Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Trying Something New

I was invited to the woods this past week by Thom Powell, author of the excellent book The Locals (scroll down to see the book). Thom thinks outside of the box when it comes to bigfoot research, and his intelligent ideas are always refreshing and fun. Hanging out with him is never dull, and he nearly always has something great up his sleeve. This idea would prove to be in a direction I had never gone.

For this excursion, Thom explained that while most bigfooters seem interested in call blasting or playing rather disagreeable sounds into the woods to lure in bigfoots, he wanted to play something totally unoffensive, pleasant, and multi-cultural (quite the understatement when considering the intended audience). He chose the song "Smaointe" by the artist Enya.

To further entice the creatures' curiosity, he picked lavender, rosemary, and even sunflowers from his own garden to leave out in conspicuous locations near the camp as gifts for the bigfoots. Again, Thom was looking to leave something that would be interesting to them in ways other than food might be. The herbs made my car smell great, so maybe he's onto something.

Thom Powell placing a "gift" of garden herbs on a large stone.

We travelled into Mount Hood National Forest to a camp at the end of a logging road. The camp was near a talus slope overlooking a spring. The rocky hillside was perfect for blasting the recordings since it would reflect the sound outward rather than absorb the sound, as happens with trees.

Thom left the "gifts" on prominent rock piles near camp. We explored the area and set up our gear utilizing what little daylight we had left. I brought out my "big guns" for this trip, since it was only to be a few hours (I had to work the next day). I brought my 500 watt Yamaha PA system which pumps sound through two speakers with crystal clarity. I set the speakers up with them angled outwards by perhaps 45 degrees in order to create a "big" sound, which can be more important than being just loud.

Thom setting up the sound system.

Shortly after sunset, we let the diatonic sounds of Enya echo through the countryside. When the six-minute song ended, we started it over again. In fact, we played nothing but that one song for nearly a half hour.

I don't own any Enya music, but she's a talented musician and very good at what she does. It was not hard to allow her majestic music to add to the moment of watching the last shades of pink and purple play in the wisps of clouds over the Cascades to the west. It was downright lovely. Of course, by the fourth or fifth time through the song, most of the magic was lost...

I only wish a photograph could capture the loveliness...

While no bigfoot activity was noticed that night, that does not mean that Thom's experiment was a failure. Thom knows that this is a long-term game plan. He will do this same activity again. He wants the local bigfoots to recognize him by his sounds and his efforts. He hopes that by trying benevolent means to lure the locals in, he will be recognized as benevolent himself.

In Thom's words, he is not striving to prove these things are real, he's striving for understanding. An advanced thought, to be sure.

What I'd like to suggest to the reader is that everyone should be out there repeatedly trying their own ideas. Sure, learn from those with experience, but as a bigfooter one should try to think about new ways to grab the critters' attention. More importantly, put those ideas to the test. In fact, test those ideas many times before writing them off as not working. You might get an interesting visit one night, but if you don't, maybe there was no bigfoot nearby at all.

Either way, enjoy the woods, and try something new. We're not getting very far with traditional thinking, so let's start thinking outside of the box. Way outside...

Oh, and one last thing. Share your results with other bigfooters so they can try the same methods. They might be able to confirm your findings, and perhaps add to them. That's science, after all. Not sharing your data is, well, like not having any data at all.

Cliff Barackman enjoying a sunset while bigfooting.


  1. Follow the adventures of Safari Angela at:

    Or follow me on Twitter at:

    Expedition heading out August 7th. If sighted, we will engage no matter what.

  2. Cliff, Enjoyed the read. We all need to look differently at the ways we're trying to seek out this elusive being. Keep up the good work!