The net is closing on fabled American beast Bigfoot – thanks to scientific data collated by a Birmingham man. Toby Langford has used his maths and physics background to track the half ape, half mountain man. And the 45-year-old, who, until recently, worked in the payment department of an insurance company, has posted videos of his findings on YouTube.
Armed with the data, the Great Barr statistician and his partner Marie will head to America to search for Bigfoot. Despite his painstaking research, Toby, a Birmingham University physics graduate, is yet to be convinced Bigfoot is more than an American myth. “Some people believe in Bigfoot, some people don’t,” says Toby, “I’m sitting on the fence. “That’s the problem with our species. If a video is too clear, you think it’s fake; if it’s too grainy, it’s fake. “I think it’s very difficult to dismiss eye-witness accounts. These people know they haven’t seen a bear because it’s seven feet tall and standing upright.
Toby’s research has unveiled the true hot spot, the place to which any Bigfoot hunter must make a beeline. Wentachee National Forest, in Washington State, has had the most sightings by far. Florida is in second place. Toby admits first approaching the subject with tongue firmly in cheek. He planned a spoof video in Sutton Park. But the more he studied the subject, the more he realised it was crying out for a mathematical approach.
“There has been a lot of research,” Toby explains, “but none from a maths and physics angle.” He posted his first video in January and has now produced three. Initially, Toby recorded monthly sightings from 1970. He now has data stretching back to the 1940s. Many of those sightings have been gathered from America’s Bigfoot Field Researchers Organisation. They suggest that Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, is still very much out there – and showing no signs of age. The beast has a cousin in Tibet, known as the Yeti or Abominable Snowman. Bigfoot was spotted as recently as January 29 this year in Wallace State Park, Missouri – the second sighting in 25 years.
In his report, the recipient of this Close Encounter of the Furred Kind said: “I was driving southbound, going around a curve when I saw a very tall brown mass walking on two legs from the grassy area by the roadway. It took three steps into the woods. It happened so fast. Within seconds it was gone. “I reported it to the Highway Patrol. I asked the lady I talked to on the phone if they’ve had any other sightings in that area. “She said, ‘No’. “I asked her if there were bears in Missouri. “She said, ‘No, there’s only occasional mountain lions’. “I’m not sure if any of the people in the cars behind me saw it, but I didn’t notice anyone pulling over.” Maths may be on Toby’s side, but science is not.
Scientists consider Bigfoot a cocktail of folklore, mis identification and simple hoax. They argue that there would have to be numerous Bigfeet out there to sustain a viable population. They also point to the fact that the majority of sightings have been in high, mountainous regions, an unusual location for large primates. The creature features heavily in Native Indian history.
In 1847, settlers in Mount St Helens, south Washington State, were warned by local tribes of cannibalistic, giant Wildmen living in the wilderness known as Skoocooms. In 1850, the Rev Elkanah Walker, a missionary, wrote down the accounts of Indians living near Spokane, Washington They told of giants who would emerge from their mountain lairs to steal salmon from fishermen. It was not until the 1920’s that Bigfoot became a household name, courtesy of a series of stories compiled by Indian Agent JW Burns and published in Canadian newspapers. Most of Burns’ information came from the Sts’ailes, a tribe living in British Columbia. They maintained that Bigfoot shunned white settlers, but openly mingled with natives. The creature spoke the language of the Lillooet Indians.
Almost all sightings have been debunked by boffins.
In 2007, the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organisation claimed they had definitive proof, on film, of the beast’s existence. The Pennsylvania Game Commission immediately dismissed the footage as that of a bear with mange. Fakes and hoaxes exposed in search for mythical creature
On many occasions, hunters have claimed to have captured Bigfoot, but none of the claims have stood up to scrutiny. In August, 2005, Tom Biscardi, boss of an organisation named Searching For Bigfoot Inc, claimed he had access to a captured creature – and the public could see it on a pay-per-view stream. He later appeared on TV and claimed he had been misled. There was no Bigfoot behind bars. In 2008, two men, Rick Dyer and Matthew Whitton, made global headlines by posting on YouTube the body of a Bigfoot discovered in northern Georgia. They even handed the corpse – encased in a block of ice – to scientists. A post-mortem revealed the truth. The hair was not real, the head hollow and feet rubber. Dyer and Whitton were forced to admit it was all a hoax. The embarrassment didn’t stop Dyer claiming, in September 2012, that he had killed a Bigfoot close to San Antonio, Texas. He alleged the corpse had passed a battery of scientific tests. “From DNA tests to 3D optical scans to body scans,” he told the press. “It is the real deal. It’s Bigfoot. Bigfoot is here and I shot it and now I’m proving it to the world.” He provided photographs and even took the body on tour, but refused to make the scientific test results public. On March 28, 2014, Dyer admitted it was another Bigfoot con. The corpse was made from foam, latex and camel hair. Dyer did, however, continue to maintain he HAD shot a Bigfoot, but didn’t take the real body on tour. He feared it would be stolen. It may have been a joke, but Dyer had the last laugh. The tour netted him $60,000.
Those hoaxes can be as dangerous as a brush with the real Bigfoot. In August, 2012, an individual was run over while dressed as the beast. Toby’s research is no laughing matter. He hopes, through maths formulas, to discover the truth, one way or another. Then he’ll turn to a mystery much closer to home. He’ll use physics to untangle the truth from the fiction surrounding Britain’s standing stones.
Spotted on Cannock Chase…
America doesn’t have exclusive rights to Bigfoot. There’s one roaming the paranormal hot spot that is Cannock Chase. He shares the landscape with an array of chilling entities including The Black Eyed Child, Slender Man – an elongated ghostly figure –and The Pigman of Cannock Chase, a half-man, half-hog monster. In 2008, a resident of Cannock told the Sunday Mercury how he had spotted Staffordshire’s Bigfoot. “Me and two others were parked up in a little pull-in, down a lane in Gentleshaw not too far from Burntwood,” he said. “We were parked facing the road, with trees either side of us, and a gated field behind. “It was around two o’clock in the morning and we had the interior light on in the car, when my friend in the front passenger seat said he could see something moving outside. “We turned off the interior light to get a better look and could definitely see something moving in the trees in the distance. “Our first thoughts were it must be a person or an animal. All we could see was something large moving around. “This thing must have been about 10 to 15 metres away. I turned the car headlights and hazard lights on to see if I could see any more. “It was the shape of a human, but stood about seven to eight feet. It was hard to tell with it being dark, and such a distance away. “At first sight it was crouching, not completely to the floor, but approximately halfway and facing directly at the car. “It was too dark to see whether it was staring at us, but I’m guessing it was. “As soon as it realised we had seen it, it stood up straight, hesitated and ran towards us. “Well, as you can imagine I wasn’t sticking around! “This thing was definitely not human. It was huge! It wasn’t just tall, but broad and stocky, too. “I haven’t got a clue what its face was like, or its skin or fur, or whatever it had. It wasn’t light enough.”