After years of speculation that something was “going on out there,” residents and past visitors to the Northern Catskill Mountains are starting to be taken seriously about a Bigfoot-like creature many reported to have seen. To date there have been hundreds of police reports, and the sightings are becoming more and more frequent in this lush area of mountains, hills and forests
“I filed a report with the local police over ten years ago,” said Lynda Velchok, a retired physics professor and a resident of Hunter Mountain, NY, USA. “Last week a man from the New York Zoological Institute came to my house to interview me but he cut it short when he was notified that another person in the area was available for an interview before leaving that day for a trip to Hawaii.”
” A few of us in the area had been notified by authorities that our police files had been re-reviewed and that we could participate in a study that was being conducted by the State University of New York. He called again yesterday and asked if he could come another time. ”
In the late summer of 1999, Velchok, now 79, reported that she was walking her dog Andy on a trail near Hunter Mountain when she saw what looked like a bear standing on its hind legs.
“Normally Andy would growl or act fierce whenever there was a bear around,” recalled the avid hiker who now lives in a house on small lake not very far from Hunter Mountain.
“This time he cowered under my feet and suddenly I could see that it wasn’t a bear. It resembled a man or an upright Gorilla except that the face was more human than the face of a gorilla. That’s not to say that it looked human. It looked like the kinds of drawings you see of primitive humans only this one was much hairier. The hair was also much lighter in color than I had come to expect from seeing Bigfoot stories on TV. I took a few steps back because my breath got stuck in my throat. Whatever it was moved closer and practically stood over me. It smelled horrible and it was definitely not a bear.”
Levchok goes on to say that the creature seemed more interested in her dog than it was in her and that it had a curious and almost human expression on its face.
“I thought I was doomed,” she continued. “I remember thinking that this was going to be how I died. I thought I was going to be killed by a Bigfoot. I feared for my dog too but a few hikers starting coming up from behind and whatever it was ran up a steep incline like it had super powers or something. It just vanished up and through the dense foliage like a skilled rock climber but one hundred times faster. When the hikers reached me I was pretty weak and Andy was shaking and whimpering. The smell was lingering. I told the hiker what had happened and they said that they had seen something standing over me but couldn’t get a good view because they were around a bend and were looking through foliage. One hiker had a cellphone or a walkie-talkie, I forget which, and he called the patrol. That’s when I filed a report. Now they want to talk to me more about this — they say they want to show me sketches. I think they are coming again next week. They’re a little late, don’t you think? ”
Bigfoot reports are nothing new to this area of the Catskill Mountains. Stories date back centuries and Native American accounts, which had long been thrown on the trash heap as superstitions and storytelling, are now being taken seriously by cryptozoologists around the world.
“If one were to put together the amount of Bigfoot investigating that’s going on right now, one would assume that New York State has more credible sightings of Bigfootthan any other place in the world,” said zoologist Dr. Vivian Blaine from her office in Sratoga Springs, New York.
“Besides ancient accounts, the on-paper reports moved into modern times during the Woodstock Music Festival back in 1969. A few of the young people at the time reported exactly what Mrs. Velchok reported but that was all attributed to drug and alcohol use. Thankfully those reports have been saved and we’ve located them at a storage company in Suffern, (New York).
“It seems like we might be dealing with a Bigfoot problem the same way New Jersey is dealing with a black bear problem. It sounds crazy to say something like that but thre are so many reports from so many credible witnesses. The creature, whatever it is, is making more and more appearances. I have ruled out bears because the sightings seem to take place in the late summer and in the dead of winter. Both times of the year are not at all known for bear activity. As a matter of fact, the bears in this area are very well-fed and they are heavy hibernators. The bear population is not very dense and there is ample natural food to keep Northern Catskill bears out of sight from January until April. The other creature in question seems to be alternating shifts with the bears. In other words, it comes out when the bears go away, but in this case the population of this creature might be growing and becoming more intrusive.”
Dr. Blaine went on to say that the winter months, with their less dense foliage, tend to expose the creature more than the summer months where it can easily hide in the brush. On the other hand, there are many more people in the area during the summer months and thus more chances that the creature would be spotted by a hiker or camper.
“The Catskill Bigfoot sighting and reports seem to impart that the creature has some kind of inherent knowledge of hunters and hunting season,” said Blaine.
“There has never been a report filed by a hunter while hunting. There are several reports filed by people who happen to be hunters and keen observers of wildlife — people who know the difference between a bear and another creature — but there was never a report filed where a hunter sighted a Bigfoot while actively hunting.
“Another strange aspect is that most reports come in from the areas closest to Hunter Mountain. This is a very popular ski resort. However, the reports fan out and away from Hunter Mountain during the ski season. Most of the movement is to the south and the west. One report from a small lake community (unnamed) bore the signatures of three residents who saw the creature rooting through the woods behind a house and then jumping into the lake and swimming to the far side. That’s quite a distance — about 200 yards. The incident was not caught as a photograph or a video. The witnesses were elderly. If it had been a bunch of teens with cell phones, we would have plenty of video and photos. I expect that to happen this coming summer. The sightings are becoming very frequent.”
So, New York is a Bigfoot state and nobody seems to know about it except the people who have seen the creature, the authorities who file the reports and the zoological investigators who are working on this strange story.