More than 52 years after a couple of cryptozoology true believers captured grainy footage of a hirsute bipedal hominid stalking the woods just south of the Oregon border, Bryce Johnson and Russell Acord are now trying to walk in that creature's footsteps.
Johnson, a film and television actor perhaps best known for his lead role in 2013's Bobcat Goldthwait-helmed Sasquatch horror-comedy Willow Creek, and Acord, author of a series of books on Bigfoot, were part of an all-star research squad assembled to track down evidence of the creature in Central Oregon for the Travel Channel's new series, Expedition Bigfoot. Though hesitant to divulge their findings before the first season ends seven weeks from now, the pair sat down with WW to explain how the man-ape has eluded capture and why it's chosen Oregon as its home.
WW: How did the program come together?
Russell Acord: The original premise of the show was using data analysis as a tool to help formulate when and where we were most likely to come across Bigfoot. A complex algorithm spit out a few hot spots in North America, and the Oregon one jumped off the map. That gave us not only a point of location, but also a time frame. We had a three-week window and used every day of it.
Who was on the research team?
Bryce Johnson: Russell Acord has a background in survivalism and hunting, he's ex-military, and capable of spending long amounts of time in the woods, detecting all the known wildlife. Dr. Mireya Mayor is a primatologist-anthropologist who discovered the world's smallest primate in Madagascar. Never before have you seen someone on a Bigfoot expedition with those types of credentials. Ryan "RPG" Golembeske knows the signs to look for Bigfoot, and he's been doing it since he was a kid. We also have Ronny LeBlanc, who specializes in Native American history, Bigfoot lore and mythology, as well as the paranormal.
Acord: The four of us hadn't really met or interacted with each other, but it was very fluid and cohesive—the perfect storm for a research environment.
What part of Central Oregon did you visit?
Acord: I can't disclose exactly where, but it's a densely wooded area on high mountainous terrain with a relatively small human population and footprint. It's the perfect habitat to come across Bigfoot.
Why is Sasquatch drawn to Oregon?
Acord: Well, it's the perfect hiding place—altitudes, caves, plenty of food to eat, plenty of places to populate and stay out of the way of human contact. Just take a plane over the Pacific Northwest and you'll see thousands of acres that have never been tread upon. In my own hypothesis, these creatures are really looking to be left alone, which is why they've been so hard to pin down.
What do you think Bigfoot is?
Johnson: It could be a relic hominid creature from our ancestral tree. Nobody really knows because we've never had one on a lab table. All we're able to do is take the evidence that comes in from the field—and don't be misled, there's a ton: tracks, vocalization, hair, eyewitness accounts.
Why haven't we found any?
Johnson: We're still discovering fossil records of our ancestral tree. Take the case of Homo floresiensis. An indigenous tribe inhabiting the island of Flores told of these small, hairy, Hobbit-like creatures. It wasn't 20 years ago that we discovered their bones inside a cave and the legends became fact.
Acord: I'm willing to look at any type of evidence. Just putting your foot down and saying the Loch Ness Monster does not exist would be a little naive and arrogant on our part. We've not discovered everything on the surface of our planet, let alone beneath dry land.
Did you discover any sign of Bigfoot in Oregon?
Johnson: We came across a tangible evidence package that left all of our team members shocked. We've had a hard time keeping mum, but now we get to let the cat out of the bag. We set out to confirm the existence of Bigfoot and came across some really great evidence that we're excited to share with Oregon viewers.
SEE IT: Expedition Bigfoot airs at 10 pm Sundays on the Travel Channel.