Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 17th, 2010
Andy Xie of Bejing is pleased with the photo that a friend snapped of him with the Bigfoot wood carving at Saturday’s Bigfoot Discovery Day in Felton. (Bill Lovejoy/Sentinel)
Reporter Jory John of the Mercury News summarizes the events from Felton, California:
Skeptics need not apply.
The Alliance of Independent Bigfoot Researchers and the Bigfoot Discovery Project presented the annual Bigfoot Discovery Day Saturday, staged at the Bigfoot Discovery Museum. The all-day gathering began in 2006.
From local investigators to interested families with children, more than 50 people attended the outdoor lunch and roundtable discussion, where purported Bigfoot sightings and evidence were presented, and numerous stories were told with an emphasis on Santa Cruz County.
Bigfoot Discovery Museum founder and curator Michael Rugg officiated, answering questions and facilitating much of the day’s discussion. Rugg said the goal of the annual Discovery Day is to get people in Santa Cruz County to realize that the museum is not just a roadside attraction on the side of Highway 9, but a center for diligent research.
“We have plenty of evidence of a Bigfoot presence up here in the mountains,” Rugg said. “I have some vocalizations we’ve recorded, we have some video that we shot locally, and we have a number of eye witnesses who have reported sightings. In our testing, we’ve come up with more evidence to indicate it’s true than the opposite.”
Rugg, who recounted his own Bigfoot sighting as a toddler in 1950, told the gathered crowd that, since he founded the museum in 2004, he’s had an opportunity to further his research and hear numerous firsthand tales of sightings.
“Our museum is trying to serve as an advocate for eyewitnesses,” he said. “People have been reporting anomalous events that our scientific authority figures have relegated to complete nonsense. What we’re saying is, give these folks a break. There are plenty of things to learn yet.”
Entering the Bigfoot Discovery Museum, one is confronted by plaster casts of giant feet, looping footage of the infamous Patterson-Gimlin film, where an unidentified creature bounds across the screen, and Bigfoot-themed art. There is also a wall-sized map of Santa Cruz County, with pushpins detailing reported local sightings, stretching from the Santa Cruz Mountains to Nisene Marks State Park in Aptos.
Boulder Creek resident Bill Tucker, a longtime volunteer with the museum who stood behind the counter alongside Capitola resident Mike Barrow, recounted his own experience coming into contact with the unknown. Tucker was camping in Washington in 1987, he said, in an isolated campground. He found himself at a river, where he had the feeling that he was being watched.
“Then, a bunch of rocks came across the river,” he said. “This happened, off and on, for the next 12 hours. Something was trying to keep me out of there. I began to believe right then.”
Barrow said that his interest stemmed from the Patterson film, which was released when he was 7.
“It grabbed my imagination and, ever since, I’ve been looking,” he said.
Pleasanton resident Tom Yamarone has been involved with the museum in various capacities since it opened, he said. Yamarone, who writes Bigfoot-related folksongs, which he performed later in the evening, said that he was encouraged by Saturday’s turnout.
“My interest in the subject is very active,” Yamarone said. “It’s great to see so many people turn out for this.”
The Discovery Day moved to the Louden Nelson Center later in the evening, where further presentations were given, including discussions on the latest game-camera technology used in Bigfoot-tracking and a historical slide-show of newspaper reports on Bigfoot dating back to the mid-1800s.
Rugg said the day was a success. He added that he founded the museum in 2004 because he wanted to “have a bigger part in trying to solve this mystery.”
“I’m so sure this is real, I don’t care what anybody says,” he said.