We all did dumb things when we were young. Sometimes, or in my case, all the time, they involve pranking friends. For one man, he decided to prank an entire town. Usually, pranks are harmless, like loosening your friend’s bike chain or drawing on their face while asleep. In this case, this man tricked his entire town into believing they had a Bigfoot stalking about.
Fifty years ago, Eugene Hendrick said, “I got a wild hair one day. I wanted to do something about Sasquatch. I cut some big ole feet and bolted some shoes to them and walked around by the river making tracks. I even made claw marks in the trees.” He told WFSA 12, based in Montgomery, Alabama.
The findings scared the town so much that the police showed up with search dogs. A local man named Jimmy McGinty, who was a child when he found the tracks, recalled, “I was just going out by the river and saw some unusual tracks on the sand bar. I went and looked and saw these big footprints, and I’m going, am I seeing this right or not?’”
Hendrick decided to end the prank once things had escalated that quickly and kept that secret to himself for over fifty years. He told WFSA, “I put the cut-out feet and shoes away and kept it a secret until 2017.”
Hendrick didn’t decide to come out about the story until a local store called Old Gin Greek County Store started selling a ‘Sasquatch Burger.’ He thought it was time to come clean before this became something bigger.
McGinty was surprised that this was all a prank and said, “I knew I wasn’t crazy then. But, he got me.”
The store had gone all out with the Sasquatch mania, selling various kinds of Bigfoot-related merchandise and even bought a 3,500lb concrete statue of one. The owner, Hunter Royal, was stunned when his father-in-law, McGinty, showed up with the massive statue, stating, “I was in shock. It has made a landmark for the community.” In an almost ironic way, Hendrick was the one to paint the massive statue with his artistic skills.
This revelation hasn’t deterred some people’s belief in the creature. Hunter said: “If you don’t believe in Sasquatch, you’re the problem.”
This isn’t to say that all Bigfoot sightings are faked, but it makes you wonder how many attention-seekers or people hellbent on causing chaos to have faked some of these. There are ways to tell if a footprint is faked (thanks to education provided by people like Dr. Jeff Meldrum). Perhaps, if this knowledge was readily available back then, this whole series of events could’ve been avoided.
Remember folks, if you see a Bigfoot or find a possible footprint, there are groups you can contact, such as the BFRO or Wild & Weird WV, and they will assist with finding out if you’ve seen something real, or you’re just another victim of a prank.