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High School Principal Chasing Bigfoot

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on July 28th, 2007

David Raygoza

David Raygoza shows pictures taken while searching for Bigfoot. (Joe Proudman/The Sentinel)

Chasing Bigfoot

David Raygoza has heard it all: The sniggers, the jokes, the “crackpot” comments.

It doesn’t much faze the high school principal from Fresno as he pursues the passion that has consumed much of his free time for years: Tracking Bigfoot, a purportedly ape-like creature reputed to live in the remote mountains east of Kings County.

Raygoza is taking his findings, and the stories he’s collected over the years, to a Bigfoot symposium he’s holding in Hanford Tuesday night — surely the town’s first ever.

Raygoza said he’s prepared for the skepticism.

“Usually, my response is, I go with it. There’s no need to get into a confrontation,” he said.

The 49-year-old principal is more interested in finding people who can provide visual or other evidence of a creature he claims to have seen three times.

“Generally, what I say is, ‘you’ve got to open your eyes to what’s out there,’” he said.

Others have opened their eyes and seen nothing, despite the hundreds of reported sightings of the creature and moldings taken of its footprints.

Many put the Bigfoot phenomenon in the category of popular folklore, alongside stories of UFOs, alien abductions and ghosts.

“With the thousands of dollars of cameras (these people) lug around with them, why don’t they have a picture? You know, we need a body, we need some DNA, we need bones,” said Brian Dunning, founder of www.skeptoid.com, a Web site that critically analyzes pop culture.

National forest officials, for their part, say they have no knowledge of any kind of unidentified primate that could qualify as a Bigfoot.

“I’ve been working on this forest for 20 years and I’ve never seen or heard of a sighting of a Bigfoot … or traces of a Bigfoot,” said Denize Alonzo, spokeswoman for three ranger districts in Sequoia National Forest.

Raygoza concedes that what’s needed is unambiguous proof.

“I would say to the (skeptics), you are absolutely right, that nothing’s been found. But there are just too many eyewitness accounts out there,” Raygoza said.

Sightings of Bigfoot-like creatures have been reported around the world for hundreds of years, first in American Indian cultures and later in the United States, particularly in the remote forested areas of northern California and the Pacific Northwest.

The accounts generally describe a creature that’s taller than humans, covered in fur, walking upright, with long swinging arms and a low forehead reminiscent of African apes.

The stories have a certain scientific plausibility.

Fossil evidence shows that large, ape-like species cohabited with humans as late as 100,000 years ago.

The problem is that no such remains have been found younger than 100,000 years, and none have ever been located in North America.

Still, that’s enough for a handful of academics to at least hold out the possibility that a great ape species could have lived longer, perhaps even into recent times.

“Personally, I am pursuing it from an academic standpoint. My interest is in the biology and natural history of a presumed great ape surviving into the modern era,” said Jeffrey Meldrum, associate professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University.

Meldrum is often derided by his fellow academics as an eccentric dissenter.

But he has his defenders, Dunning among them.

Jane Goodall, the famous anthropologist who lived with chimpanzees in Africa, has been sympathetic to Meldrum’s studies.

Goodall couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

“My argument is that there is a body of evidence that is strongly suggestive of the existence of such an animal,” Meldrum said, stopping short of saying that he actually believes Bigfoot is out there somewhere.

“It remains a question. And there are vexing issues … like, how has it been able to avoid scientific scrutiny for so long?,” he said.

David Raygoza hopes that the Bigfoot symposium will provide a breakthrough.

“Maybe when people are camping in the mountains and hear something go bump in the night, maybe it’s something that we can explain,” he said.Seth Nidever
Hanford Sentinel

I have had personal dealings with Mr. Raygoza, principal of Pershing High School in Fresno, CA.

Several years back, he contacted me wanted to debut video footage purported to be of Bigfoot at our Texas Bigfoot Conference.

He claimed the footage was obtained while out hiking, looking for Bigfoot and/or Bigfoot evidence, when he happened upon a Bigfoot on the trail and shot the footage.

I requested still images from the footage before agreeing to show the video. Said stills were agreed to be sent by Mr. Raygoza.

Unfortunately, I never received anything to verify Mr. Raygoza’s amazing Bigfoot footage. I also never received any additional contact from Mr. Raygoza after I requested and he agreed to send the images.

There is no mention of this footage in the article, so I assume he is not hawking it anymore.

The details on his conference are below.

I am sponsoring an informational Bigfoot Symposium in Hanford, California on Wednesday, August 1, 2007 at 6 p.m. at Fatte Albert’s Pizza Company.

The purpose of the meeting is to gather information on how many local individuals have had bigfoot experiences and to give these folks a forum to talk about their experiences with others. I have invited several individuals from various towns from Central California who have reported to have had bigfoot experiences/encounters. Visitors will also have an opportunity to look at several pictures/videos of purpoted bigfoot tracks/ prints and casts as well as equipment that is used during our research trips. Over-all, it should be a good time as well as informational.David Raygoza

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.


5 Responses to “High School Principal Chasing Bigfoot”

  1. rayrich responds:

    It’s unfortunate that Mr. Raygoza never released the the ‘so called footage’ he promised, but at the same time I have had experiences and recordings which I wouldn”t share with others probably because of a lack of trust in the Bigfoot community. I never promised this info however, and never felt the need. That makes me a little wary of his agenda, whether it be for attention or borne out of his imagination. If you spend enough time really deep in the wilds your mind will play games with you, as well as your imagination. I think when you have a real credible experience you feel a less need to verify it to your peers.

  2. Secret_Storm responds:

    I actually went with Mr. Raygoza to the Sequoia National Forest to check several locations he had been watching and to gather evidence… although the time there was brief I could tell right away there was no Bigfoot all the evidence pointed towards a bear which he did manage to capture on a game tracker.

    I watched his video, stills, etc. even looked at the hair sample but again the hair was the same color as the bear in the picture brownish blonde, the hair sample was never tested.

    In my opinion the video and still photographs only showed shadows from surrounding trees and bushes.

    He talked about being in the BFRO and how some members were coming out to go over his evidence. I never heard what the BFRO had to say because I stopped talking with David after his stories didn’t seem factual, like how a Bigfoot attacked his jeep and broke the driver side window by throwing a stick at it…

    David mentioned how his wife had seen or heard strange things when in the Sequoia National Forest. When David was unpacking his gear I was able to chat with his wife for a few minutes and found none of what David said to be true also she doesn’t believe in Bigfoot and thought David was wasting his time and money.

  3. dm061505 responds:

    Secret_Storm, I don’t know who you are but I am David’s wife and what you have posted about me is untrue. I have found my experiences out with David to be very interesting. Both my daughter and I have seen footprints, heard things, seen things…there is definitely something out there. David has a lot of footage and many experiences…and the experiences have not just been his. He has taken people out with him that have had their own experiences. I would appreciate it if you would refrain from posting untruths as I do believe that bigfoot exists.

  4. Craig Woolheater responds:

    Update on David Raygoza’s informational Bigfoot symposium are posted here at Cryptomundo at Update: High School Principal Chasing Bigfoot.

  5. PLeary responds:

    I had a brief conversation with Mr. Raygoza recently. While just one interaction, I found him to be modest and sincere, not the least self-agrandizing. He did carry some appropriate warriness into the call, but we had never spoken before and he did not know whether or not I had some nefarious agenda.



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