Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Forty-Four More

A reader sent this in an email to me recently:
"I have voted for you daily. However, I noticed this morning that your score has not changed for the past few days. You might want to follow up on this."


Has anyone else noticed irregularities? I have already lost over nine hundred votes for a still-unknown reason.

And what's worse, the guy who hasn't even taken the road trip yet is catching up. In physics, potential energy is equal to the kinetic energy that will be released, but that shouldn't be true for road trips.

So, I'm here to remind you to help me win. Here are the rules you need to keep in mind:

1. You can vote for me once per day.
2. You vote for me by clicking "5 stars".
3. The contest ends on November 13th.

Using these rules, each of you can generate 44 more votes for me. There are a bunch of you reading this now, so let's see... 44 times a bunch... Well, that's a lot. A whole lot. And I need every vote.

It's not the prize money I'm after. I'm splitting that anyways. It's to raise awareness of the squatch. Help me do this.

So many times the bigfoot community is split into factions. It makes us all look bad to folks on the outside of our little world. Let's continue to pull together on this one. We're almost there. Forty-four more days.
Click on the Columbia link right here:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Friends, Cookies, and Wackos

Cliff Barackman with Mt. Rainier in the background.

This past weekend, I was invited on an expedition to an area outside of Mt. Rainier National Park. Bigfoot researcher and friend, Bart Cutino set aside the weekend to fly up and meet some close friends at the location of his sighting from August 2007. Besides Bart, in attendance were Paul Graves, Robert Leiterman, David Ellis, his wife Terry, Will Robinson, and me.

Upon arrival at approximately 9 pm on Friday night, I was asked if I just did a scream. I had not done any vocalizations since I was driving, so the group excitedly told me that a possible vocalization had just moments before come from the direction of a nearby swamp. Paul Graves had also recorded a possible vocalization from that same direction the previous night when he was alone at the camp. I heard the recording and it sounded promising.

On Saturday morning, Dave Ellis and Robert Leiterman made a trip to a nearby lake to cast some footprints that were found on Friday afternoon. Dave correctly observed that there was a conspicuous ridge in the foot that made him wonder about the species of the print-maker. Several casts were made, but I suspect that they are of human origin. The toes, ball, arch, and size all point to homo sapien. Still, kudos to Dave for not only being prepared, but also for casting when in doubt. Always cast when in doubt! Casting material is cheap, and it's good practice for the real thing. That practice might come in handy someday.

Two views of the same cast. Very likely of human origin.

Besides that possible vocalization, and the one from the previous night, the trip was relatively quiet. Some sounds were heard, but I am not so sure they were sasquatches. A series of siren calls were heard, but several emergency vehicles were seen on the road the next day. The recording points to actual sirens as well. At one point a roaring sound was also heard, but soon thereafter, a semi truck and a smaller vehicle zipped up the road past camp. I'm inclined to think that we heard a trucksquatch from a good distance.

Just because the trip was relatively quiet does not mean it was without excitement. We had a surprise visitor on Saturday evening. Bob Gimlin, who lives less than two hours away, heard we were in his neck of the woods and made a point of dropping in to visit with us for a few hours. Any time spent with Bob is time well-spent, as he is one of the best people on the planet as far as I can tell. He's kind beyond words, a true cowboy gentleman that is full of stories, history, and wit. We shared bigfoot stories, caught up on recent happenings, cracked some jokes, and shared some of my mother's excellent home-made cookies that I received in a care package last week. Mom, in case you're reading this, Bob said, "Cliff, your mom sure makes a good cookie!" He's right, she does.

Bob Gimlin with a cookie from the master.

There was a little negativity on the trip. There was a man and woman camping a few hundred yards up the road from us that had two golden retrievers. Normally, golden retrievers are great dogs, craving attention and being generally lovey. These were, well... jerks. They ran off-leash constantly, bounding out to the road to bark menacingly at passers-by. They threatened to bite any of us who passed, actually nipping at Will, but not breaking the skin. When approached, they would cower and shrink back before starting the whole barky thing again.

And their owner wasn't much better. His bark was worse than his bite, too, thankfully. He threatened to shoot Will and I if we walked past his camp again. I've never been threatened with being shot before. I was a little unnerving. Will and I were doing a night walk on the road at about 11:30 when his idiot dogs came running out. Then the idiot owner came out with a flashlight and shouted, "What are you looking for!?" at us.

I answered, "Mammals." I don't think he understood.

"What?" he asked stupidly. Perhaps the multi-syllable word confused him.

"Mammals," I replied. "Wanna see?" I started walking towards him with the thermal imager. He could plainly see me and the gear, but he grew agitated.

Will added, "You can see heat signatures..."

"I'll show you a heat signature of my shotgun!" interrupted the bellowing moron. He repeated that same mantra (or something just like it) a few times, not comprehending that his fear of two harmless folks walking on public land at night made him seem like a frightened chihuahua barking at a stuffed animal.

The worse thing about his threats of shooting us if we walked by his camp again was that we had deployed a team already and they were up the road about a half mile. They had to walk by this genius' camp to return to our own. That problem was solved by me driving to pick them up, which I was happy to do.

Robert Leiterman, a law enforcement officer and state park ranger deals with wackos like this all the time. He consoled me and told me that the people who actually shoot people are the ones that don't give warnings. Oh, good... I considered reporting him because threatening a state employee (which I am) is a federal offense. I decided against it because karma will deal him a blow worse than any that the law could dish out. Besides, I feel sorry for that guy just because he is who he is. I can't imagine being trapped in that sort of existence...

Anyways, Mom, if you're still reading this, relax. I'm safe. That guy was just scared and that's the first time anything like that has ever happened to me in many, many, many years of camping in remote areas. I wasn't even alone. Still, I'm starting to reconsider Dad's offer of giving me his old firearm (he's a retired sheriff).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Don't Tread On Me

Last week, friend and bigfoot investigator Will Robinson found several interesting impressions along the Sandy River, just east of Portland, OR. Will was fishing with a friend on private property owned by his friend's uncles. Using his cell phone and a $10 bill for scale, Will photographed two impressions and sent them to me for my opinion.

Only one impression was in substrate that would record details of any sort. While one photograph shows little if any detail, the other shows clear toe impressions and some information on the shape and length of what could be a footprint of a sasquatch. Using fishing line, Will measured out the length of the impression and later determined it to be nearly 20 inches long.

I have personally taken photographs of footprints in the ground only to discover that the photograph shows almost no details compared to what I saw in person. So, when I saw the detail in Will's photographs, I was excited and wanted to visit the location. Upon speaking to Will, I was even more excited to find that the impressions had an approximate depth of 0.25 to 0.5 inches: in other words, fully castable.

The context of the footprint find was promising, too. The surrounding forest is either private property, or a designated nature preserve. It is only a mile or two to Gordon Creek, where I investigated an excellent sighting in July of 2008. It is also near to one of my Sandy River study sights, the Sandy River Project Site #2.

As if that weren't enough, last spring there was an interesting rock-throwing event that occurred less than 150 yards from where the footprint was found. Will's fishing buddy was fishing at the nearby river beach with a few friends when out of the corner of his eye he spied a rock about the size of a man's head come plummeting down. He turned in time to see the rock splash into the water a short distance from him. Based on the angle from which it came in, and not even considering sasquatches to be real animals or even a possible source for this projectile, he and his friends judged that the most likely explanation for this unsettling event would be that somebody was dropping rocks out of airplanes. Right, that's the most likely explanation. The lengths that folks will go to in order to not believe in bigfoots!

Needless to say, I was very eager to get to the location to see this impression for myself. Coordinating with Will's friend proved difficult between our various work schedules, and the soonest I could get to the scene was Sunday, September 13. I didn't think it was an issue since the weather had been warm and cooperative. The impression would surely still be there...

Well... Neither Will nor his fishing friend told the uncles that the footprint was there out of fear that they would be heckled, and then the uncles would go and fake a number of other prints in the beach. However, in the intervening four days, one of the uncles took his ATV out on one of his regular patrols and drove right over the footprint, erasing all trace.

That's 'squatching... You do this long enough, and you realize that it's often a series of bum-outs followed by short flurries of awesomeness. I try not to fret about such things.

On a similar note, I have investigated reports where quads or ATV's have run over footprints before. I've ridden quads. They're fun. Watch where you ride, though. Don't tread on data, please.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Squatch the Vote- Update

You saw it. I saw it. Thanks to you all, I was burying the competition.

Now, for some reason, my numbers have been reset, and I am in third place. My 900+ views have mysteriously been reduced to less than 100. My number of votes isn't even 10, yet a few days ago it was closing in on over 400.

Something fishy is going on here. Here's a chance for all of you bigfoot/conspiracy buffs to really sink your teeth into something...

Why would they do this? Do they have concerns about being represented by a bigfooter? Did some of my readers cheat, and thus reduce my votes? Is it a government plot (probably not).

Kite Skating is cool, but bigfooting is a little more ruggedly woodsy. Ice carving is beautiful, but what does it have to do with using the outdoors? Planning for a roadtrip is cool, but only if it's a bigfoot roadtrip.

So, once more, I'm asking for help from my bigfooting brethren to squatch the vote. Please help me restore our rightful place as the number one outdoors activity that Columbia Sportswear will be PROUD of. We get frowned upon enough as kooks, weirdos, gullible, and silly. We deserve the recognition that we are Pioneers of the Outdoors in a way that almost no one else is.

We are at the cutting edge of science, even more so than the vast majority of scientists in this case! We are explorers, the pioneers, the discoverers of tomorrow's greatest anthropological find. Once again, let's show them what we're made of.

Click this link, and once again, let's squatch the vote.
The voting will go on until November 13th. You may vote once per day from your computer and/or email address. (Multiple votes from the same computer might disqualify me, and maybe that's what happened. My friends are known for their enthusiasm, but not their ability to follow the rules/norms...)

One more thing... Spread the word!!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Plans For Tomorrow

This photo was sent to me last night by a local contact. It was taken on the evening of September 9, 2009 just before dark on the Sandy River. The private property where this was found had a curious rock-throwing event last spring, and is less than two miles from several sighting locations I am familiar with.

I am hoping to access the property tomorrow afternoon after work. I'll keep you posted on the results.

Most of you probably know that footprint photographs usually turn out pretty bad. This one looks good, and is therefore promising. Then again, I'm an optimist...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Clapping Bigfoot Revisited

Please hold your applause until after reading.

Recently on a trip to Bluff Creek, I was an audial witness to a tremendous display of what bigfooters normally call "tree knocking". A recording of the event can be found here, while details of the trip can be found in previous blogs here and here.

This knocking event lasted over six minutes, and whatever was making the noise travelled towards the southeast. The curious thing about these knocks is that while the noise moved along the ridge line, the timbre (sound quality) remained the same: a clear "popping" noise.

As noted in the earlier blogs, there are some issues with the tree knocking hypothesis. If a sasquatch was carrying a stick to pound on trees as it walked by, it should not be producing the same sound over and over. From my own experience, different trees produce different sounds when hit with baseball bats (my method of producing tree knocks). Often they produce dull thuds, and sometimes I can find one that gives me the sound I want of a clear hollow pop.

Another issue with the normal tree knocking hypothesis is how quickly sasquatches answer my own knocks. Normally, most of my knocks go unanswered, but that's squatching. When I do get answers, they are very often within 30 or 40 seconds of my initial sound. Again, just going from my own experience, it is not that easy to find an appropriate stick, and then find an appropriate tree to hit to produce the clear popping noises I have often observed and even recorded.

So, how are the bigfoots doing it? At first I thought they might be "popping their tongues". I knew a guy in middle school who could produce amazingly loud pops by using sucking his tongue to the top of his mouth and popping it downwards to create a loud click. I thought perhaps since sasquatches have big mouths to use as resonance chambers, this could be what they are doing. Perhaps some do.

I used to hang out with a lot of Brazilian folks, and they showed me a method of clapping that produces a consistent loud pop. One opens their palms out as far as possible, to the point of the fingers being angled away from the palm to an extent, and clapping the hands together. By opening the palms, it creates a concave "dish" shape on the hand, and clapping the hands together makes a nice hollow popping noise. They use this for participating in music and dance events, such as capoeira. It occurred to me that sasquatches, having much larger hands than us, should be able to produce much louder claps. Perhaps this is how they do it.

In April of 2008, I was on the Klamath River filming an episode of Monster Quest. While there, I heard a third-hand report that helped to support this hypothesis. Apparently, one of the local Yuroks who lived outside of Klamath, CA heard what he thought was gun shots from up the river. He thought kids were shooting and went to tell them to stop. Getting in his boat, he went up river a short distance to discover a sasquatch standing in a small tributary, clapping its hands and producing the "gunshot" noises. I did not speak to the witness, so I just filed this away as interesting.

I later found that clapping is a normal, yet rarely observed behavior in other great apes. Gorillas, orangs, bobobos, and chimpanzees engage in clapping behaviors to communicate various things to others of the same species. Another small, yet important piece of data...

A clapping gorilla. Notice the cupped hands.

A week or so ago, I met a witness who has had multiple encounters near Molalla, OR over a period of a decade or so. He had seen them in a particular campsite before, and had had them around several other times, so he equipped his camper with an external infrared camera mounted on the roof. This camera could swivel 360 degrees, but could not angle vertically.

After retiring for the night, the witness started hearing tree knocks and whistles outside. He got up, looked at his camera monitor (which was inside the camper), and swivelled the camera around only to see nothing. While he was moving inside the camper and the IR light was on, all activity stopped. After going back to bed, the whistles and knocks started again. He, again, got up and checked the camera, shutting down the activity and saw nothing.

This went on for several hours. Eventually, the witness got up after hearing the whistles and knocks, but did not turn on the IR lights and camera. He looked out the camper window into the night. Though it was dark, he could clearly see a crouching sasquatch just fifteen feet from the camper. The camera that had been mounted on the roof of his camper had apparently seen right over the top of the crouching animal. As he watched the creature, he saw it spread out its massive arms and clap its hands together, producing the familiar knocking noise that had been keeping him up for most of the night.

Did the sasquatch stay there doing this all night, or did it come and go? Why would a sasquatch be doing this at all? Every answer produces more questions. Each question leads to others. From hearing hundreds of stories over the years, some far stranger than this, the main conclusion I can come to about sasquatch behavior is that they are weird animals. They do not do what is expected of other animals. If they did, we would have proven their existence a long time ago.

Let me also make it clear that I believe the witness. He has no reason to lie, and indeed, there were multiple witnesses (some of which I have spoken to) for several of his encounters that corroborated his account.

When I spoke to the witness about the clapping, he didn't even think it was that big of a deal. Of course, I was thrilled to speak directly to someone who witnessed a bigfoot clap. This adds a tiny bit of data to back up my hypothesis that bigfoots are clapping, at least some of the time, to produce the noises called "tree knocks."

Do sasquatches pound sticks on trees? Probably. Do they pop their tongues? Probably. Do they clap? I can now say that this is very likely. Whichever method they choose to produce these knocking sounds, they seem to have a lot of time to perfect the technique. Remember, they are very intelligent creatures, with nothing to do but learn how to do what they do very, very, very well.

Now you may applaud, but hopefully you're just practicing for the next time you're in the woods.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

High Five's All Around!

Linda Martin of Happy Camp, CA sent an email today notifying me that has been chosen as the Bigfoot Sightings Site of the Day!

I accidently ran across Linda last June. A group of friends and I were traveling from an expedition near Cave Junction, OR on the way to Bluff Creek when we ran into Linda at the local market in Happy Camp, CA. She was kind and generous with information, and later posed for a picture with my motley crew.

Cliff Barackman, Bart Cutino, Linda Martin,
Wally Hersom, and Tom Yamarone

Linda's review of my website can be found at this link, or you can read it below. Thank you for the props, Linda!

North American Bigfoot - Cliff Barackman’s Site

Cliff Barackman’s website is fairly new, but packed with fascinating information. For example, he’s installed a unique index of Bigfoot footprint casts giving the specs on each including the place it was found, the size, the date, and the name of the person who discovered it. There’s so much to see on this site I wasn’t able to read it all in one day… but I’ll be back. There’s an ongoing Bigfoot research blog associated with this site that I’ve only read a few entries of. I may feature that separately in the future, because I really want to read it all.

Cliff Barackman has been involved with Bigfoot research for at least fifteen years and currently has three ongoing Bigfoot study areas in Oregon. His comments about the kinds of things that go on there are fascinating. He’s also got articles on the site — I couldn’t read them all today but went down the list until I saw A Place for Amateurs and figured that was the article for me. It was very encouraging, giving practical suggestions for a scientific approach to Bigfoot research.

Speaking of encouragement, I met Cliff during the summer of 2008 when he came through Happy Camp (you can see the photograph on my blog post about Tom Yamarone) and he said something that was very encouraging to me. I was wondering how I should develop my approach to Bigfoot research and he said something to the effect that my blog was fine as it was - as being someone in the Klamath River area commenting on local sightings. A little bit of encouragement is very helpful, and Cliff, if you ever read this, I want to thank you for that!

Other articles on this site will appeal to more experienced Bigfoot researchers: Thermal Imagers in Bigfoot Research and A Case for Infrasound are a little too high-tech for me but may be exactly what you need to read about. More my speed, The Ten Essentials of Bigfoot Data Gathering lists practical items like a tape measure and latex gloves — things I can afford and know how to use.

Cliff included a section on the cultural impact of Bigfoot, recommending books, movies, artists, and musicians. Take a walk on the wild side… and if you have questions look at the Bigfoot FAQ. There are some Bigfoot videos on the site you may not have seen before. There are also Bigfoot sound recordings he’s collected during his Bigfoot research activities. For a new site, this is very comprehensive, but that is a reflection of his years of experience. If you want to be involved in Bigfoot research, this is definitely a site worth taking the time to read.