Saturday, March 26, 2011

First Review of Thom Powell's 'Shady Neighbors'

"Bombs away!"

     No, it's not what the reviewers are saying about Thom Powell's new book Shady least not to my face. But it did seem like a cute way to introduce the subject of critcal review.  The real reason for this photo of antique war birds will be explained a few paragraphs further down.
    But first, in just over a week since Shady Neighbors was released, Joe Beelart, author, editor, and literary critic from West Linn, Oregon has already managed to read it and write the first review.  So, if you are still on the fence about whether to invest your hard-earned cash on this book, maybe Joe's review will be of some use. If any other readers out there want to write a review, I will be happy to post it. So will Amazon. Meanwhile, this is what Joe Beelart has to say:

     "The boys of summer come big, hairy, and silent in Thom Powell’s new novel about baseball, Bigfoot, and life on the edge of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains.  Thrown into the mix of edge-of-the-forest characters is a beady-eyed land developer who will stop at nothing to carve a mountain resort out of a pristine field of dreams … oh the heartless greedy scum!  Riding hard to the rescue is our hero, Sam, a mild mannered science school teacher with genes drained straight from Genghis Kahn, and his son, major-league-pitcher-to-be-someday, Jack.

A cosmic grade conservation battle begins when young ball player turned herpetologist Jack serendipitously pockets an uncooperative snake we later find may be unknown to science!  Enter the university troglodytes’ intent on slapping their names on the new species.  But, the women graduate students sent to inquire into the new beastie turn out to be not such bad folk, what with their Porche, vans,  youthful bodies, propensity toward excessive intakes of wine around a campfire, and Elvis, an erstwhile heroic dog with a inclination to chase things that walk silently in the night.

So, just how do Our Barefoot Friends work into the mix?  Based largely on true events now novelized, from his forest hiding place, one hairy, never-to-be seen fan tosses a long lost baseball back into Jack’s practice field.  Jack thinks it fun and begins a regular hit-in, toss-out practice, much to his father Sam’s chagrin when he discovers what’s going on.  Then, back to our supple graduate students studying things wild up the hill … they are well-noticed by one of The Locals.  Oh, so much fun … girls, baseball, Bigfoots, and a nefarious businessman.  What better summer reading?

Shady Neighbors is available through and a few quality local bookstores.  For a signed copy, please contact the author through his e-mail: ."   

     Of course, Joe is being kind.  He sidesteps every opportunity to be as scathing as reviewers are expected to be. He could have, for example, said that the characters could use more development.  While this could be said for most novels written by inexperienced writers like me, lots of character development, a la Charles Dickens, adds greatly to the volume of reading.   I made a conscious decision to keep the story 'plot driven' rather than 'character-driven.' This keeps the story moving, and it keep the total number of words below a hundred thousand (I came in at 98,600).  I'm told the story reads like a movie. I'll take that.
     As a bigfoot enthusiast himself, 'Joe the Reviewer' could have also objected to the fact that bigfoot didn't get many lines nor a lot of on-screen action. One might ask, "Where's the violent confrontation between the bigfoot and the big game hunter that's a staple in every bigfoot novel ever written? C'mon, Thom!  It's just words on a page. It doesn't cost any more to write in a clan of avenging sasquatches who maraud the landscape, eventually pulling the arms off the story's villian." 
     Instead, the author in question (moi) decided to make the sasquatch a more low-key, keep-to-the-shadows character that's only one of several plot elements.  The idea here is to make a story that will hopefully find a wider audience that just us bigfoot devotees.  Face it folks, the market for bigfoot books is pretty saturated, and the number of bigfoot enthusiasts who also have fifteen bucks to spare for yet another book is not huge.
       This book, whatever it is, has to appeal to a wider audience, not only for the sake of sales, but to 'get the word out'.  Many of us who follow the bigfoot topic do not want to see the creatures themselves bothered by prying human eyes, but we would like to see a wider public recognition of the fact that humanity does indeed share the planet with a race of beings that are as potentially powerful as they are poorly understood.  I see the bigfoot mystery as Nature's biggest secret.  I created a story that tries to advance the credibility of this mystery in the mind of the public by working in dimensions that might resonate with folks outside the small circle of folks who already know that the creatures exist. 
     And so, 'Bigfoot the Monster' was not invited to this plot. Instead, an image of bigfoot is concocted that serves as a role model for the kind of planetary stewardship that we ourselves should aspire to. The Shady Neighbors sasquatch forces us to be introspective. It also embodies the idea that one can accomplish anything if you don't care who gets the credit.  Bigfoot pulls the strings in this story but prefers to do it from behind the scenes, serving as an example to us all who would pursue goals, or the creatures themselves, in pursuit of personal glory or vindication. Bigfoot is the role model in this story and the human 'hero' by comparison, is a self-absorbed idiot who begins to sees the light only around the end of the story. Like I said, the characters could stand to develop a bit more. 
     Like the sasquatch in this story who wants none of the credit for all its' accomplishments, Joe Beelart donated an enormous chunk of his time to sharpening and improving the Shady Neighbors story.  Several other kind souls also edited, corrected, and improved what I attempted to write.  Sally Sheppard, Autumn Williams' mom, was scathingly brutal and fantastically helpful in sharpening my unfocused literary style. I shudder to think what I would have ended up with if she had not donated her time and intellect to this project. The list doesn't end there. Christopher Munch, Tom Yamarone, Kirk Sigurdsen, Toby Johnson, Alicia Bateman, Sarah Ross, Randy Schimmel, and Guy Edwards all contributed their considerable editing and artisitc skills to the Shady Neighbors project. I will be forever grateful to all of them.  
     Writing is such an isolating, introverted experience that one can easily forget to reach out for help from the talented linguists that surround all of us. Reaching out to these people for editorial help was the best move I made. I'm still not sure how good the Shady Neighbors product is, but I know it is vastly better than it would have been if I had not been helped by these generous and articulate souls. 
     If you buy the book you will see that it is dedicated to' Lucky'. With so much editing help to acknowledge, who, people ask, is Lucky? 
     Lucky was a bomber pilot in World War II. He flew B-24 Liberators as shown above. Lucky has to be the best nickname you could possibly have in a war, and Lucky earned that name because he was always really lucky.  In thirty-five missions over hostile territory, with planes dropping out of the sky all around him, Lucky somehow always managed drop his load of bombs and then make a perfect landing back at the base. No one ever bled on Lucky's plane. That alone is a remarkable statistic in light of the gruesome carnage that was a constant presence on those flying deathtraps. Lucky was the first one on his particular  base in England to complete thirty-five mission and qualify to go home alive and uninjured. That's what I call really lucky.
     Lucky isn't alive anymore, but if it wasn't for Lucky, I wouldn't be alive now. Lucky was my dad. Thanks, Lucky. This book's for you.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Getting to Know Your Shady Neighbors

Wanderer Above A Sea of Fog by Caspar David Fredrick, 1818

      Shady Neighbors, the just-released novel by Thom Powell, involves a rural-living family that unintentionally begins to interact with one or more of the local sasquatches.  'Shady neighbors' is a double entendre (a phrase that is meant to be understood in either of two ways)  in that the main character has a conflict with a duplicitous neighbor and a sasquatch. Though the story is fictional, research indicates that interaction with these mysterious beings is indeed possible.  That isn't such a new idea.  I covered the idea pretty thoroughly in The Locals back in 2003. The Albert Ostman story of being abducted by sasquatches goes back to 1924. As a consequence, I am sometimes asked whether it is possible to initiate some kind of interaction with a sasquatch.  Answer: I think so.
          So how might one go about doing that? First, I would caution an interested soul to be careful what you wish for.  You just might get it and you may regret it. The creatures in question have very different individual personalities, just as people do, and some of them may not be all that nice. Once you let them know who you are and where you live, you can't undo that.
     There are places in Oregon where field researchers have experienced such menacing events that some of us feel it is prudent to stay out of those places.  The upper reaches of the Abiqua drainage of west-central Oregon is one such place.  I have not endured anything overly menacing in the Clackamas drainage nearer to my own home, so I have made cautious attempts to interact with the phenomenon in this area for a number of years now.
     Before I proceed, the usual caveats are in order: I don't know anything, I only have strong suspicions based on vague experiences.  Also, there is no such thing as a truly scientific approach to such questions since alleged sasquatch encounters  cannot be replicated at will. So, all I have is a fistful of patterns and tentative conclusions based on unverifiable personal observations. 'Nuff said on that.
     The first thing I think I know is what not to do. You've got to meet these being on their terms and cameras are a big no-no. Microphones and audio tape do not seem to be a 'deal-breaker' but in general, attempts to scientifically document the phenomenon are counterproductive if your goal it to get close to them.  Wearing a side arm may also be allowable provided one's intentions are not to use it on these creatures.  Personally, I don't carry a gun because I don't want the extra weight and I haven't yet encountered a situation where I felt I needed one.  I don't even carry a flashlight most of the time, since I know my area very well and turning it on ruins my night-sight for ten to twenty minutes after I turn it off.
     I travel alone, after dark, of course, but I often will bring the dog since he hates being left behind.  'Wilson' is a docile and friendly golden retriever who seldom barks. He a good indicator of creature presence.  When he becomes fearful and takes off for home without me, something is 'out there.'  An aggressive or high-strung dog that barks a lot is definitely a bad idea.
     My approach has changed over the years.  For a long time, I was looking for evidence and setting out cameras. I've decided to try a different approach, at least for a while.  I am certainly not opposed to those who are still trying to gather good evidence.  I am completely supportive of their efforts and I will share with them any  information I've gathered (as long as they're not trying to shoot something.)  But I'm not pursuing that goal, myself.  I'm not even trying to see one. I am pretty sure I already saw one briefly, but I'm not trying to see one for the same reason I've stopped trying to photograph one: I feel it is counter-productive.  My approach now centers on the idea that you have to meet them on their terms. Let them find you. They're not always there, but even when they are, they are very shy about being seen.
     I know what your thinking: "If you don't want a to collect photographic evidence and you don't even want to see one, what's the point? You're just going to be seen as a delusional idiot who's chasing ghosts."
     No problem. I don't need ridicule in my life so I don't talk about what I'm up to with very many people.  I know they wouldn't understand, and it would take too much time to explain it to them, anyway. But what I am trying to do is use the phenomenon for another purpose, and that purpose is to sharpen my own perceptions and mental processes.
      Allow me to explain. I have noticed that, whenever I am struggling with a difficult problem, a walk in the woods at night always helps, and in most cases, it makes an amazing difference. I have had more good ideas while woods-walking than I can even count.  I'm a writer. The thing writers need more than anything else is inspiration.  Whenever I need inspiration, I go for a walk in the woods.  Usually it's after dark, when the dishes are washed, the homework is done, and the kids are in bed. The daytime woods works well, but the nighttime woods seems to work far better. I try to think loudly when I'm walking.  I think the same thought over and over.  I mull over a question,.I ponder a literary problem.  An answer always comes before I get back home.  I don't know that the sasquatch has anything to do with this.  Maybe they don't. I'm good with that, too. There is plenty of research to suggest that taking any walk is healthful and inspirational even if it is a walk around city blocks or neighborhood streets.
     Still, I think I have noticed a subtle but distinct difference when I take a long walk in a dark woods. I also  sleep out in the woods in the summer. Maybe I am crazy, but the clarity of my thoughts and the richness of the ideas I am able to articulate in writing seems to increase immediate afterward. I don't know where the inspiration comes from, whether it comes from simple relaxation of my own mind, or from somewhere or something outside it.  I guess  I don't care. If it's useful I just want to use it.
     This idea has been around for a long, long time.  These days it is often described as getting in touch with your 'inner muse;' that is, the creative force we all have within even though most of us don't know how to access it.  Ancient Greeks felt that there was a creative force in Nature that came from somewhere outside our being.  It was the god, Pan. The fields, groves, and wooded glens were the domain of  Pan, who could offer inspiration, especially in music and art, to those who sought it there. The Romans agreed, although their equivalent of Pan was called Faunus.  Check out the artistic representation of Pan at right.  It's basically a primate with hooves for feet. (It had a bent-kneed gait that should be familiar to sasquatch researchers.)  A  millennium later, the Romantic Movement of 19th century English and American literature asserted that artistic inspiration came from exposure to "the sublimity of wild nature." They didn't suggest any particular entity or being at the core of this phenomenon, you just got inspiration from being there, as portrayed in the Romantic artwork at the top of this post.
     What ever it is, it works for me if I let it.  I always take a long walk before I do one of these essays. Almost all of the twenty-seven chapters of Shady Neighbors were formulated and honed during midnight walks. How good the book is remains to be seen, but I was constantly amazed by the complexity of the ideas that popped into my head when I thought as I walked at night.  I started carrying a small notebook so I didn't lose the ideas that sometimes broke over me like a wave.  I started carrying a small flashlight that I held in my mouth as I jotted down notes. Later, I bought a small headlamp.  I'm better at remembering the ideas than I used to be, so I don't worry about writing them down as much anymore.
     I was doing an interview the other night on Steve Kulls' Sasquatch Detective and I commented that I'm not looking for sasquatch evidence any more.  I just let the phenomenon wash over me.  I'm sure I sounded all 'new age' and spacey, but maybe this essay helps to clarify the point. Quite often I am surrounded by some sort of creature calls. Usually, it is coyotes or owls, but other times I have no idea what it is.  A pack of coyotes can make some pretty intimidating noises, especially when the noises are coming from the direction I must go in order to get back home. I don't turn on the flashlight or try to scare it away.  I just keep walking, slowly and quietly.  Sometimes, the noises follow me home.
      When it seems close, I talk to it. I don't go out there and ask for things. I try to exude appreciation and gratitude for the inspiration I think I'm getting.  Pretty 'new age' stuff, eh? What I'm doing, in fact, becomes indistinguishable from the prayer that I was taught to do in the Catholic churches of my youth. I'm just doing it in the woods, instead of church, and I'm walking instead of kneeling.  I've heard people say that 'the woods is their church' and I guess I'm starting to feel the same way myself.
     One particular experience is worth describing. On one summer morning last year I woke up before dawn and couldn't get back to sleep. I got dressed, grabbed a blanket and a folding chair, and headed for the forest. When I got to my favorite spot beneath the drooping branches of a big cedar tree, I whacked a tree a couple times with my trusty Louisville Slugger, bundled up against the predawn chill and sat down.  Suddenly, my entire body suddenly felt like it was glowing. I couldn't move. Next thing I knew, I awoke and it was broad daylight, two hours later.  I'm not sure, but I think something happened. Chris Noel and some other researchers I've read call it "getting zapped." I think I got zapped.  Strangely, for the next few days, I experienced a mentally clarity that I never knew before.  When I looked at people's eyes I knew what they were thinking. I knew what they were going to say before they said it.  It really freaked me out.  I was in the midst of writing the novel and I went on a tear.  I must have written ten thousand words in three days.  Eventually, the feeling faded away and I was back to being my old, slightly clueless self. You might say I got a temporary 'software update' on my own mental computer.  You know, like your computer gets when Microsoft sends out the patches and updates that are automatically downloaded to make your computer run better.  It may not ever be provable, but that's what if felt like and it's an analogy we can all understand.
      As previously stated, I really don't know that any of this inspiration stuff is related to the sasquatch phenomenon. Everything I'm describing is based on a hunches, feelings, and instincts.  I am gradually learning how to better trust my instincts.
     A few days ago,  I was having a burger and a beer with my friend Roger Hediger. Roger is a retired cop. He was telling me that, as a former trainer of rookie policemen, he tried to teach them that instincts are an important part of police work.  He related an example in which he once entered a house in pursuit of a suspect and the occupants all fled upstairs. But his instincts told him to go downstairs so that he did, and indeed he found the gangster hiding in a basement closet. In other dangerous situations, Roger listened to the 'vibe' when there was one, and he felt that his instincts kept him alive in a few other tense situations.  Roger also said that, when the situation was tense and he didn't listen to the vibe, someone always got hurt.
     I'm a science teacher.  I also know that that science doesn't have all the answers.  I don't know whether the sasquatch has any connection to the vibes, the ideas, and the inspiration I get when I walk in the woods.    I do know that my interest in the sasquatch led me to this vague but useful phenomenon. Like my friend Roger, I guess I don't always care where the vibe comes from.  I've just learned to listen to it and use it. I get fantastic vibes when I put myself in the middle of a dark forest. When I have a question or a problem, I take it to the woods and I always get an answer. I like that.
     Laugh if you want to, but don't knock it till you've tried it. It does seem that, when I walk the nocturnal woods, the muse, the creativity, the ideas come from outside not inside me. Could there be forces in the Nature that can be accessed and used to help us improve our human condition?  I think so. The Greeks, the Romans, and the 19th century Romantics had different names for them: Pan, Faunus, or Muse.  I call 'em the 'Shady Neighbors.'

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Catastrophe of the Century

    Three years of writing, editing, and proof reading of a fictional bigfoot story came to completion just days before jaw-dropping images of the tsunami transfixed us to the television. It suddenly seemed pointless, even self-absorbed to suggest that anyone should be interested in such an insignificant matter as the completion of some silly novel when images of unspeakable horror and widespread human suffering captured the attention of the world. Clearly, I could see that this was not the week to announce the completion of some made-up story about bigfoot and baseball.
     As if to agree with me, a sudden wind storm knocked out power and electronic media access to most of my home county. Only a day later electricity was restored (Japan should be so lucky) but my corner of Clackamas County still lacked cable TV and internet access for a few more days. I resorted to that quaint but time-honored method of getting information about the events in Asia: I read about it in the newspapers. And when I needed to take my mind off the news of Asian catastrophe, did that the old fashioend way, too. I read a book.
     Days later, the tiny inconvenience I endured was resolved.  Meanwhile, the situation in Japan had gone from bad to far worse.  The double whammy of the history's fifth largest earthquake, followed by the world's most devastating tsunami, has devovled further into a trifecta of terror as multiple runaway nuclear reactors shattered our sense of global security.  Incredibly, not one but three aging General Electric Mark 1 reactors are now in danger of melting down at once.  Human history's worst environmental disaster just went nuclear.
     We will be reading about and watching images of this catastrophe for a very long time.  My heart goes out to the nation of Japan, but this catasptophe is also a global emergency.  Suddenly, just keeping my own household and family running smoothly seemed to be more of a priority than ever, and more of a challenge than ever in light of the indifference of nature and the thoughtlessness of the nuclear industry.  In the news biz they call these stories 'running news' stories.   This one looks like the mother of all running news stories;  the one that may never go away.  After nearly a week of being transfixed by media images and unfolding horrible events, I am overwhelmed.  I cannot even fathom the depths of the suffering and despair that must be rampant among the Japanese victims who are trying to merely survive amidst this epic tragedy. Still worse, these events are too close to home to dismiss as someone else's probelms.  One small ocean basin of a few thousand miles separates us from this global nuclear disaster that threatens to affect everyone on our tiny planet.  The upper atmosphere has a river of air call the jet stream that can circulate contaiminants throughout the hemisphere.
     Who can be expected to be interested in the release of a new book of fiction, when reality is more frightening than anything a fiction writer could make up?  Only a person who is looking for a book that serves as an uplifting distraction from the horrors of reality, I suppose.  At times like this, when the reality of human suffering and environmental disaster weighs heavily on one's consciousness, it is even to give your mind a break.  I'm not saying ignore what may be the biggest catastrophe of our young century.  Just take a break from it if you can. Unfortunately for millions of Japanese, there is no break. 
     If some of you good people are feeling as overwhelmed as I am, please consider sending ordering a copy of my just completed novel, Shady Neighbors. It is not a heavy plot.  It has no blood and gore. Bigfoot is not a violent monster and no one dies a horrible death.  This might actually limit sales a bit, but I'm willing to take that chance.  Being a teacher at heart, I tried to write something that will educate the reader as well as entertains.  I tried to craft a plot that is amusing as well as original, while also writng something that appeals to all the friends I have met (and those I have not yet met) who share my interest in the bigfoot phenomenon. I tried to do the same thing in Shady Nieghbors that Christopher Munch did in his recent movie Letters from the Big Man: present a side of the sasquatch phenomenon that is honest and original; one that the bigfoot creatures themselves might appreciate and enjoy if they read books. 
     If you are frustrated in your attempts to see Christopher's fine film, Shady Neighbors may be the next best thing. Or, it might be the the literary catastrphe of the century. You be the judge. After all, this is my first serious attempt at fiction. It may not be any kind of literary classic, but I tried create a story that was original, somewhat entertaining, and true to the bigfoot phenomenon as I understand it.  I tried to present the some of the nuances and subtleties that will appeal to the advanced devotees of the phenomenon while also telling a story that will entertain and educate the newbies. 
     And where does the baseball fit in to a bigfoot story, you ask? did I say it was a 'bigfoot story?' The Grand Old Game happens to be a perfect metaphor for the human struggle we all endure.  It is also the metaphorical solution to the question of  how we can cope with the challenges that can easily overwhelm us if we let them. We cannot ever give up. We must keep swinging the bat against all odds, because that's the only way to get on base, and ultimately, to win the game. (The cover art created by Guy Edwards tries to make that point in an amusing way.) .And what game contains a more noble and metaphorical goal than the one that is played in a 'park,' and one where the winner of the game is the one who gets back to the home base where the struggle began? 
     If any of this sounds interesting, I hope you like Shady Neighbors if you do buy it. You can find Shady Neighbors on Amazon, or by clicking on the smaller picture of the cover at the top right corner of this WebLog.  Please let me know what you think of it. Post a review on Amazon, post a comment on this blog, or start a thread on Bigfoot Forums.

     Meanwhile, my heart and my prayers go out to our neighbors in Japan. I wish there was more I could do for them.  I will stay attuned to the news, especially since their plight is inextricably tied to our own on this tiny blue marble called earth. But at the end of the day, I will probably turn of the TV and the internet, sit down with a fictional story with a happy ending and remind myself to be thankful that my home is still intact.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Zoo Hypothesis

Lapseritis' first book

      In Sunday's paper, an article stated that a NASA scientist unveiled evidence that there is life else where in the galaxy. He based his conclusion on fossil traces of bacteria found in a rare meteorite. I'm not a bit suprised. Now, we wait for the other shoe to drop.  You know, the one that reveals the evidence of intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy.  I won't be surprised by that announcement either. Not only am I pretty sure that 'they' out there, it is also clear to me that 'they' know we're here, and that 'they' are  keeping an eye on us.  Since this blog has dealt principally with sasquatch matters, I bet you can guess where I am going with this.
     One reason so many people hate the idea that the sasquatch are beings from somewhere else in the galaxy is that it opens a much bigger, uglier can of worms. If the sasquatch are from someplace else, and they ended up here on earth, then there must be still others that come and go as well.  After all, the sasquatch don't look like space travellers.  In truth, they look rather primitive.  Either they are much more sophisticated than they appear, or they got here with the help of still other beings. If they came here all by themselves, that is disturbing enough. If they got here with the help of still other beings, then we've got a much bigger problem to face. It means that earth is known to at least a couple different extra-terrestrial groups, and quite probably, more than just a couple. Taken to its logical conclusion, it then becomes possible, even probable, that our little Earth is on everybody's 'galactic points-of-interest' map.
     Heck, why wouldn't it be?  Even from our limited view, there is nothing as hospitable as our Earth anywhere nearby.  Based on what we've seen of space so far, we inhabit a veritable oasis; a garden like no other.  If this is true, then we would indeed be on all the maps, if for no other reason than our abundant supply of fresh water.  Pure liquid water would be an important and useful commodity to galactic travellers. Simple electrolysis can separate water into hydrogen (for fuel) and oxygen (for breathing and supporting combustion). In other words, we live on a gas station, and I'm guessing that lots of space-faring civilizations know it.  So, how come we don't see more sign of comings and goings by extraterrestrial beings?
     This question has been kicking around for at least sixty years. In 1950, Edward Teller, Enrico Fermi, and a few other nuclear physicists working on the hydrogen bomb got together for some lunch.  At the time, there had also been a spate of UFO sightings in the news. Fermi was asked for his opinion of these reports. Fermi was a brilliant physicist who was widely known for his uncanny ability to formulate accurate estimates based on very little actual data. True to character, Fermi made some quick calculations on his napkin and on that basis, he deduced that there must be many planets in our galaxy that support intelligent life and some of these planets must be capable of space travel. Fermi was left with the inescapable conclusion that Earth must be visited often by aliens, and these visits should have been happening for a very long time.  The fact that there should be lots of alien traffic on Earth that we are not seeing was a bit of a paradox to Fermi.  This unresolved question is still known today as the 'Fermi Paradox.'
     Fermi's himself devised a solution to the 'Fermi paradox' at this same luncheon. He surmised that extra-terrestrials are indeed here, but they stay out of sight, kind of like like visitors at a zoo try to do.  We've all seen the signs: 'Please don't feed the animals.' In Fermi's mind, Earth is the zoo and we are the animals.  Perhaps the alien visitors abide by some form of agreement not to disturb the locals (us).  Fermi's guess as to why we do not see the ET  presence here on earth is known today as the 'zoo hypothesis.'  In essence, Fermi said that the alien presence is conspicuous by virtue of it's absence.
    On Saturday there was yet another interesting article in the paper related to this line of thinking.   Great Britian just released a fresh batch of UFO documents that had long been held secret by their Ministry of Defence. While there were no 'smoking guns' proving the existence of extraterrestrials in these newly released M.O.D. papers, England has again acknowledged that there are files and therefore official government study of this subject. If Great Britian keeps such files, what do you suppose our United States government is sitting on? Clearly, statements by our own government that they do not study UFO's are lies.
     None of this needs to have anything to do with the sasquatch phenomenon.  The mainstream bigfoot enthusiast would argue strenuously that the sasquatch as a species could have evolved right here on earth, probably from a primate ancestor that we humans share with it. I used to feel this way myself. What changed my thinking was a whole series of personal experiences and accounts gathered from others that utterly challenged the notion that we are dealing with just another elusive but earthbound primate species.
     Meanwhile, other paranormal phenomena intersect with the sasquatch phenomenon time and time again, leaving some of us to wonder whether it would be not just expedient but logical to merge the sasquatch phenomenon with at least some of the other paranormal matters, including extra-terrestrials. It would  simplify the realm of the paranormal greatly if we could unify some of the other mysterious phenomena that we believe to exist here on earth. John Keel was a big advocate of this unification and I must admit that from a purely logical point of view, I do like this idea, even though unifying paranormal phenomena also puts any real answers to the sasquatch mystery much further out of reach,  for it implies a much greater degree of sophistication than would be thought possible if the sasquatch was a  purely a terrestrial beast.
         I decided it was time to branch out.  I tried tried to broaden my horizons and learn more about other paranormal phenomena that might have bearing on the sasquatch biz. Strangely, the more I tried to bring in new sources of information and the more I tried to think outside the box, the more it bagan to appear to me that it was actually the scientifically respectable field of astrophysics that held the best possible answers to the sasquatch phenomenon, and some other paranormal phenomena as well.  Even though extra-terrestrial explanations for earth-based mysteries are a fast track to public ridicule, that didn't bother me one bit. After three decades in public education I knew full well that the world is full of misinformed idiots, and the opinions of such people did not matter to me. What did give me considerable pause, though, was to be suddenly considering these creatures I had been pursuing  as something closer to aliens than apes. Yikes! That'll stop you from trying to grab one by the toe.  
     Are the sasquatch a manifestation of extra-terrestrial life or are they just another product of terrestrial evolution? I don't know but I guess I can live with either possibility.  I can, however, see that humans have a connection to matters in outer space that becomes a little clearer almost every time I read another article about astrophysics.  And, if the sasquatch have an alien connection, as Kewaunee Lapseritis has long suggested, then maybe we do, too.  For years, this idea has been championed by yet another distinguished paranormal researcher: Lloyd Pye  Unlike the other paranormal researchers,  Lloyd Pye has even attempted to supply us with what he considers to be evidence of humanity's alien connection: the Starchild skull.  Lloyd has recently mentioned that he has managed to obtain scientific analysis of his evidence.  He feel that 2011 will be a banner year for his ideas and the evidence he has to back them  up.  I hope he's right.
     Meanwhile, not long ago, I wrote one of these blog posts on the scientific search for extra-solar planets. I mentioned the Kepler orbiting telescope that was projected to be operational in a couple years or less.  Within a matter of days, yet another newspaper article appeared, announcing that the Kepler telescope was operational and still more planets had been located. With every passing week, it seems the news is easing  us closer to the ultimate realization that we are indeed intimately connected with the cosmos, as Carl Sagan told us twenty-five years ago.  I think, for this reason alone, it behooves us to learn as much about extraterrestrial and paranormal  matters as we possibly can.  The work of Lapseritis and Pye may indeed move us in the direction of unifying the sasquatch phenomenon with at least some of the other paranormal phenomena we now study separately.
     After having looked into as many other paranormal matters as possible, I considered the sasquatch mystery to be most interesting because it seemed to me to be the most accessible. It seems so solvable.  Now, I'm not so sure.  I have been warned that it is really the tip of the iceberg.  There is a great deal more to it than what it first appears. Lloyd Pye suggests that the same may even be true for human origins. Mainstream scientists roll their eyes at this, but such ideas also serve to provide a possible answer to the Fermi paradox. 

Jeff Meldrum (l), Powell, and Lloyd Pye
     Enrico Fermi wondered where the ET's were that, by all rights, should be dropping in on planet Earth. Kewaunee Lapseritis has been trying to give us a reasonable answer to that question for years:  They're in the woods! Right outside of town! They're the sasquatch, in which case, us sasquatch researchers are in way over our heads. I'm starting to see his point.

Kewaunee Lapseritis

By the way,
Kewaunee Lapseritis has a new book, which I have sent away for, but I have not yet read. Interested folks can purchase the book directly from the author.  Send $20 plus $5 shipping to:
Kewaunee Lapseritis
P.O. Box 1062
Duvall, WA 98019