AFTER 20 YEARS in law enforcement
, including years spent as a detective, Dave Paulides ’84, MHR ’95, made a career change that he never envisioned would one day lead him to researching Bigfoot.
At a meeting with top executives at a Silicon Valley firm, talk turned to experiences in the woods. One man—a highly trusted figure in the area—said he had seen Bigfoot. At a later meeting, another man recounted his Bigfoot sighting.
Two of the executives later pulled Paulides aside and told him that given his background, he was uniquely qualified to investigate such sightings. They would fund the work, they said, if Paulides would run the operation. North America Bigfoot Search (NABS) was born.
As the executive director, Paulides oversees the organization's work of investigating and researching the Bigfoot/Sasquatch phenomena. This is no fringe-of-society group, Paulides said. NABS has full-time, professional researchers on staff to document and investigate Bigfoot from all aspects, including behavior, physical attributes, and scientific analysis.
NABS has worked extensively with an expert forensic artist who creates sketches of Bigfoot based on witness testimony. Those witnesses, however, must first sign an affidavit that they are telling the truth. The reasoning, Paulides said, is to weed out those who make up sightings and to further establish NABS as a credible organization that does serious investigative and scientific research on Bigfoot.
Hancock House Publishing has published two of NABS' books about Bigfoot and Paulides anticipates a major Bigfoot revelation sometime in the next 18 months: "We will have...DNA results that will definitely identify this as a species."
Still, despite the group's professional approach, Paulides said he runs into skeptics all the time. "There's a fringe element that for some reason is attracted to this genre," he said.
Even Paulides himself wasn't quite sure what to make of the idea of Bigfoot when he first began with NABS—he wasn't convinced either way and had the blessing of the funders to simply follow the evidence, even if it all ended up being a hoax. So Paulides did what any good investigator would do: he read every book he could find, examined all the evidence, and did his own research.
"You start to understand that this is a real entity," Paulides said. "If skeptics actually took the time to look into the minutia of what we've found, they'd take us for real."