Thursdaymorning, we got an email from aguy who said he shot some video of Bigfoot in Rutherford County. I, acting in my role as a responsible journalist, couldn t not call him.
The guy, a disabled Vietnam-era veteran from Fallston named Thomas Byers, told me Bigfoot crossed the road right in front of him. Byers and his friend Carolyn were driving to a cemetery to shoot some video when they saw something climbing up a road bank. Byers stopped the truck and got out the camera. Bigfoot looked at him. He threw up his hands and snarled. Then he took off into the brush.
Byers got four seconds of video. Blurry, dark video. He saw Bigfoot for a minute. Tops. The Sasquatch was around seven feet tall, 300 pounds, with yellow teeth. It left behind six-toed footprints. It gave off the stench of decay, and it also had something that s not found on most gorilla costumes. It was very clear to both of us that it was a male, Byers said, fumbling around for the most polite words. I mean, you could see, I don t want to say, trying to think, uh, you could see its private parts.
We ve heard this story before. People have been talking about Bigfoot since the 1850 s. They started seeing it a whole lot more after an article in December 1959 s True magazine. The most famous Sasquatch sighting of all was caught on 16mm celluloid shot in northern California back in 1967. A few years ago, the owner of Charlotte s Morris Costume claimed he sold a gorilla suit to the man who made the filmstrip.
Then came Tim Peeler of Casar, who said he saw not just any Bigfoot, but Ben Knobby Knob, the decades-old Bigfoot who s, allegedly, indigenous to Cleveland County and those parts. Among the quotes that made Peeler s description into a national story last summer:
- He had beautiful hair.
- I rough talked him.
Byers saw the story on Peeler. He isn t sure if he saw Knobby. The thing he saw had long brown stringy hair, the shade of a winter deer, he said. Peeler s version had beautiful blonde hair. Byers was scared and awed. It s the most amazin thing I ve ever seen, he said.
I looked through my Rolodex for a Bigfoot expert. I actually found one.
Mike Greene of Salisbury has been looking for Bigfoot for two decades. He just spent the night out in the Uwharrie National Forest looking for the Sasquatch. He came up empty. Didn t even see any deer, he said.
Greene said he saw Bigfoot once, about five years ago. He speaks confidently and intelligently about sasquatches, the same way an Audubon would speak about a Tennessee Warbler. I told him about the six toes. Uh oh, he said.
First of all, a Sasquatch would weigh more than 300 pounds, he said. It would probably only have five toes. The arms would swing more. The stride would be longer.
It s a mincing walk, Greene said of the video, like someone who can t see out of the suit.
The video quality is terrible. What it shows is something Greene calls a Blob-squatch, or a blob that kind of looks like Bigfoot. The whole thing is, and Greene is willing to bet his reputation on this, a lousy fake.
It s a matter of belief, then. The Bigfoot expert says it s not Bigfoot. The Bigfoot witnesses say it is. I emailed Byers to ask him to send the video to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, where Greene says a group of 250 other Sasquatch experts will mercilessly pick through every frame of video in search of the truth. Byers said all he wanted was for somebody to look at the video and see if what he saw was what he believed he saw.
Did we air the video? Yes. Do we know what s really on it? No. We are merely an objective conduit of images that either show science s most elusive discovery, or a guy in an ape suit. It s up to you to decide what you want to believe.