PARKERSBURG - The legend of Bigfoot, or a Sasquatch, has been circling North America for centuries and with the development of photography and easy access to video, the hunt for the elusive creature has picked up light speed over the last 15 years.
With fever-pitch development of reality television, the search for Bigfoot has hit an all-time high. Several television shows and groups are devoting time and resources to find and/or capture evidence of Bigfoot.
Over the past several years, a number of websites have emerged, hoping to shed some scientific light on Bigfoot and provide solid evidence the creature exists. Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO), founded in 1995, is dedicated to scientific research exploring the Bigfoot mystery. The group was founded by Webster County native Stephen Willis, who attended college at West Virginia University's Parkersburg campus before entering the military, became enamored with the Bigfoot phenomena in 1960 when there was a reported sighting just five miles from his home near Erbacon.
The BFRO is one of only dozens of groups devoted to the Bigfoot hunt, several of which have set up expeditions into West Virginia and Ohio.
The BFRO maintains a website to track sightings. The database is searchable by state.
Ohio is the leading Bigfoot hot spot in the eastern part of the United States.
Ohio has its own Bigfoot legend, that of the Grassman, a shaggy creature reportedly sighted near the towns of Kenmore and Akron and into areas of western Pennsylvania. Witnesses have described the Grassman as a large furry biped similar to Bigfoot, while others have described it as more like a hairy and disheveled wildman. The Grassman gained national attention recently when it was the focus of an episode of the History Channel series Monster Quest.
According to the BFRO website, West Virginia has had numerous sightings. Reports of sightings have also come from Ritchie, Jackson and Calhoun counties, some of which are more credible than others.
There are numerous Facebook pages devoted to bigfoot and bigfoot research and expedition groups, including the West Virginia Bigfoot page.
Both Ohio and West Virginia have been the site of numerous expeditions by hunters and researchers.
Despite all the "evidence" of sightings, including alleged footage and thermal images, and reality shows devoted to finding the creature no concrete proof of bigfoot, sasquatch or the grassman has been found and corroborated by scientists.