Scott Fallon prides himself on being a skeptic — just one that happens to believe in Bigfoot.
Fallon is one of the founders of the Alexandria Cryptozoology and Paranormal Society (ACAPS), a local group dedicated to the exploration of all things inexplicable. He talked with ALXnow shortly after finishing his chupacabra hunt in the jungles of Mexico. He didn’t find any, but Fallon says that doesn’t mean they’re not out there.
Fallon does not come off as the crackpot conspiracy theorist you’d expect when interviewing a Bigfoot specialist. He’s a skeptic — more Scully than Mulder, at least in some respects. He wants to believe, but says he waits to see evidence and makes a decision for himself.
Part of that involves being aware of his own biases, the way someone is more likely to hear “ghost” noises in a house they hear is haunted. At 5 a.m., for instance, Fallon said every noise in the forest sounds like Bigfoot.
“Although we are believers in the paranormal and UFOs, we are the world’s biggest skeptics,” Fallon said. “I don’t believe people at first, I have to see it for myself.”
The group was founded in 2014 and started, as many friendships do, at a bar. Fallon said the crew were regulars at Bilbo Baggins, the long-time Old Town pub at 208 Queen Street.
“I was talking to my wife and I mentioned something about Bigfoot,” Fallon said. “The guy next to me asked a question, then the guy next to him asked him the question.”
The members of ACAPS have different specialties. Fallon founded ACAPS with Chad Umbach — a Ufologist — and was joined by Marc Black, who goes by the moniker Dr. Black and is even more of a skeptic than Fallon.
Fallon’s focus is the paranormal and cryptozoology: examining the veracity of creatures depicted in folklore.
“Bigfoot is the top for me, but the other ones warrant further investigation,” Fallon said. “I am certain that there are bigfoots or sasquatches. When I say abundance, I mean 1,000 [bigfoots]. The Pacific Northwest, it’s so vast and has so much territory, so there are definitely food sources. When you talk to primatologists, they’re talking roughly 3,000. But when you’re talking about over millions of square miles… it’s an elusive creature.”
Fallon has not witnessed a bigfoot firsthand and says that he estimates 75 to 85 percent of reported sightings are fake.
Fallon also said he’s had a few paranormal encounters, like one at a bed and breakfast outside of Harrisonburg, Virginia.
“While I was there at 10 p.m. at night, I was working on my laptop and there were distinct footsteps in the room above me,” Fallon said. “It was footsteps. I was the only one in the house. I looked up the stairs to see if I saw anybody. I did what any other mature responsible adult would do: I ran in my room and pulled the covers over my head. I talked to the bread and breakfast owner and he said ‘did you hear footsteps? We get that all the time.’ That one really scared me.”
“One of the places I definitely believe is haunted is the Carlyle House,” Fallon continued. “It’s had a number of sightings. I’ve talked to people who’ve worked there who swear up and down there are sightings. I believe there’s a significant amount of paranormal activity. I believe there are a lot of paranormal haunted places in Old Town.”
Fallon said he believes Alexandria is rife with paranormal activity, though most of the ghost tours are more folklore than fact. The Ramsey House is another location that Fallon said he believes is haunted, having found an anomaly on photographs taken in the house and inexplicable temperature drops, though Fallon admitted that could have been a wiring issue in the building.
The group has 16,811 followers on Facebook, which Fallon said is the best way to stay in touch with the group as they start planning activities like expeditions around Virginia. The group is also a hub of discussions about cryptids, paranormal encounters, and UFOs and a lot of tongue-in-cheek memes.
“As we get bigger, we’re trying to do more in terms of meetings and organizations,” Fallon said. “A lot of the stories we hear are people who are embarrassed to talk about things. They’ll say ‘I know it sounds crazy but…’ or ‘please don’t think I’m crazy but…’”
But even for paranormal stories Fallon ultimately doesn’t believe, or cryptids that he thinks are little more than myth, he said there’s value in holding onto those stories.
“I always listen,” Fallon said. “Even if I don’t believe it, you should respect them. There are people that genuinely believe in these things and maybe there’s something to it, or maybe some part of it… a lot of things in terms of stories and myths get handed down in folklore.”
Photos courtesy Scott Fallon