Author’s note: This is the first in a two-part series on Kansan Randy Harrington’s quest to find Bigfoot.
Randy Harrington sat in the cab of his pickup; a blanket draped over the windows hiding him from the world.
He didn’t want to be seen.
A tent Randy had pitched earlier sat a few yards away, next to a table laden with fruit. The tent was a decoy; the fruit was bait. The full moon bathed the landscape of Oklahoma’s Chickasaw National Recreation Area in light and, peeking from behind the blanket, Randy could see the whole campsite.
He was waiting for Bigfoot, the legendary North American ape.
“I’ve had a close encounter,” Randy said. “It blew my mind. It’s an unbelievable ride I’ve been on.”
Randy, 41, owns a siding company in Leavenworth, Kan., and investigates Bigfoot sightings for the Green Country Bigfoot Research Center in Oklahoma.
As Randy sat in his truck in February 2006, listening to the sounds of midnight through a parabolic microphone, he heard something moving on two legs.
“When it walked across the gravel pathways, it dragged a stick,” he said. “It was a Bigfoot carrying a stick. One of the metal posts in the park got hit by the stick – bang.”
When the creature got near his pickup, Randy said, it stopped. Then he heard it hoot.
“I heard a burst of 15 to 16 owl calls right behind my truck,” he said. “I’m listenin’, then it took two or three steps forward and then stopped. It was inching closer and closer to my truck.”
Randy said the creature was using owl calls to make sure the campsite was empty, then it hit a tree with the stick
“I heard sloshing coming from across the creek,” Randy said. “It was another Bigfoot coming to it. It was communicating with another Bigfoot (with the stick).”
Peeking from behind a fold in the blanket, Randy saw something terrifying in the side mirror.
“I could see one come from behind the tree,” he said. “I thought I was going to have a heart attack. It was humanoid. At that point my heart’s starting to race.”
The Bigfoot, covered in reddish-brown hair, didn’t realize Randy was in the truck, but Randy didn’t know that.
“I didn’t move a muscle,” he said. “After 15 calls, all hell broke loose. They came up to my truck. The big one, his arms were swinging side to side like an ape, stepped around my truck. I’ve got ladder racks on the back of my truck that are seven feet tall, and this thing was head and shoulders above the rack.”
Randy works for a fire department and said he’s been trained not to be afraid of anything – except this.
“I thought it was going to rip the door off my truck,” he said. “I pulled my back off the seat because I thought they might feel my heartbeat through the metal of the truck.”
The back of his truck sank when Randy felt a Bigfoot step on the bumper and he reached for the ignition key.
“I thought I was going to have to get out of there,” he said. “But they started rifling through the Tupperware containers in the back of my truck.”
He didn’t turn the key.
“I did not want them to know I was in that truck,” he said. “I did nothing but listen.”
The creatures turned over a generator in the bed of the truck and banged propane bottles together.
“Then they walked around my campsite and then they left,” he said. “I had a table full of fruit that they didn’t touch. The came to my truck with a purpose.”
The creatures never stepped in front of his truck – Randy said they’re too intelligent to do that – but, he wished they had. He never saw their face.
“I had a video camera and I was going to flip on my headlights and have unbelievable video,” he said. But Randy just sat in his truck, frozen, listening to the two Bigfoot leave the campsite.
Randy has researched Bigfoot for the past five years. Although he’s investigated spots in Missouri and Kansas, his eyes are on Oklahoma.
“There’s definitely a breeding population down there,” he said.
Next week: Sightings in Missouri and the behavior of Bigfoot.
Copyright 2007 by Jason Offutt
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