Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Molalla Sighting Investigation

Upon returning from my overnighter on the Skokomish River, I found an interesting email awaiting me.  My friends over in the BFRO sent me a recent sighting report that they wanted me to look into.  Apparently a woman saw a sasquatch run across the road outside of Molalla, OR just the previous Friday, June 18th.  The email contained the witness contact information, so I gave her a ring and arranged to meet her a little later that same day.

The previous day's efforts to obtain a footprint cast had been thwarted, so I was excited to have another opportunity to possibly obtain such a prize.  It had only been three days, and this time the witness would be taking me to the exact location.  

I met the witness in Molalla and she led me off driving into the woods.  Before long we rounded a bend and parked at a trail head.  We backtracked down the road a few hundred yards and she pointed to the steep incline  to show me where she saw the bigfoot.

Her story is that she was turning a corner in the road when something big moving through the brush caught her eye up on the steep embankment on the south side of the road at about a 100 yards distance.  When she initially saw it, she could see something large and yellowish/brown moving towards her, parallel to the road.  It stopped for a brief moment, and she did the same out of shock at the size of whatever this was she was looking at.  Her car was brought nearly to a standstill.  

The view from where the witness initially saw the creature.

She then saw the thing turn towards the road and run down the steep hill very quickly.  As it ran the witness could clearly see two long arms swinging widely, and the thing was running on two legs.  The creature disappeared from her sight temporarily behind some brush, and the witness moved her vehicle ahead to clear her view of the area from the interfering foliage.  She lost sight of the creature for only a few seconds.

The creature's view of the road from where it briefly stood still.

When she came around the corner the sasquatch had already made it across the road and had disappeared from view.  The witness sped up to try to close the distance so she could see it again.  She caught sight of it as she nearly passed it.  It was standing a short distance down the embankment on the north side of the road.  She could see it from the middle of the back to the top of its head.  Its left arm was touching a branch which it broke as it moved downhill past the tree it was growing from.  This portion of her sighting was from a very short distance, perhaps 40 feet. 

While interviewing the witness at the scene, her excitement was clearly evident.  She and I spent the next three hours at the location with her retelling me the story again and again.  I would ask questions to clarify points and to obtain details that were important to me.  

I spent a great deal of time on both hillsides tracking where this thing went.  As far as I can tell, it powered its way through the thick brambles and devils club that grew out of the hillside, and stopped just above and over from two snags.  I believe it then ran down the east side of the trees, jumping over the swampy ditch and running up the road fifteen or twenty yards and down the opposite hill to the nearby Molalla River.  

The path I believe the sasquatch took down the hillside.

The embankments were muddy and steep (I would estimate at least a 50 degree slope, possibly a little more).  In several spots the soft ground gave way and slid out from under me as I stood on the hillside.  I eventually located large (15 inch) impressions leaving a trail down the hillside.  As muddy as the hillside was, the impressions had to definition to them.  Bewildered, I looked at my own tracks as I left them and noticed  that even my boot prints were only vaguely defined and did not leave the impression of the treads in the ground.  The witness and I located several more of these large impressions on both sides of the road.  

Some of the impressions from both sides of the road.

She pointed out the branch she saw it break as it passed the tree she saw it next to before we headed down to the river to look around for more footprints.  That was a rough road to travel that turned up nothing but mud, deer bedding sites, and lots of pokey bramble bushes that obstructed most paths.  

The branch the sasquatch broke from the tree as it passed.

A little more time was spent looking around for something interesting, but we turned up nothing.  Before too long we went our separate ways. 

Being put on a fresh sighting is one of the biggest thrills of bigfooting.  For me, the possibility of obtaining some physical evidence is a main reason I do this.  This time I got some photographs of large impressions on a muddy hillside.  Not bad.  

I believe the witness saw a sasquatch.  Her story had details that I saw evidence for, such as a broken branch on a tree and impressions.  The witness' enthusiasm and consistency in her story gives some indication that she is not hoaxing, as does her willingness to drive from Beaverton to Molalla on a Monday evening just to share her story.  

Could she be lying?  I guess, but I don't think she was.  After spending three hours with her, I just didn't get that impression.  Since sasquatches are perfectly real animals, it makes sense that many, if not most, of the people who say they saw one probably did.  

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Footprint Investigation on the Skokomish River

Having driven home from the Oregon Sasquatch Symposium the night before, I awoke in my bed shortly before 9 o'clock.  I had been told that the witness wanted to return to the site with somebody else to cast the footprint.  Rich, my sheriff buddy, and I started calling the witness periodically while I started gathering up my bigfooting gear.  

The photo that sent me running.  The witness' shoe is 12 7/8 inches long.

I kept thinking about the photograph of what was clearly a sasquatch footprint.  It was unknown how deep the heel impression was, but the toes looked beautiful.  They were deeply impressed and the outer digits splayed nicely.  Having looked at many photographs of footprints in the ground (and having actually taken several myself), I knew that footprints rarely photograph well.  When I see a clear photograph such as this, the print itself must be of stellar quality.  I will be adding the print to my online database as time permits.

While I was working at home, I received several phone calls from friends at the Oregon Sasquatch Symposium.  Some phone calls were asking why I left, other calls were telling me that Toby Johnson announced why I left from the podium (which put some pressure on me, but the truth is the truth...).  One call was from a regular field partner of mine, Will Robinson.  I asked if he'd like to come to help find the prints, and after a short deliberation he found himself driving home to meet me.  

Not being able to make contact with the witness, I decided to drive to Shelton, WA (where the witness lives) and wait for him to contact me.  It was Father's Day, after all, and Rich was told that the witness had some previous holiday plans.  I would also rendezvous with Will there.

I arrived in Shelton around 2 o'clock.  Phone calls were made trying to reach the witness, but with no success.  Rich was doing his best to piece together exactly where the prints might be based on what he knew.  After a coffee and a burrito, I waited in a park while pouring over maps that might give some clue as to the location of the prints.  

Not having been contacted by the witness, and with Will arriving in a few minutes, I decided to leave Shelton and head to the area to camp.  Without the witness leading me to the tracks it would be next to impossible to find them, but the previous few hours of research had given me a good idea as to their general location.  I knew finding the prints would be a long shot before I even left Eugene the night before (having chased down leads like this in the past, they almost never pan out), but what I did know was that a sasquatch had been there just a few days previously, probably on Thursday night.  That put me on the ground in an area where I had a higher probability of obtaining video footage.

As I approached the freeway to meet Will, the witness called me.  He had gone to the site earlier in the day to show his wife the footprint, which was why he was unreachable.  He reported that hikers had stepped on the prints, and he also gave a good description of the other impressions.  Only the one footprint would have been castable, as the others were in thick forest litter.  The others were clearly visible, yet no toe impression would be discernible.  

Where there is one print, there are more.  Still wanting to take measurements and photographs, and to possibly find further evidence, I asked the witness for directions to the print site, which he gladly gave.  It turns out that my guess as to where the location is was correct to within a mile or two.  The next step of my adventure would take me to Church Shelter in the headwaters of the Skokomish River.  

I caught up to Will on Highway 101 and took the Skokomish River turn off.  Our road would take us deep into the Olympic National Forest before finding the trail head parking for the shelter.  From there, we went downstream, crossed the river, and looked for a tributary feeding the Skokomish from the left.  

The Skokomish River

This is the point at which a complication arose.  There were no less than five tributaries along this small stretch of river.  Which one would lead to the prints?

Will and I chose one that looked easiest to navigate and headed up through the thick foliage.  Devil's club, stinging nettle, and wild roses were only a few of the disagreeable plants we waded through as we found ourselves arriving on a boggy bench which fed the various tributaries.  Though there were animal trails everywhere, very little ground showed itself on which to leave tracks.  We hiked through the steep, wet understory of this quagmire for nearly an hour before we gave up.  

Hiking off-trail in the Olympics can be difficult.

At one point Will commented on the irony of looking for footprints that aren't even there, and we laughed at the wild goose chase we were on.  It's so important to keep a sense of humor about this hobby.  Bigfooting is a crazy game that puts one in strange and uncomfortable places and situations.  Without a sense of humor and a love for the journey itself, it would be easy to slip into a dark bitterness.  

As we made our way back to the vehicles, we came across impressions on the trail.  The step length (not stride) was about three feet, which is pretty long, but the print size itself (just about twelve inches) was pretty standard for a human's boot.  Due to the context being very close to the shelter, I have to assume these were human tracks, but I thought you'd like to see for yourself.

Two photos of the [probably human] tracks.

We made our way back to our vehicles and found a suitable camp location down a nearby spur road.  We pulled out all the tricks that night: knocks, calls, yummy smells, night walks...  We heard no responses except for several barred owls.  As far as we could tell, no bigfoots were around.  We eventually retired around 3 o'clock.

This side trip took me away from the Symposium, but as Will and I discussed, if you don't chase down leads then you'll never get anything fresh.  As evidence ages, information is lost.  The best data is obtainable from the freshest leads.  Without regrets, Will and I headed home.

Arriving at home in the mid-afternoon, I checked my email.  I found an email from the BFRO asking me if I could investigate a sighting from the previous Friday down in the Molalla, OR area.  Included in the email was the witness contact information.  I immediately called the witness and arranged to meet her near the sighting location.  Good thing I hadn't unpacked yet.  Sometimes I wonder why I ever unpack my truck at all...

But this next stop on my squatch-a-thon is the subject for another blog post.  Check back again in a few days for details and photographs from this sighting investigation.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Saturday at the 2010 Oregon Sasquatch Symposium

Half asleep in the grey morning light, I heard movement and conversation from inside the hotel room.  I had slept that night on the balcony of Paul Graves' room at the Red Lion Hotel in Eugene, OR.  I was very tired, not so much from the late night, but rather the early morning.  It was only 7 am, after all.  

A familiar voice made me look up from my cozy sleeping bag to see Bob Gimlin looking through the sliding glass door.  His deep country-drawl voice boomed, "You're not Autumn!  Damn you're ugly!"  I muttered something back along the lines of, "You know you love me," and got my butt out of bed, laughing.  I love it when I awaken to a Bob Gimlin alarm clock.  Moving slowly, I started my day with a quest for coffee before heading over to Lane Community College.  

Autumn Williams was the first speaker of the day.  Her presentation consisted of information on a possible habituation from Florida.  Her witness, Mike, has supposedly gained the trust of a group of sasquatches to the point where they freely walk in his campsite close enough to him to touch.  Like many habituation stories, there are details that sound feasible and some that sound ridiculous.  Only time will tell which is which.  In the meantime all we can hope for is some form of data to support the claims.  Data and traditional research is no longer Autumn's main focus, but unfortunately until some data is obtained, stories are just stories.  I am looking forward to reading Autumn's new book, Enoch, which details Mike's accounts.  I have heard from other researchers that it's a good read.

Autumn Williams' new book.

Sali Sheppard-Wolford, author of Valley of the Skookum: Four Years of Encounters With Bigfoot was next to speak.  I had only met Sali for the first time the previous day, and she is a kick to hang out with.  I read her book a year or two ago and found it interesting.  Her presentation was mostly reading parts of her book aloud, so having heard the information I took the opportunity to step outside the hall for a few minutes and walk around the beautiful campus.  I returned in time to catch the last few minutes of the talk.

After a catered lunch, David Rodriguez was the next speaker.  David detailed his multiple encounters with sasquatches before going into detail about tree breaks.  Many bigfoot researchers commonly attribute tree breaks to damage done by sasquatches when in reality much can be blamed on snow.  David had some excellent diagrams showing the process of how heavy snow loads break trees, even to the point of leaving twists.  I do not know if David has published his findings anywhere, but it would behoove any bigfoot researcher to take a look at his work.

After David, it was my turn at the podium.  My presentation was an overview of the Silver Star Mountain photographs taken by Randee Chase back in November of 2005.  I basically applied the work done by Bill Munns on the PG Film to the Silver Star photos and found the height of the subject to be 7 feet 8 inches tall.  I still have some minor details to work out, as well as a statistical analysis to wade through, but I will publish my findings in a future blog, which will also be permanently archived on my website at www.NorthAmericanBigfoot.com.  

Cliff Barackman addressing the crowd.

After a break, Thom Powell took the stage.  Thom's presentation was multi-faceted, covering such topics as how to write a bigfoot book, habituations, and his own research on his rural property in Clackamas County.  For those of you familiar with my website, Thom's property is not far from the "Clackamas River Project" site that I have featured (though I have not had any interesting activity to note from there for quite some time).

No bigfoot conference would be complete without reference to the Native American perspective, so having Kathy Strain speak was a highlight.  Her presentation was similar to the one she gave at the Yakima event last spring, but as with any good presenter, she has tweaked and updated it to reflect new findings.  Of particular interest to me was her closing slide where she showed a video of Karuk elder, Charlie Thom singing a traditional bigfoot song specifically from the headwaters of Blue Creek in California.  I was there when that was taped, and it is fair to say that simply meeting Charlie Thom has changed my life in subtle, yet important ways.  

Kathy Strain talking about Charlie Thom.

Dinner brought the opportunity for more conversation with bigfooting peers.  I spent much of that time speaking with Dr. Jeff Meldrum about various aspects of the current research.  Talking to another "cast geek" is always refreshing to me, as I don't have to explain much for understanding.  Instead, Jeff has to do that for me (but perhaps to a lesser degree than he usually does).  

After dinner, I got caught up in a conversation with several of my regular field partners.  Due to this, I missed the story-telling session with Esther Stutzman.  The next thing I knew, Toby (the organizer) came outside and started pointing at me to go inside.  Apparently it was time for a question and answer session with the day's speakers.  Most of the questions were directed at Autumn and Dr. Meldrum, but I got a few minor points across that I felt good about.  For example, one participant asked if we were wasting our time trying to get data or evidence.  I pointed out that I'm not wasting my time doing so because I love the process of doing so.  I don't care so much where it leads us, but I love the ride itself.  How can doing what you love be a waste of time?

After the day's events, many of the participants headed over to a nearby Irish pub for food and beverages.  I found a seat with Steven Streufert, his friend Ian, and Autumn Williams.  We engaged ourselves in talking 'squatch for a while, but then an interruption occurred.  

Steven Streufert and Cliff Barackman

Shortly before 11 o'clock, I received a phone call from a good friend, Rich who is a deputy sheriff on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington.  He told me that his buddy was scouting elk the previous day and ran across 29 sasquatch footprints.  Most of the prints were "not that good," but he did take a photograph of the best print.  I asked my friend if the picture looked good, but he hadn't seen it yet because he does not have internet access from home and the photograph was on his email.  

At that point, I decided that I wouldn't act on this new information until I knew more.  I've been on plenty of wild goose chases in my bigfooting life...  Don't get me wrong, I love me some wild geese, but there was a whole day of bigfooty stuff happening the next day that I wanted to be a part of.  

Rich told me that I could go into his email account and look at the photograph if I would like (thank you, my friend, for trusting me like this).  After giving me his account info, I used my iPhone to take a peek at the print.  After seeing the photograph, I excitedly said my goodbye's and headed home, arriving back at my humble house shortly before 2 AM.  

Good prints are even rarer (and possibly more important) than actual sightings.  The benefit of prints vs. sightings is that they can be documented and shared as data, leaving all subjectivity out of the equation.  Reviewable data is my main focus and what drives me, so I had to leave.  

The next blog will detail my adventure trying to find and document these footprints.  They were destroyed before I got there, so don't get your hopes up (despite the obvious pun, I didn't want to leave you with a cliffhanger).  Come back later to see the photograph that sent me running, and to read more about the real trials and tribulations of a bigfoot field researcher.  

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Friday at the 2010 Oregon Sasquatch Symposium

I awoke Friday morning to a beautiful sunny day.  I sleepily sipped my morning coffee as I verified that my slideshow presentation was ready to go.  I threw some decent clothes in a bag, packed up a couple casts I poured to raffle off at the event, and hit the road.

Driving the two hours to Eugene, I thought about my presentation.  I had some cool stuff to show for my efforts, but I wanted to keep an important message as the undercurrent of the presentation: data needs to be collected and processed.  

I arrived at Lane Community College shortly before 3 o'clock.  I found Toby Johnson, the organizer of the event, and tested out my presentation on the computer I would be using for the event.  It worked perfectly.  Now I could relax.

Shortly thereafter, I heard familiar voices from the parking lot.  Autumn Williams, Bob and Kathy Strain, Paul Graves, and Bob Gimlin all arrived at the same time and were making their way down the walkway chatting merrily.  Smiles and hugs greeted everyone involved.  The weekend had now shifted gears.

As more folks popped by to either do their "sound check" or just to gawk at the proceedings, introductions were made with excitement of the impending weekend.  Thom Powell was the last to come, having only checked out of his classroom that very day before driving south.  

Thom Powell and Kathy Strain

Thom and I were the vagabonds of the group, not having hotel room reservations.  That's one of the many reasons I love hanging with Thom.  He rolls with an extraordinarily easy demeanor, always willing to be flexible and do what's necessary to make things relaxed.

After the venue was locked up, it was time for some food.  Autumn, her mother Sali, Thom, Dave Rodriguez, Oregon Bigfoot member Nancy, and I had a feast at the nearby Denny's where I learned a few things about the others' research, bigfoot gossip, and (of all things) salt.  You would have had to have been there to understand, so I'll just leave that alone.  

After having our fill of Denny's food, we headed back to the Red Lion Hotel where the evening's festivities would be located.  Arrangements were made for Thom and I to crash in the room that Paul Graves had booked before we headed to the "meet and greet" with the other speakers.  

Recognize any familiar faces?

The meet and greet was a relaxed event with most of the speakers and a good number of folks coming in and out, shaking hands and talking 'squatch.  It was there that I had a great conversation with Scott Nelson about the joys of good beer (I am a homebrewer and take great pride in my concoctions), so I bought him an IPA that is near the top of my list.  I endulged in wonderful, though often too brief, conversations with the likes of Guy Edwards, Dean Higgins, Steven Streufert, and other bigfooters.  At one point, I was asked to participate in a live blogtalk radio broadcast hosted by Sharon Lee, but technical problems prohibited the interview.  After giving up, Sharon recorded the interview, which will reportedly be uploaded to her podcast at a later date.  

The meet and greet ended by most of the participants going downstairs to the bar for some drinks and karaoke.  A formidable karaoke battle occurred between Autumn Williams and Sharon Lee, with no clear winner.  There were smiles, dancing, and bigfoot folks everywhere to be seen.  Eventually, I staggered off to the room where I'd be crashing for the night and found another party happening to keep me up for another couple hours.  The night ended with me sleeping out on the balcony in the fresh air.  I'm always trying to camp, wherever I might find myself...

Bob Gimlin dancing with Autumn Williams

My next blog will detail the events of Saturday at the OSS.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Meteorological Complications on Silver Star Mountain

It's Monday night, and I have just ended a crazy six-day 'squatch-a-thon that has temporarily exhausted me.  (Tomorrow might be day seven, but so far I have no plans that will take me out to the woods.  Still, with my crazy life, I never know.)  So much has happened over the last week that it's hard to remember it all, but I'd like to recount some of it for you.  Since the best place to start is the beginning, here goes.  

As of last Tuesday, I have officially checked out of my classroom for the summer.  I hit the ground running on Wednesday when a friend and took a day trip to Silver Star Mountain.  The purpose of my visit was to obtain some crucial measurements at the location of the Silver Star photographs that would help me determine the size of the subject in the pictures.  

The first of three Silver Star photographs
 which possibly show a bigfoot.

I was a little concerned about this trip because I had something riding on it.  If things went well on Silver Star, I could use the data to piece together an interesting presentation for the impending Oregon Sasquatch Symposium where I was scheduled to speak on Saturday.  I had a back-up plan for the gig's speech, but I really wanted to do the Silver Star presentation.  

The weather was a bit dreary with a light rain that incessantly kept me soaked.  Though it was beautiful, it was a bit unpleasant at times.  Having forgotten my gloves, I was bummed (though slightly awed) at how my hands weren't able to function normally, losing most of my usually good fine motor control.  I described my hands to my friend as "numb," but they actually tingled painfully.    

My hiking friend, known as "The Weave,"
under a natural rock formation on Silver Star Mountain.

When we finally arrived at the mountain's summit, which is the site where the photographs were taken, my fears were realized.  The visibility was so poor that the necessary measurements could not be visually obtained.  You see, Silver Star Mountain has more than one peak.  The possible sasquatch in the photos was standing on an adjacent peak from the photographer.  Even though the distance was less than 200 meters, last Wednesday I couldn't see the other summit from where the photographer took the pictures.  

I needed to measure angular distances between certain objects that were visible in the photographs.  I was forced to work around the weather issue by using my GPS to take way point coordinates of the objects, and to later use technology to determine the angular separations from the perspective of the photographer.  It worked, though I would have liked to obtain several more measurements using various methods to help verify the results.  (I'll try to get back to do that.  I'm not done with the photographs yet...)

Having obtained decent enough measurements to do a rough size calculation, I set aside the entirety of Thursday to do the math and to make a slide show presentation for the OSS gig.  With the constant stream of interruptions that is my life, I finished these tasks late in the evening and went to bed.  I needed rest.  The next day would be the kick off of the Oregon Sasquatch Symposium, the start of what was sure to be an exciting weekend.  

In the next blog, I'll give accounts of my short weekend in Eugene, OR at the OSS.  After that, it will get even more 'squatchy.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Portland Hipster Bigfoot

I love living in Portland, Oregon.  I am held spellbound by the terrain, people, weather, beer, and the access to squatchy wilderness. Art abounds in town, and where one finds art, the 'squatch is usually not far away.  

Santiago Uceda is a Peruvian born artist now residing in Corvallis, Oregon.  he created a tribute to both the 'squatch and Portland in his piece entitled, "Portland Hipster Bigfoot." 

Here's what Mr. Uceda had to say about this particular piece: 

"I created this illustration for the Society6 Portland poster series, the challenge was to create something based on Portland fun facts. The poster series which is curated byMark Searcy will be for sale on Society6 as open-edition, giclee prints – and possibly a future group show in Portland. Bigfoot isn’t necessarily a Portland fun fact, but he would probably fit right in and wouldn’t be harassed by the locals, nobody would question why there’s a smelly bigfoot cyclops hipster riding his bicycle in the Willamette river in search of salmon." 

This print (and much more) is available from Mr. Uceda via his website:  http://santiagouceda.com/

Friday, June 18, 2010

OSS Schedule



Breakfast 7:00-8:45

Autumn Williams 9:00-10:45

Break 10:45-11:15

Sali Sheppard-Wolford 11:15-12:00


Lunch 12:00-1:45

Expected- Bob Gimlin & Lenny Green music

David Rodriguez 1:45-2:30

Cliff Barackman 2:30-3:15

Break 3:30- 4:00

Thom Powell 4:00-4:45

Kathy Moskowitz Strain 4:45-5:30


Dinner 5:30-6:45

Esther Stutzman 6:45-7:30

Q&A/close 7:30-8:30


Breakfast 7:00-8:45

Jaime Avalos 9:00-9:45

Ron Morehead 9:45-10:45

Break 10:45-11:00

Scott Nelson 11:00-12:15


Lunch 12:15-1:45

Lenny Green music

Dr. Jeff Meldrum 1:45-3:15

Q&A 3:15-close

Spoiler Alert

Photographs by R. Chase and R. Patterson

For those of you who are planning to attend the Oregon Sasquatch Symposium this weekend, I thought I'd give you a teaser about my presentation.

As you probably know, I am a strong proponent of collecting data and using it to further our understanding of sasquatches.  My presentation will showcase some of the ongoing work I've done on the Silver Star Mountain photographs using data gathered at the site.

The presentation will feature research that is being assembled for a video and book series designed to help bigfooters collect data for analysis.  More on that as things come closer to fruition.

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Perez

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Oregon Sasquatch Symposium

The first annual Oregon Sasquatch Symposium will be occurring in Eugene, OR this coming weekend.  I have been invited to speak, and am currently scheduled for Saturday afternoon.  Also speaking at this event will be Dr. Jeff MeldrumAutumn WilliamsKathy Moskowitz-StrainThom PowellRonMooreheadScott Nelson, and more! For a full list of participants and speakers, check out the official website.

In addition to the scheduled lectures, there will be ample opportunity to shoot the breeze with various bigfooters, many of whom you will recognize. (The bigfooters you don't recognize are equally intriguing, some of whom bring excellent opportunities for partnering up with on field research expeditions.) Bring copies of your favorite bigfoot books for the authors to sign. Take photographs with friends new and old. Listen to conversations about new research and projects. If you've never been to one of these social/informational gatherings, do yourself a favor and come! These are rare opportunities to talk 'squatch with aficionados from all over the country, if not the world. The networking is unparalleled, and nearly everyone is a lot of fun to hang out with.

Tickets are still available.  Click this link to buy a couple.  Be sure to say hello to me when you're there.  Any friend of the 'squatch is a friend of mine!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

2007 Sequoia National Forest, CA

New to the cast database on NorthAmericanBigfoot.com...

raygoza bigfoot sequoia
The original photograph

David Raygoza is a bigfoot researcher who lives in Fresno, CA. Through casual conversations, he discovered a location not too far from his home where bigfoots had been seen over the years. After repeatedly visiting the location, he started befriending the locals in a nearby town. These locals further verified that there were indeed sasquatches living in the hills just outside of town, and the good folks were willing to share more specific information with David about the sasquatches' habits.

Over his years of research in this small area, David has reportedly found many footprints, had game cameras messed with, has had branches thrown at him, and has had possibly two brief sightings of the creatures. He has also shown me two blobby videos that he claims are sasquatches. They might be, but it is impossible to tell from the videos themselves.
I have spent several nights in the area, but have never had an encounter there. It is a nasty, brushy area full of ticks, poison oak, and scorpions. Water is plentiful in the colder months, but the creeks dry to a trickle in the hotter summer months. There is a history of bigfoot activity from not too far away.

There are few photographs of footprints that David has found from this area, in spite of my constant prodding to document his finds. The few pictures I have seen do not do the tracks justice. However, the accompanying photo is an excellent one, clearly showing toes and having an interesting shape to the instep of the foot. It was this photograph that convinced me that David had possibly found a good spot to conduct his research.

raygoza bigfoot sequoia
The same photo, cropped and enhanced.

Please note the two possible bear prints in the lower half of the photograph. It  is possible that a bear is responsible for the possible bigfoot impression as well. Unfortunately this footprint was not cast, so further conclusions on this impression are necessarily bound within the realm of speculation.  .

More information on this footprint may be found on my online database of casts and impressions.

Update 6/15/10

Dr. Jeff Meldrum has weighed in on this footprint via email.  He notes that the three clearest toe impressions appear to be the triplet of a bear track.  He goes on to suggest that the hinder part of the track could be another fore paw angled towards the bottom left.

Dr. Meldrum's comments say volumes to the idea of obtaining data to share with the community.  All amateur bigfoot researchers should always document their finds and make them publicly available for scrutiny.  Only through a collaborative effort with the sasquatch become a recognized species.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

In Search of Sasquatch in Education


In search of Sasquatch

Drama club puts a high-tech, low-budget twist on their annual project.

Have you seen Bigfoot?

The students of Sonora Elementary School sure have. 

In a mock documentary which incorporated more than 100 students, the school's drama club practiced technological and teamwork skills while producing a feature-length movie about the fabled monster for its annual production.

"Any play you can get kids to participate in is great, but the further you can get them to think outside the box — just think of all the things you can expose them to," said parent and project co-advisor Donna Robb. 

Robb and fellow parent Angela Jackson-Brunning choose a "mocumentary" for the annual project of the drama club because it would expose the maximum number of children while keeping production costs minimum.

"You have no idea what you can do with a simple camera, a little elbow grease and good people," Robb said. 

Students and teachers from kindergarten to sixth-grade classes were "interviewed" on the whereabouts of Bigfoot — while the young documentarians tried to sort out widely varied and ad-libbed descriptions from classmates and teachers, like ape-like, blue-eyed and even three-eyed.

"The teachers really ran with it and we were really surprised by how much fun everyone had with their parts," Jackson-Brunning said.

The students were encouraged to go outside their comfort zone by talking to new classmates and faculty to make the film. Additionally, many students who wouldn't ordinarily like drama found the process fun and appealing, Robb said. 

"It was hard work, but I learned that hard work pays off," said sixth-grader Julian Jackson-Brunning. "The movie is awesome."

The film was produced over three months; the students filmed on 20 different days around campus and at events with the help of Robb, Jackson-Brunning and other parents.

The much anticipated movie premier was Friday at Costa Mesa High School's auditorium, which has a little more of a "Hollywood" feel than Sonoma's, Robb said. The event was complete with a red carpet entrance to the auditorium. 

The would-be actors' performances in the mocumentary had the audience laughing through the film, especially for the closing bloopers reel. 

"We wanted to do something that everyone could have fun with," Robb said, "and let's be honest, no one wants to see the same play put on every year, either." 

DVDs of the film are on sale through the Sonora drama club for $5. For more information, call the school at (714) 424-7955.