Marie Mitchell

Marie Mitchell is a Register columnist.

In the past, if you wanted to see a tall, hairy, smelly, antisocial, two-legged creature you’d have to hang out in the Himalayas. That’s home to the Yeti or Abominable Snowman. They’ve been spotted around there for years. But remember, the air is rather thin in the mountains, which can play tricks on your brain.

Still, there’s reason to believe that some Yeti have left Nepal and made their way to North America, setting up housekeeping in secluded areas near mountains, swamps and forests. They’ve been reported in every state except Hawaii. That’s quite a trek. On foot. Even with size 20 feet.

Kentucky has had its share of sightings. People aren’t shy about admitting that they’ve seen a Sasquatch or Bigfoot in their neighborhoods, woods and rural areas. Even though Sasquatches are pretty good at hiding.

The Kentucky reports have been investigated, but no one is saying, for sure, exactly what is out there. No one except the stars of “Finding Bigfoot,” on Animal Planet. They believe Kentucky is a “Squatchy” place, a haven for the elusive creatures that value their privacy. The Squatchologists traveled to Renfro Valley recently to get details about the sightings so they can track Bigfoot themselves.

 About sixty people came to the town meeting. Even me. I’m not convinced we have swarms of Squatches roaming around here. But Mason is intrigued by such possibilities. He’s usually pretty rational, except when it comes to ghosts, aliens and yes, Yeti. So, like a supportive wife, I tagged along.

We didn’t have our own stories to tell although years ago, as a reporter in Owensboro, another journalist and I camped out on the roof of someone’s home, watching for a Sasquatch that had been spotted nearby. Squatches are nocturnal, so the best time to catch a peek is at night. But he didn’t show. And I wasn’t curious enough to return another night in hopes he might pass by.

The twenty people who recounted their close calls with Bigfoot agreed that he was a shaggy cross between a man and gorilla, ranged from seven to nine feet tall and weighed about 500 pounds, with glowing red eyes. He’s able to leap five foot fences and outrun hunting dogs. He doesn’t really walk; he glides like he’s on cross country skis. He could also use a can of deodorant to mask his “wet dog” or “rotten egg” smell.

One “ear” witness said Bigfoot bellowed at him, like an angry bull. Others described eerie howling, screaming and roaring. Pretty disturbing sounds. Especially coming from something you can’t identify. The TV guys try to communicate with Bigfoot by rapping on a tree or other object. Supposedly that’s how Sasquatches talk to each other. But they haven’t answered the Bigfoot hunters yet.

Cliff, from the TV show, doesn’t think Squatches are dangerous, despite their size and the ferocious noises they make. But a guard at a secluded Hazard strip mine isn’t so sure. He told about a Squatch banging on the door of his security shack one rainy night, howling to get in. Bigfoot eventually left, with the rain erasing any footprints proving he was ever there.

The Squatch either has an evil streak or a mean one, because a Louisville boy said he was at Taylorsville Lake one time when a Squatch threw rocks at people. Bigfoot could have been practicing for a baseball game – or maybe he just likes using people as targets.

Cliff says Squatches know more about us than we know about them. That’s because they watch us. We’re easier to see since we aren’t blending with the scenery. Still, they take advantage of what they learn from their surveillance. Cliff says there have been reports of Squatches raiding a freezer on an outdoor porch and making off with deer meat plus a country ham hanging from the ceiling.

There’s more proof that they’re evolving. One person swore he heard hammering near his home and when he went to investigate, he found a Squatch using makeshift tools to dig. That was decades ago. They’re probably working with power tools by now.

Fascinating stories, but I’ll stay a skeptic until someone gets a decent picture of the camera shy creature. Every shot I’ve seen is blurry or taken from so far away that the figure could be a ten-foot Squatch or a normal sized squirrel. Or, I could be convinced if officials intercepted a postcard a Squatch sends to the homeland. “Kentuckians are strange people: short, hairless and odorless. The food here is great, though, even if you do have to catch it yourself.”

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