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NEWSFILE: BHMs (Big Hairy Men)

American climber says he has seen the ‘Yeti’

Oct 13, 1998 Reuters KATHMANDU: An American climber said Tuesday he had seen the Yeti, or the Abominable Snowman, while on a skiing expedition on the Chinese side of Mount Everest.

Craig Calonica said he saw two Yetis together ‘around Sept 17 or so.‘

The 45-year-old climber and skier was on his way down to base camp at 5,200 meters from the 6 , 500-meter advanced base camp when he saw the creatures with thick shining black fur walking like men except a little hunched over at the shoulder.

‘My point was that I saw something and what I saw was not human, that was not a gorilla, not bear, not a goat and it was not a deer, ’ Calonica told Reuters. ‘Their arms were very long and their hands were very big.‘

The climber said he was with his Nepali cook when he saw the two Yetis which are mythical creatures which have terrified Tibetans for thousands of years.

Last week, noted Tyrolean adventurer Reinhold Messner, the first man to climb the world's 14 peaks taller than 8,000 meters (26,246 ft) said in Frankfurt that the Yeti was not a humanoid ape but a large bear.

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Sept 12, 1998 Dave Shealy took a photo of what he says is a skunk ape scampering through the Everglades. Business at the Florida Panther Gift Shop in Ochopee is slow, and owner Dave Shealy has once again spotted the elusive skunk ape.

Shealy, who claims to be the proprietor of the world's only skunk ape research center, took 27 photographs of the 7-foot-tall creature in the Everglades on Tuesday night. Shealy said the photographs are the product of eight months of sitting in a tree in the hope of coaxing the animal out of its native habitat. ‘I had been sitting up in the tree for about two hours every night for the past eight months, and I didn't feel particularly good about seeing anything that night,’ Shealy said of his alleged encounter with the hairy beast. ‘I dozed off for a little while, and when I woke up I saw it coming straight at me. At first I thought it was a man, but then I realized it was the skunk ape.‘

Shealy said he carries a camera at all times while he is perched on his home-made lookout. He pulled out the camera and shot a whole roll of film when he allegedly saw the skunk ape about 50 yards away from him. ‘I tried so long and worked so hard, you can imagine spending eight months in a tree,’ Shealy said. ‘I saw the skunk ape and knew what I had to do.‘

Shealy said he was never afraid of the skunk ape while it was walking toward him. He said it was apparent the animal would never do anything to harm him or anyone else. ‘After taking the photos, I sat back and took a deep breath and thought what a docile, docile animal was out there,’ Shealy said.

Shealy knows there are more than a handful of skeptics. that he first thought the animal was a man makes some wonder whether the figure in Shealy's photos might in fact be a human in a gorilla costume. ‘Walking around in a gorilla costume in the middle of hunting season would be crazy,’ Shealy said. He went on to admit he does not know of any gorilla hunters in the Florida Everglades. ‘It's a shame there are people in this world that refuse to believe there is something they don't know about,’ Shealy says of the skunk ape skeptics. ‘I call them know-it-alls, and nobody likes a know-it-all.‘

Shealy said that the day after waking up and allegedly seeing the hairy beast approaching him, he returned to the same area to follow the tracks of the animal. It was while he was following the tracks that Shealy made what he said could be the biggest skunk ape discovery since the first sighting - small footprints he says appear to be from a baby skunk ape. ‘I found some small tracks, definitely those of a skunk ape, and I think it was probably about 140 pounds, compared to the adults which are 350-plus pounds,’ Shealy said.

Shealy now estimates there are between nine and 12 skunk apes roaming the Everglades, and said most people who have spotted the creature usually see them in groups of three or four. Shealy said skunk apes are skilled at covering up their dead, which explains why skunk ape fossils have never been found.

In order to attract the skunk ape to his perch high above the Everglades, Shealy leaves piles of lima beans on the ground, which he says are the animal's favourite food. ‘They prefer a large lima bean, about the size of a half dollar, which I soak in water and place in piles throughout the area,’ Shealy said. ‘I have probably purchased over 200 pounds of lima beans this year.‘

Shealy has been interviewed on several television programs and in worldwide tabloids about his skunk ape tale. Most recently, Shealy appeared on cable's Comedy Central, where he led interviewers on an unsuccessful hunt for the skunk ape. Shealy estimates he has received more than $30 million in free advertising because of all the media attention, but insists he has not made a cent off his sightings. He said about 50 people a week come to his gift shop in the hope of seeing the skunk ape or talking with the world-famous founder of the skunk ape research center.

Although Shealy's only sightings of the skunk ape have come during periods of slow business at the gift shop, he insists the sightings are not a publicity stunt. ‘There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the skunk ape exists. If it is a hoax, I'm not aware of it,’ Shealy said.

Shealy said he plans to continue his nightly skunk ape vigil alone among the Everglades, and promises more pictures the next time he encounters the animal.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) A bill making it illegal to molest a skunk ape has been passed by a legislative committee as a lawmaker renews his effort to protectthe legendary anthropoid. The Criminal Justice Committee passed the bill (HB58) by Rep. Paul Nuckolls, R-FortMyers, Tuesday after Nuckolls unveiled it for the second year in a row. Last session, the bill passed committee but never reached the floor.

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Mountaineer says mythical Yeti is just a big bear

Reuters FRANKFURT (Oct 6, 1998 ) - A Tyrolean adventurer said on Tuesday that he has destroyed the legend of the Yeti, the mythical creature that has terrified Tibetans for thousands of years. Contrary to popular myth, the Yeti or Abominable Snowman is not a humanoid ape but a large bear, and there are about 1,000 roaming Nepal and Tibet, usually at night, Reinhold Messner announced at the world’s biggest book fair.

Bearded, rugged-faced Messner, himself a mountaineering legend since he climbed Mount Everest without using artificial oxygen in 1978, has devoted his life to tracking the creature after a close and terrifying encounter in 1986 . Over the years, several researchers have suspected that the Yeti may be a bear. German researcher Ernst Schaefer expounded the theory after he was commissioned by the Nazis to seek out the missing link between apes and humans in the 1930s. He even shot a few.

Messner's book ‘Yeti,’ unveiled at the Frankfurt Book Fair, claims to confirm this with the help of photos taken during several encounters. Messner, who has visited the Himalayas many times, said he had not believed in the Yeti but changed his mind after he came face to face with a dark creature one night in 1986 while hiking in a remote forest of eastern Tibet. ‘I came across this indefinable, big, stinking, exotic animal,’ he told a news conference. ‘I stood still and he walked off. ‘If he had come toward me I would probably have died of a heart attack before he got to me.‘ The creature walked on two legs.

Messner said he examined its footprints and discovered they were similar to a famous 1951 photo of a footprint taken on a Himalayan expedition which had helped to make the Yeti as famous as Scotland’s fabled Loch Ness monster. ‘It's clearly a Tibetan bear, similar to a grizzly but with longer hair,’ Messner said. It can grow up to 3. 40 meters and can walk on all fours as well as on its hind legs. It lives at heights of between 12,000 and 18,000 feet. ‘Its faeces are similar to that of humans because it eats the same food. that`s because it follows humans and steals their food. It's easier. ‘The bear is elusive because it mainly travels at night. It can be dangerous. It will not harm people if they go out of its way. The local legend has it that it brings bad luck to anyone who sees it.'

Messner kept his findings secret while he was writing the book. Several German newspapers have cast doubt on his findings. He launched a counter-attack at the news conference, accusing the media of trying to destroy his reputation. ‘I can’t help it if people expected King Kong and didn't get him,’ he said. ‘As sure as I sit here, you will agree with me in 10 or 20 years. (Reuters)

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Redding Man Says He's Seen The Elusive Man-Beast

HAYFORK, Calif. , Posted 7:45 a. m. Oct 2, 1998 - Sasquatch.

By whatever name you use, we've all heard the legend of the elusive man-beast that roams in the wilderness. Well, a Northern California man says there’s a lot of truth to rumors of Bigfoot.

Tim Ford, 22, told California Department of Fish and Game officials Thursday that he's convinced he saw Bigfoot, which he described as a 9-foot-tall, yellow-eyed beast. Ford said the creature left tracks 6 inches wide and 20 inches long in remote Hayfork, about 200 miles north of San Francisco, said AP. ‘You could see his arms hanging way past his knees, ’ Harmon told the Redding Record Searchlight. ‘It was scary. ‘

The Redding man said he was on a camping and hunting trip near Mud Springs, south of Hayfork on Saturday when his friend heard a loud rustling in the bushes as they roasted marshmallows. When he got his flashlight to investigate the noise, Ford said he spotted an enormous, furry creature standing about 50 yards away on the other side of a creek, said the wire service.

Ford said he had not been drinking and is convinced the creature was not a bear. He said the alleged Bigfoot stayed a distance from the campsite most of the night, but was near enough that they could hear its screams.

Eerie screams are often reported along with sightings of Bigfoot, said AP. Reports of the creature trickle in from the forests of the Northwest, the foothills of Ohio and the swamplands of Florida. There’s even an alleged film of a Bigfoot creature (pictured, above) taken by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin in 1967.

Paul Wertz, a Fish and Game spokesman in Redding, said that Bigfoot sightings are not unheard of in Trinity County but that the agency probably wouldn't investigate Saturday's sighting. ‘We don't have a management plan for Bigfoot, ’ Wertz said.

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Sasquatch, or something like it, appears in the legends of the northern Athabascan Gwich'in people as Na'in. The Brushman. Is he a myth, a monster or a lonely man?

The Na'in was held in fear and admiration, although none could swear he ever actually saw one.

If someone dared say they did, people laughed, yet some believed. It is said that the Na'in, also called Brushmen, were men who were ostracised from the group for disobeying tribal rules. The rules of the wandering Gwich'in bands were simple and stern, because survival was their main concern. The rules helped the people survive their harsh environment, but they also were social requirements meant to keep peace.

Some men, and occasionally women, did not abide by the rules, so the bandleaders would ask the person to leave. The condemned person usually tried to prove he could survive without the group. But isolation taught otherwise. Physically, survival was possible. Emotionally, the human craved companionship. The rejected person would find himself slipping into the guise of a Na'in. He would hover behind bushes spying on people. If he became lonely he tried to kidnap a woman, and sometimes succeeded. Others saw brushmen as non-human, but with human appearances and magical powers. For instance, the brushman possesses the ability to lull you asleep and then steal your loved one.

Even after contact with Western culture, the Gwich'in people believe the brushman to exist. In the late 1800's an infant was said to have been stolen by a Na'in and later returned.

Although the Na'in was feared, he also was romanticised. As a teen-ager, my mother often wished she were stolen by a Na'in. My husband told of a time when he hunted above the mountainous Chandalar country and a large, dark man dressed in skins appeared from the woods and knelt down to drink water from a stream.

Jeffrey called out to him, wanting to believe he was just another hunter. The startled man looked up and then ran away. Jeffrey told others, and they laughed, for that was the typical response to anyone who said they saw a Na'in.

Despite people's scepticism, not long ago a sensible couple travelling down the Porcupine River spotted a man walking alongside the beach. When he heard their motor, the man disappeared into the willows. The couple searched the area but found only moccasin tracks.

Later that fall, in Fort Yukon, meat and fish that hung on drying racks were missing. People said it couldn't have been dogs because there would have been tracks, and camp robbers (gray jays) always leave a mess.

Again, even in modern times, the myth about the brushman sends excitement through the heart of small Alaska communities. Perhaps the spirits of those long ostracised and rebellious individuals still do roam the land, searching for food and companionship.

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The Salt Lake Tribune Oct 4 1998

Believers Still Searching For Man-Beast

MOLALLA, Ore. - A seasoned Bigfoot enthusiast, Charles Baker knew the signs: the matted grass, the twisted branches, the stench that set the dog off and the shrill scream that made it silent. It was late one February night, and Baker was wandering through the woods along the lower Molalla River. He didn't see the beast.

But the 28-year-old security officer and outdoors man believes he had a close encounter with the creature also known as Yeti, Yayoo, Skunk Ape or Sasquatch. ‘It's out there, and it's a lot more intelligent than people realise, ’ Baker said. After all of these years, reports of the elusive giant continue to trickle in from the forests of the Northwest, the foothills of Ohio and the swamplands of Florida. And despite the persistent lack of hard evidence, investigators continue to dog the beast, risking savings and reputations to find proof that Bigfoot exists. ‘I have every confidence it will happen,’ says Ray Crowe, founder of the Western Bigfoot Society, a Portland-based non profit group that is considered the largest of its kind. ‘I'm just concerned someone else will beat us to it.‘

Crowe estimates that 50 to 100 researchers are actively pursuing the creature around the world, using sophisticated search tools ranging from infrared cameras to DNA-retrieving dart guns and seismic sensors. Still, the most conclusive evidence on record is the primitive 1967 footage known as the Patterson film, which shows a blurred and jerky image of what appears to be a large, hairy beast running through the woods. ‘No one can knock that picture, ’ Crowe said. These days, with the technology to alter film and video easily and realistically, Bigfooters know it will take more than footage to prove the beast exists. They need a body - dead or alive. ‘that's the only way,’ Crowe says.

Crowe, 60, has been looking for Bigfoot since 1991, when he began transforming the basement of his used bookstore into a Bigfoot museum and meeting place. The society was born, quickly growing to 250 members, and Crowe began to publish the Track Record newsletter every month. It was Crowe who took the call about some strange goings-on near Molalla.

Baker, who has hunted in the area since he was a child, believed he had come across the spot where a Bigfoot creature had made its bed at the base of a ridge. Several months old by then, the giant footprint Baker saw pressed into the ground was long gone. After ducking through a thicket for a closer look, Crowe concluded that the matted grass was more than likely made by a camper's sleeping bag. The broken branches were clearly cut by machete. Still, there was no explaining the eerie scream that echoed through the canyon. Or the stench, which is often reported along with a sighting: ‘that sucker was ripe, ’ Baker said. And it wasn't the first such report in the area.

In 1992, Sharon and LeRoy Jones were camping near by when they say they heard something banging on the cage of their pet rabbits. They say they then saw a Bigfoot dart back into the bushes. There are dozens of accounts on the Internet: - In Portland last year, a student reported seeing a Bigfoot while videotaping a class project near the Washington Park Zoo, although his father believed the sighting was an excuse for losing his new video camera. - Near Colton, southeast of Portland, in 1995, a bow hunter sensed he was being followed, turned and saw a Sasquatch staring at him about 25 feet away. - At a logging camp near Detroit, a small town southeast of Salem, in 1970, a 16 -year-old girl reported seeing a Bigfoot with breasts stealing meat from the family's cooler.

Sightings haven't been limited to the Northwest. There is an active Bigfoot society in Ohio, where one man recently claimed to have videotaped a white Sasquatch. In Florida, recent reports of the ’skunk ape’ can be found on the Internet. Crowe writes up nearly all the sightings in his newsletter, although he warns readers to keep on their ‘skepticals’ and is leery of reports that link Bigfoot with UFOs, psychic connections and different dimensions.

The greatest problem is not weeding through the sightings, but getting information about them in the first place. Often, people are too embarrassed to come forward or don't know whom to call, he said. Publicity had been boosting the Western Bigfoot Society’s exposure in recent years, and reports were rolling in more frequently. But they've slowed in the last year, after the fire marshal banned meetings larger than 10 people and Crowe decided to shut the store down. He hopes to replace it with a stand-alone Bigfoot museum, which he plans to build along Interstate 5 as soon as the funding is found.

His group still meets weekly at a northern Portland restaurant, where on a recent Tuesday a lively debate ensued about what sounds, if any, Bigfoot makes. They're a diverse bunch: an archer who once heard unidentifiable screams on Dixie Mountain in the 1970s; an industrial- pump salesman who has taken to baiting Bigfoot with Spam in steep canyons throughout Northwest forests. And there’s Peter Byrne, who with his khaki clothing, field vest and silk ascot, would look more at home on safari than in suburbia.

For five years beginning in 1992, Byrne led the Bigfoot Research Project, the most technologically advanced search for Bigfoot in history. Funded by a $1 million grant from a benefactor who wants anonymity, Byrne and two assistants were equipped with a Jeep, police gear, military search equipment and a toll-free phone number (1-800-BIG FOOT). Dozens of volunteers were on call in case of a sighting. Two helicopters were on standby, one equipped with infrared equipment. Biopsy guns were readied to extract pellet-size samples of tissue for DNA testing. But the best the searchers got was a 31-day-old report from a policeman who believed he saw a Bigfoot walking along the Oregon coast. The project ended last year, and Byrne is still working to drum up more funding. In the meantime, he and the others continue the search on their own time and money.

Their motives vary. A few seek the fortune to be made if the creature is ever proved real. Some just want an excuse to spend time in the woods. But most say they're motivated by the mystery. Todd Neiss, 37, has no doubt he saw three Bigfoot creatures during a 1993 demolition exercise with the National Guard - a sighting corroborated by three others. ‘If people don't believe me, that 's their problem, ’ said Neiss, now a vice president of a transportation company. ‘My point to find these animals is not to say `Na-na-na-na-na-naaa, told you so. ' It’s because I'm so fascinated and intrigued, I have to see them again. ‘