By Maddie Hoaglund, Class of 2017
An ancient Native American legend. A ghost story at a camp fire. Whispers of a creature. An ape man. Otherwise known as the American Bigfoot or Sasquatch.
The factual existence of this creature has never been proven despite thousands of sightings, though this could be due to the fact that most of these sightings tend to occur in rural areas. Most Americans would contend that such a beast does not exist. However, there are a select few who claim to have witnessed the beast. Sightings range from a shadow on the road, to a hairy primate peeking in a window.
Some witnesses to these phenomenons consider themselves an elite group. They founded a group called The Bigfoot Researchers Organization (BFRO). The BFRO includes Sasquatch enthusiasts from all over the country who search for the elusive beast and report sightings regularly. The organization has a large data base of over three thousand Sasquatch encounters in the U.S alone since 1921. Recently, the BFRO has aired an instructive program on Animal Planet in which members search for Sasquatch and question enthusiastic civilian witnesses.
With all the publicity surrounding this elusive creature in recent years, many skeptics believe that a large number of claimed Bigfoot sightings are hoaxes. Since the early 2000s, yearly Sasquatch encounters have dramatically increased. Just a few decades ago, most Americans simply discredited any possibility of a large ape like man roaming the American wilderness.
Skeptics might ask, with so many sightings widely spread throughout the United States, why have bigfooters never discovered definitive proof of Sasquatch? The overwhelming majority of evidence found by Bigfoot enthusiasts is disregarded, despite the legitimate scientific authenticity it holds. Others are further fueled to achieve their dream of capturing this animal in the flesh. From the Yowie Yahoo in the dusty outback of Australia, to the Skunk Ape of the Florida swamp, this creature has somehow stomped its way into the legends of people and cultures all around the globe.