Throughout the world and throughout history they speak of a large creature, half man, half ape that lurks in the forests on the edge of civilization. Depending on where it is found it has many names; Bigfoot, Yeti, Abominable Snowman, Skunk Ape, Oombowa, etc. Modern science refutes the existence of such creatures but their legend endures. In the hills west of Killville Massachusetts a similar creature is said to exist. A forest dwelling monster part man and part pig. The locals call him "Pig Foot".
Various eye witness accounts over the years have the creature standing between 5 and 8 feet tall, with a large pig-like head and cloven hooves. It is said to be covered with coarse hairs and to emit a foul odor that can be detected nearly a mile away on a windless day. Some have described the odor as that of decaying flesh, others have said it smells similar to rotting garbage, most, however simply say that the beast smells like "feces".
If Pig Foot does exist, a specimen has never been found. Neither alive nor dead.
The legend of Pig Foot goes back as far as anyone can remember. The first official historical reference to the creature can be found in the journal of Samuel Becket, one of the first Europeans to settle in the area that is now known as Killville.
Samuel Becket had failed to leave the man-pig an offering and both he and his farm failed to survive the coming winter.
The Nashawannic Indians did not worship Pig Foot but they did respect him, leaving periodic offerings of crops and meat on alters in the forest to appease the beast¹s wrath. A tradition that the white man quickly adopted to ensure the safety of their crops and livestock. The tradition of Pig Foot offerings went on for the next 150 years until encroaching civilization and superior firepower finally drove the beast deep into the western Massachusetts mountainside. Still, an autumn festival to honor Kwin-ta-check is held to this day in the town of Killville, and many local farmers still maintain a Pig Foot alter, just in case. By far the most popular event at the Pig Foot festival is the giant hog contest. The winning swine is not sent off to slaughter or roasted at the fairgrounds like it would be at a typical New England fair. It is cut and bled and released into the forest for the cannibalistic Pig Foot in the hopes that he act out his antisocial behavior on his pig relatives rather than their human counterparts. To an outsider some of this may seem barbaric but tradition is tradition.
University of Massachusetts zoologist Dr Cedric Lamonte holds that the Pig Foot legend is simple folklore. He attributes the attacks on livestock and destruction of crops on the mountain lions and timber wolves that once roamed Western Mass and the black bears that still do. The large two toed tracks he says, were probably made by moose or escaped cows. "There is simply no scientific evidence that a creature like this exists or ever existed." he states.
"That university doc is fulla crap" says local coon hunter Dan Berman. "I seen a Pig Foot up there on Pisgah Mountain back in 83, he run off with one a my dogs." No one disputes that something ate one of Dan Berman's dogs, all that was left when he found it was the head and a front leg. But was it Pig Foot?
"Maybe it was Dan Berman" replied Dr Lamonte. "I'm sorry to say that we're dealing with simple country folk here, half of them didn't make it through the eighth grade. You bring me a dead specimen and I'll eat crow."
Despite Dr Lamonte's learned and somewhat arrogant poo pooing, the legend of Pig Foot continues to thrive. There have been many eye witness accounts in recent history, none more striking than the home video shot by James Picard in 1991. While filming a documentary for his high school journalism class on the Middlefield Mansion Murders he captured 8 blurry seconds of a large man-beast running through the woods on video tape. Blurry as the image was there was no mistaking the distinct pig-like head of the creature nor the haunting squealing sound that the beast made as it crashed through the underbrush. In spite of sworn affidavits by James Picard and his two friends, Dr Lamonte deemed their video a hoax.
93 year old Sarah Holbrook, Killville's oldest resident, also claims to have seen the beast as a child. "It was 1912, my parents had taken my little brothers and myself on a picnic down at the Manhan river. It was a beautiful July day, a little on the hot side maybe, and we all went for a swim. Mamma was the first to get out of the river and head back to our picnic area. That's when she let out a blood curdling scream. We all ran to her in time to see the large hairy giant running toward the woods. The loud squealing sound it made was horrendous,and the smell, that awful awful smell, it still sends chills up my spine just remembering. Daddy got off a shot with his shotgun but he missed. We never went picnicking there again."
There have been many stories similar to Sarah Holbrook's, all discounted by the so-called "experts" as hoaxes, hysteria, ignorance and the like. But these experts have offered no viable explanation, only arrogant skepticism. Perhaps it is not Kwin-ta-chek, the man-pig of local folklore. But there is something living in those woods.
PIGFOOT FINALLY CAUGHT ON FILM!