From: Stig Agermose <email@example.com> Date: Sat, 31 Aug 2002 14:46:24 +0200 Fwd Date: Sat, 31 Aug 2002 19:20:15 -0400 Subject: Bigfoot Enthusiasts Meet In Pennsylvania Source: Tribune-Review - Greensburg, Pennsylvania http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/s_89227.html Stig *** Bigfoot enthusiasts make tracks to Jeannette By Craig Smith TRIBUNE-REVIEW Saturday, August 31, 2002 ** Eric Altman dreams of coming face to face with a hairy creature that can stand more than 8 feet tall, weigh nearly a ton and smell like rancid meat. He came close, he thinks, about two years ago. That's why he's 98 percent sure the creature that's come to be known as Bigfoot is out there. "I want to see one of these creatures up close," he said. "There's obviously something out there. We have a mystery to solve." Altman will be among the speakers when the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society holds its fourth annual East Coast Bigfoot Conference and Expo from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at Pitzer's Townhouse Restaurant in Jeannette. He's hoping the public will attend the conference to share stories of Bigfoot sightings and to learn more about the creature. Altman's own close encounter occurred in August 2000 in the woods of Bradford County. During a preliminary investigation into a Bigfoot sighting, Altman and others heard something circling them. At first, they thought it was a bear. "When we moved, it moved," he said. "That's not typical of a bear." Then there was the mumbling. Altman said it sounded as if the creature was trying to talk. "We had goosebumps. Our hearts were racing," he said. "It was pretty intense." Altman, 32, of Jeannette, has been "obsessed" with Bigfoot for more than 20 years. He believes the creature stems from a break in the evolutionary process. "As the evolutionary chain progressed, a separate species broke off," he said. "Man evolved. This thing remained animal-like." You don't have to go deep into the woods to find a Bigfoot, though. One of the most recent reported sightings in Westmoreland County was near Jeannette. At about 7 a.m. June 9, 2000, a woman driving on Route 30 near Delallo's Italian Marketplace reported seeing a creature more than 7 feet tall, weighing about 400 to 500 pounds, cross a side road in three steps. Altman and other investigators scoured the area but found no hard evidence of Bigfoot. By day, Eric Altman works full time for a communications company; his wife, Kathy, works for a local retailer. They spend the hours away from their jobs chasing Bigfoot and running the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society, an organization formed in 1999 by Eric Altman, Steve Anderson and Henry Benson to receive and investigate Bigfoot sightings. "We get sighting reports from all across the state," Kathy Altman said. So far, the research has been hampered by circumstantial evidence. "Until someone is lucky enough to get actual photographic footage," she said. Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin apparently did just that on Oct. 20, 1967. The 953 frames of 16 mm footage they filmed at Bluff Creek, Calif., is cited as the best evidence of Bigfoot to date. But Eric Altman believes this will be the era that will prove =97 or disprove =97 the creature's existence. "Twenty years ago we carried a camera and a pocket tape recorder," he said. "Now, we have infrared cameras, night scopes and thermal imaging." One independent investigator, William Dranginis, of Virginia, travels the country in his high-tech Bigfoot Primate Research Lab, a motor home that once served as a mobile veterinary clinic. Packed with all the latest in surveillance gear, from a 360-degree-perimeter night- vision camera to a thermal-imaging system, it's billed as one of the highlights of the Bigfoot Conference and Expo in Jeannette. In addition to Eric Altman, the speaker's list includes UFO and Bigfoot researcher Stan Gordon, of Greensburg; Bigfoot researcher Ron Schaffner of Cincinnati, Ohio; and Rick Fisher, director of the Ghost Hunters Society. ** Additional information is available from the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society at 724-374-5555. The group's Web site is www.pabigfootsociety.com. Craig Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (724) 850- 1217. ** Images and text copyright =A9 2002 by The Tribune-Review Publishing Co. Reproduction or reuse prohibited without written consent from PittsburghLIVE.
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