Interview with an OH/PA BRG member, Dec. 1999, by Jan Sundburg, cryptozoologist from Sweden, http://www.bahnhof.se/~wizard/cryptoworld/
A BIGFOOT HUNTER, USA
1) When and how did you become interested in Bigfoot?
I became interested in Bigfoot after I saw the Patterson film, which was part of a Bigfoot documentary/movie, in the early 70's. I started to read books on the subject in second grade. I always thought the subject was limited to the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. and Canada, until I saw a newspaper article in 1978 about a sighting in Stark County, Ohio. My older brother took me to the area and insisted we walk even at night, but despite my childhood fears, we encountered nothing. That case started my interest in the possibility that such a thing could be in the Ohio/Pennsylvania area. Since I was always interested in wildlife and outdoor activity anyway, we began to research any case that made the papers in Ohio, like Union County in 1980, Tuscarawas County in 1985, and Coshocton County in 1988. During that period, we primarily worked by ourselves. In 1992, we began to talk to some of the other local Bigfoot researchers. In 1994, I started the Ohio/Pennsylvania Bigfoot Research Group, to obtain my own reports, due to a lack of cooperation in the area, and to improve the quality of investigation in the Ohio/Pennsylvania area.
2) Please tell me about your sightings of Bigfoot?
I have seen and/or found evidence of almost every bird (including migrants) and mammal that lives in Oh/Pa, but I have never seen a Bigfoot yet.
3) Are there many fakers around in the case of Bigfoot?
Absolutely, I have found that hoaxing is a major problem in the Bigfoot field. The hoaxing problem is often unnoticed, ignored, or downplayed by too many Bigfoot researchers. I have found that hoaxing occurs for three major reasons: fun and entertainment, attention seeking, and by Bigfoot researchers who trick other researchers, seek profit, or promote themselves. Of the people who hoax for fun and entertainment, they don't need a particular reason to come up with hoaxes; they just do it. It should be noted that there is a never-ending source of people who will create hoaxes and lie about the subject. In addition, misidentifications are also very common.
4) Why hasn't Bigfoot been found by now, if it really exists?
Good question, one I have always asked myself. I think many people feel that they have already found evidence, but this has not been sufficient to prove it to others. Seeing one or finding "soft" evidence just isn't good enough to prove anything. What I find very strange is that people can repeatedly find rare and elusive animals anywhere in North America and can obtain evidence suitable to science of them. If Bigfoot is real, then we should expect similar repeatable evidence. Since people have not been finding suitable evidence of Bigfoot, one is forced to consider that Bigfoot may not exist at all.
5) What could Bigfoot not be?
Since Bigfoot has not been defined and classified yet, I have no opinion of what it is or what it is not. Although, I do not conduct my research with the belief that the creature is paranormal.
6) How do you go about your search for Bigfoot?
Our group seeks quality reports of Bigfoot activity and uses the data to create a profile. Next, we look for suitable habitat where the creature is most likely to be and then search and monitor these areas. I generally do not chase older reports unless there is indication of continued activity. I generally look for the closest habitat, rather than be overly concerned about all details of the exact spot the creature was seen, unless there is a specific requirement for the creature at that particular spot or I am suspicious of a hoax. We enjoy exercise, wildlife, and the outdoors and specialize in extensive field efforts during our research. We also take note of all wildlife in the area, because many cases end up as misidentified wildlife. Remote surveillance equipment has proven valuable.
7) Where in North-America are you most likely to see Bigfoot?
Probably the most likely place such a creature could still exist today, without anyone finding proof of the creature, is in the remote areas from British Columbia to Alaska near the Pacific Ocean. If the reports from the Eastern U.S. prove to be real, then the Eastern U.S. is probably the best place to actually see a Bigfoot. Searching the smaller habitats of the Eastern U.S. greatly increases the odds of seeing or obtaining evidence of Bigfoot.
8) Is Bigfoot just a dumb ape or an intelligent humanoid?
A dumb ape would have already been found if real. Research indicates: Bigfoot seems to possess an excellent understanding of its environment. They don't have the ability to create or use complex tools. They seem to communication at a higher level than most other social animals. They appear to be elusive, which would indicate intelligence, although animals such as fox, cougar, and bobcat can also demonstrate similar elusiveness. I think we should wait until one is captured before guessing its intelligence.
9) What evidence for Bigfoot are you willing to believe in?
I would be likely to believe evidence that shows repeatability, consists of several different forms, and that is collected using proper scientific methodology. The evidence should clearly indicate why it is of a Bigfoot and how it could not have been anything else. Some things I would not accept are the following: a poor audio recording, a picture of a footprint, an unclear picture or video, or many of the stories that circulate. At this point, I would prefer to only believe evidence I could personally verify.
10) Is the Pattersson footage a fake or not?
I think the Patterson film is a good representation of what a Bigfoot is. The film is over 30 years old, and lots of important information has been permanently lost. It is anybody's guess at this point whether the film is fake or not. The Patterson film is only one film, and that has made it inconclusive to science and easy to pick on by numerous skeptics. What is needed are more films of similar or better quality than the Patterson film to get a better understanding of the creature. Still, a film alone will not prove Bigfoot's existence. With today's special effects and computer animations, no longer can we believe what we see on any film media.
11) Why haven't Bigfoot been killed by a hunter or accidentally by a car?
It is most likely, if Bigfoot exists that a person(s) has killed at least one by now. The problem may be getting that person(s) to admit it and supply the remains to the proper people for study. But, maybe Bigfoot is too clever or not quite real enough for that.
12) Have you talked to the Indians about Bigfoot and if yes, do you believe their old tales about this ancient creature?
No, I haven't. What we must remember is that Indian myths and tales are often created to teach their people something, and that the myths and tales are not always based on reality. This behavior is even more intense in the Asian continent. For example, stories of creatures such as Bigfoot could have been started to keep their kids from wandering too far from camp. Our own culture invented the Sandman and the Boogyman.
13) Do you believe in the Yeti as well, Russian Almas and other seemingly relatives to Bigfoot, around the world?
I believe there is a possibility that the Alma and Yeti could exist, but just as with Bigfoot, I await to see more substantial evidence. If the few do exist, they probably are very closely related.
14) Will Americans form a team and go on the ultimate search for Bigfoot or is the search for Bigfoot very much a lone wolf search?
The U.S. majority, due to the past actions of the Bigfoot researchers themselves, considers Bigfoot to be a joke. Not until there is positive proof of its existence, will any government or serious scientific search ever occur. There are numerous groups in the U.S. trying to search for and obtain evidence of Bigfoot. We are currently forming the Bigfoot Research Network in an attempt to better organize and combine the efforts of these researchers and groups in the Ohio/Pennsylvania area of the United States. This Bigfoot Research Network is designed to be quite different than other volunteer groups formed in the past and will be of great benefit to all participating researchers. Look for the details on the website, http://www.bigfoot.com~BigfootNetwork.
15) Will Bigfoot ever be found and proved by science and is that really your and others goal?
I believe that within a period of ten years, someone or some group of researchers will solve the Bigfoot mystery. There are an ever-increasing number of serious researchers, who are well equipped with previously unavailable modern tools, searching for the creature. If much more time than that is required, I would become increasingly skeptical. It is my goal to either prove or disprove the existence of Bigfoot, and I think that everyone should seek to accomplish the same. Currently, some are only interested in Bigfoot in the hope of profiting in some way.Since 2002: