Bigfoot found! ... Sort of

Looming figure seen in the woods, and it's still there
Feb. 13, 2013 @ 07:24 AM

It all started from a Facebook post the News-Topic stumbled across recently. An employee at the Caldwell County Clerk’s office said her aunt, who lives in Ferguson, had two photos of what appeared to be a large, ape-like creature rising out of the woods just off Beaver Creek Road between N.C. 18 and N.C. 268.

Could it be? Could it?

Well, no, we were told, not quite.

The photos were not doctored, and they did indeed capture what appears be a large, ape-like creature rising out of the woods near the Wilkes-Caldwell line.

But it's not a creature.

We were bummed.

But the more we thought and talked about it, we decided there's still a search for Bigfoot in this. If it's not really Bigfoot, what is it exactly? Where did it come from?

We needed an eyewitness account.

News-Topic reporter Kim Gilliland and photographer Dave Prewitt headed to the hills Tuesday is search of the elusive (can it be elusive if it doesn't actually move?), creature-shaped thing resembling the popularly known ape-like Bigfoot, which reportedly stands 8 to 10 feet tall, weighing in at more than 500 pounds and covered in dark brown or dark reddish hair. Scientists usually attribute Bigfoot sightings to either hoaxes or misidentification of known animals and their tracks.

These two gumshoe journalists wanted to get to the heart of the Beaver Creek Bigfoot mystery. After two slow passes down the length of Beaver Creek Road, they couldn't find it, so perhaps it was elusive after all. They stopped to ask for directions. Gilliland approached a house and knocked on the door. A woman answered, and Gilliland said, "We're from the News-Topic, and this may sound like an unusual question ..."

"I already know what you're going to ask," the woman said. The creature-looking thing could be found about a half-mile down the road, she said.

A short drive later and, sure enough, about 100 feet up a hill and through the underbrush they saw Bigfoot – or, at least, a reasonable facsimile of Bigfoot, about 7 feet tall or more, 3 feet wide and made of painted plywood.

Across the road, they found Bigfoot's creator, Brian DeCann, 66, a retiree who carved Bigfoot with a jigsaw in his workshop two weeks ago. DeCann wanted to see how passersby would react to the sight. So far, he said, he had seen only one car (before Gilliland and Prewitt arrived Tuesday) stop by to look. He may have missed others, but he likes to sit on the porch and watch.

“I just wanted to poke some into the world, bring some levity,” he said.

Authenticity was paramount to the illusion, he said, so he tried to make it look real. Even now, out of his kitchen window he sometimes catches a glimpse of his Bigfoot and, for a split second, is startled at the sight.

DeCann, a recent transplant from upstate New York who believes that there is a real Bigfoot, said he didn't realize there is a local organization, Wilkes Bigfoot Research, devoted to investigating sightings of the creature. Rick Lunsford started the site after his own Bigfoot sighting 32 years ago, near the Blue Ridge Parkway in Wilkes County.

We showed Lunsford the photos that initially interested us on Facebook, and he immediately recognized it wasn't a real creature. But he said it was a pretty darn good likeness.

“From a distance, it looks real, but when you zoom in, it looks totally fake,” he said. “If it was real, it would be poking out from between the tress. He wouldn’t be standing there like he’s waiting on the mailman. They don’t do that.”

DeCann also has created a moose out of the same plywood. Ht took it down for the winter to make repairs. He has been thinking about taking down Bigfoot, but he may wait now. He’s starting to have fun.

“If you take things too seriously, you can lose your mind. That’s why it’s there,” he said.

Bigfoot could not be found to comment for this story.