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Wednesday, 15 February 2006 00:00

Bigfoot: personal encounter?

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For 12 years, Wanda Childers has brushed off encounters with a mysterious creature lurking around her trailer in the Whittier area near Cherokee.

But last summer, after a particularly harrowing evening, she got on the Internet and realized her experience matched descriptions of Bigfoot encounters.

“I had never seen what this thing was,” Childers said. But she has heard it and sensed it on dozens of occasions while smoking cigarettes on her porch at night. She hears the large creature moving through the waist-high weeds in the field and breaking branches in the woods. The creature made whistling noises and carried a musky smell akin to a wet dog. Her own dog was afraid of it. It often made the hair on the back of her own neck stand up.

Childers cared for her grandson and at one point was worried a bear was living in the woods around the trailer. So she called a friend who brought his bear dogs over the morning after an encounter.

“He said there’s no bear scent here,” she said. Besides, this thing seemed bigger than a bear based on the noise it made moving around.

One night last summer, her neighbor was visiting on her porch when the creature came around and scared the daylights out of him. That’s when she realized the activity she’d gotten used to wasn’t normal. She found the Searching for Bigfoot crew on the Internet and asked the team to come investigate.

The crew leader, Tom Biscardi, has been tricked in the past by people claiming to have Bigfoot sightings. So before investigating, Biscardi requires a signed affidavit from the informer promising their story is not a hoax. It weeds out a lot of people, Biscardi said, but Childers signed it and sent it right back.

“I swear to God with one hand on my grandson’s head, this stuff has been happening,” Childers said. “But I don’t know what it is.”

Childers is concerned what people in the community will think.

“People are going to think this woman needs to get a life,” Childers said.

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