1999 Annual Ohio Bigfoot Conference Review
The Tri-State Bigfoot Study Group hosted the 1999 Ohio Bigfoot Conference on March 6th in Newcomerstown, Ohio. Around 146 people attended, which was far short of the 300 expected. The weather may have slightly contributed to the low attendance. Areas north of Canton, Ohio had 4" of snow during the day. Areas south of Canton, including the Newcomerstown area, had light rain showers that became light snow at 4:00 PM. During the conference, snow accumulated to less than an inch, making some roads slick. In our opinion, the major cause of low attendance was due to insufficient media coverage promoting the event. Overall, the conference went well, but not enough time was available to both the speakers and the attendees. Missing, was an introduction of Ohio Bigfoot activity. Attendees were orderly, and had excellent questions for the speakers.
The conference started a little late at 5:20 PM with Larry Battson, a wildlife educator and lecturer, from Greencastle, Indiana. Larry captivated the audience with his stories of Bigfoot. He told stories of incidents from Conneaut, Ohio, where the witness made a self admission of not knowing much about animals. The stories covered a ten year period of repeated incidents. The area was thought to be frequented by as many as three creatures. One was 12 feet tall which left 24 inch tracks, and had an estimated weight of 1500 pounds. Larry also told several stories, from around the Walbash River and near his home, in Indiana. Larry says, "I have yet to see a Bigfoot", but claims his wife has seen one twice near their home. Larry does have a hair sample, that he suspects to be from a Bigfoot creature, and we will see if he ever submits them to a lab for analysis. The common theme to all of Larry's stories was: Bigfoot appears to be very common; Bigfoot has extra- ordinary skills-- sees well in the dark, senses when cameras are nearby, can move silently and has perfect camouflage making it almost invisible, breaks the necks of grizzly bears, has had white-reflecting eyeshine with diamond-shaped pupils, and more. He instilled fear in would-be-hunters, by stating that Bigfoot travels in groups. Conveniently, many of his witnesses were too afraid to return to their sighting locations. We suspect that Larry's major promotion is to instill value and awe for wildlife and the outdoors by telling stories about Bigfoot, and he does an excellent job of it. Larry's talk was followed by a 15 minute question and answer period, and finished up at 6:25PM.
Bob Chance, a science teacher, from Maryland spoke next as an unscheduled speaker starting at 6:26PM. Bob had an interesting slide show with pictures from the Pacific Northwest, Willow Creek, Ca., and from his research efforts in the states of Maryland and Pennsylvania. Suspiciously, many of the tracks he discovered are of the three-toed variety. Most of his reports have come from within 200 yards of tributaries to the Susquehanna River. Bob theorizes that the Bigfoot creatures he is researching travel up and down the Appalachian mountain chain. Generally, his speech was hurried to keep within his short time slot. After a brief question and answer period, he finished up at 6:58PM.
Rich La Monica from Akron, Ohio spoke briefly, 7:00-7:03PM, about his 1988 Ohio sighting and his 1994 "talker" tape recording. Rich believes that his "talker" tape recording is an adolescent Bigfoot speaking a form of language. The recording was made while camping near his sighting area in Guernsey county, Ohio. You may listen to the recording on our Sounds page. Rich has a web site, NORKA , which has information about his sighting, his other personal incidents, and the "talker" tape history. The "talker" recording is also part of a cassette tape, The Ohio Sasquatch Recordings, which is available from Don Keating, who stated that he makes no claim that any of the sounds are from a Bigfoot type creature. We purchased the tape consisting of the "talker" and two of Don's recordings. Of Don's recordings, we identified one as a coyote, and the other wasn't clear enough for proper identification.
Intermission and a drawn out raffle ticket drawing took place from 7:04-7:48PM. The lucky winners of the $200 cash first prize and the second prize were members of the Regoli family, who provided the conference with plenty of free refreshments. Wow, the odds were over 1500:1 of this happening. The attendance dropped by as much as 20% after intermission.
J.E. "Smokey" Crabtree from Fouke, Arkansas spoke next starting at 7:50PM. Smokey was a little hard to hear and understand, but we think his speech was the best of the conference. He talked about his participation in the production of the film, The Legend of Boggy Creek, and how his neighbors and himself were taken advantage of by the film makers. He spoke of his childhood in the wilds of Arkansas, and his enjoyment of tracking, hunting, and trapping. Smokey vividly told detailed stories of: his son's encounter with the creature, his experience of finding fresh tracks in a soybean field, and of a multiple, unrelated witness sighting in 1996. The tracks he found in the soybean field were 14.5" long, 4.5" ball, 3" heel, with a 57" stride. He said the tracks had a high instep, were three-toed, and had a loose, apparently boneless appendage of 1.5" in length on the inside edge of the foot, 4" back from the toes. He commented that the creature was careful not to step on the small soybean plants by adjusting its stride. The question was asked if he had ever found a skeleton. Smokey replied, that he did, and 25% of it was sold to a movie maker who has not yet released the information. The skeleton was headless and 8' tall. Unfortunately, the skeleton has now been conveniently disposed of, due to Smokey's reasoning that he was trying to do the right thing. Sounds of the creature as described by Smokey are: small cat-like, young goat-like, screech owl-like, dog wail-like, and a "demanding" scream that lasts for 10-12 seconds. After a short question and answer period, Smokey finished up at 8:57PM. Smokey also has an excellent book for sale, Smokey and the Fouke Monster, which details his history and creature accounts. The book is available by sending $18.45 (shipping included) to: Days Creek Production Inc; Rt. 2, Box 101-C; Fouke, AR 71837. He will even autograph it for you. We think Smokey's experience in the outdoors adds credibility to his stories, however you will have to take his word for them. You may also visit Smokey's web site.
Loren Coleman (who has been in the Bigfoot field for 40 years) from Portland, Maine spoke next starting at 8:58PM. Loren started off by showing 26 minutes of video clips from the Patterson film, Boggy Creek II, Harry and the Hendersons, 3 other films, and Fox TV's World's Greatest Hoaxes Revealed. The reason for showing the clips was apparently to show that "Hollywood" hasn't created a realistic Bigfoot yet, or that we have been brainwashed to believe in only one type of Bigfoot; the point was never clearly made. Loren next discussed the stories behind the recent debunking attempts of the Patterson film, made by Fox TV and the Chris Murphy/Cliff Crook team. At 9:34PM, Loren started a slide presentation about his new book The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and other Mystery Primates Worldwide. His slide presentation and book, attempt to classify many different types of unknown primate creatures reported worldwide. We lost count of how many types he covers, but he claims that up to 12 completely different unknown primates inhabit Canada and the U.S. We find the multitude of creatures hard to accept when many are still struggling to accept just one. No attempts were made to properly explain how all these apparently small populations can continue to propagate and never be scientifically documented in the modern U.S. and Canada. Maybe, the different creatures have developed due to local hoaxes and legends propagating instead. No evidence was provided to prove his findings, other than the reports and stories he collects. Our feeling is that any type of classification should wait until after these creatures are scientifically documented. This multiple creature concept only creates a new twist for yet another book. You can find his book at most major book stores for around $12.50. At Border's, we found it in the Philosophy/Speculation section along with the UFO books. We think you can learn more about Bigfoot from other sources. Loren concluded his presentation at about 10:20.
Another scheduled speaker, Daniel Perez, was in attendance, but never spoke. No reason was given as to why.
There were two notable displays at the conference, neither of which were mentioned by the hosts. The first was Tom Slick's 30.06 rifle that Don Mathys of West Mansfield, Ohio is now the proud owner. The rifle was originally bought by Tom Slick, the Texas millionaire who funded hunts for Bigfoot back in the 1950's and 1960's. The rifle was used by Peter Byrne in 1957 when Byrne was asked to lead the American Himalayan Yeti Expedition. Byrne was given the rifle in 1962. He has owned the rifle for over 35 years, and used it to hunt the boar, deer, and mountain goats of Nepal. Don Mathys's and his nephew, Blake Mathys, both search for Bigfoot in Ohio. Blake's web site covers some of his research efforts. The other notable display was a sophisticated remote video camera setup designed by Bill D. of Maryland. Bill's remote camera consisted of four thermal IR sensors connected to trigger four video cameras. The sensors are arranged to allow an animal to be detected in a 360 degree field of view. The cameras are then sequenced to follow the animal's movement. A portable video recorder, which is buried in an underground case, is triggered to record the event. The sensors are effective for a 50' radius. The entire setup is enclosed in a 4" tube which will be made to look like a tree stump. Bill plans to utilize this several thousand dollar remote camera in his personal quest for Bigfoot in the state of Virginia.
Overall, the conference was a success. The Tri-State Bigfoot Study Group presented plaques of appreciation to the speakers, Larry Battson, J.E. Smokey Crabtree, and Loren Coleman. The attendance had a considerable composition of Bigfoot researchers. Our compliments to the Tri-State Bigfoot Study Group who organize this conference yearly. We did film the entire conference and the surrounding countryside. If there is sufficient demand, we may consider making copies available.
Copyright 1999, Ohio/Pennsylvania Bigfoot Research Group