By Rick Hinton
One usually equates Bigfoot (or Sasquatch) sightings to remote mountainous regions in the Pacific Northwest, not to the Hoosier state. Indiana is not immediately thought of as a hotbed of cryptid encounters. Or is it?
Believe it or not, Indiana has had its fair share of Bigfoot sightings throughout the years, continuing into present time. It would seem these critters know no boundaries, resulting in many scratching their heads – and intellect – over a puzzling mystery of not only folk tales from the past, but continued sightings in the present defying any type of rational explanation. Bigfoot fits into the designated term “paranormal” as it should – something that is beyond the scope and comprehension of normal day-to day-life. Is “paranormal” a term of necessity? Most likely it is. Who really knows what we are being confronted with here!
Witnesses are as diverse as their experiences, involving everyone from the casual day hiker to forest savvy hunters and fishermen. All have one thing in common: having seen or heard something they can’t explain. Experiences seem to fall into one of three consistent categories: audible noises, physical encounters, or evidence that something big was in the area. Quite often there’s a combination of these indicators in a single encounter.
Nocturnal in nature, Bigfoot has been described as a large and lumbering ape-like being, covered in dark brown or reddish hair. It has facial features resembling that of a gorilla and most often is accompanied by a foul odor. It produces the occasional primate-like wail and the sound of banging on a tree, yet in a rhythmic cadence. In its wake it leaves behind rather large footprints and sometimes claw marks on trees. In the western regions of the United States this could easily be written off to the antics of bears. In Indiana … not so much!
Those who spend time in the outdoors – hikers, campers, hunters, fishermen and personnel of the DNR – seem to be the ones to have frequent run-ins with these mythical creatures. Scientists not willing to take such claims at face value discount the existence of Bigfoot, citing these stories to be a combination of folklore, misidentification and hoax.
“I find it hard to believe that an animal can elude capture for nearly 100 years,” some say. Others offer – “Why are there only fuzzy or out of focus photos or movies for proof?” Larry Battson, a nationally known wildlife educator from Putnam County, takes Indiana claims seriously, having logged in countless interviews regarding Bigfoot sightings. He has a theory:
“They [Bigfoot] are nocturnal, quite elusive and rare. These animals are smart enough that they don’t leave their dead around. A lot of wild animals live in the woods. How often do you see a dead animal in the woods? Hardly ever. Buzzards and other scavengers take care of them pretty quickly. Mother Nature has a way to clean things up like that.”
Is there really more to all of this than just folklore? Many believe there is. I’ve heard enough loud noises and crashes outside the thin layer of my nylon tent more times than I can count! I would sit bolt upright with my heart pounding. Indiana Bigfoot? Could have been. We’ll explore some of the locations next week. …