Well, the Internet has answered my question. A recent article on Ok Whatever examines statistics from the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization to determine what states have the highest (and lowest) cumulative number of hairy humanoid sightings.
|A Bigfoot carving in Mocksville, North Carolina.|
New England doesn't fare well in this list with Rhode Island and Vermont in the bottom five. Rhode Island is small and densely populated which might explain why there have only been five reported Bigfoot sightings. Vermont, however, is heavily forested and parts of it are quite rural so I would expect more than nine sightings.
The remaining New England states don't have high numbers of sightings either:
New Hampshire: 16
Despite low numbers some of the New England sightings are still pretty creepy. And quite familiar to anyone who's read a lot of paranormal accounts or folklore. Take this reported encounter, for example. On May 27, 2016 a married couple in Hancock, New Hampshire was awakened at 3:00 am by strange screaming sounds in the woods near their house. The screaming was followed by a knocking on the outside of their house and the sound of multiple things rustling through the trees and undergrowth. The husband went out on the back deck:
I felt like there were multiple sets of eyes on me. As I stood there I could hear breaking limbs, tree shaking and what sounded like a creature with serious power. My 12 gauge felt like nothing and I knew I better get back in the house. The noises carried on for a half hour.After hearing something rush right up to him and grunt in the darkness he retreated inside. The noises eventually stopped. In the morning the couple saw broken tree branches and trampled plants near their home.
A camper in Western Massachusetts reported something similar: rocks were thrown at him one night in the fall of 2016.
I was camping in Massachusetts on top of October Mountain by a pond through the evening something was throwing small rocks at my tent I smelled it foul smell like dead fish. Rocks coming on the opposite side about 50 yards away I heard wood knocking I had no idea what it was until I heard some noises a growling sound and some yells this was going on for about 25 minutes then I shined a flashlight Into the Woods, I do not see anything but after that the noises went away the next morning. I woke up I found some broken limbs near where the sounds were coming from.Although some people actually do report seeing large hairy humanoids many others just report these strange phenomena: knocking sounds, shrieks, rocks thrown by unseen hands, and damaged trees. Is all this really being caused by Bigfoot, who some people claim is just a large undiscovered apelike animal? It sounds like poltergeist phenomena to me. And it would have been familiar to the earliest English settlers of this region.
This type of weird phenomena has been reported in New England for hundreds of years. Here is testimony from John Russell in 1683 about the experiences of one Nicholas Disborough of Hartford, Connecticut:
This providence becomes amazing things: things being thrown at him and his boy, night and day in house and field: sometimes in open places where one might see a quarter of a mile about and no appearance of hand or person to throw them. The things were stones, dirt brickbats, cobs of Indian corn.People in New Hampshire and Massachusetts also reported similar occurrences during the 17th century as well. Here is William Morse's description of a strange assault on his house in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1679:
On last Thursday night my wife and I being in bed we heard a great noise about the house of knocking against the roof with sticks and stones throwing against the house with great violence; whereupon I arose myself and my wife and saw not anybody but was forced to return into the house again the stones being thrown so violently against us...The Puritans interpreted these phenomena as witchcraft and trials often ensued. In fact, William Morses' own wife was eventually convicted of witchcraft. I think in most cases the phenomena can be explained away as pranks played by angry neighbors or relatives, but it's interesting that the same weird things are supposedly happening to people in the 21st century. The only thing that changes is the explanation.
The Puritan settlers understood these phenomena through their religious worldview. Weird sounds and rocks thrown by invisible assailants were caused by witches in league with the Devil. The witches needed to be arrested and punished to stop the phenomena. Three centuries later modern New Englanders understand them through a scientific worldview. Those weird knocking noises and thrown rocks are interpreted as the work of a large as-of-yet undiscovered hominid creature that lives in the woods. We just need to capture a Sasquatch and then we'll understand why they behave the way they do. The Sasquatch explanation is an improvement over the witchcraft one because at least no one is being arrested and executed.
So which is it, witches or Sasquatch? I suspect it's actually neither. I don't have a good explanation myself, but I suspect in 300 years people will have a totally different interpretation for the same old tricks.