ROCKDALE TOWNSHIP -- The reign of the all-time hide-and-seek champion continues as recent efforts to find a Bigfoot in Crawford County have failed.

After three days of searching, baiting and filming with trip cameras and thermal imagery, no creatures were caught, detained or otherwise encountered, according to T.J. Biscardi of Bigfoot Project Investments Inc. The company is offering a bounty of $1 million to anyone who provides "information leading to the capture or delivery of a bona fide Bigfoot" and came to Crawford County in late June to follow up on what Biscardi considered credible reports of a sighting last fall.

The fact that no creatures were captured during the expedition shouldn't be taken as evidence that they're not out there, Biscardi said.

"We found castable tracks -- about three -- and more markers," he said, referring to both footprints and arrangements of sticks that he believes are created by the creatures. "The casts were 19 inches long and 8 inches wide, traveling in a westerly direction."

"Vocalizations" and "tree knocks," both apparent forms of communication by the nocturnal creatures, were also observed during the visit, according to Biscardi.

The massive creatures range as much as 80 to 150 miles in a day and may be heading to a Canadian crossing area as part of their northern migration, he hypothesized.

"This is all speculation, theory, conjecture, based on my 10 years of experience in the field," Biscardi said from his Kentucky home. The ongoing search for the creature had already taken him to Arkansas since his Crawford County visit. After spending the holiday at home, he planned a return to the Ozark Mountain woods that he believes could be home to a Sasquatch gathering spot.

Dismissed by nearly all credible scientists as a myth produced through a combination of hoaxes, tall tales and imaginations gone wild, the legendary creature has eluded the best efforts of people like T.J. Biscardi and his father, Tom, for a half-century. Along with Tommy, the Biscardis make up a three-generation team of Bigfoot hunters that follows up on reports from around the continental U.S. for 10 months out of the year.

Fifty years -- that's how long Tom Biscardi, who calls himself "The Godfather of Bigfoot," says he has been hunting for concrete evidence of the camera-shy creature. His search began when he saw the famous footage of an ape-like creature walking upright through the northern California forest shown on "The Tonight Show" in 1967. The 60 seconds of film from the redwood forests of northern California made Bigfoot a household word. They were later widely debunked -- including by Biscardi himself in his 2012 film, "Hoax of the Century" -- but belief in a hidden reality behind the hoax persists, even across the country in Crawford County.

It was not belief but visual confirmation that led Robin and Kevin Morgan to invite the Biscardis to their rural Hogback Road home near the county's northern border.

"I told my husband, I know what I saw that night and nobody's going to change my mind at all," said Robin Morgan several days after the Biscardis' visit failed to turn up a creature.

The evening she referred to occurred last fall, when an investigation of strange noises led her to within a few feet of an immense creature that she saw from behind, its back covered in thick black fur. Walking upright on two legs, the creature was not a bear, she insisted -- and still insists despite what she describes as "snickering" directed at her by some of her Amish neighbors since news reports of the Biscardis' visit appeared.

"They were looking at me and kind of laughing," she said. "They asked my husband, 'Have you seen any Bigfoots lately?'"

The plaster footprint cast resting nearby on her wood stove is more than enough to salve the sting of any mocking snickers for Morgan, as is her memory of the encounter last fall.

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"You can't make a believer out of everyone," she said. "You have to actually see them or see the castings."

Mike Crowley can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at mcrowley@meadvilletribune.com.

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