It’s easy to imagine that something strange could be lurking just beyond these paths.
Photo Credit : Bethany Bourgault
A persistent local rumor says that Bigfoot lives (or at least vacations) in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Read these Bigfoot sighting accounts dating back to 1765 and decide for yourself.
It was nearing 10:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 21, 1983, in the small town of Washington, Massachusetts. Four friends were enjoying a steak and chicken cookout near Camp Eagle, an abandoned Boy Scouts camp on the banks of Felton Lake. It was a calm night. The camp had been abandoned since 1970, so there weren’t many people in the area. Suddenly, though, their peace was disturbed by strange rustlings in the distance. Unseasonal chills pricked their spines. Whatever it was sounded big.
Praying that whatever had made the noises would leave them alone, they returned their attention to the campfire and got back to enjoying the night.
When another two hours had passed, they could no longer ignore the rustlings. Something big was out there, and the young friends wanted to know what it was. Eric Durant, 18, and Frederick Parody, 22, set out to investigate.
Just 100 yards later, they saw it.
“It stood on two legs, silhouetted on the trail in the moonlight, and it was huge.” Durant told the Berkshire Eagle a few days later, “I don’t scare easily, but it scared me.”
Is There a Bigfoot in the Berkshires?
Though this is perhaps the most famous record of a “Bigfoot sighting” on October Mountain, it is certainly not the only. October Mountain, so named by famed New England writer Herman Melville because of its stunning fall color, has been the focus of paranormal investigations, spooky documentaries, and eyebrow-raising stories of UFOs. From tales of strange creatures running amok to more recent sightings of a ghostly young girl hanging around her grave, there’s no shortage of lore here. And Bigfoot? Well, he’s a bit of a local celebrity.Durant and Parody ran back to their campsite. About an hour later, they and their friends packed up and headed out. They climbed into their car, flicked on the headlights, and saw it again. This time, from the safety of a motor vehicle, they were able to get a better look. It was crouched down in the bushes, with dark brown fur and eyes that seemed to glow in the car’s light. They estimated it to be between six and seven feet tall.
The creature was almost, but not quite, human.
Six years later, another Bigfoot sighting circulated. A man had been hiking a well-traveled trail up the mountain on a July evening when he spotted a reddish-brown creature crouched in the brush. As a rather experienced hiker, he was less startled than curious. He pulled out his binoculars just as the creature moved into a clearing.
Curiosity quickly became fear. The creature was covered in fur, but wasn’t like any animal the man had ever seen. Its face, slightly elongated with rather pointed features, was less furry than the rest of its startlingly human-like body. Its arms, just a little too long to be normal, were reaching into the brush to move aside rocks, presumably in search of bugs. The hiker was fascinated with the creature’s treatment of the rocks — each stone it picked up was carefully stacked into a small pile.
Apparently satisfied with its evening snack, the creature stood up. Its long, furry arms stretched all the way to its knees, and it was as tall as (if not taller than) a human. It turned its head and slowly began to move back toward the woods. The hiker didn’t stick around to find out where it was headed — he ran.
The first recorded account of this “Bigfoot sighting” was in 1765, when a group of explorers in the Great Barrington area allegedly found the creature sleeping. Again, in 1895, a North Adams newspaper printed a town selectman’s account of seeing it. More recently, the creature was spotted lurking in the bushes near a home in Beckett, walking along Rt. 7 in Williamstown, and knocking sticks together on Mt. Greylock.
The verdict is still out. Could this creature be real? If so, why can’t we prove it? If not, why do we keep seeing it? On your next trip to the Berkshires, be sure to keep an eye out for this furry mystery — you never know what you might see.
Do you believe in the Berkshires Bigfoot? Ever had your own Bigfoot sighting? Let us know!
October Mountain State Forest. 317 Woodland Road, Lee, MA. 413-243-1778; mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/region-west/october-mountain-state-forest-generic.htmlThis post was first published in 2016 and has been updated.