October 23, 2014

First Bigfoot Discovery Days coming to West Branch this weekend

File Photo
Phil Shaw holds up a map of Michigan that has pushpins marking the areas that have reported Bigfoot sightings, including Ogemaw County.
7/31/13

WEST BRANCH — One of the largest bigfoot conferences in the state will be held in West Branch this weekend, as the first Bigfoot Discovery Days will take place Aug. 2-4. 

Local bigfoot enthusiast Phil Shaw is leading the committee planning the event, which will include talks from bigfoot experts Dr. Jeff Meldrum, Jim Sherman and Marc DeWerth, among other activities. The event kicks off as part of Fabulous Fridays’ Logs and Legends event Friday night.

“We’re just basically trying to educate the public,” Shaw said. “This is not just around the world. It’s right here in Ogemaw County.”

Shaw said he has 38 recorded bigfoot sightings from the area, but there are even more.

“Not everybody will give us their story after they admit to it,” he said. “I like to get a written statement. They say they’ve seen one, but they won’t give us the full story.”

Shaw said his experience with bigfoot began in 2006, when he and his wife believe they saw one in New Brunswick. The following year, he went to a Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) event. He’s been investigating the mythical creatures ever since. 

This year, he said he decided he should hold a conference.

“I talked to these various people and they all agreed to do this,” he said, referencing his committee, which includes Bruce Mullins, Brent Baxter Barrett, John Young, Amanda Charles, Michelle Schwenkler and Randy Crocker. 

Shaw said many people come up and talk to him about their sightings and experiences.

“It’s amazing the amount of stories people have,” he said. “I think they see me as a friendly face. Just last week, I sat in on a (Downtown Development Authority) meeting, and a young person around 40 says to me, ‘I saw one.’ Almost once a week I’ll get a report. There are a lot of hidden stories of people that have been ridiculed.”

He said he realizes many people don’t believe in bigfoot, but he also wants to keep an open mind.

“One of my favorite quotes is, ‘If you don’t believe, you won’t look. If you don’t look, you’ll never find,’” he said. “I’ve modified that to, ‘If you don’t have an open mind, which a lot of people don’t, you’re not going to look.’”

Mullins said he’s never had an encounter with the creature himself, but many of the reports are credible.

“Hundreds of serious people are experiencing something, all the way from sheriffs themselves,” he said. “There are county sheriffs that have investigated and found things.”

Shaw said he thinks bigfoot don’t want to be found.

“Everybody wants a body,” he said. “In reading about it, I just finished my 51st book on how many different things bigfoot do. I’m under the opinion that they want to rattle our cage.”

Bigfoot Discovery Days will kick off Friday from 6-9 p.m. Dr. Meldrum will be selling and signing books at Downtown Books, and Shaw will be showing his Bigfoot Project video at Morse Clark Furniture. Sherman will be presenting a session on bigfoot howls and screams at Office Central, and there will be a bigfoot howl contest at 8 p.m. in the vacant lot next to Loggers Depot. Friday’s events are free.

Saturday’s events will be held at the West Branch Community Center, and include presentations by Shaw, Meldrum, Sherman and DeWerth. Saturday’s events are $15 to attend, and Shaw said tickets are still available. 

Sunday there will be outback research reports and a family bigfoot hike at Irons Park at 1 p.m.

For more information, call Shaw at 989-345-3717, or Charles at the West Branch Area Chamber of Commerce at 989-345-2821. Or visit brentbaxterbarrett.wix.com/bigfoot-discovery.

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