Friday, June 18, 2010

KATU Report on the Oregon Sasquatch Symposium

Have you seen Bigfoot? Better head to Eugene meetup

EUGENE, Ore. - Hiding behind many names - Wild man, Sasquatch, Yeti, Bigfoot - our furry friend has been noted and talked about through history.

Starting June 19, Lane Community College's first Sasquatch Symposium will take place, allowing for believers, and those curious to discuss their experiences and learn more about the alleged creature.

Fact is, more than a thousand people have reported some sort of Sasquatch sighting or experience in Oregon. "It's something that seems to be happening in our own backyard," said Toby Johnson, an organizer of the symposium.

His Bigfoot experience dates back to a cold February morning years ago. "I was on a hike with my son not far from Springfield," Johnson said. They came across a large footprint in the frozen mud and took a picture of it.

"You can see the five toes clearly," he said.

And he was hooked, which is why he helped create the Oregon Sasquatch Symposium at Lane Community College this weekend.

Oregon has more than 30 million acres of forest land, that's nearly half the state, and Oregon believers say that may be why Bigfoot has been able to stay hidden.

In addition to witnesses there will also be Big Foot researchers like Oregon's Autumn Williams. She is the keynote speaker. On top of being a witness herself, she has been hunting Big Foot for nearly 20 years and recently released a documentary about her search. She also owns and operates one of biggest Bigfoot websites in the West.

Now of course there are many non-believers of the Oregon Sasquatch. To this day many scientists discount the existence of Bigfoot and consider it to be a combination of folklore, misidentification and hoax.

But for people like Johnson, a once in a lifetime experience is all it takes. "When you talk to someone who has seen one of these things, you get the feeling they are absolutely authentic," Johnson said.

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