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Geographical Index > United States > Washington > Skamania County > Article # 50

Media Article # 50
Article submitted by Richard Noll


Saturday, January 13, 2001

Bigfoot's backside yields a clue, enthusiasts say

By Leslie Moriarty
Everett Herald


Imprint thought to be beast's buttocks

EDMONDS -- Perhaps Bigfoot isn't named for his best attribute.

Or at least that's been the most recent discovery about Bigfoot here in the Pacific Northwest. Forget plaster feet: An Edmonds man has what he says is an imprint of Bigfoot's buttocks.

Richard Noll, 47, a dedicated Bigfoot believer, was part of an adventure last September to Skookum Meadows between Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams.

Along for the trip were more than a dozen Bigfoot enthusiasts, scientists and a film crew for a program that will air on the Discovery Channel Monday night.

Noll, who works at a Marysville tool manufacturing company, became interested in Bigfoot more than 30 years ago when a cousin took him on a trip to the Bluff Creek area of Northern California.

His cousin had been building bridges and told Noll about seeing the hairy beast. Noll started researching Sasquatch stories and eventually linked with the Bigfoot Field Reporting Organization, becoming its curator of sightings and other exhibits.

Although he's never seen a Bigfoot, Noll's dining room table in his modest Edmonds home is filled with plaster castings of Bigfoot footprints. Photographs and drawings of Bigfoot hang on the wall, and he has a library of videos on Bigfoot adventures.

Bigfoot search on TV

The TV program on the Bigfoot Field Reporting Organization's expedition is scheduled to air at 10:30 p.m. Monday on the Discovery Channel's "Animal Planet." It will be repeated several times this month.

His most recent casting, however, is kept at a relative's house in a locked garage, hidden underneath a plastic tarp and behind a table of garden tools. Mounted flat in a large wooden cart on wheels lies the "Skookum Casting," Bigfoot's buttocks in a 350-pound casting that stretches about 3 feet by 5 feet.

Noll's got it, but he doesn't flaunt it. It is shown only to select audiences, although he hopes to take it traveling to Bigfoot conventions in the Northwest following the Discovery broadcasts.

The casting comes from a weeklong expedition in mid-September to an area where there had been previous Bigfoot sightings. Their mission: To find physical evidence of the legendary creature through footprints, hair and discarded food. Using pheromone-scented bait and recorded calls made by possible Bigfoots, the crew hoped to lure a Bigfoot into camp and capture his image using infrared photography.

After several days of using a recording and getting what they believed to be return screams from a Sasquatch, the explorers decided to use apples and melons as Bigfoot bait. They selected specific locations where they thought they had heard the beast's high-pitched caterwauls and planned to position cameras at the 10 various "fruit stations."

But Bigfoot's big photo shoot started to fall apart. The regular cameras wouldn't work, and the searchers came up empty in their infrared tracking attempts.

"We thought we could ride along the areas where the fruit had been placed and photograph out of the sunroof of my 4-Runner," Noll said. "If we picked up anything showing infrared readings, then we would sit there and watch for Bigfoot.

"But my car broke down, and we weren't able to do that."

So they trekked back to camp for the night. It wasn't until the next morning that they actually saw evidence of a visitor the night before -- a buttocks print. Maybe Sasquatch should be called Sasquat instead.

"At the edge of the wallow I saw unusual impressions in the transition mud and suddenly, I figured out what it was.

"I was shocked," he said. "It appeared that Bigfoot laid on his side to reach out over the soft mud to grab the fruit and left an impression of his buttocks, thigh, forearm and heel."

Noll called the more experienced members of the search team to look at what he'd found.

LeRoy Fish, a zoologist from Oregon, and Derek Randles, a Washington landscaper with tracking experience, agreed with Noll: It was an impression of Bigfoot's backside.

The trio speculates that Bigfoots are intelligent species and don't like to leave tracks behind. This one laid down to reach the fruit.

"If it had been any other life form of animal, it would have just walked up and grabbed the fruit," Noll said.

As the most experienced caster in the bunch, Noll directed the efforts to make a cast of the impressions using 150 pounds of Hydrocal B-11 and 50 pounds of Plaster of Paris as the TV crew captured it on tape.

Noll protected the area from the sun with a makeshift roof of rocks and plywood to keep the damp mud from drying and cracking and giving off false impressions.

Then the cast was made, using tent poles as reinforcements. Sleeping bag pads and air mattresses were used to cushion the cast for transportation off the mountain in the back of a large truck.

The remaining apple pieces were collected and sent to a lab to test for saliva and other hints of DNA. They also gathered hair samples to test.

While the DNA tests have not been completed, the hair samples have been determined by an independent lab to belong to an "unknown primate," Noll said.

"It didn't match humans," he said. "And they were tapered at the ends, meaning they had never been cut."

Both the hairs and the castings have been shown to experts who are convinced that they didn't come from an elk, deer or bear.

The Skookum cast, said John Green, a well-known Canadian Bigfoot hunter, changed his opinion about the existence of the beast.

"I have always believed that physical evidence was needed to convince me of the existence of Sasquatches," he said. "But now I think differently. I think the Skookum cast can do it."

He consulted with other physicians and decided that it only could have been made by a big, squatting primate.

Taking into consideration its size, the imprint was left by something 40 percent to 60 percent larger than a 6-foot-tall human.

The cast of Bigfoot's buttocks has been closely examined. Grover Krantz, a physical anthropologist, wildlife biologist John Bindernagel and primate anatomist Jeff Meldrum have concluded the imprint is not attributable to any recognized animal species. It most likely was made by a living Sasquatch, they concluded.

Like Noll, they also belong to BFRO. The organization maintains a Web site about Bigfoot, and sightings are registered with the group and evaluated by the group's scientists.

They operate a bit differently than other Bigfoot enthusiasts, Noll explained.

"Most are reactive, going out and checking for clues when there has been a sighting reported," he said. "We like to think of ourselves as proactive. We try to set up conditions in which Bigfoot will come to us, so that we can observe him."

They're not Bigfoot chasers, he said, and are only trying to collect data that will prove the creature exists.

Noll said nonbelievers don't bother him.

"A lot of people think of this as a joke, and equate it with things like UFOs and the paranormal," Noll said. "But that's not the way we see it.

"We're talking about an intelligent primate with very human-like behaviors. And we are honest and truthful about what we see and find."

And he now may have Bigfoot's backside to back him up.


Bibliographical Information:

Herald Writer Leslie Moriarty can be reached at 425-339-3436 or by email at moriarty@heraldnet.com.


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