Legend of Bigfoot
Published August 14, 2009
The legends of Bigfoot go back beyond recorded history and cover the world. In North America -- and particularly the Northwest -- you can hear tales of seven-foot-tall "hairy men" stalking the woods, occasionally scaring campers, lumberjacks, hikers and the like.
Bigfoot is known by many titles with many different cultures although the name "Bigfoot" is generally attributed to the mountainous Western region of North America. The common name "Sasquatch" comes from the Salish Sasquits, while the Algonquin of the north-central region of the continent refer to a Witiko or Wendigo. Other nations tell of a large creature much like a man but imbued with special powers and characteristics. The Ojibway of the Northern Plains believed the Rugaru appeared in times of danger and other nations agreed that the hairy apparition was a messenger of warning, telling man to change his ways.
North American settlers started reporting sightings during the late 1800s and into the 1900s with the occasional finding of footprints, sporadic encounters and even a few grainy photos and videos adding to the mystery. Those who claim to have seen Bigfoot have described everything from a large, upright ape to an actual hairy human, sometimes standing over eight feet tall and described as "powerfully built." The debate and research continue. Entire organizations exist to study and document Bigfoot and prove its existence and groups regularly search the Northwest woods, looking for that ultimate proof.
In one very real sense, however, Bigfoot does exist. The Western Air Defense Sector, Washington Air National Guard adopted the mascot of "Bigfoot" and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week monitoring the skies of the 73% of the United States and Canada. Just like the Bigfoot of legend the sector is rarely seen and rarely heard, but rest assured it continues to observe and -- if necessary -- serve as a messenger of warning.