Bigfoot sightings not uncommon in Kosciusko County
By STACEY ANDERSON
The putrid stench, the unexplained blood-curdling screams in the night and brief sightings of hairy creatures with super-human
size and strength can only mean one thing: Bigfoot is looming in Kosciusko County.
Mike Bardsley of North Webster does not claim to be a Bigfoot expert, nor will he say he believes the legendary creature
actually makes its home here. But he is certain that something extraordinary does, at least occasionally, lurk in the wooded
areas of our county.
"My personal opinion is, having read countless reports from all over the nation and having discussed this topic with many,
many people from literally all around the nation, that whatever Bigfoot/Sasquatch really is, he does move from place to place,
time to time, at his own leisure and time of choice," Bardsley explained. "(He) is held to no specific agenda, other than
the one he sets for himself, and if he should choose to walk through your back yard day or night, he will do so whether you
live in Texas, Oregon, Pennsylvania or Indiana."
Alleged sightings of the half-man half-ape creature have been reported in Indiana since the 1970s and Bardsley has made
it his full-time hobby to research such sightings, searching for any clues that could explain the mystery that has consumed
legend lovers for centuries.
Those who claim to have had close encounters with the mysterious creature report commonalities like a smell of rancid meat,
physical features that include a height of 7 feet to 10 feet with massive shoulders up to 3 feet wide and long, powerful arms.
Estimated at up to 500 pounds, it is also said to be covered in thick black or dirty white/gray long hair, possess superhuman
strength and quickness, and travel by walking upright. Many witnesses have said the ape-like thing vocalizes with high-pitched
screams, growls, grunts, howls or low rumbling noises unlike any other creature.
Such creatures are allegedly seen in wooded areas that have nearby water sources such as a creek, river or even lake. And,
with local sightings commonly reported in April and October, most believers say Bigfoot is most active at night.
Bardsley became a believer in the beast one October night in 2003.
"I had a real creepy feeling one night but thought maybe I was just paranoid because I was hearing noises outside the trailer,"
he said. "I’d been asleep about 40 minutes when the kids started banging on the door and screaming."
Bardsley explained that his then 15-year-old son and two of his friends arrived at their rural North Webster trailer late
one night. Though close to 1 a.m., a full moon illuminated the woodsy area and the bank of a small, private lake just a stone’s
throw from the trailer.
Hearing a noise as the three approached the darkened trailer, one of the boys looked toward the water where he observed
and commented on a stump. Bardsley’s son noted there was no stump by the water and, when he and the third boy looked,
the "stump" stood and faced the boys. "Even in the moonlight they knew it was not a deer. It was big and standing on two legs,"
Bardsley said, noting the boys began yelling and banging on the door, begging to be let in.
The boys claimed the creature began running away, splashing through the shallow water and making grunting noises as it
fled. Seconds later, the thing was hurrying back toward them, but disappeared beyond the remaining fall foliage.
"I created the Web site (www.bigfoot46555.net) within two weeks of that because odd things kept happening and that drug
out for four months."
And the sightings do not end with Bardsley. On his Web site, people from all areas of Kosciusko County have reported their
own encounters with a large hairy ape-like figure.
One of the most recent came at about 5 p.m. Friday, April 2, 2004.
Although Bardsley withholds the woman’s name, he said she reportedly saw two large figures, covered in black hair,
crossing CR 1100N at CR 300E, near Dewart Lake. "My Suburban has my Web site name and address on it and the family stopped
me at the grocery store to tell me about the sighting," noted Bardsley, who has since added the woman’s story to his
And there are more reports ranging in proximity from Syracuse’s Chinese Gardens and Bowser Road to a frightening
encounter in Tri-County Fish & Wildlife Preserve, to rural sightings in Mentone, Warsaw and Silver Lake.
Still, despite years and years of research and exploration by scientists searching for the elusive humanlike beast that
is mainly a creature said to live in the Pacific Northwest, most often seen in the mountains of California, Oregon and Washington,
and in the British Columbia in Canada, Bardsley knows it will take nothing but a miracle to prove the existence of such creatures
is more than mythical.
With no photos and no hard evidence to prove a Sasquatch/Bigfoot type beast exists — not even a corpse of such a
creature has ever been found — Bardsley can only presume that whatever lurks in the woods is an intelligent species
that mostly avoids man and may even bury or otherwise dispose of their dead. "Obviously it’s only speculative, like
everything that we know about (Bigfoot)," he explained. "But it may explain why no one has ever found a body."
He also said, "In theory, if you send someone out in the wild in a given area known to have a bear population and gave
them a mission to find a carcass, they wouldn’t find one. Upon death, nature has a way of quickly disintegrating a carcass."
To explain the bone-chilling screams and growls associated with Bigfoot, Bardsley noted, "The DNR says large cats can make
screaming sounds, like a woman screaming, but what we heard was louder and different and everyone who reports it says the
same thing; it’s a sound like nothing else."
DNR Lt. John Sullivan of District 1 Law Enforcement, Syracuse, said his office has never received a report of any Bigfoot
sightings or otherwise. "But we do get panther or cougar reports," he told. "People think they see those from time to time."
While Bardsley has never had the excitement of seeing a Sasquatch himself, he insisted he believes his son and his friends
and he is certain that his quest for the truth will continue. "Hundreds of people have been seeing something over hundreds
of years. If Sasquatch does not exist, then what are people seeing?" he asked.
- The Mail-Journal - Milford Indiana
Wednesday, August 17, 2005