'Finding Bigfoot': Could it be in our backyard?DULUTH, Minn. — Moose Lake area residents who claim to have seen Sasquatch will share their stories on an episode of “Finding Bigfoot” airing 9 p.m. Sunday on Animal Planet.
By: Christa Lawler, The Dickinson Press
DULUTH, Minn. — Moose Lake area residents who claim to have seen Sasquatch will share their stories on an episode of “Finding Bigfoot” airing 9 p.m. Sunday on Animal Planet.
The team of researchers and television crew visited northern Minnesota in August to investigate a concentration of claims around the Kettle River. The hour-long TV program, in its second season, shows the four-person team touring the woods on all-terrain vehicles, meeting with residents, reenacting anecdotal evidence, then doing their own investigation decked out with night-vision gear, jump suits and lures.
“I’m excited and a little nervous about what we’ll look like on there,” said Kristy Aho, who is featured on the episode with her husband, Dale, and four young children. They claim to have seen Bigfoot while partridge hunting in the area of Automba, Minn., about three years ago.
Aho said her husband had gone into the woods to make a loop past some birds. The animal had been squatting, then jumped up, creating a loud crash. She described the being as human-like, upright on two legs with hands swinging down by its knees and about 8 feet tall. Then it took off running.
“The whole ground was shaking,” she said. “The four-wheeler was shaking. We saw it run by about 15 feet away from us. I was really scared. My mind knew it wasn’t my husband, but it resembled a human.”
The fight-or-flight instinct kicked in, Aho said, and they opted for flight. It took a while for Aho to feel comfortable going back into the woods, but she wasn’t uncomfortable sharing her story with the viewers. While the people featured on the show are earnest in their stories, to other people, Sasquatch is no more than campfire lore on the level of the Loch Ness Monster and UFOs.
“You feel like people are going to make fun of you or put you down if you say you saw one,” Aho said. “It’s intimidating. But we know what we saw.”
Lorraine Tomczak is in the Aho’s camp.
“That doesn’t bother me,” she said of naysayers. “I was very fascinated that they would want to talk to me. I wasn’t worried about that kind of thing.”
Tomczak saw a creature on Carlton County Road 6, going west toward Automba about a year ago. She describes seeing a big ape with human features. She made sure the doors of her station wagon were locked.
“I was going into town that day and the thing was looking into a vacant trailer house,” she said. “He was, I don’t know, curious, like animals and people are.”
Tomczak revisits the trailer during the episode and, using a tape measure, determine that it was about 9 feet tall.
“He was a big thing,” she said. “I didn’t know it was a male, but the lady on the road ahead of me said she had seen the family jewels. I said I didn’t look that close.”
Tomczak wants to see Bigfoot again. She has even had a dream about encountering an entire family of Bigfoots and being allowed to hold a baby Bigfoot.
Lawler is a reporter for the Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.