Does bigfoot roam the U.P.?

Investigator discusses possibility with Escanaba group

Deborah Prescott | Daily Press Rich Meyer, founder and lead investigator for the Upper Peninsula Bigfoot/Sasquatch Research Organization, shows a photo of a bigfoot print cast to members of the Bay Sages Thursday in Escanaba.

ESCANABA — Does bigfoot exist in the wilds of the Upper Peninsula? Rich Meyer, founder and lead investigator of the Upper Peninsula Bigfoot/Sasquatch Research Organization (UPBSRO), believes it is a question worth investigating. Meyer presented a program on the topic Thursday at a meeting of the Bay Sages.

Bay Sages is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting lifelong learning opportunities for older adults. Each month, Bay Sages meet to learn something new or informative. Program topics at past meetings include play therapy, Escanaba’s north shore development, and U.P. murders.

Meyer said his interest in bigfoot is something he learned that he shared with his father.

Meyer grew up hunting and fishing with his father — going to the most remote places. In 2011, Meyer’s father passed away. While watching a television show about bigfoot, his mother told him his father was always interested in bigfoot. Meyer said his father never mentioned bigfoot or sasquatch to him, but he would always say, “there’s something else out there.”

A year later, Meyer founded the UPBSRO to share information with others.

Meyer says 80 percent of the calls he gets about bigfoot sightings turn out to be misidentifications. Other callers hope to get noterority because of a sighting.

Bigfoot sightings have a long history in North America, according to Meyer. Examples he cited include:

– The earliest mention of something now known as bigfoot was in 986 A.D.

– Between 1873 and 1889 Native American records mention an eight-foot “hairy man.”

– In 1924, Albert Ostman, a lumberjack, claimed he was kidnapped and held hostage for a period of time by bigfoot.

– In 1958, a road crew discovered a bigfoot print and made a plaster of paris cast on it.

According to Meyer, the best visual evidence bigfoot exists was film footage shot in 1967 in California showing a figure alleged to be a bigfoot walking in a forest.

Meyer also showed the Bay Sages group photos of trees twisted that were possibly manipulated by a bigfoot. He explained how animals without thumbs could not twist a tree. Among the photos were rock stacks in areas that are hard to get to.

“There has been one report of a bigfoot attack out of all the Midwest,” said Meyer. “Look up Monroe, Mich., monster on the internet.”

Meyer said he has never seen bigfoot, but has had experiences during his investigations that made the hair stand up on his neck.

He said a recent report of alleged bigfoot activity in the local area occurred at the Days River Pathway between Gladstone and Rapid River.

The best way to contact UPBSRO is through its Facebook page. Meyer believes in checking out any situation he is called to.

“I believe in boots on the ground, not phone investigating,” Meyer said, “If you need to draw red circles around something on a picture, that is not good evidence.”

The Bay Sages entertain all types of topics. On Nov. 1, information on the Escanaba bridge construction will be shared. On Dec. 6, the history of Native Americans in Delta County will be the topic.

The Bay Sages are planning a color tour and to visit farms in Dagget Oct. 16. At the DeBacker farm they will have lunch for a fee and the Johnson farm will show their process of milking 1,400 cattle.

Bay Sages meet once a month. There is an $18 annual fee, which includes a monthly newsletter.