corn or whatever it is they eat. "I think there's more people that see these that are not saying anything 'cause they don't want to be laughed at," he said.

One of these days, he may use his camera and stake out the area using apples for bait. A clear photo of the animal or its tracks might convince the skeptics. Until then he figures people can have a good laugh at his expense. "Go ahead," he said, shaking his head, "but it's not gonna change a thing, 'cause I still see what I see."

Copyright Concord Monitor, New Hampshire

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