Finding Bigfoot: “Virginia is for Bigfoot Lovers” Tonight

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on February 12th, 2012

Premiering Sunday, February 12, 10PM e/p

The bigfoot research team heads to Virginia to investigate video the locals are dubbing “The Beast of Gumhill.” With new reports from the town hall meeting, the team uses a unique search technique to prove this elusive beast is real.

Be sure to come back after the episode airs to share your thoughts about it with the other Cryptomundians!

‘Bigfoot’ team to premiere show on area

By Katie Dunn
Staff Writer
The Coalfield Progress

Megafauna including bears and deer regularly frequent High Knob’s steep slopes, but could the ever-elusive Bigfoot also roam the mountainside?

A team from Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot” series thinks it’s a strong possibility.

In late October, the crew spent a week in Southwest Virginia investigating a reported Bigfoot sighting for an upcoming episode in the series’ second season.

“We were brought to Virginia by an intriguing piece of video evidence that many people in the area have dubbed ‘The Beast of Gum Hill,’” said Chad Hammel, the series’ supervising producer, via e-mail.

“While there isn’t an abundance of reports coming from this area, we felt that there were probably more encounters with Bigfoots than have been reported and wanted to investigate,” he said.

The evidence in question is an amateur video shot in 2009.

The film, which can be found on YouTube, opens with a man riding his all-terrain vehicle in a creek, presumably in the Gum Hill area of western Washington County, south of Mendota.

The camera follows the man as he rides farther upstream when suddenly a bulky, brown bipedal creature calmly walks across the creek in front of the vehicle.

The driver stops and points at the creature.

Someone yells, “What was that?” and the camera fades to black.

The Animal Planet crew spent Oct. 17-24 filming in the Gum Hill area.

Other regional locations will be featured in the episode as well, including Saltville, Damascus and Wise County’s own High Knob.

Hammel said the team was drawn to the High Knob area because of the “topography and thick forest,” two elements that create an ideal location for a diversity of wildlife, including, apparently, Bigfoot.

The area also has a history of Bigfoot sightings, he said.

Several eyewitness accounts have occurred in Wise County over the years, including one on High Knob, according to the Virginia Bigfoot Research Organization, which documents Bigfoot sightings statewide.

One online posting by “Josh” notes that he and a friend saw a creature that was between seven and eight feet tall with “shaggy hair” while hunting near the High Knob fire tower in January 2006 [near Norton].

Whenever or wherever these sightings occurred on High Knob, they were never reported to the U.S. Forest Service, according to Jorge Hersel, district ranger for the Clinch Ranger District.

The district manages 92,000 acres of the Jefferson National Forest, including the High Knob Recreation Area.

“There have been no verifiable sightings of any creature with the description of Bigfoot,” Hersel said.

“Also, we have no records of receiving a report of a creature with the description of a Bigfoot by the numerous hunters, loggers, hikers or other users of the national forest.”

Hersel said one of the district’s law enforcement officers stumbled upon the Animal Planet crew on a Sunday last October, just as it had wrapped filming.

While Hersel remains interested in what the crew filmed on High Knob, he said wildlife biologists are convinced Bigfoot does not exist in the area.

“They would have been discovered by now,” he said. “Think about what it takes to have a viable population of a creature of that size. You would have to have a family or a small population — they would have had to been sighted.”

Still, the “Finding Bigfoot” team interviewed several local residents from Southwest Virginia and northern Tennessee who swear they’ve had a Bigfoot encounter, leaving Hammel to believe that “Virginia isn’t just for lovers, it is also for squatches.”

The episode, “Virginia is for Bigfoot Lovers,” airs at 10 p.m. on Feb. 12 on Animal Planet.

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.

18 Responses to “Finding Bigfoot: “Virginia is for Bigfoot Lovers” Tonight”

  1. etheral responds:

    Being a Virginian, I’m excited to watch tonight’s episode. I’m not expecting them to offer proof of its existence, but it should be a fun watch nonetheless.

    Also, I’m curious as to what areas of Virginia they’ll be covering. I hope something is near me. 🙂

  2. DWA responds:

    And here we go again.

    No comprehensive look at the overall Virginia evidence. No effort to connect dots; compare data with that from other locales; and assess rational search strategies.

    Just “let’s look for the Gumhill Beast! And we got one show to find it!”

    Um….OK there. Good luck.

    But, because it’s always good to highlight the illogic of the scientific mainstream when it comes to topics like this:

    ““They would have been discovered by now,” he said. “Think about what it takes to have a viable population of a creature of that size. You would have to have a family or a small population — they would have had to been sighted.”

    And here are sighting reports. And he’s saying there are none and that “they would have had to been [sic] sighted.”

    Um, according to the, wait for it, SIGHTERS, THEY WERE.

    With that attitude we’ll never get anywhere no matter how many sightings there are.

  3. Fred123 responds:

    If you’re looking for illogical, try looking at the guys who insist that “squatches “have superior hearing as they’re riding their ATV’s through the forest in pursuit of these shy, elusive creatures. They’ll almost certainly stop to do some calls (even though they just interviewed witnesses who were emphatic that even with their inferior human ears they knew that “no human could have made that sound”. Yep, people can tell the difference between a real squatch and a person trying to imitate one, but those supersensitive squatches can’t. I’ll agree that ““They would have been discovered by now,” he said. “Think about what it takes to have a viable population of a creature of that size. You would have to have a family or a small population — they would have had to been sighted.” wasn’t the best choice of words, but I think that the guy who said it probably meant to say “If the population that would be needed to sustain itself actually existed, we’d have a heck of a lot more evidence that they’re out there than we do.” and he’d be right.

  4. EnormousFoot responds:

    Virginia is for Bigfoot Lovers!

    Hopefully from the title they will be showing some video captured of these creatures mating. Only with a good active breeding population could they exist. Just in time for Valentine’s day.

  5. gridbug responds:

    Didn’t the ATV video get thoroughly debunked to the point of revealing that there was a party in progress in the vicinity which included a guy in a bigfoot suit?

  6. EnormousFoot responds:

    I wasted another 60 minutes of my life. However I always get a good laugh at Bobo and MM trading sweet Sasquatch calls to each other.

  7. muircertach responds:

    Another outstanding show. Great entertainment.

    I get some of you hate this show. Thats cool we all have different tastes. But must you every week remind of us that? It gets very old.

  8. CDC responds:

    Well, they didn’t find any evidence of Bigfoot, but at least they are still boring.

    40 year old men screaming in the woods in the middle of the night, leaving doughnuts and glow in the dark powder on the ground…that’s what I call research.

    EVERY WITNESS I see telling a story of how they saw a Bigfoot reminds me of Justin Smeja…don’t believe any of them anymore.

    I predict this will be the last season of Finding Bigfoot…EVERY EPISODE is EXACTLY the same. Can’t imagine any foks out there who will continue to watch this nonsense.

    Wonder if this season’s ratings have dipped at all?

  9. graybear responds:

    Bobo was touted on the show as “as big as a mid-size sasquatch.” So just how tall and heavy is he, anyway?

  10. aaronlife responds:

    I still enjoy watching this show, mainly for the locals’ reports and the entertainment value overall. However, one of my biggest issues is with Ranae who wants scientific proof of Bigfoot, which is fine, but without “believing” in Bigfoot, always seems to know just exactly how they would behave in any given situation…

    “Well, there’s not a lot of tree cover here, I don’t think Bigfoot would walk out into the open”… or “I don’t think a bigfoot would just walk out if they heard an ATV”…

    (not exact quotes). It seems she always has a tendency to project what SHE WOULD DO if SHE WERE AN ELUSIVE BIGFOOT and then use her own thinking to dismiss any evidence they come across… videos, eyewitness accounts, etc..

    This is often one of the main self-defeating behaviors of those prone to “scientific minds”. They limit themselves by their own “logic” that they project onto any given situation and can’t see beyond it.

    A human being sees an 8′ creature standing in the open (unless the girl was lying) and Ranae thinks it’s an overactive imagination because it doesn’t fit her preconceived notions of how a bigfoot would behave.

    She almost always has an excuse based on her limited thinking, and I wish there was some way for her to get perspective and see that just as the rest of the cast thinks “there’s definitely squatches here” every time they see some woods, she is equally as non-logical and non-scientific in her approach.

  11. aaronlife responds:

    I’m also not sure she realizes just how offensive it is to tell a 16 year old girl who saw something strange enough and large enough to scare her to the point of tears that she has an overactive imagination.

    It’s OK for Ranae to have doubts, that’s normal, but to potentially create insecurities in OTHER people because she has her own doubts about Bigfoot isn’t fair.

    I think she should keep those thoughts to herself and just say “It’s an amazing story, I wish I was there to see it.”

  12. CDC responds:


    Well, think about what you said for a sec.

    If an 8 foot tall, 500 pound, hairy creature, has lived throughout the wooded areas of the North America, for 1000’s of years, and not one body, bone, or hide, has ever been found, what type of behavior do you think it would demonstrate?

    If you don’t want to use logic, then what’s the point?

    If a unknown Bigfoot type creature ran around scaring little girls all the time, I promise you they wouldn’t be unknown for long.

    Truth is, it is MORE likely that it was a bear, hobo, or prankster, and the girl let her imagination run wild, than an 8 foot tall hairy monster said boo.

    Ranae, in my opinion, is not hard enough on these witnesses. The Video? She knew it was a hoax yet she didn’t say anything to the witness. On an ATV 20 feet away from a Bigfoot? Please.

    You call it “limited thinking”, I call it “REALITY”.

    I hope Matt, Tom, BoBo, Cliff, and others prove me wrong…but I don’t think they can.

  13. DNS responds:

    Thank you Fred123. Does anyone really think this outfit will ever find anything significant? Their, um, methodology is anything but scientific. I don’t think I’d be surprised to see dancing girls or some guy in Lederhosen playing a tuba next time I watch one of their hunts. Unfortunately, sideshows like this only perpetuate the idea in the population at large that anything associated with Bigfoot is a joke. It may be “just entertainment,” but it is certainly not harmless to honest, intelligent inquiry in a field that already has more than enough trouble with credibility.

  14. DWA responds:

    From what I’m reading here about Ranae, she doesn’t sound like a skeptic to me.

    A true skeptic might make the show less of a waste of time. Shame.

  15. DWA responds:

    Aaronlife: absolutely.

    Ranae is another scoffer unacquainted with the evidence. The naive think the issue is: why is nobody seeing this animal? Obviously because it’s so sneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeky that NO ONE EVER DOES.

    Then where are we getting all this evidence?

    Obviously, from people seeing them.

    Here’s the problem the naive seem unable to get their arms around: no one believes anyone who says they saw one. I could have a bigfoot at my house every night to borrow a cup of sugar. If no one whom I tell believes me; if everyone seeing that animal walking the streets to my door thinks: I’m crazy, and there’s no way anyone’s ever gonna find that out; if they talk and no one believes them…OK, where are we?

    To accuse people with no evidence of same of overactive imaginations is, well, stupid. If no one follows up evidence….um, exactly how do they expect to get any proof?

    There’s being so open-minded your brains fall out.

    Then there’s being so close-minded you’re squeezing ’em out your ears.

  16. aaronlife responds:

    Haha, agreed, DWA, I don’t know why Ranae doesn’t insist on lie-detector tests for all these witnesses.

    It’s far more unlikely, logically, that a 16 year old girl will mistake a bear or person for a “bigfoot” after doing a double-take, especially after growing up around people, and probably bears.

    I’ve seen a box out of the corner of my eye and thought it was my cat, but only for a split second, then the information fills in and you see what is really there, a box.

    People who catch a glimpse of something moving in the forest might not see enough to know what it is, but people who see an 8′ tall furry primate staring at them, likely have enough time to identify what it is NOT, and what it likely is, even though it may challenge their previously held beliefs.

    Like the ships coming over the horizon for those who though the world was flat, eventually, you cannot ignore what you are seeing.

    I don’t “believe” in bigfoots, personally, because to believe something you don’t know is like brainwashing, the mind isn’t free to discern the mystery or the truth with a belief in the way, but logically… when you have hundreds of people over hundreds of years seeing these things all over the world, in various cultures, that never talked to each other (realistically) prior to the 20th century, then we have only a couple likely scenarios:

    Their eyes play tricks on them – unlikely since people generally don’t hallucinate and can negotiate life while identifying things properly.

    They are all liars – really, they are ALL liars?

    They are seeing exactly what they think they are seeing – “bigfoot”, some as yet unidentified primate that is very rare and very stealthy, when it wants to be.

    I’ll tell you, I’ve rarely seen animal bones in the forest, though I’ve seen dead animals, and I’ve never seen human bones lying around anywhere. Is that proof none of us exist?

    Burying the dead might be a human/bigfoot custom. Or maybe they eat their dead? Who knows? Absence of a body of an elusive species with human-level intellect (perhaps) isn’t proof of non-existence.

    If 15 people come forward to the police and independently say they saw someone jump from a cliff, but they can’t find the body, does that mean they are all lying, all having fantasies, or did someone move the body?

    As a skeptic, I doubt that all these witnesses are liars. I challenge the show to start respectfully doing lie-detector tests on all these witnesses so that Ranae, and the public, can at least have some inkling as to whether they are truth-tellers or liars.

  17. DWA responds:

    Aaronlife: precisely.

    (Let’s just keep congratulating each other until, well, something good happens. LOL)

    It’s not the most scientific approach to simply accuse everyone with whom your worldview conflicts of lying or an overactive imagination. It amounts to obstruction – indeed, denial – of science to reflexively do so with no evidence that this is the case.
    Most – I mean, pretty much all – of the bigfoot reports I have read come down to one of three possibilities: Hospitalizable mental malfunction; dead flat lie; or, what the witness says they saw, which, well, is a bigfoot if the latter is the case. As you astutely point out – and it’s astute, because scoftics just don’t seem to include this in their calculations – we live by our eyes. We couldn’t function if we did not accurately perceive practically everything that crossed our paths of a day. That everyone who sees a sasquatch is malfunctioning is pretty much a farfetched notion from the start. Many of them are driving at highway speed or handling weapons when their sightings happen, and they get home OK, don’t accidentally shoot themselves and everything else they see, and can operate a computer flawlessly to send that report in.

    That they’re all lying? Lots of them don’t even seem to want to admit what happened, even anonymously. I can’t fathom why anyone would want to lie by saying they saw something the societal mainstream laughs at. How is this helping them, in any way? It has to be obvious to them by now that there’s no money in anything but proof. It may be conceivable that it’s all lies. But that this is the thing you say Is It, The Explanation, and we can all go home now?

    Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, I’ll pass. I’m a little more curious than that. Any scientist should be.

    As you also note: this sasquatch/yeti thing is jumping cultures, something that just don’t happen with ‘quaint native legends.’ Everyone is reporting something that could come right out of a guidebook, with differences in socioeconomic status, education and other cultural variables accounting for differences in description (e.g., all the ways witnesses describe the distinctive gait, or the sagittal crest, something you can recognize from all of them). If I’m a scientist – and you are right, scientists can’t ‘believe in’ nuthin’ – I am wondering what the heck is up with this, and leaving the mental door open as long as that is unresolved.

    I liked one other thing you said: “I think she should keep those thoughts to herself and just say “It’s an amazing story, I wish I was there to see it.” Daniel Loxton, a significant voice in skepticism, says he can’t take sighting reports for proof, but he can’t take them for fake or mental-illness either, not without more info. He says: I wasn’t there; I can’t share the privileged viewpoint.

    Right. What did she see? WE DON’T KNOW; WE WEREN’T THERE.

    I can understand folks like CDC getting hot at Finding Bigfoot. This isn’t scientific method we’re seeing, by anyone on there, Ranae included.

    But one can’t toss wheat with chaff. There’s a lot of evidence out there. What we need is concerted follow-up on that evidence, not road-trip cherry-picking. Or reflexive scoffing, Ranae.

    It is NOT logical to dismiss anything without evidence that the dismissal is warranted.

  18. aaronlife responds:

    And as far as hoaxing, it seems unlikely that anyone smart enough to consider hoaxing would stand in a bigfoot suit in front of a hunter with a gun long enough to get shot.

    Any video hoax would likely involve everyone (cameraman, etc.).

    In this particular episode, what i wanted to see most was all of the other footage of those ATV guys filming themselves that day.

    If they shot 2 hours of footage of jump taking, river driving, etc., and this was at the tail end, it might lend it some credibility.

    If all they shot was 15 seconds of that final scene, then it leans me towards a hoax.

    It’s also almost never discussed on the show how relaxed their recreations are… I saw the “bigfoot” creature seem to walk behind a log or large branch crossing the stream, whereas Bobo seemed to walk in front of it, suggesting to me the distances might have been off.

    If they aren’t doing their recreations accurately, they can’t base any conclusion from them. In fact, they shouldn’t conclude anything about anything unless they can 100% document fact or fiction.

    It’s all a mystery.

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