WHITEHALL, N.Y. (WGRZ) -- The Adirondack Mountains have many tales to tell, and likely keep even more secrets.
The town of Whitehall, NY is tucked away in the southeast corner of
the range -- population a little over two thousand -- and for the most
part, it's a quiet place to live.
But spend some time in its deep forests, or hike its brooding
mountains, and you might come to understand why many folks in town think
something strange is out there.
Accounts of Bigfoot sightings have become legend over the years, a
cultural phenomenon, evolving from tales whispered around a campfire to
questionable accounts documented on reality TV.
But Whitehall has been a hot bed of Bigfoot activity for hundreds of
years. Paul Bartholomew is an author and Whitehall resident. He's been
researching this phenomena for almost 40 years.
"You can go all the way back to the Algonquin and the Iroquois and
their stories of the Giant Men and the Giant Men Of The Mountains, and
the Stone Giants," Bartholomew said. "In the 1800's they were called
"wild men" or "strange bears", so there's a consistent pattern of
sightings from the Algonquin and Iroquois to the present day that
maintains this mystery."
Bartholomew has documented scores of sightings over the years, has
even collected physical evidence such as plaster casts of huge bare
footprints found in the area. But the most compelling testimony comes
from Whitehall's most famous incident, which happened in August of 1976.
The sightings took place over a two day period, beginning with the
initial encounter by three teenagers on lonely Abair Road outside of the
town. The trio were hanging out on the deserted back road when they got
the shock of their lives.
Bartholomew explains, "This is a drawing done
by Eric Miner, an excellent artist in Whitehall, and Eric took
eyewitness testimony based on the Abair Road incident from 1976, which
was multiple witnesses, and from that he was able to draw what may be
the closest representation of what the Abair Road creature actually
Bartholomew guided our sister station WGRZ to the deserted spot and pointed
out a marker on a telephone pole that measured the creature's height.
"This is where... the height of the creature, you see right next to that
four up there, that would represent the approximate height of the
creature that was sighted back in August of '76. Was described as being
between seven and eight feet tall, having red glowing eyes, walking like
a man, but looking more like a gorilla, and it was reported by multiple
witnesses that it made a sound like a pig squealing or a woman
Bartholomew says that what makes this encounter even more intriguing
is that during the two-day stretch, the creature was also seen by a
number of police officers.
"We had the Whitehall Police, the NY State
Police, and a Washington County Deputy Sheriff all respond to the scene.
There were multiple witnesses, many don't want to go on record, some
have, and we have this sighting of a creature up here by police as well
Although the 1976 incident is still widely debated, that was not the
end of the sightings. There have been numerous encounters in the decades
since the Abair Road sightings.
In 2010, a local landowner caught a
startling photo on a trail camera. Many speculate that it is an owl
caught in the photo, but others think it's something else.
evidence that we have analyzed, the photo that has been analyzed says
that it was taken at a distance," Bartholmew states. "It wasn't taken
close to the camera, and if that's the perspective we're dealing with... something very large, larger than a man."
WGRZ 2 The Outdoors reporter Terry Belke ventures another interesting
aspect of the photo. "The really intriguing thing about that is that
little paw, it looks like a little paw."
Bartholomew replies, "There does look to be almost a paw tucked under,
and some people have suggested that maybe it's some sort of creature
No matter what has been roaming these mountains, the town has gone
from denial to acceptance, embracing the legend for all that it's worth.
There's a statue of a Sasquatch in town and in 2004, Whitehall even
enacted legislation protecting Bigfoot from hunters.
But no matter what
people believe, there's no denying so many witnesses... people are seeing
something in those dark hills.
"The witnesses that have come forward, a
select group of witnesses, are very highly credible, have nothing to gain
by this, and are extremely honest and their story hasn't changed over
the years," says Bartholomew. "It's these stories -- and occasional track finds and things
like that -- that keep me leaning towards this all being a reality, and
that this is simply an unclassified creature."