Some people do prank calls, others do knock-a-door-run, but one man took the idea of a prank to a whole new level when he convinced his town that Bigfoot was walking the streets.
In the mid-1970s, upon spotting tracks, the locals of Brantley, Alabama, US, started to speculate that something was amiss, to the extent that the police were called and the search dogs came out.
However, with a rye smile on his face, Eugene Hendrick knew exactly what he was doing.
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He told WFSA: “I got a wild hair one day. I wanted to do something about a Sasquatch. I cut some big ole feet and bolted some shoes to them and walked around by the river making tracks. I even made claw marks in the trees.”
Resident Jimmy McGinty was only a youngster when Bigfoot supposedly rocked up to town.
He remembered: “I was just going out by the river and saw some unusual tracks on the sand bar. I went and looked and saw these big footprints, and I’m going, am I seeing this right or not?’”
The enormous tracks rendered the community terrified. But when the police got involved, Eugene decided to end the operation.
He claimed: “I put the cut-out feet and shoes away and kept it a secret until 2017."
Remarkably, he kept his antics on the down low for half a century, until a conversation with a store owner changed everything.
Hunter Royal, who owns the Old Gin Creek County Store in Brantley, decided to start serving an enormous burger from his deli, entitled 'The Sasquatch Burger'.
At this point, Eugene decided to come clean.
Jimmy McGinty is Hunter's son-in-law, and he couldn't believe he'd been done in by the prank.
He confessed: "I knew I wasn’t crazy then. But, he got me.”
Taking the whole thing in good humour, they went massive on Bigfoot merchandise, selling shirts, books, snacks and much more. However, Jimmy still felt they needed more.
He laughed: "I drove to Indiana to pick up a 3,500-pound, solid concrete, unpainted Sasquatch. It was something to see coming down the interstate.”
Unsurprisingly, Hunter couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the big fella for the first time.
He beamed: “I was in shock. It has made a landmark for the community.”
Remarkably, to bring the story to a heart-warming conclusion, it was Eugene who used his skills as a professional artist to paint the animal.
But the question remains: Could there be a Bigfoot in Brantley? Hunter and Jimmy sure seem to think so.
“If you don’t believe in Sasquatch, you’re the problem,” said Hunter.
“Sasquatch does exist in Brantley, Alabama,” added Jimmy.
If you're ever in Brantley and fancy taking a look at something that, at the very least, would remind you of the creature, you can drive past the Old Gin Creek Country Store at 9627 Main St, and take as many pictures as your heart desires.
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