- GLASTENBURY -- A Winooski
man believes he saw a bigfoot-type creature at dusk while driving north
on Route 7 Wednesday.
- At about 7:10 p.m., Ray Dufresne, 45, was heading back
up North after visiting his daughter at Southern Vermont College, when
he spotted a 6-foot-plus tall, 270-pound, "big, black thing"
walking upright from near the highest point of elevation on Route 7.
- "It was hairy from the top of his head to the bottom
of his feet," said Dufresne. "It was not walking like a normal
- Although Dufresne couldn't see the animal's face, he
said from his vantage point of about 140 feet away he could see that the
creature had very long arms and was covered in long, black hair. He said
it walked east into the woods toward Glastenbury Mountain.
- "The first thing I thought was this is a gorilla
costume. I thought it was a joke," he said. "Then, I put two
and two together."
- There were no houses or abandoned cars nearby, so Dufresne
surmised that the dark figure could not have been a person. Furthermore,
Dufresne has been an avid hunter since the age of 15, and he says he knows
his animals. It was not a moose or a bear, he said. Although he had heard
of the bigfoot phenomena before, Dufresne said he had never heard of it
happening in Vermont.
- Dufresne also attested that he had not been drinking
or doing drugs on Wednesday, and that he had no history of mental illness.
- "Why would someone be walking down the road like
that?" Dufresne said he asked himself at the time. "I kicked
myself for not turning back."
- Dufresne continued driving north to his home. He said
that at his job at a car dealership in Burlington on Thursday, people were
having a laugh at his expense when he retold his story.
- Lt. District Chief Dane Hathaway of the Vermont Fish
and Wildlife Department said this was the first time he had heard of anything
like this during his 32 years working for the state.
- His view on the sighting was a down-to-earth one.
- "It's a black bear," said Hathaway.
- He said that black bears do stand on their hind legs,
and in some cases they can actually walk on their hind legs.
- "Trained bears do that all the time," he said.
"It doesn't happen very often but they do that."
- People see a lot of strange things in the woods, said
Hathaway, like catamount, but these often turn out to be tricks of the
- "Your mind does strange things to you sometimes,"
- Retired game warden Bob Mumley, 73, of Bennington said
that during his 35 years with the state he's had a lot of strange calls,
but none quite like the one Dufresne describes from Wednesday.
- He, like Hathaway, believes that the creature was probably
a moose or a bear, as they both have dark fur.
- "The mind tells you what you think you saw,"
- However, Dufresne isn't the only one to report strange
sightings of such creatures in the Bennington area.
- In fact, the New York Times reported on Oct. 18, 1879,
that two young Vermont hunters saw a "wildman" while hunting
in the mountains just south of Pownal. The Times said of the Oct. 17, 1879
occurrence: "The young men describe the creature as being about five
feet high, resembling a man in form and movement, but covered all over
with bright red hair, and having a long straggling beard, and with very
wild eyes. When first seen, the creature sprang from behind a rocky cliff
and started for the woods near by. When mistaking it for a bear or other
wild animal, one of the men fired, and, it is thought, wounded it, for
with fierce cries of pain and rage, it turned on its assailants, driving
them before it at high speed. They lost their guns and ammunition in their
flight and dared not return for fear of encountering the strange being."
- Other accounts are much more recent. According to a report
printed at the Space On The Run Newsletter Web site, in December 1989 a
man from Eden in Lamoille County found footprints in snow measuring 12
to 14 inches in length and about 6 inches wide. This was in an area that
was 10 miles from the nearest house.
- In East Haven in October 1976, a woman who was reading
in the woods saw something like the creature that Dufresne saw. It had
a muscular neck, a large head and broad shoulders.
- It stood around 8 to 11 feet in height, with ape-like
hair and long arms, according to the Gulf Coast BigFoot Research Organization
- A similar account and description was given by a boy
in Essex Junction in June 1994, as well.