ENNICE, N.C. -- When Joye Edwards walked out of her Ennice, N.C. home and saw the giant, dirty handprint on the back of her vehicle, the first thing she felt was anger.
She’d just spent the prior evening washing and polishing the blue Jeep to a sparkling shine.
As she got closer to the vehicle though, her anger quickly turned to confusion, fascination and fright.
About 10 inches in length, the handprint seemed to dwarf the taillight of her car.
She knew that something had put the handprint there overnight because the vehicle had been spotless just hours before.
She had left her bedroom windows open that night and recalled hearing her dog barking wildly, but just assumed her Collie had spotted a cat, opossum, or some other unwelcome critter.
But now, she had an eerie feeling. “The first thing I thought was that it had to be a bear,” she said. “But it doesn’t look like any bear print my husband and I have ever seen.”
The print didn’t reveal any claw prints or marks, just a palm, fingers and thumb.
Another odd detail was that the print was left behind in what appeared to be creek sand, not dirt or mud.
Did someone try to pull a prank?
The Edwards family has a quarter-mile long driveway, which leads to their large, wooded farm, and lives about a mile from a main road. “If someone was trying to make a joke, then they sure went to a lot of trouble,” she said.
When she showed family members the mysterious print, they gawked and told her it was “Sasquatch.”
“They were serious,” she said.
“Sasquatch” is an alleged ape-like creature, inhabiting densely forested areas. Most U.S. reports come from the Pacific Northwest, though there are websites dedicated to Bigfoot sightings in Virginia and North Carolina, particularly in the Blue Ridge Mountains and along the Appalachian Trail.
Bigfoot is usually described as a large, hairy, ape-like creature on two legs. By all accounts, many people believe in its existence and contend that the same or similar creatures are found around the world under different regional names.
The scientific community considers Bigfoot to be a combination of folklore, misidentification (usually a bear), and hoaxes, rather than an actual creature.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries doesn’t keep track of bear sightings in the area because they are so common, though the department does keep track of bear-related nuisance complaints. In 2007, there were two nuisance bear complaints in Grayson County, and in 2008 there were six, said Julia Dixon, a media relations coordinator for the department.
As for Bigfoot sightings, “We have never had officers investigating Bigfoot as part of their work for the department,” Dixon said in an email.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has not yet responded to the newspaper’s questions about bear or Bigfoot sightings in Alleghany County.
Edwards admits she isn’t sure what left that strange, giant handprint on her car. The family hasn’t seen or heard anything strange since the incident, “but I’m keeping my windows shut from now on,” she said. “Just in case.”