“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” This quote from distinguished astronomer, Dr Carl Sagan, is popular with Bigfoot investigators. They are still searching for more clues that will prove their Bigfoot theory.
Guernsey County, Ohio is one of those “hot spots” for Bigfoot investigators. Annually, the Ohio Bigfoot Conference gathers informative speakers to share their adventures with the gathering crowd. The 2012 conference was held at Pritchard Laughlin Civic Center near Cambridge, Ohio after previously being held at Newcomerstown and then Salt Fork Lodge. The move was partially made to accommodate the growing attendance as last year at Salt Fork they overflowed the conference room and many were forced to watch the program on big screen TVs in the lobby. The Bigfoot enthusiasts have increased from less than a hundred in 1989 to over seven hundred at present.
The goal of the Ohio Bigfoot Organization is to find, recognize, and protect what many believe to be an unclassified primate, commonly known as Bigfoot, and residing in North America.
A highlight of the meeting this year was the appearance of legendary Bigfoot seeker, Peter Byrne, who fascinated visitors in the lobby with his Bigfoot stories. Peter, the star of the show, has led professional expeditions in search of Yeti and Bigfoot. His book, The Search for Bigfoot, tells of his fascinating life exploring since 1946 in the Himalayas for Yeti, the Himalayan version of Bigfoot. Even though he is 86 years old, Peter still has a curious mind and continues his search for Bigfoot on the Oregon Coast.
Before the scheduled speakers, curious visitors checked out tables in the lobby with lots of unusual items. Of course, there were videos of possible sightings as well as plaster casts of large footprints left behind by something or someone. Lengths of these footprints average about 16″ long, but some range up to 22″, and are much wider than a human footprint.
Soaps and lotions carried the name Sasquatch, the Canadian Bigfoot rendition. One popular soap made in Canada bore the title Sasquatch Sweat Soap – Guaranteed not to grow hair. Sasquatch Sweat Cream was also available. Not certain if their purpose was to repel or attract Bigfoot. There were even cookies for sale shaped like…yes, you guessed it, Bigfoot.
The first speaker of the day was past president, Don Keating, who led this conference for 23 years. He first heard of Bigfoot in 1984 from a story in the Newcomerstown News that told of strange sightings of a large, hairy creature in and around the Newcomerstown area. Later Don began investigating some of the unusual sightings he heard from neighboring Guernsey County as well – glowing red eyes, large footprints, and very tall creatures.
Salt Fork Lake area became one of those places where frequent strange events seemed to occur. Often something eerie seemed to be happening at Hosak’s Cave in the late evening hours, especially when there was a full moon. For their safety, people were even strongly advised to leave the area by park rangers.
When Don Keating said he was leaving his president’s position to devote more time to his weather research, someone in the audience asked an interesting question: “Do you find predicting the weather a lot like investigating Bigfoot?” To which Don answered, “With both, you put your neck on the line.”
Grabbed a Bigfoot cookie to munch while listening to additional speakers which included: Dr John Bindernagel, wildlife biologist; Bill Draginis, surveillance and security expert; and Mike Esordi, crypto zoologist with artistic abilities. All are active in Bigfoot research and frequently share their knowledge through lectures around the world.
Whether you believe in the existence of Bigfoot or not, you could hear some interesting adventures at the conference. Maybe some evening you will want to spend the night at Salt Fork State Park. If you listen carefully, you might hear strange calls, branches breaking in the woods, or rocks being thrown into the lake. Could these sounds be made by Bigfoot? Keep your eyes and ears open!
Salt Fork State Park is located just five miles north of Cambridge, Ohio just off Route 22. I-70 and I-77 intersect close by so you will have easy access to the area. While in town, stop at Mr. Lee’s or Theo’s Restaurant as both have delicious home cooked meals at reasonable prices.