Monster Inc.

Nighttime field trips, gripping testimonials, scientific seminars: In East Texas, the hunt for Bigfoot is serious business.

IT WASN’T AS IF DARYL COLYER’S encounter with Bigfoot in May 2004 was a chance meeting. The gym-fit 44-year-old banker from Lorena had actively gone looking for the creature one Saturday evening along the banks of the Trinity River, where he’d heard that a seven-foot-tall apelike being had been seen wandering a few months before. He’d even talked his beautiful brunette wife, Dalinda, into going with him, and the two had set out together toward a stretch of the river sixty miles northeast of Houston. But he still wasn’t prepared for what he saw that day.

 For Daryl, who until this past August volunteered regularly as an investigator for an international cybergroup known as the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization ( BFRO), the expedition was nothing out of the ordinary. As one of the few Texas members of the group, he’d gone on many of these searches in the previous year, following up on reported Bigfoot sightings in the Texas-Oklahoma area. He enjoyed it; he’d been fascinated with the idea of Bigfoot for as long as he could remember. As a boy in Atlanta, in the Piney Woods of East Texas, he’d heard stories about the thing his father called the Burton Bottom Creek Monster. He had listened to tales of an animal that shadowed locals in the woods, one that screamed like a woman and made the hair on your arm straighten like toothpicks. And although he’d left the state in 1985 to become an intelligence analyst for the Air Force, these memories had never strayed far from his mind. When he returned to Texas, in 1990, his interest was rekindled, and a few years later, he sat down and Googled “Bigfoot.” “I wanted to solve a mystery for myself,” he explains. “I wasn’t going to be an armchair skeptic.”

But since joining the BFRO, in mid-2003, Daryl hadn’t seen Bigfoot himself. He had spent many hours poring over Bigfoot stories, though; he didn’t want to be caught unprepared. So when he and Dalinda spotted a trail by

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