Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Spy vs. Spy
As was suggested in a previous blog post, bigfoot researchers are basically spies. We wish we could do science, we try to do science, but most of what we end up doing is a lot closer to 'intelligence' gathering. Well, there's one potentially disturbing but well known fact in spy circles: it's spy vs. spy all the way. While you are spying on the rogue elements, who ever they are, they will be most certainly be spying right back. That includes the sasquatch.
It gets better. The biggest surprise of my entire experience in the strange world of bigfoot research was the realization that, while I was attempting to study 'them', they had been studying me. They knew where I lived and they made that fact perfectly clear.
Done laughing yet? Good. Allow me to explain. It all began when I was studying the habituation claims of Allen and April Hoyt at their residence outside Onalaska, Washington. I was the lead researcher but it was a team effort and we at BFRO had cameras and video systems on the site, and I was spending a lot of time working on equipment and just hanging out in the woods at this site some 100 miles from my own home in Oregon.
Once, I spent a particularly long summer night in the Hoyts' woods after a spate of eyeball sightings by the residents. On this particular night, I camped out in their woods until 3 a.m., whacking trees with a bat and listening for responses. Eventually, it became time to face the reality that I was not going to get any response from The Locals that night. Due to my own family obligation, I elected to do a couple hours of red-eye driving so I could be home for a full day the following day. That was a drive I hope I never have to repeat. It was torture. By some miracle, I made it home in one piece just before sunrise and I've never been happier to arrive at the driveway of my own rural homestead. I stepped out of my pick-up, zombie-like, leaned against the fender, and basked in the triumph of making it safely home. At that precise moment, from the deep woods at the far end of my property, came of three sharp, booming tree whacks!
I could not believe what my own ears were hearing. I was also so exhausted that I could not even consider taking a detour into my wood to check thing out. I was too exhausted to do anything but stand there in wonderment. But the remarkable irony of the situation was certainly not lost on me. The noise I was hearing in my own woods was the same three-knock pattern I had been using all night. After spending all night whacking trees a hundred miles from my home, trying to send signals of good will toward 'them', 'they' were now letting me know they heard me, but precisely at the time when I was too exhausted to follow up.
The timing was uncanny. I couldn't help but wonder if this was their idea of a joke. I had just traveled one hundred bleary-eyed miles and there was no denying that the loud, clear knocks were done for my benefit. At that pre-dawn hour, I was the only conscious soul in the vicinity. I had just turned off my car's engine and I was standing outside, alone, and taking a moment to recover from my automotive ordeal.
The implications were nothing short of enormous: not only had 'they' heard my noises at Allen and April's, but they apparently had no intention of answering me there. Yet, they evidently knew where I lived and they somehow were able to follow me there and use my own signal pattern to answer me in my own woods as soon as I arrived home! But how was that possible? I had just driven a hundred miles. I certainly didn't set any speed records but I must have averaged forty miles per hour. Can they also travel that fast? Or could they use some form of communication to contact other, more local bigfoot individuals and tell them that I was heading their way, and it was time to give me a taste of my own noise-making medicine.
Okay, now you can laugh. I know I did, because I got the overwhelming sense that they were back there in the woods laughing at me and slapping each other on the back. I think I turned toward the woods and shouted some sort of expletive, raised my middle finger, then stumbled in to the bed I had been eagerly anticipating for the past few hours.
You better believe I did not relate the incident to my skeptically-minded 'flesh and blood' colleagues at BFRO. Heck, I was as much a part of the 'flesh and blood' mindset as anyone up to that point.
But this was also the first of several events that forced me to re-evaluate my way of regarding the bigfoot phenomenon. This was the very first clearly 'paranormal' event I had personally experienced while conducting my own effort to gather empirical data on the existence of the sasquatch. I had no way of explaining what just happened but I was certain that it happened.
Eventually, a few other equally paranormal events happened to me which would take many more words to relate than I can put into this blog post. To make a long story short, some strange and foreign animal parts appeared on my property, some equally weird circumstances led to the acquisition of interesting video images at Allen and April's, and the application of lessons learned at Allen and April's led to an unexpectedly successful result for the Skookum Expedition during that same year (2000).
Even though I was noticing these puzzling, if not bizarre coincidences as they occurred, I refused to embrace any kind of paranormal interpretation. Only Erik Beckjord did stuff like that in those days. Nor did I tell anyone else. I just kept my mouth shut.
Then someone handed me the book, The Mothman Prophecies, by John Keel. In that book, the author is a Chicago journalist assigned to investigate a cluster of paranormal events in northern West Virginia around the town of Point Pleasant. Eventually, Keel concludes that some sort of extraterrestrial beings are at the core of what is going on and about the time that he makes this realization, the beings themselves endeavor to get in touch with the author and let him know that they have been studying him all the while that he was trying to gather information on them. This brings me to John Keel's two very profound and very troubling ideas about paranormal research that he raises of his book, The Mothman Prophecies.
First key idea John Keel puts forward: In the study of paranormal matters, the phenomenon you are studying changes in response to your study of it. Just like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle of subatomic physics, you impact the very phenomenon you are studying and it changes in response to your attempts to quantify it. Second, the entities you are studying are sufficiently intelligent and aware of your interest in them that they also study you. Spy vs. spy. In the case of The Mothman Prophecies, the mysterious entities were also considerate enough to let John Keel know that they knew what he was up to.
It's hard to describe the feeling I had when I finished that book. I sat on my sofa and stared at my ceiling for hours, trying to deny that what I just finished reading seemed to have enormous implications for the informal but serious scientific pursuit of sasquatch evidence I had been conducting at Allen and April's for the past two years.
Like most bigfoot researchers, I avoided anything to do with the word 'paranormal,' I did not see my interest in the sasquatch phenomenon as being connected in any way to the ET-based phenomena that John Keel seemed to be writing about, yet the eery similarities were enough that I got up the courage to finally share some my weird experiences and suspicions with others. Much to my surprise, I began to find that at least a few other serious devotees of the sasqutch phenomenon did indeed have experiences that were similar, if not identical to mine.
Some ten years later, several other people in my circle of bigfoot-researcher acquaintances agree that they have noticed subtle indications that the sasquatch they are studying do indeed know where they (the researcher) live, and that the bigfoot creatures seem to know a great deal more about the patterns of comings and goings that the researchers exhibit as they travel to and from their remote camera-bait stations.
I must emphasize that not everyone who studies bigfoot has such suspicions, in fact most do not. I was over at Cliff Barackman's place the other evening and we were talking about this subject that I planned to write a blog post about. Cliff is as serious as any so-called bigfoot researcher I know, but he could not relate to my thoughts at all. He confessed that he had no spooky experiences or events to relate. I told him, "That's okay with me. Just keep your eyes open, especially right around your own place, and notify me if anything changes." Cliff said he would, then he kicked me out.
So there you have it folks: That's the kind of stuff you sometimes get when you try to use 'intel' to assemble patterns that speak to the more subtle aspects of the suspected interaction between the sasquatches and us humans. Obviously, this kind of thing is the reason why intel is not an acceptable avenue for so many bigfoot researchers: it is too vague, too squishy, and much too open to possible misinterpretation. I'm told that everything I am describing here is best explained by coincidence or my own hyperactive imagination. In other words, I'm crazy.
But, since I read John keel's book, I have decided I can live with that. I feel much better knowing that if I'm crazy, so was John Keel (he died recently), and so is a growing body of other researchers I have come upon who invoke very similar experiences.
I will finish this rambling blog entry by saying that this whole line of thought and investigation has had a profound effect on the way I conduct sasquatch research.When someone says, "Hey Thom, are you still looking for bigfoot? " I smile and reply, "No, I don't look for bigfoot, anymore. Bigfoot knows where I live. I let bigfoot find me." We both laugh at the self-important arrogance of my statement . They assume I'm kidding. I'm not. Thanks to The Mothman Prophecies I can now say there is even a bit of a precedent for my egocentric attitude. Besides, there is one other distinct advantage to this new take on bigfoot research:
It's a very liberating point of view. I don't drive hundreds of miles any more to follow up on each and every sighting report I catch wind of. Been there, done that. I think I better understand now the futility of that endeavor. Besides, it's just barely possible that, after 'chasing bigfoot' for years if not decades, the sasquatches know where I live. Perfect. I say, let the bigfoots find me, for a change.
This way, I can have a life. I can spend a lot more time close to home, just hanging out, listening, and appreciating my own nocturnal woods and rural surroundings. And think of the gasoline I'm saving...
Posted by Thom Powell at 11:28 PM