Nearly every college has a freshman ritual, a rite of passage.  Many are unconventional; nailing a shoe to a tree, throwing a piece of toast onto the football field, a scavenger hunt, tossing a tortilla or the entire freshman class running across the football field before the start of the game.  Yet some are as simple as writing your name in a tunnel on campus.

The first year students at Morrison Tech have quite the challenge and must wait patiently for their freshman ritual, which many will never obtain.

The ritual began in the year of 1975, a few years after the college had transitioned to Morrison Institute of Technology.  In late April, while students were closing in on the end of the school year, two first year students; who we will call John and Bob (actual names have not been used to protect the identity of the students) were wandering to their car and heard a loud rustle in the neighboring trees.  The sound stopped them in their tracks. “I cannot explain in depth the sound but we both knew that it was not a sound we had heard before.  Our curiosity got the best of us and we started to move toward the area the sound came from.  In the light of the moon we saw a huge creature – it had a long stride, stood upright and was easily 7 to 8 feet tall. Terrified we quickly ran back to the dorms.” John recounted.  “We began to tell other students what we had seen and a few stood up to say that they had also witnessed the creature but dismissed it as they were so tired from finals that they must have been seeing things or their mind had exaggerated what they had seen.”

After the students sat down and compared their stories they came up with one answer that they all agreed on - what they had seen must have been Bigfoot.  There were no other reasonable explanations.  They all agreed to downplay the sightings and kept quiet about their findings, after all, Bigfoot was none other than a mythical creature - or was he?

As the years passed the creature was seen more frequently on and around campus.  Students became more open to share their stories and as more and more stories emerged, all nearly identical, Bigfoot had to exist.  Each student had the same recollection; 7 – 8ft tall, he stood upright,  had a long gait, quite hairy and arms that swung in an exaggerated fashion with palms up. 

Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, has been reported to be seen close by from others.  He has been spotted twice in cornfields in nearby Rock Falls as well as along the Rock River near the town of Erie (16 miles away).

On the Morrison Tech campus the sightings quickly became a rite of passage for the incoming students.  Students will sit for hours outside, near the trees, hoping for a glimpse.  Trail cams were set up trying to catch the creature.  Bigfoot bait was set out; apples, home baked fruit pies and bacon.  After many hours without a sighting students would give up and retire to their dorms for the night.  Upon waking and checking the area they have found the “treats” to be gone.  One crazy winter the treats were gone and a trail of footprints were left in the snow.  By the size of the footprints it appeared that Squatch had been there.

Today the creature has become more acclimated to the students and has been seen frequently. 

Jeff, a first year student, will not forget the night he and a few friends saw Bigfoot.  “We were sitting by the fire pit, we had a large fire going and all of a sudden, through the fire, we made out the shape of a monstrous ape.  We had heard stories of Bigfoot but never truly believed them.  He stood there, for what seemed like several minutes, before he disappeared as quickly as he had shown up.  We are not sure what attracted him to the fire.  We were making s’mores and I have heard that he does have a sweet tooth.  After the fire we all agreed that we truly felt like a Morrison Tech student – we had received our rite of passage as a freshman student on campus.”

Jennifer, also a first year student, caught a rare glimpse of him during the daytime.  “I was walking behind campus to the Innovation Center.  The trees are very close to the area I was at.  I heard a crazy grunt that shook me for a bit, I turned quickly toward the trees and there he was.  Huge, 7 to 8 feet tall, matted down hair, piercing eyes and holding a book.  I was scared to death.  He did not move but I ran to the IC.  To this day I shiver thinking about the encounter. I was, and am still, confused by the book.  Did he steal this from a student?  Did he venture into our library?  Or the worst case scenario – is this what remains of a missing person?  All three possibilities are a bit unnerving.  I guess I should be happy about this encounter – I am one of the few to have experienced the freshman rite of passage.”

Recently, video footage has even been made of the ape like man.  At times, it appears he is yearning to become a part of the student body. As he has become more accustomed to walking on and around campus Bigfoot crossing signs have been placed on campus warning those to be aware of the creature.

Each year the ritual has been passed down to the incoming class.  Tips and tricks have been told of how to attract him; besides serving the perfect feast, pounding on trees and howling have been known to draw him in. Every year more and more sightings have happened allowing many first year students to experience their rite of passage.

The college has embraced the creature – he has become part of the Morrison Tech family.  Not only do we believe in Bigfoot but….

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