Bigfooter Bob Chance Indicted

Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 19th, 2008

The breaking news headline I read this morning was unbelievable, for two reasons: (1) I knew, very well, the person charged, and (2) the media decided to highlight the fact the individual is a “Bigfoot hunter.”

The Examiner headline shouted out: “Bel Air Bigfoot hunter indicted on charges of making drugs,” for June 19, 2008, in an article by Matthew Santoni.

Many readers here are familiar with his name. I’ve known Bob Chance for years, since we both were long distance correspondents and friends of Ivan T. Sanderson, back in the 1960s, the good ole days of the Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained (SITU).

I’ve seen Bob at conferences, now and then, for years. I had hoped recently for the best for him, as he told me quietly he was living with and dying of cancer.

bob's book1

Bob had been proud of his new book of his old columns.


He is profiled in Matt Lake’s Weird Maryland as that state’s Bigfoot hunter. Things were going as well as they could go for Bob.


The Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society recently announced the return of the East Coast Bigfoot Conference for 2008, and noted that it would feature Bob Chance as the keynote speaker. Chance had also been a speaker at the 2006 East Coast Bigfoot Conference (photo above).

But, now this.

Here’s the story:

A former Bel Air town commissioner, author, environmentalist and Bigfoot tracker has been indicted in Harford County on charges of possessing marijuana with intent to distribute.

Robert Chance, a Darlington tree farmer and nature columnist for The Aegis and The Record newspapers, was indicted recently on charges of possessing marijuana; possession with intent to distribute; manufacturing or distributing a controlled, dangerous substance; possessing a controlled, dangerous substance other than marijuana, and being a common nuisance by distributing drugs, according to court documents.

Police had received a tip that Chance, 62, was growing marijuana on his property, said State’s Attorney Joseph Cassilly. A subsequent search of the property found marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms, he said.

In Maryland, intent to distribute is legally determined by a combination of the quantity of drugs and the presence of other factors, such as money or packaging materials, Cassilly said, and in Chance’s case there was a large enough quantity to qualify.

A Harford grand jury indicted Chance on May 20, and he was taken into custody June 6. He posted a $25,000 bond the same day and was released.

Chance served on the Bel Air Board of Town Commissioners from 1975 to 1979, after helping to establish the county’s first recycling center. He also taught science at Bel Air and C. Milton Wright high schools before taking over the Harford Glen Environmental Education Center in 1991 and retiring in 1999.

His efforts to scientifically track Harford sightings of Bigfoot were chronicled in the 2006 book “Weird Maryland,” and Chance had just published a collection of his Earthline columns spanning 30 years.

“He was a great schoolteacher and remains a really great, community-minded guy,” said Bel Air Commissioner Terry Hanley, who said he has bought several trees from Chance’s farm. “I’m a little surprised.”

Chance is scheduled for arraignment July 8.


My best wishes to an old friend of cryptozoology, and to me personally, in these troubling legal times.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

31 Responses to “Bigfooter Bob Chance Indicted”

  1. jayman responds:

    Anybody who runs afoul of America’s draconian drug laws has my sympathy.

  2. elsanto responds:

    Oh yes, being a “Bigfoot hunter” has everything to do with Mr. Chance’s charges. After all , only “Bigfoot hunters” grow and distribute pot.

    Come on! We live in a day and age when there’s an award-winning TV comedy about a single mom who grows and sells the stuff!

    (I pray for the day that my country has the sense to not only decriminalize, but to legalize and license the stuff — that’ll a be cash cow that could go right back to the people, managed under a Crown corporation… and I don’t even — USE the stuff… but I digress…)

    Given Mr. Chance’s circumstances, it’s hardly surprising that he would be cultivating it, and I doubt that Bel Air has the facilities for medical marijuana which might be of benefit to him. In light of Mr. Chance’s tremendous contribution to his community (forget cryptozoology for a moment), this is hardly something for which he should be demonized. So, he’s grown a few plants, nowhere near as harmful as the emissions generated from driving a car for a single year.

    Here’s a toast to Bob Chance in his upcoming battles and his trials outside the legal system.

  3. John L. Johnsen responds:


    Sorry to hear that a friend of yours was involved in this, with all of your personal bad news lately.

    John Johnsen

  4. Artist responds:

    Bob – Your many friends will gather around you now, to help focus your strengths and energies to survive these challenges.

    You are in our thoughts and prayers, and we are thankful for your friendship and for all that you have done.

  5. chupachups responds:

    elsanto beat me to what I was going to say, so I second what has already been written.

  6. elfis responds:

    This is so heartbreaking … when is our country going to wake-up and truly live-up to our country’s Declaration of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” as inalienable rights?

    – Miles

  7. Judy Green responds:

    Surprising and very sad news.

  8. ShefZ28 responds:

    A 62 year old Bigfoot hunter is now off the streets and no longer growing and selling weed and shrooms?

    Good, now I can sleep soundly at night, after I lock my doors and windows because of people with guns and knives or just people who want to break into my house and steal my possessions.

    At least I know they won’t be high, or tripping on shrooms.

    Actually, does anyone know the price of weed these days? Grow some, and sell some, I bet you could offset the price of gas. Most pot smokers don’t drive when they are high, so you don’t have to worry about a gas surcharge when buying or selling.

  9. The Dagger responds:

    Those interested in sharing their thoughts and comments with Bob Chance can do so at his personal website.

    He is really broken up over this and what I believe are obviously overly-excessive charges. He’s a lifelong teacher, environmentalist and friend to everyone he meets. But for some reason resources are being allocated to charge him as a drug distributor, manufacturer and public nuisance. That’s unreal. That’s the real crime.

    There’s more to this story. Please let Bob know you support him.

  10. PhotoExpert responds:

    Sorry to hear about your friend Loren. I am glad he was able to post bail and get out of the Harford County Detention Center. That place has had a history of mysterious deaths in the past. At least one of them made it to a Grand Jury Hearing. So just be glad he is out of there.

    Bel Air is in a rural community. It used to be farm country and has been heavily developed over the last 20 years or so. Mostly, the locals are good ol’ country boys with an influx of people moving out of Baltimore City and to Harford County. The police are unfortunately overworked because there has also been an increase in gang related activity. The Bel Air Town Police were use to handling the calls on the occassional drunk or domestic disturbance but have been hit hard with gang activity in recent years. So they buckled down a bit on any drug related scenarios. They had to. Bob may have been caught in the fallout since the law is the law and officers have to enforce it equally. It is probably a safe bet that others such as Bob got caught in the antigang curtain put up in Harford County. Although he might not have been the fish they were looking to net, he got caught in the net. So although a pot plant growing in Baltimore City might not turn the head of a lawman there, in Harford County, it would.

    Elsanto is correct, Bel Air does not have the medical facilities for medical marijuana treatment. There is one hospital in Bel Air and for more serious problems, it is only a stopping point for patients who are sent to Johns Hopkins or University of Maryland. So anyone suffering from cancer that marijuana brought relief to, might be compelled to grow their own.

    It was also nice to see Terry Hanley’s sentiments about Bob. I believe Terry Hanley was or is the Mayor of Bel Air and not just a Commissioner. So that does hold a bit of clout when the Mayor or former Mayor says something nice about a person you know. At least it would in a Bel Air Court.

    We wish Bob luck with his current legal and health issues.

  11. Shane Durgee responds:

    jayman responds:
    June 19th, 2008 at 8:52 am
    Anybody who runs afoul of America’s draconian drug laws has my sympathy.

    These stories always make me mad as hell.

  12. Shane Durgee responds:

    Completely absurd that this man would be arrested.

    May as well throw this is in the pot

    Bob’s case is perfect example of why these laws need to be reformed, if not repealed altogether.

    It’s a sad story, and it’s maddening that it happened at all.

  13. Ole Bub responds:

    Good afternoon Cryptos…

    What a difference a few thousand miles makes…if Bob was living on the left coast…he would be a pillar of the community…”rolling another one…just like the other one”…very sad.

    My son violently retched after chemo and radiation treatments, while we waited for a Marinol script to be processed at 20 bucks a tab…when a number would have assuaged his distress.

    I still regret denying my dying father a brownie to relieve his chemo symptoms while he stoically slipped away.

    Thugs and gangs run unchecked controlling our streets and a local DA pursues this…criminalize…criminals…not seniors with health issues or cancer patients…nonsensical…JMHO

    live and let live…

    ole bub and the dawgs

  14. Va-Bigfoot responds:

    The best way to help Bob right now is to purchase his book through his personal website, I just did. The Dagger provided the link in his above response, thanks Dagger! Bob was researching Bigfoot reports long before many of the newer Bigfoot researchers were even born, so buy the book and help out an old friend and fellow researcher.

  15. cryptidsrus responds:

    Poor guy.
    Draconian indeed.
    My sympathies and condolences.


    Ya know, what you proposed is not a bad idea!!!

  16. bill green responds:

    this is indeed very sad news about our friend & researcher bob chance being indicted i wish him well i will be praying for him. i hope he continues researching the maryland sasquatch pheanomena after this problem has been resolved. thanks bill green 🙁

  17. gridbug responds:

    Amerika’s “war on drugs” is a complete crock of Squatch scat. It’s been proven that wacky tabbacky’s goods far outweigh the bads; holistic medical reasons, good for the environment etc. To criminalize it and its users is beyond asinine, and I don’t even imbibe in the stuff! My sympathies are with Bob Chance. What a world.

  18. red_pill_junkie responds:

    It’s my opinion this man was framed & received such a harsh treatment precisely because he’s a public figure, and charging him with being a dangerous drug lord —instead of a sick senior citizen who smokes pot to be relieved of his pain— would bring publicity and media attention to this case.

    Methinks someone wants to be re-elected sheriff.

    As if having a life-threatening illness wasn’t bad enough. I hope Mr. Chance gets of rid of this problem promptly.

  19. subrosa responds:

    I think Scott Marlowe turned him in!

  20. TaishaMcGee responds:

    Calling America’s War on Drugs a crock of Squatch scat is an insult. An insult to Squatch scat.

    My thoughts go out to this man.

  21. Munnin responds:

    I’m pleasantly surprised to see just about everyone who’s weighing in here shares my own views. No doubt Mr. Chance was cultivating these unfortunately prohibited plants for his own consumption, and not at all for purposes of sales and distribution. Here in CA, even though we have passed laws in our state which allow for the dispensation and therapeutic use of cannabis by prescription, armed Federal authorities continue to descend upon patients and dispensaries to bring them to “justice.” Meanwhile, lives are devastated and the ill are made to suffer longer, and more intensely. Our tax dollars at work! I wish Mr. Chance all the best, and hope that very soon he can be allowed some freedom as he deals with his illness.

  22. thatericn responds:

    Sounding a contrarian note:

    Possession? Shrug.

    Distribution? Not much sympathy here.

  23. Loren Coleman responds:

    Less us remember “innocent until proven guilty.”

    These were charges, not a conviction.

    And the headline writer at this newspaper did a disservice by publicly attempting to ridicule Bob’s Bigfoot links as the lead. For us, it is meaningful, but you all know why they did this as a headline, right?

    My understanding is that Bob hasn’t been manufacturing or distributing drugs and certainly isn’t a public nuisance. I’ll keep you posted on this as I learn more, officially and unofficially.

  24. Aphyllos responds:

    The mainstream media (over here in the UK certainly) will do it’s best to discredit those suspected of breaking laws as crackpots, loons and psychopathic loners, and will pick up on any interest deviating from the norm as “evidence” of criminality, sadly trial by media has a longer residual effect than trial by jury it seems.

    I am a supporter of the use of psychotropic substances, especially for medicinal purposes or for personal fulfillment (and one would hope improvement or revelation), but echoing thatericn, it does become a different matter when/if distribution or sale for profit enters the equation. (though as I don’t have the ability to synthesize some of my Ifavourites i do rely on those who can,and thus am horribly hypocritical)

    I intend to send my support however I can, if only in messages of support, should criminal proceedings continue.

  25. bigfootboy_2000 responds:

    Bob is a dear friend of mine and a worthy mentor. If he is guilty of anything, I would be willing to bet that he used the plants for their medicinal purposes to combat the effects of the Chemo and nothing more. Bob is an upstanding citizen, as well as a human being and I have not lost one ounce of respect for him. I say before anyone judges him, find out the facts first before making any rash opinions or judgments. He has been a staple in the Bigfoot, environmental as well as the public community for many many years. How about we give the man the benefit of the doubt before casting stones?

  26. rsswope responds:

    I hope the judge weighs all the reasons for his use of these drugs. The laws should be changed. My prayers are with him.

  27. TheBibliophile responds:

    The authorities here in America love these cases, as the laws regarding forfeiture of assets means the goods and property of an individual can be seized and sold at auction if they are convicted.

    That’s why every charge regarding more than a crumb of a substance is automatically appended ‘with intent to distribute’, in order to supposedly show that said assets were acquired with money from drug sales and facilitate seizure and liquidation. Quite a nice bonus to a small county’s police budget, as you might guess.

    My deepest sympathies go out to Mr. Chance.

  28. CamperGuy responds:

    The newspaper headline was a cheap shot at a presumed easy target since anyone connected with bigfoot obviously must be on the fringe of society.
    The headline could easily have read Senior citizen suffering from cancer arrested for growing allegedly growing marijuania.

    I am considered conservative on many issues and do not use any illegal drugs. Arresting anyone for Marijuania is incomprehensible to me. Legal priorities are way out of sync with reality on this issue.
    Any law enforcement agent arresting anyone for this “crime” is a hypocrite in my opinion. These individuals likely have family members, friends, and associates who are guilty of the same “crime” they arrest strangers for if statistics are to be believed.

    Arrest does not prove guilt. Accusation does not necessarily reflect truth or facts. Judges and jurors often come to the right conclusion in these matters regardless of what ambitious agents and DA’s put forth.

    If pot could be effectively taxed it would be legal.

    The continuing mishandling of the drug problems are empowering gangs today as prohibition did the mafia in previous years. Drugs being illegal is a rather modern day thing and was not always so.

    Mr. Chance I wish you well.

  29. kittenz responds:

    When are we going to wake up and make our government stop persecuting people for smoking flowers for goshsakes ?

    Here is a man who has been a wonderful, responsible, progressive citizen and a real asset to his community, who is being held up to public humiliation for growing an herbal remedy plant that has been used for millennia – one of the most useful plants known. The man has cancer! They should let him grow his marijuana and leave him alone.

    I agree, the “War on Drugs” is a fallacy. Criminalizing marijuana only made it a lucrative business for the big druglords and a cash cow for local police departments.

  30. tirademan responds:

    What an incredible waste of tax money and time. Bob now gets to deal with the stress of our “wonderfully efficient” legal system, instead of focusing on getting healthy. My prayers and anger are with him.

    Non-toxic plants…it’s just really sad. I can only wish for a good lawyer and some technicality that will set him free.

    I believe these laws are unconstitutional based on the 8th amendment regarding “unusual punishment.” When the government PAYS tobacco farmers subsidies, and licenses the sale of alcohol, isn’t it the definition of “unusual” for them to punish for something less harmful? But our elected officials have conveniently categorized marijuana as “Schedule II” with “no known medical benefits”…so it’s mired in layers of lies that would have to be overturned first.

    I would argue that most people who are anti-marijuana have never experienced it. Ignorance holds the legal pen.

    Not to mention untruthful propaganda, like the recent White House sponsored report of alleged “higher potency,” on Fox News. As if government labs were testing Sadhus stashes in India a hundred years ago! RIGHT! Just another load of lies that get no rebuttal.

    And distribution, REALLY? What a crock…

  31. sausage1 responds:

    Totally agree with R_P_J, Ole Bub and the others.

    If it’s any consolation yours is not the only nation with laws and means of applying them created by people who can’t do joined-up writing. The UK is ankle deep in them.

    In my very street, in a leafy suburb, we have gangs selling crack and other filth in broad daylight from very expensive cars, prior to driving around a residential area at 90 MPH, three times the speed limit. Police response? ‘sorry, not much we can do, strain on resources etc …’ Yet in this town we have had old people busted for exactly the same reason as your friend, possesing a bit of pain relieving bong.

    The police here have quotas, and it is easier to feel the collar of someone like your pal than that of a criminal who can play the system. It makes me puke!

    I wish your friend well.

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