Among the various supposed witnesses of the giant hairy man of the Northwest, Bigfoot, we have accounts from people from all walks of life. There truly is a vast spectrum of sightings that run the range of locales and witnesses, some which are intriguing and some which are bordering on the absurd. Yet, one type of report that always catches the attention are those made by the men and women of law enforcement. After all, these are trained professionals usually not out looking for the strange or hairy ape-men, so when they come forward with their own accounts, people tend to listen. Here is a selection of odd encounters with police officers in which they came across something for which their experience and training did not prepare them for.
A very well-known Bigfoot report by a police officer that made a lot of waves in its time occurred in August of 1976, in the rural area of Whitehall, New York. On this day, officer Bryan Gosselin was driving on the outskirts of town along a lonely stretch called Abair Road when he saw a massive hairy man-like creature with red eyes lumber out of the woods about 30 feet in front of him. Gosselin would describe it as standing 7 or 8 feet tall and weighing at least 400 pounds, and he was so alarmed by what he was seeing that he reportedly got out of his patrol car to train his spotlight and firearm on it, yet found himself unable to shoot. The strange beast, caught in the beam of the spotlight, then issued an unearthly shriek before barreling off into the trees, leaving behind giant footprints in a nearby field. Over the next few days, other officers would also apparently see the creature, and even Gosselin’s father and brother would see it. Gosselin would eventually write of his surreal experience in his 2018 book, Abair Road The True Story.
This would not be the end of the strangeness in Whitehall, because in February of 1982 another police officer in the area by the name of Dan Gordon and his partner had their own encounter. The two had been on duty patrolling along on Route 22, half a mile from East Bay at the base of Lake Champlain, when an 8-foot-tall apelike creature ran across the road to go and climb right up a steep embankment to disappear into the brush. The creature was described as being a little different from a typical Bigfoot, in that it was long, lanky, and had narrow shoulders rather than bulging with muscles, and further details were that it slouched heavily, that had extremely long, thin gangly arms, and that it was remarkably fast and agile, beyond any human. Gordon allegedly got out of the car to try and pursue the creature as the other officer sat frozen and terrified in the car, but the beast was already long gone. The two would keep their experience to themselves for years, only going public with it in 2003, after which Gordon was interviewed about it extensively in news stories and TV programs, including Monsterquest and Mysterious Encounters, and the report appeared in the book Bigfoot Encounters in New York & New England. Gordon was described as an incredibly honest and trustworthy man, and insisted on the veracity of what he saw right up to his death in 2014.
Although these are the reports that have perhaps been most covered in the news and discussed by cryptozoologists, there are actually many other such accounts given under oath by trained police personnel. From the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) archives comes a report from 1970, in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. In Spring of that year, two police officers were called out to a home in the town of Marrero at approximately 9 PM on a report of a prowler from a terrified homeowner. The officers arrived at the scene and questioned the female homeowner, and then did a perimeter sweep of the area, even calling in a K-9 unit. As soon as the dog arrived, it apparently went absolutely nuts, very agitated and seemingly scared of something and cowering. The officers circled around the darkened house with guns drawn, now convinced that there was a trespasser lurking about the property, but what they saw was beyond anything either one of them had expected.
As they rounded the edge of the house, they apparently came to a dark form huddled against the side of the building as if hiding, but it was hulking in size, and when it moved they could see it was not human in its massive proportions. The creature was reported by the officers as being at least 8 feet in height, very wide, and taking long strides out to the street, where it passed under a streetlight and they could see that it was covered in dark brown hair. They apparently got a very good look at it in the light, after which it bolted towards a wooded marshy area near a canal, and vanished. When interviewed by the BFRO investigator the witness would say:
The incident with the entity was officially reported in the records system of that jurisdiction. I remember that we did not emphasize the “subject” beyond describing it as “very tall, and dark in color, with no specific description of any clothing, etc”. Because it wasn’t wearing any clothes, and as I told you, in those days I had no idea what I was looking at. Our superiors knew from us verbally what we had seen. And then it was dropped. We handled many unexplainable incidents, as do police agencies now. The public just never hears about them. This is what I mentioned to you, about me going back 7 years later and not finding the reports. My partner died when he was just 37 years old, so we never had any chance to speak about anything again before he checked out. He was a quiet, no-nonsense guy who wasn’t comfortable talking about a lot of the incidents we handled, including other “unexplainable” incidents.
Another rather intriguing account from more modern years was reported on the North American Wood Ape Conservancy, from an off-duty police officer who had a rather strange sighting in the area of Liberty County, Texas. He was traveling at night along Farm to Market Highway 1008, north of Kenefick, and right behind a big rig truck when a fleeting movement from the side of the road caught his attention. He says in his report:
I am a police officer. I was traveling northbound on FM 1008 and there was an 18-wheel truck in front of me at the time and we were traveling at approx. 55 mph. I observed a large creature in an upright position run out of the tree line on the east side of the highway. It ran in front of the big truck in front of me. The truck braked and swerved to the east side of the road and the creature was unharmed and cleared the road and ran into the tree line on the west side of FM 1008. From what I could see this creature appeared to be as tall as the cab of the 18-wheeler, maybe 8 feet and was very bulky and covered in hair. I estimated the speed at which it was running to be around 35 mph with extremely long strides.There are other police and fire services members in the Kenefick area that have seen this creature, and I have personally heard numerous stories of sightings. If I had not seen first hand, I would not have believed it myself.
Investigator Daryl Coyler would do an in-depth follow-up interview on the case with the witness and uncover some further details, of which he says:
It was the witness’s perception that the figure was tall and covered with grayish hair. The witness was certain that the figure was a biped and moved extremely fast, perhaps 30 to 35 miles per hour. The witness could not recall much in the way of detail; the event was estimated to have lasted only a few short seconds. The witness was impressed by the height of the figure. Using the cab of the 18-wheeler as a gauge, the witness estimated the subject’s height to be possibly as much as eight feet. Because of the figure’s speed, overall size and height, and the fact that the subject nearly collided with the 18-wheeler, the witness categorically ruled out the possibility of a hoax.
In retrospect, the witness wishes that he had slowed down or even stopped to get a second or better look. He also wishes that he had flagged the big rig down somehow to get the truck driver’s perspective. However, the witness told me that what he saw greatly intimidated him, and at the time, he had absolutely no plans for stopping. He carried a .45 semi-auto handgun with him, but the sidearm gave him little or no security after having witnessed such an incident.
From the following year we have a report from the BFRO in the fall of 2003, from a Toronto police officer who had a very strange encounter while off duty moose hunting near the small town of Searchmount, Ontario, Canada. In October of 2003, the witness was with his brother-in-law, and they had just finished putting out moose bait and issuing moose calls to draw their prey in at around 8 AM, and one of the animals did make an appearance, but displayed atypical behavior, as if spooked by something. Indeed, the large bull moose ran off in apparent fear. He called in his brother and they went about seeing if they could track the animal or draw it back in. The witness sprayed some moose in heat urine around to lure the animal back and sat back waiting for something to happen. At around 1:30 PM, something certainly did happen, but this time it was no moose. The witness says:
At about 1:30pm I started hearing heavy thumps behind me every now and then. Every time I heard one, I would turn around but there was nothing there. I should mention that it was still raining. The sound of the rain hitting the ground or the leaves was quite loud but these thumps were much louder. They sounded like a stone or something heavy hitting the ground, but every time I turned around, I saw nothing.
At about 5:25pm I got off the ATV to stretch my legs and have a smoke. I put my gun on the front bag of the ATV to make sure I had it within reach and stood in front of the ATV facing the gully which was to my rear prior to this. While I was having my smoke I started hearing the distinctive sounds of footsteps coming from the gulley (snapping branches and leaves crunching). I kept my eyes on the gulley while I reached for my rifle. I thought the Bull was coming back. When I looked into the gulley about 40 yards straight in front of me I saw what I thought was a man walking towards me. He was stooped over and looked like he was having trouble walking in the bush. He grabbed a tree and swung himself around and ducked or dove down behind some thick brush. The total time of this took 3 to 5 seconds and he disappeared. He looked to me as if he was dressed all in black with a black toque or a balaclava on his head. The reason I though he was wearing a toque was his head seemed to be long at the back like a man wearing a toque. It looked like it was wearing a jacket and the front of his jacket was open half way and I could see a different color of lining showing around the neck area. It looked like it was light gray or almost blue on the chest area in the shape of a ‘V’.
I couldn’t really say how tall it was because his legs were behind thick brush and I could only see to about mid thigh. But I would have guessed at the time that he was anywhere from 5’8″ to 6′ tall. But he was about 40 yards away and it’s hard to judge height or size in the bush when you’re not sure of the distance. His arms seemed too long for a man but he was extremely muscular, like a body builder with the typical ‘V’ shape build. There was definitely no fat on him at all. I could see the different muscle groups on his upper body and arms bulging out and could see that it had a washboard stomach. When he grabbed the tree I saw that he had hands, not paws. He swung around the tree and dove for cover as if trying to hide from me. As I said earlier, it was a dull day and was raining and he looked wet. He was covered with black or dark brown hair and it looked like the hair was stuck to him fairly closely because he was wet. What also gave me the body builder impression was that he seemed to have no neck, or he had so much muscle on his shoulders that it gave that appearance. On top of all this his shoulders were extremely broad.
The witness watched this strange figure for a time and also noticed that whatever it was was making a raspy, coughing sound as it moved, and that it began issuing a long, hoarse, sad sounding howl before disappearing into the wilderness. It was this howl that really got him to thinking that he was experiencing something very bizarre, and he says:
When I first saw it, I thought it was a man maybe lost in the bush. But my first thought was “Why isn’t he wearing any orange” and “if he’s lost, why doesn’t he just ask for help”. But the howl made me realize quickly that this was no man. The next thing going through my head was “What the hell was that?”. That was no Moose. It was definetly not a Wolf or a Bear. It was like nothing I had ever seen in 35 years of hunting. What it looked like to me was a Gorilla or very close to one, but it walked upright, not on all fours. I stood there motionless for almost an hour and a half waiting to see if it would show itself again.
After a while it started to dawn on me that I may have just seen a Bigfoot and I started to get just a little scared. I normally leave the bush after dark when hunting but this night I left about a half hour prior to make sure I had lots of time. I was going to go back to that area the next day looking for that Bull but I couldn’t bring myself to go anywhere near that spot. That’s the first time in 35 years I have ever been afraid in the bush. Since then I have wondered if this thing I saw is what scared the Bull away. Like I said earlier, I have seen many Moose in the bush and have never seen one run from me like that. Interestingly though, from where the Bull ran off to where I saw this creature was only about 50 yards.
Another thing…I don’t know if this means anything or not….Where I was sitting I saw a large, probably Moose leg bone laying on the ground about 5 feet from my ATV. It wasn’t cut or sawed, it had been broken or snapped. It looked to be about at least a year old. I was supposed to sit there for the next three days to finish the hunt off and wait for that bull, and I didn’t want to be there… I’ve never been that scared in the bush in my life.
He never did bag that moose. In 2006, there was a spate of Bigfoot sightings in the vicinity of the Pine Ridge Native American reservation in South Dakota. People began to call in with numerous reports of seeing a 10 to 15 foot tall brute of a beast stalking about the wilds, with a hunchback and in some cases even bizarrely reported as wearing a stovepipe hat. The sightings flooded the reservation’s law enforcement agency, the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety, but among these perhaps the most compelling is a report made by officers at the scene of such an account. The report was made by an officer by the name of James Twiss, who would tell the site Cryptomundo:
Hello, my name is James Twiss. I am a police officer on the Pine Ridge Reservation. I am passing on information regarding the rash of sightings of a tall man or Bigfoot on the Pine Ridge reservation. During one of these sightings, I had our department’s thermal imaging camera and along with about six other officers, did in fact pick up a large heat signature on the camera.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a recorder yet for the camera so we weren’t able to record it. We did watch as it moved away from us down a gully and it was missed by the other officers as they tried to find it using their flashlights. It is hard to explain as it must have already been past the officers before they arrived on scene. We watched it go into the creek area which runs through town. We heard a flurry of dogs barking but wasn’t able to locate it. Also to set the record straight, the first two sightings was called in as a tall (10 to 15 feet tall) [man] who appeared to be wearing a stovepipe hat and long coat. It was reported to be peeking into a apartment complex commons room where there was several witnesses.
In 2015 there was a curious report making the rounds from a police officer in the state of Pennsylvania. According to a report on the site Crypto Sightings, a police officer in McDade Park in Lackawanna County Pennsylvania, said he was out on patrol when he noticed a looming dark shape leaning over the roadway with a “large hairy section including a big hairy wrist and an extremely muscular leg.” The officer, who claims he is an 18-year veteran of the force, says of his outlandish encounter:
I was driving in patrol toward McDade Park in Scranton PA. It was late at night I was just checking the park making sure all was ok and I just noticed a very dark object leaning over the edge of the road near the pool as I drove pass. I passed extremely close to the object-close enough for me to feel shocked to see a large hairy section of well muscled leg and a big hairy wrist and hand as the creature turned I screamed and grabbed my cell to snap a pic and my gun. I slammed on the brakes and I was ready to shoot. I’m combat trained, I have a weapon, I just had to see what the hell it was! I wanted to see the entire thing for myself – but what can I say. Whatever it was for me either was a monkey a huge one or a bigfoot I am not going public with this because it would cost me my job. There is something in that park I heard stories of something roaming the park late at night.
Interestingly, there is another police officer report from Pennsylvania in August of 2017, who on this evening was driving along a road in a wooded location in a southwestern section of Westmoreland County, PA when he had a rather bonkers close encounter. As he made his way through the gloom of this remote place, he says he noticed the odd detail of a silvery sheen of light ahead low to the ground. As the officer approached, he then came to the startling realization that this light was emanating from a ball of light that seemed to be the head of a decidedly Bigfoot-like creature. Researcher Stan Gordon would investigate this, and says of this off-the-wall account:
The ball of light was actually the head of a very strange being that looked to be about 6 feet tall or larger. It was tall and almost skeleton thin. The officer was of the opinion that the creature when he first observed it, had been lying on its belly on the ground with its head facing toward the road. It then stood up facing the road. In that dark location, he saw the dull light from the glowing head illuminating the upper section of the body of the creature.
While the officer watched, the creature turned toward the right. The dull illumination from the head lit up the shoulder area. The creature then turned and faced him, then turned to the left and took off at an incredible speed away towards a location away from the road. As it moved off, the witness could see its arms swinging. The officer indicated that it took off at a speed that you could only call abnormal. “it was faster than anything I have ever seen. It was there, then it was gone.” The witness assumed that the creature moved on two legs, however, he could not see the lower sections of the body in the dark.
The witness described what he saw as standing 6 feet or taller. The head was about 8-10 inches in diameter and shaped like a ball. He said the head was just a ball of light, possibly egg shaped but pretty round. The light emitted seemed to be just a dull white. The light illuminated the shoulders, the top of the chest and a section of the arms. The witness could not see the hands. The chest looked to be about 18 inches across. The waist appeared to be small, but the arms were abnormally long. The long limbs also looked skeletal with no muscle mass. The skin tone of the body appeared to be dull grayish-blue. The witness could not see any facial features. The entire experience only lasted about 10 seconds. The officer was confused as to what he saw and about what could move so fast. He pulled up his vehicle to the location where the creature and been standing and turned on his vehicle spotlight. He looked around the area but saw no evidence on the ground. The officer, after the experience, continued to try to make sense out of what he had encountered but he could not figure it out. I was contacted soon after the incident and we later discussed the incident in detail.
What in the world was going on here? Finally we have a report from the BFRO that allegedly happened as recently as July of 2019 in the state of Wisconsin. The witness is apparently a respected retired law enforcement veteran, and was out driving with he, his brother and sister near Tripoli, Wisconsin when they had a brush with the truly bizarre. The witness says:
The day was clear and cool. We were traveling approximately 10 to 15 mph in a Chevy Suburban. I was looking out across the clearing when I saw a large, reddish-brown upright figure running along the edge of the trees in the distance. It was too large to be a deer and it didn’t have the proper height or gait to be a bear. It had no no muzzle or neck, and the smaller trees moved aside like it was pushing its way into the woods.
Such reports as we have looked at here are truly intriguing, in that they come from actual law enforcement personnel who one would not expect to be making things up or telling tall tales. In addition, police officers are typically thought to have better than average perception skills and eyes for detail, so whenever one makes an outlandish report of seeing something like this it is enough to make one pause and think. It is impossible to know if any of these have more merit than other reports of the same kind, and in the end we are left to speculate and ponder such odd accounts from these supposedly traditionally reliable witnesses. Is there anything to it all? Do police officers count as better than average or more reliable witnesses? I leave it for you to decide.