Bigfoot is elusive. The forest-dwelling cryptid is often just caught in glimpses— an errant footprint, a blurred image. The creature may be hard to catch, but information (and possible evidence) about Bigfoot is abundant, if you know where to look. Those wanting to expand their cryptozoological knowledge can find what they’re looking for in Hastings, Nebraska, home of the Nebraska Bigfoot Crossroads of America Museum.
The museum is the brainchild of Harriet McFeely (aka the Bigfoot Lady), a local resident who has spent her life following the trail of this legendary cryptid. She first became entranced with the creature when she was eight. Her father was watching a news story on Edmund HIlary’s ascent of Mount Everest, and there, in the footage, was a footprint. “I was just hypnotized,” McFeely told the Necronomicon podcast. “It was a huge footprint on the track right where they were going. I saw that and I believed it.”
That early experience with the wonder of the unknown led to a lifetime devotion to collecting artifacts and information on the creature.
McFeely has traveled around the world collecting stories and ephemera from Bigfoot communities worldwide. The museum, which is located on her own property, is a place for Bigfoot believers and skeptics alike to dive into the mystery. McFeely’s collection includes 2,000-year-old skulls, hand and foot castings, and a photo of “Patty,” a Bigfoot captured on film in 1967.
A tattered flag brought to McFeely’s museum in 2020 is one of the more peculiar pieces of evidence. At first glance, the flag just looked torn, but on closer inspection, it wasn’t simply ripped up it was braided. “The three large braids are tied in very hard knots at the end, which is amazing itself, but then if you look closer and there’s very tiny braids—single strands of fabric that are braided, and then knotted and then braided again,” Jim Daro, the flag’s owner told News Channel Nebraska (NCN) at the time.
The braided flag was eerily similar to something McFeely already had at the museum—a collection of braided horse hair. As she told NCN, “[E]very place where there is horses that have been braided we’ve also found footprints that we’ve made casts out of, people have taken pictures (of Bigfoot).” This flag and its story is also the subject of McFeely’s book, A Walk on the ‘Weird’ Side in Nebraska.
Is it evidence? Who knows? But the true believers have made the Bigfoot Crossroads of America Museum a hub for this community, with the museum serving as the site for the state’s annual Bigfoot Conference. And her dedication to the museum and its mysterious namesake have earned Patty and her story a spot in the U.S. Library of Congress Archives.
McFeely knows that not everyone shares her belief in these creatures, and that’s OK with her. “People think I’m crazy,” McFeely told the Hastings Tribune in 2014. “But I don’t care if anybody else believes it or not because I saw it with my own two eyes. I saw it as clearly as anything.”
Know Before You Go
The museum is open Thursday through Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and tickets are $5. Construction is ongoing for the museum’s planned garden, an accessible and interactive outdoor space.