While the existence of Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, is debatable, the mythical-or-not creature’s popularity has been at an all-time high the last few years.
Harlan native Michael Cook, founder of the Kentucky Sasquatch team, has been asked to speak at the Big Sky Bigfoot Conference in Hot Springs, Montana, on Oct. 24 due to his extensive research of the creature.
According to Cook, he has had an interest in Bigfoot for 15 years following a possible sighting at Martins Fork Lake.
“In 2010 I found my first Bigfoot footprint up in Wallins Creek on a strip job,” Cook said. “I found a series of footprints that measured 17 inches long and about 7 inches wide. Too large to be a human.”
In 2012, he helped form the Kentucky Sasquatch Team to investigate sightings, Cook said.
“At that time, it was based in Harlan,” Cook said. “I’ve branched out over the last couple of years when I moved to Richmond. I’ve investigated and researched over 300 reported sightings in the state of Kentucky.”
Cook said he was chosen to be a keynote speaker at the Big Sky Conference after the event’s organizers saw an interview he’d done as well as well as blog entries and Facebook posts he made concerning the subject.
Cook was invited to speak at the conference and has been planning to speak for about a month.
“I’m a firm believer in Bigfoot,” said Cook. “This is all coming to a head to try to prove that this thing does exist.”
Cook said his Bigfoot interest started after he sighted what he thinks may have been the creature.
“I saw a creature 7 ½ to 8 feet tall at Martins Fork Lake in October of 2000,” said Cook. “This creature was on two legs and I was within 50 feet of it…everything you think you know about how Bigfoot looks is nothing compared to what Bigfoot actually looks like.”
Cook said the creature he saw did not look like a gorilla or any of the familiar versions of Bigfoot you see in movies.
“This thing was 7 ½ to 8 feet tall, and it was probably about 350 to 400 pounds,” Cook said. “You’d think that would be fat, but it wasn’t. It was lean, muscular and built…It had long legs that were half the body length. The arms hung down almost to its knees. It didn’t walk slumped over or hunched over…it was covered in dark, reddish brown hair.”
Cook said the creature’s face did resemble the common conception of Bigfoot’s appearance.
“It had a flat nose,” Cook said. “Its cheeks weren’t exposed like you see on “Harry and the Hendersons” or anything like that. The thing I noticed most about it was it did have four fingers and a thumb.”
Cook said when he first saw the creature, he wasn’t sure what he’d seen.
“After I saw it, I thoroughly believe it,” said Cook. “I know it exists, because I saw it with my own two eyes.”
Cook said he saw the creature on the river side of the Martins Fork Dam. He said he ran when he saw it.
“I could hear it screaming up on the ridge,” said Cook. “It wasn’t like a howl like you hear on “Finding Bigfoot” it was a primate scream.”
Cook says statistics show 70 percent of people that have an encounter with Bigfoot never tell it, because they are afraid of ridicule if they report a sighting.
“It’s OK to let people know,” said Cook. “It fuels our research if we get more sightings.”
The Kentucky Sasquatch Team can be reached through the Facebook page.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde