Ersatz Sasquatch Has Feet of Clay, Police Say
By Leef Smith, Washington Post Staff
Tuesday July 15, 1997 -- An ape-like creature, covered in a tangle of leaves and branches, emerged yesterday from the bushes along a rural road in Fauquier County, prompting several very startled motorists to call police. Bigfoot, they said, was afoot.
Virginia State Police didn't know what to make of the first sighting, at 3 a.m. Or the second. Or the third. So they sent out a trooper, and there he was, right there in the middle of Route 647. Sasquatch.Sort of.
Officials say Bigfoot was being played by an 18-year-old prankster who, thinking himself clever, covered himself in fish netting and brush to resemble the infamous beastie more commonly thought to live in the Pacific Northwest.
"We get calls on bears in the road and different types of animals, but never has anybody called in and said they saw Bigfoot," said State Police Sgt. Perry Benshoof, who was not the lucky officer dispatched to the scene.
"But that's what happened. One woman called up and said, `I don't know what I saw, but it looked like a small Bigfoot.'" Police said the teenager's goal was not to frighten groggy motorists. The young man and an 18-year-old companion were on their way to play a practical joke on one of their sisters. She was house-sitting in nearby Marshall and apparently was headed for a shock.
The teenagers' prank was cut short when they tried to fool a passing police cruiser, officials said, and Bigfoot was unmasked. Police said no laws were broken, so no charges were filed. The young men were sent home, and the officer didn't take down their names."Other than being in the roadway and walking in front of cars, they violated no laws," Benshoof said with a sigh.
From the files of Bobbie Short, 1997
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