Bigfoot Encounters

"Elusive Bigfoot On Former Cop's Most Wanted List "
Cynthia Taggart/The Spokesman-Review
August, 1997

Tom Akren can still hear the heavy thumping on his cabin roof. He remembers the walls shaking every time the mysterious animal's feet landed. The rotten odor still lingers in Tom's memory 50 years after the animal whisked itself from Tom's sight.  "I have absolutely no doubt it was Bigfoot," he says, so secure in his belief that he leaves no room for argument.

Tom's dad tried to track the crafty animal but lost it after half a mile. Tom says he found a convincing 17-inch footprint and has never again doubted Bigfoot's existence.  Fifty years elapsed before Tom did more than read about Bigfoot. Now that Tom's 66 and retired with his wife, Marie, in Post Falls, he has time to track a recent Bigfoot sighting in Cougar Gulch.

"I'm too old to tromp through the forest," he says, "but I will drive around and see if there are any tracks by the road."  Tom learned his detective technique as a Los Angeles deputy sheriff. To celebrate his retirement, Marie bought him a computer last January. He immediately searched for Bigfoot information.

Bigfoot abuse was rampant on the Internet, but Tom found a research group that looked legitimate. He e-mailed the group about his experience, reading and desire to research. The 12 scientists, doctors and lawyers asked Tom to join. The group's only mission is to prove Bigfoot's existence. It sells nothing and doesn't pay for information. Tom signed on.   "I'm not interested in hunters or gold diggers," he says. "I have enough money. I don't need to pull anything."

The call from Cougar Gulch came in late July. An outdoorsman who lives in the forest heard an animal screaming around his house in the middle of the night. The sound was a cross between a peacock yell and an ape scream.  Neighbors heard the same sound. Tom says they accurately described the Bigfoot scream. Tom's gray Errol Flynn mustache twitches with excitement as he tells the story.

"I just hope and pray some event will happen that lays all the disbelief to rest," he says. "I never laugh or ridicule anyone. I make every effort to check everything out. I just want to hear stories."
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