Sunday, December 2, 2007

A Trip to Grottoes, Virginia

Well folks, this is Billy Willard and I figure it's about time to add some new information to the research blog.

Yesterday, on December 1, 2007, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Adam Frye. Adam recently came home from Kosovo where he was deployed on a mission with the U.S. Army. So, first off, my hat is off to this fine gentleman and his great service to this nation!

After we became aquainted with each other, we were both eager to get out into the field. After a brief drive along the dirt road where Adam lives, we made our first stop at an old abandoned nursery. We parked my truck alongside the road, and walked in carrying some simple equipment. The nursery contains hundreds if not thousands of pine trees that were planted. Alot of these pines create a perfect blind for staying hidden. In some areas, a person would have alot of difficulty seeing anything within 10 feet of them.

One of the first strange things Adam pointed out to me were the strange, almost bipedal looking footprints found on this obviously, well used trail. The footprints do not show up well on the forest ground during the colder months, but I have included a photo that was taken by Adam back during the warmer months to give the readers an idea of what I mean. This was really strange, the impressions were really quite deep and appeared to have been used over and over again. I have to say that this was a first for me, I have never seen anything like this before.

As we continued on, several tree breaks were observed. All of the tree breaks were in locations concealed from any possible wind damage. The pines provide a thick barrier preventing any high winds in these tree break locations. In addition, the tree breaks were concentrated in certain areas. There seemed to be several tree breaks in certain areas, not one here or there. I tried to examine the areas around the tree breaks to identify any possible footprints or other evidence, but most of them appeared to be rather old occurrences. Therefore, any possible prints were probably long gone.

Several piles of feces were discovered. Again, like the tree breaks, the feces seemed to be concentrated in one general area. Items found in the feces were grasses, nuts, corn and seeds. The sizes of the feces seem to be different sizes and quantities.

But, probably one of the most exciting discoveries was some hair found on a tree. This particular tree was bent over in an arch blocking an obvious game trail. Adam with his amazing eyesight, spotted the hair on the tree while investigating it. We collected several hair samples, but one of the hairs were different from the rest. One of them had a reddish color, all the others were black. The hairs were collected using tweezers and placed into a plastic evidence bag for later examination on Adam's microscope.

We crossed over the dirt road and examined some property managed by the National Park Service (NPS). There, we found a FRESH tree break. This was a nice, healthy tree with no disease or imperfections. The tree was about 3-4 inches in diameter with a clean break.

We left this area and went to a local Italian grill for lunch. We had a brief drive around in the surrounding area and went back towards Adams house.

When we arrived back near Adam's house, we decided to take a walk up a fire road that leads towards Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Forest. We decided to climb up to a high point of rock formations as seen in the photo to the top left. We took our time climbing. As we climbed, we jumped something from the brush above us, approximately 50-60 feet away. Neither of us caught a glimpse of what it was, but it sure made alot of noise to get out of there.

Obviously, once reaching the top, it was time for photo opportunities. (Adam Frye in top photo, Billy Willard in bottom photo) There was a beautiful view all around. Both Adam and I saw some wonderful opportunities for future audio recordings within this valley area as well as a good survelliance spot.

Before ending the day, Adam decided it was time for more fun! He knew of a small cavern nearby and decided to see if he could still get through it. (I mean, afterall, caverns do seem to shrink over time, right?) It was a tight fit, but he made it through without me having to break his collar bones to get him out.

We decended the mountain by way of a rock slide area. It seemed to be easier to travel versus the slick, leaf covered forest area. I don't think I would want travel down this during the warmer months. What a perfect habitat for mountain rattlers! The temperature in the valley was getting quite cold by this time as it was approaching 5:00 pm EST.

On our way out, Adam spots a tarp alongside a creek bank. The tarp is rolled up in such a way that it appears to contain something. We first discuss whether or not we want to open it. Of course, bad thoughts are passing through our minds as to what it could contain. The last thing we wanted to find was a dead body. Once making a decision, Adam slowly opens the tarp to reveal that someone has cut off the paws and limbs of a bear. What a shame!
We made our way back to Adam's house to have a look at our collected hair samples. Adam had recently purchased a microscope with a USB connection live video feed to his laptop. What a wonderful purchase from Ebay! Next to follow are some known microscopic hair samples and our unknown hair sample. Further research will be done to determine what the unknown hair sample is and will be provided as an update on this research blog at a later date.

<---------------Domestic Cat

Domestic Dog------------>






The unknown hair appears to have a segmented type membrane in the center. None of the other hairs appear to have that feature. Further research will be conducted by examining other known area animal hairs. Any updated information regarding this issue will be posted here at a later date.
In summary, I truly enjoyed my visit with Adam. And I am proud to announce that Adam Frye is the newest addition to the Sasquatch Watch of Virginia group. After meeting him I can see that he is dedicated, hard working and devoted to this line of field research. His future plans are to write and publish a book and film a documentary. In my opinion, Adam certainly has the expertise to do all the above. Sasquatch Watch of Virginia will, in the near future, conduct more field visits and we look forward to planning some survelliance projects along with Adam.


Anonymous said...

Man what a great read...really well written and great pics to help paint the picture....

You guys have an awesome area to conduct your research.....really beautiful.....

Adam thanks again for your service to this Country of ours....and congrats on you joining Billy and guys are some of the people that I consider 'cutting edge' researchers......

The "Project Song Bird" with Bill D also speaks 'cutting edge' loud and clear....and that's what we need out there...

Good luck guys...

Dennis aka 'Dad'

Billy Willard said...

Thanks for the comments Dennis!

Anonymous said...

Hey Billy, Did either of you report finding the bear paws and limbs to the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries? I ask because it sounds as if a poacher took a bear somewhere in the area and then wrapped the limbs to retrieve later. The bear's gall bladder is most valuable and would have been taken at the time of the killing but the limbs are also valuable on the Asian market and since they are somewhat bulky, its probable that a poacher decided to leave them until it was more convenient to quietly take them from the woods.

If you didn't report it, you may still want to consider doing so. If the limbs and plastic are still there, they may included some forensic evidence that Game and Fish investigators may be able to use. You can report possible poaching violations here:

Not only is it the right thing to do, but it may be a wonderful opportunity to make a contact within the department. The State Fish and Game folks get lots of unusual sighting reports each year and by building a relationship with them, you may just get some leads on encounters to investigate in the future.

Just a thought...


Billy Willard said...


No, we did not report it but you bring up an excellent point. Thanks for sharing that information, I think its a good idea.

Billy Willard

Anonymous said...

You wrote: "The unknown hair appears to have a segmented type membrane in the center. None of the other hairs appear to have that feature."

Dude, the mink does. Look at it- an obvioud segmented center. WTF.

Billy Willard said...

Ok, but the mink segments are entirely different from the unknown hair segments. The mink segments appear to be paired where as the segments in the unknown hair are not.