A Minnesota man who said he seeks to connect with Sasquatch on a spiritual level believes he was the hairy creature that the team from Bigfoot 911 encountered in the woods of McDowell County Friday night.

Gawain MacGregor, 36, said it was a case of mistaken identity while he was performing a shamanistic ritual in the woods.

“Shamanistic traditions are the oldest in the world so to me it’s not that out of the ordinary,” he said to The McDowell News. “For me, it’s no different than going to church on Sunday.”

MacGregor said he was vacationing in east Tennessee and western North Carolina last week where he traveled to different places like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Rock City and Asheville. He said to The McDowell News his home base was in Pisgah while here in western North Carolina.

MacGregor said he is a Christian who incorporates aspects of the ancient Assryo-Bablyonian religions predating Christianity into his beliefs.

“I am a Christian but I research the source material of the Old Testament,” he said to The McDowell News.

He maintains a blog at http://enkiduism.blogspot.com/#. In it he discusses the Epic of Gilgamesh and an ancient character called Enkidu, which sounds a lot like Bigfoot.

“Enkidu was created by the Goddess Aruru in response to the prayers of the citizens of Uruk, to act as a counterbalance to their king, Gilgamesh, who had lost his connection with nature,” he writes in his blog. “He is described as extremely powerful, being two thirds beast, one-third man and having a body covered in thick hair. He drank from the rivers, grazed from the fields and galloped through the forests, sharing a union with nature long lost to humans.”

As part of his beliefs, MacGregor said he tries to connect with Enkidu or Sasquatch on a spiritual level. He used raccoon skins to create a special garment that he wears for this ritual.

“As a practitioner of Enkiduism, the foremost sacrament I practice is the wearing of hair-covered animal skins and wandering in the forest, the same way Gilgamesh honored him thousands of years ago. While this may seem unusual, the practice actually dates back to long before Gilgamesh, as images of shaman dressed as animals appear as far back as the Neolithic paintings in France's Trois-Frères cave. Even today, there are hundreds of shamanistic traditions around the world that involve dressing in a similar way. To join this ancient lineage, and to honor Enkidu, I sewed animal hides together, fabricating my own ritual garments.”

When he first did this ritual, he cleared his mind of all thoughts and entered a deep trance state, allowing himself “to become possessed by the spirit of nature and opening communication with the individual elements around me,” according to his blog.

He also recites what he calls the Sasquatch prayer.

“Hear me O Sasquatch, children of Enkidu, in your great mercy, may you walk forever before me, guiding me through the forest and guarding me from every danger that may come,” reads the prayer on his blog.

MacGregor told The McDowell News he was in woods performing this ritual when the researchers from Bigfoot 911 encountered him.

“That was me,” he said. “It’s not a coincidence.”

MacGregor said he quickly walked away from them and did not throw rocks at anyone. John Bruner with Bigfoot 911 said earlier that someone was throwing rocks at his team after they encountered the alleged Bigfoot.

Many have wondered why no one was able to get a photograph of the supposed creature that was seen near Lake James. Bruner said earlier that he and others did not have their cameras with them at that moment.

MacGregor said he’s not surprised there are so few photos of Bigfoot. He said when you encounter the half-man, half-beast creature you are not thinking about taking pictures.

“I’ve seen Sasquatch before and I didn’t have a camera,” he said to The McDowell News. “It’s a moment to reflect on what’s going on. It’s a spiritual experience.”

MacGregor said he returned to his home in Minnesota on Sunday but he plans to come back to western North Carolina.

“I had a great time,” he said. “I love the area. I’ve even talked about moving there.”

What is interesting is that both MacGregor and the team from Bigfoot 911 were searching for Sasquatch in the woods of McDowell County Friday but using different methods. MacGregor had his shamanistic ritual with the animal-skin garment while Bruner and his team had electronic photography and sound equipment.

“I think we were both looking for the same thing,” MacGregor said to The McDowell News. “We just were doing it two different ways.”