Bigfoot? Yep, they’ve seen it here

This whole area is “squatched out.”

The crew from Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot came to the Allegheny National Forest in the fall to check on reports of sasquatches in the area.

The show from that visit aired Sunday night.

While members of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) state there is certainly sasquatch activity on the forest, they also claim there are too many people out “squatching” for their efforts to be effective.

The team wanted to talk with the young men who took the Pennsylvania Go Cart Video. That video and the Jacobs Photos are some of the more famous evidence of sasquatch activity on the ANF.

After re-creating the circumstances of the video, the members of the team quickly came to the conclusion that the video was a hoax. But they were in the area and had arranged a town hall meeting in McKean County with other witnesses.

Among those who spoke on camera was “Grandpa” Dave Wargo of Akeley.

At the meeting, Wargo was one of more than 50 people who raised their hands to indicate they had witnessed something they believe was or could have been a sasquatch.

Only about one-third of those people agreed to talk on camera.

“They don’t want to be considered nuts or crazy,” said Wargo, adding that was not an issue for him. “I’m at a station in life where I don’t care… I know what I seen.”

Running into Wargo was no surprise for the people on the show.

An advance group was in Warren buying camping supplies at Allegheny Outfitters – Wargo’s employer.

Not one to shy away from a conversation, Wargo started asking questions.

When a man explained they were in the area to film witnesses’ accounts of sasquatch activity, “I just start smiling,” Wargo said.

Wargo said he has seen and smelled evidence of sasquatch several times including about 40 years ago in Ohio and in 2010 in Warren County. The TV show’s producers were interested in the local event.

In May or June of that year, Wargo said, he was driving a van with a trailer loaded with canoes south on Route 62 in Pleasant Township. He was about five miles south of Route 6 near the tip of Thompsons Island.

A game trail meets the road there and Wargo has seen live animals and roadkill there regularly. He said he was surprised by what he saw on this occasion.

“The thing crossed the road in front of me,” he said. “It looked like a person with hair sprayed on it.”

Wargo described seeing a sasquatch step over a guard rail and run across a road in the forest. He said the creature didn’t break stride in clearing the rail and took three-and-a-half steps to cross the road.

“That guard rail comes up to about my belly-button,” Wargo said. “He didn’t even break cadence. He just stepped over that, crossed the road and went up the hillside.”

“It definitely had to be eight foot tall,” he said.

Wargo came to the spot seconds after the creature left the road. “I was looking at the westbound end of an eastbound sasquatch,” he said.

Cliff Barackman of BFRO asked Wargo if he had been close enough to make out details like muscle tone.

“I could see its muscles,” Wargo said. In particular, “I could see its butt muscles.”

According to Barackman, the presence of an inter-gluteal cleft was a key piece of evidence that what Wargo saw could not have been a man in a ghillie-suit.

In re-enacting the creature’s path, Barackman had to use his hands to clear the guard rail and took more than five jumping strides to cross the road.

Wargo said he was being followed closely by a tractor trailer and couldn’t stop immediately after seeing the creature.

When he found a safe location, he pulled over and turned around.

The creature was long gone, but other signs remained. Its feet were still wet from the river when it hit the road.

“I could see wet footprints on the pavement,” Wargo said. “I have size 14 feet, EEEE. I have big, flat feet.”

“His track was six inches longer than my footprint and about four inches wider,” he said.

There was more evidence.

“In mornings, in the hills here, we have thermals,” he said. “The shady side of the hill, the breeze goes down the hill. This was the shady side of the hill.'”

“This real pungent odor was on the breeze,” he said. “That odor is so pungent. It just hangs in the air.”

He said he remembered the smell from when he had encountered a sasquatch in the mid-1970s. “We had these things visit that area,” he said.

“The thing that sold them the most was the muscle and the smell,” Wargo said.

The whole show was not about Wargo’s experience. The team did its own on-site investigation.

After taking a boat to their target zone and doing some preliminary searching, the team soon had some evidence. Ranae Holland saw green-white eyeshine. Some members heard a knock. Two members heard a creature nearby that they said was following them.

Most of the team left for the town hall meeting in Lafayette Township, McKean County. James “Bobo” Fay remained to continue the search.

Late that night he donned his batting gloves and whacked a tree with a bat to create knocks.

He said he was quickly rewarded with a ‘whoop.’

After a quick search, he was disappointed to discover other ‘squatchers’ in the area.

“This area’s squatched out,” Fay said.

They moved on to the Kinzua Viaduct. At that location, they used high-tech imaging from an elevated position and specialized audio – including whale songs they expected sasquatches to be curious about – as well as old-fashioned boots on the ground.

The terrain did not work out to their advantage, but they were again confident their steps were being dogged by Bigfoot.

Wargo believes the BFRO team will be more successful in seeing sasquatches when they practice silence.

“I think they make too much noise in the woods,” he said. “A deer can hear you whisper at 75 yards. They’re talking on those two-way radios. Anything that’s attuned to nature” will be spooked.

Wargo met three of the four members of the team.

“I didn’t get to meet Bobo,” he said. “He’s the one I really wanted to meet because he’s crazy.”

Wargo said he has been the target of some ribbing since the details of the show came out. But people have also been seeking him out to tell them their stories – about Bigfoot, UFOs and other topics.

“I’ve had like 10 people come up to me in the last week since all this came out and tell me Bigfoot stories,” he said. “There’s a lot more stories out there.”