Bigfoot search comes to Mid-Michigan

The continuing search for evidence that Bigfoot actually exists has come to this area.

The “Finding Bigfoot” team from Animal Planet spent six days here, beginning with filming a town meeting at the Houghton Lake Playhouse April 5, with approximately 350 participants talking about reported sightings of “Sasquatch” in the area. The crew scheduled filming until Wednesday in the Gladwin State Forest area and locations around Houghton Lake, Gladwin and West Branch,

Cast members travel on horseback followed by a helicopter with a mounted camera, according to a Morning Sun article about the expedition. The article said the helicopter flew out of the Mt. Pleasant Municipal Airport Monday morning.

The “Finding Bigfoot” team includes Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization Founder and  President Matt Moneymaker, Cliff Barackman, Research Biologist Ranae Holland and James “Bobo” Fay.

The crew visit forests, swamps and mountainous areas throughout the United States looking for the mythical creature.

According to information on their website, the three men say they have each had personal encounters with the legendary creature, while Holland is fascinated by the possibility that they exist, but remains skeptical.

The episode, the first shot here in Michigan according to Production Assistant Josh Jurgess, will air sometime during the show’s third season.

The show came to Michigan because, “There have been numerous sightings in northern Michigan, Jurgess said in a bigfootevidence.blog spot interview last week.

An article in the Ogemaw Herald said 107 Bigfoot sightings have been investigated in Michigan and three were in Ogemaw County, one several years ago north of Rose City on state land, one near the south edge of the Rifle River Recreation Area in 2003 and one in Lupton near Rose City in 2007

West Branch resident and Bigfoot enthusiast Phil Shaw said he is sure there are Sasquatch in the area. He said he is glad the show is researching the area because, “I think that people will realize that …there’s a lot of evidence that these creatures exist right her in Michigan.” He said Saint Helen resident Jim Finlayson has photos of a footprint.

Shaw reported in the Ogemaw Herald that he believes he and his wife saw a Sasquatch in 2006 while on vacation in New Brunswick, Canada.

Tammy Forrester, who lives near the village of Edmore, southwest of Mt. Pleasant said she and her family and some neighbors have seen a Bigfoot around her home for about 15 years. She said she saw it right in her yard a few years ago.

Houghton Lake resident Don Peer, who is an investigator for the BFRO, said in the Morning Sun article that he has lobbied for the show to visit Michigan for some time. “I’ve been trying to get them here for a while.” He said Michigan is “one of the hottest spots for sightings, outside of the Pacific Northwest.”

Peer, 45, was featured in a May 2011 article in the Houghton Lake Resorter.by Thomas Reznich. In the article he said he has been interested since his father took him to the movies as a child and they saw the famous 1967 eight millimeter film shot in California by Roger Patterson. He has made a study of the elusive creature and participated in a 2008 expedition in Marquette County in the Upper Peninsula before joining the BFRO and becoming a Bigfoot sighting investigator.

Peer cited evidence including dermal ridges on footprints (similar to fingerprints) and DNA that he says prove that Bigfoot exists. He researches sightings both in this area and the UP, going on scouting trips several times each year.

He said he did an expedition in Oscoda County in the Huron National Forest in 2010 with “good results.”

The most Michigan sightings are around Comins, Michigan according to bigfootlunchclub.com. The town is called the “Bigfoot Capital” of Michigan and an annual festival has been held there for the past two years. The event features Bigfoot researchers and activities, is an attraction for believers and non-believers alike.

Peer, who said he thinks about 50 percent of people believe in Bigfoot, said the BFRO and its investigations of sightings of Bigfoot were the source of the Animal Planet show. Information on sightings and expeditions are available at the organization’s web site: www.bfro.net.

Finding Bigfoot airs on Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on the Animal Planet channel.