Craig S. Semon
LEOMINSTER — When it comes to the elusive Bigfoot, Leominster native Ronny Le Blanc is practically on a first-name basis with the burly, wild berry-eating behemoth.
Then again, it doesn’t hurt that Le Blanc grew up and still lives on the outskirts of “Monsterland,” a five-mile stretch of Leominster that intersects where a large population of city residents live, work and shop with the vastness of unchartered trees of the Leominster State Forest.
As legend goes, “Monsterland” is known for flying saucers, glowing orange orbs and Sasquatch sightings, all of which might be connected.
“Monsterland” was once known as a small area in South Leominster, by Old Mill Road bridge, near the Lancaster border (where Walmart and commercial businesses now sit), that bleeds into Leominster State Forest and the surrounding areas. Le Blanc claims the boundaries of “Monsterland” has expanded as activity is being reported all around Leominster State Forest.
“What I started noticing is that there was a lot of activities and stories in and around Leominster State Forest, which connects to Monsterland through the powerlines,” Le Blanc said. “A lot of the locals that grew up here used to call it ‘Monstah-land.’ It goes back to the ‘50s and there was a gentleman that supposedly disappeared after seeing a strange creature by Old Mill Road.”
And Le Blanc knows his Bigfoot and has had his share of glowing orbs. He has done extensive research, so much so that he was plucked at last minute, with his wife’s blessing, to become one of the elite team of Sasquatch specialists who journeyed into the Oregon wilderness in search of the legendary creature on the popular Travel Channel series, “Expedition Bigfoot.”
Le Blanc will also be featured on the “Shock Docs” special “This Is Halloween,” airing this week on the Travel Channel, and “Paranormal Caught on Camera,” also on the Travel Channel, airing next month. Previously, Le Blanc has been featured on Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot” and “In Search of Monsters.” And he just released a new “Monsterland” Black IPA with Bull Spit Brewing Company called “Sasquatch Spit,” which, I gather, tastes better than its actual namesake.
The 46-year-old Bigfoot researcher is also the author of two books, “Monsterland: Encounter with UFOs, Big Foot and Orange Orbs” and its sequel, “Monsterland: Encounters with Shamans, Sasquatch, Synchronicity and High Strangeness.”
Le Blanc is also making a low-budget Bigfoot horror movie called “Silver Creek” and, is in serious talks about making “Monsterland” into a documentary series filmed around Central Mass.
So what is Bigfoot?
“I would say Bigfoot is something that’s more interdimensional, almost spiritual-kind of a realm that has the ability to manifest itself,” Le Blanc said. “I started off chasing an ape, a flesh-and-blood animal and now I’m thinking it’s something else.”
Le Blanc said Bigfoot comes in differences sizes.
“So on the West Coast, they seem to be much larger than what people are seeing out here on the East Coast. In Ohio and Pennsylvania, Bigfoots have more black fur and are smaller in stature, 6 feet or so, where out West they’re almost 9 feet tall, much larger than what was captured on the Patterson-Gimlin film in 1967,” Le Blanc said. “There are reports of different colors. So they might change color with the seasons, like where a rabbit is going to change when it comes to snow in the winter time, because there has been reports of white ones seen in the winter.”
When Le Blanc was 12 years old, he had a strange encounter behind Fall Brook Elementary School that still haunts and inspires him. And, he knows, the truth is out there.
“Before they put Samoset (Middle School) there, there was a bunch of tracks that would connect to Monsterland that would go to the sand dunes where people would go partying and people had reported seeing strange things, UFOs, shadow people, strange beings, balls of light, you name it,” Le Blanc said. “There was one particular track I always used to avoid. It always had a very dark, ominous feeling to it. It would be a beautiful day, and you look down this thing and it looked dark.”
One day, gripping the handle bars of his blue Raleigh bmx-style bike, Le Blanc was feeling brave and, alone, went down this trail.
“There were two trees on either side. It just felt like this prehistoric gate welcoming me into this place,” Le Blanc recalled. “I start going down this trail with my bike and I just could hear the bike squeaking and I noticed there are no other sounds in the forest. Nothing.”
Le Blanc remembers coming to a dead stop. He couldn’t see anything on either side and started getting an uneasy feeling in his gut. So he put his feet flat on the ground and didn’t move a muscle.
“At that moment,” Le Blanc continued, “something crashed through the woods right in front of me and I could feel it reverberating in the soles of my feet. It was pushing trees and shrubs, went across the trail and onto the other side. But I couldn’t see anything. That’s what was disturbing.”
Flash forward 24 years later. Le Blanc was doing research on people’s encounters with these “invisible things.”
“As you dig deeper into Bigfoot, you’re start talking about cloaking and the fact that they can vanish before people’s eyes. And these stories go back hundreds of years where all of a sudden a posse has this creature cornered and the tracks just disappear in open field, like something just came and picked it up and took it away,” Le Blanc explained. “So all these stories start to intertwine and I started to go back and I went ‘(Expletive)! A lot of these people are talking about these similar encounters that I had.’ So there’s a belief that Bigfoot could be alien or interdimensional. And it sounds crazy, like something in science fiction, but when you think about it, we have this preconceived notion that an alien has to be gray or green.”
A few years back, at 1 a.m. Oct. 21, in Salt Fork State Park in Lore City, Ohio, Le Blanc was with a group of experts that included Le Blanc’s podcast partner, Matty Blake, psychic medium Dr. Rebecca Foster and Creatureplica owner Jeff Byers looking for Bigfoot.
“We saw this orange ball of light floating in the woods. I noticed it and I said, ‘Guys, we got something going on over here.’ So we walk over. We’re at the edge of the woodline and all of a sudden this thing splits into two and it looks like two eyes and it’s high off the ground and it’s moving around like it is part of something. And the psychic medium said, ‘We have a Sasquatch right in front of us.’” Le Blanc recalled. “And there was a moment where you could see the silhouette of the trees and you could see just the faint light from the distance coming through. And the psychic medium said, ‘It’s going to move. Watch’ … And this tall shadow moved through the trees without making a (expletive) sound … I’m like, what are we dealing with? Is it an animal or is it something else?”
Back in Central, Massachusetts, Le Blanc says there is so much happening in the area.
Personally, Le Blanc said he has seen glowing, floating orbs nine times now, including, during the day, at Doyle Field. And he believes there is a connection between these orbs and sightings of Bigfoot.
“People have seen Bigfoot holding an orb,” Le Blanc said. “They look like a basketball with plasma swirling around and they’re silent. I’ve just seen them hovering over the sky and just blink out and disappear. There are a lot of different theories about Bigfoot but the reality is something is happening. People are seeing them. They are leaving tracks.”
What Le Blanc said he finds crazy is there are a lot of sightings with Bigfoot close to suburbia.
“People who have claimed to have a Bigfoot in their sights of the guns said they can’t pull the trigger because they looked too human,” Le Blanc said. “I always found that fascinating and I feel like for something to be this elusive and so evasive this long it has to be a more human than animal for it to do that.”
The Leominster area is also thought to be a hotbed for UFO sightings and, quite possibly, abductions. Le Blanc references Betty Andreasson, who claims that on Jan. 25, 1967, she was abducted by extraterrestrial aliens from her South Ashburnham home. She also had a close encounter in 1944 in Leominster.
“There was a huge UFO wave in 1967 in Central Mass. People were seeing UFOs over ponds and lakes and there was a lady in Fitchburg saying there are UFOs coming out of the reservoir,” Le Blanc said. “When I started researching, I found out that Betty Andreasson had this thing happen down on Howard Street (in Leominster) with this ball of light hit her head and this mental telepathy and these gray aliens, and other stuff happening in the forests in Westminster and South Ashburnham. During this time, this area was also getting a wave of Bigfoot sightings and reports from the state police.”
Le Blanc also talks about a couple in March 1967 saw a UFO at St. Leo’s Cemetery in Leominster and, in the ’70s, another couple who saw a rectangular UFO with lights hovering over a hillside in Ashburnham.
“They’re looking at this thing and they’re just dumbfounded how something so large could just be hovering silently there,” Le Blanc said of the Ashburnham incident. “Flash of light and all of a sudden the UFO is gone and they look at each other and the wife notices that they have missing time, about 20 minutes. But, the other thing, now their car is on the opposite side of the road, like they were put back but in the wrong place.”
Written with the skeptic in mind, Le Blanc said he wanted to approach his “Monsterland” book from being a college-educated researcher with evidence, personal experience and witness testimony to back things up.
If you have had any encounters or experiences with Bigfoot or UFOs, you can talk to Le Blanc annonymously via his website, www.ronnyleblanc.com
“Leominster people know what’s going on. People talk. But they also keep their mouths shut and don’t say (expletive) either,” Le Blanc said. “So, for me to write ‘Monsterland,’ to actually come forward, was a little bit of a risk and gamble, in the sense people are going to think I’m crazy. Whatever.”