General

The time I followed in Bigfoot’s steps (yeah, really) …

Four years ago — back when the Wisch List was a blog at chicagotribune.com (just the third-ever blog for the Trib, by the way) —  I “investigated” an entertaining flurry of supposed Bigfoot sightings along the Illinois River near the town of Seneca for a print story and then delved into minds of Bigfoot believers in my blog.

As well as the history of Bigfoot sightings in the Land of Lincoln, which is much richer than you might realize.

Well, with it being Halloween Eve (All Hallow’s Eve Eve?) and all, I figured why not share a good monster story.

Remnants of the Wisch List still sort of exist (just barely) at chicagotribune.com, but the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (yes, there is such a thing) has my blog posted in its entirety on the BFRO Web site.

You can start the story here, and finish it there …

Bigfoot believers … what do they believe?

Oct. 10, 2005

By DAVE WISCHNOWSKY

Chicago Tribune

If this were Washington state, the rumors might not even raise an eyebrow.

If the City of Chicago were nestled in the heart of the Himalayas (I’d like to see Daniel Burnham’s urban plan for that one), the stories might be downright ho-hum.

But, reports of Bigfoot sightings … in Illinois?

Well, now, that’s unexpected.

But, would you believe it’s not the first time?

Not even close, as a matter of fact.

This summer, the Illinois River town of Seneca (pop. 2,053), located about 70 miles southwest of Chicago, produced reports of alleged Bigfoot encounters along a stretch of DuPont Road in a heavily-wooded area just south of the river.

Four accounts — two of which were from this June, while the others date to 1979 and 1983 — were deemed credible enough by a volunteer investigator with the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization to be posted on the organization’s Web site, www.bfro.net.

The Seneca reports are among a total of 44 Illinois sightings listed on the BFRO site, with the oldest dating back to 1883, near Decatur.

That number actually gives Illinois the 16th-most documented Bigfoot sightings in the United States (one sighting behind Kentucky and one ahead of Indiana). Washington leads with 372, followed by California (322), Oregon (186) and — somewhat surprisingly — Ohio (181) and Texas (151).

It’s well known, of course, that there are people who believe in Bigfoot, and that includes some people living in the Land of Lincoln.

But what exactly do they believe in? And why do they believe in a creature that — in an era of satellite imagery, surveillance cameras and increased urbanization — has never been proven to exist?

To continue reading, visit the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization official site