Search For Sasquatch in the Tri-State
Mystery Casebook Whether you believe in its existence or not, the creature known as Bigfoot or Sasquatch has impacted cultures on every continent.

With thousands of reports around the world, sightings of Bigfoot-like creatures in this country go back to at least the 1700's.

Local 12's Rich Jaffe found the search for Sasquatch includes the Tri-State, because some people believe the beast calls Ohio "home."

Strangers in the tiny Clermont County village of Newtonsville generate a lot of interest, and sometimes controversy. Minutes after arriving in town, we met Al. "You guys up here looking for Bigfoot?" he asked.

The stranger generating the most interest there is one at least a couple of people claim to have seen recently, Bigfoot.

On YouTube, there's lots of video of the creature. Part of mythology for centuries around the world, there are nearly 200 reported, Ohio sightings of Bigfoot in the last few years, as well as sightings in Indiana and Kentucky.

Ohio actually ranks third or fourth in the country for Bigfoot sightings, right behind the Pacific Northwest. In 1994, a researcher near the West Virginia border in Columbiana County caught an eerie sound on tape. Some believe it's the moaning howl of a Sasquatch or Bigfoot.

Could there really be a creature somewhere, that's a cross between the great apes and man?

"It is possible that there are species out there that we don't yet recognize," said Thane Maynard, Cincinnati Zoo director. "As far as people looking hard at it, my friend Jane Goodall, who I'm working on a book with that will come out in '08, she's a deep believer that Bigfoot could be out there. That there are many things about primates that we don't know."

Joedy Cook holds in his hands what he says is proof...plaster casts of Bigfoot prints, half a dozen collected from the Shawnee National Forest.

"The eyes have always been very dark and red, luminous, where they're able to see at night, more nocturnal," said Joedy Cook, Ohio Center for Bigfoot Studies. "The nose is somewhat gorilla, but also known to be more human."

In the early 90's, Cook says he and three fellow soldiers spotted a Sasquatch along a densely wooded, Michigan road.

"Probably about fifteen feet away from us. We didn't see it til we actually stopped, then it moved, looked at us. We had eye contact and looked at us as we moved. There's four of us that sat there and saw this thing."

Most people assume when they see a photograph or video of Sasquatch or Bigfoot, that what you're looking at is just a guy dressed up in a fuzzy suit. But paranormal investigators say they go to technical extremes to make sure that what you see isn't just that.

Cook had a huge handprint evaluated. "It's even been looked at by the FBI, a fingerprint expert named Jimmy Chillcutt. He's the world's most expert on primate fingerprints. He looked at this and he really believes there's a real good possibility that's what this is. It was actually made by the hand itself."

Investigators hope someone will prove Bigfoot exists, so it can be preserved under law as an endangered species. But could Bigfoot really live in Ohio?

"In a state like Ohio, a big animal like a primate would actually be a feral animal," said Maynard. "So, if there's a big, hairy primate on the loose, it would either be an escaped ape, like a gorilla or chimpanzee, or it would be a person who's just gone squirrelly."

In the Himalayas where Bigfoot is called a Yeti, the Sherpa's have a saying, "There is a Yeti in the back of everyone's mind; only the blessed are not haunted by it."

Joedy Cook has written two books about Bigfoot in Ohio. They are available through Hancock Press.

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