I wrote a column for the River Hills Traveler almost two years ago in which we discussed the fact that many people believe that “bigfoot” is alive and well in Missouri.
As most people know, “bigfoot” refers to the mythical biped monster that is allegedly “out there” in various remote parts of this country, including, believe it or not, the Missouri Ozarks.
What you might not know is that there is a national organization that tracks and investigates the sightings, state by state, of “bigfoot.”
This organization, known as “Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization” (BFRO), has a website at www.bfro.net. It is an interesting website, even if you “don’t believe.”
On the site, you will see a rather detailed listing of various bigfoot sightings throughout the country, including more than 160 sightings just in Missouri.
These sightings are graded on the basis of their credibility; firsthand sightings of an actual creature receive an “A” rating, which is the highest credibility rating, and secondary experiences (such as hearing growls, tree knocking or other sounds allegedly associated with bigfoot) receive either a “B” or “C” rating, both of which are obviously less credible.
The witnesses reporting these sightings are never identified by name; this anonymity is intended to encourage people to report these sightings without being ridiculed.
More often than not, each reported sighting is followed up with a personal interview by one of the BFRO investigators.
It is obvious from the website that the personnel at BFRO are very dedicated to their mission.
I saw recently on the BFRO website that they were sponsoring a three-day field trip in Missouri this fall to help interested persons learn how to recognize signs that a bigfoot may be in the area.
I have never taken that trip and therefore can’t endorse it, but it might be fun to go on one of those trips even if you are not a believer, sort of like staying overnight in a haunted house thinking you can’t possibly see a ghost but kind of hoping that you do.
And news about the Missouri expedition got me curious as to just how credible those bigfoot sightings in the Missouri Ozarks really are.
So let’s have a closer look at a few of the more puzzling “Class A” sightings in the Missouri Ozarks, as reported by BFRO.
From my perspective, the most credible sightings are going to be if there is more than one eyewitness, or the witness is a deer hunter who generally has an ability to distinguish and identify moving creatures in the timber, or the witness took a photograph of the creature.
And guess what? We have examples of all three situations in this discussion.
First, let’s discuss the incident in which a photograph was taken of the creature. A man was driving home on July 16, 2014, at 10:30 at night on a rural county road near Annapolis, in Reynolds County.
It was a clear night. At the time, he was looking at a text on his cellphone while driving at about 10 miles per hour.
Suddenly, he looked up and in the headlights, saw a creature crossing the road 50 yards in front of him.
This creature was walking on its hind legs and despite crossing in front of him, did not appear to be in a hurry to get out of the way.
In fact, this creature was staring at the driver the entire time. He estimated this creature to be between six and six-and-a-half feet tall, with unusually long arms. The body appeared to be covered with mangy, dark hair.
Because he had his cellphone already out, he snapped a cellphone picture of this creature as he got closer. (That photograph can be found on the BFRO website under the sightings for Reynolds County.)
His parents saw the same creature two weeks later on the same road about a quarter-mile further down the road.
According to the parents, the body of this creature was covered with dark hair with unusually long arms.
The area where these two sightings occurred is very remote with no houses nearby, nor were there any vehicles parked along the road at the time of this sighting.
With regard to the Reynolds County incident and the accompanying photograph, this creature in the photograph does not look like the stereotype bigfoot, with a massive chest and a gorilla-like appearance; instead, it looks somewhat ghost-like.
Frankly, in my view, this adds to the credibility of this particular incident. If the witness were going to phony up a photograph, wouldn’t he try to make it look more like a stereotype bigfoot?
It is reasonable to conclude that this witness did in fact see a two-legged creature cross in front of his car; exactly what he saw is not clear.
The second incident involved seven eyewitness, two of whom were interviewed by a BFRO investigator. This sighting occurred in Ripley County about 30 miles southeast of Riverton, near Fourche Lake, off of County Road V in April 1998.
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At the time, seven men were camping overnight in this location and they were up late sitting around a campfire.
It was a clear night with a bright moon. Suddenly, the men saw a creature on two legs who emerged from a treeline and who began running around in circles in an open field, waiving its arms and making strange sounds.
At the time, this creature was about 75 yards away. According to one witness, the arms on this creature seemed longer than human arms; another witness could see hands that the creature appeared to be shaking back and forth, all the while making sounds as if it were in some kind of distress.
It was between four and five feet in height with a dark body. At first, the men were taken back by this dramatic scene but as they attempted to get to their feet to investigate further, they apparently spooked this creature and it darted back into the woods, never to be seen or heard from again.
The thing that adds credibility to this sighting in Ripley County is not only that there was more than one witness but rather that what they saw did not fit the “bigfoot narrative.”
This creature was only four feet tall and acting distressed. In other words, it’s one of those situations in which it is so strange that “you could not make it up,” as they say.
It would have been a more credible incident if the other eye witnesses had been interviewed, but at least the two who were interviewed were reasonably consistent.
The third incident involved a deer hunter in Douglas County on October 27, 1980, who was scouting for deer signs shortly after daybreak.
He was close to County Road AC, west of Dora. As he was stationary looking into a wooded, remote valley, he noticed movement on a hillside on the opposite side of the valley, approximately 150 yards away.
At the time, he had a pair of 15x binoculars, which he then used to determine the nature of the movement he had spotted.
As he scanned the area for a few minutes, he continued to see movement but could not determine what kind of animal it was.
Then suddenly, the creature moved into a clear spot and he could see, with his binoculars, a creature walking on two legs.