Bigfoot in the Spotlight

By Beacon Staff

Sasquatch is back in the news. The big fellow’s been avoiding the spotlight for a while, but this week I’ve seen a few stories suggesting he is once again leaving the mountains in search of sunny roadside destinations. One story about possible yeti hair is in the Beacon’s News Buffet today and a couple of days ago the Missoulian ran an article about a possible sighting near Alberton. And apparently he has been competing for prime berry-picking areas in Ontario. It’s good to see him getting out again.

Natural human curiosity draws us to stories about monster sightings and unknowns in nature. We can tell Bigfoot tales around a campfire and convince ourselves we hear his throaty grunts coming from the trees. No matter the lack of evidence, many people keep waiting for the Loch Ness Monster to slip up and get caught sunbathing while a video-savvy tourist records the spectacle.

For some people, it’s just fun to believe the stories. For others, it’s completely plausible. I once had a college anthropology teacher, a friend of Jane Goodall, spend nearly a whole class period discussing the possible existence of Bigfoot, suggesting the creature could be the ever-elusive “missing link” in the evolution from chimpanzee to modern man. Goodall has also discussed the existence of Sasquatch before. And, of course, there’s always the guy running around in a monkey suit as his friend follows with a videocamera in hand.

There have been Bigfoot – or Sasquatch – sightings recorded in Northwest Montana before, but this is a tough place to gain mainstream monster notoriety because the Flathead Lake Monster steals much of the attention. Overall, Montana isn’t a reputed hangout for Sasquatch despite the welcoming forests in the state’s western half. According to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, which actually exists, there have been 25 documented sightings in the state, compared to 437 in Washington. Perhaps the lush timbered habitat of the Pacific is more enticing for large hairy bipeds.

I don’t believe or disbelieve. Mostly, I enjoy reading the stories or watching the video clips to try to decipher how genuine the witnesses are, a nearly impossible task but an interesting endeavor nonetheless. As far as the possible yeti hair in India, I suppose DNA will go a long way toward solving that mystery. But for now, we’ll have to be satisfied with grainy video clips and active imaginations.