The Buckeye Bigfoot: Reality or Fantasy?
Who: Marc DeWerth
When: Saturday, June 18, 2016
Where: Akron-Summit County Public Library Green Branch (Green, OH)
The Early Years
DeWerth began the lecture with a moment of silence in honor of legendary Bigfoot researcher John Green, who passed away in May at the age of 89.
DeWerth credits Green with his obsession with the legendary Bigfoot. He detailed that how as a young boy, he and his grandfather would routinely watch the documentary series In Search of…. After watching an episode that focused on the creature, he wanted to learn more.
This leads him to his school library where he found Green’s classic work, Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us. DeWerth smiled as he recalls being nervous to ask the librarian for help finding books because at the time the topic was considered “embarrassing.”
He became excited when he turned the book over and saw that it contained stories of sightings in his home state of Ohio. It had never occurred to him that the creatures may be located so near.
After that, he read anything could get his hands on about the subject. He and his grandfather would watch any Bigfoot movie or program that aired on television.
His interest and involvement grew from there.
DeWerth then offered the following advice:
-Invest in a good GoPro camera. If you can afford two, even better. You can wear one on your front and one on your back for maximum coverage.
Turn the camera(s) on when you begin your hike and let it run.
-Bring a classroom ruler or tape measure. If you find tracks or other evidence that you want to document, it is best to be able to take precise measurements. Plus, a standard ruler is essential for providing scale in photographs.
-If people laugh at you, let them. It’s a hobby. It should be fun. Don’t let other people’s opinions inform your pursuits in life.
-Be SKEPTICAL. In fact, it is healthy. Hoaxing happens all the time. People are looking for attention. Be cautious when presented with new evidence.
-If you are going to pursue Bigfoot as a full-time hobby, make sure that you have your life in order first. Go to college. Get married. Have children. Bigfoot will still be there once you have accomplished life’s milestones.
DeWerth then began asking the audience to share encounters they might have had. At first, people were reticent.
A gentleman from Kent, OH then raised his hand. He used to be in the Air Force and told a story about a sighting he had in British Columbia.
Another man recounted an event in Wolf Creek, OH detailed an experience 35 years ago when he was backpacking.
DeWerth then told the story of a man who he was called on to interview. He was elderly and in the hospital. In the 1950s, when he was a young boy, the man became separated from the group he was with. He was alone and frightened. Eventually, a Sasquatch found him, picked him up, and carried him to safety. Since he was very young, no one believed his story. However, he showed DeWerth a picture he that drew of his rescuer upon returning home at the time.
Photograph via Marc DeWerth
DeWerth then guides the conversation toward Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin. The duo is known for probably the most famous piece of Bigfoot evidence to date, the Patterson-Gimlin film. The film, shot in Orleans, Calif., shows a female Sasquatch walking through a rough clearing in the wilderness.
DeWerth talked about meeting Gimlin. He said the Gimlin truly believed in what he saw that day in October day in 1967 despite years of mockery and criticism.
The discussion turned to Sasquatch on television. DeWerth said that Bigfoot is portrayed as divisively as possible for one reason: ratings. He talked about working with shows like Mountain Monsters. The producers of shows like that or Finding Bigfoot go into the process with a point of view. That POV might not reflect reality, but that won’t stop show creators from molding reality to fit their vision. He advises one to enjoy the show as entertainment rather than hard fact.
That Day in 1997
After a brief intermission, the second half of the lecture revolved around a videotaped encounter with Bigfoot he experienced in 1997.
In 1996, DeWerth was close to giving up on his hobby. It was time-consuming, expensive, and he had made no headway in discovering the creature. However, he forged on looking for physical evidence or tracks in support of his belief.
In those days, prior to the internet, he would run ads in newspapers looking for people who had encounters with Sasquatch. The ad gave callers the number to a pager. He would contact the people and investigate their claims.
He said that some of his most earnest, believable witnesses were naturalists, deputies, or forest rangers who reported their sightings to him quietly because of the stigma attached to going public with their claims.
DeWerth’s first encounter with Bigfoot was at Wills Creek in Coshocton, OH.
He and some friends were hiking and looking for badgers and a rumored bald eagle’s nest that was to be in the area of County Rd. 410.
The area is a former strip mine.
As he was walking, he started hearing movement around him. He thought he was being followed by a deer.
If he stopped, the movement stopped. It resumed whenever he started walking again.
The longer this process continued, the more concerned he became that he was being followed by a big cat, such as a bobcat, instead of a deer.
His mind quickly flashed to female joggers who are attacked by big cats. They make interesting prey because they often wearing a bobbing ponytail while running.
DeWerth decided to sit down. He didn’t want to draw more attention by continuing to move. He kept the jeep that he and his friends drove there in eyeshot.
He begins to hear branches crunching under footfalls, which is a decidedly different sound than a deer would make. The creature following him has body and substance.
As he sat there, something chilling occurred to him. What if it was a person following him? He WAS out in the middle of nowhere. Who knew what terrible intentions someone might have. Often in remote areas, people grow marijuana for sale. They often have armed security to protect their crops.
DeWerth notices that about 75′ to 80′ feet away a large creature is squatting. He immediately thinks it is a black bear.
As the “bear” turns to profile, he expects to see a snout. Instead, however, he sees what appears to be a hairy human ear. It is clearly not a bear.
As DeWerth reaches for his camera, the creature bolts.
He chased the creature with his camera recording.
The animal runs to the top tier of the strip mine.
DeWerth stops to gain his composure.
He then hears what he describes as sounding like a refrigerator dropping down the hill. He said this terrified him.
At this point, he hears his friend yelling for him.
When his friend finds him, he excitedly explains what he saw. The two begin filming the hill in front of them where the creature ran. They are hoping to find any small bit of evidence of the creature.
DeWerth then screens the videotape he shot that day for the audience. The footage isn’t always steady or well framed, but DeWerth explains that he was terrified while he was trying to film. Throughout key moments during the
Throughout key moments during the playback he would pause or highlight sections of the film for viewers to pay particular attention. While there is never a clear “a-ha” moment of a sasquatch on film, the footage certainly contains some curious moments that would suggest this was no ordinary creature captured on film.
After the incident happened, he took the footage to the Cleveland Zoo to have a primate specialist analyze it.
The event concluded with more Q & A and discussion.
This was a super cool event. My buddy and I had been looking forward to it since it was first announced and we were not disappointed.
Being hosted by the Akron-Summit County Public Library, I expected it to last, at most, an hour. This was a three-hour event that included prize giveaways and a ton of information.
Marc DeWerth is a seasoned, informed, and compelling speaker. He is passionate about the top of Bigfoot. His enthusiasm came through his lecture.
-Zep the Bear