Loyal readers of The Bigfootery Enquirer may remember that Keating popped up on our radar a month or so ago because of his soapboxing on inter-net bigfoot shows, in show chat-rooms and on his own show. At first we just recognized the first name and his bigfootery handle as it seemed to pop up in many shows, but soon we were able to put together who it was. We took little notice of him until a few crucial pieces fell into place thanks to a comment sent in by one of the first Bigfootery Enquirer reader/contributors who supplied a few leads. We will get to that a bit later.
Keating proudly wears his moniker, The Bigfoot Bulldog. I guess it represents his no nonsense bite your leg and hang on approach to bigfootery. After finding his website, which is chock full of various bigfoot media for sale, and learning more about him, The Bigfootery Enquirer has bestowed upon him the status of a fourth level “Bigfoot Researcher”. Keating’s major claims to bigfootery fame is that he hosts a large annual conference for bigfooters and he has made an appearance upon Monster Quest. In the episode of MQ in which he appears, nothing significant was found, par for the MQ course, and a video he has sold was dubbed “blobby”. Fortunately we were able to view the episode via youtube as, in general, MQ is just only a slightly more productive hour than listening to inter-net bigfoot shows.
When interviewing witnesses and reviewing sighting reports, we find it beneficial to get the person to tell the story a few times so that we can look for red flags that the person is being less than honest, things like the tale growing as it is retold, new details, inconsistent details. We also endeavor to learn of the person’s background and character and examine the possible motivations of the person reporting the incident. All of these factors are then examined with an eye to establishing a feeling for the reliability of the story. All to often there is no supporting evidence, shaky supporting evidence and no confirming witnesses and you are left with the quandary and issue of witness voracity. Unfortunately, Keating’s two sightings fall into this category. Just some background how the staff of The Bigfootery Enquirer approach dealing with a sighting report on the rare occasion that we decide to investigate an incident.
Back to the question, has Keating seen a bigfoot- twice? We shall begin with his own words, as reported by newspaper articles and blogs. The latest coverage of Keating we found was from Heuvelmans blog. The interview is part way down the first page at this point, here is the crucial questions and answers.
Can you tell me about the more recent sighting?
A fellow researcher and I were scouting the hillsides of CoshoctonCounty. We had gone there because there had been numerous reports of the “glowing eye” anomalies. At 5:18 p.m. as I was looking to the southwest, from the backside of a hill emerged a bipedal individual. It walked up a gradual incline of that hill as if it were walking on a city street. It never broke stride. It was every bit half as tall as the trees it was walking beside, putting it in the range of nine feet tall. The fellow who was withme was able to observeit from the distance of 400 yards (give or take) and confirmed what we were looking at was not a person.
I feel as if it was a very good sighting. I only wish I had a video camera with me. I was not able to purchase one at that time in my Bigfootingcareer as the price range of such equipment was above my budget.
We did not collect evidence, nor was there any to collect that we know of. We did not know exactly where the location was for two weeks. We were looking above high terrain and had a view you don’t normally have in the valley, hence, we were disorientated and had to do research to learn where this spot was exactly.
Now let’s look at older articles written about and quoting Keating. Keating houses reprints at his website if you want to read the whole article to assure the integrity of our quotations.
Dave Golowenski For the Columbus Dispatch – 4/1/2001
Bigfoot researcher Don Keating was once within 35 feet of what he believes was the legendary Bigfoot.
On a September night of a withering Ohio summer, the shuffling sound of movement drew Don Keating’s attention to a frightfully tall, pale presence striding on two legs.
“It was about 10 in the evening. Something came down the hillside,” Keating said.
He watched the hair-covered biped make its way through a field toward a nearby chicken coop. As it walked, Keating noticed that the towering creature dwarfed the 4- foot-tall goldenrod being flattened as it passed.
“It was light in color, which I could see in the available moonlight,” Keating said. “I estimate it was about 8 or 9 feet tall. It walked very fluidly.”
The creature stopped, paused, then retreated from Keating’s view at a more urgent pace than it arrived. The encounter almost 16 years ago took 15 spellbinding seconds.
“I had a 35-millimeter camera around my neck with the flash turned on,” he said. “I was so astounded I never thought to take a picture.”
Nevertheless, the vision that occurred in 1985 about 4 miles southof his native Newcomerstown is indelibly imprinted in Keating’s memory. Shortly afterward, he and three companions, who all came that night looking for the same strange thing, measured the distance from where Keating stood watch to where the creature made its farthest advance toward the snoozing, unsuspecting chickens and one haunted human.
“At its closest, I was about 35 feet away,” Keating said.
Because of their separated stakeout positions, none of his three companions saw Bigfoot that night. Incredibly, Keating said he might have spotted another in the same general area of east-central Ohio.
“A couple of years after that we did see something walk up a hill,” he said. “It was moving pretty fast. It wasn’t nearly as good a look.”
Editorial Comment: The description given to Heuvelman is pretty detailed and enhanced from “It wasn’t nearly as good a look”, so it is mildly troubling in terms of the story is growing and inconsistent factors. It is unfortunate that the three companions never saw anything and Keating did not use his readily available camera, troubling. In the short time we have seen Keating in action on the inter-net shows as a caller and in the chat rooms, he has called out witnesses for far less transgressions. But let’s continue.
Cleveland Plain Dealer – 4/27/2003
He believes he saw a Bigfoot in 1985 but has not seen one since despite investigating scores of sightings. He knows the mystery is further shrouded by hoaxers and the gullible who see Bigfoot behind every tree and in every bear track.
Editorial Comment: Where did the second sighting go? Did Keating not mention it, or did the reporter neglect it? Troubling. We continue.
Columbus Dispatch – 3/30/2004
At least once a month, Keating hikes through the local woods and hosts a study group.
”There’s a big difference between faking footprints and actually seeing the thing,” he said. “I’m not insane. I know what I saw. Once you see something like this, you never forget it.”
Editorial Comment: Pretty emphatic that he saw something, but again a chance to say he saw it twice was missed. But not a big deal, don’t want to be accused of taking things out of context or staging an all out attack. Note the “you never forget it” part for later reference. And then we have this article from less than six months later.
Canton Repository -8/15/ 2004
Bigfoot Hunter Comes up Empty
“Of all the people I’ve talked to, and probably the thousands of hours that I’ve spent out in the woods,” said Keating, “there is still not one shred of evidence to positively prove that the creature exists.”
In 1985, according to newspaper accounts, Keating said he encountered a creature about four miles south of Newcomerstown.
“I’ve heard a lot of sounds and I’ve seen glimpses of things far off in the distance that you can’t identify,” Keating said. “So it doesn’t go down as positive proof of something that’s out there.”
He’s perhaps most fed up with the Bigfoot brethren.
“This will ruffle a few feathers, and frankly I don’t care,” Keating said. “There’s too many researchers out there who are at each other’s necks” and won’t share research.
“Some of them are just working toward the cause of building up their ego,” he said, whereas “finding the answer as to whether it does exist or does not exist has always been my goal.”
He’s still waiting to make the discovery that would shock the world.
But for now, Keating’s turned his ambition to finding a job in radio or meteorology. His Bigfoot group no longer meets monthly. He might not even attend his own conference next year.
“I’m just getting to the point where I’m fed up with it.”
Editorial Comment: This quote completely left us saying WTF? Note that the reporter is citing the previous articles and suddenly Keating’s ”35 feet”, “you never forget it” and “I know what I saw” is “glimpses” and “doesn’t go down as proof positive”. We were left scratching our pointy heads in confusion and with serious reservations about the inconsistency. As confusing was our experience that fabricated sighting stories generally become more detailed over time, which seemed to be the case with the latest Heuvelman interview, but was completely at odds with the about face in 2004. It seemed that Keating was retreating from his assertions that he had no doubt he had seen a bigfoot, but why?
This is where our Midwest informer helped us to fill in some of the blanks, he wrote this when asked about the inconsistency and our confusion:
“During 2004 a group of persons in Ohio became disaffected and disenchanted with Keating and his antics. They began holding meetings of persons interested in bigfoot at a location between Akron and Canton. Those meetings were growing and often attracted a crowd of 40 or more persons. Keating was not happy with this new group, I think he felt threatened and the “donations” at his meeting were flagging. I can provide you with a number of complaining emails and other things he was doing to discourage this growing alternative to his dominance of bigfooting in Ohio. The Canton Repository article at that time was what I think was another one of those actions. I think his goal was to especially discourage attendance by the general public by casting doubt about the subject and those that are interested in it. Look at that article from that motivation and I think you will get it.”
Editorial Comment: Well, OK, that does explain a motive for going from no doubt to serious doubts and no sighting. So which version do we believe? Or can we believe any of it? Or perhaps those series of articles simply point out the pitfalls of dealing with the media and either seeking out journalists for interviews or accepting interview inquiries? No matter what, given Keating’s statements on inter-net shows, his soapboxing and his attacks upon guests he feels are not providing proof of claims, it is the consensus of The Bigfootery Enquirer staff that this is beginning to smell and we may be on to something.
One of the things I mentioned at the beginning of this post is how we usually dig into the person’s character, their background and motivation as part of the process of determining the credibility of a witness. Our informer north of the Mason – Dixon provided some insight on that issue as well. About Keating’s honesty he wrote:
“Keating has been caught at least twice using an alias and lying about who he is to further his agenda. In one case IP tracking led right back to his computer. In another case it led to a computer listed to a company that employed his sister at that time. The latter case was particularly vicious as he attempted to impersonate another bigfoot researcher and ask a nasty question to another noted researcher he was battling on one of the first internet radio shows. I think he was trying to stir things up and drive a wedge between these two people as they were growing in bigfoot stature and involved in a new venture in bigfoot media. There was also a measure of jealousy involved, Don loves to be in the media limelight. When confronted he had no choice but admit it was him and say he had a right to do what he pleases and use alias if he wants.”
Editorial Comment: Those emails and associated tracking information were forwarded to us, we have seen and read them, to the best of our knowledge they are the real deal.
So what have we found so far to asses the legitimacy of Don Keating’s claim he has seen a bigfoot twice? I think one would have to agree there are some problems with consistency, growing and then shrinking the story and some instances of self serving dishonesty. We are not ready to pronounce the situation as donkey doo doo just yet. We are in the process of securing some more sighting specific information and some original documentation that has the potential to be very enlightening in answering this question. We have some threads we are pulling at that you will want to hear about if they continue to unravel, we think. So stay tuned for Part duo, but be patient this may take a few weeks before we publish.
Note: Part II of a three part series is now up at.