Sunday, May 31, 2009

Throw Another 'Squatch on the Barby

One of my favorite places in Central California is the Bigfoot Discovery Museum in Felton, CA. It is a small, unassuming shack deep in the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The steep terrain and moist environment suggests that this could be the haunt of a small number of bigfoots. Mike Rugg, curator and owner of the museum wholeheartedly agrees.


Mike Rugg in his natural habitat

Mike has a good corner location, and it would be hard to miss his establishment when driving Hwy 9. If you miss the sign, just look for the life-sized replicas of sasquatches displayed next door. You'd probably see the 7 foot chainsaw carvings of bigfoots first, but different people see different things...

Everybody hugs the 'squatch


The Bigfoot Discovery Museum will be hosting a Bigfoot BBQ on Sunday, June 7th, 2009. In spite of the name, bigfoots will not be barbecued, but rather the normal animals and veggie delicacies. The fun and feasting is scheduled for 12 pm to 4 pm, though I imagine it'll be hard to get folks to leave on time.

Speaking at the event will be David Paulides, author of The Hoopa Project, a recent tome on one investigator's research into bigfoot encounters on and near the Hoopa Indian Reservation in Northern California. Though fairly new on the scene, Mr. Paulides has done extensive research in Six Rivers National Forest, particularly in the Bluff Creek region. Mr. Paulides will be promoting his new bigfoot book, Tribal Bigfoot. He has police-level training in investigative techniques, and certainly has formidable interviewing skills (as well as a moustache) from which Magnum PI could learn a thing or two.

I have only briefly spoken to Mr. Paulides in person, but he was kind and professional, and seemed sincere in his ambitions. Certainly he is giving a better-than-average "go" of it, publishing two books and working on a third in the short amount of time he has been active in the bigfoot community. He has the gear, the drive, the time, and the "bigfoot bug". (All the important ingredients...) I look forward to reviewing the data he brings to the table over the next few years, and I sincerely wish him the best of luck. Here's a link to his site, North America Bigfoot Search (no relation beyond being nomenclaturely coincidental to my site, http://www.northamericanbigfoot.com/).

The event's flyer


If you live within driving distance of Felton, CA (a hop, skip, and a jump east of Santa Cruz, CA), it would be well worth your time to come by. Mike has an impressive collection of bigfoot books, data, stories, and collectibles on display at the museum. His cast collection is not too shabby either. I have donated several casts to his collection, and many are on display. He even holds a tooth that he suspects might be from a sasquatch!

Mike is an excellent artist in his own right. I recently bought a piece of art from Mike depicting Roger Patterson, Bob Gimlin, and Patty together for a portrait. I didn't know it was Mike's work before buying it, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out who the artist was. Mike will soon be added to the "artists" section of my website, http://www.northamericanbigfoot.com/.

Mike and Cliff bringing "sexy" back to bigfooting.

I will not be able to attend this event, but have been to numerous other gatherings at the museum. They are always a lot of fun, with lots of great people and bigfoot talk. If you are able to attend, I'd love to hear about it. Be sure to drop me an email with your photos and reviews!

Below is a video of Mike at his museum, talking about why he is qualified to run a bigfoot museum. This is one of many, many videos Mike has compiled for his "video blog".




If you go, be sure to tell Mike you read about it here!


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mentioning Monsters in Monterey


Bart Cutino addressing the crowd

Bart Cutino, a good friend and field partner, addressed the business community of Monterey, CA on the topic of bigfoot this past week. The event was at 12:00 pm on May 28, 2009 in a conference hall at the Monterey Hyatt. In attendance were many prominent members of the Monterey business community. The mayor of Monterey was also in attendance, as was a former mayor of the city.

The talk was well-received, and several good questions were asked showing interest in the community. They were especially interested in the local sightings in and around Monterey County.

Bart was kind enough to share the outline for his presentation, as well as a few photographs.


The Search For "Unrecognized" North American Primates
By Bart P. Cutino

Introduction/Personal history with subject

1. Origins Of "Bigfoot" Name
a) 1958 media relationship built
b) Pre-1958 activity
c) Perception of consequences of "bigfoot" name with plurality loss

2. BFRO & Organizational Objectives

3. The Skeptics' Arguments
a) Where's the physical evidence?
b) Enough food resources to sustain?
c) Where are the bones?
d) Misidentifications?

4. Where's the physical evidence?
a) Unknown mammalian matching hair characteristics (Fahrenbach collection as resource)
b) Footprint cast analysis (flexion transverse tarsal joint vs. humans, explain absent heel impressions etc...)
c) Track impression distinctions (half track examples, varying push off mound, same foot, toes but exclusive tracks in comparing use typical hoaxing materials etc...)
d) Dermal Ridges (trend lengthwise along sole (esp. margins) vs. humans-- transverse across sole, healed scar tissue ridge interuptions, Chilcutt conclusion)

5. Enough food sources to sustain?
a) (Example) CA Increasing black bear population and diets
b) Predominant large mammals do fine with herbivorous/insect diet (without ungulates)
c) Vegetative food source examples/potential

6. Where Are The Bones?
a) Apex predator death hypothesis (credit Cliff Barackman) & nature re-cycling
b) Chance finds: Not A Chance (four parts to chain)
1) Against apex predator death rules to die within visual human trail/backpacking trail
2) Remains must be in state of recognition as "unique"
3) Must be collected
4) Proper authorities for processing
c) Miracle that is fossilization
1) Why fossils are rare
2) Die In water, sediment layer, per-mineralization, uplift, erosion = fossil find potential

7. Misidentification?
a) Psychology of interpreting unknown animal event into creating bipedal primate encounter
b) Black bears- time spent on hind legs
c) Hypothetical reverse psychology: if animals exist, how many brief encounters were blamed on "known" animals

8. Necessary Physical/Behavioral Attributed, Instinctual & Inherent Assets To Successfully Remain "Unrecognized" Today
a) Large physical body built for great maneuverability
b) Be inherently shy & retiring
c) Possess expected acute animal senses
d) Instinctive discretion use (including sacrifice of easier foraging)
e) Flexible/nomadic lifestyle
f) Predominantly nocturnal (when "we" are least active, need light source benefit)

9. Potential fossil candidate: Gigantopithecus Blacki & other Asian "wood ape" descendants
a) Time period & suspected locomotion/features
b) What little preserved remains & why (limestone caves)
c) Bering land bridge was 1000 miles wide/forested during Pleistocene
d) Microscopic pits in teeth may change opinion on preferred diet

10. History Of Patterson/Gimlin film
a) Confirmed post-film details
b) False recurrent media claims
c) Bill Munns latest report potential

11. Hoaxers Gallery

12. Jacobs photos (malnourished bear conclusion)

13. Olympic Project: Derek Randles, Reconyx RC60's, BFRO Olympic Mtns, WA

14. Why thermal imaging & scientific importance vs. color photography

15. Details my personal thermal sighting Northern Cascades, WA state--8/18/07

(10-minute Q & A)

Cliff and Bart in Naches, WA

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Blogtalking on 'Squatching

Yesterday was a good day. I put another layer of latex on the cast from Quinault, WA that I'm currently copying, then placed some trail cameras out at the Sandy River Project Site #2, and later had an enjoyable conversation with the folks from the Blogtalkradio show, Campfire Shadows.

The hosts (Vic Cundiff and Shane McMahon) were kind and interested, and the listening audience was supportive of my endeavors. My only regret was that it went by so quickly. I am definitely looking forward to doing their show again.

For those of you who missed the live broadcast, you can still download the podcast and listen to it at your leisure. Just follow this link and download the full 90 minute interview.

Mount Saint Helens and Cliff

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Clifford in Gifford


Last week was pretty bigfoot-intensive for me. Between the Yakima event, various friends passing through town, getting into the woods, and blogging daily, I was a little worn out. I needed a break, so... I went bigfooting.

This trip was a less-intensive, holiday weekend trip into Gifford Pinchot National Forest with friends. That's one of the cool things about bigfooting: I can do it with folks who aren't as into it as I am, and even skeptics. I always try to keep in mind that bigfooting is really just camping with a purpose...

I packed a gear bag full of electronic goodies, another with a handful of trail cameras, and a cooler containing refreshing beverages, and headed eastward on the 84. Crossing the Columbia River into Washington State via the Bridge of the Gods, I travelled further east and then north into Gifford Pinchot National Forest.


The Bridge of the Gods



We didn't really have a specific destination, which is the way I love to roll. I thought we'd see how far back the snow had melted, and hopefully find a place to camp with nobody too close. It was Memorial Day weekend, after all.

We tried to get to a couple spots where I had had some possible bigfoot action a few years back, but found each of them blocked with snow. The main road was impassible at Lone Butte Snow Park, so we headed down FSR 3211 towards Skookum Meadows. I suspected the road would still be snowed in and I was correct. Turning around, we continued our search for a campsite.

We eventually found an unoccupied corner of the forest at a place we know as "Hunter's Camp". Hunter's Camp is not far from where I recorded vocalizations this past summer, and there is an extensive marsh less than a quarter mile away. It was great for camping, as well as bigfooting.


Deer sign was everywhere.

We did some excellent hiking, tracking through the swamps, and perching on high precipices to fill our days. I couldn't ask for better weather with the warm days and clear blue skies. The views of Mount Saint Helens were epic, and the forest was a sylvan paradise.


Mount Saint Helens


Night time activities included tree-knocking, various calls, and night walks. I even started venturing into the swamp at 1 am, but a combination of treacherous terrain, exhaustion, and refreshing beverages made me abandon that bright idea. The moment was not lost on me though. I did sit quietly for twenty minutes or so, checking out the area through the thermal imager. A rodent was filmed, but no other mammalian life was seen.

The swamp.


Bigfoots totally blow my mind. How they can get around in that inky darkness is just phenomenal. I know bears and other animals do it too, but just thinking of another biped navigating the same terrain effortlessly is pretty awe-inspiring. My respect for the 'squatch grows all the time.

The trail cameras captured images of my friends and I walking the roads, and one deer. No bigfoots. Still, it's always an adventure putting out trail cameras. It's like Christmas morning...


This deer crossed the road at just the right spot
to allow us to get a photograph.


While nothing bigfooty happened on this trip, it was a great time with great friends. The conversations, BB gun target practice, campfires, walks, laughter, and good times were enough to make this trip something I wouldn't have wanted to miss... and I was bigfooting too. It can't get much better than that!

Even our bigfoot bait, Boof, had a good time.


[Warning! Shameless plug ahead.]

I'm doing an internet radio show tomorrow night.

Click the above link for information!


Monday, May 25, 2009

BlogTalkRadio Appearance

I have been invited by Vic Cundiff and Shane McMahon to be a guest on their Bigfoot-specific talk radio show called "Campfire Shadows" this Wednesday night, May 27. I am scheduled at 9 PM Central Time, which is 7 pm for West Coast folks. The show will be 90 minutes.

I have done several podcasts on other internet radio shows, and I find them to be an enjoyable forum for bigfoot discussion. I have not done this particular show yet, and am looking forward to the conversation. I'll have to remember to speak slowly. I can get pretty fired up about the topic...

Listen live, or download later from this link:


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yakima Bigfoot Round-Up Report #5

As my last write-up on the Yakima event, allow me to step out of the way and just present some photographs for your enjoyment.

The welcoming banner


Our gracious organizers:
James "Bobo" Fay, Paul Graves, and Tom Yamarone.



Tom and Paul jamming tunes.


Everybody's happy.


Bindernagel's smiling it up with Paul.



Moped riding bigfooter, Craig Flipy.


Bindernagels talking 'squatch with Thom Powell.


I love bigfoot art.


My friends from the BFRO:
Jim Sorensen, Stan Courtney,
Matt Moneymaker, and Mike Greene.

Dr. John Mionczynski playing the "squeeze box" around the campfire.


Dr. Jeff Meldrum feeding Bobo's dog, Mountain Monkey

Unless otherwise noted, the pics belong to Cliff Barackman.
If you want to use them for something, just ask.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Yakima Bigfoot Round-Up Report #4


Dr. Jeff Meldrum was the final scheduled speaker at this event. His presentation, as he clearly stated himself, contained no new findings nor Earth-shattering revelations. It was titled, "The Patterson-Gimlin Film Re-Examined From the Ground Up," and appropriately so. Starting with the footprints, and working his way upwards through the anatomy of the beast, he clearly and concisely outlined much of his research into the reality of the species depicted in the PG Film.

Of special note during Jeff's presentation was his overview of his naming of the species based on ichnological (traces, like footprints in this case) evidence. He commented that by taking this rather bold move, he hopes to open an objective discussion on the ichnological evidence.

He showed slides illustrating his studies of early hominid footprints and how they correlate very nicely with what is observed in sasquatch footprints. Other slides included a photograph that he bought from Roger Patterson himself back in 1968 when Roger was on tour promoting his film. It is significant because it lacked the photographic blemish that has worked its way into most copies of frame 352 that makes Patty appear to be giving an "OK" sign with her right hand. The print bought from Roger contains no such blemish.

Dr. Jeff Meldrum


Dinner was excellent. Lemon chicken, some sort of cow meat, asparagus, salad... The caterers did an excellent job. It also gave me a chance to get to know Paul Cropper from Australia. We had an extended conversation about the yowie and how it compares to the North American bigfoot.

I shared a story with Paul about the time that I ran across his research partner, Tony Healy while Bobo Fay and I were on a bigfooting adventure at Bluff Creek one hot day in August of 2007. We had dropped by Louse Camp to cool off in the creek and relax. While Bobo was taking a dip, a ratty-looking 1970's Chevy van comes rolling into the camp and stops.

If you've never been to Bluff Creek, it's fairly rare to see anyone out there. I've gone four or five days there without running across another soul, so my curiosity was piqued. I approached the van and greeted the man getting out of it. I asked, "What brings you way out here?"

An Australian accent answered, "If I told you, you wouldn't believe me."

"Try me," I answered with a smile. And of course, it ended up being Tony Healy. Bobo and I showed him around Bluff Creek, and even took him to the PG Filmsite. It was quite a fortunate coincidence.

So I was thrilled to finally meet Paul Cropper, the other half of the authorship of The Yowie: In Search of Australia's Bigfoot. Since I already included a photograph of Paul and I eating in a previous blog post, here's a picture from Bluff Creek near the filmsite with Tony and Bobo.

Cliff, Bobo, and Tony at Bluff Creek

After dinner, various folks spoke of their admiration of Bob Gimlin. The air was warm and fuzzy with love as some presenters spoke of their admiration of Bob weathering the storm for 42 years. His family was also in attendance, including various nephews and his granddaughter (who had never been called a "Gimlet" until last weekend). There might have been more Gimlin's running around, but I had the chance to speak to only a few. Either way, there were several family members who spoke of Bob and how he is a model for the community and an inspiration in their lives.

Matt Moneymaker introduced the next presentation, which was the cherry on the proverbial cake as far as I was concerned. I had heard a week or so before the event that my friend Mike Greene had successfully obtained a short piece of thermal video of a sasquatch from North Carolina.

Mike Greene


I have been in the field with Mike on numerous occasions. I initially met him on a bigfoot trip to Florida, but caught up with him in British Columbia and in Washington. He is level headed, not prone to exaggeration, and wonderfully cynical. I know Mike well enough that I trust him completely, both in words and actions.

The video was obtained by acclimating a sasquatch that frequented a specific area to Mike's presence. It took Mike two years of regular visits to get the animal used to him, all the while leaving offerings (some call it "bait", but that's a little disrespectful of the squatch...) on one specific stump. These offerings included food, toys, and other baubles. Sometimes they would be taken, other times not, and very rarely items were left almost as if in trade.

On the night that this video was obtained, Mike took the extraordinary step to leave the campsite when he thought he had company. He left his thermal imager recording on a tripod, and drove to the other side of the campground, returning after two hours. After a half hour of absence, the bigfoot crept in to take the candy bar that was left for it.

The video itself would probably be unremarkable for someone with little or no experience with thermal imagers. It is two and a half minutes of a blobby white thing appearing behind trees and mostly keeping out of sight. It stands up at the end of the video, sways back and forth a bit, and then retreats into the trees.

Having spent a tremendous amount of time using thermal imagers in the quest for visual evidence, I have a different appreciation for Mike's footage. The image shows the creature's arm as it snatches the food bait off the stump. It also shows a dangling arm as it sways back and forth in the tree line. The video was shown on a screen in a fairly well lit tent, so a closer examination is needed to pick out potential details. Even in these less-than-perfect conditions, I was deeply impressed by Mike's accomplishment.

What struck me most was the animal's behavior. Even though it probably knew the camp was unoccupied, it waited a half hour before coming close, and even then it acted like it was trying to avoid being seen. I have long suspected they hide in the dark, probably not realizing that we don't see well in those conditions. I was blown away by the elusive behavior exhibited by the creature. It was almost like it was trying to avoid sniper fire. I have heard another researcher say that a bigfoot's life is like a pilot shot down behind enemy lines, and now I have seen it to be true. No wonder they are not seen very often, and photographed even less.

I have to give extra kudos to Mike. Remember that he removed himself from the campsite. This is a hard thing to do from an ego-standpoint. People talk about themselves filming a sasquatch, but it's hard to take oneself out of the equation. This approach reminds me of what Autumn Williams said in the 2005 Bellingham Conference: let the creatures be in control.

Mike initially didn't want to tell folks how he got the footage. He wanted to use his "secret weapon" to obtain more footage (and still intends to get more using this method), but it later occurred to him that this was counterproductive. Everyone wants there to be more footage, so Mike told the audience his methods in hopes of others repeating them and getting more sasquatch eye-candy. I guarantee I will try my best!

The rest of the night was spent socializing. Tom Yamarone sang bigfoot songs with the help of Paul Graves, and Dr. John Mionczynski played his accordion and jammed on the organ in the corner. Various folks lost themselves in a Joe Cockeresque dancing fit. It was a time to let our medulla-absent hair down and get loose. It was just great.

A highlight for me that night was meeting Dr. Robert Pyle, author of Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide. We spoke for literally hours about everything from hypothetical field work questions (if you found a body tomorrow, what would you do?) to the differences between moths and butterflies (apparently butterflies are a small slice of the huge family of moths). Hopefully, we can find time to go into the field together, as we both expressed an interest to do so together.

Dr. Robert Pyle and Cliff

Dr. Pyle and I spoke around the campfire until well after 3:00 am. Eventually, the night ended and I went off to my tent to get what little sleep I could before the nasty Sun spoiled my slumbers.

The next day was a day of goodbyes and smiles. Most folks volunteered their efforts to clean the grounds of any accidental litter, stack chairs and tables, and get in some last minute conversation. Some folks went off to the woods, others to the airport, and others drove home. It was truly a historic weekend full of good cheer and positive vibes.

I think Dr. Meldrum said it best: "Tom set the bar pretty high for the next conference." All in attendance agreed.

Tomorrow I will finish up my report on this event by posting some photographs that I haven't yet used.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Yakima Bigfoot Round-Up Report #3

The crowd gathered for a group photo.
How many faces (or other body parts)
do you recognize?


I really should have put my tent in the shade. By 7:30 am on Saturday morning, it was unbearably hot in there. Whether I liked it or not, 4 hours of sleep would have to do, just like in real 'squatching...

I dragged myself out of the tent into the shadeless field in which I camped. The sun monster was beating down on my skin, making me want to immediately seek shade. I found it inside the barn where coffee and pastries were laid out for guests.

Sometime around 11:00 or 12:00, we feasted on a barbecue lunch of burgers and hot dogs. It was a casual atmosphere with great conversations to be had any which way I turned.

Chris Murphy was the first scheduled speaker. He has a new book out called Know the Sasquatch. It is the sequel (and update) to his excellent book, Meet the Sasquatch. I'd like to eventually obtain a copy of his new book, but with summer coming (I'm a teacher) I'd rather use my somewhat limited funds for gas money to get into the field.


Chris Murphy

Chris' presentation was an overview of sasquatch evidence and stories of his relations and research. He covered many of the "classics" such as the Ruby Creek incident, Albert Ostman's story, and others. He showed slides from his various museum installments, many of which can be found in either of his books. His PG Filmsite model was briefly shown, as were the photographs obtained by Rene Dahinden of the filmsite from the southeast hillside. I always find this photograph to be interesting, having visited the filmsite more than a half dozen times.

Dr. John Bindernagel was next. I met John while on expedition on Vancouver Island, BC back in 2007. I was flattered that he not only remembered me, but told me he often thought about what we spoke about (an individual that is known from several footprint casts in his collection, one of which he cast himself). John's book is an excellent survey of reported sasquatch observations, and how they parallel the behaviors of other great apes. His wife, Joan was wonderful and full of smiles as well. The Bindernagel's are as kind as they come.

Dr. John Bindernagel filming some of my footprint cast collection.


John's talk was almost as much about the philosophy of science as it was a brief overview of the available data. He gave interesting perspectives on the thoughts of scientists regarding proof, and their difficulty with keeping open minds on the bigfoot subject. One of his many slides showed a footprint cast that might show bone structure under the fat pad of the sole. I had seen this cast in person on Vancouver Island when we met, but at the time I missed his explanation of the strange bumps and curves on the bottom of the foot.

He is working on a new book about the subject, but I neglected to ask him when it might be published. In fact, when I met him in 2007, he was thinking this same book would be out in Spring of 2008. John said that books are hard to finish because one could always add more, but having seen a draft at the conference, I suspect it could be out before the end of 2009.

Dmitry Pirkulov from Russia presented next. I never had the opportunity to speak to Mr. Pirkulov, but the organizers spent a good deal of time with him and enjoyed his company. I understand that he is involved in film making, and has had films featured in Russian film festivals. His observations of the parallels between the Russian almasti and the bigfoot were intriguing.

Dimitry Purkulov


I left Mr. Pirkulov's talk for what I thought would be a moment to fill my water bottle, and got sidetracked by a conversation with Henry Franzoni and Thom Powell. Henry was selling his new book, In the Spirit of Seatco. I had never met Henry before, and despite differing hypotheses about what sasquatches are, we really hit it off. We actually spoke more about fish ecology and music than sasquatches. We spoke about possibly playing some music together sometime, and I learned a great deal about salmon and the local tribes' issues with the management of the fishery. His official title is "Tribal Data Steward for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission." I'm a total fish-geek, and that's his gig, so we got along great.

Just in case you haven't read it, Henry's book is pretty far out (but an interesting read full of weird physics and unusual ideas). He clearly warns the reader that he is not (this kind of) a scientist, he's an artist. It's full of the paranormal side of bigfooting, and Henry does it as well as anybody. As for me, I think I'll do calls in the woods... I'll worry about the weird stuff when I observe it. As I told him, "You might be right, but I sincerely hope you're not, or we're all just wasting out time." This, of course, is Henry's point.

I visited with the folks from Texas for a while, and found myself late for the presentation of Kathy Moskowitz-Strain. She has written an excellent book called Giants, Cannibals, and Monsters, Bigfoot in Native Culture. Kathy is a US Forest Service archaeologist, and one of my earliest bigfooting mentors. She is a stickler for data gathering and documentation, and an expert in Native American perspectives and legends about bigfoot. Besides recounting some her favorite bigfoot legends, she gave an overview of bigfoot motifs connecting the various tribes' stories of these animals, including carrying baskets, as well as being a generally scary bogey-man sort of thing that cannibalizes humans.

Kathy Moskowitz-Strain and Bob Gimlin


I will continue with my adventures from Saturday very soon. I still need to tell you about Dr. Meldrum's presentation, the new thermal footage from North Carolina, and other tidbits and anecdotes from the after-party. For now, I need some sleep. I have been either at this event or in the woods for four nights in a row, bedding down at no earlier than 2:30 am on any night.



Monday, May 18, 2009

Yakima Bigfoot Round-Up Report #2


Even though I had to work on Friday, I managed to pick up my travelling companion and to be on the road to Yakima by 3 pm.




I arrived at the Running Springs Ranch in Naches, WA outside of Yakima shortly after 6 pm. I found a parking spot, and ran into a fellow bigfooter from Oregon whom I had "met" online, but never met face-to-face. Together, we made our way towards the tents and groups of people we observed milling about near a large barn.

Ranch is a very large piece of land with a small creek flowing through it, expansive pasture land, a large pond, and several outbuildings. It is obviously a working ranch, with many horses, cows, wagons, and lots of people continuously dropping by. The hosts were gracious and friendly, and happy to have the bigfoot crowd as guests.

It took me a while to make my way to the check-in table due to seeing so many familiar faces, but eventually I picked up my name tag and proceeded to catch up with the many friends I had not seen for many months.

Monica Rawlings, Cliff, and Craig Woolheater


As the sun sank lower and the temperatures became a little more reasonable, the first speaker took the stage. Bill Munns has over 40 years of experience with special effects and costumes in Hollywood, as well as extensive knowledge of robotics, taxidermy, and museum-quality models of animals. He has been aware of the Patterson/Gimlin Film since 1967, and, as he noted in his address, has always had the nagging observation that the hair of the creature in the film does not move, nor look like, a hair suit.

Bill has come to some very impressive conclusions about the film. He has determined that the lens used to film that day was a 15 mm lens, as opposed to the 25 mm lens that was documented on the camera receipt. He notes that a 15 mm lens is usually used to film landscapes, while a 25 mm lens is largely used for people. The previous footage from the first roll of film is mostly landscape, so this tidbit lends a little support towards Bill's conclusion. What really firms up this conclusion is Bill's virtual reconstruction of the film site using data obtained by Rene Dahinden, John Green, and Peter Byrne. Please note that these men do not get along well, and did not take these measurements together. But I digress...

There is a formula in physics that states the relationship between four variables: the height of the subject, the height of the subject on the film frame, the distance to the subject, and the focal length of the lens. Since three out of four of these measurements are known for the PG film, at various points, the unknown (Patty's height) can be solved using simple algebra. At the previously assumed 25 mm focal length, her height is around 4.5 feet. Using the 15 mm lens, she stands close to 7.5 feet. Bill later goes on to prove that the lens was in fact a 15 mm focal length lens using software that builds virtual models using a set of data points.

Bill has published his findings in a 57 page report that can be found on his newly published website here: http://www.themunnsreport.com/index.html. Bill gave tantalizing hints about his further study of this piece of footage, as well as his hunt for humans that have similar body length indices to those exhibited in the film. He will continue to publish his findings in hopes that others with similar expertise will examine them, and try to come to their own conclusions.

Bill Munns with three filmsite maps.


Speaking to Bill after his presentation, I was struck by his down to earth attitude, and his adherence to the scientific process. He has no stake in this game, and clearly said that he was the "new kid on the block" in bigfooting, and humorously that he has never been to a bigfoot conference, nor any other gathering with the word "bigfoot" in the title. All of his data is available on the above website, and he invites anyone to run the numbers for themselves. Bill's conclusions are not a matter of opinion, but rather of the physics of optics, and of mathematics.

Scott Nelson spoke about his study of the Sierra Sounds vocalizations. Scott is a retired Navy Crypto-linguist. He has been extensively trained by the military in deciphering codes and languages used by governments in espionage. He has run the vocalizations through software looking for patterns, and claims to have found some. He has identified phonemes and repeatedly articulated patterns of sounds that he says indicates the presence of language. He also notes the speed of the vocalizations, as well as the speed of the interactions between the multiple creatures on tape.

Derek Randles was the next presenter. Derek has researched bigfoot since the mid 1980's, but keeps a very low profile. His name is mostly recognized by his co-ownership of the Skookum Cast, being one of the three individuals to find the impression. He is currently a member of the BFRO, but has worked with Dr. Meldrum's North American Ape Project, and has done extensive independent investigations as well. He is a good tracker, enthusiastic hunter, and one of my favorite field partners.


Derek Randles


For the last several months, he has been working on what he calls The Olympic Project. Derek suspects that sasquatches use ridge lines to navigate quickly over great distances as other apex predators do. To those ends, Derek, with the support of the BFRO and Wally Hersom, has initiated a trail camera study using the Reconyx RC60 IR camera. He has over two dozen of these cameras placed on remote ridges throughout the Olympic National Forest. Basically, Derek hikes in (off trail) to remote ridges, finds choke points, deploys between two and five cameras along obvious travel paths, and comes back a month or two later to look at the results, change batteries, and start the process over again. Having accompanied Derek on one of these excursions, allow me to say that I deeply admire Derek's commitment to the project and his research. These off-trail forays into the Olympic brush are physically taxing, often wet, and demanding of time and monetary resources, most of which come from Derek's own pocket.



My tent on a remote ridge during one of Derek's Olympic Project trips.


The Olympic Project is still fairly new, but already the results are very promising. Derek routinely captures images of mountain lions and bears, as well as smaller predators like bobcats. To capture any mountain lion photographs is an accomplishment in itself, but Derek often finds them on his cameras' memory cards.

A cougar photo from the Olympic Project
(used with permission from Derek Randles and the BFRO)


The rest of the night was spent socializing with old friends, as well as new ones. Time flew very quickly, but eventually the exhaustion, sunburn, and beer drained me of all the built-up adrenaline, and I retired shortly after 3:30 am.

Matt Moneymaker, Cliff, and Brandon Kiel

My next blog will detail Saturday's events, as well as my insights into Mike Greene's new thermal video footage of a sasquatch in North Carolina. Then again, maybe I'll save that for a separate blog...

Oh yeah, and just a follow up on last night's visit with Thom Powell... We took the drive to the Clackamas River Project site and walked around in the woods until nearly 4 am with the thermal imagers. Nothing bigfooty happened, but that's squatching!

More soon, but while you're waiting, why not visit my website? http://www.northamericanbigfoot.com/

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Yakima Bigfoot Round-Up Report #1

The bad thing about events like this is that smiling this much makes my face muscles sore.

Cliff Barackman and Bob Gimlin


I just walked in from the Yakima Bigfoot Round-Up in honor of Bob Gimlin. I am sunburned, tired, and my face muscles got an amazing workout.

The weekend isn't quite over for me, though. I am expecting two friends from the event to drop by in the next hour or so, after which we are going to a campfire at Thom Powell's home. Thom lives on the Clackamas River, not far from the Clackamas River Project Site. I hope to do some casual therming around Thom's property, and to perhaps show my friends the possible bigfoot sign that can be seen a short drive away. Many thanks to my friend Thom Powell for further extending my already fantastic weekend.

I will be writing more detailed reports about the event over the next couple days. Suffice it to say for now that this was simply the best bigfoot conference I have ever been to. The presenters at the conference were fantastic, a new analysis was given of the PG film, and a new thermal imaging video of a sasquatch in North Carolina was premiered. More on all of these and more will be given this week.


The Presenters:
Dr. Jeff Meldrum, Kathy Moskowitz-Strain, Bob Gimlin, Derek Randles,
Dr. John Bindernagel, Chris Murphy, Bill Munns, Dimitry Pirkulov, and Scott Nelson.


The crowd consisted of an amazing array of bigfooters from all over the world. The TBRC was well represented, and it was a great pleasure to see Eric Altman from the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society whom I met at the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the PG Film where I was a presenter. New friends were made as well, including Paul Cropper of Australia Yowie fame, and Dr. Robert Pyle.

Paul Cropper and Cliff

The campfires were amazing. Who knew that Dr. John Mionczynski played accordian? Not me!

OK... I gotta go, as my friends have just arrived. Dinner and a campfire awaits. I'll fill you in on the details tomorrow.



Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Footprint Finds and Good Times Ahead


On Sunday April 16th, very fresh footprints were discovered near Quinault Lake, WA. Surprised by the find, and frankly a little unnerved about the nearby forest noises, the married couple retreated to their car, parked a half mile away. They left the area with their their paradigms slightly shifted.

The following Thursday gave an opportunity to return to the site to try to photograph and cast the footprint. It had rained during the previous few days, and the footprint contained standing water when they found it, but it was still in relatively good condition.

The print as seen on 4/30/09, four days after its discovery.


The water and a passing deer did some damage to the impression, and the cast does not look as good as the photograph of the print might suggest. It was also cast in plaster-of-paris, which does not fare will with water. Still, I applaud the efforts of the witnesses. Not only did they drive the hour and a half back to the location, they packed in the casting material. As if that weren't enough, they photographed the print, and with a scale item! They must be naturally born bigfooters! I give them two thumb's up, and a high-five!

I heard about the track find and was sent some photographs and contact information by a good friend back east. I made contact with the witness last week and arranged a time today for me to drive to Olympia, WA and talk to her and her husband about their find. They were gracious enough to allow me to record our interview and to borrow the cast to make a mold of it.

I have already cleaned the cast and started the long process of mold making. This will take me a little while, not only because it's a time-consuming process, but also because I'll be out of town this weekend.



The cast immediately after cleaning.


There is much more to tell about this track find that I know you will find interesting, but you will have to wait for the complete report, which will be published on http://www.northamericanbigfoot.com/. The cast will also soon be featured on the database.

I couldn't possibly sit still long enough to do a proper report because I'm too busy getting ready for the Bigfoot Round-Up in Yakima, WA.

I have already vented my excitement in a previous blog, so I won't go into it too much. However, the line up of presenters has grown a little more impressive due to a surprise guest who recently obtained new evidence that will be shared at the event. This evidence won't solve the puzzle, but only add to the rising tide of compelling data available for peer review. This presenter is a good friend of mine, and I put complete trust in his character and word. More on that after the event!

I have been asked by the organizers of this event to help them make it a success by bringing some of the more notable casts from my collection. Between the casts that Dr. Jeff Meldrum, Dr. John Bindernagel, Ken and Linda Steigers, and I bring to this event, there could be several dozen examples on hand (or foot?). I am bringing copies of several Freeman prints that have not been available for scrutiny, as they have been in Thom Powell's garage (given to him by Freeman himself), as well as copies of the Skookum heel print, Heryford cast, and several others.



1982 Heryford Cast

If you are attending the Round-Up, please feel free to say hello to me. It's a rare occasion when bigfooters can meet face to face rather than over the internet, and that's definitely part of what makes events like these so special.

Monday, May 11, 2009

"Knuckles"


It was back in 1958 when Jerry Crew cast those footprints that gave the word "bigfoot" to the American vernacular. It probably wasn't thought about at the time, but certainly a creature such as this would leave handprints occasionally as well. This has certainly been the case, though it seems often underexamined by both the media and investigators.


On my website, I have started to feature foot and hand impressions that are attributed as being from sasquatches. I recently posted another, and thought it interesting enough to feature on the blog.

When skeptics claim that there is no "hard evidence" for the existence of sasquatches, they are confusing "hard evidence" with "absolute proof". These casts are supportive evidence, and certainly hard enough. Wasn't it Rene Dahinden that offered to hit skeptics on the head with the Cripple Foot casts when they claimed there was no "hard evidence"?

Enjoy the newest cast featured in my ever-growing cast/impression database.


1982 "Knuckles"


One of the first casts in my collection, the "Knuckles" print remains one of my favorites. Not only is it novel in that it's a handprint of a bigfoot, but it shows some very interesting anatomical features.

The thumb seems excessively thick. This is likely due to a combination of factors. First of all, the fat pad on the palmer surface of the thumb seems to be very thick, making the thumb impression 1.7 inches thick. It is also possible that the thumb shifted positions as it impressed into the ground, thus making it seem thicker than it really was.

On the thumb is a clear impression of a thumbnail. The positioning of this thumbnail gives some insight into the thumb of a sasquatch. It seems that the thumb is rotated outwards towards the other fingers. This makes the thumb close inwards towards the palm, like the other digits. This has been noted in eyewitness accounts. The thumbs are described as curling around objects in the same direction as the other fingers.

Note the thumbnail in the lower left.

It is the opposability of the human thumb that gives us the ability to grip small objects and do an amazing array of other things with our hands. Certainly the sasquatch can do many amazing things with their hands as well, but probably not the same things we can.

Hand comparisons from Dr. Fahrenbach's excellent article.

The hand is inferred to be squat and stout. The metacarpals (bones found in the palm) are inhumanly short, as are the segments of the fingers. Other hand prints correspond very nicely to this unique impression.

This cast is widely circulated. Ken and Linda Steigers, who own most of the Freeman collection, frequently give first generation copies as gifts. I bought my copy from Dr. Grover Krantz in the mid 1990's, probably making it a first generation cast as well.

This impression came from a line of footprints from an individual nicknamed, "Dermals". The footprints from this individual display excellent dermatoglyphics.

My friends at the TBRC have posted an excellent article on handprints. It is definitely worth a read.

This article has been slightly modified from the version found on the website.