- The legend of Bigfoot has been told for
centureis, but some local residents have come forward to say it is more
than a legend in Scioto County. According to them, Bigfoot is alive and
lurking in the Shawnee Forest.
- Dallas Gilbert said he has seen Bigfoot,
smelled Bigfoot and has even been lifted off the ground by Bigfoot.
- "I have seen the creature nine times,"
Gilbert said. "I have been in situations that have nearly scared me
- Gilbert has numerous videos and pictures
showing what he believes is proof of a local Bigfoot community. Although
he will not discuss the exact location -for fear of Bigfoot's safety- Gilbert
said he has seen where Bigfoot calls home.
- "There are places where you can
see territorial markings and snaps that the creature has made in the trees,"
Gilbert said. "There are even canopies and bows made of trees for
him to sleep under."
- A burial stone with the impression of
Bigfoot is another piece of evidence Gilbert points to as proof the creature
- "It looks like a tombstone almost,"
Gilbert said. "You can see the outlines of the creature's eyes, head
and his teeth.
- Gilbert said the stone could represent
a burial site for a Bigfoot creature or creatures. Although Gilbert claims
he has discussed his findings with a primatologist in Columbus, he would
not give the expert's name or what she said about his alleged discovery.
- "There's nothing else like in in
the world, from what I know," Gilbert said.
- Wayne Burton is Gilbert's Bigfoot-hunting
partner and also said he believes the creature exists. He first saw Bigfoot
in 1978 and has seen the creature several other times, he said.
- "We realize that it's a hard thing
to believe if you haven't seen it," Burton said. "There are a
lot of skeptics out there, so we want to prove to people that Bigfoot does
exist in Scioto County."
- According to Burton, he has nearly been
attacked by the creature during one of his expeditions. Bigfoot charged
and came within 20 feet of him, he said.
- "I turned around and Bigfoot was
gruntin', growlin' and carrying' on," Burton said. "It was a
scary, scary thing."
- Although Burton and Gilbert are excited
about their alleged discovery, Shawnee Forest officials are not so enthused.
- "We have had no confirmed sightings
of Bigfoot out here," said Ben Hamilton, assistant manager of Shawnee
Forest. "There has been no concrete proof that anything exists like
- Hamilton said he has seen Gilbert's pictures,
but still is not convinced the photos show any type of Bigfoot creature.
- "No one has proven that there are
such things as Bigfoot," Hamilton said, "let alone one in the
- End of article
- [Special thanks to TODD MARTIN for spotting
- newspaper article in the Portsmouth,
- Times, and forwarding a copy]
- Comment and Report:
- Reporter Kirsten Stanley quotes Mr. Burton
as follows: "...Bigfoot was gruntin', growlin' and carryin' on..."
This strange quote seems to be an effort to lampoon Mr. Burton's regional
accent or cast aspersion upon his believability.
- Further, reporter Kirsten Stanley with
The Portsmouth Daily Times took no corroborative or verification action
in her report, indicating a considerable lack of investigative follow-up.
That she would do so and still write a story so bizarre on the front-page
of a city newspaper seems to indicate a slant toward things sensational.
- For example, she indicates the existence
of photographs and videotapes. Yet strangely, there is no review of these
alleged photographs or videotapes by reporter Kirsten Stanley. Such material
may constitute definitive evidence to bolster the abnormal claims that
she reports on. Did she view this material and elect not to afford the
reader any details? Or, if she did not review the material, why did she
reference it in her report without being certain of its credibility?
- Still further, she makes no effort to
verify the claim of Gilbert that he has consulted with a primatologist
from Columbus. That she would even reference this is unusual, especially
since she acknowledges that Gilbert, most strangely, wouldn't furnish the
name of this female primatologist or what her conclusions were.
- Further, Stanley takes note of Gilbert
and Burton's concerns to keep this alleged 'burial ground' secret, while
still reporting of it in her article. As a reportorial tactic, such unconfirmed
drivel should have been discarded, even moreso when certain individuals
come forward with outlandish information and show themselves unwilling
to substantiate their claim. Certain steps could have - SHOULD HAVE - been
taken to inspect this area while protecting its location.
- THE AREA
- The Shawnee State Forest in Ohio is in
an area where previous claims of Bigfoot sightings have been documented.
This forest area is situated near and dwarfed by a greater tract of wilderness
known as the Wayne National Forest.
- Upon taking a closer look at the area
where the sightings have been reported, the reader can ascertain its vastness.
Bordered by the Ohio River to its south, The Wayne National Forest is situated
along the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and is comprised of a
massive area reaching well over 210,000 acres. The forestland is divided
into three separate, noncontiguous districts. The Ironton District, located
farthest south, contains the Vesuvius Recreation Area and is the most developed
of the three. Located northeast of Ironton District and adjacent to the
Ohio River, is the Marietta District. The Athens District, third and most
centrally located, is less developed than the other two districts.
- Areas of the national forest stretch
into several counties across Southern Ohio, Some of which are Lawrence
County, Vinton and Scioto Counties.
- Bigfoot reports have been generated within
these localities for a number of years, dating back to an unusual instance
in 1869, in which a father and daughter pair encountered a frightening,
gorilla-like "wild-man" near Gallipolis, Ohio. 1
- More recently, an influx of documented
Bigfoot reports have been brought to the attention of Ohio researchers
from locations near or adjacent to areas of The Wayne National Forest.
- Ohio cryptozoology researcher, Mr. Ron
Schaffner, has documented a series of alleged encounters with large, hairy
bipedal animals in the southwest portion of Scioto County and the Shawnee
State Forest vicinity. These reports are available for inspection at:
- In his report, Schaffner explores the
claims made by a person he identifies as Micah, a male individual that
wishes to remain anonymous.
- In early 1998, several Bigfoot reports
were documented from nearby Adams County, Ohio. These details can be reviewed
- CAMPGROUND CLOSURE
- One particular account -which has been
discussed on the nationally syndicated Art Bell radio program- tells of
a campground or picnic area within the Wayne National Forest that had been
mysteriously 'closed' due to a large number of BIGFOOT sightings within
a 30-day time period. 3
- The 'closure' of the campground was also
said to be in conjunction with a memo circulated by officers of the Ohio
Division of Wildlife Department of Natural Resources, asking state park
officers and rangers to keep the reported Bigfoot sightings 'low-key' so
as not to generate a panic among campers and tourists. 4
- Various Bigfoot researchers were contacted
and interviewed in an effort to procure more information on how and where
the story of the 'campground closure' surfaced.
- Ohio researcher Lynda Wygel was particularly
interested in the alleged closures. "That story really interested
me, and I've spent alot of time trying to find out about it," she
- Wygel, with the North American Sasquatch
Research Team, talked with eight different officials at Wayne National
Forest, and none of them knew of Bigfoot sightings or the closure of a
campground or picnic area. She had talked with game wardens and Park rangers,
as well as officials with ODNR.
- "I received no confirmation from
anyone, and I even ran ads in newspapers that covered the locations of
the Wayne National Forest." Wygel placed ads in newspapers near Hocking,
Ohio and Vinton County, Ohio. She was also featured in an article for
the Lawrence County Tribune, in which she requested more information.
- "Of all those ads, no calls were
received," she said.
- Wygel also spent three days in the Wayne
National Forest looking for a 'closed campground,' and never found one.
- Newcomerstown, Ohio Bigfoot researcher
Don Keating was also familiar with the rumors of alleged campground closures:
"To my knowledge, there was no campground closure," Keating said
when asked about the rumors. "I don't know a whole lot about it, except
that Joedy Cook talked about it at the Vancouver symposium in June of '97."
- "I have looked into the story,"
Keating added, "and found it interesting that there were supposedly
15 or so sightings there within a 30 day time period, and thought that
a little odd since its only 15 miles from my home, and I hadn't heard anything
- Like Wygel, Keating stated that his inquiries
were made with State Forest and State Park officials through personal visits
to various facilities.
- "I do know that there was not a
single campground at Salt Fork that was closed during the recent hunting
season," Keating said. 6
- Much of the hearsay involving the 'campground
closure' reports has been traced back to researcher Joedy Cook of The Ohio
Bigfoot Research and Study Group. Cook is a Cincinnati resident and once
held a position with the SPCA. This position presented him, he says, with
opportunities to meet and correspond with park officers and game wardens.
- During a telephone conversation with
Joedy Cook regarding the origin of the 'campground closure' story, he states
that the locality in question is actually Salt Fork State Park, north of
the Wayne National Forest.
- "Everybody said it was the Wayne
National Forest," Cook states, "but it wasn't. Salt Fork is not
the Wayne National, but in reality, it's a state park which is run by both
the ODNR division of Wildlife and the US Forestry Service."
- "Nobody really knows the origin
of the story," said Joedy Cook during a discussion for this report.
"I look at it to be just a rumor, for the simple fact that the story
is getting changed by different people, so you can't tell what's rumor
and what's not."
- "I even called Salt Fork State Park
myself, they don't know anything," Cook said. "There's nothing
there, I think somebody fabricated the whole affair."
- Cook added that he had heard rumors of
an incident happening at Salt Fork Lake State Park sometime in 1997. He
recalls that the 'rumor' told of one or two creatures which were sighted
several times in a 30-day period.
- Cook had also heard certain reports of
one picnic area that was supposedly closed down, but said to be unsure
if it was just 'under construction.'
- When asked why he thought such an uncorroborated
story should receive reportage on the nationally syndicated Art Bell radio
program, Cook stated that his research was 'in the investigative phase'
and he had not formed any opinions of the case at the time. Contrary to
the assertions of Don Keating, Cook said that he did not lecture on the
campground closings during the symposium in Vancouver, British Columbia.
- To listen to Linda Moulton Howe's interview
with Cook on Dreamland, CLICK HERE.
- According to Joedy Cook, it was in May
of 1997 that he was shown an odd document by an official with the ODNR:
"I was on-duty at the time I was shown this document, I was one of
the officers there to deliver animals to this location," Cook said.
"Arrangements had already been made to look for the guy there who
had the information. He came over to the facility where I was, which was
like a nature center, and he knew ahead of time that I would be there."
- "We were standing outside the parking
lot, and this guy unfolds a piece of paper from his pocket," Cook
recalls, stating that the document was a one-page memoradum issued with
ODNR letterhead, advising that the Division of Wildlife had knowledge of
Bigfoot reports generated from Salt Fork State Park. Cook alleges the
document implied that ODNR was aware of the situation, and that a camping
or picnic area was 'closed' due to concerns for the safety of civilians
in the area.
- "I was shown the document by a guy
from the division of wildlife who showed it to me," Cook added, also
saying that he doesn't remember the name of the officer. 7
- Several appeals to federal and state
agencies were placed to the Chief of Division of Wildlife in Columbus,
Ohio, The Division of Parks in Columbus, The Division of Forestry in Columbus,
and the U.S. Forest Service in Marietta, Ohio to locate and identify this
document that Cook reportedly inspected. These appeals were made through
the official 'State Records Release' program and the federal Freedom of
Information Act, hoping to acquire a copy of this report. Nothing substantive
had surfaced during this process that would lend credence to Cook's bizarre
- Cook also informed that he had earlier
been in contact with Mr. Dallas Gilbert, the subject of the Portsmouth
Times newspaper article. Cooke said that Gilbert sent him a picture that
someone else had taken. Gilbert claimed the photo depicted 'three Bigfoot-creatures,'
according to Cook. He [Gilbert] said that one red and two brown Bigfoots
could clearly be seen, but Cook informed that his perception of the photograph
did not afford this revelation. "I looked at the damn picture but
I didn't see anything in there."
- "It is so blurred, it is one big
blur spot," Cook said of the photo submitted by Gilbert. "There
was nothing in the picture that I determined was a Bigfoot."
- "When Gilbert wrote me about one
year ago, he never mentioned or referenced a Bigfoot burial ground either
in his letter or our telephone discussions.
- "Dallas needs to contact researchers
to have this burial site looked at," Cook informs. "Once we establish
proof that this thing is out there, then we can get protection by the State
of Ohio's division of wildlife." 9
- Bigfoot reports from areas of Southern
Ohio represents a legitimate mystery worthy of serious scientific scrutiny.
The reports and witnesses, sometimes very credible, are not taken seriously
by the appropriate wildlife officers and scientific communities.
- With regards to the account of a campground
'closure' due to a large number of Bigfoot sightings, there is no documentation
or evidence to support this. According to Cook, he repeated this account
on nationally syndicated radio, being unaware of its groundless fortitude.
Only later did he understand it to be a 'fabrication' or hoax, at which
point, he says, he dismissed the affair.
- Many aspects of the ongoing accounts
regarding a Bigfoot-type creature in the Shawnee State and Wayne National
Forest areas remain unsubstantiated. The stories are largely relegated
to 'rumor and hearsay,' although some of the reports have been documented
and investigated by researchers. Despite this effort, there is no substantive
evidence known to support the eyewitness data.
- 1. Newspaper article, The Minnesota
Weekly Record; January 23, 1869
- 2. Book: "Bigfoot in Ohio, Encounters
with the Grassman" by Christopher L. Murphy, published by Pyramid
- 3. May 18, 1997 broadcast of DREAMLAND,
researcher Joedy Cook interview courtesy of Pennsylvania investigator Linda
- 4. There are seven campgrounds within