Tahlequah Daily Press

Features

October 9, 2012

Bigfoot researchers share data

TAHLEQUAH — He’s a legendary figure who’s been sighted in northwest Canada, all the way south into the bogs of Louisiana. His cousins have been spotted in the Himalayas and in parts of Africa. And several northeastern Oklahoma residents will swear he’s tramped through their backyards.

Bigfoot was king of the day at a new event that focused on the creature some claim to have seen, and others consider mythical.

A life-size replica and drawing of Bigfoot greeted visitors to the Oklahoma Bigfoot Symposium on Saturday. In the back of the room, photos and imprints made from giant footprints and knuckles were on display.

Sponsored by the Mid-America Bigfoot Research Center, the event was held at the Stilwell Community Center. Darren Lee, executive director and founder of Mid-America Bigfoot Research Center, has put on conferences since 2007 in Hanobia, near Talihina, and decided it was time to do one here.

“When people move trailers out in areas where we’ve never been before and something gets beat up, like the air conditioner, it’s common for Bigfoot to show that you’re not welcome by slapping it,” Lee said. “We’re going to have more encounters.”

Lee began doing research on the creature in 1991.

“I started meeting more and more people who had the same interests and same perceptions I did,” Lee said. “Now, we have 300-plus members.”

They work with researchers from all over the world – including Australia and New Zealand – who are looking for their own versions of Bigfoot, Lee said.

“We haven’t broken into China and Russia yet, but they have their version of Bigfoot, too,” he said. “The importance of turning in sighting reports, is that the more documentation we have, the better the research is. We keep the identity of people confidential, because not everyone likes to talk about it.”

Lee said many people who claim to have seen the furry, ape-like creature are traumatized afterward.

“Some people actually have traumatic experiences with it, like [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder] symptoms, from the size and the fact something can be out in the woods with them,” he said. “As a Boy Scout, I used to run through the woods without a flashlight. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have done that. It’s kinda scary thinking about a Bigfoot out there.”

Lee said research indicates the species don’t appear to be dangerous.

“But people disappear out in the woods, and we never know if it’s Bigfoot or a bobcat,” he said. “I’ve seen close to 21 sightings, most in Adair, Cherokee and Sequoyah counties. We found knuckle prints just last night.”

He knows one man who had a sighting and searched 10 years before his next encounter.

“You see your first one and get hooked,” Lee said. “We have recordings of the whoop they do.”

Lee’s grandson, Izzy Gutierrez, 10, has been a part of field research since he was 4 months old, sleeping in the car while family members waited in the woods. Now it’s hard to hold him back, Lee said.

“It’s fun, because I get to hang out with other researchers and my grandma and grandpa,” Gutierrez said. “I like to go four-wheeling and camp out overnight and for a week.”

He’s seen a lot of wildlife, waterfalls and beautiful scenery, and met many people, but hasn’t seen a Bigfoot year. At least, not clearly.

“I saw one run across a field; that got me pretty excited,” Gutierrez said.

Presentations varied from conducting and documenting research, using special electronic equipment, to Laughsquatch, a collection of cartoons about Bigfoot, Bigfoot lore and sounds. Vendors had a variety of items for sale, including survival bracelets and Bigfoot jewelry, surveillance equipment and books on the topic.

Robert Swain, presenter of Laughsquatch, showed slides of his Bigfoot cartoons.

“Old newspapers are rich with history,” Swain said. “There are 300 to 400 sightings a year, many from October through December, which corresponds with deer season, when so many people are out in the woods.”

Swain has always had an interest in Bigfoot. While he was growing up in Missouri, he heard stories about Momo, the Missouri Monster. Now he shares his interest with his son.

“It’s good for a hobby,” said Swain. “We find footprints, and audio sounds and the search is fun. When I started taking my son camping, I began drawing Bigfoot cartoons for him.”

Jean Jones came with daughters Peggy Ross and Carissa Schulze. Schulze volunteers as a field researcher.

“I think it’s awesome, all those Bigfoots. I haven’t seen one, but I’m still looking,” Jones said. “Some of these pictures [of Bigfoot research] were taken on my property on Arkansas Highway 59, up on Workman Mountain.”

Mid-America Bigfoot Research Center Eastern Oklahoma State Director Roy McClish got involved eight years ago after he retired and was looking for something to do.

“I was surfing the Internet, and ran across the MABRC site. I love the outdoors, and the more I read, the more interested I was,” McClish said. “I applied for membership and was accepted.”

He most enjoys the camaraderie and thrill of research.

“Most people don’t believe in Bigfoot. We’re trying to learn something about their habits, how they’ve survived unnoticed,” McClish said.

One night, while camping, he thought he heard the other men talking, then realized it wasn’t them.

“I’ve had vocal contact,” said McClish. “We had tents set up about 30 yards apart. About 2 a.m., they began to have a conversation between themselves that sounded like gibberish.”

The conversation went back and forth, McClish said. Then he heard footsteps walk away, and splash through the creek.

“It sounded like a large group jabbering, and then they moved away,” he said. “I really want to see one.”

He’s done castings of prints.

“We found some knuckle prints last night,” he said Saturday. “One knuckle section was 4 to 5 inches long.”

Arkansas State Director Mike Hartsell said he’s always wondered about Bigfoot since he saw the movie, “Legend of Boggy Creek.”

“There are sightings all the time around my house south of Fort Smith,” Hartsell said. “Everybody thinks Bigfoot is a fake, but you can’t find him on a computer; you have to be in the woods.”

He’s had two sightings, both in southeast Oklahoma, in the Washita National Forest.

Simple curiosity has researcher Carissa Schulze searching for proof.

“Darren was in my dad’s Boy Scout troop. So I called him to ask about Bigfoot,” Schulze said. “I know there’s been lots of animals found they didn’t know existed anymore.”

She’s heard the vocals and had rocks thrown at her during her first time to do field research.

“The rocks came flying out of the woods at me; I was out in a clearing in the Nicut area,” Schulze said. “I like the things I cannot explain, like the noises, and I like being outdoors.”

Abe Del Rio, director of the Minnesota Bigfoot organization, came to support his friends. He’s been doing research for 12 years.

“My interest first got piqued when I was camping and heard a Bigfoot,” Del Rio said. “Most people don’t come forward, but I’ve seen footprints, heard audio, had rocks thrown at me and been paralleled, followed when I walked.”

Hailing from Georgia, the “Bigfoot Chicks” – Angela Martindale and Melissa Adair – sold survival bracelets, made from paracord that can be used for a variety of needs in the woods. Their presentation was “Three Centuries of Bigfoot Lore.”

“I grew up hearing Bigfoot stories from my dad, and I got into it with him,” Adair said. “I’ve heard the tree knocks, where they seem to communicate with each other. I haven’t had a sighting, but I’ve had other experiences, like the keen sense of being watched.”

Adair said she found footprints in North Carolina.

 

To see the complete version of this article, subscribe to the Daily Press e-edition by following the link below.

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered every day to your home or office.

Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition. It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

1
Text Only
Features
  • rf-Zoe-thing.jpg Conference attendees get words of encouragement

    Words of encouragement and door prizes were bountiful Saturday morning at the annual Zoë Institute’s Women’s Conference.
    Ten women shared words of wisdom in areas from happiness to health, and 100 gifts were given out, including the grand prize of gasoline for a year.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • sp-symposium-art-panel.jpg Panelists discuss impact of Southeastern art

    Until recently, most people had a certain expectation of American Indian art – and it didn’t include images familiar to people in and around Cherokee County.
    “A lot of times, when people think about Native art, they immediately think of Plains art or Southwestern art,” said Roy Boney (Cherokee), Tahlequah artist and moderator of the panel discussion “Southeastern Indian Art: Building Community and Raising Awareness,” held Friday, April 11, at the NSU Symposium on the American Indian.
    Boney and the other panelists are frustrated by the divide between mainstream expectations of Native American art and their need for genuine self-expression.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Teacher.jpg Dickerson believes in putting the student first

    As a child growing up in Elk City, Cherokee Elementary teacher Debra Dickerson lined up the neighborhood children and animals to play school.
    “I’ve been a teacher ever since I could talk. My mother always said she knew where I was because she could hear me bossing everyone,” she said.
    The classroom then was a blanket tossed over limbs of her big cherry tree on Eisenhower Street. Recess was spent tree-climbing, running, riding in the bus (her red wagon) and being creative.
    “Those were the days before video games and TV,” she said.
    Dickerson, 2013-’14 Cherokee Elementary Teacher of the Year, believes a classroom should be a safe haven for children, because school is often the best part of their day.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • kh-trash-pickup.jpg Cleaning things up

    Lowrey was part of the Cherokee Nation’s Career Service Center contingency of 11 volunteers. Other volunteers cleaned up trash along the roadway from the Cherokee Casino to the NSU campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-NinthAmendment.jpg Right to privacy leans partly on Article 9

    While the other articles of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights are straightforward – at least, enough for Americans to bicker over in court – the Ninth Amendment might cause a bit of confusion.
    It reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
    There are no rights enumerated, and it might be difficult to argue one’s Ninth Amendment rights in court, though it has been done successfully.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • stickball-2.jpg Stickball

    The American Indian Science and Engineering Society and Native American Student Associationat Northeastern State University hosted a traditional stickball game as part of closing cultural activities during the 42nd annual Symposium on the American Indian Friday. Participants included, from left: Nathan Wolf, Disosdi Elk and Chris Smith.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • green-bldng.jpg City council to discuss ‘green building’

    Tahlequah City Council will hold a special meeting Friday, April 11, at 5:30 p.m. to discuss, among other items, applying grant money to renovate the city’s “green building” at the corner of Water and Morgan, near Norris Park.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • alcohol-info.jpg Alcohol screening can be critical

    It has been decades since Prohibition brought Americans gangsters, flappers and speakeasies, but statistics for alcohol addiction are staggering.
    Millions of Americans suffer from alcohol addiction and abuse, which affects families and friends.
    Today, April 10, is the annual National Alcohol Screening Day, and raising awareness through education, outreach and screening programs is the goal, according to the website at www.mentalhealthscreening.org.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • jn-CCSO-2.jpg Law enforcement agencies to get new facility

    Area law enforcement agencies will soon have a new training facility in Cherokee County.
    The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office is building the new training room near its gun range, located north of the detention center. Sheriff Norman Fisher said tax dollars were not used for the building.
    “This is something we’ve been trying to work on, and it was built with no money from the taxpayers,” said Fisher. “It was paid for with drug forfeitures and gun sales.”

    April 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • Holiday Inn.tif Promise Hotels to build Holiday Inn Express prototype

    Tulsa-based company Promise Hotels broke ground recently on the nation’s first new Holiday Inn Express & Suites prototype. The new 46,000 square foot, 80-room hotel will be in Tahlequah near the intersection of South Muskogee Avenue and the highway loop.
    Construction will begin immediately with an anticipated completion date of February 2015. The $7.22 million hotel will feature a new contemporary look with an indoor pool, sauna, fitness center, and larger meeting room.

    April 9, 2014 3 Photos

Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Royal Couple Visits Australia Mountains Raw: Pro-Russian Militants Killed on Base Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston Egypt Clamps Down on Mosques to Control Message After Fukushima, Japan Eyes Solar Power New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Ex-California City Leader Gets 12 Year Sentence Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?
Stocks