By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
An Atlantic City, Wyoming, man’s story of seeing Bigfoot almost 50 years ago is being featured in a program on the History Channel.
Wyoming’s K2 Radio on Monday shared a 2021 episode of “The UnXplained” — a History Channel show hosted by William Shatner — in which John Mionczynski discussed his sighting of Bigfoot while working in the Wind River Mountains in the 1970s.
In 1972, Mionczynski spent the summer working as a field biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department on a cooperative study that required him to live in the mountains for a time.
One night while in his tent, Mionczynski felt something pressing up against his tent. He assumed the animal was a large bear.
“The moon was coming up…and I clearly saw a hand with four fingers and an opposable thumb, like a human hand,” Mionczynski said. “It was large, twice the size of my hand.”
He added that the creature’s movements were growing aggressive, so he hit it through the tent with the back of his hand. Then, the creature took off.
“I have to say, the thought of Sasquatch never occurred to me,” he said.
But when Mionczynski reported the incident to the U.S. Forest Service, rangers said there had been a rash of similar sightings in the area.
He ultimately interviewed 25 people about their sightings. One man said he shot at a creature that was at his cabin and he thought he had killed it, but the creature got up and ran off.
Mionczynski visited the cabin and found hair and blood samples, which he took to a forensic anthropologist, who had a surprising response.
“This is my first stumper,” the anthropologist told Mionczynski.
The hair was found to be from a primate, not native to Wyoming. Mionczynski was elated about the discovery, but researchers and scientists he told about it were not as eager to embrace his conclusion the samples were from Bigfoot.
Shatner questioned why scientists would be so eager to dismiss hard evidence of Bigfoot, but also theorized that it might be “safer” to assume it’s a hoax.
Noted Wyoming outdoorsman Paul Ulrich quoted Isaac Newton after viewing Mionczynski’s segment.
“What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an ocean,” Ulrich said. “If there’s one thing that science teaches us, it’s that we know a hell of a lot less than we think.”
Ulrich has never personally had a Bigfoot encounter, but said anyone who spends a significant amount of time outside in Wyoming is bound to hear or see something strange.
“I’ve seen plenty of strange in the mountains of Wyoming,” Ulrich said. “And although I haven’t seen a Sasquatch personally, I have spotted a Loch Ness Monster-like creature in Fremont Lake. Yes, I had some Johnnie Walker that evening so it might have just been a goat or something. But I’m pretty sure it was a sea monster.”
While Ulrich does not necessarily believe that Mionczynski saw Bigfoot, he does believe that if Bigfoot existed, it would live in Wyoming.
“Who doesn’t want to live in Wyoming?” he said. “They enjoy our solitude, which Bigfoot most certainly appreciates.”
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department refused to comment on the story.