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Connellsville group gets earful on Bigfoot

| Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, 3:34 p.m.
Fred Saluga, who heads the Fayette County Pennsylvania Bigfoot Research Project, sits on the stage with casts of Bigfoot tracks on the stage of the Carnegie Free Library of Connellsville before his presentation on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015.
Karl Polacek | Trib Total Media
Fred Saluga, who heads the Fayette County Pennsylvania Bigfoot Research Project, sits on the stage with casts of Bigfoot tracks on the stage of the Carnegie Free Library of Connellsville before his presentation on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015.

“You get a lot of reports (on Bigfoot and UFOs) from out here in Fayette County and then nobody hears about them again,” said Fred Saluga, 66, a former police officer from the Fayette County area who now lives in Weirton, W.Va., and heads the Fayette County Pennsylvania Bigfoot Research Project.

But Saluga said his organization investigates all reports and does not bury the results.

On Aug. 8, Saluga and other members of his group, Greg Kotyuha, Maria Davidson and KrisAnne Younkin, presented a talk at the Carnegie Free Library of Connellsville on Bigfoot and other creatures that reportedly have been seen in the area.

Saluga said he has been researching Bigfoot sightings for more than 40 years.

Bigfoot, who Saluga said weighs more than 1,000 pounds and is 10 feet tall, runs whenever people approach.

Other creatures, such as one Saluga calls Dogman, who has the shape of Bigfoot and the head of a dog, and Mothman, a winged creature with red eyes.

“If you've seen Mothman, something (unnatural) is going to happen,” Saluga said.

He said 600 cases of various types of sightings have been reported in West Virginia in recent years.

While Saluga said he has never seen Bigfoot or any of the other creatures, he believes they exist.

“They may be inter-dimensional beings,” Saluga said. He pointed to beings that disappear into thin air and Bigfoot trails that last for only a few feet.

Saluga said that there have been many sightings over the years from the Republic area where he grew up. Another hot spot is in the Dunbar area.

According to Saluga, the creatures have been reported for hundreds of years, as early as about 1500 A.D. and from every continent on the planet.

Native Americans called Bigfoot “Sasque” (translated as “Don't know what it is”) or “Sasquatch” to the early settlers in North America.

Some have suggested that the beings are alien transplants, shape shifters or creatures from another dimension.

Saluga said Bigfoot must not be a weak creature and must have a strong immune system. He said there have been reports of the creatures being struck by vehicles and then getting up and walking away.

They have also been shot with various caliber weapons without effect.

Saluga also reviewed reports he had investigated or had heard from other law enforcement officials, including confrontations with what were described as ghosts or apparitions.

The one thing that is common with all of the witnesses is that they suffer the same physical effects. That includes redness around their eyes, hoarseness or loss of voice, general nausea and flu-like symptoms.

The creatures leave an odor of rotten eggs and have fur or skin that is red and white, brown, black or grey and have pointed ears with protruding foreheads and glaring red or yellow eyes. They have been seen carrying dead deer over their shoulders or large dogs or other live animals. They are also able to keep up with vehicles.

They are often accompanied by screams and they often appear to float above the ground, walking on two legs. Unlike humans, they have three or four toes on their feet. They also appear to like to be around children.

Those who want to report sightings can contact the Fayette County Pennsylvania Bigfoot Research Project at 304-723-8212, go to the group's Facebook page at or email them at

Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-626-3538.

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