PICKAWAY – Bigfoot, when many people hear the word they automatically think of Washington, Oregon. The forests of the pacific northwest, but did you know Ohio is one of the top states in the nation for Bigfoot encounters. Ohio usually ranks third or fourth in the country in the number of reports annually. Hunters, farmers, those living outside the major cities of Ohio report encounters with tall bipedal ape-like creatures.
Ohio’s Bigfoot often goes by the name “The Grassman.” The origins of the term Grassman are vague. I’ve heard the story that settlers who first came through the Ohio region saw these creatures sitting in the meadows, in the tall grass…hence the term Grassman. However, we don’t know for sure. Reports of Bigfoot encounters in our state go back quite a ways. A newspaper account from January 26th, 1869 tells of an encounter In Gallipolis. The creature called “a Wildman’ described as “naked, covered with hair, and gigantic in height’ attacked a carriage containing a man and his daughter. It pulled the man from the carriage and began to ‘bite and scratch him like an animal.’ The attack ended when the daughter climbed from the carriage and threw a stone hitting it in the head. The creature didn’t seem to be hurt or even stunned but this, but simply looked like it had grown tired of the whole affair and simply got up and walked off.
You will see the term ‘Wildman” used in these old articles and accounts, the name Bigfoot wasn’t coined until the mid-1900s. Ohio is home to the largest Bigfoot Conference in the World, “The Ohio Bigfoot Conference” is held annually at Salt Fork State Park. My good friend Marc Deworth runs the conference, Marc is the top Bigfoot investigator in the state. The conference has over 650 attendees, and another 2,500 people come through the Salt Fork Lodge to check out the event. The park is famous the world over for its Sasquatch activity. It has had features on the TV shows “Monsterquest” as well as “Finding Bigfoot.” Salt Fork is in eastern Ohio in the middle of what is known as “The Sasquatch Triangle,” the park and surrounding counties have a large number of reports. The whole region is heavily wooded, and it’s prime “Bigfoot Country’.
Bigfoot can be found all over Ohio however.. food, water, cover are the three things these creatures need. One fellow Bigfoot researcher told me “where there are trees there’s Sasquatch.” I think for the most part that’s correct. Its right these creatures do live out in the wilderness away from the man, but you can also find them just on the edges of society. I think some Bigfoot are more curious about us Humans than others. A witness who lives outside Portsmouth Ohio told me of his encounter with a Bigfoot. The man was in his living room one-night sitting on the couch watching Television when he heard a noise coming from outside the window behind him. He turned his head to look out the window and came face to face with a Bigfoot looking right back at him. The man ran screaming to his bedroom to retrieve his gun when he returned to the living room the creature was gone. He told me he believed the Bigfoot was interested in his T.V.
Closer to a home east of Circleville is Clear Creek metro park. A few years ago a photographer doing a photoshoot in the park and caught what he says is a Bigfoot in the background of one of his photos. I’ve seen the picture, it is a compelling image…you can see an ape-like creature amongst the trees. It’s either a gorilla or a Bigfoot, and I personally think a Bigfoot would make more sense.
There aren’t too many Bigfoot reports in the immediate Circleville/Pickaway county area, likely because most of the countryside in Central Ohio has long ago turned into farmland. Lots of corn, but not much trees. You don’t have to go far if you are searching for Bigfoot, drive about 15-20 minutes east and you begin to enter the Hooking Hills region which is known as Bigfoot territory. So next time you’re out in the woods, in a park, or maybe even in your backyard keep your eyes and ears open you never know what you might encounter.