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Believers and skeptics of Bigfoot and other cryptids co-exist at the annual Creature Weekend held at Salt Fork State Park.”
There are many reasons to visit Salt Fork State Park.
You can swim, boat, hike, all activities that I’ve experienced within the park, but did you know some visitors to this property have been rumored to have experienced an encounter with Bigfoot as well?
That’s right, this state park located outside Cambridge has been the site of alleged Bigfoot sightings for years. Since the 1970’s, over 30 accounts have been reported. So many that there is even a trail called Bigfoot Ridge.
The fact that the elusive species may have chosen to live in Ohio’s largest state park is not a secret and to some, may even be part of the appeal of spending time outdoors.
It turns out Salt Fork isn’t the only state park to have reported Bigfoot sightings. You can read about some of the others in this post: Search for the Mythical Beast at these Three Ohio State Parks
Visitors to Salt Fork State Park can even partake in monthly Bigfoot Night Hikes and because they don’t want to leave out anyone, there are two hikes to choose from. An 8 p.m. hike for families and more intense 9 p.m. hike for adults where you’ll hear stories about the sightings that have taken place over the years.
This hotbed of activity has made Salt Fork a no-brainer when it comes to selecting a location for two popular and unique conferences solely focused on the mysterious beast that includes the annual Ohio Bigfoot Conference held in the spring and Creature Weekend which takes place each fall.
Last year, I had the pleasure of attending Creature Weekend as a guest. I admit, when it comes to Bigfoot, I’m a skeptic. I’m not entirely sure that I believe in Bigfoot, but I heard a lot of compelling stories and the information presented at the conference fascinated me.
The focus of Creature Weekend is Cryptozoology which is defined as:
“The search for and study of animals whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated, such as the Loch Ness monster and the yeti.”
What is Creature Weekend?
Creature Weekend is an annual event, organized by Bruce Harrington and held each fall. The much-anticipated event draws notable speakers from around the country.
Last year, Cryptozoology superstars Bob Gimlin, Amy Bue, and the late Stanton T. Friedman were in attendance. I may not have understood who they were at the beginning of the conference, but I certainly knew who they were by the end.
For those, like me, who are unschooled in all things Bigfoot, allow me to enlighten you.
You may not recognize his name, but chances are, you know part of his story. Bob Gimlin is credited for being present when the iconic image of a Bigfoot was caught on film mid-stride, looking over its shoulder by Roger Patterson, in Northern California in the late 1960s. His story is riveting.
Amy Bue is the co-founder of Project Zoobook, which is a collaboration that unites conventional scientists and Bigfoot investigators from across North America. She is also a research investigator with the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) who research possible sightings of Bigfoot from around the world.
Note: If you want to freak yourself out just a bit, check out the U.S. map on the BFRO website. From there, you can search sightings by state and county. Trust me, don’t do this at night when you have to run outside to grab your phone charger out of your car and there has been a sighting within 10 miles of your home.
Stanton T. Friedman was an acclaimed nuclear physicist and professional ufologist. He was also the first civilian to investigate the site of the Roswell UFO incident and it was his belief that the site was indeed a genuine extraterrestrial spaceship.
In a dimly lit room at Salt Fork State Park Lodge, attendees of Creature Weekend 2018 not only heard from those wonderful speakers, but we also heard from Ohio Bigfoot Hunters and the Ohio Nightstalkers as I added tree knocking, rock-throwing, and tree bends to my vocabulary regarding all things Bigfoot.
We also had the opportunity to get a sneak peek of the animated movie that shares the Gimlin-Patterson encounter that took place in along Bluff Creek in California over fifty years ago. The audience was hushed, enthralled with the suspenseful storytelling.
Creature Weekend 2018
The 2019 Creature Weekend will be held October 18-20th. You’ll find speakers including Bob Gimlin, vendors selling Bigfoot and other cryptid wares as well as movie screening for “Paranormal Bigfoot.” Other highlights include the 2019 Crypto Art Exhibit, Bigfoot night hike, a tour of Bigfoot sightings at Salt Fork State Park (I’d like to attend just for this!) and bonfire for the attendees.
You can view the full line-up of speakers that include James Renner, Adam Davies, James Vieira, and Scott Carpenter, as well as planned activities at www.creatureweekend.com. Those traveling out of town for the event may find discounted rates on rooms at the Salt Fork Lodge.
While I attended the event not really knowing where I stood on the matter of whether Sasquatch, Yeti, the Grassman, or whatever else this elusive creature may be called, truly existed- I left thinking, “What if?” and if I’m honest, a bit apprehensive to step outside of my front door at night.
Thank you to Bruce Harrington for providing tickets for me to attend Creature Weekend 2018 and for the Cambridge Guernsey County Convention and Vistors Bureau for connecting us. If you plan to attend Creature Weekend 2019 take a look at their online visitor guide for additional activities in the area.
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