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.


  1. Now that you've further brought this subject of Hand Clapping Bigfoots into the light, have you developed an alternative method of reproducing these "hand claps" in the field instead of just using baseball bats against trees?

  2. Another way to produce a sound like wood hitting wood is to splay your fingers wide apart and clap together with you fingers lining up together as they come in contact. This makes a sound exactly like a "wood knock". I have become a member of the "hand clap" camp, how many times have we had teachers, moms and nannies clap their hands loudly to disipline us or ge our attention. Makes sense that a Bigfoot would clap to warn others or warn juveniles to stay away from the "hairless ones". Joppa

  3. Last night I was camping on the remote OR coast and I was surrounded by tree knocking. The experience was so s scary that I began researching it tonight where I stumbled upon this blog. I'm going back this week to try and capture the knocking.

  4. I have watched several gorilla documentaries where the ape side or rear kicked the trunk of a tree to make a surprisingly loud knock. Also, when they pound their hands on their chests, the sound is like a hollow knock of a woodpecker, instead of the "Thud, thud, thud" we've all become used to associating that action with. Certainly a possibility.

  5. Do the clap in front of your mouth in the shape of an "O". Now imagine that sound amplified by a much much bigger head and mouth.

  6. I find this very interesting...
    we have had them clap back to us when my Girlfriend would clap on the front porch... funny thing is they would clap back when she would but not when I did... with both of us doing at the same time...
    it was like they knew when she was doing it. and would ignore mine.

    1. I lived In endboro Pennsylvania for about 9 months on over 600 archers of land and my boyfriend and I heard clapping in the woods about three different times we would clap back and here nothing. I’ve also heard tapping on my window at 2 in morning. One day I was walking my 5 month old son on our road and I heard the clapping this time it was faster then what we’ve heard before. I was afraid and I continued to walk faster. I then looked back a stick came flying out of the woods behind me. This was not just a tiny stick it was a thick stick. I then ran to the only neighbor we had and sat on their porch calling my boyfriend to pick me up. Note I was only about 100 yards from my house but was terrified to walk past that part of the woods again. I will never forget that moment

  7. I always wondered how they always had the perfect stick all the time so fast for a response. Witnesses never seem to notice a stick in there hands. This would seem more likely.

  8. I was out morel hunting near La Crosse, Wi this last Monday and I had that happen to me. The "knocking" lasted for about 5 minutes, it was dead calm, I could've heard a twig break from 100 yards kind of calm. I scrambled to get my gopro out, but it was in it's waterproof case which unfortunately it turns out, is also soundproof. I tried to elicit some more knocking with some of my own. I remember I had serious doubts about my "wood on wood" sounds compared to the "popping" sounds which varied in pitch as if "it" was using shape of it's mouth to produce the pops, where as my wood on wood only produced one pitch. I was left with the distinct impression that it was very skillfully done and sounded very "practiced" in it's knocking/popping. It wasn't until later that night when I figured out the clapping over mouth thing. It took me awhile to get it down, and once I did I knew that was EXACTLY what I heard if I had Shaquille O'Neal sized hands/mouth! I'm very relieved to hear similiar experiences to validify what I heard! I wasn't a bigfooter until this last Monday. I'm 100% honest, and 100% serious.