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Media Article # 22

Saturday, July 19, 1997

Saying her experience real, N.C. woman backs up those who see bigfoot

By Andrew M. Haworth
The Times And Democrat

The uproar in the town of Neeses over a "bigfoot" sighting has caused not only a stir at the state level, the story's gone national.

Brenda Polk, a self-proclaimed expert on bigfoot, was watching the Friday evening news in Concord, N.C., when a Charlotte television station aired the tale of a 14-year-old Neeses boy's account of a bigfoot attempting to break into his dog pen.

"Every time that I hear a bigfoot's been spotted, I try to get in touch with the people who spotted it," Polk said. "I called the sheriff's office down there and they gave me the number to the paper."

Polk, who said she had a close encounter with a bigfoot in 1991, has been fascinated by the creature since. She is setting up a support group for bigfoot sighters in the Carolinas.

"I'm trying to get a support group started for people in the Carolinas that have spotted bigfoot and have a place for them to report without people telling them they've lost their mind," Polk said. "People that have talked to me about it tell me it's a good thing. I even bought a computer to get on the Internet; there's a lot of bigfoot information on there."

Polk also had a special message for Jackie Hutto, the Neeses youth who says he spotted such a creature Tuesday afternoon.

"I want to tell him to hang in there," Polk said. "Just tell him to, no matter what people say about him, to stand by what he knows is the truth. The thing was not there to hurt people, but the dogs had probably been agitating it."

"It does cause you to have a lot of emotional problems. It's just like a ghost. People don't believe it, and people need to experience it for themselves before they will believe it," Polk said. "They won't attack anyone unless they are attacked. I don't think it's going to hurt anybody down there."

Eventually, Polk said the furor around the event will die down.

"As other people's reports come in, he will be forgotten, because that's what happened to me."

But Polk will probably never forget her life-changing experience with a bigfoot one late fall night in Stanly County, N.C., near the South Carolina border.

"When I moved down there in 1988 I never dreamed that would happen," said Polk, a skeptic at that time. "I decided to run over to a store about three miles over and on the way back about a quarter-mile from my home I saw this thing by the side of the road."

"I stopped in front of it and turned my bright headlights on. I just looked at him and he just looked back at me. I had a feeling that he knew me. He had silver hair. It was gorgeous."

Polk said the creature had a face that resembled an Alaskan Husky, but was standing upright like a man.

"He was fully male - he had male genitals," Polk said. "He was real muscle-bound, he had slim hips, but huge thighs. The hair was 4 to 5 inches long on his arms and silver. I'd say he was well over 7 feet tall."

"There was something about his eyes and it was like he was communicating to me through his eyes," Polk said. "After he got a good look at me, he ran off."

"I didn't get afraid and I'm still not afraid," she said. "I've always been truthful and reliable and that's why people always believe my story."

Polk said people should not fear the creature, although they don't take well to dogs.

"They don't like dogs, and dogs don't like them," she said. "I've been studying it now for the past year. It has attacked dogs, but I haven't seen anywhere where it actually attacked humans other than when they harassed it."

Her research has also led her to the Bigfoot Headquarters in California, which provides her with updates on bigfoot sightings nationwide. Additionally, Polk says the mountainous regions of North Carolina are alive with sightings that people don't report because they are scared of being ridiculed.

Polk encourages anyone who sights a bigfoot to report the incident to her organization via fax or phone call at (704) 795-7092.

The Associated Press is comparing the story to the South Carolina "Lizard Man" sightings in 1988.

It was nine years ago in Lee county that reports of the Lizard Man, purported to be a 7-foot-tall green creature with three fingers, red eyes and snakelike scales, enlivened a hot summer.

The Lizard Man brought international attention to Bishopville after a man said the creature chased his car at speeds of 40 mph along a rural road.

The were several other purported sightings and law officers found three-toed tracks in the dirt. The local bumper sticker, T-shirt and cap makers also made some money that summer.

But for Polk, bigfoot sightings mean more than T-shirts and tales for youngsters to recount during campfire storytelling. She is concerned over the fear some people have of the creature.

"The only reason I'm afraid to go out at night now is because of humans. This thing is not a human, it's a very intelligent animal," Polk said. "I want the media to know about the bigfeet, because the more people know, the less they will be afraid of him."

"This bigfoot encountered me to tell me this I think."

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