Verdict: ‘It wasn’t human’

Trackers pore over Bigfoot sighting near Granite Falls

By LESLIE MORIARTY

Herald Writer

GRANITE FALLS — Maybe it was Bigfoot, maybe not. But "it wasn’t human."

With magnifying glasses, notebooks and cameras in hand, like detectives after a case-breaking clue, Cliff Crook and Fred Bradshaw took to the woods Wednesday.

They went in search of anything that might help them know if a Granite Falls high-tech worker actually saw Bigfoot.

Chris Wright, 29, who lives just east of the city limits, was taking a cigarette break on the porch of his mobile home just after midnight Monday. As something moved, the security lights on his house came on, and he heard a loud unhuman scream. When Wright looked, he saw a dark fur-covered creature, more than 6 feet tall standing on two legs.

It had to have been Bigfoot.

That’s what led Wright to Crook and Bradshaw, two Bigfoot hunters who have been tracing tales of the tall type for years. Both say they have seen either Bigfoot or his footprints.

On Wednesday, Wright showed the Sasquatch experts where he was standing when he encountered the creature. He told them how tall Bigfoot looked.

Crook pulled a carpenter’s tape measure from his pocket and began sizing up the distance. It was about 110 feet between Wright and where whatever he saw was standing.

With that distance, Crook surmised that the creature had to have been more than 6 feet tall.

Then the trio began its trip through the wooded edge of the property where Wright lives. They saw some broken tree limbs that could have happened when the creature ran after the lights came on.

They stopped to investigate some hairs on a branch.

"Too curly," Bradshaw said.

They concluded the hairs probably belonged to Wright’s Australian shepherd, Buddy.

"Buddy’s a good watchdog," Wright said. "But ever since the other night, he’s been shaken up. He doesn’t seem to want to go too far into the woods at all."

Wright said he’s also noticed that other wildlife, including deer and birds, have stayed away from the area.

"Normally they’re all through that area, especially in the morning," he said.

It’s not uncommon for other animals to be reluctant to enter a place where a sighting has occurred, Crook said.

"They usually move out when there’s been a sighting," he said. "There’s an eerie silence for a day or so, and then the animals come back and things return to normal."

The search took them deeper into the woods where they saw what they thought were partial footprints.

"They aren’t good enough to make a casting," Crook said. "But that happens a lot. When Sasquatch is running, he steps with the ball of his foot, and all you can see are where he digs his toes into the dirt."

But by looking at the tracks, the experts said they could conclude that the creature had about a 36-inch stride, which would make him at least 6 feet tall.

And Bradshaw concluded that the width of the ball of the foot in the tracks was too wide to belong to a bear.

After trekking another 20 minutes into the woods north of Mount Pilchuck and along the southwest bank of the Stillaguamish River, the trio returned to Wright’s house to pronounce its verdict.

"Whatever it was, it wasn’t human," Crook said.

"And there was definitely something big and huge down there, and it wasn’t a bear," Bradshaw added.

Wright looked partly scared and partly relieved at the findings.

"I know what I saw, and I know what I heard," he said. "But I know people are going to think I’m crazy.

"I even heard people talking about it in town last night," Wright said, recalling conversations overheard at an eatery and a gas station.

Since the word got out about his sighting, Wright’s phone has been ringing constantly.

"Even the National Enquirer called," he said.

Clean-cut with boyish looks, Wright grew up in Sedro-Woolley. A communications tower manager, Wright said he’s talked to a dozen reporters.

"When they start questioning me, I just tell them that if I was going to make up a story, I’d have had a UFO land in my backyard and take me off to outer space," he said.

Right now, all he wants is for his life to return to normal. "But I guess that’s not going to happen for a while," Wright said.

"I can’t even make myself go outside for my midnight smoke anymore."

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