By Tim Binnall
Bigfoot towered over its cryptid counterparts in 2019, making headlines throughout the year. Whether it was by way of eyewitness sightings, intriguing tracks, or hard-to-decipher visual evidence, Sasquatch seemingly wasn't quite as elusive as its reputation suggests. And, beyond potential encounters with the creature, Bigfoot also found its way into a number of rather unique stories involving the Indian Army, the FBI, various law enforcement agencies, the Royal Australian Mint, and even on ESPN.
Over the course of the year, two states, in particular, seemed to become hotbeds of Bigfoot activity: Utah and North Carolina. In the first location, astounded witnesses on three separate occasions may have filmed the creature. Meanwhile, North Carolina was the site of two potential eye witness sightings, a set of intriguing tracks, and one very odd case involving a woman who was certain that the creature was lurking in her backyard. Other noteworthy incidents from this past year included an interesting set of prints found in Washington, a pair of sightings reported in Georgia, and eerie howls recorded in Kentucky and Canada.
As any student of the Sasquatch can tell you, North America is not the only area where bipedal cryptids are believed to lurk. The case that made the most headlines this past year was undoubtedly a stunning announcement in April from the Indian Army, on Twitter of all places, that one of their mountaineering units had discovered a set of Yeti prints in the Himalayas. The declaration made news around the world, but the excitement soon fizzled when neighboring Nepal announced that they'd sent a team to investigate the matter and determined that the tracks likely came from a bear.
As opposed to that isolated incident, this past year saw a spate of rather sensational sightings in Australia, where the creature is known as the Yowie. Among the breathtaking accounts that came from Down Under were two incidents involving angry Yowies menacing witnesses, hair and a handprint believed to have been left behind by the creature, and one case in which a couple saw the monstrous beast seemingly injured in the middle of the road. Much like how its American 'colleague' Bigfoot, the Yowie was also celebrated as a cultural icon in Australia during 2019 via a commemorative coin issued by the country's national mint.
Bigfoot-like creatures were also the topic of conversation in Argentina where authorities went on the hunt for the localized version of the cryptid, known there as an Ucumar, after a series of sizeable and mysterious tracks were found in a village. And, in Russia, an eerie dashcam video of what appeared to be a Yeti chasing after a car received a surprising amount of media coverage. Reporters in the country also contemplated the long-discussed idea that perhaps the Abominable Snowman had been behind the infamous Dyatlov Pass Incident.
Bigfoot & The Law
By far the most bizarre stories involving Bigfoot in 2019 were the truly inexplicable incidents in which the cryptid somehow wound up crossing paths with the law. There was an Oregon man who called 911 because he believed that he was being attacked by an ax-wielding Sasquatch, a Bigfoot search at a Kentucky campground that culminated in gunfire, a distressed citizen who wrote to his local newspaper theorizing that the creature was behind a series of burglaries, and a homeowner who said that he stopped the cryptid from breaking into his home by shooting at it. Amazingly, Bigfoot even turned up in the files of the FBI as the agency released a remarkably detailed set of documents involving a 1976 inquiry from legendary Sasquatch researcher Peter Byrne.
2019 saw Bigfoot once again 'cast' as the star in several Hollywood films, most notably the popular animated films Abominable and Missing Link, as well as all manner of reality TV programs devoted to searching for the hard-to-find cryptid. The creature was even featured on ESPN when the sports station did a feature on the famed Whitehall Sasquatch calling contest. On a smaller scale, a fire safety campaign and a real estate agent both enlisted Bigfoot to help get the word out.
And, in something of a testament to just how far the creature and its proverbial compatriots have become a part of the public consciousness, Webster's Dictionary actually added 'cryptid' to their massive catalog of words in 2019. So while we may not have found Bigfoot this year, in many ways Sasquatch was with us in spirit all along whether it was in the form of puzzling sightings, strange tracks, jaw-dropping 911 calls, or simply as the 'spokescreature' for clever marketers. Let's just hope that 2020 will be the year that Bigfoot finally emerges from the forest to stand in the enormous spotlight that the Sasquatch legend has spawned.