Tonight we will be discussing our research on Larry Battson’s Wild World!
“You wouldn’t think Central Indiana would be Bigfoot’s habitat of choice. With most of this land wiped clean to make way for cornfields and cookie-cutter housing developments, it’s hard enough for deer to find room to roam. But if you venture out a little, you find this part of the state still has some overgrown patches of land tucked away along winding country roads, places where you might say with a straight face: Bigfoot could hide here.
That was my reaction as I followed a red Dodge pickup truck from a grocery store parking lot in Greencastle to the overgrown area where the Sasquatch/Bigfoot Research Unit (SBRU) does its thing.
HOUSE IN THE WOODS
While there are a few other members peppered around the Midwest, Austin Hutchison and Tyler Vance are the main researchers in the SBRU. Since they’re both 16 and don’t have their licenses, Hutchison’s dad, Mark, drove the truck leading me to their house in the woods. Luckily for the two Greencastle High School sophomores, they don’t need to travel far to do their research. In fact, they report spotting Bigfoot three times in the wooded lot that doubles as a motocross course right next to Vance’s house. It was there that, while hitting golf balls, Vance spotted Bigfoot for the first time, crouching in the shadowy gully behind a blue shed. The muddy motorcycle track that cuts through this lot has proven perfect for yielding Bigfoot prints, one of which was saved as a plaster cast. This was the busiest year for the SBRU, which formed 3 years ago when Hutchison and Vance met in class and found out they shared an interest in Bigfoot - a mysterious creature people all over the world claim to see each year. For these two friendly and earnest young men, there’s no doubt Bigfoot exists. Even after talking with Vance and Hutchison and seeing their evidence, I’m a little skeptical about Bigfoot taking up residence here. But I’m not skeptical about these two young researchers. It’s wonderful that they believe in something with so much passion - they are brave enough to act on those beliefs without worrying what people might think. You have to love a non-conformist Bigfoot hunter!
ON THE TRAIL
While I’ve been a non-conformist for a long time, this Bigfoot hunt was my very first. As we talked about their past experiences, we trudged through the muddy path in the woodsy land near Vance’s family home. They showed me the fading remnants of the last footprint they found frozen in the mud. It wasn’t much bigger than my foot, but the guys said this Bigfoot was a young one who, by their description, sounds like me without a shave and a shower. As we moved on down the trail, Hutchison and Vance demonstrated how they call for Bigfoot. This is a two-part process that involves recordings of animal noises from a boom box, and “tree knocking” with a baseball bat. As it would turn out, this was my favorite part of the expedition. I felt like I was in the middle of a performance art piece, striking the tree in a pattern with a black Derek Jeter bat while pigs squealed, bears roared and apes grunted through the portable speakers. We didn’t ear any sounds in return but distant gunfire.
THE GREAT DE- BAITAfter we hiked up a hill and through the lot, we came out to a broad expanse of open field. Large dense forests bookened each side. Hutchison and Vance hoped to draw Bigfoot to the edge of the closest woods by putting out bait, which they spend about $20 a week on. This time, Hutchison scattered around pork neck bones, a jar of grape jelly, a head of lettuce, Vienna sausages, shredded carrots, and cooked and uncooked bacon. Thrown in a couple of cake donuts and they probably would have caught me sneaking back into the woods. Hutchison also hung some items in a plastic bag from trees as a way to be sure four-legged animals, or short, lazy humans weren’t the ones snapping up the goodies. While we set our bait, Hutchison and Vance found a long, white hair snagged on a rock. Excited about this as possible evidence, they said they’d send it off to Tom Biscardi, a nationally known Bigfoot researcher who visited them in November. DREAM CATCHERSAs the sun began setting, the Bigfoot hunt became a waiting game. With my fingers and toes frozen and that bacon making my stomach growl, I chose to let Hutchison and Vance do the waiting and headed back to a tasty buffet in Greencastle. But the researchers wrote me later to say they gathered some good evidence during the follow-up trips that extended into the early morning hours. Some of their tree knocking resulted in knocks of response, as well as some other vocal sounds. While they spend hours in search of Bigfoot, Hutchison and Vance (as well as me on this trip) find what they’re looking for every time they go hunting - a fun time living out their dreams.”