Monday, April 22, 2013
BIGFOOT IS BACK IN COTTAGE GROVE
Longtime Grovers will remember Bigfoot from the BiMart shopping center. He was a chainsaw carved, worn, cracked, big-as-life greeter for Merchant’s Donuts and later, Kaiser’s Country Donuts. In fact, he had a ‘big foot’ donut named after him. But through a succession of owners he disappeared! Where did he go?
Well, one of his kin is back and alive! My neighbor Susie alerted me to a recent “Finding Bigfoot” Animal Planet episode. A man walking his dog in the Cottage Grove lakebed found Bigfoot-sized tracks. So I logged onto msn.com where I watched a two-minute video of a Bigfoot discovery team preparing to investigate this new discovery right across the street from us.
This crew of Bigfoot devotees consisted of Matt Moneymaker (website founder) and Cliff Barackman (analyst) plus a camera crew. As they drove and talked, aerial shots were taken of our densely wooded and recently clear-cut area forests. Shots of the London Rd. signs were also taken but the focus was on a set of large, crusty footprints in the mud of the reservoir.
The guys were immensely excited. Barackman was the main commentator throwing out statements like “Yeah, this looks like Bigfoot country. Two dog walkers found the prints in the huge muddy shoreline. It makes sense. Bigfoot witnesses from the 1970s were common from this area. The London tracks of over 122 footprints found and cast in CG Reservoir are the longest ever found and show the greatest variability of any casting ever. “
Unfortunately, at that point, the video stopped and since I don’t have cable TV, I was forced to do my own research. There are dozens of websites, blogs and other data on Bigfoot. It turns out that tracking Bigfoot is a big deal! And the lake prints are being touted as probably the most significant footprint find in the last 40 years.
So what does Bigfoot look like? Well, Barackman and Moneymaker say they’re all different. Basically, he looks like a giant ape-shaped human completely covered in ape hair. A scientist described them as Great Apes 6-10 feet tall; bipedal uprights covered with brown, white, yellow or (in Oregon green) hair from head to toe. They have a relatively low birth rate and live long lives.
And where do these creatures live? Well, in wooded areas all over the United States—but especially in Oregon because we are the second most wooded state in the nation. Oregon, one commentator said, is exactly the habitat that Sasquatch wants. It is wet, has lots of coverage, long periods of winter darkness and plenty of food and water.
So why haven’t those of us who live in Bigfoot turf seen any of these creatures? Well, again, according to those who know these things, it’s because Bigfoot searches out places where there are no humans living en masse. They live in places with dense forest, vegetation, deer and elk. Kind of like the same secluded places where airplanes go down and are never seen again. Spooky!
So the next question is: Have there been other documented sightings in the Cottage Grove area? Yes. There is a website that has collected this data. Oregonbigfoot.com has compiled a total of 85 sightings in Lane County beginning in the early 1900s. The sites range from Bend to Oakridge to Veneta, McKenzie Bridge, Florence, Lorane and…wait for it…Cottage Grove.
The earliest sighting was in the 1930s. The source “The Bigfoot Casebook “ simply says, “Bob Bailey, hunter saw Bigfoot at the headwaters of Mosby Creek.” Another local sighting was by Brad Chambers and a friend in the summer of 1972. Details as reported in the Cottage Grove Sentinel are sketchy saying that the “youth claim Bigfoot sighting on the hill.”
Another local sighting was reported in June 1982. A family was swimming and picnicking at Blue Mountain Park with their Doberman. They could hear loud splashing down the creek and later, growling coming from the forest. This kind of spooked them so they loaded up their truck to head home. It was then that the woman saw Bigfoot.
“He was about 6-foot tall, maybe 450 pounds,” she said. “Very human looking, reddish-brown hair all over his body. He was walking with his head down. His arms hung below his knees. He didn’t seem to be afraid of us or even curious about us. It was as if he could of cared less. My children didn’t see it nor did my husband. My husband wanted to go back, but I was too upset and afraid. So we went on home.”
There are many sightings but seldom an exchange of hostilities with the presumed Bigfoot creatures. So far, most of the stories portray him as peaceful. By and large, loud vocalization, a disgusting odor and huge footprints seem to be the summation of all encounters.
I found one 1972 Sharps Creek Rd. terrifying incident where a group of bikers were rebuilding a cabin (illegally). One night they awoke to pounding on the walls and doors and retreated to the loft with their rifles. The next morning they awoke to a destroyed woodshed, firewood thrown about and two chain saws carted away. The Forest Service evicted them. Bigfoot is probably still there.
So, I have to ask—are you a Bigfoot Believer? Do you have a Bigfoot story? I would love to hear and share it in another column. As for me, I’m still a bit of a skeptic. But I will admit that I’m a little worried about the effect our recent clear cut might have on his mental health. I really don’t want to make him mad. You know, just in case he’s ‘my’ Bigfoot!
Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart.