Salt Fork State Park

Ashland Source correspondent Waylon O'Donnell traveled to Salt Fork State Park to discover the truth of last week's bigfoot sightings.

LORE CITY — Cryptozoology, the study of cryptids and animals in folklore such as the Loch Ness Monster, the Yeti and the Jersey Devil, has always interested me. 

My original taste for the research of mythical and undocumented creatures such as the sasquatch presumably stems from a tale my grandmother told me as a child. 

My grandfather, my grandmother and my adolescent father were driving home from a friend’s house in Western Pennsylvania where they lived. My grandmother purportedly witnessed a large, unexplainable animal run out in front of the vehicle. 

Being a child at the time, my father recalls being in the backseat shaken by what his mother had just spotted. My grandfather, who was driving the vehicle at the time, did not notice the creature.

My grandmother noted that the being was running upright on its hind legs and taking long strides across the road. Initially, they speculated it was some sort of kangaroo that perhaps had escaped from the zoo. After much thought, my grandmother concluded that the creature was Bigfoot.

Because of this memory, it always entices me whenever an article regarding Bigfoot slides across my desk. Recently, several news entities in Ohio have reported on two men who supposedly caught the most infamous cryptid on film at Salt Fork State Park near Lore City.

I reached out to the Southeastern Ohio Society for Bigfoot Investigations (SOSBI) seeking their opinion on the sightings. Steve Blair, Bigfoot investigator for SOSBI, generously offered his thoughts on the matter.

“I believe it was a hoax, personally,” said Blair. “There were just too many red flags. If you look at the picture and you look right around the waistline, you can tell there is some kind of a suit.” 

His response disappointed me; I truly wanted the sightings to lead somewhere. I asked him if Salt Fork State Park was a popular area for Bigfoot encounters.

“It’s definitely a hotspot for Bigfoots and has been for many years,” said Blair. “There’s a whole area down there that’s been dubbed ‘Bigfoot Triangle.’”

That’s all I needed to hear. My curiosity getting the better of me, I beckoned him for advice on pursuing these animals.

“They are very curious creatures,” Blair said. “If you put yourself in the right area and let them come to you, that’s your best shot at finding one.”

I packed up a bag for the day and began the near two-hour drive to Salt Fork State Park. It was chilly outside, but the weather was decent and a hike through the woods seemed appealing to me.

After the lengthy journey, I parked my vehicle near one of the trails and began my trek into the forest. I meandered down a trail that led me past a multitude of moss-covered boulders and a frozen lake. 

Supposedly, it has been said that you can smell a Bigfoot before seeing one. I kept my noise sharp for a sulfuric scent like a wet dog. 

My eyes latched onto any movement in the distance as I carefully studied every shadow, curiously searching for something lurking in the greenery. Blair informed me that the Bigfoot sightings in the area approximated the creatures at a staggering 7.5 feet.

Sasquatch are said to make whooping noises, boisterous howls as well as glottal screams. I gave my best attempt at mimicking the call I thought belonged to a Bigfoot, but instead I sounded like Chewbacca had a stomach bug.   

As I continued to gallivant through the park, my patience began to wear thin. I began using other methods to attract the beast.

“Marco!” I shouted, pursing an answer. No response. 

“Red Robin!” I melodically tried again. Nothing still.

I suppose Bigfoot isn’t quite up to date with modern call-and-response references, but it was worth the endeavor.

I left Salt Fork State Park shortly before the sun began to set. I didn’t feel unfulfilled that I didn’t find the legendary Bigfoot – I knew it was a shot in the dark.

Personally, if Bigfoot is real, I can relate to his decision to maintain secrecy deep in the woods. There are times in this modern world that I wish I could leave society behind and find refuge in a forest.

If you’re reading this Mr. Bigfoot, just know, you don’t have to make yourself known to the world if you don’t want to. As long as you and the Mrs. are happy, I can understand your desire for seclusion.

Maybe the next time I am in Salt Fork State Park we can get to know each other over a cup of creek water and a handful of berries. I’ll be looking forward to it! 

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