Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Maine Ridge Monster

Today, class, we are going to discuss the Maine Ridge Monster. This variant on the Bigfoot legend is wildly inconsistent throughout its sightings, varying from an 18-inch furry person to a 6 to 8-foot tall furry person. Sometimes it has black fur, sometimes it has brown fur with a white chest patch. You never know what to expect with this big fuzzball of legend. Bearing that in mind, here is a selection of Maine sightings and related information for you to peruse.

[NOTE: The two paragraphs below reference a now-defunct site. However, the information referenced is available in the appendices section of Janet and Colin Bord's 1982 book, The Bigfoot Casebook, the source from which it was originally drawn.]
This site is run by Roger Thomas, who oddly enough doesn't even live in the U.S., let alone Maine. Nope, he lives in Wales, in the U.K. This has not prevented him from developing an enthusiasm for Bigfoot, and creating a bang-up site discussing whether he is fact or fiction. Very nice green, foresty aesthetic and well-organized. The "News" segments on the front page are very current.

I found Roger's site when I was looking for mention of Maine and discovered this nice little chart that details some surprisingly early Maine sightings as published in a 1982 Bigfoot book. Who knew? These wooly bipeds were being witnessed in Maine as early as the 1800s! Sadly, recorded sightings detailed on the page have a 120-year gap between the early sightings and the 1970s when Bigfoot became "popular" again. Man, we humans are fickle. I wonder what happened to the tiny one that was captured in Waldoboro in the 1850s? Now that would be a good story.

We can hardly discuss mythic simians without mentioning Maine's own cryptozoological creature, Loren Coleman. Back in 2001, he discovered an antique lettuce crate. Yes, oh my gods, a LETTUCE CRATE! Now you are scratching your head. Was the lettuce crate used to bring mass quantities of leafy greens to a captive Sasquatch? Did Bigfoot use it for cave furniture? Well, though these are likely histories for the crate, what Coleman did in fact find exciting was the crate's label, which featured -- you guessed it! -- a sasquatch!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you say -- big deal, some schmo developed a gimmick for his lackluster lettuce. No, no, no, Coleman could tell you, this is quite exciting. Why? Because, oh students of the strange, there is a 50+ year gap between Bigfoot sightings countrywide. From the early 1900s to 1958, the historic recording of sightings simply .... disappears. The "California Giant" lettuce crate, being from 1933, has given Coleman hope that there are sightings that occurred in this time frame, and has encouraged him in his search to fill that gap. To get a look at the label, which is admittedly quite cool, please see Coleman's own press release about the event and its ramifications.

Coleman's press release may also make more clear the reason for Roger's interest in Bigfoot despite his extraneous location in England, as Coleman begins to draw connections between Bigfoot and "Wild Man" or "Green Man" artifacts from Europe's Middle Ages. Hmm...

Last spring (2004), Drew, a fellow in Waldo, Maine, spotted a 4 to 5-foot tall black-furred anthropomorphic creature that he thinks might have been the Maine Ridge Monster. His account of the sighting is very brief but entertaining, and includes a graphic map of the encounter, and relates a delightful tale of school buses and his sasquatch startling a field full of donkeys. His humble and matter-of-fact acceptance of the fact that, with his luck, the sasquatch will turn out to be a squirrel in the end makes me want to meet the guy. Maybe I'll e-mail him for an interview.

Back in 1974, again in the spring, another fellow had an encounter that was much more disturbing. This took place off Route 1 in York County, in an area known sometimes as the Barrens. A late night camping stop off the road, a terrible scream in the dark, and large bipedal footprints evident in the morning. Eeek!!

A Sidney, Maine sighting of 16-inch footprints going into the Sidney Bog from January 2000 sounds promising, but the quick continuance of consecutive sightings all within the next week or so, including one in northeast Portland (?!!), make one wonder if they were simply distorted human footsteps in the snow (snow is very deceptive when it comes to footprint sizes, as most of us snow-bound Mainers know). It's unclear whether these sightings, all within a few days of eachother, were observed by the same Bigfoot enthusiast.

Another fellow ran into the Maine Ridge Monster in 1988 when he was out fishing with his father. The most interesting part of this story is the account of an old cabin they found, and the log of Maine Ridge Monster sightings that had been left there. While sounding a little fantastic, it's still pretty exciting to entertain the thought that everything happened as he said. Also of note is the mention of Maine Indians' legends of the creature, which bears some research in the future.

More links to Maine sightings are found here, including one of the most recent one I've found yet, from 2004. There are some extremely clear footprint photos from the Frenchville area in 2000. Of particular note is a detailed historical account of Maine sightings that fills in a few more blanks in the chronology of the chart on Roger's site (see above). I would love to read the story of the man who shared a meat pie with Bigfoot, which I've found mention of in some of the posts.

Well, all food for thought. It's good to flex the little grey cells before they start growing fur too.


Chris Jart said...

Interesting. I think I'd heard Bigfoots have been seen in almost all the states, but I didn't know he was referred to as the Maine Ridge Monster here.

If there's one thing people need to learn, it's that when you take a photo of a huge footprint, it looks like a normal footprint if there's nothing next to it of identifiable size, like a ruler or your hand.

Michelle Souliere said...

Yeah -- I would very much like to research when and how he began being called that. Hmm...

I have some interesting additions to the Maine Bigfoot roster from my new copy of "The Supernatural Side of Maine" by C.J. Stevens that I just picked up. Cool!

Stay tuned... *evil grin*


Anonymous said...

Roger Thomas lives in the UK and does not own Bigfoot Encounters website where the Maine Ridge Monster story is or was originally posted and your facts aren't quite correct. That site is owned by Bobbie Short, a veteran USA investigator from California.

Maine has a long history of giants, not little people, some still being reported today.

Michelle Souliere said...

Hello Anonymous, I clearly stated that Roger does live in the UK, and the site I referred readers to as belonging to him was "Bigfoot: Fact or Fantasy?", not "Bigfoot Encounters."

I'd be very happy to hear more about Maine sightings, it sounds like you have some knowledge of them from the way you mention their history.

Anonymous said...

Your Roger Thomas Bigfoot site link has been dead for at least two years now. The Thomas UK Bigfoot site has been down at least that long.
Matt Breaslo