PARIS, Tex. -- Reports of a Bigfoot sighting in Atoka County surfaced in 2006, and you saw the story here on First News, but nothing much came of that sighting. Now rumors of Bigfoot’s return have surfaced in the woods outside Paris, Texas, so we sent Daniel Gotera to try and find out if the creature is fact or fiction.
It’s a legendary tale that spans generations about a creature so large and so abnormal that lives amongst the trees, but despite “documented video evidence”, people still don’t know if the legend of Bigfoot is one of fantasy or reality.
While many we talked to aren’t believers, those skeptics could be surprised that the hairy monster is closer than they thought.
Meet Tom Biscardi, a man who some have called the world’s leading expert on Bigfoot. Biscardi is an explorer who travels the country six months of the year looking for the creature and who doesn't care what people say about his passion because he says he knows that the legend is true.
"I was the biggest doubting skeptical person in the world back in 1973, but I found out the mistakes they made."
Those mistakes which Biscardi and his team of investigators say they have corrected by recording footage back in March.--never before seen by anyone else-- in the woods surrounding Pat Mayes Lake outside Paris, Texas.
"It just gets us even closer to the end of our quest, and that it just proves that there is another species out there that nobody’s ever heard about”
When asked what goes through your mind when he saw that video, Biscardi’s response was, “I freaked out."
In what Biscardi calls the hottest Bigfoot area of the country, the Pat Mayes Lake Swamp, an apelike creature has been seen by several locals, and now he wants to capture it, but to do that a plan of action is needed.
"The whole area is going to be illuminated and I’ll have so many people here that we'll catch this creature as it comes back out. We've got our darts, we've got our biopsy, we're prepared tonight, and this might just be history come true."
So in order to see first hand, I went along with the group on their latest expedition to the swamp at Pat Mayes Lake, but before our trek into the wilderness, the crew detailed some of the items they would use to reel in the creature.
"Heat seaker, night vision goggles, vest, 50,000-volt taser, thermal image...These are our 300,000 volt cattle prod just in case…that will take down an 800-pound bull..."
T.J. Biscardi is Tom's son, and once we arrived at the location at 8:30 in the evening he made sure everyone knew their role in the nights hunt with safety being a number one priority.
"Boom, you check to see if the person is in front of you still, I don’t want someone getting lost and going the wrong direction. If you can’t see the person in front of you, you're not following close enough.”
"If you feel that you're being threatened at any point in time open up your mouth and we'll all remember collapse to the middle and bunch up as a team."
And after a prayer, we set out not knowing what or who we would encounter in the vast darkness.
When asked how much of a thrill it is every time he goes out, Biscardi responded, “It’s like turning over another stone. I just can’t wait to turn it over to see what’s underneath.”
“This is the night, though that if it does come back, I have enough manpower and enough camera crews all over the place that we might get enough film or a physical capture."
For the previous four days in Paris, Tom Biscardi and his team searching for Bigfoot toured the area looking for any signs of the creature, but unlike previous visits this time the creature wanted to communicate right back.
Large slashes, resulting for what Biscardi says have been large boulders thrown in the water by the swamp ape, alerting family that visitors were in the area.
"Did you see it? He threw one out there. Did you see it?"
Biscardi says each night as soon as they arrived on scene the team heard three splashes. This night, there were five.
"Did you hear it? Did you hear it? My guys are flushing him; my guys are out there right now flushing them out that way."
But for Tom, just hearing the splashes isn't enough. He wants visual proof.
"We've got three cameras right now deployed around the cove besides the one you already saw these are the three here, and then we have three receiver boxes in the trees so there’s one over there and there’s one here and there’s one here."
Rex Howdyshell is in charge of setting up audio and visual equipment around the swamp. Each video feed is recorded onto a VCR with a multiplexer that will take the three images and record them at the same time.
"These guys are getting paid for their expertise. They are putting their lives on the line. Man, you know this is a huge amount of money. Just on this expedition alone is about $70,000 for the week, so it’s not two cents, but we're successful at what we do, you see the elaborateness of what we do and the quality of the video you get. When we get up to the top, I’m going to show you the thermal imager. Anything that has blood running through it, you're going to see it. "
Biscardi is one of many who say they have seen one of the many species of Bigfoot up close and personal, and its those experiences that help him hone in on capturing one.
"Twelve feet is the closest that I’ve ever seen one of these creatures, and that was in northern California. We were in about 100 yards and all of a sudden I started to smell this stink, and then I saw it run. As it turned and looked at me, I thought I was looking at a human being. It just totally just blew me away, and it just stops you in your tracks. Oh yeah, I gotta tell you we ran like hell.”
It was that moment a report came in from the team down by the lake regarding the splashes from stones allegedly thrown by the creature.
"Who was forced to go into the water? No that’s what made the splash! What was it? A beaver? That made that big splash? Yeah, you actually saw it. All I could see is the head swimming across the top of the water and then they slammed their tail into the water. Splash. Did you see it? He threw one in there. Did you see it? Is that a confirmation from everybody else? Ok, well stand still. Stay at your post, keep seeing what’s going on."
But as quickly as the disappointment the beaver had set in, anticipation soon returned after Biscardi and I saw what appeared to be two eyes looking right back at us on the shores of the swamp.
"We definitely saw two eyes out there, and there was something moving. No question about it. I’m not talking about a beaver, I’m talking about something that was big. I had the light on there and it was moving around up right."
As the night rolled on the crew heard more sounds. To suggest that there was something out there, and Biscardi says when coupled with the video, this fantastic creature is not so fantastic after all.
“For the first time ever we're catching video, even though it was on infrared film, it actually depicts this thing going from four legs, two in front, and two in back, to standing up right like a man, so my big question is there another species out there that has been undiscovered its very apparent especially down here outside Paris, Texas,”
It was an experience that I’m never going to forget, and special thanks go out to Tom Biscardi and the crew for letting us tag along.
If you have seen a creature resembling big foot or would like to join Tom on his next trip through North Texas, you can find more information at this link.