The most famous cryptid, or creature that might or might not exist, in West Virginia is the fabled Mothman. America’s most famous cryptid is surely the legendary Bigfoot, the huge ape, missing link or whatever that’s known to roam the Pacific Northwest. Bigfoot usually isn’t linked to West Virginia, but apparently our state is now considered a good place for sighting the elusive creature.
According to a report from an organization called SatelliteInternet, West Virginia is in the top five states for per capita Bigfoot sightings. The states with the most per capita for Bigfoot sightings include, from first to last: Washington, Oregon, West Virginia, Idaho and Montana. States with the fewest per capita Bigfoot sightings were Nevada, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Delaware.
Using data reports from the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, SatelliteInternet compared the number of Bigfoot sightings against the U.S. Census state population data to find the number of sightings per 100,000 people per state except for Hawaii.
To break the information down, West Virginia’s 104 sightings, when weighed against a population of 1,787,147 comes to 5.8 sightings per 100,000 people. In Virginia, 80 sightings weighed against a population of 8,535,519 comes to 0.9 sightings per 100,000 people.
The report shows 104 sightings in West Virginia, 80 in Virginia, 113 in Tennessee, 302 in Ohio and 118 in Pennsylvania. There were 98 sightings in North Carolina. Washington state had 676 sightings, the most in the country.
A friend of mine who once flew over Washington state in route to Seattle said the sheer vastness of the forests visible from the air made her believe that something like Bigfoot could be living there and evading detection most of the time.
Well, I call myself a Bigfoot skeptic. I keep telling myself that surely we would have strong evidence such as some really good pictures or videos that can’t be debunked or good DNA samples by now. What keeps me from saying that Bigfoot is absolutely impossible is that just as sure as I make that decision, one is going to be spotted walking down U.S. Route 52.
I know there have been reports of Bigfoot sightings down here in southern West Virginia. A man in Fayette County said that he has seen a Bigfoot on his property and even managed to catch a picture of it on his cellphone. It’s the usual blurry, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t, Bigfoot picture. I’ve heard about sightings in places like McDowell County, too. Whenever I drive to Welch or any other McDowell destination, I see forests and ravines that could hide an elephant. Hunters go through a lot of our forests, but I’m sure there are still places where people never venture.
Sometimes I go hiking at Glenwood Park and other locations, and there have been times when deer and wild turkeys seemed to appear out of nowhere and disappeared just as quickly. Yes, I’m a skeptic when the topic of Bigfoot comes up, but I can’t dismiss the idea 100 percent. A huge humanoid ape could be living near us and we wouldn’t know it unless one of them chose to show itself. We could be talking about an animal that’s a lot more intelligent than a deer or bear, plus we make plenty of noise with our ATVs and other machines. They could smell our deodorants and bug sprays, I’m sure, and avoid us pretty easily.
I’ll remain a skeptic, but I long for a glimpse of something strange in the woods. I’ve fantasized about hiking along a new path and seeing something I can’t dismiss as a deer or a coyote. A big part of this fantasy is being able to dig my cellphone out of my pocket and shooting some pictures or even a few seconds of video before that something strange vanishes into the woods.
If I failed to get this evidence, I’d save the story for my friends and family. My nephews and the rest of my family might decide their dear “Unk” has finally cracked up completely, but I’d still tell the story for entertainment sake. If I caught a picture or video, I’d post it on social media and let viewers decide if there really is something strange living up in the mountains.
— Greg Jordan is the Daily Telegraph’s senior reporter. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org