If the 12-foot, black, hairy, man-like creature standing tall alongside Highway 515 just outside Cherry Log, Georgia, causes a double-take, it has done its job. Whipping the car around, hoping to find a parking spot, you accompany the crowd into Bigfoot Expedition: Sasquatch Museum.
Reminiscent of the 1960s roadside attractions that sucked travelers from the highway and into an unplanned stop to an intended destination, this museum is the 21st-century version. Chances are, people pass the museum multiple times before they decide to stop. Call it trepidation or disbelief; you will fall into one of these categories.
Opened in 2016, the Sasquatch Museum has greeted over 70,000 visitors each year with summer being its busiest season; everyone walks out either entertained or educated. David Bakara, museum owner, and Bigfoot researcher, hopes it’s a little of both. “This is a perfect opportunity to spend one hour being entertained and educated at the same time.”
When 13-year-old Bakara watched the 1972 movie “The Legend of Boggy Creek,” it created his fascination with the ape-like creature who stood erect and walked among the wild. This anomaly would eventually conjure over 10,000 alleged sightings in North America. The initial 1958 sighting in California, which later proved to be a prank, catapulted the myth into existence and created a host of conspiracy theorists, trackers, researchers, and, of course, skeptics.
Inside the museum, a 45-minute, self-guided tour showcases artifacts, exhibits, videos, and Bigfoot casts—the most extensive collection in the United States. Upon entry, a portrait gallery of researchers, trackers, and contributors to the phenomenon invites you to “join the Sasquatch Watch.” Bakara also pays homage to his Boggy Creek inspiration with its trailer of chilling screams looping continuously. Listening stations put the howls, grunts, and moans inside your ear and erect chill bumps on your arms. Check out the tech-savvy ATV Bakara and his wife used during their Florida investigation. There are head models as well as life-size renditions. And if you’re wondering which snacks attract Bigfoot, you’re in luck. Apparently, peanut butter, honey, and Zagnut Bars are his favorites; if you would like to leave a gift for your furry friend, it appears marbles and bubble wrap will do the trick. Read in the Atlanta Constitution of an 1889 sighting of a “wild man” near Lookout Mountain.
Sasquatch sightings have been registered in every state except Hawaii. According to The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (bfro.net), which provides the most comprehensive compilation of credible sightings in North America, 139 reports come from Georgia. The most recent sighting was in April 2022 in Wilkinson County. Sightings are listed, and notes from a follow-up researcher are recorded; you’ll even find audio files of the moans and howls for those who have yet to hear the big guy’s eerie sounds.
Bakara explains that he “opened this museum to share my astonishment with a phenomenon that is experienced by so many credible people. The proof that this world is so much more interesting than we think it is, is something I think most people will appreciate.”
“Almost every friend I have now is a Bigfoot researcher or witness. Ron Morehead, tracker JC Williams, Bigfoot artist and researcher Sybilla Irwin, witness and researcher Michael Cook; there are so many I can’t hardly name them all. I’m sure I have met well over 100 other researchers, and count most of them as a friend and collaborator. Many of the things in the museum are donated by other researchers or witnesses.”
The museum is not only a collection of artifacts but also a place for scientific study and reporting research. Bakara invites those who have experienced an encounter to share all sightings with the museum. Contact the museum via email; the information remains confidential unless the reporter wants it revealed.
Excitement remains endless with the possible existence of this ape-like creature sneaking through the forests of North America, leaving no concrete evidence it exists. While many mainstream scientists have balked at the creature’s existence, those who claim to have seen the enormous footprint, heard its chilling howls and witnessed its specter-like movements have no doubts about its phenomenon. Although the result did not produce its ultimate goal, “Finding Bigfoot” on Animal Planet continued through 11 seasons, a clear-cut response to Bigfoot’s popularity.
“The museum is an opportunity to share witness accounts and scientific evidence to everyday people that may have no or limited interest in the subject matter,” states Bakara. “We all lead very busy lives, and sometimes there’s a little room to attend a (Bigfoot) conference, watch a Bigfoot documentary, or read a Bigfoot book.”
Bakara believes in the existence of Sasquatch and understands that, for some, it can be a hard pill to swallow. He extends the evidence, provides personal accounts, and, in the end, leaves it up to you to decide if the creature is real or just the product of an active imagination. Either way, you will enjoy the thrill of the hunt for Bigfoot in North Georgia.