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Squatch Watch

BY KATHY PICKENS

The Greenville Standard

 

The Greenville-Butler County library hosted bigfoot field investigator, YouTube producer and New Jersey native Mike Familant as he presented his program “In the Shadow of Big Red Eye” last Thursday.

Big Red Eye is the name given to the eight-foot tall, bipedal creature with glowing red eyes that was encountered in the north west corner of New Jersey in 1972 by a park ranger.

Also known as sasquatches or skunk apes, these mysterious critters have developed quite a following with a reported 29% of Americans believing in their existence.

Library director Kevin Pearcy commented, “Mike contacted me about hosting this program, and I immediately jumped at the opportunity. We know we have many bigfoot enthusiasts in the county, as evidenced by the turnout, and we were pleased to be able to offer this program to the public.”

Familant first became interested in bigfeet (or bigfoots) thirteen years ago when he was working as an EMT in the Florida panhandle.

He relayed that nothing “squatchy” happened on his first bigfoot camping trip until the very last night when sizable rocks were thrown into the camp.

Familiant was hooked and has dedicated himself to exploring and documenting all things bigfoot.

He produces a YouTube channel called “Sussex County Bigfoot” which is in its eighth season with over 250 episodes.

Familant shared some of his own experiences through recountings, howl recordings, and videos.

He also opened the floor for stories from several locals in attendance. He discussed the equipment used to collect audio and video data and brought with him several casts of prints made with Hydrocal plaster.

Familant stated that there are three major differences between human footprints and bigfoot prints which include a characteristic splaying of the toes, the absence of a longitudinal arch, and the presence of an extra joint called the midtarsal break.

He estimates that there are around 2000 bigfoot specimens in the country. He believes that they live to be about 60 years old, probably die of diseases related to problems with their teeth, and follow a three-year nomadic cycle related to food gathering.

As to why common game cameras are unsuccessful in capturing images of this wily creature, Familant believes that bigfeet are able to see cameras and avoid them.

He hopes that the advent of improved environmental DNA technology will add another layer of evidence for the existence of these creatures.

Organisms like bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, chupacabras, and yetis are referred to as “cryptids” or animals that have been claimed to exist but have never been proven to exist.

Familant closed by saying, “Life with the possibility of Bigfoot is far better than without.”  The nearly 50 in attendance left with new, interesting knowledge and some truly tasty bigfoot cookies made by Alison Edwards.

Look for more offerings from the library in our community announcements and at their website: https://www.greenville-bcpl.org.

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