Tiny community is troubled by Bigfoot sightings
The sheriff says it's a prank, and a Bigfoot researcher agrees — this time
By SHEILA STOGSDILL World Correspondent April 6, 2010
April 6, 2010 -- JAY -- Delaware County, Oklahoma — For the past month, the Delaware County Sheriff's Office has been bombarded with telephone calls about the legendary elusive apelike creature known as Bigfoot.
It seems the creature was roaming the wooded countryside near Kenwood — a small, isolated community about 20 miles southwest of Jay and surrounded by acres of trees and fresh springs of water.
"We had calls from people that were worried and others wanting to know if it was a joke," Sheriff Jay Blackfox said.
For weeks, cell phone photos and an audio recording circulated throughout the community of 200.
Trouble was, there was no Bigfoot. It was a prank instigated by a group of boys, Blackfox said.
The infamous black-and-white, cell-phone photograph is known in Bigfoot circles as "Jacobs Photos."
Reports state it was taken on Sept. 16, 2007, in northwestern Pennsylvania. In October 2007, the Pennsylvania Game Commission referred to the creature as a "skinny mangy bear."
At first Kenwood folk were concerned, then the rumor quickly turned to a prank, now a joke, Blackfox said.
"Now, there is a photo circulating of Bigfoot with Ronald McDonald going to McDonald's in Jay to get something to eat," he said.
The sheriff said he assumed the Bigfoot sighting was a prank and never sent a deputy to Kenwood to investigate.
Blackfox wanted to let the boys know that pranks are serious and that he had to spend time away from county business to take calls from nervous
"I attempted to talk to the boys, but they weren't at home," he said.
Another authoritative voice confirmed Blackfox's conclusion.
"We heard about the Kenwood rumors and sent one of our investigators, who confirmed it was a hoax," said D.W. Lee, the Mid-America Bigfoot Research Center's executive director.
Lee said his investigator identified the cell-phone photograph as one from the Patterson-Gimlin footage taken in California. The audio recording is a recorded howl out of Ohio. Both the photograph and audio clip are downloaded from the Internet.
Lee said the organization gets about 10 telephone calls a month. They are evenly divided among legitimate, misidentifications and hoaxes, he said.
The organization is currently working 25 active investigations of Bigfoot sightings in Oklahoma, he said.
"When we do expose a hoax, it shows the credibility of our organization," Lee said.
Lee is quick not to discount the Bigfoot sightings in northeastern Oklahoma.
"About four weeks ago, there was a Bigfoot sighting witnessed by 12 people," Lee said.
Lee would only say the hairy creature was spotted in southern Adair County by one of his research groups on an overnight trip. He estimated the creature to be between 7 and 8 feet tall.
"He stepped out of water and stood behind a tree," Lee said. "We turned off the spotlight, and he disappeared through the river reeds."
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