Washington Man Claims Fossil Evidence Of Bigfoot


thenewstribune - One night 54 years ago, Cliff Crook says, he stared into the face of a Northwest boogeyman. He called it a “woods giant.” Today, it’s better known as Bigfoot.

“I had a real terrifying encounter,” said Crook, now 69. “It’s not something that goes away.”

He remembers the towering size, the ape-like face, the gurgling sound in the dark. He remembers the dog that charged into the bushes and then was tossed out and crashed onto the ground.

He remembers running away with three younger camping buddies. They arrived home a mile away, their bare feet bleeding. His friends’ parents weren’t too happy with him.

“They didn’t want them around me anymore,” Crook recalled last week.

The encounter fueled a lifelong obsession by Crook with the hairy ape-like creature. He calls himself “America’s first Bigfoot investigator.” Others call him a hoaxer and an attention grabber.

Crook appeared on the front page of The News Tribune in 1990 when some mushroom hunters found possible Bigfoot footprints near the Nisqually River. Crook found the prints credible.

He called The News Tribune recently to announce more Bigfoot footprint news, what he called the biggest find in 30 years.

STATUE MOVES DOWNTOWN

The basement den in Crook’s Bothell-area home used to be Bigfoot Central, where over the years he regaled visitors from around the world with stories of his encounter and the investigations into sightings, footprints and efforts to find the ape-like creature.

Maps, drawings, newspaper clippings, footprint casts and Bigfoot memorabilia decorated the walls. An 8-foot-tall carved wooden Bigfoot sat on the front lawn to welcome visitors.

The basement is now home to the Doo-Wop Den, a 1950s style café filled with 1950s kitsch and collectibles. The Bigfoot statue graces a market in downtown Bothell.

Crook’s son, Cary, in Polson, Mont., carries on the family research and keeps the Bigfoot Central Web site updated.

Nevertheless, the elder Crook still wears a big metal pinky ring showing the head of sasquatch. (His wife, Carol, gave it to him.) And he’s enthusiastic about new research he says shows Bigfoot’s ancestors once roamed the Texas countryside side by side with dinosaurs.

“There’s never been fossil evidence of Bigfoot,” Crook said.

And now there is, he said, pointing at the casts of two large footprints he’s placed on the den’s black-and-white checked linoleum floor.

One cast, Crook said, is of a footprint he made in 1999 from the rock bed of the Paluxy River, near Glen Rose, Texas. The fossil print, he said, is one of more than a dozen in a row in the river rock, a hot spot for dinosaur footprints from 140 million years ago.

Some creationists say the prints are the tracks of giant humans. Many paleontologists say they belong to dinosaurs and other reptiles, not man or any kind of primate.

The other cast is what Crook calls a credible Bigfoot footprint found in 1991 in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest near Darrington.

“They’re mirror images,” he said of the two.

Both footprints show four of seven tell-tale signatures he said he has developed over the years to enable him to tell which prints are real and which are fake. He declined to reveal the signatures, saying he did not want people to use them to fake footprints.

Crook calls the tracks Bigfoot’s Fossil Trail and another piece of evidence that the Bigfoot today is no mere legend.

‘BLOWING SMOKE,’ SAYS PROF

Good luck with that idea, says Jeff Meldrum, associate professor of anatomy and anthropology at the University of Idaho in Moscow.

Meldrum, a sasquatch investigator, is generally skeptical of Crook’s footprint claims. Told of the fossil footprint, he was not impressed.

“Since he is talking about Paluxy (River), I am quite certain he is blowing smoke,” Meldrum said in an e-mail. “That area has a long history of footprint discovery, misinterpretation and outright fabrication. …

“The notion that a species of giant bipedal primate existed alongside dinosaurs is baseless, totally without evidence, let alone a reasonable theoretical framework given our understanding of the fossil record.

“If sasquatch exists, it was likely a relic of the trend among many mammal species toward gigantism during the Pleistocene: mammoths, short-faced bear, dire wolf, panda, etc.”

Meldrum focuses his research, writing and lectures on Bigfoot footprints and how they relate to locomotion. Though he has never had an encounter, he says the amount of evidence of Bigfoot, including footprints, convinces him it’s worth investigating.

The News Tribune sent Meldrum a photograph of the Texas fossil cast Crook made next to the cast from near Mount Baker and asked him to comment.

“Nothing from there previously has resembled the (fossil) cast on the right,” he said in reply.

He also challenged the cast itself.

“One can’t simply pour plaster into a fossilized footprint, an imprint in stone, let it harden and then pull it out. The plaster or cement would adhere to the rock without a separator, so there wouldn’t be any flecks of rock in the plaster as evident in the photo.”

Crook dismisses Meldrum’s comments.

“I know this discovery would rattle the bed frames of sleeping science a bit,” he said. “I have rattled a few beds before, but real science is about uncovering the truth. When tracks match, they match.”

Crook defended his cast-making. Using a nonsticking cooking oil allowed him to make the fossil cast, he said. He also produced photographs of himself at the river standing next to the tracks.

He said the purported Bigfoot fossil tracks are different from the so-called “giant man” tracks others say they have found.

“The real facts are that dinos, big cats, other huge creatures and giant men left their tracks across the same strata, which means one thing,” Crook said. “Human giants and giant creatures lived contemporaneously in days of old. Just as it was written in the Bible, so it was.”

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