Bigfoot believers track in to Enola Oct. 14

Bigfoot believers track in to Enola Oct. 14

“Remember,” says Robert Swain, “Bigfoot has already been reported in your county.”

In fact, Bigfoot evidence has been reported in all 75 counties in Arkansas, although “by far the most reported place is Miller County in the Sulphur River bottoms,” Swain says. “I believe that the 1972 movie ‘The Legend of Boggy Creek’ spotlighting that area gave local people an avenue and courage to come forward with their encounters. Also, it brought many more people to that area looking for the creature.

“[But] Bigfoot has been seen all over our state,” he reiterates. “I have a database of Arkansas sightings dating from 1834 to last week. There have been 1,200 reported sightings in Arkansas and probably many more not reported. The northwest corner of the state has lots of reports. The central part of the state and in the Ouachita Mountains have a number of sightings. Any place that you could find a bear would support a Bigfoot.”

Swain is something of an Arkansas expert on the topic of the extra-large, wildly elusive hominid known as Bigfoot. He’s been fascinated since he was a kid in high school, doing his first field research near Fouke, where “The Legend of Boggy Creek” was set. He’s also the founder of the Arkansas Primate Evidence Society — APES for short — and one of the hosts of the sixth Arkansas Bigfoot Conference, set for Oct. 14 in Enola, northeast of Conway in Faulkner County.

“The conference is a great resource for anyone interested in the subject of Bigfoot in the southern region of the United States, with an emphasis on Arkansas encounters,” he says. In addition to speakers, there will displays, vendors and food trucks. “Kids are welcome!”

Swain knows that Bigfoot believers can be labeled as crazy, but he doesn’t sound like he is. He has worked as a missionary, been a minister for the Church of Christ since 1986 and has a wife and a son.

“Bigfoot is just a hobby bordering on a passion,” he says. “I believe it is easier to be believed today if you see something than in the past. People are more educated about the evidence and are open to the possibility of something in the woods.”

On that first expedition in high school, he “scared myself silly in the dark,” he says of his own initiation, and in 2006, on a campout with his 8-year-old son, “we had experiences of unexplained noises in the dark. That sparked my interest to research again.”

“In 2009 I started drawing little cartoons for my son, which became my published Laughsquatch cartoons,” Swain explains. “The cartoons brought me to the attention of people in the Bigfoot community, and I was invited to conferences to share my cartoons. Today I still do my cartoons, but I seriously research and speak on this intriguing subject.”

APES was founded when “a small group of interested people started to accompany me and my son into the woods.” Swain does in fact believe Bigfoot is an ape, not something multidimensional, magical or extraterrestrial.

“I believe that Bigfoot is a flesh and blood creature,” he says simply. “It’s just good at not getting caught. The gorilla, chimp and orangutan are very clever animals, [but] that does not make them supernatural.”

Swain has had only one sighting of his own in all his years of research. In 2017, he says, he watched one walk across a gravel road in front of his car in broad daylight in eastern Oklahoma.

“In two steps, it crossed the road,” he remembers. “It took me eight steps to cross the same distance. It was hunched over but was approximately 9 feet tall. We found and cast one footprint 18 inches long and 7 inches wide at the toes.

“I don’t believe that they exist anymore; I know.”



Arkansas Bigfoot Conference

WHEN — 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 14

WHERE — Enola Elementary School in Enola, Ark.

COST — $6-$12

INFO — Arkansas Primate Evidence Society or Arkansas Bigfoot Conference on Facebook; email Swain at

Categories: Family Friendly