Bigfoot Burial Ground
Identified In Ohio?
By Kirsten Stanley
Times Staff Writer
May 25, 1999
The [Portsmouth, Ohio] Daily Times
Thanks To Kenny Young
Does Bigfoot Exist?
Bigfoot lurks in nearby woods, according to local residents

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 to death."
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 exists.
"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 that here."
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 Shawnee Forest."
End of article
[Special thanks to TODD MARTIN for spotting this
newspaper article in the Portsmouth, Ohio Daily
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 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. 2
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 at:
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 said.
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. 5
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 about it."
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 claim. 8
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 Publications.
3. May 18, 1997 broadcast of DREAMLAND, researcher Joedy Cook interview courtesy of Pennsylvania investigator Linda Moulton Howe.
4. There are seven campgrounds within th