Field Notes – North Carolina
The Finding Bigfoot episode we filmed in North Carolina was the first of six episodes we shot this past winter. We were in the area to investigate the thermal footage obtained by the former chief of welfare and food stamp fraud investigator (with 21 counties and 250 investigators working under him), long-time bigfooter, and friend of the ‘squatch, Mike Greene, that I believe shows a sasquatch.
Though the focus of our visit was Greene’s video, we did several night investigations in the Uwharrie National Forest. On one of these night investigations, we focused on an area where a group of witnesses possibly encountered several sasquatches a number of years ago. The camp was a several hour walk by trail, but only a 40 minute walk across country.
After navigating thick woods for around three-quarters of an hour, we arrived at the location. The camp was located in a shallow, bowl-shaped valley. The surrounding hills were covered in trees and bushes, and a small stream trickled nearby. It was an excellent place for sasquatches to potentially hang out. The valley had water, cover, lots of deer sign, was sheltered from the winds, and was very quiet so any bigfoots could hear what was going on in their area. These bigfoots could also navigate the surrounding high areas and observe the activities of any intruders.
We started the night by knocking and calling. Soon, a car was heard in the distance. One of the crew said he heard something right at the beginning of the car noise that was perhaps something different, and he suggested that it was a howl. Later checking the recording indicated that no other noise was recorded but the vehicle.
At one point in the evening, Ranae noted that she saw eye shine coming from the surrounding hillsides. I set out alone to find what it was, and after a long trudge in the brush I discovered that there were a number of small owls in the surrounding woods. The owls were recorded on thermal imager, and in my opinion, were super cool to see flying about through the trees.
It was getting quite late, perhaps 2:00 am, and everyone’s nerves were stretched thin. I had just been suited back up with a backpack camera for one more jaunt through the woods, and the tech guy turned on all my gear, including the DVR recorder which took the feed from my thermal imager. Everyone present was gathered in a loose group by the fire, when I hear Matt Moneymaker ask, “Who’s on the hill?”
“Nobody, Matt,” someone replied.
“Someone is. Cliff, is that you? Bobo? Ranae?” he questioned.
“Matt, nobody’s on the hill.”
Ranae took a moment and glanced at Matt, who was standing a little ways back from the group. He had his thermal imager pointed uphill into the darkness. Ranae later told me that she could see the thermal’s LCD screen, and she observed a human-shaped figure standing alone on the hill, arms hanging down at its side, seemingly just watching our circus. Then is started to move.
Matt yelled at it, “Identify yourself!” Whatever it was froze in mid-stride on one leg and just stood there for a few brief seconds.
At this point, I turned my thermal imager to the same direction in which Matt was looking. What I saw was a man-shaped figure moving from left to right across my thermal’s LCD screen. It swung its arms as it walked, but in a strange way, almost like a wader would as he pulls himself through water. Its legs moved in a peculiar fashion, similar to the way legs move when one rides a bike. The upper torso smoothly lurched (if that makes any sense) as it moved. It indeed had a very unusual gait. As was noted by both Ranae and I, the figure was one color from head to toe, indicating that it was probably not wearing any clothing (thermal imagers only see heat, and where one is wearing clothing, less heat radiates outward to the environment). Also of note is that the figure was navigating the hill without a light in complete darkness.
Right then, Matt took off after it running up the hill. Two camera men saw television happening right before their eyes and launched into action, following Matt towards the figure. I saw Matt and the two camera men in my thermal right as the figure disappeared over the top of the hill.
Knowing that whatever I had just seen could only be a bigfoot or a human, I thought it unwise to approach the figure directly. I moved off to my right along the base of the hill hoping to catch a glimpse of the figure from another angle. My adrenaline was pumping madly, and the thought of having just captured thermal footage of a sasquatch was blowing my mind.
I did not see the figure again, and I later found out that Matt never caught up to it. Matt was armed with both a thermal imager and a night vision monocular, and both camera men had star light scopes on their cameras. The figure only had a 50 yard head start. The pursuers completely lost all trace of this mysterious figure in a matter of a few moments.
When I returned to camp, I was disappointed to find my colleagues engaged in a heated debate. I was exhausted, and especially so because of the amazing adrenaline rush I had just experienced. I didn’t want any part of the ugly conversation.
Upon reviewing my tape, the first part of the footage shows the figure only as a blip of light disappearing over the top of the hill as Matt and the two camera men lumber upwards through the woods after it. (This footage can be seen in the episode, and in it Matt was highlighted by a circle.) I have no explanation as to why my gear only started recording at that point instead of having captured the entire sequence. After all, the tech guy activated the recorder only a few minutes before this whole thing started. Nobody touched my gear in the interim. I cannot explain it, but it’s the maddening truth.
As the night’s epic fail settled in on my exhausted mind, I stood away from everyone else being completely bummed out in the darkness. I watched the cast and crew argue among themselves about who did what, and what should have been done instead of what actually was done. After 15 hours of work, I didn’t have a lot of energy to give to fruitless arguments.
Just then, a loud grunt/growl came from the woods above me. It sounded like a guttural, “Huuuh!,” and was emanating from the same general area where the bipedal figure disappeared a while before. Bobo also heard the same noise. Though we had not shot the Florida episode yet, it was the same kind of grunt/growl that we would later hear on the Bridges’ property. Looking back, perhaps it was the bigfoot having the last laugh on us.
It should be noted that Matt really did think that the figure was a human. In fact, he still does. I am less than sure of this, but he could be correct. He told me that he could see clothing on it, but I have a different memory of what I saw. This event points out two important issues: that two different observers might remember something a little different, and that thermal imagers are not the ultimate tool. Thermals can “blow out” an image, thus making figures look all one color depending on the imager’s settings and indiviual characteristics. I saw the figure through a different imager than Matt did. Ranae witnessed the figure through Matt’s imager, and noted that it looked to be all one temperature from head to toe. I am not sure about Bobo’s observations. However, Matt did have the longest time to observe the figure.
I cannot seem to make up my mind about that night. Did I see a bigfoot through my thermal imager, or was it a very strange human? I don’t know. Based on the context, behavior, gait, and later vocalization, I kind of think that I finally got to see a bigfoot, but I honestly don’t really know. Worse yet, I never will.