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Bigfoot researchers stake out 96 acres in Lake Anna property to search for the elusive ape-like beast

 A Sasquatch Watch of Virginia group found strange markings on the ground in Spotsylvania last weekend.
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Date published: 5/25/2010


The group heard strange Bigfoot-like sounds and filmed with a night-vision camera something very tall with red eyes. Two other researchers reported something shook their Jeep. A footprint impression behind the vehicle was cast.

"The eyes on the videotape, that was pretty impressive," Willard said.

But last weekend, the rain caused problems and it stopped the hunt early. The group got there at about 4 p.m. Saturday and stayed past midnight.

The only discovery that day was what appeared to be a large footprint near a pond.

Researchers like Willard often do their work with little fanfare. The full-time environmental engineer does not get paid for his Bigfoot research. He often gets tips and invitations through his website. He has been to at least nine states and has returned with plaster casts of a few different footprints.

His most frightening experience was in Paris, Texas, in 2007. The experience was so surreal that Willard thought it was a nightmare. He felt something grab him and he tussled with the creature for a few minutes while in his tent.

"I could feel nothing but thick hair on whatever this was," he said. "My hand didn't fit around the limb and I balled up my fist and hit it."

Not much high-tech equip- ment is necessary for expeditions. Researchers use night-vision game cameras and goggles and PA systems to broadcast Bigfoot calls and babies crying, which apparently creates a lot of action in the forest when played. There is also a lot of waiting, which leads to researchers sharing stories over a campfire about favorite trips, that often end up fruitless.

But not finding any evidence has little effect on their hope that someday one of them might get the evidence needed to prove Bigfoot does exist.

"There's no certification for this except a mental institution and an empty checkbook," Willard joked.

Dan Telvock: 540/374-5438
Email: dtelvock@freelancestar.com

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Visit youtube.com/watch?v=Ol8ifMrFN9U to see the famous Bigfoot sighting filmed by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin in 1962.

Billy Willard said he has always had an interest in Bigfoot since he was a child and he saw "Legend of Boggy Creek." He's read almost every book on the subject. Interest in the subject runs in his family; one of his two sons started the Sasquatch Watch Of Virginia, which he has directed for the past five years.

Willard's site is sasquatch watch.weebly.com and his radio show is at 9 p.m. Mondays at blogtalkradio.com/sasquatch watchradio.