'Finding Bigfoot': Never-Ending Search for Sasquatch

"Finding Bigfoot" hunters cross the country to capture evidence of a man-beast.

November 14, 2012, 1:30 PM

Nov. 14, 2012— -- intro: Bigfoot. Sasquatch. Yeti. Ape-man. Man-beast. The shaggy, towering, yet elusive, creature goes by many names and there has been no shortage of tales of unexplained sightings in the woods.

People really want to believe Bigfoot is real, and for decades, dozens of Yeti hunters have tried to prove its existence. Never mind the fact that the only thing anyone knows for certain about the legendary beast is that it has been wildly successful at filling tabloids, being the subject of terrible B movies, and generally serving as an all-around punch line.

But Matt Moneymaker, Cliff Barackman, Ranae Holland and James "Bobo" Fay are a ragtag team of globetrotting researchers who are as serious about Bigfoot as the Pope is about religion.

With every bit of cutting edge technology -- night vision gear and all the sensors they can get their hands on -- this group of Bigfoot hunters travels the world investigating Sasquatch sightings.

"Beliefs are things you can't see and you can't prove," Fay said. "Sasquatch is a real living entity that will be proven soon enough."

"It's more than one," Moneymaker said. "Remember it's not Bigfoot, it's Bigfoots. There's a misconception out there that we're looking around for this one thing."

Their adventures and investigations make up two, and soon to be three, seasons of the Animal Planet series, "Finding Bigfoot," which airs on Sundays at 10 p.m. ET. Interestingly, one member of the group, research biologist Ranae Holland, isn't quite sold yet.

"I'm still skeptical," she said. "We used to think the world is flat, we didn't think pandas existed. You know, in the idea of discovery, you're always testing, accepting theories... It's all about answering the question and the pursuit of that and that's what I'm behind."

Holland wants to know just what the rest of us are wondering: If Bigfoot is real, where is it?

A lot of the group's evidence falls under the umbrella of sketchy ambiguous photos and video. One famous Bigfoot video, known as the Patterson-Gimlin film, was taken in 1967, and in one episode of "Finding Bigfoot," the group studies it and tries to re-create it to determine if it was staged.

Moneymaker believes there is no way the Sasquatch in the film is a man in a monkey suit.

"When you see it in motion, you see parts of the anatomy," he said. "If you know what somebody in a costume looks like and you see that in motion, you know that doesn't really look like a person in a costume. That looks like a real animal."

They study tracks, too, evidence, they say, of an unidentified large primate-like beast with -- you guessed it -- a very big foot. They also claim to have identified a Bigfoot call.

All of them but Ranae claim to have had real life run-ins with a Sasquatch over the years, though none of them has anything to show for it but an undying passion to convince the world that it -- whatever it is -- really does exist.

"We all have different opinions on what they are," Fay said. "We're all guessing, but I think they're more like a person, a wild, kind of primitive man that can talk. I've heard them talk in the woods."

The "Finding Bigfoot" crew isn't alone in claiming Bigfoot sightings. There have been numerous reports, even just in the past year. Click the arrow to hear some recent claims from people who believe Sasquatch is real.

quicklist: 1category: Searching for Sasquatch title: Oct. 30, 2012: Utah url: text: A couple of campers got the scare of their lives the day before Halloween after they spotted what they claim was the infamous Bigfoot.

In a video posted to YouTube on Oct. 30, "Beard Card," who did not want his name made public, said he was camping with some friends near Squaw Peak and Little Rock Canyon in Provo Canyon, Utah, and initially thought he saw a deer.

"We wanted to get a closer look at [it]," he said in a YouTube post. "On our way up, we thought we saw a bear, until the monster stood up and looked right at us. We ran straight to the car after that, leaving our tent and everything behind. It's probably still up there."

Read ABC's Lawrence Dechant's full report here, and watch the video in the player

media: 17672564

quicklist: 2category: Searching for Sasquatch title: Oct. 21, 2012: Pennsylvania url: text: A Pennsylvania man had his eye on a large, furry and elusive suspect who he accused of vandalizing his 1973 Dodge Winnebago.

John Reed, a self-described Bigfoot tracker since the age of 10, said he was camping with his girlfriend when he saw the creature walk past his motor home window. Reed said the Bigfoot reportedly threw rocks at his mobile home's outside light to escape discovery.

Read ABC's Alyssa Newcomb's full report here, and watch the video in the player.media: 17528125

quicklist: 3category: Searching for Sasquatch title: Aug. 24, 2012: Ohio url: text: When a YouTube video claimed to show a large, dark and hairy creature running across a path in the woods of Ohio, it sparked a wide online debate over whether it was a Bigfoot sighting.

The video was shot in April in the Grand River area of northeast Ohio, according to a description posted by HowTo101Channel, a YouTube user who described him -- or herself -- as "looking for UFO's, Bigfoot, Paranormal activity, current events a rick roll or two lol."

The 38-second clip shows a creature running across the road, from left to right, while appearing to hold a long stick in its hand. The video appears to have been shot by someone on a motorized bike or scooter.

Read ABC's Katie Kindelan's full report here, and watch the video here.


quicklist: 4category: Searching for Sasquatch title: May 31, 2012: Idaho url: text: A group of high school students might have come close to Bigfoot during a class project in the Idaho wilderness.

A dark, mysterious creature was caught on tape for a few seconds near Mink Creek before it retreated into the treeline.

"It just didn't look human-like. I don't know what that is. It's not a bear, it's not a moose or anything. It was big and bulky and black," said the student who captured the video. He spoke to ABC News' Idaho affiliate but did not want want to be identified on camera.

Read ABC's Alyssa Newcomb's full report here, and watch the video in the player


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