Earlier this month, the three hosts of “Paranormal Central” on Dark Matter Radio set parts of the Internet alight when they determined a 2008 photograph – that allegedly captures Bigfoot cavorting in Silverton alongside the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad – might be authentic.
“We don’t think it’s a kid with a hoodie and a skateboard,” said host Jeff Gonzales in a telephone interview Friday.
On the same radio broadcast, Gonzalez and fellow hosts Allen Thomas and Danny Valderrama announced their intention to kill Bigfoot.
Since The Durango Herald published a story Wednesday about the podcast, national media outlets published their own stories. Twitter erupted with innumerable tweets about the veracity of the claims. And numerous others on the Internet, such as the SasquatchChronicles.com, weighed in on why the story and photo resurfaced after the 2008 sighting.
On Friday, Gonzalez said, “We’re not ashamed to say it. We came out a few years ago, saying, ‘We need to shoot Bigfoot.’” To prove the existence of Bigfoot, scientists will require a body. Then they’ll be able to identify Bigfoot DNA and go from there.”
The assassination attempt could get financing. The Fox network picked up “Paranormal Central,” which soon will air on TV affiliates in California.
Gonzales said in the last 10 years, Bigfoot has been spotted at least eight times in Silverton. In 2003, La Plata County resident Vi McCoy wrote a letter to the Herald claiming she saw “Sasquatch” while she was riding the train. He is “a solid part of our history with so many people witnessing his presence,” she wrote.
“If you are fortunate enough to see this creature, be sure and share it with the newspaper. ‘Much thanks to the creature – whomever he may be!’” McCoy wrote.
Local law-enforcement agencies warned that they would come down hard on anyone who bumps Bigfoot.
San Juan County Undersheriff Steve Lowrance said, “As far as our statement on Bigfoot, obviously, we can’t discount the existence of such a creature in Silverton.”
But, he said, if the people from “Paranormal Central” “do come here and kill Bigfoot, definitely, we’ll investigate, working closely with (Colorado Parks and Wildlife).
“We could bring conspiracy charges if there are enough people involved and they took substantial steps in killing such a creature,” he said.
Sixth Judicial District Attorney Todd Risberg said while offing Bigfoot would be a criminal act as well as ethically reprehensible, he didn’t yet know how he would charge such a slaying.
“If Bigfoot is a human, it would be murder. If Bigfoot is an animal, that might be more of a Division of Wildlife question,” he said. “I don’t know what Bigfoot is.”
Mark Esper, editor of The Silverton Standard, said bringing murder charges might be more appropriate.
“There’s a lot of people in Silverton who might be related to Bigfoot. We haven’t done the genetic testing yet,” he deadpanned.
He said the federal government ought to be doing more to protect Bigfoot from hunters.
“Look – I don’t have much of a stake in this. At the Standard, we’re very proud of our Bigfoot coverage – but Bigfoot doesn’t subscribe or advertise,” he said.
“This is prime Bigfoot habitat because of the climate. Given the threats, I don’t think the (Environmental Protection Agency) or the Bureau of Land Management is taking Bigfoot protection seriously enough. A lot of people in Silverton want Bigfoot on the endangered species list,” he said.
In an email, Joe Lewandowski, spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said, “Instead of ‘searching’ for Bigfoot, these folks should make themselves a nice big bowl of popcorn, slip into their footie jammies and watch the 1987 film ‘Harry and the Hendersons.’ The movie will give them everything they’ll need for an enjoyable evening in the cozy environment of their own homes.”
Risberg offered the people at “Paranormal Central” graver advice.
“When I was a judge in Silverton years ago, a waiter used to run by the train in a monkey suit,” he said. Anybody planning an attempt on Bigfoot’s life “better be careful what they’re shooting at.”