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FBI releases 'Bigfoot' files from the 1970s, decades after man's 'credible' sighting

Peter Byrne, 93, said he still hasn't given up hope of proving the existence of Bigfoot.
The legend of Bigfoot has baffled many people and now again, a footprint measuring 17 3/4 inches long and 7 1/2 inches wide was discovered, Sunday, August 26, 1980 at a residence in the Conemaugh Twp. area in Johnstown. A very well defined print was left behind, if indeed it was bigfoot, plus a left print was found eight feet away in a more wooded area. Along with the footprints, reports of strange noises and a very unusual but strong odor went with the account of the episode. (AP Photo)

In 1976, a man in Oregon intent on proving the existence of mythical creatures like Bigfoot sent the FBI a hair and tissue sample from what he believed was a “credible sighting.”

Now 93, Peter Byrne told the Washington Post he and two men from the U.S. Forest Service spotted an unidentified creature walking in a forest somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Byrne was the director of The Bigfoot Information Center and Exhibition in Oregon at the time and told the Post they saw the creature standing between a pair of trees.

Between three and five feet off the ground, Byrne said he found a tuft of hair and a piece of skin which he bagged and sent to the FBI. 

In a letter to Jay Cochran Jr., then assistant director of the FBI’s scientific and technical services division, Byrne said, “I am writing again to ask if you could possibly arrange for a comparative analysis of some hairs that we have here which we are unable to identify.”

Byrne said he never heard back from the Bureau – until Wednesday when the FBI released its decades-old “Bigfoot” files from the 1970s.

According to the newly-released documents, the FBI did agree to test Byrne’s sample. A letter Cochran wrote to Byrne in December 1976 apparently never reached him.

In a Feb. 24, 1977, letter, Cochran wrote “It was concluded as a result of these examinations that the hairs are of deer family origin.”

“We’re just finding this out,” Byrne told the Post. “It’s disappointing.”

In an interview with CNBC, Byrne said he still hasn’t given up hope of proving the existence of Bigfoot. According to his website, his fascination with these mythical creatures began when his father would tell him bedtime stories about the Yeti and Abominable Snowmen.

The website says Byrne first went looking for the Yeti in 1946 when he was in the British Royal Air Force in Bombay, India. Byrne said he had found two or three sets of possible Yeti footprints in the past 50 years. 

The prints were reportedly left in tracks in the Himalayas about 15,000 feet up.

Florida, of course, has its own mythical creature supposedly roaming the Everglades. The Skunk Ape, a "smelly hominid cryptid" has an "official" headquarters in Ochopee.

One man, David Shealy, has spent his life researching and reporting on alleged sightings of the elusive Skunk Ape since allegedly seeing one at age 10.

According to Shealy, a male Skunk Ape is 6-7 feet tall and weighs about 450 pounds. They're covered in reddish or black hair and stand on two feet. 

The Skunk Ape gets its name because it reportedly smells like rotting garbage, methane or skunks.

According to the headquarters' website, "the legend of the Skunkape goes back 100s of years in the oral history of the indigenous people and the settlers of the Florida Everglades but is it actually a legend..."

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