; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bigfoot in the Hawkeye State

What is believed to be the only sculpture in the world created to scale in meticulous detail of an adult specimen of the legendary "Bigfoot" resides in this Ozark town.

"It took three months to get it from my head to his (the sculptor's) head," said Clifford LaBrecque, 73, of the fiberglass-and-fur model of Bigfoot he commissioned in 1976 at a cost then of $9,000.

"It's accurate to the inch," LaBrecque says.

The striking model of Bigfoot stands 8 feet tall in the dining room of LaBrecque's home. He says it depicts accurately what LaBrecque remembers from sightings and a physical encounter with a Bigfoot specimen on June 18, 1977, and from many descriptions of the creature prior to his experience.

The encounter happened, according to LaBrecque, between 9-10 p.m. near a woodpile behind LaBrecque's home in the Windsor Heights suburb of Des Moines, Iowa. Prior to the altercation, LaBrecque says he observed almost nightly a Bigfoot specimen — about 8 feet tall — that sometimes appeared with two apparently juvenile Bigfoot creatures.

He says he called a Des Moines newspaper to tell of the sightings and had argued with the newspaper over copyrights to Bigfoot photographs should the newspaper act on his tip and obtain photographs.

On June 18 he had decided to shoot to kill the larger Bigfoot and had positioned his car for the shot that he believed would furnish incontrovertible evidence of the reality of the Bigfoot creature.

LaBrecque says he had been open-minded from an early age to the possibility that such a creature as Bigfoot existed.

"When I was a little kid, I heard stories about the wild man of the west, and I began watching out for one," he said. The busy youth found countless stories about American Indian legends of the wild man, and stories of similar creatures all over the world. As an adult he interviewed many people who claimed to have sighted a Bigfoot specimen.

First encounter

But it was not until 1977 that his eyes gave him all the evidence he needed to believe in Bigfoot.

"Our neighbors had a big black lab. One night I heard the dog barking around the woodpile. I looked out and saw what I thought was the dog on the wood pile. I remember thinking: 'That (dog) is going to knock my woodpile over.'

"Then it dawned on me that my woodpile is this high and what we were seeing is much, much taller than the woodpile. I got my wife to look and she saw it.

"We couldn't believe it."

An inspection of the woodpile the next day and after subsequent sightings found bark pulled from the split wood and the inner surface of the tree bark gnawed away.

That first sighting set in motion a series of sightings that would lead LaBrecque to spend night after night in the woods hoping to see the Bigfoot party traveling to the woodpile. He even conducted surveillance from settings in trees, but did not see the migration.


LaBrecque understands the skepticism some people may bring to his story. At 73 he can do without it, along with the skepticism the public would bring to a videotape of what he says shows a Bigfoot in its natural habitat.

He has shown the video privately but declines to show it publicly because of the ridicule that some people have for those who claim to have had unusual or paranormal experiences.

"I'm not going to listen to anyone who doesn't know crap telling me I don't know crap," LaBrecque said. "Right now if one of these creatures walked across the back yard and I called and tried to tell about it, people would say, 'Oh. That's the guy with the Bigfoot model in his house.'

"You are done before you start. You're not going to win that one."

A showing of LaBrecque's Bigfoot model at the 1977 Iowa State Fair attracted many spectators, LaBrec-que said, and several with stories of Bigfoot sightings.

After talking publicly about his Windsor Heights experience, LaBrecque says a farmer came forward to share a story of a Bigfoot sighting and to warn LaBrecque about continuing to talk about the incident.

A second witness to the Windsor Heights incident has long stopped talking about it because of the skepticism, ridicule and laughter the story evokes from listeners, he says.

"You have to understand just how hurtful this can be to the people who have seen Bigfoot," LaBrecque said. He says he has been the subject of extraordinary skepticism for his creation of the Bigfoot model before he actually saw Bigfoot. To LaBrecque it is simply good fortune that the sighting confirmed for him all that he had heard about the creature. It enabled him to better endure the scorn people bring to his story, he says.

LaBrecque said he is resurfacing now in the Bigfoot culture only because of a news reporter's call and renewed interest in the creature that he says was sighted four years ago in a rural area near West Plains, Mo.

"They're here in Norfork," LaBrecque said. "I have talked to people who have seen them."

"This is what they say it looks like," LaBrecque says, pointing to his model. - baxterbulletin


Clifford LaBrecque states he had been watching a creature for about two and a half months on the outskirts of Des Moines, Iowa back in 1977.

That night LaBrecque decided to shoot the creature. "It was about 25 feet away from where I was parked in my pickup truck." LaBrecque said. "Two of the creatures walked up from behind a hedge. One stopped but the other went to a woodpile, bent down and started to eat with it back towards me. I stayed in the car and waited for it to turn around but it just kept on gnawing at the wood. Finally I decided to shoot it from behind. When the animals turned and saw me, I got buck fever and couldn't shoot. As it came towards me, I couldn't get the window rolled up fast enough. It was really close." LaBrecque was petrified with fear as the creature advanced. He tells what happened next.

"It loomed over the car. It was about 8 feet tall. It reached through the window, grabbed me and shook the daylights out of me. It was terribly strong. I could feel its face about 6 inches away from mine and believe me I was in a state of tremendous fear. I could feel my whole body shaking. I felt a sensation of being twisted around and pushed down onto the floor. The creature's eyes were burning with fury. I was angry, very angry at me for trying to shoot it. Then I pass out. When I regained consciousness it was gone.

LaBrecque who owned a truck brokerage fir in Cameron is also president of Bigfoot Research Inc. He's been researching Bigfoot reports for about 49 years. He describes the thing that attacked him as "terrifying and enormous." He said that after the attack his memory was vague because of his terror as the thing shook him around. He decided to visit a hypnotherapist who had bought a vehicle from him. Eric Elster of Knoxville, Iowa. Elster stated that he hypnotized LaBrecque so that he would go back to the time of the attack. LaBrecque designed and constructed a life size model of the creature on the basis of the details that came to him under hypnosis as well as what he consciously remembers.

The model is made of fiberglass and covered with artificial hair. He said it represented a typical young adult male. The model stands 7 ft 6 inches and if it were a real creature, would weigh 600 to 1,000 pounds. Its feet, of course, are what gives the creature its name, LaBrecque states. They are 18 inches long and 9 inches wide and they leave a flat impression in the ground about 2 inches deep. LaBrecque said that Bigfoot's fur is dark brown in color and that it has a foul smell. On the model, the shoulders measure 4 feet across! The arms, which are 47 inches long, reach down to almost the creature's knees. Its biceps measure 27 inches around and the short massive neck has a circumference of 40 inches. LaBrecque says Bigfoot can make a wide variety of sounds. It has the ability to mimic other animals, he claims, Its typical voice is a low guttural growl, but at times it can sound like a hooting owl or even a barking dog. LaBrecque estimates that there may be as many as 5 thousand Bigfoot creatures in the United States and more in Canada. LaBrecque believes that no remains are ever found of dead Bigfoot because they bury or hide their dead. During LaBrecque's search for the elusive Bigfoot, he has investigated numerous reports of sightings.

"I searched 15 years before finally meeting Bigfoot face to face," he says. "The animal exists and it's thriving in great numbers and increasing all the time." LaBrecque thinks that the Bigfoot is a very intelligent animal and tries very hard to avoid contact with humans. It's almost as if the beast has some form of primitive telepathy or instinct that warns it when man is nearby. But despite the attack, LaBrecque is still not afraid. "I harvested what I sowed," he said. "It's like picking a fight and then getting the heck beaten out of you."

He offers some tips on where to look for Bigfoot. "The easiest place to look is around a small town or on the outskirts of a big city he says. There's plenty of foot for them there. If you think Bigfoot is in a certain area and there is only one water supply in that area, that is the best place to look.

Finding Bigfoot is difficult enough, states LaBrecque. Catching them or getting close enough to take a picture is almost impossible. The run very fast and they mostly come out at night. LaBrecque remains determined to investigate Bigfoot sightings. "I just got a call the other day about a sighting," he said. "I'll be going up there next weekend to check it out.

LaBrecque feels that one day somebody will come up with positive proof that these creatures exist. Unless we can find the remains of one, the only way we will ever prove that Bigfoot exists is to shoot one. Then the world will have to believe that these creatures to exist. "Authorities won't accept anything like photos, casts of footprints and other evidence that has been presented so far. - The Examiner - Independence, Missouri - 2003

Other Iowa reports from the '70's:

1974 near Stone State Park, Sioux City, Iowa: A man claimed to have wounded a bigfoot with a deer rifle. Published in the Des Moines Sunday Register 12 Nov. 1978.

1978 February 25th: Pella Bridge near Harvey, Iowa: A boy age 10-11 saw Bigfoot on road near bridge; it looked at him, then went into woods Des Moines, Iowa, Sunday Register 12 Nov. 1978.

1978 July 27th: Ottosen, Iowa: Young Donette Henkins, age 9 saw 'short, hairy, apelike animal with fangs and deep-set eyes' which stood in shadows a few inches away and growled / Omaha, NE, World-Herald 2 Aug. 1978, Algona, IA, Algona Upper Des Moines 3 Aug. 1978, Algona, IA, Algona Kossuth County Advance 7 Aug. 1978, Humboldt, LA, Independent 5 Aug. 1978.

1978 27 July Ottosen, Iowa Mrs. Jan Henkins & two others - after Donette's sighting, saw similar creature between 2 buildings while walking downtown / Algona, IA, Algona Upper Des Moines 3 Aug. 1978 & Humboldt, IA, Independent 5 Aug. 1978.

1978 30 July Ottosen, Iowa Dawn Henkins, age 11, Mrs. Henkins & neighbor
saw apelike creature with wide forehead walked from between buildings on Main Street at night / Omaha, NE, World-Herald 2 Aug. 1978 & Algona, IA, Algona Kossuth County Advance 7 Aug. 1978

1978 31 July Ottosen, Iowa - Three or four boys aged 10-12 saw Bigfoot in shed, and again later. It did not attempt to attack. Omaha, NE, WorldHerald 2 Aug. 1978, Fort Dodge, IA, Messenger / & 3 Aug. 1978, Humboldt, IA, Independent 5 Aug. 1978, Algona, IA, Algona Upper Des Moines 3 Aug. 1978.

1978 11 September Ottosen, IA / Anna Dodrill & Elery Lynch / Red-eyed, blackfaced Bigfoot stared in at kitchen window / Des Moines, IA, Sunday Register 24 Sept. 1978, repr. FN Nov. 1978 p.18; Fort Dodge, IA, Messenger 14 Sept. 1978 & Algona, IA, Algona Kossuth County Advance 18 Sept. 1978.

1978 September/ Ottosen, IA / Robert Newell IV (18) / Watched tall, hairy, hunchback Bigfoot exploring farm buildings early in the morning / Des Moines, IA, Sunday Register 24 Sept. 1978, repr. FN Nov. 1978 p.18; Algona, IA, Algona Kossuth County Advance 18 Sept. 1978 & Humboldt, IA, Independent 16 Sept. 1978.

1978 27 September a farm south of Renwick, Iowa. Forty high-school students saw
two Bigfeet in cornfield, one with red eyes and one with blue eyes / Des Moines, IA, Register / Oct. 1978.

1978 27 or 28 September Northwest of Renwick, Iowa. Mark Thompson (16) saw 7-
ft, brownish-black-haired Bigfoot in soybean field. Moved away when witness flashed pickup lights and honked horn / Des Moines, IA, Sunday Register / Oct. 1978.

1979 Sept. Near Manchester, Iowa Jerry Erwing saw 7-8-ft Bigfoot with 'topknot' walking bent over / Waterlook, IA, Courier 24 Feb. 1980.

1979 12 October Near Webster City, Iowa Bryon Davis saw saw 7-ft, reddish-brown Bigfoot in woods. It got up and left, as if disturbed while sleeping. It was 3:30 am. Webster City, IA, Freeman-Journal 19 & 30 Oct. 1979.

1979 15 November in Minburn, Iowa Larry Wilson saw dark, hunched Bigfoot in farmyard; officers found prints in grass but no creature / Quincy, IL, Herald Whig 18 Nov. 1979

1980 Early January Adel, Iowa Larry Wilson / Farmer went outdoors when dogs barked and saw'hunched over, dark thing' in yard; police found foot-long prints in grass. This article was picked up by the tabloid Weekly World News 22 Jan. 1980.

1980 13 January Edgewood, Iowa Tim BuShaw & friend / Saw 8-ft Bigfoot with 'topknot' and long hair within 6 ft of their car / Waterloo, IA, Courier 24 Feb. 1980.

1980 15 January Near Manchester, Iowa Cyrii O'Brien a railroad engineer on train saw strange creature on all fours eating carcass; 6-toed tracks found in area / Waterloo, IA, Courier 24 Feb. 1980.

NOTE: The BFRO has only 2 recorded sightings in Polk County, Iowa...listed at BFRO - Polk County, Iowa. I have written about a few recent sightings in Iowa at Large, Hairy Biped Reported Roaming Skunk River Valley, Iowa and Iowa Sasquatch Sightings on the Rise...Lon


Originally posted on July 19,2011, the Iowa Bigfoot video (aka Basswood video) purports to capture evidence of a Bigfoot in Northwest Iowa. Click for video

Here is a list of all the BFRO reports for the state of Iowa. Also, interesting encounters described in the Ottosen, Iowa area.

Bigfoot Across America