Kentucky Woman Takes Issue with BFRO Investigaton That Led to Media Outlets' Portrayal of Creature in Recent Sighting Report as 'Walking Tree'
Paranormal public figure Sara Spencer posted the second of two videos to her YouTube channel on December 27th expressing her distaste at how a report she filed last October with the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) has been treated by the media. The first video was posted the day before, on December 26th.
“This just blindsided me,” Spencer said of the media coverage. “I was never informed by the BFRO that this was going to happen.”
The report in question was submitted to the BFRO on October 19th, 2018, and read:
My husband and I are visiting family in Sandy Hook [KY]. On the evening of the 18th, at about 7:30, we got in the car to make a quick run to Sandy Hook. It was very cold, (it was already dark as well), so he started up the car to let it warm before we took off. As we were waiting, he called his grandmother -- because of the call time on his phone, we know what time this all occurred. While he was talking to her, his low fuel light came on, and they wrapped up the call at 7:45.
We pulled out of the driveway and headed down the road. He was going a little faster than normal because we were a little nervous we'd run out of gas if we dilly-dallied too much. As we got into the curve about a quarter of a mile from my mom's house, I spotted something in the hollow ahead of us. It was almost out of the range of his headlights, and by my calculations, about 75-100 feet away from us.
Now this all happened very very quickly, but because I am observant, especially when it comes to spotting deer crossing the road, I was able to make this observation within a couple of seconds.
What I saw first was presumably an animal standing on the edge of the opposite lane. I leaned forward and scrutinized closer. Just before I could scream out, "DEER IN THE ROAD!" the creature began to walk very quickly, and at that moment I realized it had two legs, not four.
At some point I started screaming, "Turn on your brights! There's something in the road!" All the while, I'm looking at this thing which is very big in stature, thick legs, thick abdomen, and (again by my calculations) at least 7 ft tall. It was the color of a tree, specifically the trees in that area, so like a grayish-brown, very earthy-tone. The area where I assume a face would be was lighter in color, but I couldn't tell what color. I know this because it turned its head and looked straight at our car.
My husband saw movement and he saw what he described as a strange shadow, but he did not see the creature. Only I saw the creature, and in fairly good detail. Again, it happened so quickly though, I didn't get to see feet, hands or facial details like eyes and mouth.
One thing I thought was interesting was the direction it was coming from. It was coming from a very tall and steep mountain, and when it hurried across the road, it must have gone off a very steep cliff, as that is the only place it could have gone. This cliff drops off onto Pruetts Fork Road, which is also very wooded and secluded.
After we came back from our errand, we drove slowly and tried to inspect the area, but came up empty handed. That night, the neighborhood dogs were behaving very strangely, barking and howling all night long. One of them even acted as if he could see something in the distance, and began to growl and stalk before he took off to chase it. It was a very weird night.
Multiple media sources began disseminating the story in late December, but focused largely on something said by investigator Jack Smarr, who claimed Spencer "described [the creature] as a walking tree." A claim denied by Spencer, and one that is not supported by her report, which states the creature was "the color of a tree, specifically the trees in that area, so like a grayish-brown, very earthy-tone."
Perhaps the most egregiously incorrect treatment of the report, according to Spencer, was the article posted by Coast-to-Coast AM.
"There were multiple sites covering my sighting report, but Coast To Coast AM did the absolute worst job," Spencer said in an email to The Singular Fortean Society. "I felt as though they turned it into a complete joke, and there was obviously a biased slant on the article. The author, Tim Binnall, put a lot of emphasis on 'a walking tree,' and seemed to have a hang up with how I could have seen some details of the creature but not others. He was clearly mocking my report."
The inaccurate media coverage is something that could have been avoided had the BFRO not shared the report, said Spencer.
"With all due respect to BFRO, they really let me down," she said. "I didn’t know a lot about them before I contacted them, but they do have a strong online presence and that made me trust them. If I had known I was giving a report to them just so they could contact local news media about it but skip out on actually investigating my sighting, I wouldn’t have contacted them at all."
Spencer suspects that there could be more at work in the incident than a simple mistake.
"I was also hurt to see in the Lexington Herald article that the representative I talked to 'declined to name' me as the witness," she added. "That made me feel as though BFRO considered me and my online brand or my affiliation with North American Dogman Project to be competition. It was like he didn’t mind to get some recognition or attention for his organization with my encounter, but he had no intention of crediting me as a fellow investigator and paranormal researcher."
Professional affiliations aside, the entire affair has soured Spencer on trusting online organizations, since the sighting meant more to her than simple publicity.
"This was never about recognition for me though, and if I could make one change to the whole situation, I’d have all of those sites reporting my encounter remove the articles immediately," she said. "What I experienced was incredibly special to me. It was almost like a spiritual experience because I never dreamed in a million years I’d see Bigfoot. I just wish I had kept my experience on my YouTube channel where it belongs."
Spencer is the host of the paranormal-themed YouTube channel Paranormally Correct, in addition to her work as an investigator and researcher.
The Singular Fortean Society has reached out to the BFRO for comment, and will provide any updates to this story as they occur.
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