William Dranginis is a very good friend of mine who was just recently interviewed by Ed DeWitt of The Hampshire Review. William began his research when a relaxing day of hiking and searching for Civil War artifacts turned into an adventure he would pursue for the rest of his life!
Here is his story, an excerpt from the article written by Ed DeWitt (thank you Ed for permission to post portions of your interview)
In the late winter of 1995, 2 longtime friends described as “special agents with the government,” invited Bill to join them on a trip with his detector near some abandoned goldmines in Culpepper County. After a long afternoon hiking through the forest in the cool with their metal detectors in a quest for Civil War artifacts, Bill and his friends decided to call it quits in the late afternoon. The 3 began the trek back, walking home down a hard-packed logging trail through the spindly boughs and trunks of the leaf-barren trees.
It was a new hobby at the time, metal detecting, something that got him outdoors, and the more Civil War artifacts Bill found under the layers of decomposed leaves and bark, the more his desire kindled to know more about the war.
Then, on the walk home, one of Bill’s friends stopped in his tracks and thrust his arms out to his sides.
Quietly, carefully, the agent said, “Follow, from my shoulder to the tip of my finger, 75 feet. There’s a man behind that tree.”
The friend Bill knew to have served 3 tours in Vietnam as a “point man,” nervously drew his 9 mm and aimed it toward the tree.
It’s all-too-common, Bill says, that in some parts of those woods, marijuana planters stand guard to protect their gardens. This was not a pot grower.
“A huge, black, hairy head looked out from the side of the tree,” he says. “We made eye contact. And within a split second, it ran, from left to-right, with such speed my mind couldn’t take it in. My eyes just couldn’t take it in.”
The 7-foot beast loped deeper into the woods, Bill says, pivoting off a tree with its massive foot and then lumbering down a hill and blinking out of sight.
“As it got away from us, all you could see were these massive shoulders. Huge muscled shoulders moving back and forth,” he says.
“Do you know what we just saw?” the agent friend had asked as the trio stood, dumbfounded there in the woods.
“Bigfoot?” Bill said.
They all agreed; what they had just seen could be nothing but the legendary beast.
From its sighting to its disappearance, Bill claims, took all but 12 seconds.
“To look into its eyes” That was all that was needed to propel Bill into spending 18 years and tens of thousands of dollars to once again spot the elusive Bigfoot.
His hunts began with many hikes, he said, which turned up little by way of Sasquatch.
“I would hear calls,” he says. “But after some research, those would inevitably turn out to be birds or other animals.”
It occurred to Bill that, after these years of bad luck on his own, it was probably a good idea to reach out to others who may have seen Bigfoot themselves. He decided to place and ad in Northern Virginia Electric Co-Op, a magazine that is mailed to all its members throughout Virginia.
“I got a lot of responses the first time I asked, about 25 or 30. State policemen, lawyers, doctors, dentists, hunters, farmers,” Bill says. “Many of them wouldn’t tell their children or spouses for fear of being ridiculed.”
That number soon reached the triple digits.
Bill has since formed the Virginia Bigfoot Research Organization, a group composed of about 40 members of like-minded Bigfoot hunters.
“Hunters,” though, may be a bit of a misnomer: Bill makes sure to stress that the group has no interest in shooting or killing a Sasquatch. He carries a pistol on his hunting expeditions, he says, only for self-protection.
“Bears are out there, you know,” he says. “And the people you can come across in the woods.”
Bill says there are many types of Bigfoot hunters out there – many are trying to achieve stardom or a payday for bagging or photographing the beast once and for all.
It’s not fame or fortune that’s driving Bill and his crew: He’s just looking for validation of that first experience
with another, some confirmation. “All I want,” he says, “is to look into its eyes again.”
Tools of the trade
And in order to go eye-to-eye with a Bigfoot, Bill’s doing just about everything he can.
Since the sighting, his hardware has evolved from a pair of binoculars and his own 2 feet into an arsenal that would make your everyday hunter blush with envy: Bill’s equipment includes an RV, more specifically a former mobile veterinary clinic, retrofitted with more equipment than a surveillance submarine. He has dozens of cameras that he’s specifically made himself as to not emit any ultrasonic noise. He has that NASA-grade telescope. And infrared sensors. And thermal cameras. And night vision cameras.
His piece de resistance is a $15,000 drone helicopter, like one used in the military.
“It has a GPS-location based system where I can plug coordinates in and have it patrol those areas,” he said. “I can also send it out from the RV and have it patrol 100, 150 feet up. I can attach any number of cameras to it, too.”
The tools Bill has employed in his pursuit of Bigfoot aren’t merely technological in nature, either: He’s since taught himself a host of abilities meant to bolster his chances of finding Bigfoot.
Bill said he’s studied calls of animals that populate deciduous forests and how to wire, program and create cameras, some of which he’s patented and now calls “EyeGotcha.” (yep, I was on this story a while back!)
Bill has studied the biological history of mankind and other species closely related to homo sapiens. He’s participated in workshops and seminars, too; one of which, he said, involved a Native American tactic of walking through the woods in the
pitch black of night.
“I wanted to know how Bigfoot could possibly walk through the forest in the dark,” he said. “The Native Americans showed me that they can beat a drum in the distance and the bass sort of shows where the trees around you are. They showed us the next day where we had walked through. It was this dense forest and I hadn’t hit a single tree.”
It would seem like, if anybody is going to find Bigfoot, it’s going to be this guy.
Read the entire article here: http://www.hampshirereview.com/blog/2013/10/30/the-search-for-bigfoot/