Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 11th, 2012
Over the weekend, in the twitterosphere, a well-known Bigfoot hunter was asked a question about whether or not there are Bigfoot in Ohio. The answer came back quickly: “There are squatches in many parts of Ohio. Organized expeditions happened first in Salt Fork back in the 80’s.”
Salt Fork State Park, the state’s largest park, is in Guernsey County, Ohio.
But did this person get it right? Or was the answer a bit limited?
Those who don’t know the history of Bigfoot searching and fieldwork tend to make things up as they go along, usually from their own memory, during their own lifespan. Case in point is the answer to the question of how long ago were their organized efforts to find Bigfoot in Ohio.
Investigative team in Vinton County, Ohio: Left to right: Bill Johns, Ron Schaffner, Earl Jones and George Greene. Photo: Ron Schaffner © 1980, permission granted for use.
In 1977, Ron Schaffner investigated reports of a Bigfoot like creature in Ohio and Indiana, by way of newspaper clippings services and correspondence he began to take notice of the large scale strange creature reports occurring throughout the United States. In 1978 he investigated a series of multi witness accounts of Bigfoot in Stark County, Ohio. Several families in the area reported seeing large Bigfoot type creatures in an abandoned strip mine east of their residence. Ron Schaffner and his team interviewed several of the family members and they found them and their accounts to be credible.
In the early 1980s Ron began publishing a newsletter called Creature Chronicles as a way for him to exchange newsletters with other groups and independent investigators to keep abreast of what was occurring elsewhere. Ron continued publishing the Creature Chronicles until the early 1990s at which time he helped co found the Bigfoot Field Researcher’s Organization.
There is this curious little book entitled Bigfoot: Tales of Unexplained Creatures. It was published in 1978. Were you around in 1978? Do you recall the booklet’s investigator, a guy named Dennis Pilchis? It contained articles by nine different authors on Sasquatch and the Australian Yowie.
Pilchis’ little organization existed in Rome, Ohio, and was called Page Research Library. His group privately published this thin book, Bigfoot: Tales of Unexplained Creatures, as well as one entitled Night Siege.
A couple very weird reports are noted in Pilchis’ 1978 booklet. One is about a trucker driving on the night of January 30, 1959, on U.S. Route 52 near New Richmond, Ohio. He told authorities he saw a bizarre gray “ugly” creature with tentacles crossing the road ahead of his truck. On the same night, two hours later, just across the state border in Covington, Kentucky, a woman reported seeing a bent over strange grayish creature with a lopsided chest, “ugly” tentacles, and rolls of fat running horizontally over a bald head.
Do you know of any other organized efforts to search for Bigfoot before the 1980s? There were actually many.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.