Friday, December 7, 2012

Finding Bigfoot by Blimp: Really?


     At first, I thought they were kidding.  When I saw a photo of the aircraft shown above, I was immediately taken aback. It was a dirigible alright (a steerable lighter-than-air ship) but, was it a rigid airship (a zeppelin) or a giant gas bag (a blimp)?  I went to their website and learned that it was a tandem blimp that The Falcon Project is proposing to deploy, with mounted cameras, in hopes of gathering compelling footage of a sasquatch from the sky!  Stunning. 
     First, I should say that I saw on the website that Jason Valenti is one of the two directors of the project, and a nicer guy does not exist on this planet. Jason once asked me to speak at his conference in Bellingham.  I had a spendid time. Jason was a great organizer and a super nice guy. I have fond memories of that conference, especially an afternoon spent driving Bob Gimlin around Bellingham, looking for a set lost of keys (we found them).
      I only know of William Barnes through some Facebook groups and he has always been polite and informative. I wish both gentlemen nothing but success on this venture, and by utilizing the keen mind of Bill Dranginnis, the most knowledgeable and experienced camera expert in the whole Bigfoot biz, I think they are maximizing their chances of technological success.  Still, I can't help but wonder about some HUGE potential problems that come to mind when I ponder such a wild idea.
     Where to begin?  People post photos and videos on YouTube all the time of sasquatches that are taken at lesser distances, and they impress no one.  No matter how genuine  the video appears, it is always dismissed as fake, never gaining traction. I've seen lots and lots of YouTube video that look genuine, and no one ever cares. So, it seems even less likely that any video shot from the air would ever be good enough to impress such a jaded public. Even if the blimp-cam did manage to get video, what will it look like? What possible subject definition could be achieved from above? If ground-level video from the side doesn't impress people, how is it possible to get a picture from above that will look like anything except an undefined blob moving across the landscape?
      Speaking as a guy who has spent a whole lot of time 'squatching' in forests of the Pacific Northwest, I'm pretty sure the favored habitat of the creatures in question is dense forest. What good is any aircraft in finding anything under the canopy of dense forest? Last summer, Bob Faust took me for a ride in his light plane and we flew over areas in the upper reaches of the Clackamas River where I know sasquatches reside. As we circled the steep, forested drainages I suddenly understood why it was so difficult for American forces in Viet Nam to locate the Ho Chi Min Trail and the North Vietnames Army that was using that trail network to resupply and deploy troops. There is no commercially available surveillance system that can penetrate dense jungle canopy.  And the forests of the Pacific Northwest are every bit as dense as the jungles of southeast Asia. After an hour of circling perfect sasquatch habitat, the futility of our plan to spot a sasquatch from the air was utterly apparent.  We kept at it for a while longer if only to justify the trip, but after spending that afternoon surveying potential bigfoot habitat from the air, I can say that the chances of spotting a sasquatch from the air, in forested terrain is zilch.
     I'm not saying it might not work in other places with less forest canopy, but I would emphatically advise my good friends at the Falcon Project to not waste their precious time and blimp gas over the forests of western Wasington, Oregon, British Columbia, or even northern California. Maybe Texas, or parts of Idaho have a more broken forest canopy that would allow them to see the ground.  Fine. Concentrate on those areas, but forget about forested terrain. Period.  FLIR, heat-sensing optics, you say? Ha. The canopy is waaay to thick.  Even if you did get an image, it will be a certified blobsquatch. Remember, if it isn't as good or better than the Patterson-Gimlin footage, no one will be impressed, and, in my view, there is zero chance of approximating the PGF from the air, even if one had the use of a U-2 spy plane.
     Last time I checked, the sasquatch were principally nocturnal. They might move around during the day, but only with the utmost caution. Do the Falcon Project principals really expect that the sasquatch are going to move about with reckless abandon as the dirigible circles overhead? I saw on the Falcon Project website that the tandem blimp was nearly silent. I doubt this.  I've been to golf tournaments where blimps circle overhead. Granted, they're much bigger than the radio-controlled   (R-C) blimp that is being proposed, but the blimps I've seen make so much racket that I don't know how the golfers can concentrate on their shot. The R-C blimp may be smaller, but the wilderness is also a whole lot quieter than a golf course. I see zero chance of achieving stealth with any motorized contraption, not only because of the mechanical noise of the craft, but also because of the obvious visual give-away of a friggin' blimp circling overhead!
     I think my own biases, vis-a-vis the biases of the Falcon Project team members has to be reckoned with. Even before I published The Locals in 2003, I was going around to places like Jason Valenti's conference and saying that the sasquatch were super intelligent.  Based on my own crude field experiments, I concluded that sasquatch intelligence was at least as great as ours. In my field experiemnts, the sasquatch  had demonstrated (to my satisfaction) the ability to generate infrasound, to disable electronics, including cameras, from a distance, to somehow cloak their presence, and even temporarily paralyze people and animals in their tracks. Few agreed with my radical conclusions.  I had no unassailable proof, just some annecdotal data. I'm good with that.
     On the other hand, the text on the Falcon Project website repeatedly refers to the sasquatch as the North American Ape. Yikes! Granted, we are all, technically, apes.  I get that, too. But as a matter of strategic planning, it seems to me a fundamental flaw, a deal breaker, really, to regard the sasquatch as any kind of ape, especially in the intelligence department. Rule number one of any adversarial engagement: Never underestimate your opponent.
      For the sake of the success of the Falcon Project, I hope I am wrong in my assesment of sasquatch intelligence, even though I don't think so.  Still, I have always encouraged each and every bigfoot researcher to develop their own hypothesis about what was going on, and then put it to the test. I know plenty of folks who, even at this late stage of the game, are still trying to 'bait the ape.'  After trying that approach myself for nearly ten years and watching others pursue it for twice that long, I'm pretty sure it won't work, so I'm also pretty sure that a tandem R-C blimp, motors humming, is not going to catch a sasquatch out in the open, in broad daylight for an impromptu photo session. I'm not saying they shouldn't try. In fact, I would love to see them try. I just doubt they will succeed, and the reasons extend well beyond my estimation of sasquatch intelligence.
     I think the biggest unexpected speed-bump on the road to aerial sasquatch photography is the utter vastness of the terrian that would have to be covered. Just the Mount Hood National Forest alone, one insignificant little patch of forest terrain, is a million acres. One could peer into that abyss, taking picutures as you go, for the rest of your life, and not cover all the ground there is to cover. To try and cover even a fraction of the truly vast wild areas on this continent where a sasquatch could reside, seems utterly futile. There's just way to many hiding places out there for a even hundred blimps to survey.
     Then there are the mechanical problems. I spent a large part of my youth building and flying radio-controlled aircraft. No blimps, mind you, just planes. One technical glitch is all it takes to lose your aircraft.  Even over open fields, I lost planes and never found them again. I fear that, when trying to operate over wilderness, the Falcon Project will lose their expensive dirigible in the first week of operation. Foul weather, high winds, steep, mountainous terrain are only the beginning. The FAA may shut them down if they fly too high.  High-tension wires will be a problem if they fly too low. There's rules about flying over designated wilderness.  Juvenile delinquents and even adults on the ground with rifles will find that a slow moving blimp makes an easy target. I don't see any way they will be able to operate the blimp safely at night.  Heaven forbid the thing crashes into transmission lines, automobile traffic, or interferes with other air traffic.  The Falcon Project might want to get some liability coverage on their aircraft before the first launch.
     When people who know of my interest in the subject want to make conversation, they usually say, "Hey Thom, found Bigfoot yet?"  I always answer, "I don't look for Bigfoot. I let Bigfoot find me."
It sounds like a wisecrack and it always has the desired effect of confusing the person doing the asking, but it's actually not as much of a wisecrack as it sounds. All my successes with encountering a sasquatch have come when I wasn't actively pursuing a sasquatch encounter. They have come when I  just put myself in a suitable location and stayed put, trying to project and unassuming, non-threatening profile, and then letting the phenomenon, whatever it entails, come find me.  It's an arogant thought, in a way, but it works.   On the other hand, technological approaches and active purusit has never worked for me.
     Still, I must say, the sheer scope of the project they are proposing is  so audacious that I would love to see them try.  Besides, as much as I have my way of doing things, I have always supported and offered free advice to those who wanted to try it another way.  So, I hope I'm wrong about the Falcon Project.  Heck,  I'm cheering for William, Jason, Bill, Jeff, and the rest.  I hope they get their dirigible in the air and get the high-quality video they're after.  Beyond the fact that  'chasing bigfoot' from the ground or from the air seems futile, I suspect that mechanical problems and unforseen issues relating to terrain and weather will cause their plans, like all the other best-laid plans of mice and men, to go assunder.  Not to mention the fact that I think they are underestimating their opponent.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Best Bigfoot Book of 2012


     I try to read every new bigfoot book.  I may have missed a few, but of all the new Bigfoot books I've read in 2012, Visitors In The Twilight by Lori and Jeff Chandler was my definite favorite.
      Mind you, it's not a book for everyone.   If you are a dyed-in-the-wool advocate of the position that Bigfoot is an undiscovered wood ape, you should definitely avoid this book.  If, on the other hand, you are open to the idea of sasquatches being habituated to certain humans, this book is a definite case history to support that possibility. If you are troubled by the idea that the sasquatch phenomenon may be somehow related to other 'paranormal' phenomena, especially extraterrestrials, you will hate this book.  Frankly, the fact that co-authors Lori and Dustin Chandler courageously took on that issue is one reason why I found Visitors in the Twilight to be so unique and interesting.
     It's also a very unpretentious work.  The authors self-published the hundred page document without the benefit of offset printing.  The format is 8 1/2 by 11" and the cover art is colored-pencil. In this respect, the Chandler's contribution to bigfoot literature is very similar to Jan Carter and Mary Green's Fifty Years With Bigfoot (2003)  It has the same down-to-earth, no-frills style.  There are typos, the writing style is unpolished, and the photos are poor quality.  For this reason, many will find fault with Visitors  just as they did with Fifty Years when it was released.  In my view, the salt-of-the earth tone of this mew book speaks to the authenticity of their rural roots and their determination to get their fascinating story into print, despite a lack of support from any professional book publisher. More than anything else, this is what I like about Visitors: it is courageous, sincere, and exactly what I have learned to expect from the genuine situations where a group of sasquatches have become habituated to a rural family. I find the upretentious-ness of this book to be endearing.   It isn't a great literature work, but I don't think it wasn't meant to be.  It's just an  accurate and personal description of the sasquatch-related events that found a rural Georgia family that never went looking for bigfoot.  Indeed, they weren't even interested in bigfoot before all the weirdness bagan to happen right around their own home. And I for one, am grateful of the fact that they went to the time and trouble to write it all down.  I'm also grateful to Molly Lebherz of San Diego for steering me toward the Chandlers book.
      If you're curious about how an actual sasquatch habituation situation unfolds, this is a must-read.  To my knowledge, the only way to obtain a copy is to send a check for $18 dollars to:

                                      Lori and Dustin Chandler
                                      P.O. Box 214
                                      Roopville, Georgia 30170

     Two events loom large in  this upcoming month that may bode well for the sale of bigfoot-related literature.  First, of course, is Christmas: a good time to buy a bigfoot book for that cryptozoology devotee on your list.  Also, it appears that Christmas is about to come early for us bigfoot devotees. We are about to see publication of the much anticipated Bigfoot DNA study by Dr. Melba Ketchum et al.  Internet chatter is already sky high. A pre-publication press release has already appeared.  Ketchum has promised an official announcement in a matter of days.  No word yet on what scientific journal will be publishing the landmark 5-year study, but I'm keeping my eye on the American Journal of Human Genetics.   Most journals publish at the beginning of the month, which is a only week away, so keep your eyes open this week for the big announcement. 
     One would expect that, with a lot of new interest in the Bigfoot subject, that should mean a big interest in books on the subject. May I then, recommend two very different but very interesting new books on this subject: Visitors in the Twilight by Lori and Dustin Chandler, and Shady Neighbors, by yours truly, Thom Powell.
  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Elbe Trackway: I Doubt It


Tracks on the sandbar in Elbe, Washington prior to casting (Joe Beelart in background).

     When I was first told of the Elbe track find, my immediate impression was that lightning doesn't strike twice.   Finding another extended trackway within a hundred miles of Portland, only eight months after the London find, was just too good to be true.  And when something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Still, my policy has always been to keep an open mind and collect all the evidence one can, and sort it all out later.  So, Joe Beelart and I left Portland before dawn with a lot of casting material and spent the day casting everyting in sight on the sandbar along the Nisqually River outside Elbe, Washington.

     On the day we cast the tracks, I was optimistic and hopeful that I had collected a dozen or so genuine bigfoot tracks.  But collecting bigfoot tracks isn't like fishing.  In fishing, you know what you have as soon as you reel it in. But in bigfoot research, you don't know what you have for days, maybe weeks afterward. Only when the track casts have cured enough to clean, inspect, and analyze do you really know what you have.  Beyind the casts themselves, the surroundings have to be searched and even the reporting party's reputation and reliablility has to be checked.

     I'm still not done, but it's been two weeks since I collected track casts in Elbe.  I still have not seen any of the other track casts that were collected by other researchers, and I still don't know anything about the original reporting party. All I really know is what the track casts in my posession are telling me but already the Elbe trackway has begun to stink. After cleaning and examining the tracks in my posession, I'm inclined to say that the Elbe trackway looks fake. 

     First of all, the tracks looked O.K. in the ground, but once I cleaned the casts, I noticed that they looked very flat.  There is no sign of any kind of mid-foot flexibility, no pressure ridge, and no dermal ridges in any of the thirteen trackcasts I collected.

      I never expected that the London casts collected back in February of this year would be so helpful, but they made very useful comparison material, and the differences are striking.  the London casts portray a smaller foot and presumable a smaller creature, but the toes and ball of the foot penetrate much deeper into the lakebed sediments, yet the heel of the London tracks is faint. The heel on alomst every London track penetrates much shallower than the toes.  Now look at the Elbe impressions.  What do you see?  I see very even penetration from heel to toe.  Hmmm. Also, the toes on the London tracks display quite a bit of variation in their splay from one track to the next.  In some tracks, only three toes are eveident.  In most of the London tracks, four toes are evident.  Only rarely in the London track can all five toes be seen in the impressions.

   On the other hand, in the Elbe trackway, I cast thirteen tracks and in every case, all five toes are equally evident.  ther is no variation whatsoever. The toes on the Elbe prints penetrate the ground just as deeply as the heel and the rest of the foot. Indeed, the toes are so uniform in their penetration as to be utterly suspicious. Clearly, it suggests the possibility that two and only two rigid wooden forms, strapped to a person's feet, were used to lay down the entire trackway.  There just isn't any change in the spacing of the toes from one track to the next, the way we saw in the London casts. That suggests fake feet that do not change shape the way real feet and real toes shift and spread from one step to the next.  Again, there is absolutely none of the variation in toe splay that is so evident in the London casts.
Note how even is the penetration of this foot impression in the 'rock flour' on the beach in Elbe, WA.  The toes and forefoot of the London was much deeper that the hind end of the foot in the London trackway.  Suspicious? I think so.

    In the London tracks, one does not find any dermal ridges.  The lack of dermal ridges is understandable in light of the fact that the tracks were rained upon for the better part of a week before they were cast.  In the Elbe trackway, the tracks were cast within days of their creation, and, absolutely no rain had fallen with the entire previous month. Yet these super fresh tracks that I have show absolutely no dermal ridges that I could find.  Granted, there are other tracks that were taken before I got there and I assume they were the best of the lot.  Still, there ought to be something by way of dermals on my casts but, for the life of me, I can't find them. Yet, other barefoot tracks (clearly human) from the same beach had dermal ridges all over them.  Suspicious indeed!
    
     When I first saw the Elbe tracks, the other thought that immediately occured to me was that the tracks were so conspicuously placed that it seemed we were meant to find them. This baffled me somewhat, because I have always said (and written) that the sasquatch are smart enough to avoid leaving obvious tracks. The Elbe tracks were a clear departure from my rule.  Granted, the London tracks were also rather conspicuous, but at least they were laid down in winter when daylight is short, people get out less, and the location was more remote.  In contrast, the Elbe tracks were laid down on a beach right outside the hamlet of Elbe, there was a busy road adjacent to the beach, it was late summer rather than winter, and most damning, the trackway went right through the softest, wettest, most perfect mud for tracking that could be found anywhere on that particular beach.  I even mentioned to Joe on the way home that the tracks seemed like a 'throw down'. That is, they were so ideally placed, and in such an ideal time of year, that it seemed to be a virtual invitation to find and cast these conspicuous tracks. Joe and I even discussed the possibility that, if they were genuine bigfoot tracks, maybe the sasquatch was doing us researchers a deliberate favor by leaving such ideal tracks in such an ideal location.    

    Stride length of the Elbe trackway was another red flag that I noticed at the site. The London trackway, with smaller footprints, averaged 46 inches. None of us at the London site could easily match the stride between tracks unless we jumped from track to track. There were only a few places where the stride at the London site was able to be matched by us human researchers. It was all a bit uncertain at the Elbe site because so many of the tracks had been cast and removed before we got there, but when I compared my stride to the cavities where track casts had been lifted, the stride was easily matchable. I took a measurement of 39 inches between tracks at two places in Elbe. ( Note the tracks in the photo at the top of this essay. Those tracks are less than 38 inches apart, which is well within a the stride of a six foot tall person.)  I guess we decided that, in the case of the Elbe tracks, a sasquatch may not always stride out as far as it is capable of, so we dismissed the concern at the time.

     Once I cleaned the tracks and began to inspect them over a week later, my thinking began to change.  I still felt the tracks to be a 'throw down' but the uniformity and consistency of the tracks suddeeny began to suggest that the 'throw down' was at the hands of a hoaxer, not a benevolent sasquatch.   That's where I stand on the matter as of right now.  Once I seem more of the casts, perhaps my doubts will be assuaged. If that happens, then I will admit my error.  If I can learn more about the reporting party, that would help, too. So far, I know nothing. 

      The fact that the tracks were reported to the BFRO website is not a source of reassurance.  Nothing against the good people who investigate the sightings that are received by BFRO. Indeed, they are friends and I appreciate the fact that I was cordially notified of the track find, being that I am not a card-carrying BFRO investigator. Make no mistake about it: hoaxes are rare. Sadly, though, they do happen and the more prominent the website, the more likely they are to be a 'shit magnet' for the few pathetic scum bags and losers out there who would lie about a sighting or counterfeit physical evidence.  (By the way, it's not usually a simple prank; it's a calculated effort to sabotage the efforts of sincere investigators like BFRO in the eyes of the general public.)

     By comparison, the London casts were not reported to any website or organization.  It was word of mouth communication by known and traceable individuals that led the research community to that particular track find. The impeccable credentials of the reporting party makes the London trackway a  useful standard of what we hope for in a reporting party. On the other hand, the London trackway was also a disaster as far as weather for casting tracks, although the  weather was better for Cliff than the rest of us.
Another uncast Elbe impression. Not an obvious fake, really, but very wet mud seen here was only found right along the water.  Why would a cautious creature walk where such vivid impression would be left, when most of the beach was dry sand and cracked, drymud? Note too, the even, shallow penetration unlike that seen in the London trackway, and the clear even display of all five toes.

     Who could have known that the London Trackway would be so useful to amateur bigfoot researcher like me in weighing the validity of future track finds.  Yet, this appears to be exactly the case. The London track find certainly did not produce the most finely detailed casts ever.  Far from it. The Eble casts, by comparison, were much fresher and more detailed. I, like everyone else involved, was thrilled to see more and better tracks at the Elbe site.   But the real value of the London Trackway has now, for the first time emerged. It's sort of a the gold standard of  track finds, not only  because of the rich variety of highly varied foot impressions that were permanently documented in plaster, but also and because of the high degree of integrity of the reporting parties.

     Thanks to the London trackway and all that it taught us, it is much tougher for someone to perpetrate a convincing bigfoot trackway hoax than ever before.  Amateur researchers just have a much better sense of how to evaluate a potential track find, especially one that is reported by a third party.  And speaking only for myself, based on everything I learned from the London trackway, I'm calling the Elbe Trackway a hoax.

There were a variety of barefoot impressions in the sandbar at Elbe. Here is the sum total of all tracks Joe and I cast.   The medium and small tracks are all consistent with human foot dimensions. The biggest tracks were presumed to be sasquatch at the time of casting. Further examination has raised significant doubt, based on comparisons with the London Trackway.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Book That Changed Bigfoot Research


     Not long ago, all 'bigfoot research'  consisted of setting traps in the woods of the Pacific Northwest in hopes of getting footprints, photos, or other evidence of the wild apes that were suspected to live in those mountainous forests.  Then, in 2003, The Locals, written by Thom Powell, was published. It did not have an immediate impact on what was, by today's standards, a small group of bigfoot researchers. In fact, The Locals, was dismissed by most researchers-of-the-day as (gasp) 'too radical.'  It went 'too far' by suggesting some outrageously different ideas: Bigfoot/sasquatch creatures lived throughout the continent, not just in the Pacific Northwest.  They interacted with select humans (even children) in rural settings. This was the first book to use the word 'habituation' to reference these situations. Further, The Locals asserted that the sasquatch creatures, whatever they were, were highly intelligent, that they had language, and even some form of long-distance telepathic communication. They (the bigfoots) knew full well of our interest in documenting their existence with cameras, and they were totally opposed to this agenda. If this wasn't bad enough, this trouble-making author of The Locals went on to speculate that there was some sort of interaction between the sasquatch and the UFO phenomenon! Still worse, he confidently asserted that, based on at least one well-documented case involving the Battle Mountain range fire in Nevada, the government agencies did indeed have detailed knowledge of the subject that they were not sharing with the public.   
     As you can suppose, this was all waaay too much for most serious researchers of the subject to assimilate back in 2003 when The Locals first came out. Over the ensuing decade, The Locals did steadily gain enormous traction, especially among the emerging 'new breed' of bigfoot researchers.  The 'too-radical' ideas of one era ideas began to resonate with the objective findings of the next era of more independent, more open-minded, more field-based bigfoot research groups that began springing up throughout the continent.
     It now is safe to say that, like it or not, The Locals did, indeed, revolutionize bigfoot research.  It redefined the limits of the thinking on the subject. It opened the door to many different ideas that were in direct conflict with the 'wild ape' paradigm that dominated the thinking before 2003. To be fair, there were others who also were actively pushing the envelope of thought in their writing prior to 2003. Peter Guitilla, Kewaunee Lapseritis, Henry Franzoni, and Robert W. Morgan deserve credit for suggesting ideas that were very radical at the time they published.
     One of the most practical and useful ideas that was suggested in The Locals was the view that the bigfoot phenomenon not only pervaded the continent, but that the big, nationally oriented research organizations like the BFRO were too large and ambitious in scope to be truly effective research tools. Rather, Powell suggested, the best way to study this vexing phenomenon was through the efforts of many smaller, independent, locally oriented research groups, each focusing on events and sightings within a single state, province, or even a single county.  Then, this emerging technology called the Internet, that only a few folks in bigfoot research had any idea how to utilize, should be the tool of choice for collating and sharing the locally collected information that these myriad local groups were gathering. Fast-forward to 2012 and look at the dizzying array of Facebook-based research groups that have sprung up like mushroom after a rainstorm and ask yourself how anyone could have ever dismissed the idea of a zillion little, local research groups as 'too radical'.
     Then there's the habituation or 'long-term witness' idea: While it is still ridiculed by certain 'old school' individuals, it is also very difficult to find an organized group of contemporary researchers who do not recognize it as a very promising means of gaining a valuable window into the hidden world of sasquatch culture. Even researchers who still doubt that habituation occurs seem to be generally aware of homesteads where repeated visitation does indeed occur. (I guess old ideas die hard.)
     But the very suggestion that the sasquatch phenomenon could proliferate in such well-settled places as Oklahoma was seen by most as utterly ridiculous in 2003. Now, the sheer number of sightings and active researchers in that part of the country boggles the mind. The annual conference in Honobia, Oklahoma is a virtual institution.  The sasquatch has become iconic in SE Oklahoma; synonymous with the Kiamichi National Forest around Honobia. A few locals in that area certainly knew of this for generations and a few researchers in the BFRO did too, but they weren't talking. The general public awareness of the sasquatches  in southeast Oklahoma began with publication of The Locals in 2003.  
    Dare we mention the government cover-ups? No one who has studied the sasquatch phenomenon for more than a few years is even attempting to argue any more that the feds have shared everything they know about the sasquatch. The withholding of information that was disputed in 2003 is now generally assumed. Research groups throughout the country report identical wiretapping, surveillance, and ludicrous denials by official of obviously-real sasquatch encounters and evidence. Likewise, nocturnal aerial lights and other UFO-style phenomena that were squelched and dismissed are now being courageously reported by research teams who stake out certain remote areas where recurring sasquatch activity is also being reported. Still further on the fringe, the idea that there may be some sort of underground cross-connection between the sasquatch and the ET's was delicately suggested in The Locals. Despite the seemingly ridiculous nature of this radical concept, it continues to emerge as valid line of thinking based on observations and experience in various places around the continent. And don't forget that in 2003, it was predicted in The Locals that we were one the verge of a new age of planetary discovery. Only a couple extra-solar planets had been discoveries as of 2003, Yet this lunatic named Powell predicted that we were on the cusp of a new age of planetary discovery.  Well, we're now up 500 extra-solar planets and new ones are being found every day. Dude knows his science.
     And finally, in 2003, this same Powell guy stated in print that early attempts to isolate sasquatch DNA were finding that sasquatch DNA was virtually indistinguishable from human DNA!  This was not due to contamination of the samples as it was widely alleged. Rather, it was because the sasquatch phenomenon was probably a manifestation of Homo sapiens relatives like Neandertal (yes, that is the correct spelling), Homo Erectus, or Paranthropus lineages that virtually all anthropologists insisted were utterly extinct. Then there's the newly discovered hominid fossils from the Denisova cave in Siberia. Here is yet another excellent candidate for a fossil connection to the creature we now insult with the name: Bigfoot. 
     Again, fast-forward to 2012: We eagerly await the publication of DNA research by the Ketchum team and others. I completely expect that it will verify what was stated in The Locals back in 2003: these vestigial human lineages are not as extinct as anthropologists have always said they were. And, when this radical idea is finally demonstrated to the satisfaction of science,  you can count on the anthropologists to say, "We knew it all along," because that's what scientists have done every other time the conventional thinking is shown to be false.  
      But wait a minute. Isn't there a contradiction here? How can the sasquatch be both a primitive human ancestor and somehow interacting with the extraterrestrial phenomena? Wouldn't that latter idea imply that the sasquatch were not a primitive human relative, but rather a super-advanced one, even with respect to our own technological  capabilities? Yes, indeed. And to resolve this apparent conflict, we must remind ourselves that the million-year old bones of our supposedly-extinct human ancestral lineages do not speak to the sasquatch phenomenon as we know it today. Indeed, the Neandertal or Homo Erectus hybrids, or whatever they are, have benefited from the same million years of ensuing evolution and intelligence-acquisition that we have.  Are we the same primitive being we were a million years ago? Obviously not. Why would Neanderthals, or Homo Erectus (Java Man)  remain as the unsophisticated cave men that they were back then. We made good use of a million years of evolution and education to become something much more sophisticated than we once were. Why wouldn't they?
     So, what have our ancestors or our anthropological cousins become after benefiting from this same evolution and knowledge acquisition of their species. I would say, they've become not just the nocturnal equivalent of us, but also the zen-masters of the planet. The sasquatch are nothing less than the super-sentient, super-sophisticated beings that we could have become if we had not taken the other fork in the road toward technology, materialism, resource extraction, and industrialization. In short, we humans have changed our environment to suit our needs and desires. The sasquatch, on the other hand, have done the opposite. They have changed themselves, their needs and their desires, to suit the earth's environment as it was given to them. They are the very definition of zen masters. They have developed much more sophisticated and sentient mental capabilities.  They have acquired the ability to satisfy their needs without altering their environment, to control their population, to communicate with each other over very long distances without technology, and even to communicate and interact with beings that appear to come from elsewhere. Mind you, we also have some capability to interact with the ET's, you're just not being told about it. In any case, the sasquatch can probably do it better, because they have used their evolution and knowledge acquisition to develop their mental capacities in the same way we have used our time and knowledge acquisition to develop out technological capabilities.
     I realize this is pretty radical stuff, but it makes perfect sense to me. And, my problem is, I think I'm pretty good at predicting where this whole bigfoot subject is going, since my last batch of predictions, as published in The Locals turned out pretty well.
    Thanks for reading!
     
If you have not yet read The Locals and you would like to, you can order a signed copy from the author by clicking on the link that is found elsewhere on this webpage (or click here). Perhaps you have not yet heard that the same nut case that wrote The Locals also has a newer book out which uses an entertaining fictional story to inform the reader about the sophistication that the sasquatch creatures actually possess, based on the new research and information gained in the ensuing ten years since The Locals was written. The new one is called Shady Neighbors. You can find an ordering link to that book on this web page as well. It has gotten great reviews on Amazon, even though sales of the book are about as meager as sales of The Locals during the first year of its publication.  When it come to books with radical ideas, I guess it takes time for the reading public to warm up to them.
     

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A New Paradigm



  

 On the Ghost Theory website, Henry Patterson wrote:     

     Time to change things up a bit.     

     Thom Powell is a science teacher from Portland, involved in the search for Bigfoot not from the point of view of someone who has anything to prove, rather as someone who recognizes there are things in the world we do not know. He is also an author in this field, taking his research and creating fiction around it, basically changing names and places but telling the stories he has encountered and experienced as they are. Thom was one of my favorite speakers during the conference, in part because he proposes a different perspective on the field of research and has made some observations that others either have not or are not discussing.         

Not new among his thoughts is the idea that it is probably pointless to try to convince anyone else that there is an undiscovered primate resident in the world. This creature, if it indeed exists is notoriously shy, and undoubtedly intelligent enough to avoid humans. He was in agreement with several of the other presenters in the belief that Bigfoot seem to be aware of cameras, even to the point of removing trail cams from trees. Of course, the question does arise; What is the difference between a creature of which there are no confirmed photos because it avoids cameras, and a creature that is simply not there? While it is true there are no confirmed photos, there are photos of some merit, so you can decide on that one for yourself. 

     On the subject of photos, he has a few observations that are either so simple that no one has really bothered to say them and they offer a sort of “oh, yeah” moment, or possibly no one has seen them. Bigfoot are well adapted to their environment and blend into the background. They can be there and people present not see them at all, however, they show up later in photos and videos. Some portion of this can be explained away as Pareidolia, but not all. Of course as a result of this most photos and videos Bigfoot are taken by people who were not aware of the presence of the creature. Many of these are taken by children who are playing with dad’s camera? Is this because Bigfoot are curious about our children and more inclined to peek when they are around? Or do they just prefer “veal?” You Tube would now seem to be the medium of choice for propagation of such photos and videos, as well as the vast number of fakes and mis-identifications out there and as a result, no one cares.

     Footprints? Thom has his own collection

     Including a rare handprint visible in the upper right corner. He was also on the team that acquired the debated Skookum cast. It was at his suggestion that the team left out bait after an uneventful few days that resulted in the discovery of the cast.
     There is work being done in the field of Bigfoot communication (and an upcoming article on a presentation on that very subject) but a relatively new element to that research is the idea that Bigfoot use infrasound as part of their vocalization. We are all familiar with Ultrasound, coming from bats and marine mammals. We have even “decoded” some identifying elements of dolphin and whale communication. It was only 1984 that elephants were discovered to use infrasound, or sounds below the limit of human hearing at around 20 Hz. Infrasound carries over long distances and allows animals that employ it to keep in communication with each other without revelaing their presence to others who cannot hear it. Sound familiar?
     Ha, ha, “sound!” Get it.
     Oh well…
     Infrasound is certainly within the capabilities of Bigfoot, as will be indicated in the article on communication. If we believe the infrasound theory or not, there is communication of a sort that occurs. In one way the “Gifting” where humans will leave food, and return later to find objects, feathers being the most common, left in place of the food. Tree and rock knocking is another form of communication.
Thom relates a story in which he is visiting a couple who have reported Bigfoot raiding a freezer in a shed on their property. Demonstrating the noted shyness of cameras, when he placed a trail came to view the approach to that area, the raiding stopped and activity moved to another part of the property. He attempted to gain their attention by employing some tree knocking of his own, striking a tree in patterns of three knocks repeatedly over the course of a few hours he got no reply. Having to return home, he left very early in the morning to drive the four or so hours ahead of him. Upon returning home, getting out of his car he heard three knocks. Thom himself draws no conclusion from this, only proposes the idea that infrasound is known to carry long distances, as does tree knocking, and wonders if there is a “coconut telegraph” in operation among an intelligent creature with potentially higher intelligence than we might realize. Could it be a coincidence. Yes it could.
     On the stranger, and in my opinion less plausible side, in his investigations Thom has encountered individuals who claim to have had direct communication with Bigfoot at a level beyond crediting without believing in psychic phenomena. During his investigation of the same property where he placed trail cams, he met an individual unrelated to that investigation, in fact unaware of it, who claimed to have recurring communication with the creatures. Deciding to conduct an experiment he asked for a message to be relayed. Without revealing the location of his cameras (or revealing to the owners of the property that he had spoken to this other individual) he requested that one of the creatures please reveal itself to the camera. Two weeks later he was informed the message had been delivered. Two days later the result was a blob-squatch. Either the top of a head with the typical high conical profile, or the shadow of a head on the trees across the small clearing where the camera had been placed.
     Coincidence? Certainly possible. Proof of Bigfoot? No. For those of you following these articles I mentioned the idea that Bigfoot has a sense of humor in “gifting.” Well, as a next experiment Thom requested that could they please leave behind a specific object. One of the contentions among detractors is the lack of any sort of remains of a Bigfoot ever having been found. Thom requested a bone.
Two weeks later and the message had been delivered. Less than 48 hours later, discovered at the base of the tree where the trail cam was mounted, was a piece of bone.
Bone
     This bone had the shape of possibly a bit of cranium, or pelvis or scapula, but contained an odd honeycombed core like that of a bird. It was not easily identifiable so was sent off to study. Analysis of the fragment in question: breast bone of an Emu. Here is where things get muddy. Ten miles from the location of the cameras there was an emu farm where the birds are raised as meat animals. Apparently when the message was delivered it was not specified that the bone be of a deceased member of the species. I have to admit, while I would love to believe all of this, the fact that the emu farm was owned and operated by the father of one of the couple who owned the property that has been under surveillance does seem too much of a coincidence.
     Thom’s books are Shady Neighbors and The Locals and signed copies are available through his website. Whether you believe or not, if you are looking for an entertaining story about interactions with Bigfoot I would recommend them.
     (It was a pleasure to meet Henry Patterson, contributor to  www.ghosttheory.com , at the PNW Primal People Conference, in Richland, Washington.  And, thank you to Henry for writing such a great summary of my presentation on the Ghost Theory website, which I reprinted here.)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Shady Neighbors Takes Off

Ghetto children in Portland, Oregon, learning to read actual books

    Shady Neighbors, the fascinating novel by author Thom Powell, has taken off. This is the first book ever to combine the subjects of bigfoot and baseball, and reveal through an engaging story many of the hidden truths to the bigfoot phenomenon that have been collected over three decades of intensive field research. Shady Neighbors has been re-edited and greatly improved in response to reader feedback. Five star reviews are the norm and reader feedback is overwhelmingly positive. Requests for speaking engagements are numerous. Appearances by author Thom Powell are scheduled in Oregon for Portland,  Coos Bay, Library (April 15th), Richland, WA, and Gresham, Ore (in the Fall.). Radio interviews have been constant, the next one being Jeffrey Pritchett's  Paranormal Examiner show on April 9th.
     The Shady Neighbors saga began in 1996 when Ray Crowe published in his newsletter a sighting report out of Yacolt, Washington. In that issue of The Track Record, veteran field man and former Little League coach Larry Lund described an unusual sasquatch encounter back in 1979, in which a reddish brown sasquatch came out of the nearby forest and strode onto a baseball diamond during a game! It was broad daylight! The sun shone brightly, reflecting richly on the chestnut-colored coat of hair. The small crowd of spectating parents stared in stunned disbelief.  Someone called out to the creature and it fled. Later another sighting occurred near the field's concession stand.
     The very idea that a sasquatch would have any interest in the venerable American game of baseball, and even a Little League game, no less, was an idea that author Thom Powell knew right away would be a fantastic plot element for a novel. Over the next couple years, Powell worked on a manuscript.  Yet, as any aspiring novelist knows, there was still a huge amount of work to do if the rough manuscript was ever going to become a completed novel. The project stalled along the way and  the manuscript gathered dust on a shelf for over two years before Powell shared it with fellow author and sasquatch devotee, Joe Beelart.  Even in its rough form, Joe loved the story and encouraged Thom to see the project through to publication.  Shortly thereafter, Powell was enlisted to give a  bigfoot talk at a record store in Eugene, Oregon, with two other authors, Autumn Williams and her mom, Sali Sheppard.  Afterward, the trio of authors were discussing future projects and Sali offered her editing help to reinvigorate the stalled Shady Neighbors project. With brutal efficiency, Sali sharpened and improved Powell's slightly disjointed literary style. The Shady Neighbors novel was now vastly improved and the project was up on the front burner.
      After this complete rewrite, the real work began: proof reading for errors and inconsistencies, of which there were thousands.  Anyone who has ever tried to proof-read their own work knows how one's mind does not allow them to see minor mistakes when the same text has already been read multiple times.  Joe Beelart came to the rescue. He helped enlist numerous sasquatch experts and volunteer editors like Toby Johnson, musician Tom Yamarone, screenwriter Christopher Munch, author and writing teacher Kirk Sigurdsen, baseball coach Randy Schimmel, artist Karen Van Horn, librarian Lynn Strathman, artist Alicia Bateman, author Dmitri Bayanov, two very literate middle school students Iris Parshley, and Kendra Autumn, and especially Sarah Ross, the writing teacher in the classroom next door.  A cover was designed by graphic artist Guy Edwards, and with that the vastly-improved Shady Neighbors novel was ready for a beta-test on Amazon.com.  Feedback from  initial reviewers was very positive indeed, though one main criticism surfaced again and again: the book still had numerous typographical errors that were as elusive to author Thom Powell's scrutinizing eye as 'Bigfoot' himself.
       An experienced proof-reader was desperately needed, and in answer to his prayers,  along came a keen-eyed angel and experienced copy editor from San Diego named Molly Hart Lebherz. Molly carefully combed the tome, finally ferreting out over a hundred typographical errors.  This latest batch of corrections were eventually processed and a new, perfect edition of Shady Neighbors was now ready to roll off the Amazon presses.
      Author Thom Powell will be forever grateful to the entire team of celebrity editors who generously donated so much of their valuable time to this project.  The reading public is now invited to enjoy the fruits of so many people's literary labor. Truth be told, there is  no big money to be made in the publishing of this kind of niche literature that speaks to the bigfoot phenomenon.   Rather, the motivation for undertaking such a huge project came from a desire to create an entertaining story that also revealed some profound hidden truths.  These are truths that emerged over three decades of researching the bigfoot phenomenon.
      It all started with a bigfoot sighting on the baseball diamond.  That report led author Thom Powell to the revelation that baseball was indeed the perfect metaphor for the whole bigfoot phenomenon, for, like the bigfoot phenomenon, baseball appears at first to be a simple, almost silly game. Yet, the hidden complexities of both subjects, once revealed, become as enormous as they are profound.
     As Mickey Mantle once said, "When I first went pro, I couldn't believe how much I didn't know about a game I'd been playing all my life."  Mickey Mantle could just as well be talking about the sasquatch mystery and Shady Neighbors will show you why.
     Copies of Shady Neighbors can be obtained through Amazon.com, or you can order a signed copy directly from author Thom Powell by clicking here.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The London Tracks: Where Serendipity Met Synchronicity

Part of the London, Ore. trackway at sunrise

Serendipity (def.)- Accidental scientific discovery; specifically a discovery made while looking for something else.

       Max wasn't trying to find bigfoot, or even bigfoot evidence.  He was looking for an old car to buy.  He never found the car, but he did find some of the best bigfoot evidence ever discovered. Talk about serendipity.
      Max Roy, of Eugene, Oregon is an antique car buff.  He sometimes drives the rural roads around Eugene looking for old cars that he might buy and restore. Last Sunday, February 12th, Max was cruising the Weyerhauser-London Road south of Eugene looking for a car he could use for parts. He decided to stop alongside a reservoir to take a half-hour walk.  What ensued is one of the most remarkable combinations of serendipity and synchronicity that I have yet encountered.
     Max and headed for the trail when he encountered a pet owner who was coming the other way.  This unidentified gentleman cheerfully informed Max that, while he was walking his dog, he should keep an eye out for some bigfoot tracks a short distance up the trail.  Max knew a little bit about bigfoot.  He had seen the cable TV series and his interest was piqued by this unexpected invitation to inspect real evidence for himself.  The unidentified dog owner pulled out his cell phone and showed Max a photo he had taken.  Now Max knew what to look for.  Max headed down the trail and sure enough, he happened across three plainly visible large barefoot tracks. Later, that day, Max happened to tell his insurance agent and friend about the tracks he'd seen.
     The insurance agent's keen interest took Max completely by surprise. He insisted that this was a big deal.  Max needed to return to the site, he insisted,  with a camera and a ruler and get proper photographs.  It was this unexpected conversation that initiated yet another remarkable series of events.  Max went back and got the photo.  Then he decided to take his insurance agent's advice and put the photo in front of someone who might know what to do with the track find.  As it turned out, Max had a pretty good idea where he might find such a person.
Photo of the original track taken by Max Roy
      Being a career car salesman, Max always noticed people's cars, and one car in his neighborhood stood out when it came to bigfoot.  It was a black SUV that was decorated with stickers of bigfoot tracks. Surely, Max supposed, a person with bigfoot tracks all over his car would be interested in this track find. On his way home, Max detoured down the street where he'd seen the bigfoot car, but it wasn't there.  Later, he drove by again and saw the car, but the bigfoot tracks weren't on the car anymore. Still, being a 'car person' Max was certain it was the same car that had once been festooned with footprints. Max knocked on the door. A woman answered and Max explained the reason for his interruption.  The woman explained that the car used to belonged to her ex-husband, Toby Johnson, but now it was hers. She didn't care much about bigfoot evidence, but the polite woman assured Max that her ex, Toby, would be very interested. She gave Max Toby's number and, being a man of persistence and determination, Max continued his quest. He rang up Toby.  Now, ya gotta be impressed by any individual who would go so far out of his way for a situation like this that had no obvious personal benefit.  Eugene, Oregon, as it turns out, is full of people like that, and Max is one of them: community-oriented, alternative-minded folks who are very open to fringe ideas like 'bigfoot evidence'.
     Max later confessed that it was actually his insurance agent (and friend) who had impressed upon him the importance of this serendipitous discovery. Anyway, Max wasn't going to let his insurance agent down, and at last, Max had a bigfoot expert on the phone.  Soon after being alerted, Toby Johnson and his friend 'Tracker' were making their way south out of town toward the London Road.

Synchronicity (def.)- The coincidental occurrence of events that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality

     Sure enough, there were three exquisite seventeen inch tracks waiting for them right beside the walking path. Although they had no previous experience with casting bigfoot tracks, Toby and Tracker set about preserving the evidence of Bigfoot's passing.     Toby decided to call his buddy and casting expert Cliff Barackman for some casting advice. Meanwhile, Tracker took off on a whim to survey the surroundings and apply his tracking skills to resolve the question of exactly what this creature was doing when these tracks were made. What Tracker found next was beyond belief.  While searching the surrounding area, Tracker happened across a whole bunch more tracks.  There were over a hundred tracks in the mud of the exposed lake bed! They weren't the same size as the first tracks. It appeared as though a second, smaller creature had ventured across a broad expanse of fine-grained lake bed sediment. The scope of this track find just went from interesting to epic. Tracker dashed back to inform Toby. Toby got back in touch with Cliff, who was just leaving a school science fair where he was making a guest appearance.  Cliff jumped in his truck, got on the freeway,  and headed south out of Portland.
     It was now Thursday, Feb, 16th. Cliff cleared his schedule and headed 130 miles up the Willamette Valley toward Eugene and Cottage Grove. Toby also alerted Chris Minniear in Cheshire and John Bull of Eugene, and me. Cliff notifed Autumn Williams. I e-mailed a message to Jeff Meldrum.  Meanwhile, I was also pinned down at a school science fair (it's science fair season, you know).  Chris left Newport, purchased 200 pounds of hydrocal-white at a landscape supply place, and headed for the scene.  John, Chris, and Cliff converged on the scene and spent the entire night casting seventy prints.  Autumn Williams showed up and cast another. The team pulled seventy track from the scene before they ran out of plaster. At least thirty more tracks remained in the ground, gradually deteriorating by the combined forces of time and weather.. By late Friday, Guy Edwards, Beth Heikkenen, Toby Johnson, Tracker, and myself were back at the scene with more plaster.
      It was dark, windy, and raining when we arrived on the scene.  The wind was blowing away the covers that Toby had made for the tracks. Sticky mud caked thicker and thicker on our shoes with every step.  My flashlight batteries were fading.  There just wasn't the time to stand there and debate the question of whether the tracks were legitimate or not. We just had to get the evidence preserved before it washed away. In any case, I had already spoken with Cliff by phone and he was confident that the tracks were, in fact, the real deal. That was good enough for me. In some of the most adverse weather conditions imaginable, we put our chins down and got busy. We managed to cast the remaining thirty or so tracks.  (A detailed diagram of the track find can be viewed at Guy Edward's blog, Bigfoot Lunch Club.)

Beth Heikkenin (l.), Toby Johnson, and Guy Edwards casting tracks at night in a rainstorm
     It did occur to us as we worked in the wind and rain that this was not an ordinary track find. Usually, a track find consists of only one, or maybe two tracks.  We usually stand there debating the pros and cons of whether the one track is authentic. Then we casually mix a small batch of plaster, cast the best track, and shine on another one, if there is another one.  This job, on the other hand, was enormous. We didn't get excited, or even try to grasp the enormity of the situation.  There wasn't time for that.  We just worked until the job was done, at which time we were soaked to the bone, and covered in  mud. There was no jubilation, just exhaustion. Around midnight we crashed in a near by motel room, returning to the scene the next morning before dawn to take measurements, make photographs, and extract the now-cured casts from the sticky mud.
 
At sunrise, Toby Johnson compares his stride to the track casts

    Family obligations beckoned and as soon as we were through, Guy and I headed back down the valley toward Portland.   Beth and Toby stayed in the area and rested.  Tracker joined them and the trio headed back out into the surrounding woods in search of any other evidence that might corroborate the view that sasquatches were indeed circulating in the London area. For the next two nights the team penetrated logging spur roads under the direction of John Bull, the most experienced local field man. While they did not have any eyeball sightings, the experiences they had on those night investigations left absolutely no doubt in their minds that a group of sasquatches was in the area.
     One road they penetrated was so spooky that two of the five nocturnal investigators turned back before they got very far from the car.  Three remaining investigators, Toby, Beth, and Tracker, pressed on. While there was a vague uneasiness being felt by the group, their considerable experience with these night outings enabled them to forge ahead. They crept along without flashlights, for two miles up a long hill. They reached a darkened clearing at the crest of the hill when the group began to feel very ill-at-ease. As they stood there peering into the night, the feeling gradually became more intense. Soon, the trio was completely overcome.  Their legs simultaneously turned to jelly.  They couldn't stand up.  They fell to the ground and just lay there, face down on the dark, wet ground.  They had been rendered helpless in the face of forces they could not even see, much less understand.
     Toby asked me to emphasize that, at least for he and Beth, it was definitely not  fear that they were feeling.  He describes it as more like a feeling of awe and wonder. Based on previous experience, they knew what the source of the intense vibe was. There was no doubt in their mind that it was coming from a sasquatch. I think that there was a certain reassurance they derived from this knowledge and that made the situation more tolerable. Tracker, on the other had, had no prior experiences on which to draw from.  He had never experienced anyhting like this before and, for him, the vibe and the sudden powerlessness and vulnerability was much more frightening.
     Add to that the fact that Tracker was also the only one of the three that was wearing a sidearm.  One wonders whether that sidearm was perceived by the creatures they confronted.  It seems Tracker was the target of the most intensely debilitating vibe. Was the stronger feelings of terror Tracker was feeling due to his lack of previous experience or because he was armed and the creatures knew it? Now, there's a question sasquatch researchers can endlessly debate.
     In any case, the situation continued to evolve beyond the control of the group. Now the group was on the ground. Their skin tingled like they were being microwaved and they couldn't move.   Their emotions surged. This is what sasquatch field researchers (like Chris Noel in Vermont)  refer to as 'getting zapped', and boy did they get zapped!
     Their strength gradually returned, and they all felt very sleepy.  It was all they could do just to stay awake. They were eventually able to get back on their feet.  By now, they had had much more excitement than they bargained for.  They were clearly 'outgunned' and it was time for a strategic retreat. The slightly traumatized trio headed back down the long dark road toward their car. The fact that Toby and Beth had both experienced such bewildering events at least once before enable them to maintain some perspective and recover from this harrowing experience.  Tracker, being completely new to the sasquatch business, had no such previous experience.  The powerlessness of the whole matter caught Tracker completely by surprise and left him feeling particularly traumatized.
     As the trio descended the road, I just happened to ring Toby's cell phone.  They were still high enough on the hill to get cell coverage and Toby picked up.  He told me what just happened. "Yikes! Sounds like you guys just got zapped," I observed, with my usual knack for stating the obvious..
     "No doubt about it.  We just need some time to recover."
     I hung up.  I felt a bit sorry for them but I still couldn't help but smile. It may not have been a sighting, but I knew full well what it all meant.  They had encountered a powerful adult or maybe a group of adult sasquatches. The eager-beaver researchers had gotten too close and they got a taste of the power these beings can bring to bear. It's the sasquatch's way of saying, "That's far enough. You will not come any closer."
     The next day, Joe Beelart and I returned to the scene of the London track find to take more photos and have another look around.  Beth and I headed up the road to the scene of the 'zapping'. We walked up the long logging road as she recounted the experiences of the night before.  Somewhere along the way last night, Beth had lost a glove.  I strongly suspected we would not only find the glove, but we would do so under slightly mysterious circumstances. We did.  It was lying in the middle of the road, right in the clearing where they had been zapped. A foot-long stick had been neatly placed atop the glove, as if to keep the glove from blowing away. We found a curious configuration of sticks in the woods twenty feet away from the glove.   Other than that, it looked and felt like a very ordinary patch of woods that day.  We left some gifts of food and trinkets. Beth went off to be alone with her thoughts. We walked back to the car without incident and met up with Joe Beelart and John Bull.
     That's the way it goes in the bigfoot field research game.  One night, the woods brims with menace, mystery, maybe even terror, and the next day, it's just an ordinary patch of woods. By light of day, we saw a few stick signs and other subtle clues to possible sasquatch presence, but nothing definitve.
      It is my guess that Toby, Beth, and Tracker bumped into the same group of creatures that left the tracks in the mud by the lake.  They got too close and they got a taste of the formidable power that these creatures have. You might say, they were 'shown the door' and were instructed through actions, not words, that it was time to leave. They had the kind of intense experience that most field researchers wish for, but when it happens it is no fun at all.  The feeling of powerlessness and vulnerability is deeply frightening and very humbling.
    A day in the life of the bigfoot field researcher.

The result a long night's work

Lifting out the last cast the next morning.

     Only time will tell, but I tend to agree with the observations made by Cliff Barackman on his recent blog post. Cliff observed that the London trackway is some of the most significant evidence ever found, just by virtue of the sheer volume of evidence, if nothing else.  The changes in the shape of the foot and the splay of the toes from track to track is a thing to behold. Cliff also observed that the remarkable degree of cooperation and quick action that was exhibited by a diverse collection of dedicated amateur researchers was a thing to behold. It was 'citizen science' at it's finest. I think we will be talking about the events of February 16th through 20th, 2012 for a long time to come.
      The exact quality and quantity of physical evidence will not be fully known for a while. The casts have to cure for two full weeks before cleaning can even be started, and there are over a hundred casts to clean. The trackway sat out in the elements for the better part of a week before it was fully discovered and ultimately cast, but the earth that the tracks were taken from was a nearly ideal substrate for the preservation of fine details. It is beyond rare to find so many tracks in bare earth, especially in the lush rainforest of western Oregon, where vegetation and plant litter usually covers every square inch of ground.
     The amount of detail that the casts will yield when they are cleaned can only be supposed, but with so much material to work from, the potential for extracting detailed information from the casts seems enormous. Then there's the anecdotal experiences of the team during the subsequent night investigations. F&B researchers will roll their eyes at the events that are being described, but they fail to grasp the courage, experience, and utter reliability of the field team that made these remarkable observations.   Their night experiences, in my view, support not only the view that the tracks are authentic, they also support numerous other accounts by field researchers continent-wide that suggest these beings have considerable ability to manipulate fields of energy that we are not even close to understanding. Some people want to call that 'paranormal'. I prefer to call it unknown. Whatever it is, it can be corroborated by Ron Morehead, Chris Noel, and a host of others who have personal experience with this feeling of being completely immobilized in situations where they managed to put themselves in close proximity to a sasquatch. 
    As Cliff Barackman said, this series of events is a shining example of cooperation and team work, but even the best team cannot do anything without good, timely information.  For that, we have to recognize the remarkable effort and achievement of Toby Johnson, Max Roy, Max's insurance agent, and even the anonymous dog-walker who first alerted Max to the tracks. Somewhere in Lane County, Oregon walks the patron saint of bigfoot researchers and I doubt we will ever know who he is. It all seems like such a happy accident; a synchronicity.  But, I sometimes wonder whether there are ever any real accidents.  Maybe Toby was meant to find those tracks.  When I first saw those tracks cutting a broad arc across the exposed lake bed, I could see no obvious reason why that creature was even out there in the first place. There was no food or shelter to be found, and the tracks indicate the creature never interacted with the lake itself. It clearly was not a traveling creature on the move.  It just took a stroll out across the lake bed as a bigger creature stood guard on the bluff in the distance.
     The creature that walked the mud flat was just admiring the scenery, or it walked out there for the deliberate purpose of leaving tracks. But, why would it do that? We'll never know for sure but I certainly enjoy speculating. I can't help but wonder whether the creatures just felt like giving us a gift. They threw us a bone, and it was a very meaty bone, at that.  I tend to think it was all a gesture that was meant for Toby Johnson.  Toby lives nearby, he's always out skulking about the woods in that area at night without a flashlight, and so the sentient local sasquatches must surely know of him. If they do, they must also know that Toby is one of the most good-hearted, live-and-let-live bigfoot researchers you can find. He's not carrying weapons, or cameras, though he does have an iPhone. Toby clearly grasps the subtleties, the feng shui that would endear him to the creatures that he calls our 'forest friends.'
     So, call me paranormal, but I'm pretty sure 'the locals', know Toby Johnson.  In any case, I'm sure glad I know him. In fact, I'm definitely going to nominate Toby Johnson for 'Bigfooter of the Year'.
     And, I'm going to go out and put bigfoot stickers all over my car. 
The only two casts that have been cleaned so far are these two that were broken in transport and are being repaired.