One person who says the photos are real -- and who paid a lot of money to buy them -- is Cliff Crook of Bothell, Washington. He knows they're real, he says, because he's seen the creature up close too. Here's his story as it appeared on December 4, 1995 in the Tacoma, Washington, News Tribune.]
By C.R. Roberts
News Tribune Staff Writer
"Right now," says Cliff Crook, "this is Bigfoot Central."
This is a dining-room table beside the family kitchen in a smallish house near Bothell. Maps on the table. Several photographs. A telephone an arm's reach away.
Right now, he's at home. Bigfoot Central. Heart of a North American Sasquatch network.
He hands me a photograph. "The" photograph. [This photograph is posted at the ISCNI Web site on the "What's New" page.]
"It's the best photo that was ever taken of Bigfoot," he says.
Taken by a Tacoma man Crook will not name. A man hiking near Wild Creek, near Mount Rainier, last summer. A man afraid he'll lose his government job if people find out who he is and what he saw. A man who called Bigfoot Central, saying he had a story and some photographs. Fourteen photographs.
Crook bought seven, and this one's the best. Paid the man $1,600. Heard the story: out hiking, heard a noise, saw Bigfoot leaving a lagoon.
Crook points to the beast, to the face. He knows the face.
"This is the creature that walked up to my campfire in 1956," he says. He'd heard it scream once before, at age 7. He'd seen it briefly, later that same year. But this was different, back in 1956.
That's when it all began. Cliff Crook was 16, out camping with three friends near Duvall, in the woods near a swamp, a healthy walk from home.
Late one summer night. A dog -- a German shepherd -- growls and barks. The dog runs into the swamp. The next thing the boys see is the dog again, in the air, having been thrown back into the camp. The dog lands, out cold.
"We started throwing sticks into the brush," Crook says. Sticks from the fire. Sticks on fire. One hit whatever it was that threw the dog.
"We heard a horrendous sound. It was a language, a voice. Not a language we knew."
Something like: "Ee-gor lar-gor." Deep, heavy.
One of the boys started crying. The creature approached. "A giant, hair-covered creature." The boys ran. They left everything behind. The dog awoke. The boys ran home, barefoot.
And ever since that night in the woods, Cliff's life has been tied -- embraced as if by faith or fate, by love or concrete ambition -- to Bigfoot.
"Over the years, people were always coming to me. I used to go around and hear stories," he says.
"People knew he was interested," says his wife, Carol.
They've been married 33 years. Three children. Two grandchildren.
He's worked as a longshoreman, a warehouseman, a cartoonist, a co-editor of the journal Bigfoot Trails. He's a Bigfoot tracker, a Sasquatch detective, an assembler of some 400 plaster footprints. He's been featured on TV in America, Germany and Japan. He no longer keeps count of the journalists who ask for interviews. He and Carol teamed as technical advisers for the Bigfoot film "Harry and the Hendersons."
Bigfoot Central has been in the phone book since 1982, and registered as a nonprofit foundation since 1991. During Bigfoot season, in the summer and early fall, maybe 20 people call each week, usually asking for information. Maybe three report a sighting.
Maybe 10 percent of the sightings prove to be something other than stumps, shadows, fantasy or bear. Most of the true sightings -- if "true" is the right word, if you're a believer -- occur during the handful of days on either side of a full moon.
September is the best month of all. That's when the salmon run, and Bigfeet -- Crook estimates a total Pacific Northwest population of maybe 200 -- love salmon.
Crook sighs. "There was a time when I wanted to prove it to everybody, to my dad, to everybody," he says. "Eventually, as the years went by, I didn't want to prove it to anyone. It should be left to the peace and freedom of the forest."
Such is the Zen of his quest. He feels born to find Bigfoot, yet he feels driven to let Bigfoot be. He knows more than he's willing to say -- about the creature's habits, its patterns, about something he calls a "tribal gathering" that occurs every year somewhere in the Olympic Mountains.
He fears what might happen -- and how it might happen -- should Bigfoot truly, actually, definitely be discovered. His lips tighten. "Why," he asks, "should something be killed to prove it's alive?"
In 1974, for three weeks, Crook tried to rid himself of his Bigfoot monkey. He could not.
"I knew it wouldn't work," he says. "Once God says, 'This is what you're going to do for the rest of your life,' you might as well go along with the program. It's gone past obsession. It's not an obsession. It's a focus."
Since 1956, he has seen Bigfoot twice. He thinks he'll write a book.
And sitting in his chair at the core at Bigfoot Central, as Carol prepares supper, he says he's damn proud of his newest proof.
"I think in my own mind, the evidence is in," he says. "I'm satisfied."
Original file name: CNI - Bigfoot Update 1.18
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