Local News

April 18, 2009

Does Bigfoot roam the North Country?

Does a hulking, 7-foot-tall, ape-like creature roam the rugged mountains and forests of Northern New York and Vermont?

It may seem far-fetched, but accounts can be traced back to Indian lore and even the logs of Samuel de Champlain.

While the lake creature Champ remains the region's best known 'monster,' in recent years, two nationally televised documentaries — on the History and Discovery Channels — have featured entire segments on Bigfoot sightings in upstate New York and Vermont.

The most recent, "Monster Quest," in 2008, chronicled numerous sightings of a large, hairy, ape-like creature on both sides of Lake Champlain.


In the Pacific Northwest, there's Bigfoot or the legendary Sasquatch; in the Himalayas, there's the yeti or abominable snowman.

The Algonquin on the western shores of Lake Champlain told of seeing the windigo or "giant cannibalistic man" who, according to legend, roamed the countryside. One modern-day Native American account of the windigo describes it as "a giant thing, swift "¦ and covered with hair, and has eyes like two pools of blood. And there's this smell, like rotting meat." This description is similar to Bigfoot reports today.

The Iroquois have a similar oral history of flesh-eating stone giants who possessed powerful physiques.

Across the border in Quebec, the Algonquin-speaking Attikamekw called these creatures Kokotshe.

In his ship's log chronicling his voyage of discovery on the St. Lawrence River 1604, Champlain wrote how numerous Indian tribes in the region had told eerie stories of a giant, hairy man-beast that was known to the natives as "the Gougou." Champlain wrote that so many of the tribes recounted such stories that he believed there must be some truth to the tales.

"And what makes me believe what they say, is the fact that all the savages in general fear it, and tell such strange stories of it."

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