Even sasquatch needs an occasional salt fix, so it makes sense Lancaster County and its saline wetlands leads the state in reported bigfoot sightings.
“They go where the salt is,” said Harriet McFeely, a bigfoot investigator from Hastings. “And that’s where the salt is.”
In the past 60 years, researchers have logged nearly 30 sightings or signs of bigfoot in the Lincoln area, beginning in the 1950s with mass murderer Charles Starkweather’s depiction of a bearlike woman peering into his bedroom window, and the mournful howls she made.
The creatures were especially active in the early ’80s: a motorcyclist dumped his bike at 27th and Fairfield streets after a bigfoot crossed in front of him; a couple spotted a creature near Folsom and South; and a city employee reportedly barricaded himself inside the water treatment plant along Salt Creek after a bigfoot looked in through a window, 8 or 9 feet off the ground.
Just a few years ago, Wilderness Park was ground zero, with reports of glowing eyes, bigfoot’s signature stick structures and the discovery of a fawn’s leg, broken clean off.
Now the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau is trying to capitalize on all of this activity by trying to land McFeely’s state bigfoot convention in 2019, said Kelsey Meyer, the bureau’s sales development manager.
The Nebraska Bigfoot Crossroads of America Conference could draw researchers, speakers, vendors and more than 1,000 bigfoot fans to Lincoln.
McFeely started the conference last year. When she was filling out a grant application, it asked her how many people she expected.
“And I had no idea in the whole wide world. I thought I was the only person in Nebraska who was interested,” she said.
She put down 100. More than 750 attended.
“She wasn’t prepared for that many people,” Meyer said. “It kind of blew up.”
McFeely expects the 2018 conference, also in Hastings, to be even bigger. She wouldn’t yet commit to moving it to Lincoln the year after that, but knows it could outgrow its hometown. And Lincoln would have the hotel rooms and restaurants to accommodate bigfoot believers.
“If we double in size, which I sort of think we might, we may have to look for another place.”