Bigfoot has been spotted hundreds of times over the years. It usually turns out to be some dude in a gorilla costume, or a bear. But occasionally, just occasionally, it turns out to be a man dressed up in raccoon hair from head to foot, performing shamanic rituals in the woods.
Despite all these sightings, and many grainy images and videotapes, Bigfoot has not yet been officially recognized as a species. Shocking, we know.
One sighting that turned out to be a man covered in raccoon hair.
Well, now that could be rectified because a woman is suing California for refusing to recognize the Sasquatch – not to be confused with the yeti – as an official species.
Claudia Ackley, a resident in Crestline, California, says she "ran into a Sasquatch" last March on a trail in Lake Arrowhead. Her and her daughters say they saw Bigfoot 30 feet up a tree, extremely close to them, and even managed to film the encounter.
“He looked like a neanderthal man with hair all over him. He had solid black eyes," she told the San Bernadino Sun. "He had no expression on his face at all. He did not show his teeth. He just stared at the three of us."
Ackley dialed 911 to inform the authorities about the Sasquatch, ABC News reports, but they didn't believe her.
After reviewing the footage, she was so sure that the creature she saw was a Bigfoot she showed it to Todd Standing, who created the Netflix series Discovering Bigfoot.
At first he was skeptical, but after visiting the area and reviewing the footage he was convinced enough help her sue the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Natural Resources Agency, in order to seek protection for the species.
The Discovering Bigfoot creator is helping Ackley's case.
The lawsuit, filed in January, alleges that the organizations are in derelict of their duty for not protecting the Sasquatch's territory, as well as damaging the reputation and public image of researchers who study the Sasquatch.
"For over a hundred years, thousands of men and women across the State of California claim to have witnessed a bipedal hominoid creature that received its common name Bigfoot 60 years ago," the lawsuit reads, as published by Gizmodo.
"[We] bring to this court overwhelming evidence that proves what will be considered one of the greatest discoveries of our time."
They go on to ask that the Court order the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the state Natural Resources Agency to protect the habitat of the species, should it exist.
This isn't the first time Ackley has seen Bigfoot. Back in 1997, she heard a growl outside her tent. When she looked outside she saw a bipedal, hairy creature walking away, The Press-Enterprise reports. This began her quest to study the creatures, which has seen her leave recordings in forests in attempts to teach them human speech.
She hopes that by suing for recognition of the bipeds as a species, she can also help warn about the dangers Bigfoot may pose to hikers.
Here's hoping that her evidence doesn't turn out to be a man covered in moose hair, going for a climb in a tree, or someone walking around in a gorilla suit carrying a teddy bear.