Akron, 1995—The name “Grassman” has gradually started to become a term that refers to Bigfoot in Ohio in general, being used in such a way in a 2008 episode of The History Channel’s MonsterQuest and a trio of episodes of The Destination America reality show Mountain Monsters, as well as an episode of the latter channel’s Monsters and Mysteries in America.
The name seems to have first appeared in print in writer Christopher L. Murphy’s 1997 book Bigfoot in Ohio: Encounters with the Grassman, and came from a 1995 investigation of Akron-area sightings by Murphy’s co-authors, Joedy Cook and George Clappison of the Ohio Bigfoot Research and Study Group. During their field research investigating sightings by a pair of local men, they found what they thought might be some sort of Bigfoot “nest,” an igloo-shaped structure made of large sticks woven together with smaller sticks and covered in grass, branches and leaves, big enough for three men to sit in.
The nest might be the origin of the name Grassman…or might not be. Other theories included Murphy telling MonsterQuest that European settlers in the area first saw Bigfoot-like creatures in the tall grass, and an Akron woman saying her grandfather used the name as a sort of boogeyman to scare children away from playing in the tall grass by his house.
Joedy Cook seems to have carried the name with him, though, as he—and the nest—appeared in the episode of MonsterQuest and Cook was further interviewed in the previously mentioned episode of Monsters and Mysteries in America.
Cooke also released his own 2010 book on Bigfoot in Ohio,Traces of the Grassman: The Search for the Ohio Bigfoot.
Similar nests have been found in other states, so it might be a more common form of Bigfoot behavior than just an Ohio thing, but, whatever its exact origins, the name “Grassman” has taken hold as a local name for Bigfoot.
Illustration by Janie Walland
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