Bigfoot conference spotted in Jefferson, Texas


Trennt Rhea

Craig Woolheater posing with the poster for the Texas Bigfoot Conference on Oct. 15 2022.

Trennt Rhea, Staff Photographer

Jefferson, Texas, is a quiet town in the woodland areas of East Texas. Since 2001, the town has hosted a bigfoot conference. While still clinging to the humidity of a Texas summer, Jefferson held its annual conference led by Craig Woolheater on Oct. 15.

Woolheater was born and raised in the Dallas- Fort Worth area and attended classes at Brookhaven in 1979.  Since then he has become a staple in the Bigfoot enthusiasts community for hosting the yearly conference.

The conference brings together bigfoot enthusiasts from across the country as they celebrate and discuss theories involving the puported creature.

Woolheater’s fascination with bigfoot started in 1969 when Fort Worth locals and newspapers began reporting on the  sighting of the Lake Worth Monster, a creature described as half-man, half-goat with fur and scales living in Lake Worth in Fort Worth.

“It was seen by hundreds of people, including law enforcement, and it was on the front page of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram just 10 days before man was supposed to land on the moon,” Woolheater said. Woolheaters said he originally  started the Texas Bigfoot Conference because of his belief in the creatures existence. 

“I started the conference in 2001 because of public education, and I saw one in 1994,” Woolheater said. “I was driving back to Dallas from New Orleans, and in the middle of nowhere, I saw a 7-foot figure with grayish hair walking on two legs.”

It used to be unusual to believe in creatures such as bigfoot. Now, there are enough people to have a conference. Bigfoot is such a legendary figure that the belief in him brings people together. That is what Woolheater does with his conference.

A life-size replica of bigfoot outside of the conference.
A life-size replica of bigfoot outside of the conference on Oct. 15 2022. (Trennt Rhea)

“When I finally had internet access after I saw one in 94, I went online and found a community of people on message boards and started telling my story,” Woolheater said. Woolheater started a bigfoot research organization in 1999, and after going to other bigfoot conferences, he felt he could do the same in Texas.

Conferences are about sharing experiences and walks of life, and the Texas Bigfoot Conference had an abundance of people who believe in bigfoot. There were authors, podcasters and people who came to speak at the event.

One of the speakers was Ken Gerhard, who calls himself a cryptozoologist. “I investigate evidence of unknown animals like bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, the Chupacabra and a host of other mysterious creatures,” Gerhard said.

Woolheater is not alone in his beliefs in the proposed creatures existence. Many of the attendees who join him at the conference share similar beliefs.While the outside world may not fully grasp their beliefs Jefferson has built a community for himself and attendees to come together.