Forty-two years ago today, the front page of The Bowie News in Bowie, Texas reported a Bigfoot sighting near the community. The story, complete with quotes from the chief of police, was accompanied …
Forty-two years ago today, the front page of The Bowie News in Bowie, Texas reported a Bigfoot sighting near the community. The story, complete with quotes from the chief of police, was accompanied by photos of an out-of-focus image and a crude footprint.
The story maintained its serious tone until the final paragraph, which conveniently fell below the fold of the front page, that the story might have been the work of the imaginations of two young reporters.
Over the years, the publication dateline for the paper has fallen on April Fool’s Day occasionally, and I am always reminded of that first-year prank in the community newspaper business.
At first we had convinced the publisher to allow us the use of the entire front page, then he cut us back to a half page, with the real news for the week starting on the bottom half.
I’m not sure he would have done that for the midweek paper, which was the more prominent of the two issues, but for the Sunday edition, he relented.
That the chief of police played along and gave us some good quotes was icing on the cake.
Yes, we thought about doing it again this year, especially here in the heart of Bigfoot Country.
But with those in the media fighting the largely misguided claims of fake news, I decided against it. People seem to have less humor for those kinds of things these days, and it really hasn’t been much of a funny year. Strange, not funny.
One other time in my career, in the south Dallas County suburbs, we did April 1 front pages, but they were more along the lines of satire than the more playful type story we did on Bigfoot.
There’s such a volume of satire around today, thanks to the internet, that I’m not sure a newspaper front page could cut through the clutter.
Bigfoot did appear on my radar many years later and not too many miles from the scene of our fake sighting.
The weekly sheriff’s report included a tale from a late-night trucker who claimed to have seen a deer run across the highway in a remote area several miles from town, being chased by a creature that he described as being upright.
Uh huh. I have several theories concerning evolution….
Sometime after we posted the report, I was contacted by a Bigfoot tracking group seeking more information.
The so-called evidence they posted on their website was pretty weak, to say the least.
Not wanting to stoke that fire, I declined to be further involved.
My maternal family comes from the area of Doddridge, Ark., which is one exit south of Fouke, Ark., the location for the 1970s movie “The Legend of Boggy Creek,” so I have a tenuous family connection to the man-ape.
If you know anything about the Texas Parks and Wildlife game warden service, you know those folks cover a lot of ground in a lot of rural, backwoods areas of the state. My belief is that, unless there is a huge conspiracy to cover up its existence, there would be iron-clad proof by now. Not to mention all the private game cameras that have sprouted up in the last couple decades.
In the early 2000s when we started getting reports that mountain lions were making their way back into Clay County, Texas, the game warden told me that it was not a matter of if there would be a confirmed sighting, but when. Not long after we were sent a game camera image clearly showing a healthy big cat.
So there’s your Bigfoot story for April Fool’s. Sorry if that disappoints you. Forty-two years has tamed some of my enthusiasm.