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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The Logan-Union Counties (OHIO) Bigfoot Flap Of 1980

The month of June in 1980 was marked by a series of sightings by several individuals of a large hair-covered being that frightened and intrigued the residents of that area.

Five people came forward willing to make public statements to law enforcement and to radio, TV, or newspapers. The people and dates of experiences are :

Tuesday, June 17th : Patrick Poling
Thursday, June 19th : Thomas Quay
Thursday, June 19th : Ray Quay
Tuesday, June 24th : Donna Riegler
Thursday, June 26th : Larry  Ramey

The first reported sighting was by Pat Poling on June 17. It was around 8:30-9:00 a.m. while cultivating his corn that Poling got his first look at the being. He watched it come out of the woods, walk along the edge of the trees as if it were looking for something.

"It hadn't seen me yet. As I came down the field, he came across the end of the field along the trees and we were coming closer together. I decided to get a closer look since I was on the tractor. When I turned the tractor at the end of the field, we were about 125 feet apart. He looked up and saw me and ran into the woods."

"At first I thought it was a bear. But it wasn't no bear. It came out of the woods and had to duck under a branch hanging out over the fence. Then it stood up. It was about 7 feet tall. But maybe more. I mean, it walked with its knees bent a little. It walked along the fence line. It wasn't like anything I saw before. It wasn't a monkey or a gorilla or anything. I watched it. I was really scared at first."

"But then I figured it couldn't hurt me as long as I was on the tractor. So I gassed the tractor to head it off. That is when it stopped and turned and looked at me."

Poling explained that even though he ended up about 30 feet away, he could not see any facial features. He described the being as 7 or 8 feet tall; about 400 pounds; black; covered in hair except for his hands.  He also stated that the figure stood upright with its knees slightly bent and the hands held out, palms up.

Footprints were discovered the next day. His neighbor Donald Mathys made a plaster cast of one of the prints. It measured 18 inches long and 7 inches wide.

Two days later, Thomas Quay reported his sighting. The 17-year-old was on his way to check the mailbox at around 8 a.m. on June 19. He headed back to the house and as he walked around the side of the building towards the back, he saw something at the edge of the woods about 120 yards away. The something appeared to be 9 to 10 feet tall, black, hairy, with little to no neck. He hurried into the house and called the Sheriff's office. Deputies were sent out, including a helicopter to help in the search.

Later that day, Tom's father, Ray Quay had his sighting. Golf course greenskeeper and part-time Russells Point police officer, Quay owned a small 6-acre farm. He was off-duty the night of his encounter.

"I was unloading 8 pigs I had bought about 11 p.m. I shut off the light in the barn and went around the corner to see what my two dogs were raising cain about. They never bark when I'm around."

"I stepped around the corner of the barn and saw this hairy animal. I thought it was a man so I hollered at him. It took off and I've got some weeds out back I haven't mowed and they are waist high [sic] or higher [sic] and the creature went through [sic] them with no problem."

Four deputies arrived and searched the area but again came up empty.

"I don't know, maybe it's a man. But the odor about the thing was tremendous. It smelled like Limburger cheese on a hot muffler."

"I've seen a lot of things. But I've never seen anything like that. It was big and hairy and it scared the heck out of me and my dogs."

"In my mind, I say it's a bear because it makes other people around here feel better. In the back of my mind I say, 'No, that was no bear.'"

The next witness to officially report their encounter was Donna Riegler. Riegler was a legal secretary and her husband was a Union County game protector. She had always laughed at the idea of bigfoot. But on Tuesday, June 24, as she was on her way home she had her ideas changed.

It was around 5:30 p.m. and was rainy. Riegler reported: "I was in a good mood. I just wanted to get home. I went over the railroad tracks slowly. I always do because I don't want to knock my wheels out of line. Then I saw this thing lying on the road, hunched over. I thought it was a big dog at first. Then it stood up and I thought it was a man. I thought he was crazy, laying on the road. I couldn't figure out why he was out there. . . . Then he turned around and looked at me."

The figure was about 60 yards away from her at this point. She realized that she could not see any facial features. "I was scared. I was afraid he was coming after me. Maybe he didn't really come toward me, I was just scared."

Reigler quickly reversed the car back over the railroad tracks and onto another road. She stopped eventually at a stranger's house where they let her in. She broke down crying and called her husband. When giving her report she described the figure as standing upright with his knees bent, hands held out, and palms up. This was the posture also described by Poling. She described its walk as stiff and "robot-like".

There were some who voiced the opinion that Reigler had seen nothing more than a jogger wearing a rain jacket. However, nothing was ever found to support that theory.
The final reported encounter came on Thursday, June 26, by Larry Ramey. The 27-year-old was on a tractor in Logan County, just across the border from Union County.

The creature came out of the woods and saw the tractor. [13 feet, 270 horsepower]. It began to approach the tractor.

"At first I took it was Al or Billy . . . [two other men working with him in the fields]. But then I saw it wasn't them. It was big."

When another tractor approached in the field, the creature retreated into the woods.

The general description of the creature seen during these days was of a man-like creature, more than 7 feet tall. It had long hair, broad shoulders, and a well-proportioned body. The being was not exceptionally long-legged or long-armed but was said to be built like a large man. However, it moved stiffly. When it turned to look at people it turned its whole body rather than just the upper portion or head.

Not everyone in the area believed that bigfoot was in the area.
"Don't believe there is such a thing." Those who saw it believe.
"Just folks' imagination."  "But imagination doesn't make footprints."

As the creature made its way around the neighborhood, it left footprints behind.  There was also trampled corn and crushed grasses. Said Union County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Powers: "We found definite signs that indicate something is there."

At one point there were hundreds of people driving around the country roads looking for the creature.  Law enforcement felt it was creating a dangerous situation with some of them armed. They were afraid that some over-eager searcher might shoot another searcher. As there was no indication that the creature was dangerous, they worked at sending the amateur searchers home.

Among the more experienced researchers were Barbara Bilinovich, Leon and Betty Parks, Tom Archer, John, and Bruce Rutkoski, and the Mammal Research Team from Lima, Ohio headed by Bill Sheets. It was reported that the Lima research team found and took measurements and a cast of three claw marks. The claw prints were about 40 inches apart and had four toes. They were 16 inches by 4 inches.

This sighting flap was only part of the larger bigfoot sighting increase in the late 1970s, and early 1980s. Some researchers felt that this increased activity was the result of an eastward movement of bigfoot from the west coast due to the eruption of Mount St. Helens.

Detective Mike Powers, Union City Sheriff's Department: "Hey, I laughed at this whole thing at first. But now I'm not so sure."

"We don't know what is out there but people are seeing something. You can't make up that many stories like this." -- Union County officials.

(You can also view the video version of this post by Clicking Here)

[Please Note: Sadly Nancy passed away at the first of January, 2022. We will continue to honor her and her research by sharing her work. RIP Nancy. -Thomas]


"I'll spark the thought; what you do with it is up to you."
 "Those that know, need no further proof. Those that don't, should not demand it from others, but seek it for themselves."

This Post By TCC Team Member Nancy Marietta. Nancy has had a lifelong interest in the paranormal and cryptids. Nancy is also a published author and her book, The Price of war, has been met with great reviews.

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  1. This story brings a fresh thought to my mind. I wonder if the many bigfoot sightings like this one, involving a repeatedly-seen individual bigfoot that comes outside of its forest cover, is of a very old or sick/diseased bigfoot. Healthy bigfoots, I think, would not be exposing themselves routinely for people to see them. At least 2 of the Ohio witnesses describe this bigfoot's walking as "stiff" or like a robot. Stiffness in a creature that is usually described as "fluid" in its movements would lend support to the thought that the animal was either old or ill.

  2. It is interesting about the repeated sighting...it could have been old and sickly or maybe it was displace for some unknown, to us,reason. There are a few other cases that are similar to this one...ones where the same creature was seen repeatedly.


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