An Ohio woman thinks Bigfoot has returned to the wilderness near her home, and she believes she has audio proof.
"This is the first time I ever recorded howls," Suzanne Ferencak said.
The two-minute-long recording – which she shared with the Mansfield News Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network – captures the sound of an unidentified creature howling in the distance. Ferencak, who says she has encountered Bigfoot in her area before, says it’s a Bigfoot creature.
But other wildlife experts aren't so certain. A group of workers at nearby Mohican State Park suggested the sound could have simply been an alpha male coyote calling its pack.
She plans to discuss her encounters during the "Bigfoot Basecamp Weekend" Sept. 9-11 at Pleasant Hill Lake Park in Ohio.
'I always have a recorder going'
Ferencak said she first caught a glimpse of bigfoot when it allegedly jumped over a back road southeast of Loudonville, Ohio, in May of 2013.
Her description of the 7½-foot tall, hairy beast matches those commonly used to depict creatures known as Sasquatch, Yeti and Grassman. She calls it Bigfoot.
Her rural home, just over an hour's drive from Columbus, Ohio, is also a prime habitat for Bigfoot, she concluded. Her research culminated in a movie, "The Back 80," which was released in 2017.
For several years, Ferencak said there were knocks and howls around her home and sightings in the woods behind her property.
"Then all of the activity stopped," Ferencak said. "It was like, 'Wow, where did it go?'"
To make sure she didn't miss documenting any potential encounters, she bought an audio recorder for her backyard.
"It's not a very expensive recorder," Ferencak said. "If I'm out, I always have a recorder going. I've been doing this for nine years."
Her audio catalog now contains more than 20,000 hours of sounds from her back yard.
"In all that time, I had not recorded anything decent," Ferencak said.
That changed when something finally broke its silence on July 3.
Kentucky flooding: Death toll climbs to 37; 'hundreds' remain unaccounted for
Even '2 cookies' can affect health: Eating processed foods is hurting your brain, study says
Bigfoot howl had a responder
Most evenings, Ferencak will hang out in a campsite area she maintains near the woods behind her home. She takes friends there, and will build a campfire alone if nobody else can make it.
She was at that campsite the first weekend of July, on the Saturday night before Independence Day.
"Earlier that night, there had been a ton of fireworks – local people were blasting off fireworks in the valley," Ferencak said. "There were big booms."
She kept stoking the campfire. Saturday became Sunday. Then, there was a howl.
"It was the third of July at 3:42 a.m.," Ferencak said.
Suddenly, she heard a howl, then another.
"You hear some howls," Ferencak said. "Then you hear a chorus of coyotes and then you hear howls again."
She immediately thought it was Bigfoot, she said.
Kyle Casey, a naturalist at nearby Mohican State Park said he and other colleagues listened to the audio recording published by the Mansfield News Journal and compared it to recordings of other animals.
“The closest thing that we believe it would be would be the call of an alpha male coyote,” Casey told USA TODAY. “A coyote calling in its pack.”
But Casey said the match wasn’t quite exact.
Either way, now that Ferencak believes Bigfoot has returned to her valley, she plans to purchase a more expensive audio recorder.
Scientifically researching Bigfoot
Ferencak is part of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, a group that collects reports of potential sightings of the creature.
One report that caught her attention came in August of 2020. A family was camping at Pleasant Hill Lake Park when they started hearing items being thrown toward their camp in the middle of the night.
The children went inside the tent, the husband grabbed his pocketknife and the wife called the sheriff.
"They observed something run into the woods," the report reads. "The witness described what he saw as a tall, dark and hairy figure run and disappear into the woods. Witness said the first thing he thought of when he saw it was a Bigfoot."
Reports of mysterious creatures in the region led administrators with the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District to ask Ferencak if she would take part in a "Bigfoot Basecamp Weekend" event next month at a local park.
"It’s one of the first times a government agency has ever come out and supported a Bigfoot event," Ferencak said.
The weekend's main speaker will be Matt Moneymaker, founder and president of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization and host of the "Finding Bigfoot" TV series on Animal Planet.
The event will even feature a community town hall meeting.
"We're just hoping a lot of people come forward with their stories," Ferencak said. "There might be people out there who are afraid to come forward out of fear of being ridiculed, and I definitely understand that."
She knows at least three people from the area who are planning to tell their stories for the first time.
"They're really recent," Ferencak said. "Like, in the past six months."
The hope is that researchers can add more dates, times and locations to their database of encounters.
"If we can start connecting some dots along the way, then we can develop a pattern," Ferencak said. "It’s fascinating."
Follow reporter Zach Tuggle on Twitter: @zachtuggle
Contributing: Orlando Mayorquin, USA TODAY
This article originally appeared on Mansfield News Journal: Bigfoot in Ohio? Woman says she has audio; experts suggest it's coyote