Pennsylvania Bigfoot, the Jacobs Photos and More - Do you Believe?
Strange Happenings in NW Pennsylvania in the early 1980s
In the early 1980’s, I dated an avid hunter who supplemented his income by hunting, tanning and selling raccoon pelts. If you are a coon hunter, you spend many nights in the woods among nocturnal wildlife. This man had been hunting raccoons from a young age and he was familiar with the sights and sounds of the woods at night. One night, in Venango County, Pennsylvania at place he called the “S” bend; he heard a scream unlike anything he had yet to hear while hunting. It made even this tough guy's hair stand up and all the more so when he couldn’t locate his hounds. He eventually found them shivering with fright in the back of his pickup truck huddled in their dog boxes. He didn’t waste any time leaving the area.
Eventually, they would surmise that the scream had come from a big cat located in the area and that might be the end of the story, if a nearby “S” bend resident and fellow hunter hadn’t showed him a Polaroid of a large footprint he found in the mud on an old logging road close by. Over 30 years ago, I saw this Polaroid and listened to their stories - perhaps that's when I developed a strange curiosity about Bigfoot.
Doesn't Bigfoot live in California and Oregon?
When we think of Bigfoot, we usually think of what’s commonly known as the Patterson/Gimlin film. This famous piece was shot in October 1967 with a 16 MM camera by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin in California at a place known as Bluff Creek. The story goes that the two men went looking for Bigfoot after road construction workers had discovered large human-like tracks in the area. The Patterson/Gimlin footage, now the most famous Bigfoot footage, shows a large apelike creature walking, long arms swinging, away from the camera - turning once to pensively see who is following. Shortly thereafter, the footage jumps wildly as Patterson, a former rodeo cowboy, claims to have been thrown from the horse he is riding. Although there has been much discussion and analysis, the authenticity of the footage has never been proven or disproven.
So what is going on in Pennsylvania?
But that is California and I live in Pennsylvania. Animal Planet’s Bigfoot researchers have shot episodes researching possible bigfoot footage taken close to New York City and footage obtained in Salt Fork State Park (Ohio). Both states border Pennsylvania, so many have questioned, “What about Pennsylvania?" Could our state harbor Bigfoot as well?
The PA Bigfoot Society was founded in 1998 by Steve Anderson and Henry Benton whose members investigate submitted reports and conduct research in the state of Pennsylvania. Their site boasts multiple Bigfoot sightings dating back years and said sightings are categorized by county. You’d be surprised where people claim to have seen or heard the creature.
Perhaps the most famous Pennsylvania sighting was not with the naked eye and comes to us from Elk County, Pennsylvania. In 2007, deer hunter Rick Jacobs captured the still of a strange creature from a trail cam he mounted on a tree and was monitoring. The animal in the photographs was dubbed, “Jacobs Creature”. According to reports, “The Pennsylvania Game Commission said that photos the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization claimed showed a juvenile Bigfoot were most likely of a bear with mange.” The story was picked up by the Associated Press and eventually the images started being broadcast on CNN, Good Morning America, MSNBC and Fox News.
Many articles and Wiki's on the Web point to a writer, researcher and journalist from Duke University named Vanessa Woods, who they purport wrote an article that showed that the proportions of the Jacobs creature were not similar to a bears. The article appeared in a magazine for children called, Scientriffic. I have visited Vanessa's Website and she is who she says she is having much experience with primates and primate research; however, I wasn't able to obtain a copy of the article online.
So does Bigfoot live closer to us physically than we initially thought? And are we any closer to knowing whether this crypto zoological animal really exists? One popular scientific tool, DNA analysis, may have the answers.
Will DNA evidence put the issue to rest?
Making headlines in May 2012 on Livescience.com, researchers from Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology are asking anyone with a collection of cryptozoological material to submit descriptions of it. According to the article, "The researchers will then ask for hair and other samples for genetic identification." It appears some scientists want to put the whole “Bigfoot” issue to rest once and for all and geneticist Bryan Sykes of the University of Oxford is posing the challenge. "I'm challenging and inviting the cryptozoologists to come up with the evidence instead of complaining that science is rejecting what they have to say," says Sykes.
After all, who can argue with science?
Do you believe?
As for this writer, on November 11th, much to the chagrin of my friends and family, I let my curiosity get the best of me and tuned into the latest season of Finding Bigfoot. I didn't find it much different from the previous seasons with a lot of eyewitness testimony and not much else. Just for fun, I'll probably tune in for the next episode - at least until science disproves the existence of Bigfoot once and for all.
Do you believe?