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Media Article # 586

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Local Resident Researching Bigfoot Phenomena

By Elon Brissette
The Ogemaw County Herald

Out of 107 investigated Bigfoot sightings in Michigan, three of them have been in Ogemaw County.
According to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Association Web site, a number of years ago Bigfoot was seen north of Rose City on state land. More recently, the creature was spotted near the south edge of the Rifle River Recreation Area in November 2003, and in Lupton near Rose City Road in September 2007.
Phil Shaw of West Branch, who enjoys researching Bigfoot, said it is possible to see Bigfoot in the area because of the terrain, but that it's not an everyday occurrence.
"You have to remember, this creature isn't easy to be seen," Shaw said. "It's very happenstance, very nocturnal, very shy."
According to, each reported sighting is investigated, and if it is deemed as not a hoax, it will be included in the listing of sightings. The Web site also explains that sightings will not be published if the reporter wishes. So, while only three sightings in Ogemaw County have been reported on the site, it is possible there have been more.
Shaw and his wife, Carol, believe they saw Bigfoot in 2006 while on vacation outside of Michigan. On a four lane highway in New Brunswick, the Shaws caught a glimpse of something walking across an opening in the trees.
"We both agreed that was not a man," Phil Shaw said. "No blue jeans, no plaid shirt, no T-shirt, no hat, no white face and she (Carol) says he had a funny gait, "So it was a little iffy. I wouldn't call it a class A (sighting) myself, but what we saw we didn't think was a human."
Before that incident, Shaw said he was like most people and had read some articles about Bigfoot, but never really took that much of an interest in the creature. But because he and Carol thought they saw one, and he found BFRO, which is an organization trying to do research on the animal, he is more captivated by the phenomena than before. And he's not ashamed to talk about his belief.
"If you believe the anthropologists that have studied this, there's lots of history," Shaw said. "Lots of proof actually of sightings, footprint casts, handprints, footprints, hair analysis."
"If people are interested (I'll talk)." he continued. "I'm not ashamed about it. I'm retired, so I can keep my job."
While Shaw said he is intrigued by the whole concept of bigfoot sharing the swamps and woods with humans, he also enjoys going on expeditions in different areas with BFRO.
"Even if I didn't see a thing, just going camping in the mountains of pennsylvania would be fun, and it's low cost," he said. He has already gone on two expeditions - one in the Upper Peninsula in 2007, and one in North Carolina this past spring, and hopes to go to more, including one in October in Pennsylvania. Shaw said maybe half of the people on the expeditions have had some sort of encounter with Bigfoot, while the rest are just interested in the phenomena.
However, Shaw said because there are so many people congregated in one area, on the expeditions, it decreases your odds of sightings.
"It takes a lot to connect with these animals," he said. "If you've got a pretty remote area, they're less likely to be intimidated or reclusive. If there's not a lot of people, they could be very curious.
And Shaw said he wants people to be aware that this is not just a Pacific Northwest Phenomenon, there is potential to have Bigfoot sightings in this area. He explained that Bigfoot's physiology shows it needs a lot of water, and its presence could go untraced in flooded areas. Therefore, because Michigan has a lot of swampland, and most people don't venture into those areas, Bigfoot may like that.
"That's where the cover is. That's where the food is," Shaw said. "Northern Michigan and the U.P. have tremendous habitat for this kind of creature, and they don't really leave too much sign behind, whether it be a B.M. or footprints, you don't see them in swamps.
Shaw said that while Bigfoot can vary a lot in size, with adults females being 200-300 pounds less than the average 8-foot, 800 pound adult male, some could be mistaken for a grizzly bear. However, because of Bigfoot's height, it has a longer stride than bears walking on their hind legs.
"Size wise it could be close to a grizzly, but even grizzlies, if they walk on their hind feet, they have short legs and maybe walk a few feet", Shaw said. "Whereas this animal is most of the time on two legs and they can move:.
WIth limited photography of Bigfoot in comparison to the number of sightings, Shaw said that is because most people don't carry cameras with them into the woods.
"Even if you had a camera and you only have 10 seconds, 15 seconds, a minute maybe to see this animal, if you don't have a camera cocked and ready, your odds are pretty remote," he said.
He also said that because of digital technology, even if you were to capture Bigfoot in a picture, people would believe it was a fake. For more information on Bigfoot and the expeditions, visit

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