The Telegram, July 2, 1980
Union County, Ohio-June 29, 1980
“We don’t know what is out there, but people are seeing something. You can’t make up that many stories like this,” said Union County officials of the reported Bigfoot sightings in Union County.
Residents of Logan and Union counties have been both bothered and amused by the accounts that the legendary monster has taken up residence here. Those that live in the small towns and villages of these two mostly rural counties joke about Bigfoot’s appearances. But those who live on the farms in the area of the sightings are a bit more cautious. Detective Mike Powers is a local officer who used to laugh about it at first, but now admits “it should be looked into.”
Union County Ohio can be a lonely place, as there are only 28,100 people and 12,000 of them live in incorporated areas. Pat Poling is in his 30’s and has two adolescent sons with whom he had attended a game with. When he returned home, he decided to cultivate one of his corn fields. Pat at one point glanced along his fence line at the edge of the woods, “something caught my eye.” he said.
“At first I thought it was a bear. But it wasn’t no bear.” It came out of the woods and had to duck under a branch hanging out over the fence. Then it stood up. It was about 7 feet tall. But maybe more. I mean, it walked with it’s knees bent a little. It walked along the fence line. It wasn’t like anything I’ve seen before. It wasn’t a monkey or a gorilla or anything. I was really scared at first.”
“But then I figured it couldn’t hurt me as long as I was on the tractor, ” he said. “So I gassed the tractor to head it off, and that is when it turned to look at me. It turned around like this.” Poling crouched, held his hands at his side and turned his whole body. When facing front, his palms were out in a curious gesture almost as though in appeal for understanding. When asked about the gesture, Poling glanced in surprise at his hands. “Yeah,” he said. “Like this, this is how he stood.” Poling said he is most upset because he couldn’t see any facial features, even though he estimated the creature was only about 30 yards away.
Poling has been plagued by phone calls and goaded by radio and television people. He admits he’s tired of the attention.
Donna Riegler is a legal secretary and the wife of the Union County game protector. She was on her way home at 5:30 one evening. It had been a hot, muggy day.
The sky darkened and the rain fell in large drops. “I was in a good mood, and just wanted to get home. I went over the railroad tracks slowly like I always do, as not to knock my wheels out of line. Then I saw this thing laying in the road hunched over. I thought it was a big dog at first, then it stood up and I thought it was a man. I thought he was crazy for laying in the road. I couldn’t figure out why he was there.
She said it was about 60 yards from her and when asked what it looked like, she stood up, bent her knees a bit and then held her hands out in the same gesture of appeal that Poling had. “I was scared, she said. “I was afraid he was coming after me.”
Mrs. Riegler backed her car over the railroad tracks and onto another road. She stopped at a stranger’s house, and admitted to breaking down sobbing. When she collected herself she called her husband.
Both Poling and Riegler are credible witnesses, especially since their stories and descriptions match up so closely with one another.