In Search of Sasquatch

A Northern Virginia Bigfoot buff is no braggadocio, he’s actually laid eyes on the hirsute hominid. 

There’s a creature out there in the Virginia woods, a gigantic hominid covered with hair. William Dranginis is sure of it. 

As founder of, and main investigator for, the Manassas-based Virginia Bigfoot Research Organization, Dranginis hears often from people who’ve been spooked by something big in the forest; about two a month from all over the Commonwealth call to say they’ve seen a Bigfoot. Dranginis became a believer in 1995, in a wooded area near Culpeper, when he and some friends watched in amazement as one trotted across their path in all its hairy, wide-shouldered hugeness. 

Dranginis since has applied his experience as a designer of security technology to obtain proof. “I thought that within a couple of years I would solve the mystery,” he says. But the beasts have proven wily and elusive. Still, he has investigated a number of credible reports. Some notables:

Prince William County Five or six sightings since 1941, inlcuding in January 2012.  The area is heavily wooded, which Dranginis believes is the creature’s preferred habitat.

Quantico Military Base In 1978, a Marine described a large creature standing in the moonlight near the ammunition storage area. Despite subsequent sightings at the base, this is the only example with an official military report.

Highland County A woman walking a dog reported seeing a Bigfoot in February 2012, about 150 feet away; it strode across her path. The dog stopped in its tracks and stared in silence. 

Highland County Over the last few decades, a dentist who once operated a 2,500-acre hunt club has reported regular sightings of a family of the creatures. He said they seemed benign but cautious of humans. 

Matoaca A family in the area near Lake Chesdin in 2011 described “monkeys or apes” in the woods; another recalled “a tan-colored orangutan.” 

Does Dranginis have any proof? His custom-built camera once caught an image of a 10-foot-tall creature. Not enough to convince nonbelievers, Dranginis acknowledges. But he’s not giving up. What should you do if you see a Bigfoot? He laughs. “Take a picture!”

This article originally appeared in our June 2012 issue.

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