LITTLETON, N.C. (WNCN) — In a small North Carolina town, something big is spooking residents.
Multiple people have claimed to see a large, furry looking animal trudging through the woods in the Halifax County town, according to one resident. There’s now even a museum dedicated to the sightings of what some are calling a Bigfoot.
“I literally could see him from all the way over here. I started hearing it, hearing it,” said Tifanie Merrill, who told CBS North Carolina she saw the creature from her kitchen window early one morning.
“It was very large, and its hair was super long and it was running so fast,” said Merrill.
She described it as a large gorilla, weaving through the trees in her backyard, crushing large branches in its way. She notified Stephen Barcelo, who lives down the street, and investigates strange sightings like Merrill’s.
“Right away I said, “Could it have been a guy, a hunter in a ghillie suit, or a bear?”’ said Barcelo of his conversation with Merrill.
“That’s not a bear and it wasn’t like a coyote. I’ve never seen anything like that whatsoever,” responded Merrill.
Barcelo calls himself a cryptozoologist. He says he investigates sightings of creatures whose existence hasn’t been proven.
He says he was able to find footprints in Merrill’s yard and took a cast. He says Merrill isn’t the only one who’s seen what he believes to be a Bigfoot.
“There’s a lot of people in this town who’s had sightings who still won’t come talk to us because just out of fear of being ridiculed. And that’s very common,” said Barcelo.
Barcelo says one reason for the recent sightings of the creature may be the recent logging of forests all around Littleton. He and Merrill say they’ve seen more animals that usual, including coyotes and bears. They think the logging could possibly be disturbing the creature’s habitat.
A sighting at nearby Medoc Mountain State Park also turned up a good find for Barcelo. He and his daughter found an abnormal footprint that he was able to cast and show to park rangers.
“We brought it in and they ended up calling another ranger and then another ranger and then the superintendent. All bets were off, they had no idea what it was,” he said.
The unidentifiable footprint is now displayed in the museum he’s created in his Littleton home, the Cryptozoology and Paranormal Museum. Barcelo admits he may never be able to prove Bigfoot’s existence, but he can certainly draw in a crowd that will boost his town’s tourism.
“We’re putting Littleton on the map, which is good. And that’s for a positive reason and a fun reason,” he said.
Barcelo also studies paranormal activity and hauntings around Littleton. He hosts ghost tours of the town that are part paranormal, part historical.
He’s had visitors from South Carolina, West Virginia, Texas, New Jersey and Florida. He hopes more people will come forward with their stories about Littleton to help make his museum a hotspot for travelers.
Meanwhile, Merrill is contemplating moving because of her experience.
Not only did she see the creature close to her home, her trash has completely vanished from the foot of her porch steps, and she’s seen large footprints circling around her house. She says she no longer feels it’s safe for her daughter and herself.