Thursday, December 31, 2009

North American Bigfoot's Year in Review




Now that 2009 is all but dead, most media outlets are looking back and reviewing the year. This year has been good to me in many ways, and here are some of my highlights from the last 12 months:


January:

This blog was born. I wasn't sure I'd like blogging, but it turns out I do. It gives me a chance to share what I love with an audience, and hopefully "opens up" the bigfooting community a little. Besides, I'm a teacher and I like to write.

February:

This is traditionally a very slow bigfooting month, but I did stumble across some cool bigfoot art. I was at the Oregon Zoo to film the chimps and orangutans with thermal imagers for future comparisons when I ran across a sculpture by Richard Beyer. Cool stuff, and Mr. Beyer uses bigfoots in several of his other pieces.



A gathering of large mammals



Possible sasquatch prints were found on nearby Memaloose Road at the end of February, so I spent a fair amount of time in the area over the next few weeks. I even drove to the area to have dinner in the woods instead of eating in a nice warm restaurant. No activity was noted, but I froze my hiney off.

Later in March, I took a week-long trip to the Olympic Peninsula. Cultural signs of sasquatch were everywhere, but I found no indications of the biological reality. I did find new roadways to campsites that had been previously cut off, and I spoke to a number of excellent witnesses. The Olympic Mountains are probably the 'squatchiest place I've ever been. If you can get out there, do yourself a favor and go.


Big bigfoot art outside of Sequim, WA


Speaking of the Olympics, in March I was invited by Derek Randles to help him with the "Olympic Project". The OP is a multi-member effort that includes Derek Randles (co-owner and discoverer of the Skookum Cast) and Wally Hersom (who sponsors a small number of bigfoot researchers in an effort called the "Hersom Project") with the objective to photograph a bigfoot. Derek has placed numerous trail cameras on the ridges of the Olympic Mountains to capture images of apex predators, such as cougars and sasquatches. Derek and a small group of his friends (including me) hiked to a ridge outside of Forks, WA to place several cameras and to collect the memory cards from others that were left there six weeks before. We obtained great photos of cougars and bears, but no sasquatches on that trip. I suspect that Derek will be successful eventually. His plan is well planned, systematic, and fun for he and his colleagues.




Ridgetop camping in the Olympic Mountains


April:

Possible bigfoot activity was noted at the Sandy River Project Site #1. It is well-noted in the literature that sasquatches sometimes slap or pound on the outside of houses, and this is possibly what occurred in this case. At the time of this writing, the property owner is living in downtown Portland, so nobody on the property is up in the middle of the night. Due to this, little activity has been noted for several months.

This same property owner also obtained another parcel nearby. As the structures on this property were being renovated, possible sasquatch activity occurred. I have been monitoring the location ever since. As I write, I have three cameras at the site, which I refer to as the Sandy River Project Site #2.

A reader of this blog managed to get Jane Goodall's autograph for me. He even gave her one of my cards! I love Ms. Goodall. She has publicly stated that she believes that a combination of good photographic evidence combined with reputable scientists witnessing and studying the animal can prove the existence of the sasquatch without the need for a type specimen. This is where all of my efforts are now focused. I hope we can move past the Darwinian model of proving a species exists ("I've never seen that kind of bird before! Let's kill it to prove it's real!"), and into another paradigm. She's a pillar of compassion that we can all learn from.


I love her.


May:

Excellent footprints were found on the Olympic Peninsula at the end of April, and I had a chance to borrow the cast for copying at the beginning of May. The print had deteriorated badly by the time the witnesses returned to the site, but at least they tried to obtain a cast. Kudos to them!


Olympic footprint four days after its discovery



The big news for May was the Yakima Bigfoot Round-Up. I'll spare you a lengthy recap, but suffice it to say it was the bigfoot party of the year, hands down.

Dinnertime at the Bigfoot Round-Up

June:

After having seen Mike Greene's thermal video of a sasquatch from North Carolina, I thought that it would be a good idea to do some tests. I wanted to see what a human would look like in various clothing through a thermal imager, so I took it upon myself to get it done. A couple of my field partners and I went to the woods outside of Estacada, OR to film my running around. Below are the results.




Taking one for the team

July:

I love July. I always do great things since I'm out of school (work) and the weather's great. This year was no exception. I did some bigfooting in the Coast Range, checked out a sasquatch parade, followed up on some older reports up by Morton, WA, worked the Sandy River Project Site #2, and even did a week or so in Bluff Creek with a bunch of friends. Gotta love summer!


Friends at the PG Filmsite

August:

Relishing my last month of summer, I took to the woods as much as I could. I spent time with Thom Powell doing some unconventional squatching, did some solo trips to out-of-the-way locations, and did some time in Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

A highlight of this month was "Beachfoot", a small informal gathering organized by Todd Neiss. It was a time to meet, or get reacquainted with many folks throughout Bigfootland. Some of my regular squatching buddies rolled up from California, as well as some that rolled down from Washington, and even others from back east.

Beachfoot: a who's-who of bigfooting

August was also the month were I entered Columbia's Pioneer of the Outdoors contest, in which I later came in second place. That was a fun project to dabble in, and thank you to all of you who helped me in this silly little endeavor.





Squatching with Cliff



September:

My website, http://www.northamericanbigfoot.com/ was chosen as "Bigfoot Site of the Day" by Linda Martin of Happy Camp, CA. She runs http://www.bigfootsightings.org/ out of her small home town. Thanks, Linda!

On September 9, two fishermen found possible footprints on the bank of the Sandy River, not far from SRP2. The prints were destroyed by an ATV before I got to the location to cast it.

Sandy River footprint

I spent the weekend with a number of bigfooters northwest of Yakima, WA. Not only did I find out that Bob Gimlin loves my mother's homemade cookies (who wouldn't?), but I was physically threatened by an ignorant tweeker on public land. That was a first, and hopefully a last.

October:

The beginning of October brought an excellent photograph of a footprint from northwest Montana. It is as clear as they come, and it even had a scale item in the photograph. Though the footprint's size is well within human range, the context of the impression suggests another source. We'll never know, but the important part is that the witness tried to document and share the data. We should all follow her lead and do the same!

Possible juvenile footprint from Montana

And of course, the PG Film anniversary was on October 20th. Where were you?


November:

The highlight for this month? One word... "Babysquatch".



Will and Keegan Robinson

December:

Despite "software glitches", voting irregularity, and numerical funny business, I was announced as Columbia Sportswear's Pioneer of the Outdoors runner-up. Thanks to both Columbia for choosing a bigfooter to represent them, and to you the bigfooting community for supporting me.

"We're number two!"


Of course, lots more occurred in 2009. Some important stuff, too. I barely touched on Mike Greene's thermal footage. The whole "Massacre at Bluff Creek" nonsense got a lot of momentum, unfortunately. There was that Kentucky bigfoot/crow photo that stirred some interest for a short while, as well as a small number of other hoaxed items.

The year 2009 is over. Time to move on. If you feel like dwelling, you can click any of the months above to see my overview of that month

I suspect 2010 will be a good one. Every year seems a little more interesting than the last, and I suspect this trend will continue.

I hope you get into the woods a lot, and if you do, please do me a favor. Bring back data, not just stories. Let's work together to solve this mystery.

Respect the 'squatch!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Squatchmas!


December is a busy month, as far as holidays go:

Christmas (December 25), Hanukkah (starts at sundown on December 11), Kwanzaa (starts December 26), the Winter Solstice (December 22, the longest bigfoot feeding night of the year), Bathtub Party Day (December 5), Put on Your Own Shoes Day (December 6), Human Rights Day (December 10), Las Posadas (el 16 de deciembre), Boxing Day (December 26), National Bicarbonate of Soda Day (December 30), New Year's Eve (December 31), and Wear a Plunger on Your Head Day (Really! December 18). There are even more special holidays this month than I mentioned here, but these are the only ones I had to buy gifts for.

With so many festivities, how's a bigfooter supposed to decide which one to really go nuts for? Until recently, I had chosen December 4th: Wear a Beard of Bees Today Day. (I've often thought how cool it would be to extend the "beard of bees" idea into a whole suit to make a "bigfoot suit of bees.")


Beesquatch

Well, apparently I have to trade in my bee suit. Thanks to my favorite beef jerky company, we now have "The Twelve Days of Squatchmas." Finally, a holiday that is easy to carry the spirit of all year long!

I'm headed out of town today to visit family for the weekend. I'm planning to get into the woods when I return for some chilly winter bigfooting. Check back next week for updates on this and other efforts!

Merry Squatchmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Meldrum on Today Show

Cliff Barackman and Bart Cutino engage
Dr. Jeff Meldrum in discussion about footprint evidence.

I was hopeful for some constructive media attention when I saw this article:


Idaho State University associate professor of anatomy and anthropology Jeff Meldrum was interviewed about his sasquatch research this fall by a producer of NBC's "Today Show."
Meldrum's interview is slated to air Tuesday, Dec. 15, as part of a story on cryptozoology, the study of hidden animals, recognizing the public’s heightened interests in rare, elusive and mysterious creatures.


Jeff MeldrumAs a prominent researcher on the question of sasquatch's existence, Meldrum, author of "Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science," was contacted to comment on the scientific evaluation of evidence of sasquatch, as compared with the activities of amateur "enthusiasts" interested in the subject.

The "Today Show" producer, Jennifer Long, asked questions such as "zoologically and evolutionarily speaking, could the animal people describe as Bigfoot exist in this day and age," "what is the most compelling evidence that sasquatch does or does not exist," and "what would be the implications of the discovery of Bigfoot."

The interview took place in Meldrum’s laboratory on the ISU campus, which houses one of the largest assemblage of hominid and reported sasquatch footprint casts. He also explained how the question of sasquatch, a supposed upright-walking giant ape, dovetails with his studies of the evolution of human adaptations for bipedal walking and running.

"My intent was to portray the science behind the legend, and point out the accumulating trace and physical evidence that a growing number of scholars and professional scientists are giving objective consideration, both publicly and privately," Meldrum said.



When the segment was televised, I realized that perhaps I had been too optimistic.

If you'd like to see it, click the footage below.



As is obvious by reading this blog you know that I don't mind a sense of humor about the bigfoot subject. I prefer intelligent discussion, or at least clever humor to accompany it.

They should have at least been funny. "Messing with sasquatch" got at least that right.

It didn't do the science nor experience justice. Not by a long shot. This might have made for a more interesting segment.

I guess the upside of this is that the 'squatch got national attention. Don Keating had a smile on his face for much of the segment, which played well for him.

I'd like to see some bigfooting on other media outlets, but perhaps with more of a focus on the possibility of these creatures' existence. Most folks don't know there is a substantial body of evidence to support the bigfoot hypothesis. I think the public deserves to know.

Also, at least the hosts got into the woods. Too many times the media criticizes bigfooters from behind a desk in NYC. These women went into the woods to scream and do wood knocks. I have to admit that was one step beyond what could have happened. Next time, perhaps they'd have better luck at night.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not offended by this. There's nothing to take personally. Their mockery is directly proportional to their own ignorance of the subject. As bigfooters, I believe we can educate the laymen on this fascinating subject to avoid the "laughing behind their hands" approach too often taken by the meda.

What do you think? Post a comment below.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Columbia Sportswear "Pioneer of the Outdoors" Update


As you probably already know, this past August I entered a contest to be a "Columbia Sportswear Pioneer of the Outdoors" by submitting a fun little video for voting and general perusal.



The voting went very, very well. Numerically, I clobbered the competition by a huge margin. There were some minor bumps along the way (or maybe two), but the bigfooting community rallied repeatedly behind the 'squatch to put bigfooting in its rightful place as the coolest thing to do in the woods. If you consider the "votes" and "views" that disappeared, the margin was incredible. That is a testament to the enthusiasm of the bigfooting community and the passion that burns in our soul for the 'squatch.

As noted in a previous blog (see links above), the voting didn't count for much as far as determining the winner of the contest, which is fine because it was still fun to see the numbers climb.

The voting was supposed to end on November 13th, but word only reached me a week ago as to the results of the contest:

"Hi Cliff,

First of all, thank you for participating in our search for pioneers of Columbia’s Greater Outdoors. No doubt, your passion for what you do is admirable and just the sort of thing we appreciate. Because of that, you’ve been selected as the runner-up in our Pioneers of The Greater Outdoors contest!

We’re planning on announcing the winner on our website around 12/15 but wanted to let you know in advance. Your video will continue to live within our pioneer archives on our site as an example of the kind of pioneering spirit we’re looking for.

For your effort, we would like to send you a $250 Columbia gift card. You can use it on our website or in any Columbia store. We just need your mailing address so we can drop it in the mail so please email us back and we’ll send it off.

Congratulations and thanks again for your contribution and commitment to the Greater Outdoors!

Sincerely,
The Columbia Marketing team"

Congrats to whoever won the contest!

I'm not bummed at all about not winning. In fact, I was very pleasantly surprised because I do not remember any language in the official rules that indicated there was a "runner-up" prize. I am wholeheartedly embracing my runner up status, and couldn't be more proud of this minor accomplishment.


This was a kind gesture by Columbia, and I would like to publicly and vigorously thank them for their generosity!

"We're number two!"

Yesterday my videographer, Craig Flipy and I went shopping at the Columbia Outlet store and took advantage of their great sales prices. The $250 prize will go a long ways towards keeping us warm during our winter bigfooting trips over the next few months (even when that prize money is split between the both of us).

Good prices, great gear, and a whole lot of fun.

Lastly, I'd like to give a huge thanks to you, the bigfooting community. You rallied behind my silly little cause with enthusiasm and the appropriate sense of humor. You supported a fellow bigfooter, and more importantly our big hairy buddies by putting them in the eye of the general public in a prominent way (Columbia is a national brand, and now sasquatches will be a small, but visible part of their website).

I hope you had some fun with this. I know I did.

But now, what should I tackle next? If you have any ideas, contact me here: NorthAmericanBigfoot@gmail.com.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sandy River Project Update 12/09


It's been a while since I've posted an update on the Sandy River Project. It's still up and running, and I thought you'd be interested in what I'm trying now.

I removed all the cameras from the two locations in late August. Since I had been continuously monitoring this property since the previous Spring, I thought that it couldn't hurt to let the property "cool down" a little by removing all indications of my presence for a while. When dealing with sasquatches, the less I interfere with their surroundings, the better for them and the more comfortable they'll feel. As Autumn Williams says, let them remain in control.

Throughout the Fall, the many human homesteads in the area are a steady and bountiful food supply for all animals. Fruit trees are literally dropping pounds of food on the ground, and gardens are producing their harvests. Domestic animals and their food are easily found or stealthily stolen and consumed by the occasional cougar, coyote, or sasquatch. A missing house cat would be emotionally missed, but its disappearance would not be unusual for this rural area.

With the onset of Winter, food will be in shorter supply for sasquatches and their prey. It is my hypothesis that sasquatches largely subsist on an omnivorous diet, with a heavy leaning towards eating meat, especially in the Winter months. So, in order to attract sasquatches to a homestead, I will endeavor to attract one of their primary prey: deer.

One of the many deer in the vicinity of the SRP Site #2.


There is some data that suggests that I am on the right track with my above approach. The famous "Siege at Honobia" is probably the best known example of attracting sasquatches by attracting their prey. (While a footprint cast rumored to be from the area seems to be a fabrication (and not presented in my online database), it was found and cast after the story unfolded. My friend Thom Powell, who wrote details about this possible habituation in his excellent book says the actual encounters were the real deal, so I'll go with it.)

A photograph of a possibly fabricated
footprint cast from the area of Honobia, OK.

There is also a not-widely-circulated photograph from Wisconsin that was displayed by Wally Hersom at the Yakima Bigfoot Round-Up this past May. In that case, the property owner was putting out feed for the local deer herd and accidentally captured one possible image of a sasquatch on a remote camera.

The former approach will be mine for the upcoming months.

I have now deployed one 50 lb. bag of feed corn on site at the Sandy River Project Site #2. Site #2 is still uninhabited, and therefore I assume has a relatively high chance of having the occasional sasquatch wander through. My intent is to have a steady and nutritious food supply for the local deer herds, especially as the Winter becomes more harsh and food becomes harder to find. I will visit the property to check on the corn supply and to change out the cameras every two to three weeks throughout the season. One such check was done this past weekend.

The corn bag was put out on November 21st. I put it in the area where a foul stench and an ominous presence was felt last Spring by a contractor who returned to the site to retrieve his tools after nightfall.

This past weekend, when I returned to the site where I left the corn bag, I was disappointed to find that almost no corn had been eaten. I expected to at least have the smaller forest critters go to town on my offering.

I gathered my cameras, deployed a couple more, and headed back to town thinking that the deer had not found the bag yet, which is probably partially true. When I checked the memory cards in the camera, I found another reason that might interfere with deer hanging out: dogs.

Two of several local dogs on patrol. They frequented the
area for several days at various hours of day and night.

I now think that I need to move the food attractant to an area that is farther back on the property and down in the riverbed away from roaming pets. The target area is harder to get to, and more importantly farther from the neighboring houses, which are several hundred yards away. Down in the creek bed, I have also found many ungulate prints, and tracked a cougar for 30 or 40 yards before losing its trail. Both of these latter facts are good indicators that this area might produce better results.

So, that's the current status of what's going on with this property. No recent activity has been reported, but then again nobody lives on site. I still think this property has a relatively good chance of attracting sasquatches, but first I need to give them a good reason to pop by every once in a while. With a steady food supply for their prey, I hope to also ring the dinner bell for the big guys. Wish me luck.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Baby 'Squatch

Will, my friend and field research partner, recently sent me a couple photos I'd like to share with you. Will's mother thought it was a good idea to make Will's son, Keegan a bigfoot costume for Halloween this year. I have to say, I wholeheartedly agree.



Will, with his littlefoot son, Keegan.


Well, Keegan didn't quite grow enough to fill the suit in time for Halloween, but these pics were taken a few weeks later. As you can see, he still has some growing to do.

Though I don't generally approve of people having fairly realistic bigfoot costumes, in this case I'll make an exception.



If I were dressed like that, I'd be smiling too (just not as cutely).


Under the tutelage of Will, Keegan will make a fine bigfooter someday. In the meantime, we'll just use recordings of him crying to draw in the 'squatches...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bigfooting is a pretty big part of my life, as you can probably tell. There are so many things about it that I just love. Since today is Thanksgiving, I thought it would be appropriate to make a list of things that I'm thankful for from the bigfoot arena. This list is by no means complete, as most days present even more opportunities for me to be thankful for something...

Some things I'm thankful for:

Going bigfooting with great friends:


Socializing with great friends out of the field as well:


Being at amazing places:


Physical evidence:


Businesses that respect the 'squatch:


Bigfooting in Florida:


Tattoos of bigfoots surfing on logs:


Wildlife close up:


Bob Gimlin and his and Roger's contribution:


Amazing art:


The Hersom Project:


There's actually a lot more I'd like to mention. I'm thankful for that, too.

A cool thing about being thankful is that gratitude eliminates desires. Being grateful for what one has brings a sense of "having it all".


Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It Makes Me Smile


I have an impish sense of humor. I like to tease, joke, poke fun, and be mischievous. I always have. That's ultimately why I was kicked out of Boy Scouts. I don't think I'll ever outgrow it.

One of the ways this manifests itself is that I like to put my bigfoot business cards in places where other people will run across them. Sometimes I even hang out and watch people's reactions when they find and read the card, but more often than not I leave them there like paradigm-shifting landmines.

I put them in elevators, restrooms, bars, restaurants, or any other place that will hold them near eye level. I really enjoy putting them in places where almost nobody looks. That way, when somebody does find one, I know that person is likely eccentric and will probably take the time to check out the site.

Once, after dropping a few in a sporting goods store, I witnessed one of the employees go up to the manager holding my card. She was giggling heavily, but between breaths she asked the boss if he'd like to be a bigfoot researcher. They gaffawed and insinuated that whoever this Cliff guy is, he must be a total kook. I could hardly contain my glee at witnessing this exchange. I always remember that since sasquatches are real animals, the last laugh will be on them.

Additionally, I have a small army of volunteers doing this same thing for me across the country. I know that many of you have picked up one of my cards in airports or hotels throughout the United States. That was probably the work of one of my nameless minions.

More of a "me" than a "we". Still, have you seen one? Let me know!


Recently, a reader of this blog sent me an email with a link to a blog called PDX Occulture: http://www.pdxocculture.com/node/6174 Apparently this woman found one of my cards somewhere in downtown Portland and liked it. Thank you, "BeautifulPyre" for taking the time to share my card with your readers!

Besides the sheer coolness of having my efforts shared with another audience on this woman's blog, I think it's interesting to note that her brother saw a sasquatch in Skamania County. I'm often asking folks on the street if they, or someone they personally know, have ever seen a sasquatch, and here in Portland I get a "yes" about one time out of five. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but it probably averages out to about a 20% affirmative vote. This woman's blog entry on finding one of my cards just goes to affirm that.

If you found one of my cards somewhere, I'd love to know where. Feel free to post a comment below to share where you stumbled upon one.




Sunday, November 15, 2009

Musings on Snoozing 'Squatches

Sighting reports are the bread and butter of bigfoot researchers. There are plenty of books that are basically retellings of the bucket loads of eyewitness accounts that have been reported and investigated over the years. Many websites feature sighting reports that have been followed up by investigators of varying abilities to certain degrees. I certainly have done my fair share of encounter investigations, though it's not where my main focus lies anymore.

Even though chasing reports is not what I tend to do, there are three things that I deem very important when it comes to sightings: the specific location, the time/date, and any interesting behaviors that were observed.

The location and time/date go hand in hand. By noting these factors, possible patterns can be hypothesized. This is what Peter Byrne was after when he looked for "geo-time" patterns while running the Bigfoot Research Project. Basically, where can these critters be found, and when? That's potentially useful stuff!

Peter Byrne and Cliff Barackman
August 2009



Besides the where and when, the other valuable thing in sighting reports is the observed behavior of the creature(s). These behaviors might shed some light on what we as field researchers could be looking for.

Which brings me to the real point of this blog entry. I recently received an email from a witness who calls herself "Carol". The following is her email, edited only for punctuation:

"In 1968 I lived in the Bay Area of California. A couple of young men friends and I took a car trip to where I believe was inland from Highway 1 from the Monterey area. We hiked into a wooded area that had a deep bed of fallen leaves. I stopped and turned to say something to my companions when there was a shuffling, rustling sound right beside me. When I looked, I saw a (how can I best describe this...) maybe 4' tall, rounded stance figure as though almost crouching and hunched forward; a broad-bodied creature that appeared to have come up from under the leaves where it may have been napping, I thought. The head/shoulder differentiation was quite slight, though I saw it from the rear. I am assuming it was a juvenile, since it was so small, compared to the extraordinary size a mature adult is purported to be. This creature did not pause, but scuttled away from us, disappearing very quickly into the thickly wooded distance. It did not move like, for instance, a bear, but was upright as it ran. The back was covered with a medium brown fur-like hair that was very thick and long. The three of us who were observers were startled and amazed in the same instance at the brevity of this encounter. The only thing we could say at the time was... Sasquatch!? Well, I've not told many people of this experience, but it remains vividly in my memory. I don't know if there have been other sightings in this area, but I thought since there seems to be ongoing research on the existence of these creatures, my firsthand experience might be of some use."


First of all, thank you, "Carol" for reporting this to me. I appreciate all of the stories of encounters that I receive through my website.

This encounter report caught my attention for a couple reasons. First, I have done some work in the mountains south of Monterey, CA. There are some very remote areas that are next to impossible to penetrate despite the proximity to densely populated urban areas. Also, I personally know several investigators from this part of California, so I'm always looking for ways to support them, usually by passing along information, as they often do for me.

Secondly, what really interested me about this report was that the juvenile sasquatch was thought to be napping under a layer of leaves. It's probably a fairly safe assumption that juvenile animals mirror the behavior of the adults of their species (they are learning how to be adults, after all), so what can this tell us about the sleeping habits of sasquatches?


A snoozing gorilla in its nest.

I've heard of bigfoots making nests, bedding down in the open, and being found in the thickest cover one can imagine. All of these behaviors mirror the other apes' habits, including our own.

It might also be valuable to ponder where other large omnivores bed down in the same environment. I've looked into where bears bed down and have found they sleep in a variety of areas, usually under thick cover (but not always). A park ranger in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California once told me that bears often sleep in the tree tops in that particular area. I've also heard of bears sleeping out in the open near mature trees. That would be kind of like sleeping next to a fire escape for them...



A black bear sleeping in the tree tops


Perhaps sasquatches sometimes sleep in the tree tops? Certainly, bigfooters don't spend enough time looking up. Since sleeping sasquatches are rarely seen, they must hide themselves pretty well. I suspect (and this is only a hunch) that sasquatches sleep in the thickest, nastiest brush they can find, and probably on the steep slopes surrounding their favorite feeding grounds where human traffic would be least likely. These bedding sites would likely have commanding views of the surrounding area, and are probably close to a clean running water source. Of course, this is just a guess. I've also heard a tale or two of bigfoots sleeping out in the open. When I stumble on a sleeping sasquatch, I'll let you know where I found it.

"Carol's" report might shed some light into what some sasquatches do at least some of the time. It seems like a good strategy if the leaf litter is thick enough. Could the big ones do this? Probably not as effectively using just leaf litter.

If you have any thoughts on the matter, feel free to leave a comment below.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

One More Week!

As you probably know, I've been nominated for Columbia Sportswear's Pioneers of the Outdoors contest. I've rallied the bigfoot troops, and you came through for me. We shocked and awed the competition, drowning them behind nearly one thousand video views and half that many votes.

Then, all that effort was erased. All votes and views vanished.

Not being the kind of guy to throw my hands up and pout, I called on my community again, and once again you rallied for me. The numbers are not as high as they were when the "error" occurred, but they are high enough again to put me squarely back in the number one position.

Thank you!

The contest is slated to last until next Friday, November 13th. This is the last week we can vote for the video, so I will ask you to do so again, and again, and again. Click the following banner to vote:



Here are the important things to remember:
1. You can vote once per day, so you should. If even half of the readers of this blog do so once per day, I'll add many hundreds of votes to my count by Friday.
2. Give the video "5 stars". That's the highest rating.
3. Do it for the 'squatch.

Don't pay too much attention to the number of views or the rating. They don't seem to mean much. Sometimes they don't go up at all, sometimes they actually go down after a viewing and a vote. (I don't know what's up with that, but I actually saw it happen.) I'm assuming it's a programming error...

When I wrote to the company about the discrepancies in voting numbers, they apologized and told me not to worry about the numbers because they will pretty much choose who they want anyways (and it says as much in the official rules, but is written in lawyer-speak). Therefore, I'm not worrying about the numbers. But still, they are significant in that they show a certain level of interest in the subject which should not be ignored.

Our job is to show them that everybody loves the 'squatch. With an avalanche of views and votes, this fact will be undeniable to their marketing department.

So, let's take this contest by storm. If they choose my video as the winner, great. If they don't, that's fine too. It was fun trying. It was particularly nice rallying the often factious bigfoot community to one cause, uniting us for a change behind something just for fun.

Thank you to all who participated! Keep your fingers and toes crossed, and I'll notify you when I hear something from Columbia.

In the meantime, continue to "respect the 'squatch".

Monday, November 2, 2009

Clapping Bigfoots Revisited, Again

Back in July, a group of bigfoot researchers and I went on an expedition to Bluff Creek, CA. The high point of the trip was an amazing wood-knocking event that lasted over six minutes and was recorded and posted on my website.

I saw this wood-knocking event as data to support my hypothesis that sasquatches often clap their hands to create the popping noises that are sometimes heard in their vicinity and often described as "wood-knocking". Being an amateur scientist, I am always looking for data to support my ideas, and these knocks fit the bill.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a friend and bigfoot researcher who I have a tremendous amount of respect for, and she suggested that the popping noises could have been deer vocalizations. Though I thought it unlikely, I opened my mind to the possibility. The researcher also sent me a link to a recording of a white-tail deer making huffs, though the deer doing the huffing was not visually observed, just recorded.

I started discussing this possibility with my peers, and I found some resistance to the idea, but the recordings made everyone involved open their minds to the possibility. Soon, another researcher sent me the following video of a deer making these same noises.






After hearing the deer recording and comparing it to the recording we obtained at Bluff Creek, I am now of the opinion that we recorded a deer, not a sasquatch. The valley we were in has excellent acoustics, and there was some reverberation happening that distorted the sounds slightly, but I am pretty certain of the deer identification.

This now brings up several interesting points I'd like to briefly discuss. First of all, this does not mean that sasquatches do not clap. It simply means that this recording cannot be used as data to support my hypothesis. There is still data to support it, such as a second-hand report of a visual observation of a clapping bigfoot from Klamath, CA, and another witness I personally spoke to who saw one clapping near Molalla, OR.

There is also the nagging question as to how bigfoots can answer my own knocks so quickly, even though it takes significant time to find proper sticks and trees for knocking. Knowing that other apes use clapping as a form of communication, it is still likely (in my opinion) that clapping bigfoots is the answer.

A PhD in wildlife biology told me that these deer huffs are made as a distress signal. I have to wonder what was distressing the deer at Bluff Creek. Cougar or bear might be a likely answer, but we did have other knocks (loud pops that were not repeated, and sounded much more like wood on wood than the later deer barks did) earlier that night, and a rock throwing event the next morning. I wonder if a sasquatch was causing the deer some concern...

Wondering about wood-knocking in general, I asked this PhD (who is interested in the bigfoot topic and aware of research methods) if deer are known to answer knocks, and the answer was "not to my knowledge". I have had knocks answered in the same number and rhythm as the ones I did myself. It seems unlikely that deer would exhibit this behavior. Only humans, or hypothetically bigfoots, would do this.

The last point I'd like to make about the changing of my mind on these recordings is an important one, and one that I think we should embrace more as amateur scientists: It is okay to be wrong. Yes, that's right, it's totally acceptable to be wrong about stuff. Being wrong about something like this does not mean that sasquatches do not exist. They do. It does not mean that one has been humiliated (drop the ego and we'll all be better off!). It means one has learned something. It does not mean that one is a bad researcher. It means that one is a good researcher. Scientists (amateur or professional) need to look at the data available and modify hypotheses accordingly. False leads often bring about new discoveries.




A flow chart of the Scientific Method





Even after fifteen years in the woods specifically looking for and collecting sasquatch data, I feel like I still don't know much. Really, if we're honest with ourselves, none of us do. Sure, I have some hunches about what might be going on, but knowing is an entirely different thing.

I'll leave you with a thought that might frighten some people, but I find comforting. It is also a good starting point for any bigfooter, no matter how many years you have under your bigfoot belt...

I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.
-Socrates

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bigfoot Halloween Costume, on the Cheap!

For those of you who are looking for a last-minute Halloween costume, check out this video. It's not realistic enough to be used as a hoax costume (or to be frozen in a freezer and put on national television), so I feel comfortable posting this for everyone to enjoy.

Happy Halloween!




Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bigfooting with Ringo Starr and a Cough

I've been fighting a cough for a while now. I'm much better than I was a week ago, but still not really up for going out and pushing myself. So this past Saturday night, I took it easy and watched a movie.

I found the 1981 movie, "Caveman" starring Ringo Starr in the free section of pay-per-view, and sat down for some mind-numbing nostalgia. I had seen the movie decades ago, and also had vague feelings of liking it. My taste at that age wasn't exactly "refined", but I thought I'd see what I thought was funny when I was in my early teens.

I was pleased to see a cameo by the abominable snowman. The costume was totally funny, and the long forearms reminded me of the commercially available costume that those clowns from Georgia tried to pass off as a body in a freezer last year. (I do think that its intermembral index was a little exaggerated...)

Still, it made me smile. Particularly the last scene with the bigfoot in it. It makes me think of what a bigfoot might be feeling, which is always a good thing.

Here's the best clip. Enjoy!






"Squatchy"

On October 22, 2009 the following article was published in the Agassiz-Harrison Observer in British Columbia.

To summarize, the University of Frasier Valley needed a new mascot and they adopted the most obvious candidate, the sasquatch.

Their choice makes perfect sense for many reasons. There have been numerous sighting reports from the Fraser Valley for decades. Everybody loves the 'squatch. The nearby town of Harrison Hot Springs is the home of John Green, long-time investigator and bigfooting pioneer. Just to top off the list, many years ago this sasquatch luminary was even the mayor of the town.

So, the university made the right decision and adopted a 'squatch as a mascot. Now they need our assistance to help name it. The obvious choice would be "Cliff Barackman", but that's been done (my parents beat you to it).

Perhaps something more vanilla and common like "Squatchy" would be a good choice?

The 2010 Olympics, which will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia already have "Quatchi", so adding an "S" would make sense.


"Quatchi" and friends


It would be kind of funny too because the "S" would imply the word "it's". Therefore, as an inside joke between you and me, every time the name was said the speaker would inadvertently be saying "It's squatchy." British Columbia is very squatchy, after all.

So if you feel as strongly about the squatch as I do, feel free to suggest that name. All you have to do is email this address with your suggestion by next Friday, October 30th, 2009:


dale.cory@ufv.ca


I already emailed my choice in. The following is my email to whoever receives it:


To Whom It May Concern:

I suggest the obvious:

"Squatchy"

It is similar to the 2010 Vancouver Olympic's mascot, "Quatchi". This could be good marketing, an important thought for any smallish community.

Also, the "S" implies the word "it's". Therefore the mascot's name would be suggestive of "It's Squatchy". You live there. You have to agree that the Fraser Valley is a very "squatchy" place.

Cliff Barackman
Bigfoot Field Investigator
http://www.northamericanbigfoot.com/
http://northamericanbigfoot.blogspot.com/

Once again, I'll urge you to vote (but this time not necessarily for me).

Give them your idea for a name for this critter. If you like my idea ("Squatchy"), then rally behind it and suggest the same. I'd be pretty pleased if our suggestion was selected.

Ooh, I do love democracy.

Speaking of which, you can still vote for me, once per day, until November 13th.

Now on to the article...


UFV sasquatch needs a new name



It came out of nowhere and startled revellers at UFV’s recent ‘party on the green’. The brand-new UFV Cascade Athletics mascot — a giant hairy sasquatch — appeared on campus last month and sightings have since been reported all over the Fraser Valley. It seems that the creature has taken up residence in the university’s athletics facilities and is quite comfortable there. As such, the administration and student body feel obliged to give it a name.

"Squatchy?"
[editor's note]

That’s where you come in. Help name the UFV Cascades Athletics sasquatch mascot and, if your suggestion is chosen, you could win a night at the Ramada Plaza hotel, dinner for two at an Abbotsford restaurant, and an all-sport family pass to Cascades games during the 2009-2010 season.

To enter, send your proposed mascot name and the rationale for the name via email to dale.cory@ufv.ca by Friday, Oct. 30. 2009.

Why a sasquatch? The origin of the word ‘sasquatch’ comes from a Chehalis word meaning ‘wild man’.

They are quasi-human, hair-covered, tall (up to 15’), and powerfully built. Clearly, sasquatch are not social creatures and are known to frighten humans away with displays of territorial assertion…much like our mighty Cascades student-athletes on the courts, fields, courses, and waterways of the Fraser Valley. BC has been a fertile location for sightings of sasquatch over the years.

Within the Fraser Valley alone, sightings have been reported since the 1800s at Pitt Lake, the Upper Pitt River Valley, Stave Lake, Harrison Lake, Chehalis, Port Douglas, the Hemlock Valley, Chilliwack, Chilliwack Lake, Yale, Deroche, Ruby Creek, and Hope.

A specimen was even reportedly captured alive in Yale about 150 years ago. Including the ancient Aboriginal sasquatch legends, the creature has a local history that dates back thousands of years. About the UFV Cascades UFV Athletics teams wear the name Cascades in honour of an ancient legend of power, strategy, and triumph.

The Cascade Range is a mountainous region noted for its chain of tall volcanoes that run along the west coast of North America and form part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Local myths speak of the mountains as chiefs, who waged war by heaving fire and stone at one another. The name conveys strength, longevity, and fierce raw power.

Friday, October 23, 2009

1988, Dr. John Bindernagel



I have added another cast to my online library of possible sasquatch impressions. This is one of the better-known casts from the literature. Read on for details. or just click here.

Year: 1988
Month: October
Date: Unknown
Location: Strathcona Provincial Park, Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
Found by: John and June Bindernagel
Cast by: John Bindernagel
Length: 15 inches
Width (ball): 6.5 inches
Width (heel): 4.5 inches



This print from October of 1988 was found and cast by Dr. John Bindernagel and his wife, June in Strathcona Provincial Park near their home in British Columbia. It was left on a hiking trail, and indeed a hiker's boot print can be seen in the cast itself.


When I first met Dr. Bindernagel in the late summer of 2006, he brought with him a number of other casts. Two other of his casts caught my attention. When I asked him about the other casts he had assumedly cast at the same time as the cast above, he told me that they were cast some 40 miles and a number of miles away. They were, in my opinion, obviously from the same individual, having the same peculiar toe shape and size. Apparently this individual gets around...


Dr. John Bindernagel and Cliff Barackman, September 2007


This cast is not widely traded, but appears in many publications, and rightfully so. Dr. Bindernagel is of the highest integrity, his scientific background is impeccable, and he has written extensively on the sasquatch topic. The cast itself is clean and crisp, despite the hiking boot impression. It must have been a fresh print, possibly only a few hours old, when found.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Forty-two Years Ago Today...

The Moment, by Mike Rugg


Where were you today at approximately 1:15 pm?

I was teaching geography to nine-year olds. I looked at the clock and thought to myself, "Forty-two years ago, right now!" My students had no idea I was thinking about anything other than the major mountain ranges of Europe and Asia. (If I were talking about the mountains of North America, I would have mentioned the Siskiyou's, just for kicks.)

I'm a total bigfoot nerd. I celebrate the anniversary of the Patterson/Gimlin Film every year. This year is no exception.

Most years, I'm teaching at that particular moment. Usually I notice the time. Sometimes that magical moment slips by and I don't remember to take note until a couple hours later. Still, I always notice at some point. It's kind of like a personal holiday, but one on which I have to work. Maybe that will change after Discovery Day.




It was probably the PG Film that set the hook in me back in the mid 1970's, as far as my personal path into bigfootery goes. That and "The Legend of Boggy Creek" (I've always loved monster movies).

The Patterson/Gimlin Film has played a prominent role in my life ever since, though its influence has been laughingly heavy for over a decade and a half.

When I first started camping with the sole purpose of "looking for bigfoot" back in 1994, it was with the intent of finding the PG Filmsite (which I failed to do, but discovered possible footprints). I was also looking for the PG Filmsite when I found myself over three miles up river, off trail, in the dark without a flashlight wearing shorts, a tee shirt and river sandals (not a good situation, but I'm a little wiser for it now). My first bigfoot cast was the right foot of the PG Film subject (bought from Dr. Grover Krantz himself).


My first bigfoot cast


I have now visited the PG Filmsite no less than a dozen times. I was the first person I'm aware of to get a GPS reading at the site, though Daniel Perez was the first to publish the numbers (he was there two or three weeks after I was back in 1997).

I have had possible bigfoot action at or very near the filmsite on three occasions. I am aware of several others who have also possibly encountered one of these creatures there too. However, I am not aware of any sightings from the filmsite except for Roger and Bob's, though that would be cool.

Looking upstream at the PG Filmsite, July 2009


Several years ago, I had the pleasure of accidentally running across Tony Healy, author of the excellent book, Yowie, The Search for Australia's Bigfoot while on expedition at Bluff Creek. My field partner and I escorted Tony to the PG filmsite and spent a great night with him at this historic spot. No bigfoots were heard, but many stories about them and their Aussie cousins were.


Cliff Barackman, James "Bobo" Fay, and Tony Healy
near the PG Filmsite, August 2007



I was honored to have been invited to speak in Willow Creek at the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the PG Film. The title of my presentation was "The History of the PG Film Subject, 1958 - 1967", which detailed the numerous times that Patty's footprints might have been found prior to the film, dating back to the late 1950's. Also speaking at this event were James "Bobo" Fay (who told about early investigators in the Bluff Creek area dating back to the late 1940's), Scott McClean (who went over the media's written accounts of the film), Daniel Perez (a widely recognized expert in the history of the film), and the biographer of Roger Patterson, David Murphy. It was held on October 20th, and we spent that night in the cold backcountry of Bluff Creek at Louse Camp, just three short miles from the filmsite.


Cliff Barackman speaking at
the 40th Anniversary Celebration


Only later did I have the distinct privilege of befriending Bob Gimlin. I have spoken to Bob numerous times about that day, 42 years ago. Many subtle details have been shared about that day which enriches the PG Film for me, whether it was the torrential downpour that nearly stranded Roger and Bob, or the fact that Bob had to "borrow" a front loader (that luckily had the keys left in it) to pull his truck out of a dangerous, muddy situation half way up Onion Mountain (this event left a dent in Bob's hood, which can still be seen today). It was also from these conversations that I suspect that they did not camp at Louse Camp as is widely reported, but rather at the Notice Creek landing, just a short distance away. Minor details, to be sure, but when you're a bigfoot nerd, that stuff is cool.

However, as amazingly awesome as the PG Film is, I would like to encourage those who can to try to get another film of equal or better quality. The PG Film set the bar intimidatingly high for visual evidence. I'm out there trying to get new footage kind of a lot, even for a bigfooter. Maybe you can't get out as much as I try to, but there's a lot more of you than there are of me. The odds are squarely in your favor.

Learn from the past. Roger and Bob had a good strategy, and one that can be recreated. They were in an area that had recent activity, in this case footprint finds (the Blue Creek Mountain prints, and the Onion Mountain print, both from August of 1967). They spent multiple days poking around and enjoying the great camping in a remote area. They scoured the creek beds looking for footprints (probably the only place with a real possibility of recording footprints in that area). Roger kept his camera close to him and readily accessible. All of this paid off.

You can do most, if not all of those things. That means you potentially could get really, really, really lucky too.

But, if you don't try their method, TRY SOMETHING! Get into the woods. Bring a camera. Believe in luck.

Happy anniversary!

Roger, Bob, and Patty
by
Mike Rugg




Oh yeah, one more thing... Happy birthday to fellow bigfooter Autumn Williams! Consider yourself hugged.