Saturday, December 13, 2008

Response to Previous Post

When I wrote the following post, I was very upset. I have had time to
now think over some things. First of all, I apologize to the person I
directed it at. Secondly, I apologize to everyone of you who had to
read it. Please remember though to always use caution with who you trust.

The members involved with the Fox News clip worked hard to accomplish
a good, positive story about Bigfoot. It's not often that the media
has a positive spin on the subject. So, when it was removed from the
network, I got pretty heated.

This doesn't deter our efforts. Right now, we have alot of work to
do. We have alot of good leads to work on and alot of great areas to

Keep up the great work everyone!

Billy Willard
Sasquatch Watch of Virginia

Sunday, December 07, 2008

We all learn the hard way!

It's not often that I post random thoughts and feelings about some in this field of research, but due to recent events, I feel compelled to do so. It took many days for me to decide to write this up.

In the short three years I've been actively doing this research, I've learned some things the hard way.

Be careful who you associate with. Let your gut feeling about folks guide you through your decisions. Even people who you "think" are your friends, WATCH OUT. The big let down is when someone you look up to looks for ways to hurt you. That cuts pretty deep.

Some people are in this for the "fame" it seems. They are afraid that someone else is going to get the better of them or find some hard evidence that they were not a part of. Really, does it matter who finds it first? I could care less who discovers this creature we all look for.

I want to stress this point, particularly to all those scanning the internet for places to report their Bigfoot sightings and encounters to. When you have someone or a group start asking you if you've reported your sighting or encounter to someone else...BEWARE!!! These are typically the people or groups who are in this for the fame and attention. Sasquatch Watch of Virginia is in this for the study of an unknown species. We are in this to bring a scientific approach to this ridiculed phenomenon. There are way too many people in this world reporting sightings of an unknown, bipedal creature in the forests of world.

Our group has been accused of...and I quote...having a "seemingly technical capability" in this field of research. This quote is taken from someone who we "thought" was a good friend, someone we looked up to. Now the group feels as if it were stabbed in the back. The name of this individual or group will be kept confidential, as our group does not and will not stoop to the same level.

This group does and will continue to treat everyone with respect. No one deserves to be treated in this fashion. I hope this information helps others out there who may just be coming into this field of research. These are the type of things that keep people from reporting encounters and pursuing this field of research.

Bottom line is this...

Sasquatch Watch of Virginia will continue to treat each person with respect. There will be no ridicule of witnesses or other researchers. A scientific approach WILL be taken on each and every sighting or encounter report. Your information is safe with us, we never share any information without your permission. Our group currently has folks who are professionals in the field of science.

I thank each and everyone who continues to support our efforts!

Billy Willard
Sasquatch Watch of Virginia

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fox 5 News Coverage of Sasquatch Watch of VA

Sasquatch Watch of Virginia recently took Fox 5 News (Washington, DC) into the woods near Culpeper, VA for some night surveillance. To see the video clip, click on the following link below.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tiny, long-lost primate rediscovered in Indonesia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – On a misty mountaintop on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, scientists for the first time in more than eight decades have observed a living pygmy tarsier, one of the planet's smallest and rarest primates.

Over a two-month period, the scientists used nets to trap three furry, mouse-sized pygmy tarsiers -- two males and one female -- on Mt. Rore Katimbo in Lore Lindu National Park in central Sulawesi, the researchers said on Tuesday.

They spotted a fourth one that got away.

The tarsiers, which some scientists believed were extinct, may not have been overly thrilled to be found. One of them chomped Sharon Gursky-Doyen, a Texas A&M University professor of anthropology who took part in the expedition.

"I'm the only person in the world to ever be bitten by a pygmy tarsier," Gursky-Doyen said in a telephone interview.

"My assistant was trying to hold him still while I was attaching a radio collar around its neck. It's very hard to hold them because they can turn their heads around 180 degrees. As I'm trying to close the radio collar, he turned his head and nipped my finger. And I yanked it and I was bleeding."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sasquatch Watch Radio DEBUT!!!

I am excited to announce the debut of Sasquatch Watch Radio. Our first show will air on Thursday September 4 at 11:00 pm eastern.

Join Sasquatch Watch Radio hosts Billy Willard and DBD, aka The Blogsquatcher, as we bring you the latest news and information from the field of Bigfoot/Sasquatch research.

Please join hosts Billy Willard and DBD, aka The Blogsquatcher, as we invite Mr. William Dranginis of the Virginia Bigfoot Research Organization to the show. Help us make our first show a BIG SUCCESS!

The link to the show page is:

The show call in number will be: (347) 237-5070

You can email questions or comments for guests and hosts at

Or, you can contact us on our Yahoo Instant Messenger at sasquatchwatchradio

We hope you can all tune in and help our show be a big success!

Thank you!
Billy Willard
Sasquatch Watch of Virginia

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Looking For Bigfoot in Virginia

MANASSAS,VA (WUSA) --- Billy Willard watched with professional interest friday as two Georgia men told reporters in California they had discovered the body of a Bigfoot in the woods of Northern Georgia. Willard is a co-founder and Director of Sasquatch Watch of Virginia, an organization that investigates Bigfoot sightings in the Old Dominion. "I think a lot of people were looking for a little bit more ( evidence ) and until we have that scientific analysis there is really not a whole lot we can do but wait," he said. Willard has never seen a Bigfoot himself, but his two sons claim to have done so in 2005, near Richmond. Willard says he began as a skeptic but changed his attitude as he began interviewing men and women who claim to have seen the creatures. "When I started getting interviews with people who have seen this thing. level headed people, they're not people who see an alien around every corner or see a UFO flying around every day. We're talking about people who have reputable jobs, policemen. We're talking about people of science who have seen this, and when you start talking to level-headed people like that, it's hard to believe people are making this up. Out of the tens of thousands of sightings that have been seen, it's just hard to believe they are making it up," Willard told 9News Now. Willard does not know what the creatures may be, but he believes there is something out there waiting to be identified. "We don't know what it is. Is it some kind of prehistoric human? Is it an undiscovered North American ape? I'm open to both suggestions. We just don't know until we get some evidence from some well known scientists," he said. Sasquatch Watch of Virginia can be found at by 9NEWS NOW

Friday, August 08, 2008

In Search of Bigfoot

by Graham Averill of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine

(click title above for direct link to the article with pictures)

“Can all these people be crazy?” asks William Dranginis as we scan the forest with night vision goggles.

“Thousands of people have seen them. How can they all be nuts?”

It’s midnight and the black veil of darkness that pervades the woods has been transformed into varying shades of green, thanks to the night vision goggles we’re using. It’s as if we’ve stepped out of reality and into a video game.

We’re looking for Bigfoot in a wildlife management area on the edge of the Rappahannock River, about an hour from Washington D.C. It’s a strange thing to be doing on a Sunday night in the woods of Eastern Virginia, because A) Bigfoot does not exist according to mainstream scientists, and B) if he does exist, it’s hard to imagine the creature living here, half an hour from the nearest D.C. Metro stop.

But Dranginis claims to have seen a Bigfoot creature not far from here several years ago, and a number of sightings have been reported in this general vicinity dating back to the 1950s. Even though the Pacific Northwest is widely recognized as Bigfoot country, the Southeast has a long history of Bigfoot sightings, from the pre-colonial Native American tribes, to the first settlers in Virginia, to the Dranginises of today. Even more shocking than the prevalence of Bigfoot sightings below the Mason Dixon is the fact that a number of well-respected scientists are starting to warm up to the idea that maybe, just maybe, there’s something to all this Bigfoot business. Dranginis is on the forefront of Bigfoot field research, supplying some of these scientists with the data they need to prove to the world that Bigfoot is not just a mythical creature that exists in the imaginations of a few overzealous believers, but an actual living species of primate that should be recognized by the scientific community.

So here we are, sitting in the dark on a Sunday night, searching the woods with night vision technology, looking for a seven-foot-tall ape-like creature who walks on two legs and is not supposed to exist.
Bigfoot is not alone. Most people assume Bigfoot is a single creature, but researchers believe there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of these man-like apes roaming the forests of the world. Eyewitnesses put the creature anywhere between six and ten feet tall. Reports vary, but they all say it is at least 500 pounds. It runs approximately 40 miles per hour. It is extremely agile, quiet, and curious but suspicious at the same time. Its eyes will sometimes glow red or yellow.
In 1967, two Bigfoot hunters caught on video a large, ape-like creature in Northern California near the Oregon border. For 16 seconds of shaky film, you can watch Bigfoot walk on two legs through a sandy creek bed, swinging its arms with each big stride it takes before disappearing into the dense forest. It’s called the Patterson-Gimlin Film (named after the two hunters who captured the footage), and depending on whom you ask, it is either a glaring hoax or the most convincing evidence of Bigfoot’s existence. Doubters say the film captures nothing more than a man in an ape suit walking through the woods, but some experts in anatomy and motion say there is no way a man in a suit could pull off the locomotive nuances captured on film. To this day, the 16 seconds of film have never been definitively discredited, though many have tried.
Fact or fiction, that film turned the Pacific Northwest into ground zero for Bigfoot encounters, while also inspiring hundreds of amateur “researchers” to hit the woods in hopes of catching a glimpse of the creature for themselves. Sightings have been reported all across America, from Florida to Washington State—eyewitness reports that have fueled a small army of Bigfoot hunters to scour the woods for enough tangible evidence to prove Bigfoot’s existence.

Some say Bigfoot is the missing link, a distant cousin of man on the evolutionary tree. Others say the creatures are simply an undiscovered species of ape. The majority of mainstream scientists refuse to entertain either theory.

“How do you research a creature that the scientific community says does not exist?” Dranginis asks as we sit in a field listening to bullfrogs bellow from a nearby pond. “Intelligence and superior technology. That’s how.”

There are three other Bigfoot researchers with us in the forest, most of whom are decked out in camouflage and safari khaki, and they’re all packing serious technological hardware. Billy Willard is a researcher with his own weekly radio show about Sasquatch hunting who’s filming everything with an infrared digital video recorder. D.B. is a stay-at-home dad and the unofficial “sound guy” of the group. He’s hidden a digital audio recorder in the woods, a few hundred yards from our location, and he has dragged a massive speaker system into the forest on a red Radio Flyer wagon. He’s going to blast Bigfoot calls into the trees, hoping for a response. Then there’s Tom, a large man who refuses to take his Ray Bans off, even indoors, who records and listens to every sound in the forest through a parabolic microphone—a small satellite-looking device that amplifies even the smallest creak in the woods into clear, high-definition sound. Dranginis rolls onto the scene with an infrared digital video recorder, night vision goggles, and the holy grail of Sasquatch hunting: a thermal camera, which translates the landscape into varying heat signatures. The trees and bushes become ghost-white, while humans and animals become shapes of red, orange, and yellow.

The price tag of all this high tech equipment? Over $20,000. And this is just Dranginis’ off-the-shelf equipment. For his day job, he works for Northrup Grumman modifying video security systems for the Department of Defense.

“I get paid to develop technology that helps find people who don’t want to be found,” Dranginis says. “The work I do there parallels the work I do with Bigfoot.”

Case in point: Dranginis has invented a remote camera system called the Eyegotcha that puts off no ultraviolet light or ultrasonic sound. It is the first camera system of its kind, and he hopes that it will be the key ingredient in catching these creatures on film, a feat that has not been accomplished since the original Bigfoot footage in 1967—at least, not to a degree that would satisfy skeptics.

“There’s research that shows animals hear ultrasonic and see in ultraviolet,” Dranginis says, showing me his EyeGotcha system, which looks a lot like the black box of a commercial jet. “I think that’s why we haven’t caught one of these creatures on a trail camera yet. They know the cameras are there, and they avoid them.”

Hundreds of people search for Bigfoot on a regular basis—there are active research groups in all 50 states—but none use the sort of high-tech equipment that Dranginis and his cohorts carry. For several years, Dranginis drove around Virginia and West Virginia in a converted RV stocked with the latest digital video and thermal imaging equipment available. Recently, he’s sold the RV and cashed in a chunk of his 401K to purchase a cabin in West Virginia—a permanent research station in a habitat that’s ripe with Bigfoot sightings.

“It’s on the edge of a steep mountain with banks of old growth that loggers couldn’t get to,” Dranginis says. “I think that area supplied Sasquatch with a safety net, a place where they could live for generations without being harassed.”

At the cabin, Dranginis is setting “curiosity traps” (glowing basketballs, jars of peanut butter, and TV screens that emit blue light into the woods) that trigger security cameras and homing beacons. It’s a project that has cost Dranginis over $100,000— money that he says is perfectly well spent. “Something’s gonna happen at the cabin. This is what’s gonna get me video.”
Dranginis is an even-keeled, professional, middle-aged man with a family and steady job who just happens to be cashing in his retirement fund to hunt for a mythical creature. It’s a quest that Dranginis probably wouldn’t be on if he hadn’t gone metal detecting 13 years ago. That’s when he saw a seven-foot ape standing in the woods on the edge of Washington D.C. Dranginis and two FBI agents were looking for Civil War artifacts in a privately owned forest near Prince William Forest and Quantico. One of the agents dropped his metal detector and pointed toward the woods.

“I look over and a big black head pops out from behind the tree,” Dranginis says. “Both the agents grabbed their weapons and the thing starts running. It was something right out of a book of mythology. Much bigger than human. Muscles flexing, hair blowing in the wind. The shoulders were four feet wide. No way was it a guy in a suit. It was big and bulky, but agile. We had a clear view of it. I looked down at one of my friend’s hands, and his knuckles were white around the gun.”

The craziest thing about Dranginis’ account isn’t that he saw a giant bipedal ape that isn’t supposed to exist, it’s that he saw a giant bipedal ape in Eastern Virginia, thousands of miles away from the misty woods of the Pacific Northwest. If he would have said he saw Bigfoot in a mall outside Richmond, it wouldn’t sound any more unlikely. Dranginis contacted some Bigfoot researchers in California and Oregon at the time of his sighting, but they all told him the same thing: There are no Bigfoot in the Eastern United States.

While most Bigfoot sightings come from the Pacific Northwest, Eastern states like Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Florida have a high frequency of sightings as well. There’s actually a long history of Bigfoot sightings throughout the Southeast. The first settlers to push west into Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia told stories of large apes throwing rocks at their settlements. The Cherokee Indians supposedly had two names for Bigfoot-like creatures: “Nun Yunu Wi” (Stone Man) and “Kecleh-Kudleh” (Hairy Savage). Loggers in the early part of the 20th century described apes along the mountains that divide Virginia and West Virginia. In 1960, a bread truck driver crossed a bridge in West Virginia when a seven-foot-tall ape-man walked in front of him. That particular sighting got picked up by several newspapers. Reports have been frequent in North Carolina’s Madison County since the first homesteaders set up permanent residence in the hollows. Dranginis is currently investigating three farms in Virginia that have repetitive Bigfoot activity.

Bigfoot sightings in the Southeast are common. But then, so are Elvis sightings.
“Anyone who says they’ve seen a Bigfoot is branded as a kook,” Dranginis says. “But this is not a crackpot scheme. There is physical evidence. I know what I saw.”
Large, bipedal apes pop up in the folklore of native people across the globe. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most famous Bigfoot-like creatures.

“Sasquatch” is a derivative of “Sesquac,” which means “wild man” in a British Columbian Native American language.

Stalking the high elevations of the Himalayas, the Yeti has captured the interest of the western world since climbers began tackling peaks like Everest. Local tribes consider the Yeti to be a fact of life, no more strange than the black bears of Appalachia. Reports from Western climbers are frequent throughout the last hundred years, so frequent that even Sir Edmund Hillary himself mounted an expedition in search of the massive man-ape.

Another variety of Bigfoot, this creature lives in the mountainous terrain on the border of Mongolia and China. It’s more human-like than our Bigfoot; some scientists believe it’s more of a Neanderthal than a primate.

This is the ape-man of Central America. The shaggy-haired creature is said to have supernatural powers, which it uses to protect the wilderness. According to legend, the Sisimite will attack hunters in order to protect wildlife.

The Southernmost Bigfoot to occupy North America, the Skunk Ape is a resident of Florida’s extensive Everglades. Some say it is a cousin to Bigfoot, while others say it’s the same species. The number of sightings of the Skunk Ape in Florida rival the number sightings of Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest. The animal earned its name because of its unique smell.
“I get accused of believing in Bigfoot, but belief has nothing to do with it,” says Dr. Jeff Meldrum, an anthropologist and professor at Idaho State University as well as a curator at the Idaho Museum of Natural History. “One of my goals is to establish a base of what we know about Bigfoot and determine if there is enough evidence to warrant serious scientific study. My conclusion, as well as the conclusion of other academics and professionals, is yes, there is something to this. Something is leaving footprints, shedding hair, and vocalizing.”

More and more legitimate scientists are starting to open their minds to the notion that there may be an unknown species living in the mountains of North America. George Shaller, one of the pioneers of primate research and the director of the Wildlife Conservation Society, has called for a serious scientific inquiry into the Sasquatch phenomenon. Famous primatologist Jane Goodall (inspiration for the movie Gorillas in the Mist) has spoken at Sasquatch seminars and came out on National Public Radio as a Bigfoot believer, telling the reporter, “You’ll be amazed when I tell you I’m sure they exist. I’ve talked to so many Native Americans who all described the same sounds. Two who have seen them...”

The most outspoken Sasquatch scientist, however, is Meldrum, who specializes in primate locomotion and evolution. Meldrum has a collection of legitimate evidence that could intrigue even the staunchest skeptic: dozens of hair samples that scientists have not been able to classify as any known mammal, a cornucopia of sighting reports from credible witnesses like Dranginis, and hundreds of footprint casts which, according to Meldrum, are the most convincing pieces of evidence that Bigfoot exists.

“There are some questionable casts, as well as some glaring hoaxes, but a heck of a lot of these casts are suggestive of consistent, distinct anatomy,” Meldrum says. “In these footprints, we see a flexible-footed primate, elegantly suited to the environment it finds itself in. It is overwhelmingly the foot of a primate that appears to have evolved and adapted to its environment.”

Among the thousands of footprint casts that Meldrum studies, hundreds display the same unique characteristics. They come from all over the country, but have subtle similarities that Meldrum maintains could not be forged. The legitimate Bigfoot footprints all display dermal ridges (similar to a fingerprint, but on the bottom of a primate’s foot), as well as the mid-tarsal break, which suggests a flexible foot. Minute details like these that only a primate anthropologist would recognize have Meldrum convinced that there is a natural, living species behind the footprints.

“It’s more incredible to suggest that all of this is the result of an elaborate hoax that spans decades and thousands of miles than it is to suggest there is an unknown species leaving these footprints,” Meldrum says. “Today, you never know if these eyewitnesses are just pulling the descriptions off the web. But stories that leave footprints and shed hair? If these are all fake, if all these people through the decades, across continents, are partaking in a hoax based on remarkably subtle consistencies that only an anthropologist would recognize, then who’s passing out the instruction manual? Who’s telling these people exactly what to do over the last 50 years?”
“Would you rather have the brain squeeze or the heart punch?” D.B. asks as we huddle together on a gravel forest road, waiting for Bigfoot to come charging through the woods, or scream at the top of his lungs, or throw a rock in our direction.

He’s referring to a cheesy “Bigfoot Attacks” horror movie where Sasquatch goes on a killing rampage, squeezing brains and punching people in the heart. There’s a lot of schlock surrounding the Bigfoot phenomenon. For instance, Bigfoot has his own Myspace page. It says Sasquatch likes “breaking sticks, facial hair, and ‘Will and Grace.’”

Some Bigfoot enthusiasts believe the creature has mind control and telepathic powers. Others think Bigfoot can walk through portals of time and space. There’s a popular theory that involves an alien race who used the Bigfoot creatures as the building block for a genetic modification project which led to the human race. Others suggest Bigfoot is an offshoot of humanity, a pit stop along the evolutionary journey to our current state.

All of this is peripheral static that clouds the true science of Bigfoot research, according to Meldrum.

“Bigfoot is not a close relative to people. This species does not rewrite history or evolution—it is simply another great ape,” Meldrum says. “There’s an automatic lumping of Sasquatch with the paranormal, the otherworldly or alien. There’s a stigma involved with this research. Part of the problem is that there is a void in the field left because of the rejection of Bigfoot from the scientific establishment. Into that void steps the amateur investigator. There are a lot of people who are just too enthusiastic, who see Bigfoot everywhere.”

Eyewitness reports are usually treated with skepticism because of the “enthusiasm factor,” but the quantity of sightings can’t be ignored. Neither can the locations.

“In Idaho, 99 percent of the reported sightings exist in an area of the state that gets 16 inches or more of rain annually,” Meldrum says. “The majority of reports across North America come from similar ecosystems. We’re not seeing reports by certain types of people, but by people who venture into certain types of ecosystems. We don’t get sightings from the deserts of Nevada. The sightings aren’t demographic, but geographic.”

The geographic similarities in the sightings help support the leading scientific theory regarding Bigfoot, which involves an ancient species of giant primate who migrated across the Bering land bridge. Gigantopithecus was the largest ape ever to roam the earth. Projections based on molars and partial skeletons recovered in Chinese medicine shops put the primate at 10 feet tall and 1,200 pounds. Researchers believe that climate change and resource competition from early humans either killed off Gigantopithecus, or forced it to migrate into friendlier ecosystems. Several species alive during the same time period migrated across the land bridge between Asia and North America, including certain species of the brown bear.

“Gigantopithecus was the right size, in the right location, and lived at the right time to migrate across the land bridge,” Meldrum says. “If the Gigantopithecus was a ground ape of a large size, as it is believed to be, it makes sense that it would have wanted to migrate into these forests.”
Certain Native American mythology and artifacts support this theory. Most North American tribes refer to Bigfoot-like creatures. The Sioux called Bigfoot their “elder brother.” The Hopi considered Bigfoot a messenger who appeared in evil times as a warning from the creator. The Anasazi painted petroglyphs of demi-god figures with enlarged hands and feet. Masks created by the Tsimshia Tribes near British Columbia depict monkey faces. Stone heads were carved by Native Americans in the Columbia River Basin that resemble the face of an ape. The heads and masks date from 1500 BCE to 200 AD. If there was never a species of primate living in North America, where did these tribes find primate faces to base their artwork from?

In light of the cultural and physical evidence that’s being gathered, there is a thawing in the scientific community in regards to Bigfoot, according to Meldrum. “When you have the likes of Jane Goodall and others taking a “let’s see” attitude, it certainly lends an amount of credibility.”
Jason Valenti studied to be a minister at Oral Roberts University. He was taught to believe that evolution was just a thin theory and that humans were put on this earth by God’s hand several thousand years ago. He believed these things without question until the night he saw a Bigfoot creature on the side of the road in northern Florida.

“I was driving outside of Tallahassee with a friend,” Valenti says. “We got lost and took a wrong road through the national forest. It was about 4am, but both of us were wide awake. When I saw the creature first, I thought it was an Irish Setter chasing its tail on the side of the road. So I put my brights on. Then the thing stood up. She was 6’8”, maybe 7’. Her hip came to the top of the door jamb of the truck. It was a big creature, hair on its chest. It stumbled backwards, mouth open, hands covering its face. You could see the muscles in her arms, the tendons. She had incredibly wide shoulders, no neck, and sort of an hourglass figure. Primates are incredibly furry, but in places, you could see patches of skin, like the palms of her hands. She had such human-looking hands, it made me wonder what this thing was. She dropped down, bringing her fists to the ground, and she did a standing broad jump, twisting in the air and jumping 30 feet away. She hit the ground and immediately jumped again, and she was gone. Humans just don’t have any comprehension about how fast these things can move. They move like lightning.

“My friend and I sat in complete silence the whole way home. We didn’t talk about it for another year, until I got to the point where I was beginning to doubt it ever happened. Eventually, I told everyone at church and they all thought I was possessed by a demon. I couldn’t stop obsessing about it.”

The sighting made Valenti question everything he had been taught to believe within his church—if evolution was not true, then what was this thing that was so human-like, yet so animal-like as well? Valenti left the church and moved to Oregon to study Bigfoot full-time.

“I had to start a whole new life because of my sighting. It blew my belief system into pieces,” Valenti says.

“I’m using Bigfoot as a springboard into something so fantastic and amazing. I’m looking for answers as to why the human race has appeared out of nowhere like it has. I’m interested in Bigfoot because of where it leads us theologically. I want to prove the existence of Bigfoot so we can move on to the bigger questions.”
Villagers in a remote corner of the Democratic Republic of Congo tell stories of a giant ape that kills lions. Legend has it, the apes are seven feet tall with large black faces. They catch fish and howl at the moon, walk on two feet, and hunt in packs. Aside from a few footprints and some questionable first-person accounts, these legends were all primatologists had to go on when they embarked on a massive search of the Congo for these giant apes in 2003. A massive primate species in the Congo intrigued scientists, since no known species of chimpanzee had reached the epic size described, and the nearest gorilla population in Africa was thousands of miles away.
Researchers descended upon the Congo in droves, armed with the latest technology and hundreds of thousands of dollars in research grants. Several months later, they discovered the Bili Ape, a giant chimpanzee, larger than any other chimp or gorilla, that has developed a completely new chimpanzee culture due to their isolated habitat. The Bili Ape isn’t a relative of Bigfoot or Gigantopithecus, but it proves two things: Large primates like Bigfoot do still exist, and sometimes, legends are more than just stories.

The massive chimps (chimps are the closest evolutionary relative to humans) occasionally walk on two feet, sleep on the ground, and use rocks to smash the shells of turtles and snails to gain access to meat. Scientists believe these chimps have developed a completely different culture, departing from chimpanzee norms. Given the Bili Ape’s distinct and highly developed “smashing culture,” some even believe they are catching evolution in the act.

“What’s interesting about the Bili Ape is the evidence the researchers had on hand,” Meldrum says. “Oversized footprints, nests, local lore. This is the same kind of evidence we have for the existence of the Sasquatch, only in the case of the Bili Ape, there was much less of it. Still, the evidence warranted huge grants and interest from mainstream anthropologists.”

What will it take to send mainstream anthropologists into the forests of North America looking for a similar species of giant ape? Considering there has never been a record of an ape species living in North America, it’s going to take a dead body. The fact that no hunter has ever shot a Bigfoot and strapped it to the hood of his truck is the most damning piece of evidence against the theory of an unknown species of ape lurking in North America’s forests.

“Where’s the body?” Dranginis asks as we watch the woods through his thermal camera. There are no heat signatures on the screen—nothing but white trees and bushes. “I honestly don’t know why we’ve never come across a dead Sasquatch. I’m working with a statistician to examine this. Assuming there are a certain number of Sasquatch out there, assuming a certain number will get struck by lightning or have a tree fall on them, or get shot and crawl off to die, what is the probability of coming across one in the woods? That’s what I’m trying to figure out.”
Based on eyewitness reports and legitimate footprint casts, Meldrum puts the entire Sasquatch population at about 500 for all of North America, which he believes is large enough to sustain reproduction without inbreeding, given the numbers of other species of ape. Factor in the low number of the animals, the expanse of North America’s wildlands, and the 35-50-year life expectancy of an ape species in that size range, and Meldrum doesn’t see the lack of a body to be that damning of a feature.

“When you’ve only got one or two Sasquatch dying in a given year in all of North America, what are the odds of finding a carcass?” Meldrum asks. “We’re looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack.”
Dranginis and I sit in our camping chairs on the edge of the Rappahannock and listen to Bigfoot’s howl pierce the woods in front of us. It sounds like a coyote, or a werewolf howling at the moon. The noise comes from D.B.’s speaker blast, and the sound quality is excellent.

A number of Bigfoot calls have been recorded over the years, and “vocalizations” are one of the more puzzling pieces of evidence that Bigfoot exists. The call D.B. is blasting is known as the “Illinois Howl.” The most famous Bigfoot vocalization is actually a series of recordings known as “Sierra Sounds,” which is periodical Bigfoot chatter recorded over a period of years in the Sierra Nevadas. The chatter has been tested by a number of linguists, sound engineers, and wildlife experts, all of whom have determined that the vocalizations did not match any known animal and could not be human because of the vocal range.

We sit, quiet and still, and wait for a response. Nothing. No repeated howl. No scream in response. No call back.

“Tonight, there are maybe ten other people in the entire United States doing this exact same thing,” Dranginis says, filling the night with his voice. “When I first got the thermal camera, I thought I’d see the creatures everywhere, but nothing. It’s been 13 years and I’ve never had another sighting.”

The skeptic would say that Dranginis never had a sighting in the first place. What he and the two FBI agents saw 13 years ago was a psychological event, or a massive bear, or a man in a suit—anything but a seven-foot-tall ape that walks on two feet. The reluctance to believe these Bigfoot sightings, hair samples, footprints, local legends, and legitimate scientists is understandable given the well-traveled terrain of North America. Our highway systems are expansive, our suburbs are sprawling. Only 5% of America’s old growth forest remains intact—we’ve cut down the rest. How could a species of giant ape go undetected during the systematic clearing of our forests over the last 100 years?

“The attitude that every nook and cranny of North America has been explored is frustrating,” Meldrum says. “A lot of people don’t have a sense of the vastness of our forests. There are a lot of places that I’m quite sure have not seen a human footprint.”

In the Southeast, more old growth is being discovered every year. More importantly, species that were previously driven out of our region are returning, like the coyote, cougar, and red wolf. Perhaps Bigfoot is undergoing a similar migration. Perhaps the great apes have hidden in the small pockets of untouched forests for decades and are only now coming back home.

For fun, I pick up the thermal camera and train it on the forest in front of us. The trees register a stone white. The pond has cooled down in the few hours we’ve been staking out the area, shifting from a warm pink to a cool gray. Everything on the thermal screen is now a cold, white hue. There is no Sasquatch in front of us, but according to Meldrum and others, that doesn’t mean there is no Sasquatch.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Women spot Bigfoot near blueberry patch

From Tb News Source

Two women picking blueberries in northern Ontario say they saw a
Helen Pahpasay and her mother were driving to a spot about 25
kilometres north of Grassy Narrows last week when they spotted a tall, black
creature roughly 15 metres ahead. She said the creature they saw was not a moose
and it stood upright and darted into the bush. The frightened women decided to
return to Grassy Narrows and after a bit of persuading, she drove back with
friends and family members and found a large footprint showing six toes, near a
beaver pond. A plaster cast has been made of the footprint to ship off to be

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hot for Creature (about Bill Dranginis)

Credit to: Eric Wills of Washington City Paper

William Dranginis knows what you’re thinking, so maybe it’s best to get a few things straight right from the start. He’s not crazy, delusional, some lunatic on the fringe. For the most part, he’s your average suburban family man. Lives on a quiet street in Manassas. Has a great wife and two daughters; just became a grandfather. Has a good job designing surveillance equipment for the Windermere Group, an Annapolis-based technology firm that does contract work for the government.He can’t help that he saw Bigfoot in the woods near Culpeper, Va., on March 11, 1995. Two witnesses were with him, both FBI agents. It’s not like he imagined the incident. In the 13 years since, he has spent more than $50,000 trying to prove Bigfoot exists. He has created sophisticated surveillance systems—wait till you hear about his new Eye Gotcha system!—and even designed a tricked-out research van with parabolic microphones and thermal and night-vision cameras. So he’s not exactly half-assing this quest.Bigfoot, he wants you to know, are not just a bunch of pranksters running around in ape suits. Nor are Bigfoot the ghosts of some long-extinct creature, as some people claim. They’re flesh and blood, and they don’t just live in the Pacific Northwest. The creatures are here, within commuting distance of the nation’s capital. Bigfoot is the “last greatest mystery on earth,” Dranginis will tell you, so you may as well suspend your disbelief and come along for the ride.A man in Chesterfield County claims he saw Bigfoot on his property. On a recent Saturday morning, Dranginis meets the man for the first time in a parking lot just south of Richmond. The subject is in his 20s, has close-cropped hair and the hint of a central Virginia drawl. He doesn’t want his name in print because he’s worried about losing his job as a public servant.With his neatly trimmed beard and blue eyes, Dranginis, 49, looks a little like Chuck Norris. He solicits reports of sightings on his Web site for the Virginia Bigfoot Research Organization—he’s the president. He also places ads in Northern Virginia Cooperative Living, a magazine published by a local utility company. (Have you seen a Bigfoot or Sasquatch-type creature in Virginia? I have.) So far, he says, he has logged about 200 Bigfoot sightings in recent years, from southern Virginia to Bull Run Park just outside Fairfax, less than 35 miles from the District.Now, Dranginis follows the man’s truck along a rural road and begins to assess how genuine this individual is. “Usually I can look into people’s eyes and tell whether they’ve had a real experience or not,” he says.Dranginis wants to believe that the man is telling the truth. Why would he risk his reputation and job to pull some sort of prank? But he has to be skeptical—after all, hoaxers are out there. I saw Bigfoot! He’s 10 feet tall! Brown! He smells bad, like a skunk! The pranksters parrot all the descriptions they’ve read on Bigfoot Web sites. Pretty soon, though, they start contradicting themselves. Then they start looking for money. Sure, you can use my property for research. But it’s going to cost you.Dranginis once heard from a man who claimed to have casts of Bigfoot footprints. Only when Dranginis showed up did the man want money: $20 apiece. Dranginis studied a print: The toes were square and a faint but straight line ran along the edge of the foot, as if someone had pressed a wooden block into plaster. A fake. Dranginis bought a cast anyway. Figured, what the heck, may as well keep it as a memento.Dranginis, driving his wife’s Jeep instead of his own with the vabigft license plates, pulls into a dirt driveway behind the man’s truck. The house is a one-story, concrete-block structure. Rusted lawnmowers, orange construction cones, even an old motorcycle are overgrown with weeds in the backyard. The house has been mostly vacant since his grandparents passed away, the man says. Dranginis, wearing dark green shorts and hiking boots with white socks, turns on a hand-held video camera.Of all the stories the man tells—things banging on the kitchen windows and crashing through the nearby woods—one stands out. About two years ago, he was working on his computer one night when he sensed something watching him. He turned and looked out the living room window and saw a creature at least 7 feet tall walk between his truck and a light post in the driveway: “I saw the silhouette real quick. It was shaped like a person,” he says. “I could see a head and body. At first I thought someone was trying to break into my truck, so I ran and got my pistol, and when I came out here it was gone. Then I got around to thinking, What’s that tall?”From his truck he pulls out a white envelope that contains a clump of dark brown material, possible Bigfoot hair. He was cutting the bushes with a trimmer last fall when the clump stuck to the power cord. “I don’t know if it’s hair or what the heck it is,” the man says. Dranginis studies it and concludes some of the strands resemble plant material. He’ll take a look under a microscope later.Dranginis ventures into the woods next to the house, looking for signs of Bigfoot activity: deer parts left over from a Bigfoot snack or maybe a stick structure. Bigfoot sometimes lean a bunch of long branches against a tree trunk, creating a tepee-like formation. Some Bigfoot researchers speculate it may be the creatures’ way of marking their territory. Dranginis finds nothing.Inside the house, the man shows off a faded portrait of his great-grandparents, tobacco farmers. Awards from his civil servant job line the walls. In the kitchen, Dranginis sets up a surveillance system using a digital video camera, a motion-detection device, and a black-and-white television that shows the area being monitored: the corner of the backyard. When something triggers the motion sensor, the camera records for 30 seconds.Dranginis doesn’t expect much from such a simple system, though it’s better than nothing. When he has more time, he’ll set up a trap to lure Bigfoot to the house. Maybe keep the kitchen lights on at night (Bigfoot are naturally curious) and conduct a stakeout. Or leave out food: deer corn in a large barrel or bacon grease in a garbage can. “Sometimes they can’t resist that,” he says. Dranginis drives off, optimistic that he’s discovered a promising new research site.Though you probably don’t know it by name, chances are you’ve seen the Patterson/Gimlin film. On Oct. 20, 1967, in Bluff Creek, Calif., Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin encountered a female Bigfoot (or, depending on whom you ask, a man in an ape suit). Search on YouTube, and you’ll find 16mm footage of an apelike creature walking away from the camera, turning back for a second and seeming to meet your gaze before disappearing into the woods.Interest in Bigfoot reached a frenzied pitch after the video got out. By the end of the 1970s, though, the enthusiasm had waned, in part because people increasingly faced ridicule when reporting their Bigfoot sightings.Enter the Internet, a boon to anonymity and Bigfoot research. Also enter Jeffrey Meldrum, an associate professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University. In 1996, Meldrum discovered fresh tracks near Walla Walla, Wash., made by what he thought could be a Bigfoot. Intrigued in no small part because of his expertise in primate foot mechanics, he risked the scorn of fellow academics and began studying the creature.In Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science, Meldrum argues that the circumstantial case for Bigfoot’s existence is compelling. Meldrum has casts of Bigfoot prints from various years and locations that appear to be from the same creature. The prints, with dermal ridges similar to fingerprint whorls, would be nearly impossible to hoax, he says. Given that more than 200 new primate species were discovered in the last century, Meldrum argues, it’s certainly possible that Bigfoot has managed to elude detection—even in Virginia, where Dranginis points out there’s not only a history of sightings, there’s more remote forest for the creatures to hide in than you realize.If Meldrum is the unofficial director of Bigfoot research, Dranginis is a freelance assistant in the field, using his specific skill—surveillance—to find evidence that occasionally may interest his superior. They have exchanged a couple of e-mails and crossed paths at a few conferences. “He’s seems to be levelheaded and not prone to embellishing his stories,” Meldrum says of Dranginis.Which brings us to the story of Dranginis’ sighting. In the mid-’90s, Dranginis had no idea that the Bigfoot movement was gaining momentum. He was simply looking for a hobby. The economy was booming, and he was finally making good money designing surveillance systems. His days of making ends meet by working a second job—in lawn maintenance and rental property management—were over. Friends had taken up metal-detecting and were finding Civil War belt buckles that they sold for $200, $300 apiece. Dranginis thought, Why not?On the day his life changed, he went metal-detecting near an old gold-mining operations in the woods near Culpeper with his two friends, the FBI agents. They were walking down a logging road when one of the agents—a point man for three tours in Vietnam—spotted movement in his peripheral vision. He turned and made eye contact with something not quite human, not quite ape. “The expression on both of our faces was, Oh, shit,” Dranginis remembers his friend saying.(The agent didn’t return phone calls. Daniel Perez, editor of The Bigfoot Times, a monthly newsletter, says he interviewed him and Dranginis separately and found their stories credible. He writes in an e-mail: “I’ve come to know Bill over the years as a dependable, honest and trustworthy individual.”)When the creature ducked behind a tree, the two agents drew their guns. Clearly, whatever it was, it had something to hide. A few seconds passed. A head poked out, assessing the situation. Jesus Christ, something’s there, Dranginis thought.And then the man-beast bolted, “started running from left to right, arms moving, muscles bulging,” Dranginis says. “I could see its shoulders going back and forth like a football player wearing padding. The thing was sailing through the woods.” A man in an ape suit? Not a chance, Dranginis says. Even a 7-foot-tall man in a flawless costume couldn’t imitate what he saw. The creature made a sharp right turn, bounded down a hill, and disappeared.Dranginis returned the next day with the point man, who carried two sidearms and an AK-47. Dranginis brought plaster. He found a footprint in sand at the bottom of the hill and started to make a cast. Suddenly, leaves crunched nearby. Something started whistling. “There are two of them,” Dranginis remembers his friend saying. “I survived Vietnam with my gut, and my gut is telling me to get the hell out of here.” Something let loose a shrill scream as they retreated. “I’m never coming back, and neither should you,” his friend told him.Dranginis probably should have listened. But he can’t help that he’s so “damn inquisitive,” and has been since childhood. When he thought about it, he realized that the perfect hobby had just fallen into his lap. Here he was a surveillance expert, and here was this elusive creature no one could capture. How could he pass up the chance to make history? Besides, how hard could it be to find a Bigfoot, look the creature in the eyes, and say, “Gotcha”?The first challenge is convincing everyone that you aren’t dropping acid. When Dranginis returned home right after the sighting, “he had an excitement that was different from anything I had ever seen,” says his wife, Carol Dranginis. “His eyes were huge, like saucers.” Carol knew the Vietnam point man, knew him to be credible, and he confirmed the story, she says. William, whom she had known since high school, was clearly a changed man.On a recent Thursday evening, I met Carol at their two-story, gray-shingled house before Dranginis led me into the basement, his makeshift Bigfoot lab. Enough Bigfoot paraphernalia to start a museum lines the shelves: casts of Bigfoot prints (including the fake and copies of prints from the Patterson/Gimlin sighting), Bigfoot action figures, Bigfoot newsletters, and Bigfoot books (including Roger Patterson’s Do Abominable Snowmen of America Really Exist?).Dranginis chuckles at his initial bravado as he sits in a swivel chair, a large American flag hanging over a computer behind him. Bigfoot have managed to elude capture for a reason, he discovered: The creatures are damn smart.When Dranginis set up motion-activated cameras near his initial sighting, strange things happened, he says. Something threw sticks and rocks into the field of view, tapped the side of the camera at 1 or 2 in the morning, breathing heavily, and even placed an elm leaf in front of the lens. “These creatures are here. They’re screwing with me, screwing with the camera system. They’ve outsmarted me,” he thought.One day, as he watched footage of a deer that had triggered the system, he had an epiphany. The deer looked up at the camera and started twitching its ears. Of course, Dranginis thought. The video equipment emits ultrasonic sound. Bigfoot, he concluded, can hear the cameras.Dranginis gets up and walks over to a worktable filled with electronic equipment. He pulls out an ultrasonic leak detector and moves the device’s microphone in front of a video camera. He turns the camera on, and a loud crackling noise confirms that it’s producing ultrasonic sound. So much for installing cameras in trees.And so began what Dranginis calls an epic game of cat-and-mouse. Every time he thought he was on the verge of cornering Bigfoot, the creature somehow escaped. In 2001, Dranginis bought a 24-foot mobile veterinary unit and converted it into a Bigfoot research center. On weekends, he traveled to areas with reported sightings and used parabolic microphones, night-vision cameras, and a thermal camera that he attached to a 25-foot-tall crank-up mast to search for the creature. Countless weekends and sleepless nights later—nothing. He recently sold the van—another dead end.He got a call a few years back from the owners of what he calls the Southern Virginia Research Location, not far from Richmond. They found possible Bigfoot hair. He gave it to a scientist at the National Museum of Natural History. “He’s a sincere, honest guy, is genuine in what he believes, in what he thinks is true,” says the scientist, who didn’t want to be named. “That’s why I helped him.” The scientist was stumped by the hair, though—was it animal? human?—and sent it to another lab for analysis. The conclusion: llama hair.Dranginis sent the hair to an Arizona lab for mineral analysis, which indicated it came from a human who ate red deer meat, plants, and clay—no processed foods. “I’ve never seen a llama eat deer meat,” Dranginis says. He sent the hair to a lab in Copenhagen for DNA testing, and the results came back as wolf or dog. Three tests, three different results, and no closer to his goal.Dranginis pulls out what looks like a suitcase and opens it to reveal a black tranquilizer gun with a DNA dart tip. His plan? Do a stakeout in a house at his so-called Southern Virginia Research Location. “I would be underneath a window in the crawlspace, see a leg, and pop! Hopefully he won’t reach down and grab me and pull me out,” he says. Dranginis would film the shot using a camera that he can connect to the gun, to show the dart tip snatching a sample of tissue and blood from the creature. Dranginis has practiced in his backyard shooting at a tree—he’s accurate from 75 feet—but he has yet to take a shot at Bigfoot.In the middle of his basement sits a stack of seven cases of Bigfoot ale, a special edition released annually by Sierra Nevada. Dranginis buys a case each spring hoping that he’ll find Bigfoot during the year, that the beer will become a collector’s item. “Every year I buy it. Nothing happens. Next year I get another. Next year I get another. It’s a real quick visual indicator that the thing’s beating you,” he says.As Dranginis’ respect for Bigfoot has grown, his patience for the upstarts joining the Bigfoot bandwagon has waned. “It does tick you off. The new guys come in, all jockeying for position, and the next thing you know everyone has sightings,” he says. Barn owl call? Bigfoot! Coyote howl? Bigfoot! Falling branches? Bigfoot!Wild tales circulate. Dranginis attended a recent Bigfoot conference in Ohio where some attendees floated far-fetched interpretations of the Patterson/Gimlin film. The two men, the story went, massacred a bunch of Bigfoot and fired bullets at the creature in their famous film clip. Look at this newly enhanced video! You can see a pool of blood here! Look, the creature’s limping! They shot her in the leg!Dranginis thinks such theories are ridiculous. Here he is following scientific principles, and these conspiracy theorists are giving legitimate researchers like him a bad name. Did he ever think about quitting? “Yeah, I did a couple of times. Sort of just gave up and said forget it, screw this, I’m all done.” But then damned if someone didn’t contact him with an intriguing sighting, or damned if some world-famous primatologist didn’t come along and lend her support. Enough coincidences, and Dranginis jumps back in, thinks he’s destined to find Bigfoot.Dranginis shows me a three-ring binder with postcards and letters from Jane Goodall tucked into plastic sleeves. In 2002, she declared in an NPR interview that she’s sure Bigfoot exists. “I have talked to so many Native Americans who’ve all described the same sounds—two who have seen them,” she said.Dranginis says he met Goodall through another Bigfoot researcher soon after her NPR interview and gave her a tour of his Bigfoot research vehicle. They kept in touch. “I’m about to talk to a man who studies snow leopards in the Himalayas who doesn’t rule out the possibility of a Yeti,” he reads from one of her postcards. (A spokesperson confirmed that Goodall has corresponded with Dranginis but denied an interview request.)Via all those slivers of wisdom accumulated over the years, Dranginis has developed what he thinks is the ideal system to capture Bigfoot. He pulls out a black plastic box slightly thicker than a briefcase: the Eye Gotcha. Inside is a small digital video recorder with a video card and space for enough batteries to keep the system running for at least a year. An armored steel cable runs from the box to a camera lens that Dranginis has concealed in a tree branch. A small motion-detection device works wirelessly.Here’s how he plans to nab Bigfoot: Bury the box, muffling any ultrasonic sound. Dig the armored wire into the ground and then plant the fake branch and camera lens in a pile of wood, up to 50 feet away. Install the motion detection device in a tree. With no ultrasonic sound or video equipment nearby, Bigfoot will be oblivious to the fact that he has walked into a camera trap.Dranginis intends to sell the system—about $900 fully loaded—at the upcoming East Coast Bigfoot Conference in Pennsylvania. But he also thinks he can generate interest in Eye Gotcha outside Bigfoot circles, from researchers hoping to get footage of other rare animals to park rangers worried about poaching. Many surveillance cameras are mounted visibly on trees and are often stolen. His will be safely hidden.Before I go, Dranginis wants to show me one more gadget, his $15,000 thermal camera. It’s 11 p.m., three hours after he first invited me into his basement, and we head outside. I hold the device—not much larger than a television remote—as Dranginis walks across his lawn, pretending to be Bigfoot. He appears on the small screen as a radiant blur of reds and yellows.Dranginis ducks behind a pine tree and moves his arms and legs around in a makeshift Bigfoot dance. See, he calls out, the device is sensitive enough to detect a creature behind a tree. Sure enough, red splotches appear on the screen. I feel like a kid breaking curfew, playing with Dranginis’ high-tech gadgets after the adults on the block have gone to sleep.As I drive home, I remember the two images Dranginis showed me on his computer in the basement. In the first, a dark outline of a creature with a cone-shaped head that Dranginis estimates stood about 9 feet tall appears on the right edge of the frame. In the second photo, the thing—whatever it is—appears less distinct, more of a blur than anything else.Dranginis captured the images at the Southern Virginia Research Location. When the creature triggered the motion sensor, an LED light blinked. (Dranginis thought he had turned it off.) He thinks the creature saw it, turned sideways, and then bolted.Dranginis admits the pictures prove nothing. People may conclude it’s an alien, or enhance the photos and make ridiculous claims: “Bigfoot had a knife! Or Bigfoot had a gun! Or There’s a bat morphing out of its head!” Fair enough, but I must admit that in the quiet of Dranginis’ basement, after hearing his various stories, I felt a slight shiver staring at the ghostly images on his screen.There was something standing, something huge standing in the middle of the road, just big enough that I could figure out it wasn’t a human being,” the man tells me. “I can’t tell you exactly what it was. I can tell you it had very dark features from the head down. I don’t know too many men that are 8 or 9 feet tall dressing up in black clothes and standing in the middle of the woods at 5:30 or 6 in the morning.”On a recent Saturday afternoon, I’m visiting the Southern Virginia Research Location with Dranginis. The man who owns the property doesn’t want his name in print or his address revealed. Word leaked a few years back that Bigfoot lived here and intruders started visiting at night, poking around. The last thing he wants is some gun-toting adventurer sneaking around trying to bag a Bigfoot.At first, the man didn’t believe what his wife and other visitors were telling him, that there were large, apelike creatures roaming around his property. His wife saw something black standing in the yard. Must be a bear on its hind legs, he thought. His dog came running out of the woods one day with some sort of mucus on its face, as if something had sneezed on it. “Hmm, that’s strange,” he said. Then he saw the beast standing on the road that morning as he was driving to work. “That kind of made a believer out of me.”Living so close to Bigfoot over the years, the husband and wife have learned a few things about the creature. “You call him, he calls you back. It sounds like three people talking three different languages at the same time with the same voice,” the man says. Bigfoot likes singing, tends to come around when the wife’s belting out church songs. He also likes peanut butter. They leave jars for him on branches of pine trees, and he’s been known to lick the insides clean and replace the lids—only if the wife sets them out, though. A jar Dranginis left on a branch remains untouched, his initials and the date written on the plastic bottom in Magic Marker: wmd 9/4/04.Come to think of it, Bigfoot’s got a crush on the wife. “He’s drawn to me,” she says. “That’s why I don’t go over there too much,” she says, pointing to the edge of their property. “What if he takes me into the woods?” She laughs. Bigfoot, the husband is quick to point out, has never shown the slightest inclination to hurt anyone.Outside, Dranginis and the man lead me through rows of pine trees on the edge of the property and into a remote section of woods. “People think they migrate. I don’t think they do. I think once they find an area with a good food source, water, shelter, they just stay put. Look at this place—this place is perfect. You’ve got a lake down here, feeder streams, got some farms locally, peanut butter on trees. It’s Big Rock Candy Mountain,” Dranginis says.After listening to the stories, I’m primed for Bigfoot to appear. He doesn’t, of course, but Dranginis thinks all hell is about to break loose. Developers have plans to build housing nearby, which will disturb Bigfoot’s habitat and lead to Lord knows what (certainly an increase in sightings).As Dranginis installs a surveillance system in a trailer on the property, the man excuses himself. “He’s more interested in this than I am,” he says, as Dranginis carries equipment to the trailer. The man finds Bigfoot fascinating, but he’s never been tempted to do any research of his own: “My focus is elsewhere.”After 13 years of research and more than $50,000, Dranginis has some grainy video footage and photos, tracks he’s discovered, eyewitness accounts—and still no hard evidence. He’s posted this motto on a sheet of paper in his basement: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.Jane Goodall, in her NPR interview, acknowledged that the lack of a body, of bones, remains problematic. But she also said something that captures the spirit of the chase: “I’m a romantic, so I’ve always wanted [Bigfoot] to exist.”As Dranginis drives home from the Southern Virginia Research Location, he acknowledges how difficult the journey has been. “My life is back and forth every weekend, trying to make something happen. Things just don’t happen. You sort of look at it as a waste of a day out of your life,” he says. “It’s a roller coaster, up and down, and eventually you get what’s called Bigfoot burnout.”Once, when he was flying out of BWI, he noticed imperfections in the mud at a construction site near his terminal. “I started looking at it like there were going to be Bigfoot prints right there in the middle of the airport.” Time to take a break, he thought.Lots of guys either quit or spend so many weekends in the woods they end up divorced, he says. His wife, Carol, admits she had a few moments where she resented his hobby, but he always immediately pulled back and spent more time with his family, she says. A few years ago, they bought a cabin in West Virginia near reported Bigfoot sightings. Not only can they enjoy a weekend away together, he can also get in a few hours of research.“I seem to keep coming back for more. I guess I’m just punch-drunk or something,” says Dranginis. “But I think it’s exciting, the cat-and-mouse thing. It’s got me in its claws. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”Carol says that since his sighting, a “different dimension” of her husband has emerged. “He’s more motivated,” she says, “more excited about everything in life.” Not only has Dranginis invented a surveillance system, he also says he’s developed newfound respect for nature after spending so much time in the woods. He came to realize how much we’re polluting the planet. Dranginis once tried to rally support for legislation to have Bigfoot’s habitat preserved. Of course, that requires proving the creature exists.If Dranginis does find Bigfoot, the woods will be filled with hunters trying to take one down. So maybe it’s not such a bad thing that the mystery persists. It will give a new generation of Bigfoot researchers a chance to make their mark.We stop at a McDonald’s, and a local strikes up a conversation with Dranginis as he waits for his burger and fries. Back in the car, Dranginis says he’ll sometimes ask strangers in rural Virginia if they’ve ever seen a cougar, long thought to be extinct on the East Coast. It’s a softball question before he asks what he really wants to know: Ever seen Bigfoot? Most times folks will chuckle and say no.But sometimes they’ll pull him aside and tell him about a sighting. Maybe one day, a farmer will tell him he found a body and has it in his barn. And the mystery of Bigfoot will be solved, not by fancy surveillance systems or DNA dart guns but by simple dumb luck.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tracking Bigfoot no small feat for local detective

A gumshoe is looking for a Bigfoot.
The creature also goes by the aliases Yeti, Sasquatch or Skunk Ape. Skeptics have added monikers such as "pure fiction" and "rubbish."
To longtime private investigator David Paulides, the legendary creature is yet another case to solve.
Four years ago, the 1974 graduate of Monta Vista High School and a 20-year Santa Clara Valley detective, got bored and wanted to combine his love of outdoors with a good mystery. So he decided to go in search of the elusive simian.
Paulides is the director of the North American Bigfoot Search. He claims it is the only group in the world researching and studying the subject full time.
"No one has ever given 100 percent of their time to this," said Paulides, citing the lack of serious and credible efforts put into tracking Bigfoot.
This first batch of research is detailed in Paulides' new book "The Hoopa Project: Bigfoot Encounters in California." The book describes Paulides' search along with eyewitness accounts and sketches of the creature. The book, due for release Aug. 1, coincides with the 50th anniversary of the creature receiving the name Bigfoot.
Paulides set out to find consistent patterns, so he and his organization did an exhaustive search of the Western United States to determine the optimum location. They studied accounts, times, dates, seasons and elevations coinciding with sightings. He analyzed 350 sightings since 1861 and plotted the data.
"It all came back to Hoopa," said Paulides of the Native American tribe that inhabits an area in northeastern Humboldt County. "The Hoopa have been dealing with Bigfoot since early times. They run into it regularly; they just don't talk about it."
Paulides then spent every other week for nearly three years in and around the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation. He spoke with the elders and many in the tribe as he dug deeper for Bigfoot-related clues.
"After a year I had the complete trust of the tribe," he said.
Paulides and the organization wanted to add credibility to a search for what many believe is a creature that exists only in the imagination of popular culture.
"We wanted to hold witnesses accountable for their statements, something that is rarely done by (Bigfoot) authors and researchers," he said.
Paulides developed a system where the team investigated sightings only if the witness signed an affidavit. If no affidavit was signed, no investigation was pursued.
"The witnesses appreciated the professionalism," Paulides said.
To add to the professional and investigative nature, a forensic sketch artist who has worked with the FBI was brought in. Muscle structure, facial features and closeup accounts were sketched in detail. The full-color sketches are in the book.
Paulides was astounded to discover that 90 percent of the sketches looked similar to each other, but do not conform to what Paulides feels is a mainstream depiction of Bigfoot.
"If you're gonna fabricate an account, you're going to make it look like what everyone is familiar with," he said, citing the famous Patterson-Gimlin film footage.
"The consistency can not be argued," he said. "Most went against the grain of common knowledge."
Paulides has enjoyed his time researching and writing about a subject he is convinced is the real deal. He and the organization will continue to keep searching.
"The evidence is overwhelming," he said. "There is a lot more that needs to be understood. The puzzle will be solved."

Credit to: By Matt Wilson of Cupertino Courier

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Yeti expedition to Bhutan

DragonQuest Adventure is very pleased to inform you that we are organizing an expedition into the world’s only Yeti Sanctuary. This area has the maximum sightings of the Yeti, or Migoi as it is locally known. The Sakten Wildlife Sanctuary has been set aside for many rare and endangered species. It is the habitat of animals such as the Blue Bear, Clouded Leopard, Snow Leopard, etc. Due to its remote location little in known of this area.

Some years ago an expedition from the UK found hairs that belong to no known species. (please see links to article below). The monastery at Sakten is reputed to have the skull of a Yeti among its treasures, although this remains unconfirmed due to religious reasons.

It is our intention to visit this sanctuary and conduct an expedition in search of this and other rare species. Please visit us at for further details on the expedition. The dates for the expedition are set for October 31 and will last for three weeks.

We would be most grateful if you could inform your members of this event on your website. If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Penjo Dorji
Event Coordinator

Some links:

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Squatchdetective Radio Guests

We are looking for folks who would like to be interviewed on radio. If you have had an encounter with Bigfoot / Sasquatch, we want to hear from you! Tell your story on live radio.

If you are a Bigfoot / Sasquatch researcher, we would like to hear from you too! Tell us about what you are doing in your research. We are currently taking interview requests. For a sample of our past interviews and shows, go to Please contact me for scheduling. I can be reached at

Thank you Billy Willard
Sasquatch Watch of VA
Co-host of Squatchdetective Radio

Friday, July 04, 2008

Announcement from Steve Kulls about Catskill, NY

After consulting with the newly formed board of directors of, it is significant that I, Steve Kulls founder and CEO of, bring forth some pertinent facts involved in the events surrounding alleged sightings in or near Catskill, NY. On Friday, June 13th, 2008 I was contacted by the CEO of Searching for Bigfoot, Inc. in regards to an alleged habitation in Catskill, NY only some seventy miles from my home. I immediately contacted fellow researcher and Vice President of Media Relations Becky Sawyer, and traveled to the location where we spoke with the residents. During our four hour visit, we did hear some footfalls, via a parabolic microphone and observed shadows in the woods immediately behind the residence. We heard what appeared to be wood knocking as well. Given that with the fears and concerns of the witnesses to these alleged events, I reported back to Tom Biscardi as requested and advised him with what we experienced that night would definitely warrant further investigation. At that time I deployed a motion sensored camera, in an area certain to catch activity based upon the witnesses testimony. It is imperative that I explain that the witnesses were adamant that the alleged creatures were eating their pig's food, often leaving some of the food on a tree stump in front of the pen. We returned to the site again on June 20th, 2008 after a week of speaking with the witnesses of more alleged encounters, and took a different, less invasive approach, which if the events reported to us the previous week had occurred, we would have witnessed something ourselves. Nothing happened with the exception of noting a skunk and a possum in a tree despite one witness insisting it was there, and that she could "feel it watching her." A review of a thermal scan revealed nothing at that time. A review of the trail cam, revealed an oddity, which turned out to be just shadow, as it was also too far away to trip the sensor. Therefore we had an area they were reporting activity during the previous week, which the camera proved otherwise. A better survey of the property revealed that a highway bridge approximately a mile away, was responsible for making the wood-knocking sound, when a vehicles tire hit a certain part of the bridge just right, making a very loud, resonant pop. We did find one oddity, in a matted down area of grass close to where they had reported activity the previous week. The only conclusion we could make, was that it was not made by a known animal that habituates the area but could not rule out man-made causes. At that time I reported again back to Tom Biscardi as requested and told him of the unfortunate news. His response was that he was committed after promising the witnesses he would visit the site. Despite the lack of further evidence and my follow up report, Searching For Bigfoot, Inc. released a press report and still put a call up for a media response to the site. On June 26th, 2008, Becky Sawyer and I picked up Tom Biscardi from the airport and responded to the scene, where the team had arrived earlier in the day and deployed infrared motion picture cameras. The only things the camera picked up that night was a very large raccoon eating the hog feed on the tree stump in front of the pen. And when it departed it left the food behind on the stump. No one had experienced anything that evening by the team The next afternoon all the equipment was removed after the two papers had taken their stories and all personnel departed for their homes. To personnel it was clear that the events surrounding the alleged sightings could mostly be explained by known animals, and or light trickery. I cannot take away what some of the things the witnesses told us, however, it was clear to me that this apparently was not a habituation scenario, that the press has been led to believe. On July 1st, 2008 SFBI CEO Tom Biscardi appeared on Fox News where he stated, that, "Activity was going on as we speak." and, "That we caught some images." I would like make it to very clear that the aboves statements were not entirely accurate, and misleading. The images caught were that of a raccoon, and the alleged activity there was most likely attributed to the apprehension of the witnesses to perhaps a former legitimate sighting. It is my firm and prudent stand that I and my company,, will stand for the truth, each and every time out. These are the raw naked facts behind the events of the past three weeks. This should quell any rumors, myths or misnomers that I or my organization is a puppet of anyone else. This company from it's first inception always stated we would tell it like it is. We will not veer from this path. Steve Kulls Founder/CEO

Sunday, June 08, 2008

2008 East Coast Bigfoot Conference

The 2008 East Coast Bigfoot Conference will take place the weekend of September 26,27,28, 2008.

September 26th, we will hold a meet and greet with the speakers on Friday night at 7:30 PM at Pitzers Townhouse Restaraunt 101 S. 5th St. Jeannette PA 15644. The meet and greet is open and free to the public. Dinner is at your own expense.

September 27, 2008 is the date of the 2008 East Coast Bigfoot Conference. The event will take place from Noon to 8:00 pm with doors opening at 11:00 am. The event will take place in the banquet hall located above Pitzer's Townhouse Restaurant 101 S. 5th Street Jeannette PA 15644. Reserved seating is available only on line until the seats are sold out or September 1, 2008. They are only available on our website for $20.00. General Admission seating is $10.00 and available online at the website or at the door the day of the conference. The event will feature guest speakers, displays, vendors tables, book signings, and snacks and beverages available. The event will also feature door prizes and a "Bigfoot" Auction that will take place during the intermissions between guest speakers with the procedes benefitting the conference and future conferences. This years guest speakers include:

Eric Altman, Pennsylvania. Eric will also serve as master of ceremonies
Joe Biello, New York
Bob Chance, Maryland
William Dranginis, Virginia
Steve "The Squatch Detective" Kulls, New York
Diane Stocking, Florida
Billy Willard and Tom L., Virginia

September 28, the PBS will provide a driving and walking tour of several locations in South Western Pennsylvania where there have been sightings recorded in the past few years. The tour is free to attend, and registration is only available to the first 50 registrants. You must be willing to sign a liability waiver form.

The PA Bigfoot Society organization is also seeking friends, colleagues and associates who may be interested in assisting us with the auction that will take place during the conference. We are seeking folks who wish to donate Bigfoot items, such as autographed and/or non autographed books, DVD's, Bigfoot T-shirts, artwork, collectibles, ect. We are seeking items that are either new, or in good condition for our Auction. If you have written a book, we are seeking autographed copies to add to the auction. Any and all help is grately appreciated. In exchange, we will display a business card sized ad on the conference website and in the conference program. We would ask that you include your name, website if applicable, and contact information such as an email address, or phone number. We will be happy to place the ad in both the website and conference. We are three months from the event and are in need of assitance to help our organization raise funds to cover expenes for this years conference and future events. Any and all assistance is greatly appreciated. Donations may be sent to the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society c/o Eric Altman 181 Cardinal Drive, Jeannette PA 15644. Please send your auction donation(s) no later than September 14, 2008.

For more information on the 2008 East Coast Bigfoot Conference, we invite you to visit or You may also email us at or Eric Altman directly at

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Squatchdetective Radio Show Monday April 14 @ 9:00 pm EST

Come join Steve Kulls and Billy Willard as we discuss the hot topics in the Bigfoot world with our guest: Chris Bartow of the North East Sasquatch Researchers Association (NESRA). It will be a 90-minute show!
The show can be found on the BlogTalk Radio network at

At exactly 9:00 pm EST, a button will appear on the main page that says “Listen Live”, simply click that button and you will automatically be entered into the live broadcast and chat. You can join in the conversation by joining the “Live Chat” on the site and if you want to call in and ask a question, the call in number is (347) 996-5800.

It always helps if you are first registered on the BlogTalk Radio site. If you are not already registered on the site, simply click on the following link to create a free listeners account:

By registering, your username will show up in the chat room and we can call you by your username and not just “GUEST”.

Hope you see you there!

Billy Willard
Director, Sasquatch Watch of Virginia
Co-Host, Squatchdetective Radio

Friday, February 29, 2008

Some Valid Concerns to Think About

This is the first time I have ever posted a subject unrelated to Bigfoot research, but I have found it necessary to share and agree with some recently made comments in Melissa Hovey's blog "The Search for Bigfoot". This blog is actually more about the "researchers" and "people". It is important for all of us to consider the "what ifs". I am not going to quote Melissa's entire blog here as some of it doesn't pertain to the point I want to get across. The main objective of this post is to make researchers like you and me realize that there are folks out there who wish to hurt, destroy and even end friendships. And for what? Is it jealousy? Is it because they enjoy it? I don't know and I can't even begin to understand it. It is not in my capabilities to do so. I literally love everyone! Yes, I said it, I LOVE everyone. I can't imagine living my life with such hate and hurtful attitude.

Everyone reading this, please understand...this is NOT a personal attack on ANYONE! I simply must agree with several things in Melissa's blog. And they are things we should always keep in the back of our minds. Here we go...

Melissa Hovey wrote, " When you disagree with certain people in this field of research. Your name becomes fodder for play. They bat you around, and lob whatever they can in your direction, hoping something will stick, and ruin you and your credibility, personally and professionally. This is the truth so many do not speak of."

Unfortunately, I have to agree. I have seen this time and time again. What ever happened to just agreeing to disagree? What ever happened to good old respect for someone's ideas? Am I just some old fashioned down south country good ole boy who hasn't caught up with the times? Maybe so. I sure hope not. I hope we still have some folks out there that still believe in having respectful discussions.

Melissa wrote, "What does my personal life have to do with anything in the field of Bigfoot Research?"

Good question! I don't think everyone is perfect in their personal lives. I know I'm not, I still make mistakes. Always have, always will. I have to work for clients who likely have some very bad personal lives, does that mean I don't provide them with service? I have immediate members of my family that have done some very bad things, should I just leave them? Push them to the wayside? I've had friends throughout my life who have done terrible things? Should I have just ended our friendship? Or would I be a better friend by trying to help them? If they didn't comply with my suggestions, do I end my relationship? The real issue here is this word "PERSONAL". Let me repeat that, "PERSONAL". Yours and my personal life has nothing to do with our ability to perform Bigfoot research.

Melissa wrote, "Do you think other bigfoot researchers have the right to tell you how to live your life?"

No, I certainly don't. I never would and never will do that. I may offer suggestions or opinions. But if that person doesn't want my suggestion or opinion, I will not force it on them.

Melissa wrote, "If you have committed no illegal act, hoaxed reports or beat up witnesses - is it their right to tell you, you are a bad researcher for simply having a relationship they do not approve of? No - it is NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS. Personal lives should not be a factor in this, ever."

Simply put, I couldn't agree more!

Melissa wrote, "Until 2-3 weeks ago, these very people who bash me now, I thought were my friends. What makes you think they wont turn on you?"

This is probably one of the most disturbing, sadest parts I read in Melissa's blog. I just don't know what to say here. That last question is very thought provoking!

Melissa wrote, "This comment being made about this other researcher bothers me, because frankly - he is being threatened to get to me. Apparently they are out of ideas, so they must make up something, and they lecture me on morality and ethics??? If you can't attack based on the issues - make it up as you go along? How unethical and unprofessional is that?"

Very unprofessional! To drag another person into the discussion in order to cause harm to them and their family is about as low as you can go. Not only are you hurting the person that is the subject of the complaint, but you are possibly ruining someone else's family life in the process. my eyes that fits the definition of "slander". Slander is a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report: a slander against his good name, to utter slander against; defame, to utter or circulate slander. Here is a quote from a website called "Dancing with Lawyers". It states, "It's easy to laugh off slander at first. "No one will believe that," we think. "Only idiots would believe that," we tell ourselves. In fact, that's what we here at the web site did think, until we started reading the emails. Then we realized that a lot of slanderers keep at it, year after year; you become a hobby to them. Twenty years ago they would spread rumors that you were an embezzler; nowadays they spread rumors that you're a racist or a child molester." Guess what? People can and do get sued for this!

Melissa wrote, "Look folks - its this simple. Either we make this about the research - or this happens to someone else."

That's exactly right! We need to keep Bigfoot research about Bigfoot research. Let's keep the discussion of people's personal lives out of this. It has absolutely NO bearing on this research.

And finally, Melissa wrote, "To all my many friends in this field of research - thank you, for being my friend and giving me so much support, it has meant the world to me and I truly appreciate it. To those who I do not know, but have sent me emails and words of encouragement - thank you so much, I knew many would understand there was much more to this, and I was right. The people in this community are smart, and whether some want to realize it or not, really only care about the issue of Bigfoot, which is where the conversation should be."

Melissa, you always have been and will continue to be a good friend of mine. I am so sorry that you are experiencing this, but don't let it get you down. I know you will continue your search, you have proven your strong, committed effort in this field.

If anyone wants to read Melissa's complete blog, it can be found at:

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Squatchdetective Radio Show Monday January 14 @ 9:00 pm EST

Come join Steve Kulls and Billy Willard for the hot topics in the Bigfoot world with tonight's guests: Witnesses Penny & David discuss an alleged habitation in Texas. The show can be found on the BlogTalk Radio network at

At exactly 9:00 pm EST, a button will appear on the main page that says “Listen Live”, simply click that button and you will automatically be entered into the live broadcast and chat. You can join in the conversation by joining the “Live Chat” on the site and if you want to call in and ask a question, the call in number is (347) 996-5800.

It always helps if you are first registered on the BlogTalk Radio site. If you are not already registered on the site, simply click on the following link to create a free listeners account:

By registering, your username will show up in the chat room and we can call you by your username and not just “GUEST”.

Hope you see you there!

Billy Willard
Director, Sasquatch Watch of Virginia
Co-Host, Squatchdetective Radio

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My Facebook

I created a profile in Facebook as well as a Sasquatch Watch of Virginia group. Feel free to join or just check it out.

Billy Willard's Facebook profile