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Geographical Index > United States > Washington > Columbia County > Article # 278

Media Article # 278

Thursday, October 4, 2001

Does Bigfoot walk the Northwest forests?

By John Stofflet
Evening Magazine,

Do you believe in Bigfoot? Three Walla Walla men do. They say they saw three of them, and have evidence to prove the legend is still alive.

Since the days of early American Indians, people have claimed to have had encounters with a large hairy ape-like creature called Sasquatch or Bigfoot.

Among them are three men from eastern Washington who say their numerous encounters over the years have led them to become amateur Bigfoot investigators.

The former service worker, game warden and trail guide - Bill Laughery, Wes Sumerlin and Paul Freeman - were in a remote corner of the Blue Mountains near Walla Walla when they say they had the encounter. They were hoping to gather more evidence on an expedition in August.

They trekked into the deep, dark forests of the mountains close to an area of previous sightings. As they headed into the woods, the men say they began smelling a foul odor and had the feeling they were being watched.

Then Bill says he spotted something standing in a dark thicket of trees.

"When I first looked at it, I wasn't sure," said Bill. "I told Wes, 'Wes, there's something here.' And I looked and I said, that's it. That's him."

The men say it was so dark they couldn't take any pictures, but they say the creature was eight feet tall and covered with reddish-brown hair.

"We stood there four to five minutes, and it didn't move a thing," said Bill.

The men said the stare-down continued until Paul Freeman, who was further down the trail, yelled to Bill and Wes. Then, Paul said, three Sasquatches fled out of the woods.

"I hollered and asked them where they were at," said Paul. "When I did that, it just exploded in there."

The men say the creatures left a trail of evidence: footprints 15-1/2 inches long and 7 inches wide and a path of broken and twisted trees. They also have what they believe is Bigfoot's hair, which they've sent to a lab for analysis.

"When I get this analysis done on this hair, it may change their minds," said Paul.

"They" are the skeptics. All three men say they know there are a lot of non-believers out there.

"I've got enough stuff to open up a museum of evidence," said Paul. "But at least there's a couple of other guys that seen it too, so they're gonna call us all nuts."

All three men hope this will not be their last sighting. They will continue to search for proof Bigfoot walks the dark forests of the Northwest.

When we first brought you this story, we checked with Bigfoot researcher Dr. Grover Krantz. This is what he had to say about the sightings:

I've talked to Wes and Bill at great length about it and I've been to the site and I am satisfied it is accurate. They did see the creature.

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