In 1976, 11 people all reported seeing the same elusive creature in Whitehall, New York: eight law enforcement officials and three teenage boys. “It’s the only case I’m aware of where you have that many law enforcement officials having a sighting at one time in one place,” says investigative filmmaker Seth Breedlove, whose movie “Beast of Whitehall” will be screened as part of the “Afternoon of Cryptozoology,” Saturday, July 23, 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Main Library, 60 S. High St., in downtown Akron.
Although Breedlove launched the Small Town Monsters movie series to investigate claims of mysterious creatures, the Norton resident says his movies are more about the people and how the sightings affect them than the monsters themselves.
“Though I’m a little on the skeptical side, I don’t think there’s an easy answer to this phenomenon, cryptozoology, the study of unknown animals. I do think there’s something going on. What the mystery is, that’s kind of the fun, that’s part of the reason I like exploring this subject, and it’s kind of what Small Town Monsters is all about too,” says Breedlove. “Because we also examine how these unusual creature sightings affect the town and the communities where they happen culturally, what they do to the people in that area.”
Along with “Whitehall,” Breedlove also produced “Minerva Monster” (which has led to a Minerva Monster festival in Minerva, Ohio this September) and is finishing up “Boggy Creek Monster” alongside television personality and author Lyle Blackburn.
Using a culmination of experience from his previous two movies, Breedlove says “Boggy Creek” is much more expansive than his previous films, spanning from the 1800s up to the present day.
The “Afternoon of Cryptozoology” also will feature Doug Waller, founding member of the Southeastern Ohio Society of Bigfoot Investigation. A retired librarian, Waller says he has read about 160 books about Bigfoot and is working on his third book about the subject.
“When I started working in the library, I was like a kid in a candy store,” he says. “I had access to all these books on cryptozoology.”
Like Breedlove, Waller offers a nonjudgmental platform for stories from people who have reported first-hand experiences with these elusive creatures.
“What I’m trying to do is preserve these stories,” adds Waller, who admits he hasn’t experienced any sightings firsthand. “It’s history.”
Main Library is located at 60 S. High St. and parking is free in the library’s High Street deck. For info, visit www.akronlibrary.org.