A review of Bigfoot reports from Central Ohio in 1980

by Blake Mathys

The summer of 1980 was a very active time for Bigfoot in Ohio. A series of sightings in Union and Logan Counties resulted in a lot of local interest and media coverage. This led to a large number of people visiting West Mansfield after Patrick Poling and Ray Quay's respective sightings. At one point, police were threatening "monster hunters" with arrest. This was due to the number of people visiting the area carrying firearms and hoping to use them. Local law enforcement felt that this was a danger to the local community. In addition to the general public, quite a few Bigfoot researchers visited the area. These included Barbara Bilinovich, Leon and Betty Parks, Tom Archer, John and Bruce Rutkoski, and the Mammal Research Team (headed by Bill Sheets) from Lima. Further, this series of sightings was what transformed my uncle, Donald Mathys, into a Bigfoot researcher. The interest at the time was so high that Donald Mathys and Patrick Poling were contacted concerning a possible appearance on the David Letterman show. Both wisely declined. I have outlined all reported sightings below, but the Poling and Quay sightings were the most talked about at the time, with the Riegler sighting being a close third. There are rumors that Donna Riegler actually saw a jogger wearing a rain jacket; however, I have seen nothing concrete to support this. I've given a very brief overview below of the principal sightings and then provided links to other websites with information and articles. Flaps such as this and others (e.g. the Minerva and Vinton County reports) tend to define this period of considerable Ohio activity in the late 1970s and early 1980s. At the time, these central Ohio sightings were thought by some to be the result of an eastward movement of creatures from the West Coast following the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Tom Archer still felt this to be the case as recently as 2003 (personal communication).

Brief description of sightings:

On June 17th, 1980, Patrick Poling was on a tractor in a field about 3 miles east of West Mansfield, Ohio. He observed a tall, dark creature at the end of the field, standing by some weedy vegetation at the edge of the woods. The creature turned and looked at him, then walked into the trees. A search the next day revealed two and a half footprints. One of these footprints was cast by Don Mathys. It measures 17 inches long.

Around this time, the Quay family was experiencing some interesting events. On the 19th of June, Ray Quay saw a large creature near his barn. It smelled like "limburger cheese on a hot muffler." On June 25th, Tom Quay, Ray's son, saw a creature while going to check the mail.

Donna Riegler was driving late on the night of June 24th when she came upon something in the road. It stood up and walked toward her. She promptly left the area.

On June 26th, Larry Ramey saw a creature in Logan County. He was working in a field when a large creature started walking toward the tractor he was operating.

These incidents are discussed on pages 143-144 and page 228 of The Bigfoot Casebook by Janet and Colin Bord.

Daniel Perez (see his website here) said that Patrick Poling and Bob Gimlin are the two best Bigfoot witnesses he has ever interviewed.

Newspaper articles and websites about these events:

Good overview of the reports

Shorter article, similar to above

Ray Quay's sighting

Ray Quay's sighting, from BFRO

Various cartoons and a photo from local newspapers around the time of the sightings

Questions? email squatchunter@hotmail.com

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Posted June 18th, 2006 (dead link deleted August 3rd, 2010)