DAVID BROWN: Watch for Sasquatch
When I was growing up in south Florida, I lived for several years in a neighborhood that bordered the “shellpits,” a large area of land used primarily by four-wheel enthusiasts that was kept natural for years despite the building boom.
That’s where I first learned to fear the “skunk ape,” a large, hairy and wretched-smelling beast that allegedly prowled the backwoods on two legs looking for badly misbehaving children to heap misfortune upon. The skunk ape was also called various other names – like swamp ape, swamp man, cabbage man, stink ape and, my personal favorite, swampsquatch – and the humankind creature was said to inhabit Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.
There have been many years since then, but some things never change.
A 7- to 8-foot creature was reportedly seen standing along a mountain highway in north Georgia. Edward Lee, 51, told the Charlotte Observer that about 8:30 p.m. May 20, he spotted the creature along Georgia 515 in Cherry Log.
“My own wife didn’t believe me, I guess,” Lee told the Observer, adding that they have been married for 23 years. “It wasn’t no bear. It was walking straight up, like a human, with long arms swinging back and forth like a monkey. I saw it on the side of the road, it took five steps and was gone in the woods.”
When asked if he was afraid, Lee made his position clear: “I wasn’t getting out of the truck, and I wasn’t going to go into the woods looking for it.”
What that tells me is Lee is one smart fellow.
While most folks tend to think of “Bigfoot” as a single creature who somehow managed to avoid extinction, there have been multiple sightings in heavily forested areas across the country. So instead of one, they actually would be an entire species that amazingly avoided discovery during the age of man.
That part of northeast Georgia is mountainous and heavily forested, making it prime stomping grounds for Sasquatch, according to David Bakara, who runs Expedition Bigfoot! The Sasquatch Museum on that very same highway near Blue Ridge, Ga. The self-proclaimed world’s largest Bigfoot museum contains 4,500 square feet of “evidence” that the creature really does exist.
If Bigfoot is real, perhaps there are other monsters alive and well in the wild. A hunter in West Virginia swears he spotted a 10-foot-tall “sheepsquatch” – and no, I am not making this up – while a television crew came to town a while back in search of the “Death Cat of Cherokee County.” You can see what qualifies as proof of both on the Mountain Monsters website.
While definitive evidence of Bigfoot has never been found, as the Observer pointed out, a representative of India’s Army tweeted in April that soldiers found footprints of a real “abominable snowman,” which is considered a relative of the Bigfoot. National Geographic has a wealth of circumstantial proof – including “eyewitness accounts, blurry photographs and mysterious footprints” – but scientists insist the sightings are often misidentifications of other animals.
So what keeps people interested in the 61-year-old phenomenon? Like Fox Mulder of The X Files, do we just want to believe?
Some people see Sasquatches “as symbols of pure freedom, living by instinct and foiling every effort to pin them down,“ according to Smithsonian.com. “To search for Bigfoot in the forest is to taste that freedom. On the trail, you become extra-attuned to nature: the smell of scat, the sounds of breaking branches, the curious impressions in the dirt.
“As long as there are wild places in America, Bigfoot remains a possibility that, to its most ardent proponents, cannot be disproved.”
And why would we want to? The world is more fun with abominable snowmen, aliens hidden in Area 51 and the Loch Ness Monster. I just hope the Georgia Sasquatch sits over here for a spell so the Cherokee County Paranormal Society can add it to the local Legend Has It tour.
David Brown is publisher of the Cherokee Scout. You can reach him by phone, 837-5122; fax, 837-5832; email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or message him on Twitter @daviddBstroh.