Story by: Erica Peterson, West Virginia Public Broadcasting
October 27, 2009 · Have you ever been in the woods and wondered what could be there, lurking behind the trees? One group thinks they know.
On a cool but sunny October day, Dolly Sods is beautiful. The sun shines through the trees and off the endless boulder fields.
But in its endless wilderness, Dolly Sods is a little bit spooky, too. It’s a still, quiet place. And according to Billy Willard, it’s a great place to search for Sasquatch.
“Typically we go out and visit sites where there’s been previous sighting reports,” Willard said. “We do get encounters called in to a hotline that we have, and we go out and we’ll research those areas looking for evidence such as footprints, strange stick tree structures and that kind of thing.”
Willard is the founder of Sasquatch Watch of Virginia, a group made up of Bigfoot enthusiasts who collect information about the legendary being in their spare time.
They’re camping out in Dolly Sods, traipsing around in the wilderness area’s forests and bogs looking for signs of Sasquatch.
“As large as they claim this creature is, it’s got to have some weight to it. And if it’s walking around out here, it’s going to leave a footprint,” Willard says.
He finds something he thinks resembles a Sasquatch print in the bog, deep in the mud.
“It could be a small track right there,” he said. “We’ve got a track right here, not as big as the other one we saw over there. And again, it’s old, you can tell it’s been here since the rain. But that might actually be cast-able. There might be some toe impressions in there.”
He pulls out some plaster of Paris and makes a cast.
Some of the members of Sasquatch Watch of Virginia have actually had a sighting—where they’ve come face-to-face with a creature they believe is a Bigfoot. But even those who haven’t believe the creature exists.
Bruce Harrington is the self-described skeptic of the group.
“I think one of the biggest arguments that people have against the existence of Bigfoot is there hasn’t been any proof,” Harrington said. “From a logical standpoint, absence of proof is not proof of absence. So just because we don’t have the proof that these creatures exist doesn’t mean they don’t exist.”
The men—and the group is made up solely of men—have an impressive amount of gear with them. They pull out GPS navigators, trail cameras, regular cameras, voice recorders and evidence bags.
The latter is used when a team member finds suspicious droppings. Into the bag it goes, to be sent off to a lab for testing.
Everybody has their own theories about what kind of creature Sasquatch is. Though he’s been hunting for years, Willard has never had a sighting.
“I could accept that this thing is human, whether it’s an undiscovered Native American tribe of people, I could accept that this is some kind of North American ape that just simple hasn’t been documented yet,” he said. “Those are the two main theories.
“Now you have some more out there theories, like these things are aliens and came off a UFO. That they go through dimensions and can walk through different portals. I think this thing’s flesh and blood, whether it’s human or more ape.”
Though their weekend in Dolly Sods didn’t lead to any sightings, Sasquatch Watch of Virginia is still looking for proof. They say it’s out there.