South Carolina’s most famous cryptid is the Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp in Lee County. With the first reported sighting in 1988, the Lizard Man has since become an unofficial mascot of the Lowcountry swamp lands.
However, the Lizard Man isn’t the only mythical critter inhabiting the remote areas of our state. I was surveying the area around our upcoming paddling expedition on the Enoree and Broad Rivers in Google Earth. I had the Google Community layer turned on, and I noticed an “i” just east of the town of Blair in Fairfield County. Clicking on the placemark brought up a link to the Big Foot Field Researchers Organization. Someone had reported a sighting in that area.
The BFRO website has just about anything you would ever want to know about Bigfoot or Sasquatch. Theories, expedition reports, photos, video clips from Leonard Nimoy hosted TV specials, and the obligatory discussion forum fill the site.
Then there is the Sightings Database and Map. There are sightings listed for every state in the US, with the exception of Hawaii. I guess Sasquatch wasn’t that great of a swimmer. (Although he somehow managed to cross the Berring Land Bridge to leave his Yeti kin.) Of course, the Pacific Northwest boasts the majority of sightings, but South Carolina alone has 47 sightings.
Oddly enough, several of these are near where we go paddling. I guess Sasquatch likes rivers. The most recent was back this last May near the Edisto River between Colleton State Park and Givhens Ferry. Other reports go back to the 1960’s,
Sightings as designated as Class A, B, or C.
Class A reports involve clear sightings in circumstances where misinterpretation or misidentification of other animals can be ruled out with greater confidence. For example, there are several footprint cases that are very well documented. These are considered Class A reports, because misidentification of common animals can be confidently ruled out, thus the potential for misinterpretation is very low.
Incidents where a possible sasquatch was observed at a great distance or in poor lighting conditions and incidents in any other circumstance that did not afford a clear view of the subject are considered Class B reports.
Most second-hand reports, and any third-hand reports, or stories with an untraceable sources, are considered Class C, because of the high potential for inaccuracy. Those reports are kept in BFRO archives but are very rarely listed publicly in this database. The exceptions are for published, or locally documented incidents from before 1958 (before the word “Bigfoot” entered the American vocabulary), and sightings mentioned in non-tabloid newspapers or magazines.
Most of the sightings in the database are Class B. However, there are a few Class A sightings, such as an August 1993 sighting near Inman. Each sighting is followed up by a visit from a field research who takes interviews and tracks down evidence of the sighting to place it in the correct category.
So, as we take on our next expedition in a couple of weeks I’ll make sure that I’ve got my camera handy. Who knows? Maybe I’ll catch an image that will become as famous as Roger Patterson’s iconic image.