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Media Article # 546

Monday, November 12, 2007

No sign of Bigfoot on excursion into the woods

The Bradford ERA

There’s something in the woods in the Allegheny National Forest, but there was no sign of Bigfoot there over the weekend.

On Saturday, Paul Mateja and Paul Bogdan — two members of the Bigfoot Field Research Organization, along with Tom Jacobs and his daughter Krista, led an Era reporter and photographer on a late-night expedition — in 20-something-degree temperatures — to the site where a mysterious animal was captured on a trail camera in September.

The site is in McKean County, despite reports stating otherwise.

Prior to the expedition, Mateja explained what would happen.

“What we’re going to do, we’ll wait until it is quite late — 11 o’clock or maybe later,” he said. “We’ll try the wood knocks again. I’ve got two branches, two-and-a-half, three inches thick, maybe 18 inches long, hard wood, really cured. When you tap those together at night, they really carry.

“We’ll tap those together and wait for a response,” he said. The theory behind the knocks is the Bigfoot creatures live in a colony and use the knocks for communication.

After Tom and his brother Rick Jacobs had sought the BFRO’s help in identifying the animal captured by the game camera, Mateja and Tom Jacobs had made an excursion to the site to see if they could find any signs of a Bigfoot.

Tom Jacobs explained he had gone into the first expedition a non-believer, but after hearing responses to the wood knocks, he came out a skeptic.

On Saturday’s trip, there was no response to the knocking, despite repeated attempts. Mateja said with a laugh that Bigfoot doesn’t perform on cue.

“It could be exciting, or it could be nothing — you don’t know,” he said of the expeditions.

“It’s like fishing,” Bogdan said.

“Except we’re going after something a little different than fish,” Mateja said, laughing.

“If they are in the area and are interested, you may hear them moving around the camp around us,” he explained. “There might be some intimidation behavior. They might make a lot of noise and try to scare us. Some people have said they have had stones thrown at them.”

No stones were thrown at expedition members on Saturday, and most of the noises heard were easily attributed to coyotes or owls.

At times, it appeared as though something would move along a ridge line parallel to the hikers. When the hikers stopped, so did the movement.

“They will pace you in the woods, just following you,” Mateja had explained before setting out. However, nothing came out to investigate the expedition members — not even the two females present.

Mateja had said that something about the female voice attracts Bigfoot, and said it is like the creatures sense less of a threat from women.

However, if there was any sort of unclassified creature in the woods in the ANF over the weekend, it will remain unclassified for awhile longer.

Then again, Mateja, Bogdan and even Jacobs — an admitted skeptic, all said they felt that maybe the mystery is what keeps people interested in Bigfoot.

“If it becomes known that they are out there, it may become a detriment to both man and beast,” Mateja said.

“Like the grizzly bear. It’s a monstrous beast, but nobody cares about it,” Jacobs said. There aren’t many expeditions to go see grizzlies in their habitats.

Mateja added that perhaps acknowledging a mystery creature in the ANF would help create tourism for the Pennsylvania Wilds initiative.

“There’s no shortage of people who do this,” he said, explaining an expedition is planned for next year to bring people into the area to search for signs of the creatures. “This could be a big money-maker for Pennsylvania.”

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