Brantley Bigfoot mystery leads to Sasquatch Burger and more
BRANTLEY, Ala. (WSFA) - People saw the tracks but didn’t want to talk about it. In the mid-1970s, there were whispers of a large creature in Brantley. Someone finally called the police, and the search dogs came out. But at least one person wasn’t worried at all.
“I got a wild hair one day,” said Brantley artist Eugene Hendrick. “I wanted to do something about a Sasquatch. I cut some big ole feet and bolted some shoes to them and walked around by the river making tracks. I even made claw marks in the trees.”
Jimmy McGinty was just a young man at the time.
“I was just going out by the river and saw some unusual tracks on the sand bar,” said longtime Brantley resident Jimmy McGinty. “I went and looked and saw these big footprints, and I’m going, am I seeing this right or not?’”
The tracks were huge. But nobody wanted to be the person to say “Sasquatch” out loud. When the police got involved, Eugene Hendrick decided it was time to shut down Operation Bigfoot for good.
“I put the cutout feet and shoes away and kept it a secret until 2017,” said Hendrick.
For a half decade, he never said a word, but a conversation with a store owner changed that. Hunter Royal owns the Old Gin Creek Country Store in Brantley. The store has its own deli, and Royal had an idea to start serving a huge burger. He wanted to call it the Sasquatch Burger. When Eugene heard the news, he decided that was a sign to fess up about the tracks he made 50 years ago.
“I knew I wasn’t crazy then,” said McGinty. “But, he got me.”
This story has all kinds of plot twists. Jimmy McGinty’s son-in-law, Hunter, owns the country store. Once they realized the Bigfoot story from the ‘70s was a prank, they went Sasquatch crazy. Now, you can buy Bigfoot shirts, books, snacks, and more. But Hunter’s father-in-law, Jimmy, thought they needed something else.
“I drove to Indiana to pick up a 3,500 pound, solid concrete, unpainted Sasquatch,” said McGinty. “It was something to see coming down the interstate.”
The family surprised Hunter with this big fella.
“I was in shock,” said store owner Hunter Royal. “It has made a landmark for the community.”
To bring the story full circle, guess who painted it. A local artist, Eugene Hendrick. The same guy who came up with the story back in the 1970s. So, is there a Bigfoot in Crenshaw County?
“If you don’t believe in Sasquatch, you’re the problem,” said Hunter Royal.
“Sasquatch does exist in Brantley, Alabama,” said Jimmy McGinty.
You can see it for yourself at the Old Gin Creek Country Store at 9627 Main St. in Brantley. If you drive by, there’s no way you can miss it.
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