A wooden building stands next to a highway in the mountains of northern Georgia.
Once it was a restaurant. Now it serves a less ordinary purpose.
Welcome to Expedition: Bigfoot! The Sasquatch Museum. Bigfoot or Sasquatch are said to be ape-like creatures that live in the wilderness.
The owner of this strange place is David Bakara. Bakara is a longtime member of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization.
He also served in the Navy, drove trucks and worked at a bar before he and his wife, Malinda, opened the museum in 2016.
“I wanted to take what I know about Bigfoot as an active researcher and investigator, but I’m also a huge Disney World fan,” the 57-year-old Bakara says. “I was thinking, ‘Maybe I can make this thing like a family attraction.’”
Sherry Gaskinn and her husband, Phillip Blevins, decided to stop at the museum. “I can remember my great-grandmother talking about having a cabin in the woods, and she saw Sasquatch,” Gaskinn says.
Blevins is less interested.
“If it was up to me,” he says, “I’d already be on down the road.”
The museum has a large display of Bigfoot attacking a cabin, with a mannequin trying to keep the door closed.
The museum has maps, statues and videos. It also has statements from those who claim to have seen a Bigfoot.
“The reason I didn’t shoot it is, it was just too human,” a hunter says in one statement. “I couldn’t pull the trigger because something told me this ain’t right.”
There is even a glass container that reportedly holds feces collected from a Sasquatch in Oregon.
People provide additional evidence to the museum’s large collection often. Recently, two casts of footprints supposedly made by a foreign Bigfoot arrived in the mail.
Bakara is quick to point out that Bigfoot is a worldwide phenomenon.
In Australia, the reported creature is known as Yowie. In the Himalayas, people call it the Yeti. Its name in Russia is Alma.
In the United States, there is the Florida Skunk Ape, the Georgia Booger and the Missouri Momo.
“There are several subspecies of these things,” Bakara says. “Some have short hair. Others have long, red flowing hair. Some are multicolored…Some of them have a very human-like face. They just run the gamut.”
Bakara says he has seen two of the beasts, himself.
He knows he will never persuade all people — probably not even most people — of Bigfoot’s existence. He is fine with that.
“Does everybody need to know everything you know?” Bakara asks. “No. It’s best they don’t know.′
There are doubters, of course.
One person signed the guestbook as “Bigfoot,” listing his home as the “Woods.”
But Bakara says most visitors treat the museum with respect, at least while they are there.
“I’m just curious,” says Angie Langellier, who stopped in with her family recently. She added that she had seen nothing that made her believe in Bigfoot’s existence.
“But obviously, a lot of people have seen a lot of things that have convinced them.”
I’m John Russell.
Paul Newberry reported on this story for the Associated Press. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
highway – n. : a main road that connects cities, towns, etc.
museum – n. a building in which interesting and valuable things (such as paintings and sculptures or scientific or historical objects) are collected and shown to the public
bar – n. a building or room where alcoholic drinks and sometimes food are served
attraction – n. something interesting or enjoyable that people want to visit, see, or do
cabin – n. a small, simple house made of wood
display – n. an arrangement of objects intended to decorate, advertise, entertain, or inform people about something
mannequin – n. a figure shaped like a human body that is used for making or displaying clothes
ain’t – short for “am not.” Ain't is common in the informal speech of some people and it is also used in informal and humorous phrases.
feces – n. solid waste that is released from the body
phenomenon – n. as an interesting fact or event) that can be observed and studied and that typically is unusual or difficult to understand or explain fully
subspecies – n. a group of related plants or animals that is smaller than a species : a division of a species
run the gamut – expression experience or display a range or series of related things
doubter – n. a person who doubts
curious – adj. having a desire to learn or know more about something or someone
obviously – adv. used to emphasize that you are talking about something that is easy to see, understand, or recognize
convince – v. to cause (someone) to believe that something is true
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