Sportshow participant makes case for existence of Bigfoot
Posted on Thu, Jan. 10, 2008 10:15 PM
By BRENT FRAZEE | The Kansas City Star
photo that was taken in California in 1967 by Roger Patterson
and Robert Gimlin.
Larry Battson has seen the smirks, the winks, the rolling of the eyes.
But that doesn’t bother him in the least. When you profess to believe in Bigfoot, that comes with the territory.
“When I used to talk about Bigfoot at sports shows, I’d have skeptics,” said Battson, a nationally known educator on wildlife, who is displaying rattlesnakes and other reptiles at the Kansas City Sportshow this week.
“I’d have ‘good old boys’ come up and say ‘What are you trying to feed us?’ But I’d always tell them, ‘You believe what you want to believe. I’m convinced it exists.”
Call it what you like — Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, the Abominable Snowman — it’s out there, Battson says.
He’s convinced that secretive, mysterious, apelike creatures inhabit the deep forests of the United States. He and others describe them as 7 to 10 feet tall, weighing more than 500 pounds, with feet 20 to 25 inches long. They are covered in brown hair, walk on two feet and have a pronounced brow ridge, believers claim.
They are highly intelligent, keeping to themselves and offering only fleeting exposure to humans. That explains why they are so seldom seen and why scientific proof of their existence is so scarce, believers say.
But many, including the scientific community, remain unconvinced. If colonies of this Bigfoot creature do indeed exist, they say, get us the documentation.
There is a distant, grainy photo of a supposed Bigfoot taken in 1967 by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin, two men who say they ran across the creature in a remote part of northern California. But that’s it.
Since then, there have been proven hoaxes and much skepticism.
“In all the time I’ve been with the Conservation Department, I’ve never heard an agent talk about a Bigfoot sighting,” said Brian Bartlett, a conservation agent with the Missouri Department of Conservation. “With all the hunters we have out in the woods and with all the trail cameras that are set out these days, you’d think someone would spot one if they do exist.
“But we’ve learned to never say never.”
Battson has heard such skepticism before. Be he remains undeterred.
He has been studying Bigfoot for about 30 years now, traveling the country to research alleged sightings.
He has taken molds of footprints, he has audio tape of the sounds the creatures make in the wild, he has read journals of families that had close encounters with them, and he has mountains of testimony from people who claimed to have seen the primate. He spotted what may have been a Bigfoot, but he isn’t certain.
One of those testimonies came from his wife, who spotted what she believed to be a Bigfoot in the headlights of her car as she returned to the Battsons’ home in rural Indiana one night.
That sighting came as no surprise to her husband. There have been other alleged spottings in Putnam County, Ind., where the couple lives.
“These aren’t just a few crackpots making up stories,” said Battson, 55, who lives in Clinton Falls, Ind. “There are literally hundreds of people across the nation who have reported seeing Bigfoot.
“In fact, the only states where there haven’t been sightings are Hawaii and Rhode Island.”
Battson first became intrigued with Bigfoot when he talked with noted wildlife researcher Jim Fowler of the “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” television show years ago.
Fowler was in Russia to tape footage of the brown bear, but all the guides wanted to talk about was Bigfoot.
“Jim said it was very convincing,” Battson said. “These guides got a good look at this creature, and they were afraid of it.”
Battson runs Battson Wildlife Educational Services, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating people about wildlife. He has a collection that includes everything from the snakes, gila monsters and tarantulas he is displaying at the Sportshow this week.
When he heard about this mysterious creature supposedly roaming the woods, it piqued his interest.
“I look at Bigfoot as just another form of wildlife,” he said. “That’s why I find it so fascinating.”
Battson began looking into reports of Bigfoot sightings and was intrigued by what he found.
The creature was mentioned in early American Indian writings and in the journal of explorer Daniel Boone. Even President Theodore Roosevelt related in one of his books an account of Idaho trappers’ encounters with a Bigfoot.
“I read one account of miners in the 1920s who encountered a Bigfoot and shot at it,” Battson said. “That night, their cabin was just bombarded with rocks and boulders. They thought it might have been retaliation for what they had done.
“Anyway, they were so scared that they just took off and left.”
But the modern-day accounts are just as fascinating to Battson.
He remembers one incident when a group reported being out searching for mushrooms when they heard some sounds in the brush. When the sounds grew louder, as if they were being followed, they made their way back to their vehicle. As they went to pull away, what they thought to be a Bigfoot pounced on the hood of their vehicle, made some menacing sounds and then bounded away.
But perhaps the most memorable sighting Battson has investigated involved a family that was building a house in a remote area where Bigfoot creatures had allegedly been seen before.
“When the house was being built, something kept vandalizing it,” Battson said. “At first, this man thought it was kids.
“But one night he saw this big hairy creature out there on his land. He told me that it even came up and screamed in his window one time.
“Over time, I think things got better, and now they kind of coexist there. But that guy tells me he has his land lit up like Shea Stadium now.”
Battson has read dozens of such accounts and has talked with many of the people who said they had spotted Bigfoot. He has seen the footprints in the woods and the way tree limbs have been thrashed at a level higher than any other animal could reach.
That’s enough to convince him that this mysterious creature does indeed exist.
“People say, ‘If this Bigfoot is out there, why don’t we find carcasses in the woods?’ ” Battson said. “But think about it. There are millions of animals out there, but how many times do we run across a carcass?
“I believe that this creature is highly intelligent and able to sense danger. That’s why we don’t run across them that often.
“But I’m convinced they’re out there.”
Battson paused and added, “Either this is the greatest hoax ever pulled off, or there really is a Bigfoot.”
Depending on whom you talk to, it’s either a big creature or a big hoax. Believers depict Bigfoot as a 7- to 10-foot tall apelike creature that lives in the woods. It supposedly walks on two feet — very big feet. Footprints have been measured at 20 to 25 inches long.HABITAT:
Bigfoot supposedly is a creature of the deep woods. It is most common in the Northwest. But sightings have been reported in every state except Hawaii and Rhode Island.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE SKEPTICAL:
The scientific community wants proof — photos, a carcass, a captured animal, anything. But that concrete evidence is scarce. There is a one frame of photos taken in 1967 in northern California, showing a grainy image of a Bigfoot. And researchers have recordings of sounds allegedly made by the creatures and molds of the footprints in the woods. But there also have been admitted hoaxes.
WHY YOU SHOULD BELIEVE:
There have been literally hundreds of Bigfoot sightings over the years. Those sightings are catalogued on the Web site bigfootencounters.com. Researchers believe the creatures are highly intelligent and secretive — thus, the reason for them being able to avoid humans whenever possible.
•CHAMP: A prehistoric dinosaurlike animal, 15 to 25 feet long most resembling the extinct plesiosaur, in Lake Champlain in Vermont. The locals nicknamed it Champ.
•GIANT SQUID: Tentacled beasts as large as whales in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico.
•BIRDZILLA: Giant birds with 15-foot wingspans seen in Illinois, Texas and Alaska in the 1970s.
•SWAMP BEAST: Locals in Louisiana and Florida call it the Swamp Creature or Skunk Ape, a 7-foot tall thing with red hair and a rotten-egg smell.
•MUTANT CANINES: In 2006, something locals described as a mutant was killing pets in Maine and Minnesota.
•GIANT FISH: Catfish big enough to swallow a child, and trout as large as a boat.
I'm a staunch conservative and I believe. Keep in mind that the Pacific Northwest is so dense that airplanes have gone down in it and have never been found. Also, the gorilla was just a myth until the early 1900's.
Posted by: Tom
1/11/2008 9:00 AM
Johnkel, you make a lot of sense but the mountain gorilla is often in excess of 400-450 pounds, standing nearly 6 feet tall and lives strictly on vegetation and berries. It's not impossible that a small number of an undiscovered primate species lives in the Northwest.
Posted by: Tom
1/11/2008 9:38 AM
I am not saying there is or is not a "bigfoot" creature. But think about the hundreds of new species of insects and animals that have been discovered over the years. There was no prior scientific proof of those either before they were found. There are thousands upon thousands of ocean life species we have yet to discover.
So it is possible for large animals to go undiscoverfed for hundreds even thousands of years.
The forrests are dense and hard to navigate. When Steven Foster the explorer disappeared they did searches for him and ended up finding something like a dozen airplace crashes they never knew about including osme as old as 50 years. Now if we cant find a plane how could we find mobile creatures?
You never know
Posted by: shane
1/11/2008 9:57 AM
I've seen one myself and don't expect others to beleive it till they see it for them selves.when you do see it , you will be amazed that it is so big and that it is indeed very real.and kinda scary too.
Posted by: dano
1/11/2008 10:09 AM
I would not just yet rule out this creatures existence completely. This is the stuff of legend. Thanks for this informative, entertaining article Mr Frazee - this was quite a read, enjoyed it very much, thank you.
Posted by: Quik draw McFitz
1/11/2008 10:16 AM
To Bigfoot Jr.
Not true that it was video. 1967 was before the days of the handheld video camera. It is a 16 millimeter film that was analyzed last year at the request of the Monsterquest series and the conclusion reached was that it could not have been a costume. Muscular movement was observed in detail and it was also proven that a man could not walk in the way this animal did.
Posted by: It is real
1/11/2008 11:32 AM
To Big Sam,
It is not video and Patterson went to his death claiming it to be real. It was his brother-in-law who claimed to be the hoaxer. For the money
Posted by: It is for real
1/11/2008 11:35 AM
Not True Hmmm.
Patterson went to find Bigfoot and it was not amateur hiker photographers. There is a video from the early 90's that was a hoax but not the Patterson film. Scientific analysis has proved that it was not a costume. That a man could not match the stride or even walk in the way the muscular motions were captured on film.
Posted by: It is for real
1/11/2008 11:41 AM
It's amazing how many people make ill informed comments who obviously have not studied this subject in depth. I have a newspaper article mentioning 2 events in the late 1800's here in Olathe, one at the Olathe dam. Go online and research the Texas Bigfoot research Conservancy and the Alliance of Independent Bigfoot Researchers for more details on this subject. P.W. Kansas Bigfoot Investigations, Bigfootpass@Yahoo.com
1/11/2008 12:09 PM
It's kind of interesting reading all of these posts. In fact the story itself was very poorly researched. The University of Wisconsin has obtained DNA from hair samples and has classified it as "unknown primate". There are other photographs as well. One recent one was taken by a game trail camara and can be viewed at BFRO.net They have been observed eating bark and hunting in packs. If you happen to be fortunate enough to see one you would realize that human interaction is the last thing these creatures want.
Posted by: sasquatch
1/11/2008 12:16 PM
The footage was never proven to be a hoax:
Posted by: LC
1/11/2008 3:01 PM
This is a subject that has always facinated me.
My wife's cousin related a story to me of a time he worked on a pig farm in south central Mo (around Warsaw). One morning early his boss called and frantically told him to come to the farm, as soon as possible. When he arrived he described a sow dead, outside the holding pen with her throat ripped out and one or two of her legs ripped out at the sockets, with blood everywhere. Upon further inspection they found no blood on the 6.5 foot steel fence, used to secure the animal. They surmized that whatever had killed the, 500 plus pound, sow had thrown it over the fence without the carcus toughing the fence. As I watched him tell this story I could see fear and amazement on his face and hear it in his voice. This was not a tale handed down from person to person. This was a first hand account of something that defied explaination. He was and is an avid coon hunter, but told me it was a long time before he could muster the courage to go into the woods during the day much less at night.
My e-mail adress is firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to try to put these two together if the bigfoot guy is interested.
Posted by: Gary Smotherman
1/11/2008 3:03 PM
I remember watching an analysis done by some noted anthapologists several years ago on the footage of bigfoot. They were convinced the movements were that of a primate and not of a human. There were several points they made to support this theory, but I don't remember the details.
Posted by: Gary
1/11/2008 3:13 PM
Your "What" section mentions foot sizes of 20 to 25 inches which is somewhat exaggerating the average size. While there is a print that measures 27inches, most common is in the 15-18 inch range with 17in. being most common. Dr. Henner Fahrenbach has done analytical studies of the footprint sizes and proves that it is likely that there is something living making these tracks other than hoaxes. Again if people would do some research they would find there is more to it than some idiots running around in a costume suit. Hair samples have been found, dermal ridges in footprints examined by experts (Jimmy Chilcutt and Jeff Meldrum just to name two). There are newspaper article going back to the mid-1800's and even a US President spoke of an unusual encounter(T. Roosevelt), which is attributed to bigfoot by description of what he heard. Research it, you might find it interesting; at least then you can say you educated yourself before commenting on the subject.
Kansas Bigfot Investigations
Posted by: P.W.
1/11/2008 3:44 PM
Bizjet 66 writes: "Sort of like believing in God. This is why they call it faith, but there is no objective scientific evidence that such a creature exists".
Do you know for sure that you will wake up tomorrow without any doubt...of course not, but thats faith. In the same way you go about life as if you are going to get up tomorrow morning and yet there is no scientific evidence that can prove you will or will not get up. It is same with the idea of faith that God created everything including all animals on earth of which bigfoot is included. Sooner or later evidence always presents itself. Research how many new species of animal life has been found on earth this past year, you will be amazed.
Kansas Bigfoot Investigations
1/11/2008 4:44 PM