Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Saunders County Sheriff Probes Possible Bigfoot Sighting

Map highlighting the area around Morse Bluff, Linwood Road and the Platte River

Map highlighting the area around Morse Bluff, Linwood Road and the Platte River

A Nebraska teen, 15, reported seeing a 7-foot tall, “hairy,” bipedal creature along a country road that runs parallel to the Platte River in Saunders County, Nebraska, about 60 miles west of Omaha. The unidentified creature reportedly ran out in front of the unnamed teen’s vehicle between Morse Bluff and Linwood Road, before disappearing into the foliage along the river. This allegedly happened at about 5:30 a.m. one morning in late July 2013. The teen has asked to remain unidentified and has declined all media interviews.

Once on the scene, deputies found hair, which they sent to a lab for analysis, but, according to a representative from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, they did not find any tracks. According to Omaha.com, however, rumor in the Linwood-Morse Bluff area has it that tracks were found. Also, residents are claiming to have heard screams in the night — unexplained screams. Even so, according to Conservation Officer Mark Lubin this creature doesn’t specifically involve a game or nongame animal and so does not fall under the commission’s jurisdiction.

Saunders County Sheriff Kevin Stukenholtz, who is awaiting results from the lab analysis of the mysterious hair found at the scene before jumping to any conclusions, says that he currently has no reason to suspect a hoax, “We aren’t sure what it was, but we’re looking into it.” He also says that he doesn’t think it’s going to turn out to be a Sasquatch.

Though some reports say that the chances of a true Sasquatch sighting occurring outside a heavily wooded, rainy region like the Pacific Northwest are slim, Loren Coleman, Author of Bigfoot!: The True Story of Apes in America, does not agree. Coleman notes in an article on cryptozoonews.com that there have been a number of Bigfoot sightings on the Pine Ridge Reservation in southern South Dakota, just north of Nebraska. Coleman speculates that a Sasquatch could have strayed south from that area.

In fact, according to Coleman, sightings in Nebraska go way back, even further back than Nebraska’s mass murderer Charles Starkweather, whose 1958 killing spree left him awaiting execution on death row for a short time. According to Coleman, Starkweather wrote in a prison journal that when he was a boy, “he would see a strange upright, hairy creature outside his window in the mornings.”

For anyone in the area concerned that they might encounter a Sasquatch, the website Bigfootfinder.com offers a survival guide with this preface, “For your own safety, if you happen to encounter Bigfoot in the wild, it is important that you follow specific guidelines. Acting the wrong way, saying the wrong phrase, or even thinking the wrong thing can get you ripped to shreds in a matter of seconds.” One is warned not to provoke a Sasquatch, but if it’s already too late for that, the guide offers some helpful strategies and rates each strategy’s odds of success.

According to the guide, offering food gives you an 80% chance of survival, while being “funny” only offers a 60% chance of survival. your odds go down markedly from there. Acting crazy gives you a 35% chance of survival, and running only a 20% chance. Playing dead gives you a 15% chance of survival, while rushing him, as one might a black bear, offers about a 10% chance of survival. Bursting into tears, not surprisingly, offers a mere 3% chance of survival.

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