Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Finding Bigfoot - Kentucky Field Notes

A note from Cliff - I am on the road for a while, and am generally unable to keep up on my field notes and such in a timely manner.  However, I will be popping in with various bits of interesting bigfootiness now and again, so keep checking back occasionally.  I don't think you'll be disappointed at what you find!

Finding Bigfoot – KY Field Notes

I had been wanting to go bigfooting in Kentucky for some time, so when I discovered that I would finally get my chance I was elated. Years worth of rumors about the Erickson videos had made me curious about what sort of habitat would be found in the wilds of that state, and I was eager to explore them for myself.

The video that brought Finding Bigfoot to the Bluegrass State was the “Kentucky Eye Shine Video,” obtained by Charles Bowles using a Sony DCR-TRV480 camera on the night of June 14, 2008. Many more details of the circumstances surrounding this video can be read in this BFRO report. Having seen this video, but not knowing much about the location, I was looking forward to going there and doing some measurements for myself.

Click play to see the Kentucky Eyeshine Video
 from Daniel Boone National Forest, KY

The film's location was up on a ridge overlooking a well-used campground. Charles was not there alone, and a woman named Pam saw a bigfoot at that location, but in the opposite direction from the eyeshine, that very night. Pam allowed me to interview her extensively about her sighting, and I have no reason to doubt Pam's account.  However, Charles did not catch Pam's bigfoot on tape.  He saw and filmed something else.

The video itself only shows a dark location, a couple trees, and two glowing eyes. It was filmed in "Nightshot" mode, which is a Sony feature in many of their video cameras where an infrared illuminator is used to create limited night vision that is invisible to the human eye.  This is why the film seems to be almost in black and white.

It would be the context of the clip that would be most telling about what is in the video, so going to the site was of the utmost importance to me when determining for myself what was in the video.  What I found at the site was the video was obtained from the top of the ridge looking down the slope. There is a road at the bottom of the hill, but the two glowing eyes are not headlights, as some have suggested. They seem to be eyes, but it is unclear what those eyes belong to.

The film site, three years later, and during the day.
This photo was taken from the exact same place
as the original video.

There is a tree that is immediately to the left of the two glowing eyes in the video. This tree is directly next to a rock formation on the hillside. It is my opinion that the rock is the only place that the creature (if it was a sasquatch) could have been standing. If the sasquatch was standing behind the rock, it would have had to be at least 12 feet tall, and more in the range of 15 to 18 feet tall. I see this as incredibly unlikely, so I assume the sasquatch was on the rock itself. Based on our reconstruction, the eyes of the sasquatch would be at least eight and a half feet off the base of the rock. That would make this bigfoot a nine foot (or more) tall creature.

However, it is my opinion that a nine foot sasquatch would be at least three feet wide, from front to back, and possibly much wider than that. Bigfoots are often decribed as “barrel-chested,” or being as wide as they are thick from front to back. It doesn't make sense to me that since the tree to the left of the eyes is visible, the massive body of a bigfoot standing at the same distance (and probably a bit closer because of its body's thickness) would not be visible. The tree in question, and thus the rock on which the bigfoot must have been standing on, was only 24 feet away from the camera, and was well within the range of the infrared illuminator.

Bobo measuring the tree next to the rock where
the sasquatch would have had to be standing (in my opinion).
Note that Bobo's body is actually closer to
the camera than the tree itself.

At the film site, I determined the tree next to the rock to be four inches in diameter. By counting some pixels on a still from the video, and using this horizontal measurement with a little basic algebra, it can be determined that the distance between the two eyes in the video is just under three inches. I used the centers of the two glowing eyes for this measurement. If I use the outside edges of the eyes, it only increases the distance to four and a quarter inches. I do not know the distance between the eyes of a sasquatch, but I would think that a nine foot bigfoot would have eyes a bit further apart than that. My own eyes (measured at the center of my pupils) are about 2.6 inches apart. I do not know how wide apart various owl species' eyes are, but I would be very interested to find out.

Measuring the tree in question.

As I see it, in order for the video to show a bigfoot that is NOT standing on the rock, the creature would have to be well in excess of 12 feet tall. This is pretty much outside the range of all but the largest of size estimates by bigfoot witnesses. Since bigfoots of this size are either extremely rare, or their size estimates are exaggerated due to seeing conditions, distance, or fear, I see this possibility as most unlikely. If this video shows a bigfoot's eyes that is standing on that rock, then we run into the problem of why the rest of the body isn't visible in the film, when the tree at its side (and in the same film plane) is easily visible. It has been suggested to me that the bark of the tree is very reflective to infrared light, and sasquatches have somehow developed fur that absorbs these wavelengths, rendering them practically invisible in infrared illumination. I suppose this is possible, but I see it as pretty unlikely.

My conclusion on the film is that it probably does not show a bigfoot, though I could be wrong. I suspect that it shows the eye reflection of an owl sitting back on a branch that has broken off sometime in the three years between the filming and my on-site investigation. If I had more information about the distance between the eyes of owls, I would be a bit more sure in my assessment, but at this point, the sasquatch hypothesis seems less likely than other explanations.

But, of course, I could be wrong.  That's part of the fun of doing these investigations.  I get to find out what could be possible, what couldn't, and then come up with my own opinion on things.  Sharing my conclusions is simply part of the process of the scientific method called "peer review."  If new information comes to light about my conclusions which proves my conclusion to be incorrect, it doesn't make me a bad investigator or a stupid person.  It makes for better science.  Amateur science, I admit, but science nonetheless.  


  1. Thanks Cliff. Love your field notes.

  2. I just love how you really take every case and scrutinize. You are truly authentic when you come to a conclusion. I did not think those were eye shine. My first thought was a jeep on a hillside. It did not seem organic to me. I am so pleased by how you handle these. Good luck and happy hunting.

  3. I love the Kentucky episode. very interesting, as always. Thank you for the knowledge and insight you bring to every episode :)

  4. I live in Northern KY, so it's been a blast seeing you guys in OH,KY and IN.

  5. The only thing that made me doubt they were not eyes was the fact they never blinked. I would think think that in the length of time the camera was on them they would have blinked or moved left or right, but they never did. You could see them glisten but no movement. I do not think they were vehicle headlights so like you I have to say no bigfoot.

  6. Cliff, light absorbing hair would certainly explain many of those "supernatural" sightings that you read about once in a while. When witnesses say the Bigfoot disapeared like a vapor or seemed to melt into the vegatation? Deer have a very reddish color during the Fall. I watched one go between a row of 8 ft. white pines, with open ground on the otherside and literally "disappeared!" I was shocked that I could not see it. This was during the day and I was stopped at the side of the road! Great field notes, thank you.

  7. Wow! I loved this report. Especially how Pam describes the face of the Sasquatch as being gentle. I 'm sure It's a little scary to see one for the first time I often wonder what they think WE are.

  8. I would love to go Bigfooting with you sometime Cliff, I have had an experience myself in Kentucky that I will never forget (which I have already told you about of course) Keep up the good work!

  9. ''Peer Review'' ,subliminal message maybe?lol..........At any rate Cliff,you are the best of the best of the entire team. Keep Matt in line!lol! Enjoy the video debriefs with Craig.I'm sure you're tired and need rest but would love to see you catch-up on them. Keep Squatchin my freind!!!Big Dad!

  10. A little more Information on the river in the background would be nice. In my opinion it's quite possible, that these are light coming from a camp side, or even a boat from the river below.

  11. I'm thinking headlights of a parked car.

  12. The "eye shine" is just below the horizontal branch visible in the night time video. In the day time video there is a road visible at close to the same radial distance from the horizontal branch as the "eye shine". Could it be a vehicle parked on the road with the parking lights on and the tail light and front fender light visible? Or, tail lights or front parking lights as seen with the vehicle perpendicular to the road?

  13. I do not believe the eye shine could have been from car headlights, nor a boat on the lake. We were much further away from the road than it appears, and the lights would have been much closer together if they were headlights. The most likely culprit is some animal in the trees, probably an owl. However, as I stated, this is uncertain.

    1. Cliff, I really enjoy your field notes. Please keep them coming. Im with you on the animal in a tree assumption. What that animal was is the question......but I agree with you about it unlikely being a Bigfoot.

  14. So it's a lake. At least some more information. The biggest problem of this (and most other) sightings is, that we have to rely on the witness. Was it stationary? Were there other campers on the lake below? I agree with you, cliff, and most other users on here, that it's probably an owl. Sitting on a, now missing, branch. The missing blinking supports this theory. Whatever it was, I think most of us will agree, that a sasquatch is one of the most unlikely explanations.

  15. Cliff, you may have answered this question for someone else but I haven't come across it if you have. Is there any plans to possibly go to WV to do an investigation, be it with Animal Planet and the gang OR just you taking it upon yourself to visit there? I guess looking over the sightings map across America, there really isn't a ton of reported/documented cases in comparison to the amount of forest available for a Bigfoot to inhabit, BUT, nonetheless, its a question I'm hoping you'll find the time to answer.


  16. In the summer 1990 maybe 1989 i was fishing in Kentucky the moon was full around 12:00 or 1:00 i was looking towards the river and from around this little hill side came bigfoot I got and I could not believe what I'm looking at I reach down in my tackle box and got my two knifes out all the time keeping my eyes on bigfoot all the wile talking to him saying I your friend I put my back two the water with knifes in hand I could not believe it with man I was I was only maybe 15 feet away from him if I had hair on my back it would stand up like a dogs hair does. I could not wait till daylight to come. I told my brother his girlfriend and my girlfriend about what I seen. You can put me under hypnosis two.. and me and Linda were trying to go to sleep in the car the car started to and told Linda stop the car she said it's not me honey. So I layed for about 2 mins I got up look towards the house were my mom and everyone was at they were all inside and I told her what I though it could of been soul I got out of the car didn't see shit...

  17. A few years ago my husband and I were fishing in Berea KY and it got dark on us real quick and in trying to find the boat ramp we ended up in a little slough and it was silent and all of a sudden we heard big rocks being thrown toward our boat and making big splashes in the water next to our boat and it was just over and over again but no other noises no laughter no sound so no way it was a person. My husband got us out of there and the whole time no other noises except silence and large rock splashing into the lake. I believe.