The town of Whitehall, NY is tucked away in the southeast corner of the range -- population a little over two thousand -- and for the most part, it's a quiet place to live.
But spend some time in it's deep forests, or hike its brooding mountains, and you might come to understand why many folks in town think something strange is out there.
Accounts of Bigfoot sightings have become legend over the years, a cultural phenomenon, evolving from tales whispered around a campfire to questionable accounts documented on reality TV.
But Whitehall has been a hot bed of Bigfoot activity for hundreds of years. Paul Bartholomew is an author and Whitehall resident. He's been researching this pheomena for almost 40 years.
"You can go all the way back to the Algonquin and the Iroquois and their stories of the Giant Men and the Giant Men Of The Mountains, and the Stone Giants," Bartholomew said. "In the 1800's they were called "wild men" or "strange bears", so there's a consistent pattern of sightings from the Algonquin and Iroquois to the present day that maintains this mystery."
Bartholomew has documented scores of sightings over the years, has even collected physical evidence such as plaster casts of huge bare footprints found in the area. But the most compelling testimony comes from Whitehall's most famous incident, which happened in August of 1976.
The sightings took place over a two day period, beginning with the initial encounter by three teenagers on
lonely Abair Road outside of the town. The trio were hanging out on the deserted back road when they got the shock of their lives. Bartholomew explains." This is a drawing done by Eric Miner, an excellent artist in Whitehall, and Eric took eyewitness testimony based on the Abair Road incident from 1976, which was multiple witnesses, and from that he was able to draw what may be the closest representation of what the Abair Road creature actually looks like."
Bartholomew guided 2 The Outdoors to the deserted spot and pointed out a marker on a telephone pole that measured the creature'sa height. " This is where...the height of the creature, you see right next to that four up there, that would represent the approximate height of the creature that was sighted back in August of 76. Was described as being between seven and eight feet tall, having red glowing eyes, walking like a man, but looking more like a gorilla, and it was reported by multiple witnesses that it made a sound like a pig squealing or a woman screaming."
Bartholomew says that what makes this encounter even more intriguing is that during the two day stretch the creature was also seen by a number of police officers." We had the Whitehall Police, the NY State Police, and a Washington County Deputy Sheriff all respond to the scene. There were multiple witnesses, many don't want to go on record, some have, and we have this sighting of a creature up here by police as well as civilians.
Although the 1976 incident is still widely debated, that was not the end of the sightings. There have been numerous encounters in the decades since the Abair Road sightings.
2 The Outdoors reporter Terry Belke ventures another interesting aspect of the photo. " The really intriguing thing about that is that little paw, it looks like a little paw."
Bartholomew replies. " There does look to be almost a paw tucked under, and some people have suggested that maybe it's some sort of creature carrying young."
No matter what has been roaming these mountains, the town has gone from denial to acceptance, embracing the legend for all it's worth. There's a statue of a Sasquatch in town and in 2004, Whitehall even enacted legislation protecting Bigfoot from hunters. But no matter what people believe, there's no denying so many witnesses...people are seeing something in those dark hills. " The witnesses that have come forward, a select group of witnesses, are very high credible, have nothing to gain by this, and are extremely honest and their story hasn't changed over the years. It's these stories, and occasional track finds and things like that , that keep me leaning towards this all being a reality, and that this is simply an unclassified creature."
Source: WGRZ 2