by Dave Stephenson

Ohio Magazine -- June, 1981

If your curiosity has ever been piqued by tales of the Loch Ness monster, your imagination whetted by stories of abominable snow-persons, your dreams filled with visions of someday stumbling upon one of nature's mysteries, you may begin your search for the elusive in your own backyard. Other Ohioans have, many of whom last year even reported sighting our region's own enigma -Bigfoot. Most were chance encounters; but in their wake numerous expeditions have been mounted to locate the creature and document its existence.

Summer is a peak sighting season in the state as some researchers theorize that Bigfoot's migratory path cuts through Ohio. The beast is mainly a nocturnal mammal frequently said to hold court from 8-11 p.m. and 3-4 a.m. The northwest and southeastern parts of the state are excellent places to search.

The Wayne National Forest, for example, is one place that affords the animal plenty of cover, as well as vegetation and berries to munch on.

To search such rough terrain for such a rough brute will require the proper equipment. You'll need more than a cooler for your six-packs and a plastic flashlight: Good basic camping equipment is important along with some specific tools suited to this type search. Bill Sheets of the Mammal Research Team, a Lima-based group that hunts Bigfoot, points out that binoculars are a must for viewing from a safe distance. In areas frequented by hunters, he also advises you wear brightly-colored clothing to avoid being mistaken as prey. If you study topographical maps of the area you intend to search, you can avoid such pitfalls as chasing Bigfoot over a ravine.

As most searching is done at night, an infrared scope is considered de rigueur for the serious searcher. Cameras, tape recorders and plaster should be taken along to authenticate any findings. Tripwire strung around your campsite will warn you should the creature(s) come to call uninvited. Wiring also can afford you the opportunity for a few clear documentation shots.

Just so you know what to look for, the creature is said to be from 6-12 feet tall (with most estimates at around 7 feet) and to weigh 300 pounds or more. Bigfoot is covered with fur, has glowing cat-like eyes and a marked odor - variously described as that of rotten eggs, limburger cheese or "a musty animal." Agile for one so large, Bigfoot is reportedly quick on his feet, has been known to take seven-foot strides, has a keen sense of smell and very good eyesight.

Researchers believe the creature's diet to be mainly vegetarian. Its "vocabulary" is said to consist of low growls and grunts, punctuated by occasional screaming noises reminiscent of the victim in a B movie. Reputedly, the beast travels in groups- if you run into one head on, there may be another following right behind. And while the creatures are not Rhodes scholars, they are said to have a certain ability for learning or imitating. One eyewitness reported seeing Bigfoot wearing a discarded T-shirt.

Should you be lucky enough to actually find Bigfoot, caution and a healthy dose of respect are advised. Larry Cottrill, formerly of McArthur, learned this too late. It seems that on the night of August 24, 1980, Cottrill's property was trespassed upon by three of the creatures. In his surprised state, Cottrill shot at them. Later he would rue his actions. Two or three times a week thereafter he was hounded by Bigfeet, who congregated outside his home, making a ruckus and generally creating a nuisance. So upset was Mr. Cottrill by the visitations that he moved to Maine. A neighbor who was similarly disturbed by the visitors, presently has plans to install security lighting around his house.

Anyone wishing to obtain further information on how to responsibly track Bigfoot can write to Bill Sheets, Mammal Research Team, 608 W. High Street, Lima, 45804, or Ron Schaffner, Hominid Research, P.O. Box 12049, Cincinnati, 45212.

(Note: Please take Cottrill's story and some portions of this article with a grain of salt.....Ron Schaffner...)
Credit source: Ron Schaffner, Creature Chonicles P.O. Box 158 - Milford, Ohio 45150

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