Bigfoot gets his big break
Bigfoot gets his big break
By Sam Kusic
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Despite Wednesday's cold and rain, 8-year-old Dylan
Rectenwald was allowed to play outside.
He was having fun, pretending to be chased around
Ligonier Township by a man in a Bigfoot costume.
Rectenwald, who lives in Hempfield Township, is one of
the area residents who are re-enacting tales of
reported Bigfoot encounters and UFO sightings for a
Canadian television show called "Creepy Canada." This
week, its crew is filming segments in Westmoreland
The show retells urban legends and documents the
paranormal and supernatural, according to creator and
director Bill Burke. Among the stories being told are
several Bigfoot sightings in which area residents
claim to have seen a hairy, apelike creature standing
nearly 8 to 10 feet tall with footprints 17 or more
inches in length.
Though the name of his show suggests otherwise, at
least half of its newer segments are about people and
places in America, Burke said. He and his crew are
currently putting together pieces about a wave of UFO
and Bigfoot sightings that took place around here in
Their lead source is Stan Gordon, a Greensburg
resident who has been studying the phenomena for
As Gordon explains it, in 1973 there was a wave of UFO
sightings across the country. And in the late summer
and fall of that year, there was a rash of Bigfoot
sightings in Western Pennsylvania.
On some occasions, he said, there were reports of UFOs
and Bigfoot being seen together.
Re-enacting some of stories from that time, some of
the show's scenes are filmed at a Ligonier Township
mobile home park and in the fields around the Lady of
the Lake bed and breakfast, which is also in the
township. There are also plans to shoot footage at the
Laurel Caverns in Fayette County for an unrelated
Some of the cast are local actors. Some have never
acted before, like Rectenwald.
There's also John Shissler, the big man in the Bigfoot
At 6-foot-5 and 325 pounds, his enemies would call him
trouble. His buddies call him Sasquatch, another name
for the mythic creature.
He's got the credentials you'd want in a fellow cast
to play Bigfoot.
"It's a role of a lifetime," said the Bethel Park
resident. "I've been in rehearsal for 47 years."
He's never acted before, not that it matters. As he'd
said, there's really not much to his role.
"Just grunt a little bit," he said.
Rectenwald's role also is simple. Walk up to a
thicket. Presume there's a deer in there and flush it
out by throwing some rocks. Act scared when Bigfoot
Playing a paranormal investigator is Ken Cooper, who's
performed with the Greensburg Civic Theater for 10
He said this work is different from stage work because
there really aren't lines to recite. The action, he
said, is the important thing.
"You've got to look the part," Cooper said.
Many most likely will take the reports the show is
re-creating as hogwash. Burke, however, said he thinks
there is something to them.
"There's a lot more out there that we don't know
about," he said. "It's a big, strange world."
And he believes the people who reported the encounters
are truthful, he said. "These are not people sitting
around with aluminum foil on their heads."
And if people aren't convinced of anything, no matter.
"It's just interesting drama," he said.
"Creepy Canada" is in its third season, and airs on
Canadian station CTV.
Nephilim's Paranormal Investigations - http://paranorm.cjb.net
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