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Sample Case from 1999


The sample case below was originally written in late August of 1999, after an investigation of some alleged Bigfoot activity. In retrospect, we wish we had never got involved with the case, as it turned out to be a waste of time. We are publishing this report here, because it is a good example of some of the problems associated with the Bigfoot research field, and it gives a good idea of the kind of work that goes into a typical case. We left out the names in the report, to prevent hassles for those involved.

To start out, we have to describe the area where the alleged incidents took place. The area is a few miles SW of the city of Coshocton, Ohio, along C-6 and the Woodbury wildlife area. This area is an over-researched 10 square mile region. Some have been led to believe that there is a small family of these creatures inhabiting this area. Yet, no credible evidence of a Bigfoot creature has been found in this area during the past 10 years of research by many. After that much time, someone should have come up with substantial evidence if these 6-10 foot tall creatures truly run around this small area. We have previously researched this area, based on the alleged information from other researchers and a few witnesses. We have never found any evidence to support their claims, but quite to the contrary, found evidence of consistent misidentifications, some of which we may present when time permits.

We have also be presented our accurate analysis of the purported white Bigfoot film that was filmed in this same area, found by clicking a link from our Research Reports page. Improper analysis of this film has misled many for far too long. We can't say for certain that such a creature couldn't pass through the area or that people haven't seen such a creature in the area, just that there is no valid evidence to support it as many claim. We got involved with the below case, because no one can be certain that such a creature couldn't show up there, and we were compelled to find the truth.

Following the report are the conclusions and updates since the report was written.

 

Sighting Investigation Report


Case # 99-06-21-01 OH/PA Bigfoot Research Group

Introduction:

The following report consists of a brief history and the follow up field investigation of an alleged Bigfoot sighting and other activity reported by confidential, of Coshocton County, Ohio. We first heard of the 5-27-99 sighting on the witness's web site message board on 6-21-99. The witness's web site contained additional information and photos of the area where the alleged activity occurred. After conversing with the witness via phone on 6-21-99, we decided that the incident required further investigation. We have also received unrelated reports of screams in the general area late in 1998, and have already searched some of this area at that time-- nothing unusual was found.


Brief Sighting Info:

The witness was in a semi-rural wooded area of Coshocton County, at around 3:30PM, on 5-27-99. Earlier in the year, the witness found possible 17" Bigfoot tracks in this same area. They saw movement out of the corner of their eye, and looked up to see two dark-colored Bigfoot creatures standing face to face, very close to each other on a hilltop about 500 feet away. No sounds or gesturing was noticed. The creatures were estimated to be 8-9 feet tall. Feeling spooked, the witness turned to head away from the creatures. While heading down the hill, the witness saw a third creature about 50 feet away with an estimated height of 7 feet and a weight of 300 to 400 pounds. This third creature was carrying a 2 cubic-foot rock, and was described to be very muscular with 18-inch long hands. The third creature was looking down when first seen, and when it looked up and saw the witness, the creature threw the large rock which landed at the witness's feet. See the analysis of "throwing the rock" below. The creature then ran rapidly up the hill away from the witness and towards the other two creatures. No odors were noted during the incident. The witness then ran to their home a couple 100 yards down the hill. Two days later, the witness returned to the sighting area as suggested by another researcher to place a "good faith" gesture of apples and an old shirt near the sighting location. On May 30, 1999, the witness checked the area again and found the apples were gone and the shirt moved. The witness found raccoon tracks where the apples were placed.


Additional Activity Reported:

Throughout the month of June and July, the following activity was reported by the witness: Vague tracks in their yard, matted grass in the nearby field, small broken branches, odd noises near their home, odd behavior of their dog, bait missing from a bait station installed by the witness as suggested by yet another researcher, and a video of an alleged Bigfoot face on the hill behind their home. We haven't mentioned everything here, including some of the witness's UFO stories, indeed a book could be written about all the reported activity. The activity continues to date.


Initial Visit:

On 6-22-99, we first visited the witness and reviewed the sighting location. This region has had numerous unsubstantiated Bigfoot sightings, activities, and probable hoaxes as well over the last decade. This region is the favorite haunt of some overzealous local researchers, and caution was required, because many of the people living here are likely to have been over-sensitized to the Bigfoot phenomenon. The region is semi-rural with a few square miles of uninhabited territory on both sides of the roadway, and a few miles from the city of Coshocton (population of about 12000), in the county of Coshocton (population of about 35500). The sighting area is bounded on the east by a small community of many homes. An interesting feature, of the area, is an abundance of deep overgrown strip mines forming secluded swamps and lakes. The witness moved to the location in March of 1999, and began to find Bigfoot evidence after viewing a Bigfoot documentary by a local researcher about the general area (however, that story has varied significantly). The witness has been finding possible footprints, hearing strange noises during the night, and noticing strange smells in the area from time to time. They also said their dog has been acting oddly. We were shown a small bait station that the witness set up near a creek that runs behind their property as suggested by another researcher. Some odd things have been happening near the bait station, but the cause is most likely raccoon related due to the design of the structure.

The witness seemed to be sincere about their sighting, and we noticed that the story of sighting itself never varied, although it had been recited many times before we heard it. We walked a couple miles with the witness during the evening hours around the sighting area and found no obvious signs of anything unusual. We were shown what another local researcher said could be a Bigfoot burial site. This burial site was nothing more than a few dozen, dead branches which naturally fell from the same tree they were piled around. An abundance of trees and shrubs with broken twigs were also pointed out. The 17-year Cicada caused all of these broken twigs. This was occurring all across Ohio at the time, and is easily identified by the scar marks left on the twigs. Signs of deer and turkey were common. Scat samples were found from raccoon and coyote and contained mostly the abundant 17-year Cicada. During our walk, no evidence of the large rock thrown towards the witness was found. The old shirt left by the witness was also missing, but that shouldn't be considered unusual. Bare patches in the dirt were also noted by the witness that we later verified as turkey scratching. At dusk, the witness drew our attention towards the strange odors that had been in the area lately. It was a combination of thousands of decaying Cicadas and the odor of the nearby swamps. We set up a remote camera near the bait station, so it would trigger on targets taller than 4 feet. The witness heard a loud noise that night around 3AM on their property. From the description, the sound was probably from a turkey flock scared by the dog in the backyard. The witness took down the camera, on the afternoon of 6-24-99, due to the possibility of rain (this camera was not waterproof at the time). No trigger events were recorded during the time the camera was in service. We stayed in the area until around 10:40PM that night and scanned the area with night vision-- nothing out of the ordinary was seen or heard.

While on location, we were told of the many researchers that have been to the area since March. Unfortunately, the witness has been misled by a lot of Internet information about Bigfoot and has also been in contact with questionable researchers. This has caused them to find "evidence" everywhere. All of the "evidence" we saw in person was caused by natural occurrences from rain, wind, 17-yr. Cicada, and common animals. To give the witness the benefit of the doubt, we decided to return to further investigate the surrounding area for evidence.


Field Investigation:

We returned on 6-25,26,27-99 to further investigate the surrounding areas. It was a very hot weekend; temperatures were in the low 90's with uncomfortable humidity levels. On 6-25, we camped to the west of the area overnight-- nothing unusual was noted. The next morning was spent walking the areas south of the sighting area, looking for possible travel routes and accessing the wildlife. We found that there were only a few corridors that were easily travelable due to the many swamps, lakes, and cliffs left from old strip mining. These routes showed no signs of anything unusual. Animal evidence was noted from raccoon, fox, beaver, deer, and turkey. A flock of turkey was caught in the act of making scratch marks in the dirt, just like the dirt marks previously seen in the sighting area. The area was also abundant with 17-yr. Cicada, and many trees showed moderate damage from them. The ground was littered with dead Cicada, which gave many areas an odor of decaying flesh.

During the afternoon, many miles were traveled along the dusty trails to the west of the sighting area on a mountain bike. Due to the drought, most of the trails were dusty enough to leave very good tracks. Animal signs noted were raccoon, groundhog, beaver, deer, turkey, fox, dog, human, and coyote. Turkeys are very abundant in the region, a few times flocks of around 30 were seen. Due to the excellent trail network, the odds are fair that a large creature on the move would have used or crossed the trails -- nothing unusual was found.

Another associate walked along the road, the witness lives on, looking for possible travel routes of the alleged creature crossing the road. At this time, permission was also arranged to enter surrounding private property. At least two neighbors of the witness had interesting things to report, although neither neighbor has ever seen anything relating directly to a Bigfoot. One claims to have heard what they described as "chains being dragged through the woods" during recent nights. This may have been a turkey flock traveling with young. The other neighbor, a farmer, claims to have heard "monkeys hollering" at around 11:00PM a few nights before we were there. The farmer claims that he has had a few missing animals, including a 150lb calf within a year. The farmer also told us a story that State of Ohio personnel were on his property about 10 years ago making plaster casts of large footprints. Later, they said that an identified local researcher faked the tracks. He told us, "I told the State people that I was missing a cow or two to spice up the story". Therefore, he does display the tendency to make up stories and his testimony cannot be completely trusted. He recommended that we carry a high-powered rifle when we go up the hill behind his property. Later in the year, the farmer's relatives were very amused of the idea that a Bigfoot would be in the area. Neither of these neighbors spoke to the witness about these incidents before. However, the next-door neighbor, about 200 feet away, with a clear view of the witness's property has not seen or heard anything unusual.

In the evening, by chance, Mr. X and an associate of his passed by and decided participate in the night stakeout. Mr. X and his associate patrolled the witness's property and left around 12:30AM. Mr. X, whom we consider to be a reliable researcher, had nothing unusual to report while he was in the area. We stayed up until 3:00AM walking a few miles and surveying much of the area with night vision. We camped just to the north of the area of alleged activity where we had not yet walked extensively during the day. This gave us an opportunity to check out the north side. We had an amplified microphone hooked to a camcorder running all night, but nothing significant was recorded. A recording was made of a faint scream around 11:50PM (62699Coshocton.wav), while we were away, but it could have been an owl, canine, or a person from up to a mile away. Our recording setup can record sounds a little below the threshold of human hearing. Yellow-Billed Cuckoo (some of their sounds could be confused as being monkey-like), turkey, local dogs, a few frogs and insects were the common night sounds. A remote camera was set up along a possible travel route, but no events were logged. The only things seen during the night were deer and a raccoon. We had to leave at noon the next day because of an another engagement.

We returned to the area on the July 3-4, 1999. Again, the weather was very hot and humid. We gave the witness an amplified microphone so they could clearly record the odd sounds, they have been hearing, for identification. Apparently, the witness suspended use of this microphone and started using a voice-activated micro-cassette recorder instead. Sounds were recorded on the micro-cassette but were too faint for identification as is the usual for those devices. We were shown a possible 6" footprint in their yard-- it was a dirt-patch in the grass the shape of a foot that could never have been caused by the mere impression of a foot. We were also shown some recently trampled grass/weeds and broken branches from Sumac trees in their yard. The Sumac branches were probably broken from a storm the previous day as they are quite fragile. The 4-foot tall grass/weeds were reportedly matted down, by gradual bending at the base of the stalk, before the rain. We couldn't find any obvious reason for the matted down grass. There were no entrance/exit points into the matted areas, and no hair samples were found on the briars. Later, we found many examples of this matted grass throughout the county -- apparently, just a natural occurrence at this time of the year. We then walked up and beyond the hill, behind the sighting area for a few hours. We found an interesting habitat of swamps, lakes, and deep hollows. No evidence of anything large, consistently moving through the area as implied by the witness's comments, was found. Deer and many turkeys were seen in the area. We traveled and walked the general area until about 2:30AM, and camped to the south at a possible crossing zone overnight. We didn't get much sleep due to the 80-degree heat and 95%+ humidity overnight, and didn't notice anything unusual either. In the morning, one of us rode a mountain bike on trails to the west of the sighting area again. Lots of mud, from a recent rain, revealed many animal tracks, but again nothing out of the ordinary. A feral house cat was seen, which had just killed a full-grown cottontail rabbit and started to eat it at the back of the neck-- nearly severing it. This small predator scenario would be the likely cause of the headless rabbit found near the sighting area, by the witness's neighbor. Another interesting event occurred in the area, we saw someone releasing a raccoon they had trapped. The man said, "the raccoon was causing damage getting into his barn, and would drive his dog crazy late at night not allowing him to sleep well". Here is another example of a typical dog's reaction to small animals. We left the area around noon, walking in the oppressive mid 90's heat and high humidity had worn us out.

We returned on four other days to walk and camp in the area. A weatherproof remote camera was installed near the sighting area for a two-week period. The entire time we were in this area, nothing out of the ordinary was ever found, and the camera only took a few pictures of deer.


Additional Notes:

The witness told us that late one night he noticed that a car stopped in the road in front of their house. When they switched on a porch light, the car sped away. The intentions of the person(s) are unknown.

Remote cameras were installed in the area, by various researchers, from time to time. To the best of our knowledge, results have been negative.


Evidence Analysis:

There really isn't much in the way of evidence in this case, but we will examine two things. First, we will analyze the rock-throwing incident that was part of the alleged creature sighting. Then, an analysis of the video footage that was taken by the witness will be presented. Equations and methodology are available at our convenience on an as requested basis.

Physics can be applied to the rock-throwing incident to understand if this scenario is possible in the way stated by the witness. First, the facts as stated by the witness can be gathered: The rock was 1ft x 2ft x 1ft, or 2 cubic feet, assuming sandstone which is abundant in the area -- the weight would be 286 pounds. This agrees well with the witness's statement that two men would have trouble lifting it. The rock was thrown up a 12% grade a total distance of 50ft. The rock was thrown from an over-the-head position with a starting height of 8 feet, considering the creature was 6 to 7 feet tall. Therefore, from the starting point to where it fell, the rock actually dropped 2 feet. Next, the initial velocity of the rock is calculated at 36 feet-per-second to make the indicated trajectory possible. The throwing angle is assumed to be optimal, which is nearly 45 degrees upwards. The rock would have obtained an additional 10 feet of altitude in the process. Now, the force required to obtain this velocity can be calculated as 2030 pounds-- including only 15 pounds of forearm weight. This is based on an acceleration of 216 feet-per-second-squared over a reasonable 3-foot swing. This incredible strength and speed requirement is required in the comparatively minor muscle group of the anterior-deltoid region of the shoulder, and not at all related to the dead-lift ability of an individual. A 200-pound human athlete would capable of not much more than 100 pounds in this way. If we assume our amazing creature could be twice as strong per pound of body weight as an athlete; it would have to weigh a minimum of about 2000 pounds. The witness estimated the creature to be in the 400-pound range. By the way, the muscle group that propelled the rock in each shoulder would have to be about 11 inches in diameter, assuming a reasonable 40 pounds-per-square inch of cross-sectional muscle strength and a 1 to 4 leverage ratio in the arm. Comparative calculations were tested using a human test subject of known strength, throwing weights at a known distance. The conclusion is simple, even with large errors in the witness's initial observations; this rock-throwing incident is impossible as described. One has to start to wonder if any of the witness's statements are correct.

The witness filmed a videotape sequence, of about 20 seconds in length, on 7-17-99 at 6:36PM. The location was from their backyard, towards a hillside across the creek. The witness was outside filming something else, when a noise caught his attention. When looking for the cause of the noise, a "face" about 50 yards away was seen and recorded. The witness contacted us shortly afterwards, thinking that they finally had a picture of a Bigfoot. By the way, the film is no longer considered to be a Bigfoot by the witness, after gauging the response of researchers. The witness was nice enough to send us a still picture via email for review. The still picture can still be seen on their web site. The still picture, at first glance, appears to have an image that shows some facial features. However, the image does not match commonly described Bigfoot facial features in our opinion. We viewed the entire videotape clip on 7-31at the witness's home. The target image did appear to blink as reported where the eyes seem to be; each eye blinked separately for about a second. We tried to locate the exact spot where the clip was made with the help of the witness and picture in hand. We were unable to locate the spot where the film was recorded better than a 40-foot guess, even though the witness said he knew the exact spot as we previously requested he mark. The location of the filmed subject was therefore also indeterminate. Exact location would have allowed us to determine the exact size, position, and an explanation of the object. Here is what can be determined by some simple analysis: The witness claims he was at full zoom (15x with a 2.5-degree field of view). The brush visible in the foreground is Witch-hazel that borders the creek. (If anyone ever hears a loud, startling popping noise near these bushes, Witch-hazel seeds forcible eject from their pods in mid-summer causing this.) It has an average leaf length of 4.5 inches. The distance from the camera to the brush at 15x zoom is then calculated at 54 feet -- the witness indicated that he was several feet away from the brush along the creek. In fact, the yard addition where the film was made is only 20 or so feet wide -- indicating a zoom level of 5.5 or less based on leaf size. The witness also said he was on the east side of the strip, indicating a zoom level of 3 or less. The film was also quite stable, indicating a lower zoom setting. The direction of the sun can also be determined; the camera was pointed nearly straight east (almost perpendicular to the creek) at the time indicated, and in agreement with the witness's description. If the object were 50 yards away as reported, it would be 7 to 8 inches across with the unlikely 15x zoom. With a 5.5x zoom the object would be 21" across and 38" across with a zoom level of 3 -- all at 50 yards. These sizes are out of range with the face of this creature, maybe 8 to 10 inches across would be reasonable. The actual distance, from the witness to the object, would then be from 32 to 54 feet away with zooms from 3x to 5.5x respectively. The optical depth-of-field would also suggest that the object was closer. At these revised distances, the creature should have been clearly visible on the hillside, due to the sparse vegetation at the time if the object was the size of say, a human. Even at 200 feet up the hill, we found it would be easy to see a deer-sized object moving around, and we are left to question why better footage wasn't obtained if the object in question was a larger animal. Many other Bigfoot researchers have different viewpoints on what is on film, ranging from nothing, to an alien being, to absolutely a Bigfoot. In our opinion, even though the exact object is indeterminate, it is most likely sunshine projecting through the tree leaves above or a much smaller object nearby, and certainly not a large creature. The blinking effect could be leaves moving slightly in the gentle breeze above.


Summary:

We spent more time, than we normally would on this type of a case, due to the intense interest of so many researchers, and the continued activity that seemed to be occurring. 40 man-hours of actual hiking and several times as many man-hours of total effort were put into this investigation, because we wanted to be certain of our findings. Our goal was to crisscross and spend time in the relevant surrounding areas searching for any potential evidence. Proportionally more time was spent in the most likely areas. Each time we camped, we did so in different locations, selected to give us the best coverage of the surrounding area. We have not found any Bigfoot evidence in the area to support or substantiate the witness's stories. The witness appears to be genuine about his very unusual story, but after all of his comments, combined with a lack of supporting evidence are considered, too much inconsistency and exaggeration are detected to believe any of it. Neighbors, that have a clear view of the witness's property, about 200 feet away from the witness's home, have never reported seeing or hearing anything out of the ordinary during this period. We also find that the witness has a way of conveniently not following up on the activity occurring around them, such as simply looking out the window when something is noticed. We think this habit has created monsters out of ordinary events. We can only hope that the witness's new research group, in another state, is conducted more responsibly. Another observation made, during this investigation, was the disorganization of some 20+ researchers. To our knowledge, most of them ended up walking up and down the same hill over and over. Other researchers should exercise extreme caution in this area due to its reputation. Always insist on all of the details and be suspicious about anything not personally experienced. If the situation continues to develop and public funds are utilized or someone is injured, the County may choose to prosecute the individual(s) involved. For your information, reports are now continuing in an adjoining area-- this may end up being the Great Bigfoot Farce Of 1999.

Copyright 1999 Ohio/Pennsylvania Bigfoot Research Group



Updates and conclusions since the report was written:


First of all, this did end up as the Great Bigfoot Farce of 1999 in Ohio. A great amount of time and effort of too many researchers went into this case. Based on everything we have learned about the case, our opinion is that the alleged witness made up this whole story due to a childish fight with another area researcher. The witness felt the need to come up with a great story to get attention. However, their stories fell apart when physics and proper research was applied. The whole incident got even more out of control when the witness was thrown off an email list run by the other researcher, who at that point appeared to be very upset with the amount of attention the witness was getting. The witness eventually got back on the email list under an assumed name. The witness openly made fun of the other researcher's conduct while we were in their presence. Just as the witness was moving out of the state, the attention was conveniently returned to other researcher's area just down the street. The witness has now started research in southern state. It's too early to tell if they will ever pull a stunt like they did in Ohio again. Some reports from other researchers indicate they may be up to an improved set of tricks, but we haven't personally investigated those reports for verification. Many still believe this case is valid, and some researchers have reported human-sized Bigfoot tracks, sounds, and even seeing a creature here. In our opinion, they are just transforming what they see and hear into what they want to believe.

 

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