Beast of Whitehall: “What the hell was I lookin’ at?”

I got an awesome Leap Year present last night when I received access, via the Interweb, to the long-awaited pre-release of Beast of Whitehall.  This, of course, is the new short documentary  produced by Small Town Monsters.

A group of bored teenagers cruising through the dark woods encountered a creature they could not explain one evening in 1976.  Inhuman screams ripped the still night.  A huge, hairy beast walking on two legs lumbered into the road.  What was lurking in the Adirondack forests around Whitehall, NY?  Decades later, the Small Town Monsters crew uncovered and resolved to document what occurred that summer on Abair Road.

I first became familiar with Small Town Monsters’ work at the Ohio Bigfoot Conference, where their documentary Minerva Monster premiered last year.  I appreciated their approach:  no speculation, no costumes, no re-enactments, no cheesy made-for-Hollywood moments.  They simply allowed the witnesses to the Minerva “monster” to tell their stories for the camera.  The same methods are used in Beast of Whitehall, making for a compelling bit of oral-history Sasquatchiana.

Unfortunately in the decades since 1976, many of the original witnesses to the “Abair Road incident” have passed away, making it all the more critical for the story to be preserved now. The filmmakers piece together the story through audio interviews from 1976, news reports, and commentary from Brian Gosselin (quoted above), a police officer and the brother to one of the original witnesses.  Brian was the first to take the boys’ report the night they saw the creature.  The film makes use of generous fly-overs and forest shots to illustrate that the Adirondack mountains in this part of upstate New York are still vastly uninhabited wilderness — perfect habitat, perhaps, for our favorite hairy hominids.  This is further borne out by the fact that Bigfoot sightings around Whitehall did not begin or end with Abair Road; the area has a long history of reports, some of which are also discussed in the film.

Beast of Whitehall is an economical but perfectly paced and well-produced little film.  Students of Bigfoot history will appreciate the story it reveals. The film will be officially released April 1 and you can reserve your copy now on www.smalltownmonsters.com .

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