Artwork Originally Published with Nashville Banner Article

In the News

Bigfoot: Wild Wooly Bullies Prowling Midstate?

by David Lyons -- Nashville Banner -- July 11, 1977

The Russians call him "Alma," the Tibetans call him "Yeti," in Canada he's called "Sasquatch," and one elderly woman in Flintville calls him "Ole Woolly."

All are names for the legendary Bigfoot, the oversized, overweight man-like ape that has frightened country folks, fascinated hunters and frustrated scientists for a century.

And according to two very serious, respectable and sober businessmen, Bigfoot is alive and well in Middle Tennessee.

Not just one animal, claims James Vincent, a Hendersonville school supply salesman who began hunting Bigfeet four years ago, but many animals are wandering in Tennessee.

"There's never just one of them," Vincent said. He claims to have tracked down Bigfoot stories in Henry County, Dickson County, Lincoln County and recently as close as Sumner County.

Vincent, an avid outdoorman, and Dr. Richard Young of Clarksville have been hunting what they believe is an albino Bigfoot which has been alleged to wander near a desolate area called Black Hollow near Bethpage.

Vincent proudly displays a plaster cast of a footprint 15 inches long by 9 inches wide which he said he lifted from the snow last February near Westmoreland.

"I've seen them, I've heard them, I've smelled them and I've run from them," Vicent says with conviction. Another piece of evidence he has is a long strand of hair found last year near Flintville which he says four separate police labs could not identify.

But Wildlife Officer Leonard McCoy, who covers Steward and Montgomery counties, said, "I wonder what Mr. Vincent has been drinking."

McCoy discounted the stories of Bigfoot. "People up there in the woods say they've seen panthers, bears, wolves, wildcats and mountain lions. We've found a few big dogs, but we've yet to find any of those critters."

If one believes Vincent and another witness, Paul Denton of Clarksville, Bigfoot is not somebody one would want to meet in a dark alley.

"Nobody knows exactly what they are," Vincent said. "They are ape-like creatures who walk upright most of the time."

Vincent said Bigfoot, who could reach a height of eight feet and a weight of 600 pounds, has huge long arms which he uses to twist off saplings 10 feet above the ground as he stomps through the woods.

He is covered with hair from his sloping forehead to his huge, flat feet, Vincent said. "Depending on the animal, they could be black, brown or blond or even white."

The beast's head resembles a gorilla's, with deep-set, dark eyes, a pushed-in nose and sloping brown, he added. "And they smell like you wouldn't believe. They smell just like if you went in and stuck your head in an outhouse seat."

"They do exist. I've seen them with my own eyes," added Denton during a recent interview. He said he and a friend, Clarksville Fire Capt. Charles Denton, sighted such a creature in 1968 on an exposed hillside near Murray, Ky. "I haven't traveled that route since then."

Vincent said he has talked to hundreds of people living in the backwoods of Henry and Calloway counties in Kentucky. "They say you can see them sometimes walking the ridges, and you can hear them screeching."

Vincent called Bigfoot "a Homoneid, a type of early man, smarter than the highest form of chimpanzee we know of.

"They're smart enough to converse with each other, and smart enough to throw rocks at people," he said.

"And they can be vicious, if provoked." Vincent said he had a near encounter with a Bigfoot while loading up for a duck-hunting trip in 1974 in Stewart County.

"I could hear him rushing through the woods, screaming and tearing up the trees. I paddled out to deep water and didn't come back until that afternoon," he said.

How vicious does a Bigfoot sound? Vincent played a tape which he said was made in California when researchers bugged an area of isolated forest.

Blaring through the tiny tape recorder was a frightening mixture of screeches and grunts, sounding like a cross between a baboon and rabid dog, but displaying a definite and complicated pattern.

Vincent said the screech of a Bigfoot is recognized by isolated farmers in Springville Bottoms n Stewart County, in Bethpage, in Flintville and in Dickson County, the areas where he says Bigfoot wanders.

Despite the doubts of unbelievers like McCoy, Vincent and Denton say the stories are too many and too alike to discount the legend of Bigfoot.

They said they will continue to prowl the dark hollows of Sumner County for the creature they believe wanders there.

"He's a very curious animal. One day this curiosity is going to get one of them killed," Vincent said.