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Kickstopper: In search of bigfoot
Sharon Lee Lomurno is on a mission to track down a sasquatch. Here’s how you can help.
Etsy has Regretsy. Pinterest has WTF, Pinterest? With Kickstopper, the Daily Dot highlights the most bombastic and absurd projects seeking support through the popular crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter.
Sharon Lee Lomurno came upon her love for bigfoot much in the same that many of her peer field reporters did. It wasn’t from a giant silhouette seen along some dark and dusty trail. It was from a movie, Charles Pierce’s 1972 classic, The Legend of Boggy Creek.
“I’d always have this recurring dream,” Lomurno told the Daily Dot from her home in Cleveland. “I’d be trying to call the police, and that rotary phone dial would keep spinning and spinning and I could never get through to 911.”
She’d have that dream throughout her childhood, but the nightmare soon turned to fascination. By the time she was married, Lomurno no longer wanted to run from a bigfoot. She wanted to find one.
She started frequenting the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, a website created for those who have dedicated their time to finding the giant, ape-like cryptids.
She found the sightings database and checked for updates regularly. She found one report of a bigfoot sighting only 15 minutes from here house. That’s when she decided to get out into the field.
Strapped with her a brand new camera and her husband by her side, Lomurno hit the woods to see what she could find. She searched for hours, she said, and found nothing. That all changed on the walk back to the trail with her husband.
“He stopped and said, ‘Look at this,'” she said. “It was this huge footprint in the gravel. It was perfect. You could see the imprint and everything. It was the left footprint, and we wanted to find the right.
“I’ve read that a Big Foot step is about four-and-a-half to five feet, so we looked around there. Sure enough, we found a right foot print with a fresh baby green maple leaf pressed underneath the print. I went back to the first foot print and bent down to take a picture and we heard this huge ‘Boom’ sound and noticed that this tree was shaking violently. My husband thought it was the wind, but it was just one tree. I took a picture and said, ‘Let’s just get out of here.'”
The two split, but Lomurno was hooked. She contacted the mid-America Bigfoot Research Group and told them her story. Then she created The Bigfoot Field Reporter, a site she’s run since 2009 to update readers on the current events in bigfoot research around the United States.
Now that she’s amassed a consistent readership and nearly 700 fans on her Facebook page, Lomurno wants to take her research on the road. Specifically, she wants to tour the country doing field work with fellow bigfoot enthusiasts. Last week she set up a Kickstarter campaign in an effort to raise the $5,000 necessary to make the trip happen. Lomurno hopes to produce a documentary of her trip when she’s completed the 6,900 miles on the road. She said she wants to highlight the real research that’s done on bigfoot—not the Hollywood portrayal.
“It’s not down with 30 cameramen running into the woods with flashlights and staying there for three days and leaving,” she said. “You have to establish your ground. You can’t go willy nilly into areas saying ‘I’m going to find a bigfoot today.’
“When I do my research, I go out for the day and go hiking. I look for signs that a Big Foot’s in the area: strange rock formations, strange tree formations, fresh roadkill. If there’s a bunch of missing vegetation in one area. You can tell when something large has been through the area. That night, you do your night surveillance. You can’t get into your tent and go to sleep at 11pm.”
Is she expecting her trip to get funded? Lomurno can only hope. Unfortunately for her, the bigfoot research industry’s not one that’s flush with money. A week into her campaign, Lomurno’s only been able to raise $420.
“The people in this field are usually unemployed or dirt poor,” she said. “I need a big investor.”
What she really needs is a bigfoot. But we all know those don’t come so easily.
Kickstopper: Squatching U.S.A.
- Location: Cleveland, Oh.
- Summary: A woman in Cleveland wants to tour the country doing field research with fellow bigfoot enthusiasts
- Goal: $5,000
- Amount raised of press time: $420
- Days left: 17
- Best buy: For $500, Lomurno will come to your town and run a field-research quest.
Photo via JDHancock
Chase Hoffberger reported on YouTube, web culture, and crime for the Daily Dot until 2013, when he joined the Austin Chronicle. Until late 2018, he served as that paper’s news editor and reported on criminal justice and politics.