Michael Greene of Salisbury has attracted a lot of attention in his hunt for Bigfoot.
More than 300 people joined Greene and about 10 staff members of the Animal Planet cable-TV channel at the Eldorado Outpost on N.C. 109 near Troy and began a search for signs of the mysterious, perhaps mythical, creature on Saturday.
Green was glad to see the crowd.
“Five years ago, I joined the Bigfoot Field Research Organization (BFRO). I was just tired of doing this myself, a little discouraged, and had no one to talk to and share my hobby,” Greene said.
Greene’s interest in Bigfoot began when was working toward a master’s in behavioral psychology. He wrote a thesis on group hysteria, and one of the subjects he studied was Bigfoot.
He came to believe that Bigfoot was possibly a real entity, so the reading and investigation began.
Greene, a lifelong public servant who worked in several government agencies, convinced the Animal Planet crew to stop in the Troy area on their way to filming a series on Bigfoot sightings. The film crew will continue on to Florida, Georgia, Oregon and Washington state.
A six-show series is planned to air on Animal Planet this fall.
Greene, now 69 and retired, moved with his wife to Salisbury two years ago. They wanted to be near family and to investigate Bigfoot sightings in the area. North Carolina is a hotbed for sightings, according to BFRO investigators who attended Saturday.
John Pate, Tommy Poland and Olaf Seamen all told of the excitement of the hunt. Seamen drove six hours to join the search in the Uwharries, and he usually spends 10 weekends a year on the hunt.
“The more you look at something, the more the book opens up,” Pate said.
While some see the hunt as pure entertainment, the BFRO researchers say the subject is no longer the stuff of fantasy. BFRO now boasts scientists and university researchers.
David Pardue says he has pictures of his own sighting of a family of four Bigfoots. He claims to also possess evidence of territory marking by the creature. Pardue says that Bigfoot often twists a small tree, first one way and then another, laying it down to signify its territory. He says that Bigfoot can change his eyes to red, and makes an audible sound known to the investigators.
Since Bigfoot, aka Sasquatch, is nocturnal, most of the serious hunting is done at night.
“I have had very little sleep for a week. The Animal Planet crew stayed out all week till nearly 5 a.m.,” Greene said.
Greene usually doesn’t allow anyone to accompany him on the hunt, and he said that after recuperating for a week or so he’ll return to solitary searches.
On Saturday, Bigfoot enthusiasts began to arrive about midday. Most came by car or truck, but there were horses and four-wheelers, too. Even a helicopter, arranged by the Animal Planet crew, flew over the activities.
Matt Moneymaker, head of the BFRO, organized a grid search that started in a large hay field and moved into the woods. Television cameras and microphones surrounded the searchers as they looked for elusive clues.
Moneymaker instructed searchers to spread out and stay at arm’s length from each other as they formed a long line headed into the woods. He used a bullhorn to instruct everyone to look for hair on trees or barbed wire, nests of stick structures, trails cleared of twigs and limbs, and “tall boy trails.” Tall boy trails have been cleared of tree limbs and branches up to 8 feet high.
Hair samples were found, and the Animal Planet crew saved them for analysis.
Greene said the crowd was about what he expected on Saturday. He only had time for a short interview while guiding the TV crew and searchers.
“Let’s hope somebody gets lucky today,” Greene said just before the search for evidence of Bigfoot began.
While the show is in production, Greene and his fellow Bigfoot believers will stay on the hunt.
Popular baits to attract giant bi-peds are apples, peanut butter and candy bars.
The most popular of the candy bars is the hard to find Zagnut. The Eldorado Outpost of course had them displayed at the register and the cashier said, “We keep Bigfoot bait year round.”