The FBI has already helped in the hunt for Bigfoot

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Bigfoot.

That’s all the FBI said (well, tweeted) On Wednesday, when he published 22 pages of shocking documents related to a 1970s hair analysis he conducted at the behest of a well-known Bigfoot researcher.

Researcher Peter Byrne, then director of the Bigfoot Information Center and Exhibition in The Dalles, Ore., Had a simple question for Jay Cochran Jr., deputy director of the FBI’s laboratory division: did you test for possible Bigfoot hair samples? ? And if not, would you like to start?

The 1970s were the heyday of Bigfoot researchers – Patterson-Gimlin’s grainy film, which purported to show one of the creatures walking through a creek bed in California, was filmed in 1967. Mr. Cochran didn’t seem too surprised by the question.

The FBI has been questioned on several occasions over the past year whether it has tested hair samples for possible Bigfoots, Mr Cochran replied. “However, we could not find any reference to such reviews in our files,” he wrote.

Mr. Byrne had a sample he wanted the FBI to examine. It was 15 strands of hair attached to a small piece of skin that was “the first one we got in six years that we think is important,” he wrote.

The FBI lab was not normally responsible for examining tufts of hair for their potentially fantastic origins – it was more focused on criminal investigations, Mr Cochran said – but for a reason that may be lost in history. , he agreed.

“Sometimes, on a case-by-case basis, in the interests of research and scientific inquiry, we make exceptions to this general policy,” he writes. “With this understanding, we will examine the hair and fabrics mentioned in your letter. “

Today, the idea of ​​a serious Bigfoot search has become the domain of reality TV shows like “MonsterQuest” and “Finding Bigfoot”. Few people take it seriously. But the 1970s were another era.

Documents released by the FBI on Wednesday included a lengthy New York Times article from June 1976 that described Mr. Byrne’s work, including “a handful” of Bigfoot sightings that “hold up and receive great credibility.”

The article, which Byrne sent to the FBI to illustrate the seriousness of his business, also lamented the poor state of Bigfoot studies in the United States.

The Times said interest in “America’s own” monster “could not stand up to the” growing sums of money “that were” being spent by prominent scientists to investigate Loch Ness. “

[Read some of the weirdest stories that ever appeared in The Times.]

At least in this case, it looks like the FBI tried to do its part in the hunt for Bigfoot.

According to documents released Wednesday, the hair sent by Mr Byrne underwent a battery of tests, including examinations of root structure, bone marrow structure and cuticle thickness.

But when the results returned, it was bad news for Bigfoot hunters.

“It was concluded as a result of these examinations that the hair is of familial origin,” wrote Mr. Cochran in February 1977. “The hair sample you submitted is returned as an attachment to this letter.”

Melissa Hovey-Larsen, president and founder of the American Bigfoot Society, said she wasn’t surprised the hair turned out to be from a deer.

“What we hear a lot when we collect hair samples is a horse, deer, cow or bear,” she said. “We hear everything. But every once in a while you get one that comes back and says “source unknown,” and then nothing ever comes out. “

What is more remarkable, said Ms. Hovey-Larsen, is that Mr. Byrne turned to the federal government in its search for the truth.

“As researchers move forward, Peter Byrne has charted more paths to gain respect for this area than anyone else during this time, so I’m not shocked he went to the FBI but I’m surprised “she said.

She said most Bigfoot researchers avoid this route.

“Like I always say to people, ‘What are they going to tell you?’ First of all, we have no proof that it exists, ”she said. “We can’t even have a clear picture. Most of us think we’ll be laughed at right out of the room.

The documents, which an FBI spokeswoman described as “recently released information,” appeared to be the first time federal law enforcement had admitted to conducting an investigation related to Bigfoot.

The spokeswoman said the publication of the documents on Twitter was not intended to be a big “X-Files” style reveal.

The account that published them, @FBIRecordsVault, automatically tweets documents that were entered into the agency’s Freedom of Information Act library after a successful FOIA request, she said.

Some at the agency were amused by the public interest in the documents and the cryptic tweet that announced their arrival.

“Oh, my God,” an FBI press office receptionist told a reporter who called to ask about Bigfoot. “I can’t believe that’s why you are calling.”



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