When I first heard that Finding Bigfoot would be heading to Oklahoma, I immediately assumed we would visit the southeast corner of the state where there are mountains and thick forests. I was a little surprised when I found I was incorrect, and that we would be going to Oklahoma City instead. Certainly there was more bigfoot activity around Honobia and the other small towns down in the southeast. However, the evidence that was bringing us to Oklahoma City was compelling enough to make me very excited about what we’d be doing.
We were to meet with a man named Roger Roberts who had been looking into bigfoot encounters on a nearby Indian reservation. This reservation had quite a bit of activity over the years, including rumors of a video taken on a surveillance camera from the parking lot. This video purportedly showed a bigfoot raiding the grease trap behind a casino. The video is reported to had been destroyed at the direction of the tribal elders, though a number of witnesses had seen the video before it disappeared. The elders were rightly concerned because after word leaked out that bigfoots were being seen on the reservation, several horses were shot dead. Apparently, people would drive onto the reservation at night spotlighting the woods, and when they saw eye shine at a good height above the ground, they would shoot to kill (This is just one of many, many reasons I strongly advocate NOT trying to kill a sasquatch.). Roger had some footprint evidence, as well as some hair samples that he collected from the same time period that he strongly suspected was of sasquatch origin.
The footprint evidence was interesting. While the photos and the cast were a bit blobby due to the substrate the creature walked in, there were some interesting details that were visible, including toe impressions and a nicely rounded heel. The impressions measured over 17 inches, but the cast indicated that the foot was somewhere between 15 and 16 inches in length (the impressions do not necessarily indicate the length of the foot, but rather the length of the damage done to the ground by the foot). The step length was up to 57 inches. Ranae tried to duplicate the step length, which she did successfully, but failed to replicate this step length in combination with the lack of straddle that is so commonly found in bigfoot footprint trackways.
Of most interest to us was the hair sample. The hair sample had been found by a tribal game officer on an animal trail leading from a location where a bigfoot had been recently seen. It was found on some broken branches more than eight feet above the ground, which would seem to rule out that it was buffalo (which are kept nearby), bear, deer, or human hair. Roger had in his possession enough hairs to spare some for us to have tested for DNA material. In hair, all of the viable DNA is found in the medulla, or hollow center shaft of the hair. This is a bit problematic because bigfoot hair tends to have fragmentary medullas, if any is present at all. However, a DNA lab in Oklahoma City called DNA Solutions offered to test the sample to see if any material could be extracted for testing. If nothing else, they could examine the hair and tell us what animals the could eliminate as a possible source for the hairs. Also of value is that they could get the results back to us in about a week.
Dr. Brandt Cassidy of DNA Solutions was unable to extract any DNA material from the hairs. He said that the samples were just too old and had not been stored in the the optimal way to prevent the gradual breaking down of the DNA material. However, he was clear about a few things. While superficially similar to a person’s hair, the hair did not appear to be human in origin. First off the hair shafts had tapered ends which would indicate that the hairs had never been subjected to a hair cut. Another difference that was found was that the medulla width was different than what is commonly found among humans. I was supplied with photographs of his microscopic analysis, and I was interested in the fact that the hairs showed to have a reddish tinge when lit from behind, even though the hair appeared to be black when viewed against other backgrounds. This reddish tinge is another distinct characteristic of bigfoot hair. No other results were obtained by future testing of this hair, though Dr. Cassidy has provided me with some interesting articles about proving unknown species by DNA barcoding.
While the data we worked with in Oklahoma turned out to yield no definitive results, the trip was quite eye-opening. The flat lands around Oklahoma City do in fact hold bigfoots, though if you would have asked me ten or twenty years ago, I might not have thought that. Bigfoots continually surprise me with their ability to adapt to a wide variety of habitats. They live practically under our noses and in our backyards, and do so without being detected except for the rare glimpse by a lucky few. The more I learn about bigfoots, the more in awe of them I become. I hope you share my respect for them.
Enjoy the slideshow of my photographs from Oklahoma:
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