CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia bigfoot skeptic and investigator Les O’Dell released his new book last month that contains more than 60 first-hand accounts of bigfoot encounters that all allegedly took place in West Virginia.
“Old Man of the Mountain: The West Virginia Bigfoot,” is O’Dell’s second book, and the accounts in the collection span nearly 100 years of reported bigfoot sightings; one account in Marion County is dated 1921, while the most recent sighting is said to have taken place in 2018.
The name “Old Man of the Mountain” is a colloquial term for bigfoot-like creatures that is predominantly used in the Appalachian region.
In an interview, O’Dell told 12 News that he gathered the accounts during his many years of investigating the creature. Some accounts he came across during his research, but many others were from people that came to him with their own stories about The Old Man of the Mountain.
“I wouldn’t exactly call myself an authority [on bigfoot], I’m just one of many throughout the United States that are looking into bigfoot,” O’Dell said. While he doesn’t think of himself as a researcher, he has become more of an investigator who likes to talk with people about their experiences and go to sites of reported bigfoot encounters.
O’Dell said he got his start in the cryptid community by creating a Facebook page where people could share their strange West Virginia encounters. Now, the page has grown to more than 20,000 followers, and many of the bigfoot encounters contained in the book came from the page. To try and keep it as authentic as possible, O’Dell said he wanted to change the wording and format of the encounters as little as possible.
“Definitely know it’s in the words of the people that talked to me. So yea, it may not be grammatically correct. It’s a book of accounts, a book of stories,” O’Dell said. “It’s not a literary masterpiece, but if you’re looking for something that may relate to your area, I think you’ll enjoy it.”
If you want to get the full bigfoot experience, the West Virginia Bigfoot Festival is being held this Saturday, June 24 at 12 p.m. in Sutton, West Virginia. You can also check out O’Dell’s book, Old Man of the Mountain: The West Virginia Bigfoot, or his guidebook on West Virginia Cryptids.