Sunday, November 23, 2003
Making The Rounds
Aurora Beacon News
It was about a year ago that the story, er, legend, er, myth — oh, all of the above — of Bigfoot was put to rest. Or was it? In December 2002, the family of Ray Wallace, a logger in the Pacific Northwest, announced upon their father’s death that he had created the story of Bigfoot, by himself, in 1958.
The claim is he did so by using a pair of 16-foot carved wooden feet, stomping around on the ground, creating the footprints eventually discovered by Gerald Crew. Wallace kept the legend going for more than 40 years by using photos, footprints and fake sightings, his family said.
The story was considered so plausible that actor Judge Reinhold and his wife, Amy, have teamed with independent producer Eric Geadelmann to produce a movie about Ray Wallace.
So, too bad for you, all you Bigfoot enthusiasts and believers, right?
Not so fast! The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, or BFRO, is armed with myriad facts and figures to prove that the Wallace hoax story is itself a hoax. A hoax about a hoax! Now there’s a movie! At least, that’s the movie BFRO is calling upon the Reinholds to make.
You can read all about it on the BFRO Web site, www.bfro.net, which not only sets about to debunk the Wallaces, but catalogs the long and arduous hunt for Bigfoot, Sasquatch or whatever name you give the hairy, cryptid homonid that supposedly walks the earth and makes an occasional appearance, only to disappear just out of the grasp of these dedicated hunters.
One of the most interesting parts of the BFRO Web site is the state-by- state accounting of Bigfoot sightings. For the record, Illinois has had 13 Bigfoot sightings between 1972 and July 31, 2002. They were all downstate. In fact, the closest to the Chicago area so far has been in LaPorte County, Ind.
Still, that’s more than Rhode Island, Delaware and North Dakota, which have had one sighting each.
Compare that to California, Washington and Oregon, which have about 600 to 700 sightings combined. Making the Rounds suggests that’s one more good reason, after earthquakes, wildfires and Arnold Schwarzenegger, to live here instead of there.
You think we’re kidding here? Just read this testimonial from a 17- year-old boy and his girlfriend, who in the spring of 1978 were parked, making out, in a field just off Bunker Hill Road, outside of Carlinville, in Macoupin County:
“We heard the loudest most shrill scream we could imagine,” the testimonial says. “It was very very close and extremely loud. It started as several low-tone grunts and exploded into the most frightening shrill scream I’d ever heard. It seemed to vibrate the old car we were in. We were both panic-stricken and scared out of our minds. I jumped into the front seat butt naked and drove … until we were on high ground and away from any woods. I hadn’t taken time to dress until we were miles away from that spot!”
OK, it could have been the local sheriff banging his flashlight on the window. But it’s doubtful.
Each sighting has a record like this, so these BFRO guys have to at least get some credit for hard work, cataloging each one. They also are classified A, B or C, depending on what kind of sighting it is, but Making the Rounds doesn’t have time or space to explain that, so you have to check the Web site.
This whole thing is just part of a larger thing called cryptozoology, which will be covered in another Web site in the next Making the Rounds.