Altman Speaks

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on September 28th, 2008

Eric Altman, an old hand at Bigfoot investigations, believes there is something out there, but doesn’t mind if people cast a skeptical eye on stories of larger-than-human, frequently hairy creatures roaming the countryside.

“I don’t expect anybody to take it seriously,” Altman of Jeannette said Saturday between sessions of the 2008 East Coast Bigfoot Conference, which he organized.

In what amounted to a shrug of the shoulders, Altman, who has an interest in ghosts and hauntings, said people will “believe what they want to believe.”

The conference, staged in Jeannette in a large ballroom of Pitzer’s Townhouse Restaurant, was expected to attract more than 400 enthusiasts and near-enthusiasts as well as a few frightened and skeptical souls.

Count Jamie Stricko of West Mifflin among the frightened.

“If I ever saw (Bigfoot), I’d have a heart attack and die,” she said. “My head would explode.”

A friend, Brendan Hanley of Swisshelm Park in Pittsburgh commented, “I’m skeptical,” though not skeptical enough to stay away. “You never know.”

Hanley and Stricko received an invitation to the conference from a pal by the name of Fred Saluga, an Edgewood resident who was a police officer in Fayette County in the 1970s when, he says, Bigfoot sightings were at a peak.

Saluga, who says he was a policeman on Capitol Hill in the days of House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, advanced the notion that Bigfoot might be a “time traveler.”

Isn’t it something, he said, that UFO and Bigfoot sightings occur pretty much around the same time.

Queried as to whether such things defy the laws of nature, Saluga answered, “How do we know what the laws of nature are?”

Todd Lowery of Monroeville keeps a casual eye on Bigfoot reports.

“I’m not out in the forest looking,” he said. “But it’s interesting.”

Lowery, who suggested he believed more in Bigfoot than in the possibility of the Pirates playing .500 baseball, said the creatures, real or not, add spice to the everyday ho-hum.

“If you don’t have a few mysteries in life, where’s the fun?” Lowery said.

Ron Gallucci of Johnstown said he was in “the middle” when it came to believing in the existence of Bigfoot, this despite the fact that a great-uncle reported a sighting in the 1960s.

“He said it was a hair-covered thing,” Gallucci said.”They stopped and stared at one another.”

Gallucci described his late great-uncle as a “no-nonsense guy.”

In a formal presentation to the conference, Altman spoke of reports of possible Bigfoot sightings in Derry Township in 2007, a strange incident involving a deer carcass and a “King King sound” in the woods of Bedford County and various reports of the creature in locales as different as Montgomery and Clearfield counties.

Altman detailed “the case of the disappearing Bigfoot” south of Apollo on Route 819 in September 2006. In this instance, a woman spotted what she first thought was a naked man and then maybe a deer, Altman said.

“She stopped her car on Bell Point Road and looked on in dismay,” Altman said, as the creature vanished from sight.

A fellow Bigfoot investigator, Altman told the audience, has “been unable to explain what the woman saw.”

Source: Bigfoot lore draws believers, skeptics by Richard Robbins, Tribune Review, Sunday, September 28, 2008.

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.

7 Responses to “Altman Speaks”

  1. DWA responds:

    Wow! One of my now-favorite cryptoquotes is up there.

    How the heck, indeed, do we presume to know what the laws of nature are?

  2. bigfootboy_2000 responds:

    Special thanks to everyone who attended the 2008 East Coast Bigfoot Conference. That includes, the guest speakers, Bob Chance, Diane Stocking, William Dranginis, Mike Frizzell, Billy Willard, Sally Ramey, Tom Lancaster, all those who volunteered, helped to plan the event and everyone who came out on Saturday. Our attendance broke our old record and we had over 550 people who attended the event. Not all at once mind you but people came and left all day long even up until 7:30 pm. Thanks to Loren, Cryptomundo and everyone who helped spread the word and for all those who supported the conference, be it by donation, sponsorship, or getting the word out. Just a quick note of correction to the article above, The quote In a formal presentation to the conference, Altman spoke of reports of possible Bigfoot sightings in Derry Township in 2007, a strange incident involving a deer carcass and a β€œKing King sound” in the woods of Bedford County and various reports of the creature in locales as different as Montgomery and Clearfield counties.” Should have read King Kong and it was in Bradford County, not Bedford.

    Many thanks again to all.

    Eric Altman

  3. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- Indeed. As a matter of fact, the more we study the world, usually more questions come up than answers. In a way, uncovering the truth often opens up the field of possibilities rather than narrowing it down. If we were closer to understanding everything about the natural world, we would have fewer questions to be answered, not more. We are simply a long way off from understanding everything that’s out there. At the same time, I don’t presume to understand what’s out there unless it is based on some form of evidence. Although I am in no way willing to simply “believe” Bigfoot is out there because it “could” be out there, sasquatch has a lot of evidence that can be followed up on, I think and that is why I maintain a scientific interest. That’s why I can relate to the quote in the article “I’m skeptical, but not skeptical enough to stay away”. That describes me very well. There are certain things that I’d be willing to get to the bottom of, whether they lead to a real animal or not.

    I’d have to say that I am quite a far way from taking a time traveling Bigfoot seriously, though. It’s be interesting to see what evidence that hypothesis is based on other than wild speculation. I find it interesting and a little amusing how sometimes people will expound on how mysterious the universe is and how we don’t about it, and yet then proceed to explain it (sometimes in great detail) often with completely unsubstantiated claims. As if their explanation holds more weight than the scientists who say “Umm, well, nothing really points to that.” Not to say it is impossible, but there is a way to try and understand the natural world, and that is called science which is driven by evidence. This is why I got into science to begin with, because I wanted to understand how the world works. Evidence for sasquatch- decent. Evidence for time traveling sasquatch- none that I know of.

    Now if only more people in a position to do so would actually at least consider the evidence that is there for sasquatch, we might get places. We might not, but at least we would be trying to answer questions about the world we live in based on real possibilities. Not holding my breath on the time travel just yet, though, sorry to say. πŸ™‚

  4. Craig Woolheater responds:

    I had a great time at the event. You can see some photos from my trip here on Cryptomundo at Niki’s Quick Six Thanks Cryptomundo.

  5. DWA responds:

    m_m: no argument with anything you say. This is frustrating, how this keeps happening. πŸ˜€

    Time-traveling invisible sasquatch could be thinking the words I’m typing, with me only their instrument. Unless science can prove that, however, I ain’t buying it. We haven’t come up with a better way – a way nearly as good – to show ourselves the universe than through the lens of science. Which is why I’m keeping my chips on that number.

    An open mind is needed. But the brains must stay in there, and if speculation doesn’t travel along the general trails science has heretofore blazed, the appearance can tend to be that, well, I just tend to be uncomfortable following trails marked by leaking gray matter.

    We have different favorite colors, I bet. SO THERE! πŸ˜€

  6. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- Exactly. I was agreeing with you, not arguing! πŸ™‚ The world is absolutely a mysterious place. From a standpoint of what we think we know and the amazing new discoveries we make that often challenge that, I’m willing to say that the world is quite possibly a lot stranger than we can even imagine. The more we study it, the more we realize that many of our ideas and preconceptions are either wrong, or a lot more complicated than previously thought. I think the way to unlock these mysteries is to keep digging, using science as a tool; a light to guide us through the dark corners. It’s just that sometimes mainstream science doesn’t want to turn that light on, or at least not shine it in corners where they think they know what lies there. It can be frustrating, but yeah the best way we now know of of learning about the universe is science. It can be a slow, arduous process, with bumps along the way and stubborn paradigms that can be hard to shift, but it is still the most reliable way to really get to understanding.

    I really liked your view on evidence versus proof, by the way. Such a simple and one would think obvious distinction, but one which can be forgotten in cryptozoology sometimes. I am aware of those distinctions of course, but you really reaffirmed it for me and made me think about that. Anyway, evidence for time traveling Bigfoot is non existent. Unless they are going back and getting rid of it. Hmmmm. πŸ™‚ I respect Altman and others like him for being able to look at where the evidence might lead without fear of ridicule. A very important component to studying new avenues of thinking and historically shown time and time again.

  7. DWA responds:

    Evidence is not proof; and too many on both sides of this question seem to misapprehend that. “You must believe me!” is not true, unless I can accept what you show me as proof. (And then, good luck with science buying it too.) Likewise, “what scientific evidence can you show me?” is a red herring, because that means: what proof? Obviously none of that, yet. But I can show you that evidence suggests where you might look, if you were interested.

    Proponents just need to keep their shirts on. Frustration can cause them to overreach, a deadly sin in the hard sciences. Likewise, skeptics, to keep that good name, must ask themselves just how much evidence they have for those confident pronouncements they make.

    Here’s to light in dark corners.

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