The news, as we all know, has been unrelentingly grim for the past year, thanks in large part to our current political climate. So when I stumbled upon an interview in a local paper with a North Carolina woman who claimed to have created a spray that attracted the legendary ape-like creature known as Bigfoot, I was delighted and intrigued. It seemed like bizarre bright spot during a dark time in media.
So I arranged to meet with Allie Webb, the creator of Bigfoot Juice. The spray, available on Etsy for a mere $7 a bottle, doubles as bug repellant, and, according to the product description, "may attract a Bigfoot, if there is on [sic] within a mile and a half." It comes in a two-ounce glass spray bottle, marked by a handmade label boasting the name of her business: Happy Body Care. A quick whiff brings to mind a weird mix of Lemonheads, my kid's cold medicine, and witch hazel.
Thinking Webb would agree to test-drive this Bigfoot Juice with me, we decided to get together in a park in Morganton, a small town in west North Carolina, not too far from Pisgah National Forest in the Appalachian Mountains. Bigfoot, also known as a sasquatch, reportedly prefers staying hidden in backwoods, so the area seemed a good place to search for him.
Before our meeting, I imagined Webb to be guarded, maybe a believer in conspiracy theories. Kind of like those flat-Earthers, but a little less eccentric. Instead, I find myself sitting in the grass near a playground, chatting with a cheerful, approachable mom of two who works in insurance by day and has her own line of essential oils products.
I also discover she actually finds the idea of coming face to face with a looming beast of lore frightening. In fact, she's never test-driven her own product. "I'm a chicken," Webb tells me. "I think he's scary. I don't want to see him."
Pushing aside my disappointment that we would not, in fact, be trotting through the woods searching for Bigfoot, I ask Webb to tell me more about her spray. The idea for Bigfoot Juice was inspired by her husband Corey, who's a member of the research group Bigfoot 911. Webb says he asked her to create a bug spray he could wear on outings that didn't "smell quite so feminine." They decided to imagine what kinds of smells would actually entice Bigfoot; she describes the final product as "something a little more earthy, a little more musky, not quite so perfumey."
Not only is the scent different enough to make a Bigfoot want to come investigate, Webb says, it also conceals a person's natural smell. "It's the same reasoning why a deer hunter uses doe urine … whenever they go in the woods," she explains. "You know, you're kind of covering your scent, and you're trying to blend in with the environment so it makes it a little easier for you to run across something."
Although she refuses to test out the Bigfoot Juice herself, Webb says there's anecdotal evidence that the spray works. In August, during one of Bigfoot 911's outings, members used the spray, and one man reported sighting "a large bi-pedal animal covered in hair."
"I've never seen Mt. Everest, but I know that Mt. Everest exists."
"I was able to see details of the creature … like the face, and the hair was matted and stringy," John Brunner told the Charlotte Observer. "The eyes were farther apart than human eyes."
Despite this evidence (the only sighting she's heard of so far) and her husband's interest, Webb says she's still a skeptic about the existence of Bigfoots. "But you know," she admits, "I've never seen Mt. Everest, but I know that Mt. Everest exists."
That, however, hasn't stopped her from helping other people seek him out. At the time of our interview, Webb says she's probably sold a couple hundred bottles just in the last two weeks. Interestingly, she tells me with a laugh, a woman called and left her a voicemail, telling her that the bottle needs to "include a warning label because messing with Bigfoot is serious business."
After our conversation, I drive home, wondering how I can test the spray out myself. My boyfriend and I have a house that backs up to a wooded area—maybe I could hang out back there and see if anything happens. I've seen several deer cross the street and retreat into the trees, and as the weather has cooled, a pack of coyotes howl at night. That seems plenty outdoorsy enough, right?
But, according to data compiled by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, there haven't been any sightings of the creature in my county. That idea is a bust.
So my boyfriend offers to take me camping. But before we actually go, he, ironically, has his own Bigfoot experience while out fishing with a friend.
"I was standing on the bank with my fishing pole, and we hear loud knocking on the other side of the river," he tells me. "Then we hear more loud knocking coming from down the river. Eric's like, 'That's them communicating with each other.' I was like, 'whatever,' thinking he was trying to scare me. I tried to rationalize it, maybe it's a woodpecker. But then we hear this loud, slow stomping. It definitely sounds like something on two feet. It couldn't have been a hog because the footsteps were too heavy, snapping branches and twigs. I tried to record it on my phone but you can't hear anything on the recording. But then I felt something on my line, and I was trying to reel this catfish in. That's when Eric starts stuttering. 'You see that?' 'No, where?' 'You didn't see that!' And then he says he actually saw a sasquatch standing in the treeline on the other side of the river looking at us—he said he was stocky with broad shoulders, hairy, brown with gray flecks. He said he wanted to throw up."
After he finished sharing his story, I asked him excitedly when we were going to camping. His response? "I'm not taking you out there."