Nearly four hundred people descended on Jefferson, Texas, to learn and share what is known about the mysterious creature, Bigfoot. Despite the hoaxes
and the ongoing dispute over the creature's existence, there have been over 2500 sightings that many feel are credible. Some suggest that there is a
population of more than 2000 of the creatures in North America. Jimmy Chilcutt, a retired fingerprint analysis expert, has examined hundreds of
footprints and believes that they are those of a large, as yet, undiscovered primate.
Next to a lifelike replica of a giant ape head, the believers milled around tables Saturday covered with casts of large footprints, books about
nature's mysteries and T-shirts proclaiming "Bigfoot: Often Imitated, Never Invalidated."
While they can have a sense of humor about it, the search for the legendary Sasquatch is no joke for many of the nearly 400 people who came here to
discuss the latest sightings and tracking techniques at the Texas Bigfoot Conference.
"It's not a matter of believing, like faith, when you believe in something you can't see," said Daryl G. Colyer, a Lorena businessman who has
investigated hundreds of reported Bigfoot sightings in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.
"It's a flesh-and-blood animal that just has not been discovered yet. And I think we're getting closer and closer and closer," Colyer said.
Outlandish theories about the origin of Bigfoot abound, including that it might be an extraterrestrial. Many believe that a towering, ape-like
creature descended from a prehistoric 9- to 10-foot-tall gorilla called a Gigantopithecus, and that it now inhabits North American forests.
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As far as I'm concerned the jury is still out on the Bigfoot issue. I have a hard time believing that such a creature could have existed for so long
in such a highly populated country without there being some evidence beyond legend and some grainy film. Still, new species are discovered all the
time, even some which have been considered long extinct. But as Jeff Meldrum says, "This is not a paranormal question; it's a biological
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