CASTLETON - Do creatures long considered extinct still stalk the Earth? Tim Albright of Castleton thinks so.
Albright, an amateur cryptozoologist (a person who studies legendary animals), has been searching for Bigfoot - aka Sasquatch as the ape-like creature is known in Native American legends of the Pacific Northwest.
The 67-year-old retired security guard got interested in Bigfoot when he learned about sightings of the beast near Vanderburg Mountain (West Mountain) near Whitehall, N.Y. and in the so-called Bennington Triangle surrounding Glastonbury Mountain in southern Vermont.
"Bigfoot has a very wide range," Albright said. "There are reports of the creature in the Adirondack foothills as well as in the Taconic and Green Mountains."
There are organizations focused on Bigfoot in New England and New York - the best known being NESRA, the Northeast Sasquatch Researchers Association - but Albright prefers to work alone in the woods dressed head-to-toe in hunter camo with a camera and portable tape recorder - and plenty of DEET insect-repellent.
"Some of the research groups have good intentions, but then they go barreling into the woods with ATVs and kids in tow," Albright said. "Heck, that's a sure way of chasing away Sasquatch. These creatures are very secretive."
Albright said there was a well publicized 1976 bigfoot encounter made by Whitehall, N.Y., police officer, Brian Gosselin along Abair Road; the road is located between Fair Haven and Whitehall off County Road 11 (Washington County, N.Y.). The rural road has been the center of other sightings since Gosselin's famous encounter.
The Abair Road encounter was featured on "Unsolved Mysteries," a popular television show of the 1990s hosted by the late actor Robert Stack. Millions of viewers learned about the Whitehall creature - but was it Bigfoot or something less exotic?
Albright said Paul Bartholomew, a Whitehall researcher, proposed an ordinance to protect Bigfoot in the town of Whitehall back in 2004.