EDITOR’S NOTE: In Northeast creatures with Paul Bartholomew, reporter Caton Deuso sits down with Bartholomew of Whitehall to discuss his research on different phenomena within Whitehall. Topics include sightings of creatures such as Sasquatch as well as discussion of other sightings in the northeast region. This is the second of two articles.
Cliff Sparks’ encounter was in May of 1975 and, according to Paul Bartholomew, he didn’t speak on the encounter immediately.
“What happened is that May evening, Cliff normally was going out to the greens at Skene Country Club at about 11 o’clock or 11:30 p.m. at night and he’s driving an electric cart. He’s driving to green one and he takes the hoses off and he’s got his dog riding with him,” he said.
Sparks reached the first green and was met by a creature standing in the middle of the green.
“He’s looking at this creature, and the creature isn’t looking at him. It’s looking at his dog. He noticed something very unusual,” he said.
The space between the creature and Sparks was described by Bartholomew as “as close as you can get without upsetting it. The unusual feeling that he described was because the creature was keeping an eye on the dog.
“It was concerned about the dog. This dog that normally jumps off the cart and runs around and then runs back in the cart, was subdued at the edge of the cart,” he said.
Bartholomew said that Sparks’ encounter was a detailed encounter with the explanation of the creature’s eyes. Oftentimes, when collecting information from sightings, Bartholomew looks into every detail he can get. Sparks brought forward an interesting piece to his encounter.
“Cliff said it was red-glowing eyes,” Bartholomew said. “He said it was not reflective, it was not eyeshine, he was very adamant about that. He said there was no light to reflect.”
Bartholomew explained further that Sparks described the eyes to almost be like red laser beams pointing at Sparks’ dog. Sparks never backed down from that detail.
“If you’re going to hoax a story, you’re not going to put in a detail like that. We know anyway that Cliff was honest and you know, he’s another one of those confirmation sightings,” Bartholomew said.
Because of the rarity of sightings, oftentimes there are skeptics and nonbelievers. But with a case like Cliff Sparks, Bartholomew highlighted that the more detail that is presented, the more likely it isn’t a “hoax.”
“Cliff said it was almost like short dots, the vision. It was a different type of vision. The red eyes are interesting because we get that in other reports. And while some researchers love to just say it’s eye shine, it’s not what is being reported. When you go back to some of the older reports, the old vernaculars, they say things like ‘it had eyes like burning embers.’ Trying to make the same description, but in the old vernacular,” he said.
Bartholomew explained that there are people who look to discredit sightings.
“People always, you get critiques and ‘well this guy is doing a hoax,’ and it was nothing like that. Cliff was about as honest a guy as you want to meet,” he said.
Bartholomew added that there are researchers who look only for specific details and might disregard parts of an encounter. But as for himself, he looks for every little detail he can get when documenting a sighting.
“Some researchers might not like Cliff’s red eyes story, and they may exclude that. You have to put that in. That’s a vital detail, it’s part of the sighting, and if it doesn’t fit your theory that’s too bad. You want to make it as accurate as possible,” he said.
Another trend that has been noticed with sasquatch sightings are flares of UFO sightings. Bartholomew spoke about a flare in the mid-1970s.
“What we have found with some of these sightings, not all of them, but some of them, it is very apparent that there are all sorts of phenomena going on at the same time. When the Abair Road incident happened in 1976, it was during a major UFO flap in this area. There were sightings of UFOs all over the northeast all the way down to the sensitive areas down at the power company, I think it was near Indian Point Nuclear,” he said.
Other phenomena have been found to occur during the same time as well. Bartholomew listed a few of them when discussing places like Skinwalker Ranch in Utah. The term, Skinwalker, dates back to a Navajo legend concerning vengeful shaman.
“You have all these layers of things going on and some people would say that these are different manifestations from the same source phenomena,” he said. “When you investigate things like the Skinwalker Ranch in Utah where there’s all sorts of paranormal phenomena from cattle mutilations to big bird sightings to bigfoot type creature sightings to entities, poltergeist, the whole gamble.”
Added Bartholomew: “When you look at things like that, you have to say that the theory that John Keel, who is the moth man prophecies, and the theory that researcher Brad Steiger supported was that these may be different manifestations, from the same source phenomena. That source is what we are actually looking for.”
With the heighten popularity of sightings, it was only a matter of time until the attention of different press publications and TV stations caught wind of sasquatch in Whitehall. Over the years, there have been various channels coming to the area to film their series of searching for the creature.
“First it was ‘Mysterious Encounters’ for the Outdoor Life Network. Then it was a special called ‘Giganto’ which was for the History Channel and Dan was featured on those. Then the Monster Quest episode was where he (Dan Gordon) took the polygraph.”
One of the most popular shows to come to Whitehall was “Finding Bigfoot” which was covered on Animal Planet. The series ran from May of 2011 to May of 2018 with a total of 100 episodes. Whitehall’s episode was released on July 12, 2015.
“They came in and did an episode,” he said.
Bartholomew explained his process of collecting information as thorough. He makes sure every detail gets documented as soon as possible after a sighting.
“Basically, my role in this is not to promote the phenomena, but to take down the information as accurately as possible. Because as time goes on stories change and facts get lost, so you want to be as quick as possible to the most relevant data and get as much detail as possible,” he said.