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Alternate Perceptions Magazine, August 2017

An Interview with Barton M. Nunnelly, a Kentucky Cryptozoologist

by: Brent Raynes

Cryptid researcher and investigator Barton M. Nunnelly, a self-taught writer and artist, was born and raised in Henderson, Kentucky where he spent decades searching the bottomlands of the Bluegrass State for evidence of its diverse natural mysteries. His wanderings have brought him face-to-face with such creatures as Bigfoot, water monsters, Black panthers, ‘out-of-place’ wolves and other mysterious cryptids, including a “Thunderbird” in 1998; something no other living researcher can presently claim. He co-founded Kentuckybigfoot.com badk in 2005, a website devoted to the collection of Bigfoot, and other unknown animal sightings in Kentucky, and his cryptid art has appeared in numerous publications, including magazines and children’s books. He has appeared in documentary films and on several cable television networks, including the History Channel, the Travel Channel and the BBC. He spends his time writing books, feature films and walking the ancient creek beds in and around Henderson County with his wife.

Brent Raynes: Barton, please tell us some about yourself and how you came to be a sort of cryptozoologist?

Barton Nunnelly: I was born and raised in the river-bottoms of western Kentucky. What separates me from most other "cryptozoologists" is the fact that I've actually seen and encountered many cryptids myself. I've seen things that walk, crawl, swim and fly - all here in Kentucky. This is all because of the location that I've been in, which is inundated with unexplained phenomena and high-strangeness events of every type, and not because there is anything special about me in any way. When I hear the word "cryptozoologist," I always think of my friend, Loren Coleman first, who possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject - never myself.

Brent Raynes: Apparently you live in a very active area. Do you think that the area you live in harbors strange creatures not indigenous to that region, or do you believe that the explanation may involve elements of the paranormal, quantum physics, or something else?

Barton Nunnelly: When one "thinks" something, or "believes" something, it's merely an opinion. Let me tell you what I "know," from personal experience, fact, not belief: The area that I live does indeed harbor strange creatures yet unclassified by science; creatures that are indigenous to this area, the true nature of at least some of them do involve elements of the unknown. I know all this to be fact because everything I just stated has been demonstrated to me personally more than once.

Brent Raynes: Could you describe some of the personal experiences and investigations that have led you to take this subject very seriously?

Barton Nunnelly: What led me to take this subject seriously is my own repeated encounters with these unknown animals, beginning in 1975 when I was 9 years old, with The Spottsville Monster incident in Baskett, Kentucky.

Brent Raynes: What happened to you at age 9?

Barton Nunnelly: That's when my family moved to the river bottoms on the outskirts of Spottsville, Kentucky in 1975. What followed was 11 months of basically being terrorized by giant hairy monsters that killed all of our animals and ruined our lives.

Brent Raynes: How did this and perhaps other experiences further shape and mold you where you desired to become a cryptozoologist?

Barton Nunnelly: I had no desire to become a cryptozoologist until I read Loren Coleman's “Mysterious America.” That book made a huge impression on me, more so than others of its kind. It also made me realize that I could offer a unique firsthand perspective on many of the “cryptids” that so many people were clamoring to hear about.

Brent Raynes: Do you have a theory as to why your particular region of Kentucky seems so prone to various anomalous cryptozoological reports?

Barton Nunnelly: Kentucky has been known as a “cursed” land since long before the first white settlers arrived here from Europe. The Native Americans called it the “dark and bloody ground,” the dwelling place of ghosts and monsters. I think they were right.

Brent Raynes: Some attribute Bigfoot to being more highly evolved and intelligent than previously believed. Do you believe that this creature can be communicated with?

Barton Nunnelly: Indeed I do.

Brent Raynes: Do you have a theory as to why it seems to go to such extraordinary lengths to conceal its presence?

Barton Nunnelly: To what lengths are you referring to? To the contrary, it seems to me that they accomplish this with effortless ease by simply vanishing right before the witness' eyes, as they've done in many cases. It's my personal belief that they aren't trying to conceal themselves at all-but reveal themselves. Why else would an intelligent creature step out in front of oncoming vehicles headlights instead of waiting until the vehicle passes and cross the road behind it? Certainly not because it's trying to remain concealed and unseen.

Brent Raynes: Have you had any reports in your area of these birdman or very large bird (Thunderbird?) encounters, as has been reported in places like Point Pleasant, West Virginia?

Barton Nunnelly: There have been reports of birdmen and batmen from Kentucky for decades. I discussed these in “Mysterious Kentucky,” Vol 2, but none that I'm aware of from my own immediate area. However, in 1998, I did see with my own eyes what appeared to be a large red-colored bird with no feathers and a wingspan of about twenty feet, in my home county of Henderson. It looked more like a pteranodon than any type of bird with which I'm currently familiar.


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