A northern Idaho woman recently made national news after she blamed a car crash on a sasquatch.
Now a noted local Bigfoot researcher is saying that her story seems credible on the surface.
Dr. Jeff Meldrum, professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University, has been researching Bigfoot sightings for years, and he said the woman’s claim is not out of the realm of possibility.
According to an article in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, the woman, a 50-year-old resident of the town of Tensed, told police she saw a sasquatch chasing a deer on the side of the road last Wednesday night while driving on U.S. Highway 95 near the Idaho/Washington border.
Then, she checked her rearview mirror to get a second look at what she described as a 7- to 8-foot tall “shaggy” creature. But when she looked up, the deer ran in front of her and she struck the animal with her Subaru Forester.
Even though Meldrum has not interviewed the woman making the claims, he said the story does seem credible due to how she handled the sighting in the aftermath of the crash.
“It’s intriguing because she sounds like a very credible witness,” he said, noting that there is no suggestion that she was inebriated or delusional. “Her first response was to report it to the sheriff and not post it on Facebook.”
Meldrum also said that the whole scenario seems plausible, especially considering the time of year and the location of the crash, which occurred near a heavily wooded national forest.
“The most common places to see a Bigfoot is on a highway at night or adjacent to a body of water,” he said. “The whole northern panhandle is prime habitat for a sasquatch. This is also the time of year you would expect a Bigfoot to be chasing deer, when it’s malnourished at the end of winter.”
Though Meldrum said this is all speculation at this point, he does say there are some other possibilities to explain the sighting.
The woman could have merely misinterpreted what she saw chasing the deer. While it could have been a bear emerging from its winter den and looking for a meal, Meldrum said that explanation seems unlikely.
“A bear isn’t going to be chasing deer on its hind legs,” Meldrum said. “The bear would have taken one or two steps before going back on four legs.”
There’s also the possibility that the woman was being pranked. In 2012, a man dressed in a Bigfoot costume was trying to drum up sightings of the creature along a Montana highway.
Instead, he ended up getting struck by two cars and killed.
But what fascinates Meldrum most about the case in northern Idaho is how much interest the story has generated. It has already been picked up by multiple national news organizations such as Fox News and was one of the top trending stories on Facebook this weekend.
“What’s interesting is the attention it has gotten,” he said. “It isn’t obviously involving a crazy person and it doesn’t seem like a prank. I think it struck a chord because it was just so mundane, but it smacks of a credible encounter.”
In the end, the Associated Press reported that police marked the incident allegedly involving Bigfoot as a vehicle versus deer collision.
On the evenings of April 14 and 15, Meldrum will make two presentations at the National Oregon/California Trail Center in Montpelier regarding the subject of Bigfoot.
The first presentation, entitled “Sasquatch and Other Wildmen: The Search for Relict Hominoids,” will be held on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Meldrum will discuss the shifting attitude of science towards cryptic man-like species, such as sasquatch, surviving into the present alongside humans in various remote corners of the globe.
Meldrum will also hold a book signing beginning at 6 p.m. in the lobby of the center.
The second presentation, entitled “50 Years of the Patterson-Gimlin Film,” will be held on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The year 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the controversial film footage depicting what alleges to be a Bigfoot in northern California. Meldrum will discuss his findings regarding the film. He will be available from 1 to 7 p.m. for questions and book signing.