Posted by: Rob T | September 8, 2009

Bigfoot in Kentucky

Bigfoot in Kentucky?

Bigfoot in Kentucky?

The Louisville, KY-based NBC affiliate, WAVE-3, ran a story on Monday that tried its best to be sensationalistic, even when the participants in the story were pretty well reality-based.

Before you go read the article and watch the video, here’s the basic rundown of what happened:

  1. Kenny Mahoney of Fairdale discovers his green beans are being eaten by something.
  2. He discovers bent-over branches in the area, too.
  3. He sets up his wildlife camera to try and record the culprit.
  4. He gets an odd picture he can’t identify.  It shows a large, dark figure.  People looking at it think it looks like a seated gorilla.
  5. His wife sends the picture to a wildlife expert she knows.
  6. Someone viewing the photograph apparently brings up bigfoot* at some point, and suddenly the news crews arrive.

Now see how WAVE-3 handles the story.  The video (about 2½ minutes, after an obligatory commercial) can be viewed here, and the text article is here.

What’s apparent to me is that Kenny Mahoney isn’t really considering the bigfoot idea.  I think he’s humoring the reporter.  His first reference to the cryptid is sarcastic:

…Didn’t expect to catch bigfoot on the camera…

And then later his true feelings are shown…

…They catch a prehistoric fish every once in a while…  I don’t ever rule anything out, but I’d say it’s a real longshot for bigfoot to be in a backyard in Fairdale…

Translation: “I’m not sure what this is, but I really doubt it’s bigfoot.” Bravo, Kenny. That’s the right approach to take.  Rather than force-fit in some hypothesis, just say “I don’t know.”  That’s cool.  Science is still ignorant about lots of things.  We like it that way.

Hey, I know…  Sending the photo to a wildlife expert might be a good idea…  Oh wait…  His wife already did that. So bravo again

They even are considering that it might just be a trash bag blowing in the wind, and that the fact that it looks like a seated ape (because it does look like that) is just our brains finding patterns where perhaps none exist (that’s pareidolia, like finding a face in a piece of toast).  So bravo a third time!

Perhaps Bigfoot is in Louisville to bet on the horses at Churchill Downs.

Perhaps Bigfoot is in Louisville to bet on the horses at Churchill Downs.

However, let’s now turn our attention to Ms. Elizabeth Donatelli, the intrepid reporter-on-the-scene, whose sensationalism knows no bounds.

I understand she’s doing her job, and probably someone higher up in the food chain at the station sent her there to do a story about bigfoot in Fairdale, but this statement from the video jumped out at me and lowered my IQ a few points just by hearing it:

But what else could it be?  Some have guessed a bear or an ape, but have you ever heard of either in Jefferson County?

Translation: I need to say something to make this crazy bigfoot story seem plausible. Now she is right about one thing – I’ve never heard of bears and apes in Jefferson County.

But come to think of it, I haven’t heard of bigfoots here either.

I don’t know what it was, but if I had to bet, I’d put my money on not bigfoot.  Maybe I’m wrong, but until someone can show me some real evidence, that’s where I’m sticking.

..Rob T.

* – Yes, I know the proper term is “Sasquatch”, but the WAVE-3 story is all bigfoot, all the time.

UPDATE – is now running WAVE-3’s story.  Wonderful.



  1. Jefferson County is listed as a “possible” location for black bear, and the counties to the south (Bullitt and Hardin) are both homes to confirmed bear sightings.

    My vote goes toward a hoax perpetrated by someone other than the camera owner, since he seems appropriately skeptical.

  2. When I first heard about this on the radio, my immediate thought was that someone heard the homeowner talking about setting up the camera and got their gorilla suit out to punk him. But then I saw the video, and the photo quality is so poor, it really could be anything, including a trash bag or even a bear. But of all the possible explanations, why would anyone think that the idea it is really bigfoot would be most likely?

  3. Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s Igoo from The Herculoids.

  4. […] Rob T. at Science-Based Parenting has an article up about a potential1 bigfoot sighting in Fairdale, Kentucky  (The SBP site has a link to the original WAVE news video segment – it’s worth checking out).  That’s only about 20 minutes from where I live, so naturally I was a little concerned that there might be a large cryptid in the area, in case it might feed on children or cats or something. Hide the cats! […]

  5. Sasquatch, contrary to popular belief, is not an American-Indian term for the creature. It is a hodge-podge word created by a Canadian journalist in the 1920s, combining several native words for this supposed creature. Calling it “Bigfoot” is as proper as “Sasquatch”. I think cryptozoologist prefer the latter because it has an air of authenticity.

  6. I’d like to see the other photos before and after. It was a motion sensor camera so it would have caught more than that pose.

    • That would be great.

  7. According to analysis from the Cryptomundo website which deals in odd animal reports, it’s a crow taking off with motion blur. You can see at the end of the “hands” that they’re actually wingtips.

    I know, I was bummed too.

  8. I can see the crow. The plants in the background distort the sense of scale.

    Blast. I was really hoping it was Igoo…

  9. The bigger problem here, as someone mentioned, is the news crew. They need filler for their half hour slot, so they go out, get what they think is just a fluff piece, and report it in some noncommittal way.

    The result though, is that the individual feels like he or she is being taken seriously, and they begin to convince themselves.

    It’s within the realm of possibilities that the first picture IS a crow, and the second picture is a hoax, and that the hoaxer did it because he or she is so convinced about the first picture and wants the world to be too.

    My two cents.

  10. […] for historien er godt oppsummert på noe så festbremsende som en skeptisk side: 1.. Kenny Mahoney of Fairdale discovers his green beans are being eaten by something.   2.. He […]

  11. OK, everyone… Stay with me on this.

    This story came out on Sep 07, 2009, the monday after opening day of deer hunting in KY(bow season).

    Here is where it all started for me. Sun or Mon Sep 5th-6th 2009 morning is was pouring rain. I pulled into the huddle house(waffle house kinda) in Paris, KY. I was dressed in camo, but wasn’t going to climb a tree in the rain. Breakfast – bacon – yummmm

    There was a an older guy with two other friends sitting down as I walked in. We started to talk about hunting and field cameras. He mentioned that he had played a joke on his son. He told me that a friend of his had dressed up in a Gorilla suit and ran in front of his sons cameras. I told them that it was dangerous to play that game with hunters in the woods. He told me that they weren’t in the woods they knew where the cameras were and drove right up to it, put the suit on and was now waiting for a call from his son. We all laughed and that was that, I went hunting after the rain broke and forgot about it.

    Until at Work on Tuesday I heard about it on the radio, then I looked it up online and it was on wave tv channel 3 and CNN online. If the photo hadn’t looked just like a gorilla suit and I hadn’t been told the story or the prank two days prior, I would not have thought twice about it. But it has to be the same guy, they didn’t tell me where the son lived or where they were from, but it appeared they were driving through paris, KY and pulled over to wait the rain out. I haven’t heard any more about the story.

    Just my story of how I came to this bigfoot sighting.

    I do believe in bigfoot, just not in Kentucky..but maybe … but not in this guys backyard.

  12. Its a crow !

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