A “large bipedal animal covered in hair” was reported in North Carolina’s McDowell County over the weekend.
In other words, a Bigfoot: The ape-like creature that cryptozoologists believe roams the nation’s backwoods.
The sighting happened just before 11 p.m. Friday in a forested area. No one was injured, though the group reports something threw rocks at them as they left the area. McDowell County is about 100 miles northwest of Charlotte.
John Bruner of the Marion-based group Bigfoot 911 reported the event on the group’s Facebook page Saturday. Bigfoot 911 is one of a handful of groups around the country that investigate reports of Bigfoot sightings, mostly in places average people don’t go at night.
Bruner says a team of seven people were out at the time, scattering glow sticks in the woods. (Bigfoot 911 members believe glow sticks pique the curiosity of a Bigfoot.) It was the sight of one of those glow sticks moving through the woods that got Bruner’s attention.
“I turned on my headlamp and saw a large bi-pedal animal covered in hair,” said Bruner in his Facebook post.
The animal took off, and Bruner says he ran after it, eventually prompting a brief stare-down next to a dead tree.
“Its face was solid black, no hair on it. The hair looked shaggy all over,” Bruner said.
Then it took off, not to be seen again, he said. Bruner told the Observer Sunday it is the best sighting he’s had in years of searching for the animal.
“I was able to see details of the creature … like the face, and the hair was matted and stringy. The eyes were farther apart than human eyes.”
Belief in the existence of Bigfoot is a brush fire that wildlife experts can’t seem to put out. National Geographic reports there is a wealth of circumstantial evidence: eyewitness accounts, blurry photographs, mysterious footprints. However, there’s a lack of undeniable proof, and that has made skeptics of scientists, who insist the sightings are often misidentifications of other animals.
It’s finding proof that drives Bigfoot 911. Bruner says the group had been out two hours Friday when the animal was sighted. He says he wasn’t scared but was more interested in getting a closer look.
“I knew it was my chance to see it up close,” he said. “I didn’t appear aggressive. We had eye contact for 5 to 10 seconds.”
One thing he says he didn’t notice was the bad smell that is so often tied to Bigfoot folklore.
Bigfoot 911 is a small but dedicated group of investigators who have quietly spent the past few years poking around the woods of McDowell County in search of the legendary Bigfoot, or as some call him, Sasquatch.
The group formed in 2014 and claims to have extensive evidence that Bigfoot exists. It has about 50 members.
There have been multiple reports of Bigfoot sightings in Western North Carolina in recent years.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reported last year that the Animal Planet series “Finding Bigfoot” saw enough anecdotal evidence in North Carolina to warrant a visit to film an episode. “Finding Bigfoot” follows four researchers who track the mythical beast around the world, guided by local lore.
In August of 2015, the Citizen-Times released a video of a purported Western North Carolina Bigfoot sighting that went viral.
To contact Bigfoot 911, visit their Facebook page here or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Facebook page has plenty of photos, including photos of what many posters swear are footprints of a Bigfoot.