I know what you’re saying.
“But this blog is called ‘Seth and the City!’ There’s nothing ‘and the City’ about Sasquatch, and there’s certainly nothing ‘and the City’ about Durham!”
And you’re probably also saying: “Hey, I thought John Holyoke was the only BDN writer allowed to blog about wildlife mysteries!”
Well, tough, everyone. I’m going rural here for a little bit, and I’ve got a good reason. It’s partially my fault “Survivor” Bob Crowley is helping hunt for Bigfoot in Durham, Maine.
Durham, you may be surprised to know, is home to one of Maine’s most notorious Sasquatch sightings in modern history, which I’ll get to. First, I need to explain how a cow carcass, a Star Wars joke and one of Maine’s most famous reality television stars could all be mashed up to inject new life into Durham’s Sasquatch legacy.
Last Sunday, I’d gone ice fishing with my oldest son, three other neighborhood dads and their kids on Runaround Pond in Durham. If you read the BDN religiously, and I know you do, you remember that Runaround Pond is also where Bob Crowley, who won the $1 million prize as the 2008 champion of the hit CBS reality competition “Survivor,” recently opened a 105-acre yurt campground/park.
Being that we weren’t far from Maine Forest Yurts already, we all went over there after determining there weren’t any fish in Runaround Pond (our lack of success had nothing to do with our ineptitude).
We didn’t have to chat with Bob, his wife and son long before we learned there had been large animal carcasses discarded on the ice on a different section of Runaround.
We naturally headed straight over to check them out. I made the obvious, “This may smell bad, kid, but it’ll keep you warm,” joke, referencing the Star Wars scene on the snowy planet of Hoth, where Han Solo tucks a freezing and delirious Luke Skywalker into a tauntaun carcass to heat him up.
Bob, having a fantastic sense of humor, posed for a pic in the Luke role. We all had a good laugh, and Maine Forest Yurts posted a photo on its Facebook page. Here’s the pic I took:
Some Bigfoot hunters saw the photos of Bob in the carcass on the Internet and made plans to come to the Durham property and take advantage of the discarded meat as bait for Sasquatch. Bill Brock and his team set up trail cameras to see if they could catch the big hairy man sneaking over to get some frozen cow. Watch here:
Now, if you’re going to go hunting for Bigfoot in Maine, Durham is a really good place to start. Why? Well, for starters, it’s close to Freeport, which is a good place to buy outdoor gear, as well as snag a gourmet meal and catch a movie.
A series of reported Sasquatch sightings in 1973 by multiple people provide some of the more credible eyewitness evidence in the whole Bigfoot hunting field (and that field keeps getting bigger — another colleague of mine, Aislinn Sarnacki, wrote that two other Mainers joined a new reality TV competition in search of Sasquatch).
Here’s the description of those 1973 sightings as posted to The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization website by Loren Coleman, founder of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland and one of the world’s best-known cryptozoologists:
The first sighting consisted of four youngsters on bicycles seeing it. The three Huntington children (Lois Huntington, 13; George Huntington Jr., 10; Scott Huntington, 8) and their friend (Tammy Sairo, 12) were riding along the road about a half-mile from the Huntington home. They matter-of-factly reported an encounter with a chimp.
Mrs. Huntington would later tell reporters: “My 13-year-old daughter fell off her bike about three feet from him and all he did was cock his head and look at her.” It was described as upright and chimpanzee-like. The quiet, intelligent, reserved Lois reportedly told the Maine Sunday Telegram: “I fell right down in front of him and all he did was look at me. I would have known if it were a hippie or something. But it had a regular monkey face. You have seen a monkey before, haven’t you?”
Another witness, a James Washburn, reported seeing the animal “two or three times” in the area.
Coleman’s description continues:
Mrs. George (Meota) Huntington, 33, of Lisbon Falls Road, Durham was driving home from a baseball game when she saw the “ape” peeking out from the bushes on the Durham Road. It was twenty feet away, and made a “mad dash” on two legs into the heavily wooded area. The exact description of the “ape” was that it was a little over five feet tall, with a shaggy, black coat, and weighing about 350 pounds.
She says it had a “monkey face.” “Chimp-like” was another way it was described. She coasted her vehicle so as not to scare it, but when it apparently saw her vehicle, then it ran into the woods. She reportedly saw it two separate times during this incident, as she returned with neighbors and sighted it again. She stayed in her car, as others searched the woods. She was sitting in her car, when she saw it again, peering at her from the crotch of a tree.
Spurred by the sightings, a team of 30 law enforcement officials, using cruisers and, ultimately, helicopters, searched the area. The police and game wardens initially shrugged it all off as a string of bear sightings after the early search turned up no conclusive evidence of a Bigfoot or monkey. But then another wave of sightings of the mystery animal led investigators to find what Coleman wrote “looked like a chimpanzee print” near a local cemetery.
Androscoggin County Deputy Sheriff Blaine Footman (sic) examined the series of prints, and cast what was described as one which was “rather deep.” Footman said it was about five inches wide with “the thumb part broken off. Whatever made it weighs 300 or 350 pounds and I can’t tell you much more. It’s definitely not a bear track. I don’t know what’s going on here and I’d rather not express an opinion.”
Here’s some more recent footage of footprints in that same area, collected by Brock and posted by ‘Sasquatch Lives.’