Updated: Aug 1
Bigfoot , also commonly called Sasquatch (an Anglicization of a word meaning wild men in the Halkomelem language) is certainly an iconic cryptid, and probably the most well renown. It is said to inhabit the forests of North America with many sightings reported over the decades. Some dubious, some hoax, but there are also those encounters that have a little credibility for sure.
For a start, many of the indigenous cultures across the North American continent include tales of mysterious hair-covered creatures living in forests, and these legends existed long before any media reports of Bigfoot. Their stories differed in details, both regionally and between families in the same community, and despite the differing languages, the many names it was called mean something along the lines of wild man or hairy man. Coincidence? Well, we think not.
Bigfoot is most often described as a large, muscular, and bipedal ape-like creature covered in black, dark brown, or dark reddish hair. Anecdotal descriptions estimate a height of roughly 1.8–2.7 metres (6–9 ft), with some descriptions having the creatures standing as tall as 3.0–4.6 metres (10–15 ft).
Common descriptions also include broad shoulders, no visible neck, and long arms, which skeptics describe as likely a misidentification of a bear standing upright. Some alleged nighttime sightings have stated the creature's eyes glowed yellow or red. However, eyeshine is not present in humans or any other known apes and so proposed explanations for observable eyeshine off of the ground in the forest include owls, raccoons, or opossums perched in foliage.
The enormous footprints for which the creature is named are claimed to be as large as 610 millimeters (24 in) long and 200 millimeters (8 in) wide.
GREAT BARRINGTON TOWN HALL
DATE(S) VISITED: JULY 24, 2022
LOCATION: GREAT BARRINTON, MA
The earliest printed account of a sighting involving Bigfoot in the Berkshires happened in July 1765 in the town of Great Barrington, near to where the current Town Hall now stands. We have looked for the actual 1765 newspaper article online, but so far drawn a blank. But, we have found a few lines of text which you will see below.
After reports of a series of break-ins within the remote faming community, reports of a wild man stealing food, and shiny things from their homes soon spread. It was said that:
"This animal resembles the human species yet is monstrous in its nature and actions."
“This monster has even had the audacity to enter many houses in pursuit of food.”
Back then, between the area from where the Town Hall now stands and the bridge was swamp and bog like. It was here, after a pursuit of the creature that it was found sleeping in the misty, damp bog.
“The mischief of this animal at length becoming insupportable, it was pursued by a number of armed men.”
“Upon a near view it appears to be vested with a kind of robe having the appearance of the hide of a large bear while the ‘hair’ of its head appears to be white and bushy. Its face is mask-like dark and leathery – like a gorilla’s face.
"It was two-faced, with the appearance of calmness and innocence when observed…boldness and ferocity when thinking itself unseen.”
As it slept they captured and caged the beast and sent it to Cambridge, where they intended to study, and have it viewed as a curiosity.
It was pursued and taken as it lay asleep. It has since been brought to Cambridge and fixed in a cage where all whose curiosity leads them may have a sight of this uncommon creature.”
It is said that the Wild Man traveled with a Negro woman and when it was captured, she followed. When the opportunity arose, she opened the cage and together they ran, presumably, back into the wild.
This is certainly an interesting story and more research will be certainly done on it's validity.
OCTOBER MOUNTAIN STATE FOREST
DATE(S) VISITED: JULY 22/24, 2022
LOCATION: LEE, MA
It is easy to see why many Berkshire Bigfoot encounters have occurred at October Mountain State Park. This 16,500 acres covers land in Washington, Lenox, Lee and Becket and has so much forest and dense cover for a Bigfoot to certainly hide within. For over 250 years people have reported witnessing tall, hairy, primate-like creatures, with angular faces, long arms, and moving with incredible speed, whilst others have found huge tracks or heard strange sounds.
While many reported sightings are dismissed as misidentified bears, many of the Berkshire witnesses were either experienced hunters or hikers who say they certainly know what a bear looks, and doesn't look like. This was the case of a hiker on October Mountain in July 1989, who pulled out his binoculars to view, what he believed, to be a black bear in the distance. He was shocked when he got a better look at what he quickly realized was definitely not a bear. It had reddish fur all over, even on its elongated face. It was as tall or taller than a person, slightly stooped over with long arms ending in large, human-like hands that reached its knees. Staying downwind to avoid detection, the hiker observed it's interesting behavior before he made a hasty retreat out of the forest. The creature was moving rocks and bits of wood as if in search for bugs or roots to eat, then carefully stacking the rocks into a tidy pile.
"I was frightened severely [sic] for several weeks and would not hike in that area of the mountain again without a hiking partner and a rifle. I will never forget what I saw … never! No way it was a bear or any other forest animal found in this part of the country." - Unidentified October Mountain witness, Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization Report #1199, 1998.
Hikers also have reported having rocks thrown at them by seemingly invisible assailants. Huge unidentified tracks have been recorded. Mature trees have been found torn apart for no apparent reason. Foul odors have been observed. Sounds commonly associated with Bigfoot communication, including wood knocks and vocalizations, have been noted in various secluded locations, including remote parts of October Mountain. While it is not known why or how Bigfoots make knocking sounds, researchers believe it is an important signature of the species. It may help them understand where they are in relation to each other.
One Berkshire resident reported a more extended experience with something living in the woods behind his house. The man and his wife lived on six forested acres in the sparsely populated town of Becket, which is adjacent to October Mountain and the Appalachian Trail. In the summer of 2011, he was twice awoken by loud howls unlike any sounds made by local wildlife. In late August, he heard three wood on wood knocks about 75-100 yards away from where he was sitting on his back porch. About ten minutes later, it happened again. The man decided to try an experiment and returned the knocks by hitting a piece of 8-foot by 9-foot board against his porch. Immediately, he heard two responding knocks, which he returned. This knock on wood conversation continued for about 15 minutes. For months the strange happenings continued and culminated when the man came eye to reddish eye with the creature one January night as he scanned his yard with a flashlight. He estimated it was at least 7 feet tall.