Move over Tahoe Tessie. There’s another monster in the basin, or at least that’s what the makers of Animal Planet’s television show “Finding Bigfoot” will explore.
In an attempt to prove the hunch, the “Finding Bigfoot” crew will roll out the cameras on the South Shore this spring to film an episode for the popular series that investigates evidence of the Sasquatch.
The investigators — Bigfoot Field Research Organization President Matt Moneymaker, researchers James “Bobo” Fay and Cliff Barackman and skeptical scientist Ranae Holland — examine photos and video of the animal, interview witnesses and entice the beast by mimicking its calls in an attempt to uncover more information about the elusive animal.
Producer Sean Mantooth couldn’t divulge specifics about the Tahoe episode, but he said that people have reported sightings or other evidence of bigfoot throughout the region.
“There were some pretty historic howls that came out of this area,” Mantooth said.
“There’s been activity in this area and we hope to uncover more activity.”
Numbers from the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization would seem to support that claim.
According to the online database, California is second only to Washington state when it comes to alleged sightings of the hairy primate.
More than 420 Californians have posted alleged sightings online, 24 of which occurred in El Dorado County.
To film the episode, Mantooth said the cast will use “cutting-edge technology” never before seen on the show.
It’s a creative search technique that will be completely new to veteran viewers, Mantooth said.
But the team doesn’t just rely on technology.
Since evidence sharing is a critical part of the research according to Mantooth, the crew will invite residents to a town hall meeting early next month where they can share their Sasquatch experiences or just quell their curiosity.
“We’re kind of like the Ghostbusters; we’re ready to believe,” Mantooth said.
“I think we definitely spread the word that there are people out there who are serious about searching for bigfoot … And we’ve made it more acceptable to discuss bigfoot.”
Cast member Holland said she’d like to foster that open discussion where people can voice their opinions without fear of ridicule.
She described herself as a skeptic but not a cynic.
And though she said she doesn’t believe in Bigfoot’s existence, the experiences and stories people recount intrigue her.
“I haven’t had an experience. To me, there isn’t enough evidence to say the animal is real. But I’m fascinated by the phenomenon,” Holland said.
“There are a lot of areas where people can disagree and still be respectful of and polite to each other.”
According to Mantooth, the South Shore episode should air this summer.
Axie Navas is a reporter for the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of The Union based in South Lake Tahoe.