by By Nick Perry - Journal Reporter
Creature savors fresh seafood, says enthusiast
BOTHELL -- Bigfoot is alive and thriving on fresh salmon and butter clams in the Hoh Rain Forest, according to Cliff Crook, a Bothell Bigfoot enthusiast.
Crook has just returned from a week's expedition to the Hoh and says he has brought back incontrovertible evidence a small clan of Bigfoots is in that area -- two plaster-cast footprints measuring 15 inches and 17 inches, 11 hairs and piles of empty clam shells.
His journey came after Gene Sampson reported finding footprints and hearing a ``bam, bam, bam, stop, bam, bam, bam'' noise just behind his house on the Hoh Indian Reservation. Sampson now says he believes the noise was three Bigfoots cracking open clams they had collected from a nearby marsh.
But an Idaho university professor has abandoned an investigation the site after, he says, Crook ruined the only footprint worth studying by taking the plaster-cast.
Crook has been chasing Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, for more than 40 years. He said the Hoh discovery is the most exciting evidence he has ever seen of Bigfoots -- large, apelike creatures some people claim to have seen in the Pacific Northwest.
``They have come up for the salmon run and will be gone down south again in about two weeks,'' Crook said yesterday at his Bothell home. The beasts probably will return to Mount Rainier, he said, or to the back country of the Olympic Mountains.
The dozens of footprints he saw in the Hoh could not have been fakes for several reasons, Crook said. They were spaced in a natural way and so well-hidden they would have taken ``a gang of men a year to make.''
Crook said he used several tests to determine the prints were real, but he declined to reveal his methods, citing fears that hoaxers might capitalize on the information.
Sampson said he also found sharpened sticks, some 3 feet long, which the presumed trio of Bigfoots used as tools. He also found two droppings, probably one from a mother Bigfoot and one from a baby Bigfoot.
Crook said he will have the hairs tested, either at a DNA laboratory in Oregon or at the University of Washington's Burke Museum. He said he has been in touch with the Oregon lab, but wants to negotiate a cheap deal and cannot reveal the name of his contact there.
Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum, an Idaho State University associate professor, said Crook had agreed to investigate the Hoh site with hunter Derek Randles. But he said Crook went a day early and took his plaster cast before Randles arrived.
``We saw a photograph of the footprint in a Pennsylvania daily paper. So Derek went to the scene, and he was not extremely impressed with what he found,'' Meldrum said.
John Rozdilsky, a mammalogist at the Burke Museum, said it could conduct DNA comparisons on hairs if someone is willing to pay more than $100 for each test. But from previous experience, he did not hold out much hope of finding evidence of Bigfoot.
``I think it would make a far more fascinating study to look at why people believe in and love Sasquatch so much,'' he said.
Nick Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-453-4629.
by Maxwell Balmain/Journal: Longtime Bigfoot enthusiast Cliff Crook displays
a cast he said he made from a track recently found on the Lower Hoh Indian
Reservation. He thinks a small group of the legendary animals was there
dining on clams.
(c)Cliff Crook/Fortean Pic Lib. 2000
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