Searching for Bigfoot

By Jon L'Hommedieu
Prescott [AZ] Daily Courier
Dec. 15, 1993

We are not alone.

Something many people believe in the possibility of, but few are willing to discuss openly, is what Lyle Vann of Paulden, Arizona has spent more than 25 years of his life researching.

Vann is director of the Arizona Bigfoot Center, and a "UFOlogist." "I first saw a UFO as a child when I was growing up in Geneseo, Ill.," Vann said. He said when he was six years old and lived on a farm, he went out to the pump to get a cup of water and heard a noise.

"I looked up from the pump and there stood an alien! It was the strangest thing I ever saw. It had the head of an eagle and large, shiny red eyes. It had a jump suit on, like a large, khaki-like military jump suit. It cocked its head and looked at me; we looked at each other for about 45 seconds, then he went out of sight down the road."

But Vann said that during the encounter he never felt afraid of the alien being he saw. He told his mother about the incident, and she thought it was just a dream, like kids have, he said. But by the time his mother passed away, she came to believe the incident her son had so many times described.

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20 Years of Searching

Over the past 20 years, Vann has spent much of his time researching not only UFOs, but also the elusive, legendary creature "Bigfoot." He said the two are related, because they perhaps both come from within the earth, and because he feels the Bigfoots were created by the aliens for use as laborers.

Vann has collected numerous photographs of Bigfoot over the years, and of aliens and UFOs. Though many of the photographs of Bigfoot look like nothing more than trees and shadows, Vann said people need to open their minds and study the pictures before they can see the beings. He said Bigfoot and the aliens are very careful about camouflaging themselves.

"The aliens would probably communicate with us (mankind) if we weren't so openly hostile," Vann said. "Man's attitude is, if it's different, kill it. Like Vietnam. It was a grudge war after a while; it was a gang fight."

Vann is a former major in the U.S. Army. He also worked for a time as a Hollywood stunt man.

Bigfoot on Tape?

But the work he is most dedicated to is the work he's done on researching Bigfoot. Over the past 25 years Vann has spent much of his time and a lot of money in tracking Bigfoot and trying to study the creature and capture him on film. He also has a tape recording of the sounds Bigfoot makes. The tape sounds much like gorillas or apes, but Vann said he had the recording analyzed by experts at the University of California-Los Angeles, and they determined that it was not primates that are on the tape.

He is presently working on two books of his studies. Volume I will be dedicated to the first 10 years of his work in northern California; Volume II will cover his work in Arizona.

"I spend, on the average, five months out of the year in the bush," Vann said. "I've taken a lot of time away from my wife in our 23 years of marriage.

"I've been bitten twice by rattlesnakes; broke my ankle once when I fell off a ledge; I got poison oak three times to where I was wrapped up like a mummy. People think this is all fun and games ... that this is just some crackpot out looking for Bigfoot, but that's not true," Vann said. "This is not for me. This is not for Lyle Vann. Sure, it's going to answer a lot of questions I have in my mind, but this is for mankind. What I'm doing is for everybody, because they are here."

From the World Within

Because, Vann believes, Bigfoot comes from a world within, the creature could teach mankind a lot about surviving. He said the most he hopes to get out of his work is to open people's eyes to the fact that man is not alone.

"This is not a hobby or a game, this is for real," he said. "I'd rather go back to skydiving or playing golf. I'm in the Hall of Fame for trap shooting. I'd rather do anything than freeze my butt off, get snake-bit, and have the bejesus scared out of me."

Vann said he didn't believe in Bigfoot himself, until he went on a hunting trip with a friend in California. While on the trip, they encountered something, but even then Vann wasn't sure what they had seen. It wasn't until he had read some books on the subject and seen or heard others' descriptions of the being that he was convinced of Bigfoot's existence.

Now, Vann has his own collection of evidence that he claims is indisputable concerning Bigfoot's existence.

"I defy any scientist ... anyone to come look at my negatives and find them false. Bigfoot has been seen in every state in the United States except Hawaii and Rhode Island. It's been seen in Canada, Mexico, and South America. I have hunted Bigfoot (with a camera) literally all over the United States."

Women Believe in Bigfoot

Vann said there are many people who come to him and tell him they've seen something, such as a Bigfoot or a UFO. However, sometimes people are just playing with him, ridiculing him. But of those who do sincerely believe in Vann's work, he said, eight out of 10 are women.

"Men are a funny species," he said. "They just don't like to say, 'Hey, I think I saw something.' I think it's a macho thing."

Aside from the many photos Vann has, he has also found samples of hair, which he had examined by the FBI's forensic laboratory in California. The lab, Vann said, was unable to determine where the hair sample had come from. The FBI could not name any known species from where the hair could have originated.

"They (the FBI) don't laugh at me. They're right with me.

"I've had people tell me I'm chasing a dead horse, that there's no such thing as Bigfoot," Vann said. "And I'm proving them wrong. If a person believes in himself, he can do anything.

"When I was in the Army, a friend told me I would never be an officer because I wasn't officer material. By the time I got out I had made it halfway to general. It was a challenge."

Big Challenges

Today, one of the biggest challenges Vann faces is being accepted by people who don't understand his work and don't want to believe in what he does.

"Fine. I'm doing something no one else has ever done," he said. "It's lonely at the top.

"People say, 'Gee, this guy's nuts!' Okay, I'm nuts along with about 100 million other people in the world."

Among the people who join Vann in his belief in UFOs and Bigfoot, he names General Douglas MacArthur, former president Jimmy Carter, and former Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater.

"I believe there is another world inside our world," Vann said explaining where he believes Bigfoot and aliens come from. "Something is bringing them to the top, because there are a lot more UFO and Bigfoot sightings today."

He said what is bringing them to the surface is the pollution put into the earth by man. As an example he cited China, with more than a billion people, and the waste that must be generated in just that one nation in the course of one day.

"We're just ruining the earth," he said. "Our waters are ruined, good drinking water tables are going down; our gardens, vegetation, everything is changing so much."

And Vann hopes that the work he is doing can somehow help mankind.

An Altruistic Effort

"I want to satisfy my hunger, my curiosity by doing what I'm doing. And I hope I can help other people by doing it. That's why I'm doing what I'm doing."

The beings that Vann has been studying and observing know that he is doing so, he said. The reason he has been allowed to gather as much information as he has is because they have given it to him as a gift, so someday people may have a better understanding. It is his destiny, he said.

I know they're here. I believe in myself and in my work, and that's why I've been so successful."

For more information about Bigfoot in Arizona, contact the Arizona Bigfoot Center, P.O. Box 412, Paulden, AZ 86334.

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