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URECAT - UFO Related Entities Catalog

URECAT is a formal catalog of UFO related entities sightings reports with the goal of providing quality information for accurate studies of the topic. Additional information, corrections and reviews are welcome at patrick.gross@inbox.com, please state if you wish to be credited for your contribution or not. The main page of the URECAT catalog is here.

MAY 15, 1977, FOOTEDALE, PENNSYLVANIA, USA, A MARRIED COUPLE:

Brief summary of the event and follow-up:

A local newspaper reported that on the last Sunday, May 15, 1977, a "Bigfoot" was reported in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, the USA, by a Footedale family who wanted not to be named.

The couple and their three children returned on their premises coming from the urban sector of McLelland and drove in German Towsnship on an obscure road in the night at 09:30 p.m..

In a turn of the road, they saw "a big animal like object", or "an animal", that the newspaper, a ufologist and the couple thought was a "Bigfoot".

The wife said that she initially thought that it was a deer, but its brown reddish hair was too shaggy, less smooth than those of a deer. Moreover, the animal was upright, measuring about 1.80 meters, walking in a more or less bent position.

Its back was turned at the frightened car occupants and it fled out of sight as soon as the car's headlights hit it.

The witnesses came back on the location by night then by day and informed that they found some broken branches and flattened grasses suggesting that they had really seen it.

There is no trace of any investigation. The case entered the catalogues of Bigfoot and UFOs "experts". At some time, it was added to the story - why or how is undetermined - that the family had also seen "weird nocturnal lights" that same night, whereas their testimony in the newspaper made no such mention, and this perhaps explains why the case later also appeared as a "humanoid sighting" in a ufology catalogue. In "Bigfoot" catalogues, the height of the animal sometimes grew from 6 to 7 feet, and the year of observation sometimes became 1970 or even 2003, and thus appeared as two different cases.

Nobody ever seemed to have thought that it could simply have been a bear.

Basic information table:

Case number: URECAT-000449
Date of event: May 15, 1977
Earliest report of event: May 20, 1977
Delay of report: 5 days.
Witness reported via: To a newspaper under respect for anonymity.
First alleged record by: N/A.
First certain record by: Local newspaper.
First alleged record type: N/A.
First certain record type: Local newspaper.
This file created on: January 23, 2008
This file last updated on: January 23, 2008
Country of event: USA
State/Department: Pennsylvania
Type of location: From car on road, in a curve.
Lighting conditions: Night
UFO observed: Uncertain
UFO arrival observed: Not reported.
UFO departure observed: Not reported.
UFO/Entity Relation: None.
Witnesses numbers: 5
Witnesses ages: Adult, adult, 7, 11, 14
Witnesses types: Not reported. Married couple with 3 kids.
Photograph(s): No.
Witnesses drawing: No.
Witnesses-approved drawing: No.
Number of entities: 1
Type of entities: Animal
Entities height: 1.80 meters
Entities outfit type: None.
Entities outfit color: N/A.
Entities skin color: Reddish brown.
Entities body: Not reported. Walks upright somehow bent, back to witnesses.
Entities head: Not reported.
Entities eyes: Not visible.
Entities mouth: Not visible.
Entities nose: Not visible.
Entities feet: Not reported or not visible.
Entities arms: Not reported or not visible.
Entities fingers: Not reported or not visible.
Entities fingers number: Not reported.
Entities hair: covered of hair more shaggy than a deer's.
Entities voice: None heard.
Entities actions: Is near the road, fled out of sight when lit by car's headlights.
Entities/witness interactions: Fled.
Witness(es) reactions: Observed, went, went back to check for traces.
Witness(es) feelings: Frightened.
Witness(es) interpretation: "Bigfoot".
Explanation category: Confusion, bear.
Explanation certainty: Medium.

Narratives:

[Ref. bt1:] THE BROWNSVILLE TELEGRAPH NEWSPAPER:

Bigfoot in the News Again

Big Foot is back in the news again. Another reported sighting of the half human animal has taken place in the Fayette County area.

A Footedale couple and their three children experienced several frightening moments Sunday night when they confronted the creature along a dark, rural road in German Twp [Township], about 9:30. The family members, who wish to remain anonymous, were returning from the McClelland town area when the incident occurred.

The animal described by the wife was a large creature with shaggy hair walking upright in a slumped over position. She said it was reddish brown color. "When I first saw it, I thought it might be a deer, but it was no deer!" she said. She added, "Its hair was shaggy, not smooth like a deer and it had to be at least 6 feet tall."

The husband said the creature was standing upright at the edge of the narrow road with its back to the occupants of the car. "We were rounding a bend in the road when we suddenly saw a large animal like object about 6 feet or so tall, with reddish brown hair," he said. When the headlights of the car shone over the creature, it quickly dropped from sight over an embankment along the roadway. The husband said it was a drop from 35 to 40 feet and that it led to an open plowed field.

The three children in the car reacted differently to the Bigfoot sighting. The mother said the 11 year old daughter threw her ice cream down, locked the doors of the car and hit the floor. The youngest child, age 7 just sat there. The 14 year old son returned to the scene of the sighting later that night with his father after remainder of the family was dropped off at home.

The son and father used flashlights to inspect the area. They discovered some broken branches and a fence post was pushed over, but no footprints were discovered. The family returned the next day during the daylight to check the area once again.

The wife said the grass and weeds were pushed down in certain areas. She added, "I could tell something was down there."

According to Joan Jeffers, co-director to the Pennsylvania Center of UFO Research, this was the first reported Big Foot sighting in Fayette County this year.

Last year, one sighting was reported in Smock, Franklin Twp and another occurred at Republic.

Jeffers reported two sightings took place in McKean County recently and one also at Clearfield County during February. Numerous sightings of Big Foot have taken place since 1967 across the country and in Canada.

The Footedale family has now been added to the list of believers. "Before this happened, I never believed in anything like this," the wife remarked.

[Ref. jb1:] JANET AND COLIN BORD:

The authors note in a listing that in May 1977, in German Township, Pennsylvania, a couple and three children saw the back of a 6-feet Bigfoot with shaggy reddish-brown hair, walking slumped over, beside a rural road.

The authors indicate that the sources are The Herald, Uniontown, Pennsylvania, on May 20, 1977, and Green, "Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us", page 264.

In the same listing, they note that in May 1970, in Footedale, Pennsylvania, parents and three children driving home from church, saw a reddish-brown Bigfoot walking slumped.

They indicate that the source is Place, "Bigfoot All Over the Country" page 158.

[Ref. bf1:] "BIGFOOT - FACT OR FANTASY?" WEBSITE:

The website lists the case as:

Date Location Witness Incident
May 1970 Footedale, PA Parents & three children Driving home from church, saw reddish-brown Bigfoot walking slumped.

The source is indicated as: Data from "Chronological List of Bigfoot Sightings (1818-1980)" (The Bigfoot Casebook, Janet and Colin Bord, 1982, New York: Granada Publishing)

[Ref. bf2:] "BIGFOOT - FACT OR FANTASY?" WEBSITE:

The website lists the case a second time as:

Date Location Witness Incident
May 1977 German Township Couple & three children Saw back of 6-ft Bigfoot, with shaggy reddish-brown hair, walking slumped over, beside rural road.

The source is indicated as: Data from "Chronological List of Bigfoot Sightings (1818-1980)" (The Bigfoot Casebook, Janet and Colin Bord, 1982, New York: Granada Publishing)

[Ref. ar1:] ALBERT ROSALES:

Albert Rosales indicates in his catalogue that in Footedale, Pennsylvania, on May 15, 1977, at night, a married couple was driving home when their headlights picked up a seven-foot tall dark hairy figure standing on the road. It had shaggy reddish brown hair over its entire body. The creature seemed to glide above the ground with its head and shoulder slumped. It disappeared into a nearby ravine. Moments later the same witnesses reported a strange nocturnal light maneuvering in the area.

Albert Rosales indicates that the source is Paul G. Johnson and Joan L. Jeffers, The Pennsylvania Bigfoot

[Ref. cc1:] PENNSYLVANIA RESEARCH ASSOCIATION:

In a listing of Bigfoot reports in Cumberland County, the website indicates that on May 15, 1977, in Footedale, a husband and wife were driving along a road, when they saw a 7' tall, hairy figure on the road in their headlight beams. The creature is described as having shaggy, reddish brown hair over its entire body, walking erect with the head and shoulders slumped, and appearing to "glide" rather than walk.

The website indicates that it disappeared into a ravine and that the witnesses also reported seeing a strange nocturnal light in the area.

The website indicates that the report was submitted by Paul Johnson, Stan Gordon.

[Ref. hd1:] HIGH DESERT BIGFOOT RESEARCH PROJECT:

The web site indicates that on May 15, 2003, at night, in Footedale, a married couple was driving home when their headlights picked up a seven-foot tall dark hairy figure standing on the road. It had shaggy reddish brown hair over its entire body. The creature seemed to glide above the ground with its head and shoulder slumped. It disappeared into a nearby ravine. Moments later the same witnesses reported a strange nocturnal light maneuvering in the area.

The source is indicated as Peter Gutilla "Bigfoot Files".

Points to consider:

I read the Paul G. Johnson and Joan L. Jeffers book "The Pennsylvania Bigfoot" a few years before 2008, but I do not own it. The self-published book is a casebook of 160 "Bigfoot" type incidents in Pennsylvania. The authors consider various possible explanations for such incidents but have no final conclusion about them.

The first, obvious thing here is that the later source originate from the newspaper source [bt1]. And yet, there is absolutely no mention of any strange nocturnal light. It seems that this was invented later, not a part of the real witness report.

The newspaper states that the witness wished to remain anonymous, and they are not named in the article. This is another sign that there is little chance that any investigator could have located and heard them add a story of weird nocturnal light. This also mean that there was probably no further investigation and no follow-up of the story by any investigators, that it starts and ends with the newspaper article as far as data in concerned.

What the witnesses really described is an animal. It was in the night. The road was obscure. They were driving. It is specified that the animal fled out of sight as soon as the car's headlights lit it. This is not my imagination, it is what the newspaper reported. This means that the sighting conditions were not quite excellent, that the sighting duration could not have been very long.

They rightfully ruled out a deer, because it was upright, and "its hair was shaggy, not smooth like a deer and it had to be at least 6 feet tall."

They apparently simply did not thought of a bear.

List of issues:

Id: Topic: Severity: Date noted: Raised by: Noted by: Description: Proposal: Status:
1 Data Severe January 23, 2008 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Late source claims of nocturnal lights, unsupported by witnesses statements in primary source. Help needed. Opened.
2 Ufology Severe January 23, 2008 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross No trace of investigation. Help needed. Opened.
3 Ufology Severe January 23, 2008 Patrick Gross Patrick Gross Bear as cause apparently never thought of. Help needed. Opened.

Evaluation:

Confusion, bear.

Sources references:

* = Source I checked.
? = Source I am told about but could not check yet. Help appreciated.

Document history:

Authoring

Main Author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history

Version: Created/Changed By: Date: Change Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross January 23, 2008 Creation, [bt1], [jb1], [bf1], [bf2], [ar1], [cc1], [hd1].
1.0 Patrick Gross January 23, 2008 First published.

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This page was last updated on January 23, 2008