And Don Keating, who heads the Eastern Ohio Bigfoot Investigation Center in Newcomerstown, doubts that Wallace was responsible for the Buckeye Bigfoot.
"I don't think he
was 9 feet tall in a white suit," Keating
"I've seen the creature itself - Sept. 15, 1985, four miles south of Newcomerstown, no more than 35 feet away.
Within 10 miles of my own home, I've seen footprints.
It's really difficult to doubt your own eyes."
doesn't doubt his
eyes, and he
isn't much bothered if someone else does.
got interested in Bigfoot
more than 20 years ago after reading the book "Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us," and has been doing "active research" since 1984.
publishes a newsletter on the subject and has produced several videos about his
On April 5, he'll be the host for the 15th annual Bigfoot Conference at the David Barber Civic Center
, west of Interstate 77 in Newcomerstown.
From small beginnings, the six-hour expo has grown to attract hundreds of believers and skeptics as the nation's longest-running conference devoted to Bigfoot
Its purpose, Keating
said, is not to convince people that the creature exists in Ohio or anywhere else, but to present alleged evidence that it might.
You can find more about it online at www.angelfire .com/oh/ ohiobigfoot/abc.html.
, who has seen hoaxes before, wasn't discouraged or deterred by the Wallace family's claim.
wonders if it might be old Ray's final joke, maybe even stipulated in his
"I find it very morbid to begin with, that less than 10 days after he died his family members were making these outrageous claims," he said.
Northeast Ohio has Grassman, which Keating
calls an urban legend but identifies as the same elusive creature.
So the search goes on, and Keating
has been rewarded by sightings of bald eagles and cougars while tromping wintry woods and fields.
But skeptics tend to pass on invitations to join his unarmed, late-night prowls, and he knows that film is too easily faked to serve as proof of Bigfoot.
"The scientific community wants a body," he
said, and he
doesn't expect to produce that.
Not Yeti, anyway.