The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot-
Shady Sasquatch Sighting in South Carolina
by D. Trull,
Bigfoot was described as "really fat" with discolored teeth "like baby blocks."
Cryptozoologists generally focus their Bigfoot searches on the Pacific Northwest and western Canada, the supposed natural habitat of the paranormal world's favorite hairy biped. But if the testimony of various eyewitnesses is to be believed, Bigfoot occasionally goes traveling -- as in the case of a recent sighting in South Carolina. Furthermore, this account contains a few other wrinkles besides geography that make it stranger than your average tall tale.
Jackie Hutto, a 14-year-old boy in the small town of Neeses, reports that he saw the creature outside his home at midday on July 15. He was inside the house when he heard his family's dogs barking from inside a dog pen in the back yard. When Jackie went outside to quiet the dogs, he says he saw a large creature tugging at the wire walls of the dog pen. He reports that the animal was about 8 or 8 1/2 feet tall and covered in black fur, except for its face, chest and knees, where brown skin was visible. It bared large, discolored teeth that were shaped "like baby blocks," and possessed prominent male genitalia. Additionally, in contrast to the popular conception of Bigfoot as a lanky and muscular beast, this creature was described as "really fat."
When the creature looked at him, Jackie screamed and took off toward the house. Turning back to look as he ran, Jackie says the Bigfoot also fled from him, scurrying off into the woods. His brother David, 16, heard the screaming and came out of the house in time to glimpse the creature before it vanished into the forest.
The Hutto brothers decided they needed to tell the world about what they had seen. But they didn't call the police, or the wildlife commission. Instead, they went straight to the media. And this is where the tale begins to get knotty.
David Hutto called up the local newspaper, the Times And Democrat, and faithfully reported all the details of Jackie's encounter, except for one: he said that Jackie Hutto was a 23-year-old-woman. A brief article about the Bigfoot sighting appeared in the paper the following day, complete with quotes from "Ms. Hutto" -- even though no reporter had spoken with "her." The following excerpt comes from the end of the Times And Democrat write-up:
If the bigfoot was someone in a costume "it fooled me," she said. She believed the bigfoot ran too fast to be someone in a costume.
"I'm pretty sure he wanted to eat (the dogs) or something. I keep looking out the windows to make sure he's not out there," she said.
"I'm a disbeliever -- in a sense I still am. But I'm kinda having a change of heart," she said.
The Hutto brothers had a further change of heart soon afterwards, when they came forward with the truth about Jackie's age and gender. Apparently they claimed the initial ruse was an attempt at anonymity, rather than deception. David also admitted that he too had seen the creature, which he had declined to mention previously. "I haven't told nobody I seen it because I was afraid they'd say I was crazy," he explained.
By the time these aspects of the story were straightened out, the sighting had already become an area phenomenon. Local residents were consumed with Bigfoot mania, and the story quickly garnered attention across South Carolina and beyond. Many of the townspeople of Neeses had a hard time believing the story, and had a hard believing their local newspaper had so willingly spread it before having all the facts.
"I think it's a bunch of baloney," said Neeses resident Darlene Riley, who characterized the Times and Democrat's decision to run the story as "real slack." "My kids have not been out of the house all day long because they were scared when they saw this," Riley said. She also expressed concern for possible trigger-happy Bigfoot hunters traipsing through the community.
"You got a bunch of people out there shooting everything that's brown, including me -- I'm black," Riley said.
Other Neeses residents are more inclined to take the Bigfoot sighting in stride. Local merchant Art Dent (presumably no relation to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy protagonist) has displayed an airbrushed "Big Foot Welcome Center" sign outside his Dog City Paint and Body Shop. Dent said he and his hunting dogs will be venturing out on the trail of the creature.
"We don't want to hurt him; we want to feed him," Dent explained. "He had to try and eat those dogs, because if he went in a restaurant he would get thrown out."
Brenda Polk, a Bigfoot enthusiast in Concord, North Carolina, was also thrilled to hear of the Neeses sighting. Polk, who says she saw Bigfoot near the South Carolina border in 1991, is sending out her support to Jackie Hutto and his decision to go public with his sighting.
"I'm trying to get a support group started for people in the Carolinas that have spotted Bigfoot and have a place for them to report [their sighting] without people telling them they've lost their mind," Polk said. "People that have talked to me about it tell me it's a good thing. I even bought a computer to get on the Internet; there's a lot of Bigfoot information on there."
Polk believes that Bigfoots pose no danger to humans. "They won't attack anyone unless they are attacked. I don't think it's going to hurt anybody down there." Despite speculation that the creature was attempting to eat the Huttos' dogs, Polk says the dogs must have frightened it. "They don't like dogs, and dogs don't like them," she said. "I've been studying it now for the past year. It has attacked dogs, but I haven't seen anywhere where it actually attacked humans other than when they harassed it."
Whether they believe the story or not, many South Carolinians are likening the Neeses Bigfoot to the notorious Lizard Man that supposedly terrorized the Palmetto State in the summer of 1988. Described as a 7-foot humanoid reptile with scaly green skin and red eyes, the alleged creature engendered a booming cottage industry of T-shirts and bumper stickers until the novelty wore off. Only time will tell if Jackie Hutto's Bigfoot might prove to be more than just another summertime trailer-park fad.
Sources: The Times and Democrat (Neeses, SC)
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