When I first came to the general location of what I now call my Main Research Box back on September 2, 2002 I was greatly disappointed. The area was surrounded by farms and croplands, with patches of woodlots interspersed. The terrain looked rather mundane to me- rolling countryside at best.
I had come on a second-hand rumor of possible Bigfoot activity in the area. I was a bit embarrassed for myself. Somehow I thought the location would have small mountains, deep river gorges, large crags, rocky bluffs, and numerous ravines. I had forgotten that this was the American Midwest- not the Pacific Northwest.
As I parked my car I thought to myself: “Bigfoot here? No way.”
It had been a long drive, so I decided to take a look-see as long as I was there. Bigfoot wasn’t even a blip on my radar screen at that time in my life. I had heard of Bigfoot being in Ohio, and I remembered the television reports of MOMO back in the 1970s. Otherwise I knew very little about Bigfoot, with only a passing interest on the subject.
Certainly I was no scientist, and knew very little about the outdoors and wildlife. I hadn’t been camping or hiking for about a quarter-century. In other words, I was a complete novice and my mind was a blank slate in my knowledge on the subject of Bigfoot. To many folks that may have seemed to have been an initial disadvantage, but I think it gave me an edge in that I didn’t have any preconceived notions of these bipedal creatures living in our midst. Basically I wasn’t carrying the baggage of prejudiced ideas of what I should expect. Nor did I know any of the signs of Bigfoot’s presence I should be looking for.
I managed to find a hiking trail, and little did I know that in about a half-hour’s time my life would be changed forever. I stood in awe when a massive bulk thrust itself down a giant oak tree. There, only about 60 feet away from me, stood a Bigfoot. It paused for a few moments before it twirled itself through some bushes behind the tree, disappearing from my view.
In what was only intended to be a half-hearted mini-adventure that day, turned me from being just a believer in Bigfoot, into knowing Bigfoot did exist. I left those woods that day thinking: “That was easy. What’s so hard about finding Bigfoot? The next time I come here, I’ll have to get a photograph of a Bigfoot.”
Never did I imagine I would become a Bigfoot researcher.
As the weeks, then months progressed after my initial encounter, I kept expanding my research area. Even before I had my second visual encounter with another Bigfoot 16 months later on January 7, 2004, I was realizing that it was futile for only one person to cover many square miles of territory. Gradually I came to concentrate on one small area where I had the two visual encounters. I drew a box on an aerial photograph of the location. The box was roughly a quarter of a square mile. This is what I now call my Main Research Box (MRB).
I know to most folks my MRB is an incredibly small area to research Bigfoot, but hear me out.
Besides the two visual encounters within my MRB, I’ve also had many sounds and signs of Bigfoot activity. I’ve seen numerous footprints, and have heard whistling, hand slapping, whooping, mumbling, grumbling growls, and very recently rock clacking. In the summer of 2003 I found a den with two apples inside it. The kind of apples I had been leaving out for the Bigfoot. Also at that time I discovered a shingle oak tree that had most of its limbs and branches ripped off its trunk, and placed in a large pile next to it. The pile measured about 20 x 12 feet, and was over three feet in depth. I simply refer to it as the Bed, although it never showed any signs of anyone ever sleeping on it.
I had established what I call my Food Drop between the Bed and the 2003 Summer Den quite by accident. Before I had been leaving food out for the Bigfoot at various locations. One day during that summer I couldn’t hike any further because I was worried my stitches were going to break from a recent appendix operation, so I dumped the food and left hidden in the nearby brush a hammer and trowel. The hammer and trowel were intended for use in erecting a food stand in the area. When I came back several days later the hammer and trowel were gone, as was the food. So I decided to start leaving the food there ever since. About a week after I lost my hammer and trowel, I found a small, smooth stone at the Food Drop. I kept it as a gift.
It took me about a year after I started going to the location that I could never out fox the Bigfoot family, or troop, there. So instead of camouflaging my HI-8 cameras, I decided to leave them out in the open, mounted on tripods. My hope is that over time the Bigfoot there will become accustomed to my cameras and tripods, and realize that my equipment is non-threatening. At first I don’t think the Bigfoot were too thrilled with the cameras. In September 2003 I had left a camera on a tripod near the 2003 Summer Den. Just before nightfall a large tree limb can be heard off-camera being snapped, followed by the sound of a couple loud thumps of someone(s) hitting the ground.
For the most part, I stay inside my MRB when I’m at the location. As small as it is, you get to learn which trees have recently fallen down, and what is out of place.
You don’t have to deal with these Bigfoot too long, to learn a poignant perspective. It’s not so much me observing them, as they are observing me.