From: Loren Coleman <email@example.com> Date: Sun, 02 Jun 2002 11:19:11 -0400 Fwd Date: Sun, 02 Jun 2002 14:18:15 -0400 Subject: Bigfoot Backers & Flying Saucer Believers Source: The News Register - McMinnville, Oregon http://www.newsregister.com/news/story.cfm?story_no=151040 Bigfoot backers treated much like flying saucer believers at Hillsboro event Published: June 1, 2002 By STEVE FOX Of the News-Register HILLSBORO - Ray Crowe is still waiting for his big moment. The Hillsboro resident, director of the International Bigfoot Society, attracted a few hundred fellow bigfoot believers to the Washington County Fairgrounds in early May. The 10th annual conference, including speakers, films, artifacts and memorabilia, was tucked away in a small, dark building in the middle of the grounds. A dog show drew bigger crowds and the gem sale had top billing on the street signs. But that didn't deter bigfoot enthusiasts - witnesses and wannabe witnesses alike. Crowe is leader of the pack and an admitted wanna-be. He was a self-described naturalist when he was invited on a bigfoot seeking adventure in 1991. He saw tracks and collected 8 1/2-inch red hairs - a major coup for his first time out. But he wasn't sold on bigfoot from the start. He said it often takes people a while to overcome the grocery store tabloids that make bigfoot out to a be a farce. "It gives the ordinary person the impression we're all nuts," Crowe said. "There's nothing we can do. The only thing we could do is come up with a body." That isn't so easy. Finding a body or capturing a bigfoot has proved difficult. Some at the conference were even so bold to say the government doesn't want to see it happen. Why would the government care? "It would put the spotted owl issue to shame," Crowe said. Displays during the two-day conference described bigfoot as a creature up to 8 feet in height and 400 pounds in weight. Yet, he's elusive. That's why the International Bigfoot Society has field researchers. Roland A. Wolfe of Idaho, who wears an official field researcher badge from the Bigfoot Research Organization, said he concentrates his searches in Idaho, Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon. He said the Blue Mountains are a hot area Looking at stacks of books lined up on a table during the conference, he recommended one: "North America's Great Ape: The Sasquatch," by John A. Bindernagel. Wolfe called it the bible of bigfoot books. As North Bend's Gordon Strasenburgh drew the attention of about 150 to the famed Patterson/Gmilin film from 1967, a few stragglers examined castings and other displays. The most definitive film known shows a hair-covered beast ambling across a dry, rocky river bed near Bluff Creek, Calif. While it hasn't been officially disproved, most are still skeptical. It's similar to the 1950 flying saucer photos in Yamhill County. They draw some serious backers, but most brush it off. Several conference attendees used the opportunity to share stories of sightings. Others sought those lucky enough to have had sightings. Crowe has not had a sighting. He's investigated several, however. He remembered one in the early 1990s, soon after starting the International Bigfoot Society, from south of Forest Grove. "Almost anywhere you go you'll find reports," Crowe said. "Anywhere you don't find reports, it's because there's no one there to report them." The bonus, according to Crowe, is that bigfoot research is done outdoors. And, not just outdoors, but mostly in remote Northwest woodlands. Even if he doesn't spot bigfoot, find tracks or discover long red hair samples, he can live by the common theme of all who seek the mysterious beast: Any day searching for bigfoot is better than a day at work. The News-Register of Jan. 18, 1978, included a brief story on a reported bigfoot sighting near Newberg. Crowe said he doesn't know of any official bigfoot field researcher in Yamhill County, though. The Molalla River area has been a recent hotbed for sightings in Oregon, along with sections of the Columbia River Gorge in Multnomah County and less-populated parts of Clackamas County. Middle school science teacher Thom Powell of Portland took his turn at the podium during the international conference. He lightened the mood, but got his point across: He's a believer. He also wants some changes to the bigfoot culture, including no longer capitalizing the word. He said that's like capitalizing the word deer. Even better, according to Powell, would be using the terms sasquatch or wildmen. While the conference attracted its share of oddballs, there was a serious tone to many, even if Harry and the Hendersons posters were included in the displays.
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