Showing posts with label Bigfoot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bigfoot. Show all posts

June 27, 2022

Looking for Monkey Creek, Part 6: What We Found

Part 1: "What Monkey?"
Part 2: "The First Hike"
Part 3: "Flesh and Blood"
Part 4: "Paranormal Bigfoot"
Part 5: "Tree Structures"

Saw a sticker like this
on a car in Pueblo last week

All morning on the way to Monkey Creek, I had seen the humor in the situation.

I am not a "Bigfoot guy" in any real way. It's more like I am up in the cheap seats, listening to some podcasts (notably Timothy Renner's Strange Familiars), looking at a few websites, and that is about all. I don't have a "Gone Squatchin'" bumper sticker or even a Colorado-flag Bigfoot decal on the rear window as a symbol of wildness.

Yes, the "Monkey Creek" name was intriguing, and I plan to try again to find a source for it. But this was just a day trip, with some post-hike fishing planned on the South Platte River.

Then I looked up into the old burn.

Note that branches are laid on both sides of the fallen tree trunk in the foreground,
whereas the stacks further away are more conical. None have room for anyone insde them.

My eye was caught by multiple stacks of wood. At first I thought, "Slash piles." But that could not be right.

When forests are thinned for fire mitigation, large logs are hauled away while saplings, tree tips, and branches (collectively, "slash") are stacked, allowed to dry, and then burned when there is snow on the ground. This is a labor-intensive process, and where conditions permit, contractors will sometimes use large machines (masticators) that just chew smaller trees into wood chips and spray those out.

But this was not mitigration, this was a wildland fire from decades ago. Firefighters building a line may toss chunks of burning wood into "bone piles," so that they will burn up and not be a problem, but they do not leave slash piles for later.

And who would build a slash pile over a fallen trunk that would smoulder on indefinitely?

Close-up of the foreground "pup tent" stack. There is no room inside—it's all sticks.

The piles were clearly built some time after the burned trunks had fallen, using a mixture of charred and unburnt wood. They could not be shelters — there was no room inside, not even for a little kid. Therefore, I ruled out any kind of survival training, like Boy Scouts or US Air Force Academy cadets learning "escape and evasion" tactics. (They do that, but usually in the Rampart Range closer to the Academy, I think.)

So not slash piles for later burning and not shelters either. What does that leave?

Two of several conical stacks of wood.

Note that the pile in the shade is laid against a log —
not how you build a slash pile for burning.

Unlike some of the claimed "tree structures" that might be the result of wind + gravity, these structures were definitely created deliberately. They would not work as shelters, and they do not seem to be connected to forestry practice as I know it — and I grew up with that stuff. I do not read them as created for wildlife habitat either, not at 10,500 feet (3200 m.) in an Englemann spruce-dominated forest.

An ambitious person could have built them all in a morning's work, but why? For future pyromania? Just to mess with people coming up a lightly used trail who have Bigfoot on the brain? 

I saw two "pup tent" structures laid against logs and at least six "tipi" structures scattered up the ridge. So that was a fair amount of work if it was just for fun.

Or what? I have admit that I started feeling a little strange, like that was enough for one day and now it was time to drive out, stop in Fairplay for a burrito, and then go fishing. If the structures were kind of a prank, well, it worked. If not a prank, then it is a mystery to me.

June 26, 2022

Looking for Monkey Creek, Part 5: Tree Structures

This is not a "tree structure" but a stack of saplings cut by
a trail crew in the San Isabel NF. But it could pass for one
if you ignore the saw cuts on the butt ends.

Part 1: "What Monkey?"
Part 2: "The First Hike"
Part 3: "Flesh and Blood"
Part 4: "Paranormal Bigfoot"

Search YouTube for "Bigfoot tree structures," and you will get dozens of hits with titles like "My Bigfoot Story Ep. 48 - Stick Structures and Other Signs" and "Team Finds Multiple Unexplainable Tree Structures." (Just click here for a bigger sample.)

What is a "tree structure"? The definition is pretty loose. Apparently any two or three or four (usually) smaller-diameter trunks lying against each other in a vaguely tipi-shaped way is a "structure." Some people talk about "stick structures": broken or leaning sticks, particularly if they seemed to be arranged in some non-random way.

There are also "tree breaks," for Bigfoot is often thought to snap trees by brute force as a way of scaring off intruders.

What do tree structures mean? Here is some typical speculation:

As for why Bigfoot might engage in such curious behavior, the theories are several. At first glance, one might assume they have been constructed to offer the beasts a degree of shelter, and particularly so during the cold, winter months. In many cases, however, there does not appear to have been any attempt made to create a canopy or walls. In other words, the structures are open to the environment and all of its attendant harshness.  Other theories are more intriguing: it has been speculated that, perhaps, the teepees represent territorial markers, created by Bigfoot creatures to alert others of their kind that they are present in the area. They may also be a warning to man, to stay firmly away – although, of course, the obscure nature of the formations effectively means that very few are of us are likely to understand such a warning, never mind act upon it.
Meanwhile, back on Monkey Creek, June 20, 2022,  having had our first short walk, I looked at the map and saw that a rough Forest Service road (dashed lines), climbing toward Topaz Mountain, crossed Monkey Creek higher up. Back in the Jeep, Marco and I headed that way.

Aside from some protruding rocks, the road was in good shape. No one else appeared to be up there. We drove down into one drainage (yet another "Beaver Creek") then up and along to where it crossed Monkey Creek.

There we found a small parking lot (probably a former loggers' "landing") and signage for the Nate Stulz Trail, which runs from Lost Park (where we had come in from South Park) up and over the Tarryalls to another trailhead near Tarryall Reservoir.

After investigating the creek, which seemed to lack little brookies, we followed the trail upstream, but ended up losing it, because a creek crossing was obscured by brush. 

We went on fifty yards or so on the "wrong" side of the creek, and then I spotted what looked like a road further up — it was an old logging road, full of sapling spruces, and we followed it ten minutes or so until it crossed the creek and intersected the official trail.

The trail led up through an old forest fire burn.

There had been a forest fire up there, probably a lightning strike since we were on a ridge, and I guess-timated that it was more than twenty years in the past. What had been standing dead spruce had rotted at the roots and fallen to the winter winds, mostly all pointing the same direction. 

I whistled for Marco and started on up the trail. I could see more open views in the near distance, and it was a great day for a hike in the Tarryalls.

And then something else caught my eye. 

Part 6: "What We Found"

June 25, 2022

Looking for Monkey Creek, Part 4: Paranormal Bigfoot

Part 1: What Monkey?
Part 2: The First Hike
Part 3: Flesh and Blood

A claimed 1988 Bigfoot sighting in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, led to the placing
of this humorous Bigfoot Crossing sign on the Pike's Peak Highway above the town.

Bigfoot researchers split into two main groups, "flesh-and-blood" and "paranormal," for lack of better terms. Anthropologist Grover Krantz, who typified the flesh-and-blood contingent, referred to the latter in his 1992 book Big Footprints: A Scientific Inquiry into the Reality of Sasquatch as "the lunatic fringe":

There is little need to specifically address the claims of any particular paranoromalist . . . . It is more effective simply to promote what we do know and to ignore as much as possible, and avoid any association with, those people who are making the investigation appear ridiculous. (256)

In 1988, I was a reporter at the Cañon City Daily Record. Dan Masias, a resident of Green Mountain Falls, west of Colorado Springs, claimed that he and his young son had looked out from their house one winter day and seen two "creatures" walking past in shallow snow. He got no photos of them, but he did photograph the tracks in the fresh powder snow. (Some neighbors had also reported odd sightings.) 

The large tracks had three toes and — important detail — went on for a few yards and then simply stopped. By the time we visited, Masias had constructed what amounted to a Bigfoot shrine in one room of his home, with the photos, news clippings, and other memorabilia.

Some readers contacted me afterwards with reports of other strangeness in the Pike's Peak area, including combination UFO-bigfoot sightings. I had never heard of the two being grouped together before, but as I said, I had not paid much attention to bigfoot stuff before, even when living in western Oregon.

"Paranormalists" see Bigfoot encounters as part of a broad spectrum of events that intrude into normal reality. You often hear the source for these intrusions described as The Other. The creatures are sometimes physical (and obey physical laws) and at other times are not. The footprints end.

So when I did think about Bigfoot, which is reported in the Western Hemiphere from Chile to Ontario, the flesh-and-blood explanation broke down over simple zoological questions: What does this "wood ape" eat in wintertime when the black bears, by comparison, are hibernating? (No known ape hibernates) How many must there be in X square miles to support a breeding population with sufficient genetic variety? How do they raise the young wood apes successfully while staying hidden 99.99 percent of the time? 

The paranormalists' answer is simple but incredibly mysterious. Timothy Renner and Joshua Cutchin, authors of the two-book series Where the Footprints End, conceptualize it this way:
Flesh-and-blood apes seem to dematerialize and slip through our fingers like wisps of smoke. Nuts-and-bolts UFOS refuse to land on the White House lawn but shoot away at impossible speeds. Clinging to one side of the Möbius strip, we may not notice the twist, but viewed from afar we see the very twist itself allows things to walk on both sides of the loop.
    The idea that something can be real — in that most Materialist definition of reality, i.e., it is physically here (in terms of sasquatch, for example, able to leave footprints and move things) — and yet completely ephemeral has led to even more "science-fiction thinking." Desparately trying to prove the physical reality of bigfoot, yet faced with all the attendant problems of proving a breeding population exists, bigfoot enthusiasts have tured to explanations as varied as quantum physics, interdimensional travel, or even that bigfoot may themselves be aliens, brought here by the Ufonauts. (vol 2, 38, italics in the original)

They add, "When [bigfoot and UFOs] appear together the mystery deepens, but becomes more wondrous at the same time."

Thus, the paranormalists accuse the Grover Krantzes of this world of editing out "strangeness" from Bigfoot sightings (concurrent appearsances of odd lights, UFOs, or strange noises such as loud buzzing or metallic crashing) and also of editing out "sighting" locations that don't look like hypothetical Bigfoot habitat, such as Midwestern golf courses or Texas suburban cul-de-sacs.

There is one point, however, on which many flesh-and-blood and paranormal Bigfoot enthusiast do agree, and that is that the creatures are fond of building "tree structures."  Let's examine that term next before returning to Monkey Creek.

June 23, 2022

Looking for Monkey Creek, Part 3: Flesh and Blood

Part 1: "What Monkey?" 

Part 2: "The First Hike

Anthropologist Grover Krantz poses with his skulls. Image credit: AlchetronCC BY-SA

Grover Krantz (1931–2002) was a respected physical anthropologist teaching at Washington State University — but not always respected. His longtime advocacy for the existence of a giant primate (Bigfoot, Sasquatch) in the Pacific Northwest cost him professionally. with other anthropologists calling his interest in Sasquatch "fringe science."

A WSU colleague recalled

"He couldn't publish his articles on Bigfoot in peer-reviewed journals, and he didn't seek the research grants," [Professor Bill] Lipe said. Because of all the time he devoted to Bigfoot, he said, Krantz wasn't as able to do what he needed to secure promotions and tenure.

"The evidence never got any better," Lipe said. "Grover, to his credit, always approached this as a scientist. He wanted to make sure this theory, however unpopular, got a hearing. In taking on this role, I think he lost his skepticism. . . .

"Within the established academic community, Grover was the first one to stick his neck out," said Loren Coleman, a cryptozoologist (one who studies creatures not yet officially identified) at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.

Krantz had two degrees from UC-Berkeley, and its alumni magazine published a lengthy profile in 2018: "The Man, the Myth, and the Legend of Grover Krantz."

Though Krantz never found a Bigfoot dead or alive, he had what he thought were close calls. Once, returning from an expedition with students in central Washington, Krantz was driving through a snowstorm when something large and brown loped quickly across the road, causing Krantz to slam on the brakes, said Krantz’s former student, archeologist and physical anthropologist Gary Breschini.

In 1992, Krantz published a book, Big Footprints: A Scientific Inquiry into the Reality of Sasquatch with a Colorado publisher, Johnson Books of Boulder, which offers mainly Western regional history, natural history, archaeology, and outdoor recreation (now an imprint of Denver-based Bower House).

In other words, this was an extended middle finger to academia, making his case (based on footprint analysis and other physical data) for the existence of a flesh-and-blood primate that occupied  a niche something like black bears in the cool rain forests of the Northwest.

"We have no indication that sasquatch is an endangered species. Its population probably numbers in the thousands and maybe tens of thousands," he asserted."It is a legitimate subject of scientific investigation."

Often called the "flesh and blood" position, Krantz's take on Bigfoot was the original "mainstream" perspective. It is still followed by "citizen science" groups like the North American Wood Ape Conservancy, which agrees with Krantz's position that "Proper scientific study and possible protection will occur only when a type speciman is obtained." In other words, Sasquatch in a cage or on a mortuary table. (They have a new book out on their research.)

The Olympic Project is another organized and persevering research group. Their website states,

The Olympic Project is an association of dedicated researchers, investigators, biologists and trackers committed to documenting the existence of Sasquatch through science and education. Through comprehensive habitat study, DNA analysis and game camera deployment, our goal is to obtain as much information and empirical evidence as we can, with hopes of being as prepared as possible when and if species verification comes to fruition.

While it is possible to envision Krantz's proposed non-hibernating giant primate in the thick forests of the Olympic Peninsula or other Pacific Northwest locations — or even in the dense woods of the Ouachita Mountains where the NAWAC works, Bigfoot sightings are not limited to those places.

They occur in small-town Ohio cemeteries, in Texas suburbs, all sort of places. Usually woodlands are present, but sometimes only a few acres, not a vast and little-visited area.

The Olympic Project makes an appearance in Laura Krantz's excellent podcast mini-series on Bigfoot research, Wild Thing. Krantz? Yes, Grover was a great-uncle. She is a professional radio journalist and producer, so the technical quality of the podcast is superior to most.

A 2018 article on notes,

Krantz walks the line between the facts (which aren’t always on the side of Bigfoot researchers) and our raw hunger to believe in some big missing link out in the woods (bolstered by a surprisingly large number of surprisingly credible eyewitness accounts, some of which she captures on tape in the series’ most memorable episode). It’s smart, well produced, well written, and intelligently structured.

I was always "on the bubble" about Bigfoot, neither "believer" nor "skeptic."  Despite attending college in the Pacific Northwest and spending some time backpacking, mountain-climbing, and camping, I never gave the question much thought, and if I did, it was just to assume that Bigfoot was somewhere else.

It was not until later that I was introduced to the concept of "paranormal Bigfoot," which I will deal with next. 

Part 4: "Paranormal Bigoot"

June 22, 2022

Looking for Monkey Creek Part 2: The First Hike

Part 1: "What Monkey?"

Park County Road 56 — was I ever here before?

After three hours behind the wheel (two of them spent crossing Park County, which is large), I was on a county road in the Pike National Forest, the Kenosha Mountains on my left and the Tarryalls on my right. I might last have been on this road in high school or as a college freshman, going up with Dad to pack out a big buck mule deer he had shot the day bfore. If this is where we were. It felt like new county to me now.

I found the little two-track Forest Service road at the mouth of Monkey Creek and eased the Jeep over some monumental water bars to a spot where a stone fire ring and a couple of sittin' logs marked a favored camping spot. I put on my day pack, whistled Marco away from some interesting old bones, and started upstream, walking between the spruce forest and the willow bog where the creek lay gurgling — somewhere.

The trail looked like the bank of an abandoned irrigation ditch to me.

A trail presented itself. It looked to me like the bank of a long-gone irrigation ditch, where some early homesteader or rancher had dug from a higher spot on the creek to bring water to a . . . hay meadow? Whatever it was, there is no sign of it now, and soil washing down the mountainside has filled in most of the dish.  

We crossed a little tributary. I looked for tracks. There was one — it had a waffle pattern and looked like a fat-tire mountain bike. And elk droppings. 

The willow bog — no point in trying to fish this.

Then we walked out into the bog where multiple rivulets ran, with the biggest gurgling hidden under scrubby willows. There was no point in coming back with the fly rod.

We started back back to the Jeep. Suddenly, Marco went on full alert — body tense, head and tail high, looking over the expanse of willows.

"Please, let it not be a moose!" I thought. I didn't like the idea of playing Dodge 'em Moose among the spruce trees if there was a cow moose with a calf out there, because Moose Mom will chase a dog. And the dog will run to its owner, and then you have a problem, as in this video: 


I looked but could not see one, so with Marco on-lead we headed down to the road, having walked problably less than a mile. (Big, check. Hairy, check. Scary, check. Upright biped, no check.)

It was time to come at Monkey Creek another way, whereupon things would become more interesting.

Part 3: "Flesh and Blood"

June 21, 2022

Looking for Monkey Creek, Part 1: What Monkey?

It was a 2.5-hour drive just to get somewhere near Monkey Creek.
Here we are entering South Park on Colorado 9 – too late for the auction.
(Click photos to enlarge.)

Goin' up to Monkey Creek, goin' on the run
Goin' up to Monkey Creek to have a little fun*

About twenty years ago, I was looking at a some now-vanished Rocky Mountain Bigfoot research website, where someone posted a question about Monkey Creek, on the Pike National Forest in the Tarryall Mountains.

It was like, "Monkey?? Did a Bigfoot sighting inspire that name?" No one seemed to know.

Dad's US Forest Service career had him moving in and out of that general area several times between the late 1930s and about 1970. I asked him about the name. He knew where Monkey Creek was, but he had no clue how it got its name.

I am not a "Squatcher" or Bigfoot researcher, or it would not have taken me twenty years to follow up. I have my thoughts on the issue of large hairy critters, and I will get to them eventually in this blog post series.

But yes, it's an unusual name. Colorado (and the Rockies in general) is full of streams named for their characteristics — Swift Creek, Rock Creek, Sand Creek, Hardscrabble Creek, Troublesome Creek. For plants — Oak Creek, Cottonwood Creek, Spruce Creek, Pine Creek, Willow Creek. For animals — Bear Creek, Turkey Creek, Dove Creek, Beaver Creek, Elk Creek, Deer Creek, Trout Creek, Lion Creek, and of course the Conejos (Rabbits) River.

There are multiple Rock Creeks and Beaver Creeks and so on, but I have heard of only one Monkey Creek.

Still crossing South Park on Colorado 9 — I love how the ancient glacial morraines shaped
the valley floor,  giving hints of a more  northern, boreal landscape.

I had been feeling fidgety, and the forecast for Monday, June 20th, was mostly sunny, no rain. So I packed up Marco the dog and other essentials, even a 5-weight fly rod in case there were brook trout in Monkey Creek (none that I saw), folded a Pike National Forest map to show the area, and set off for what would be a 275-mile (440 km) round-trip drive.

Finally, we are approaching the lower end of Monkey Creek.

* With apologies to that prolific songwriter, Anonymous.

Part 2: The First Hike

July 05, 2020

Deterring Bigfoot from Your Property

I believe these people want to sell you some Big Yeti Stout.
First, the disclaimer. I am not in any way a "Bigfoot hunter." A couple of my friends have had "experiences" though. One is a longtime bowhunter, nature writer, and guide — very much not a "woo-woo" sort of person — who waited a long time to tell what he met in the San Juans. Others have "heard stuff." Here, however, I consider how people think about Bigfoot/Sasquatch/yetis.

Generally, people-of-Bigfoot fall into one of three categories:

1. Bigfoot is a primate. These are the "cryptozoologists," who think that there might be an undiscovered ape creature out there  — and not just in the Pacific Northwest.  They often refer to these and other mystery animals as "cryptids."

One of the most professional was Grover Krantz (1931–2002).  Krantz taught physical anthropology, primarily at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., which put him within easy driving time of prime Bigfoot-hunting areas, and toward the end of his teaching career he wrote a book, Big Foot Prints: A Scientific Inquiry into the Reality of Sasquatch, assembling what he considered to be the best physical evidence for its existence.

Krantz's teaching career ended just as DNA evidence was becoming The Big Thing in his field, and I do not think that he ever made much use of it. The book, published in 1992, has only a brief mention of seeking DNA evidence, a method that has come a long way in thirty years.

Bigfoot runs in the family: his niece, Laura Krantz, produced a highly polished podcast called Wld Thing about her uncle, about Bigfoot hunters, and about contemporary DNA evidence.  She is a former editor and producer for National Public Radio, and it shows—this is one of the best-sounding podcasts that I ever heard, not to mention being well-paced and edited.

Typical of the "physical Bigfoot" camp is the North American Wood Ape Conservancy, a group that concentrates its efforts in southeastern Oklahoma and east Texas. They consider themselves to be a "citizen scientists," and they have already done some ancillary work on the presence of red wolves in the Ouchita Moutains of Oklahoma.

They have an occasional podcast as well, Apes Among Us. 

NAWAC members seem to run a bit younger than some groups', and they show up at their preferred site with camouflage, up-to-date optics, night-vision goggles, audio and video recorders, and other tactical gear — plus hunting rifles, because they argue that while skeptics can deny photos, etc., no one will deny a dead "ape" in the truck. Still, after a number of years of field work, sightings, and intriguing experiences, apparently no one has pulled a trigger.

2. Bigfoot is "interdimensional." Back when I was a young newspaper reporter, I interviewed a resident of Green Mountain Falls, Colo., named Dan Masias, who came from a restaurant-owning family in the Colorado Springs area, and who claimed to have seen two upright hairy "creatures" walk past his house in March 1989 after having earlier seen tracks in the snow.
A facetious sign on the Pike's Peak Highway, more or less
uphill from Green Mountain Falls, which is down to the right.

He had photos of the tracks (some with three toes—apparently that happens) displayed in his home. After the story appeared in the paper, I was contacted by people wanting to tell me about how Bigfoot sightings were associated with UFO sightings. I was astonished, because I had thought of them as two different areas of weirdness. Not so.

It could be that if we follow the terminology of NASA astrophysicist/UFO writer/West Coast astrophysicist Jacques Vallée, eveything is part of "The Phenomenon" — and everything was here all along.

So if you can take that one big leap — and it is a very big leap — then all the other questions fall away.

Grover Krantz, for example, thought that the Pacific NW Sasquatch occupied a similar ecological niche to a black bear in the cold rain forest. But what would a Rocky Mountain Sasquatch do in the winter? Hibernate? Live in a cave? Or why do the tracks stop and start? Well, says the second group, they (like fairies, gnomes, "aliens," etc.) are here — and then they are not-here. Poof!

I bought this shirt in 2019 at the State Forest State Park
visitor center — not the only Bigfoot-themed item on sale.
3. Bigfoot is the symbol of wildness.  

It's not too late: you can still register for for "Yeti Fest" in North Park, Colorado, sponsored by Never Summer Nordic, a concessionaire at State Forest State Park — which apparently has adopted Bigfoot/Yeti/Sasquatch as an unofficial emblem. Enjoy live music, a Yeti-call contest, and a Yeti hunt with real guides — unless it has been canceled due to Covid 19. Maybe it has been. Better luck next year!

What I think is going on here though is not a hardcore endorsement of Position #1 or Position #2 but a celebration of the Colorado outdoors and the spirit of wildness. Bigfoot may be the North American equivalent of the revived Green Man symbol, originally found throughout Britain on medieval churches.

So what about Bigfoot Deterrence? You Promised Us!

Before it petered out, I followed the blog of a Colorado-based group, Sasquatch Investigations of the Rockies. (Related: It's not too late to sign up for this month's "Colorado Bigfoot Expedition" with the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization - unless that gets cancelled too.) The SIR folks thought that tree trunks stacked certain ways were left by Bigfoot, which reminded me of the "Ute Prayer Tree" fakelore.

They also used to leave spreads of food out for the big guy, on flat boulders and such. I am sure that somebody enjoyed them. I used to wonder, though, why they did not place scout cameras to find out just who came. Maybe it was more fun to speculate.

Then I was listening to one of Timothy Renner's Strange Familiars podcasts — he is a Pennsylvania musician who has found a new niche as a paranomal investigation podcaster and author. The podcasts are very low-key and often  feature Tim and a friend(s) who are hiking (sometimes at night), while talking about local history, camping, weird tales, strange experiences in the woods, and such, interspersed with "Did you hear that?" "It sounds like it was coming from across the creek."

Bigfoot deterrent?
In one of their Michaux State Forest episodes, the question of scout cameras came up, and the group agreed that Bigfoot avoids them. No one ever gets Bigfoot photos on a scout camera, they said. (These Washington state highway camera photos seemed to say otherwise but have been debunked.)

So there you have it. Put up the scout cameras and Bigfoot will stay away.

Postscript: Cameras and other large critters.

I  lost a scout camera to an angry black bear back in 2010, but the photos were interesting.

Sooyang Park, an amazingly dedicated South Korean wildlife photographer, has done a lot of work in the Russian Far East and authored Great Soul of Siberia: Passion, Obsession, and One Man's Quest for the World's Most Elusive Tiger. He says that the Siberian tigers he photographs (spending weeks in a little blind covered in dirt and timber) seek out and destroy cameras and audio recorders — he thinks  that they smell the plastic cases.

On the other hand, the Wild Cats Conservation Alliance (a good group, please donate) sprinkles its social media feeds with photos of leopards and sometimes tigers that appear to be at least partially from game cameras.

June 29, 2019

Bigfoot Likes Blog Stew!!

That suppressor says we are not in the USA.
OK, readers, I have more saved links than I can turn into blog posts. So here they are, short form.

You will need a big spoon.

• I mentioned Laura Krantz's Bigfoot-related podcast, Wild Thing, which I really admired.  Here is an interview with her, "Bigfoot hunters aren’t crazy, just curious, says ‘Wild Thing’ podcaster Laura Krantz." No, she is not a True Believer, but that is what makes her work interesting.

• Related: A forty-year-old "Bigfoot hair sample" finally emerges from the FBI.

• If you use Instagram, here is a listicle: "10 Amazing Female Hunters You Should be following on Instagram." They are Scandanavian. But the secret to being an Instagram "influencer" is to show women alone in scenic/exotic places, which really makes some people become unhinged.

Good advice for "spring cleaning" your first-aid kits. Yeah, I need to do that, especially for the one that sits in the Jeep getting heated up in the summer.

There is gun culture and there is hunting culture, "rather similar, but also rather different. If you were to draw a Venn diagram of the two, there would be a lot of overlap, but there would also be a lot of areas where they don’t meet. For example, a hunter may completely eschew firearms for political reasons, but retain the use of a bow or crossbow. Meanwhile, plenty of people own guns for personal defense but have never traveled into the woods to take any game."

So a self-described "stereotype of a Northeastern liberal" with "a New Yorker’s visceral aversion to firearms" connects with a "Yale-trained stage actor and bartender," who also mentors novice deer hunters. They set out into the woods, and here is what happens. (First he needs to get Joy Williams, Ernest Hemingway and a bunch of other voices out of his head!)

April 20, 2019

This is the Best Bigfoot Podcast

Earlier this month I was in a bar in San Marcos, Texas talking about Bigfoot, as one does. Some friends who teach at Texas State University there had organized a conference on "monsters" in literature, religion, folklore, cryptozoology, etc.

I was trying to come up with the last name of the late Grover Krantz, a physical anthropologist, but having a brief memory lapse when the guy sitting next to me supplied it. An instructor at the U. of North Carolina at Charlotte, he was a walking Bigfoot database.

My connection to Krantz was just that I had worked at Johnson Books in Boulder, which published his Bigfoot-is-an-actual-ape book Big Footprints: An Scientific Inquiry into the Reality of Sasquatch.  (Johnson is now part of Bower House.)You can read about Krantz and Bigfoot in Smithsonian.

I had left Johnson Books by then, so I did not get to meet him, but the editorial director sent me a copy. I read a lot of it by lantern light at night, curled up in my van, parked at some duck-hunting spot in the San Luis Valley. It helps to be alone in the dark when reading any Bigfoot book.

The guy sitting next to me offered another piece of information: Lauren Krantz, Gover's distant cousin, a former National Public Radio reporter-producer, started a Bigfoot-related podcast last year, Wild Thing

Wild Thing is the best-produced podcast that I have ever heard. So many of the podcasts out there consist of one person ranting, or two or three buddies Skyping or calling via cellphone, so that sound levels are inconsistent as they can be. They trash-talk each other or swap in-house gossip or talk about what they are for lunch, and it just drags on.

I can think of one podcast where the main hostess is trying to answer questions in a chatroom while her guests are talking, so you hear the tickety-tock of her keyboard all the time.

Not here. When it comes to production values, Krantz's podcast sounds as good as Radio Diaries or This American Life, if you ever listen to any public radio.

Wild Thing
Nor is Krantz a "true believer." She describes her subject as " our collective fascination with Bigfoot," and the first episode is devoted to learning about her cousin Grover, whom she never knew when he was alive. Read summaries of episodes here. Mostly she follows the issues raised by Grover Krantz's hypothesis of a surviving giant ape, as opposed to UFOs and "interdimensional beings."

Hear her interviewed on Skeptic magazine's Monster Talk podcast. And here is Krantz interviewed by the Seattle Times: "Bigfoot Hunters Aren't Crazy, Just Curious."

She talks to experts, visits Bigfoot sites, and sits down for an interview with Bob Gimlin, now in his late eighties, but still willing to discuss the social and economic price he paid for being half of the famous "Patterson-Gimin" film of 1967, which purports to show a minute of a female Bigfoot striding through a Northern California riparian zone.  There is the world of Bigfoot hunters and their disagreements, and of course, she goes on a Bigfoot hunt of her own.

You can find it on Apple podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Android, and on its own website. And buy T-shirts.

December 23, 2015

Best of Bigfoot, 2015

"Local" decor in the new Trader Joe's grocery store in Colorado Springs.
Via the Bigfoot Lunch Club blog, Animal Planet's ten best Bigfoot video clips of 2015.

These have a short commercial at the beginning. At least one that I watched was for cosmetics, which means that someone thinks that there are female Bigfoot fans too (I always think of Bigfoot-hunting as a guy thing, for some reason) or else there is a joke in there about putitng lipstick on a sasquatch.

In related news, Bigfoot-hunting figures into the upcoming trial of Eddie Tipton, the "former Multi-State Lottery Association security director who is accused of rigging jackpots in Iowa, Colorado, Wisconsin, Kansas and Oklahoma from 2005 to 2011 to enrich himself and his friends."

It was all for science!

In yet other news, a Canadian Native band gets their 75-year-old sasquatch (?) mask back from a museum.

July 01, 2014

Blog Stew with Corn. Just Corn. And Bigfoot

¶ The Baby Boomers? They lived about a thousand years ago. In the Four Corners area.

¶ Related: Have you ever noticed that there are no Anazasi restaurants? How many different ways can you fix corn mush? But maybe the jalapeño-filled tamales that I had yesterday are related. 

¶ I came home from a trip last November and found a young pine tree broken off at waist height. I blame the strong downslope winds from the southwest, which are a feature of winter around here.

But to the gang at Sasquatch Investigation of the Rockies, that would be a sign that the Big Guy had come by. On the other hand, here is a recent purported footprint and some other stuff from an undisclosed location in Colorado.

¶ Related: DNA samples are not being helpful for Bigfoot hunters. But you have to understand, sometimes the Big Guy is not corporeal.

October 17, 2013

Brian Sykes Says The Yeti Is A Bear

From my occasional interest in things Bigfoot-ish: Noted British geneticist Brian Sykes says that purported yeti (abominable snowman) hair samples from the Himalayas are actually from a bear.
Sykes compared DNA from hair samples taken from two Himalayan animals — identified by local people as Yetis — to a database of animal genomes. He found they shared a genetic fingerprint with a polar bear jawbone found in the Norwegian Arctic that is at least 40,000 years old.

Sykes said Thursday that the tests showed the creatures were not related to modern Himalayan bears but were direct descendants of the prehistoric animal.
So in a way that conclusion replaces one mystery with another one.

September 19, 2013

No Sasquatch on the Prairies?

In a post titled "Big Data meets Bigfoot," Boing Boing summarizes "Bigfoot in Penn State PhD candidate Joshua Stevens's visualization of nearly a century of Sasquatch sighting reports in the US and Canada."

Stevens writes,
Right away you can see that sightings are not evenly distributed. At first glance, it looks a lot like a map of population distribution. After all, you would expect sightings to be the most frequent in areas where there are a lot of people. But a bivariate view of the data (right) shows a very different story. There are distinct regions where sightings are incredibly common, despite a very sparse population. On the other hand, in some of the most densely populated areas sasquatch sightings are exceedingly rare.
Go there for the interesting graphics. And as one commenter notes, maybe "the answer is likely game cameras, lots and lots of game cameras."

July 28, 2013

Take Your Kid 'Squatching'

Introduce your kids to the outdoors by searching for the most elusive free-range primate of all: Bigfoot.

Tracks and other evidence were found.

Northern Colorado readers, doesn't this look like Roxborough State Park? I have never been there myself.

July 07, 2013

Blog Stew with 'High Value' Plants

Someone (several someones, probably) tore up 6,500 "Round-Up ready" genetically modified sugar beet plants in southern Oregon last month.

But this is the part that made me smile:
Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba issued a statement about the sabotage.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time someone has deliberately taken the cowardly step of uprooting high value plants growing in our state."
"High-value plants"? You mean no one has ever raided a cannabis plantation before? But that was governmental uprooting, so it doesn't count.

• A claim about Bigfoot DNA shot down by lab testing. Bigfoot researcher offers convoluted rebuttal. (Why does this remind me of the pro-Anna Anderson camp's arguments after the DNA analysis showed that she was not the Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia?)

• Does your rabbit have a disaster plan?

March 28, 2013

Bigfoot Meta-Analysis

No new "news" about the Big Guy, but here is some meta-analysis of changing portraits of Bigfoot over the years, by cryptozoologist Loren Coleman.
In the past discussions on Bigfoot, few have noticed the disappearance of the prognathism. The head and nose changed too, and the entire profile of the face changes with the vanishing of the projected lower facial features.

Patterson noted that one of the first articles that got him into the hunt for Bigfoot was by Ivan T. Sanderson. The cover art on that article shows the William Roe case, illustrated by Mort Künstler. Roger Patterson copied the art closely and then published Sanderson’s entire article in Patterson’s book. Many have commented on how the Künstler-Patterson art mirrors the P-G film Bigfoot.

I think the key is the changed face.

November 29, 2012

Bigfoot DNA — Whose?

Various people are having their say about comparisons underway between human DNA and that of alleged Bigfoot hair samples.

Brian Sykes, one of the researchers, is a geneticist who has figured in a lot of high-profile cases, like sorting out the murdered Romanovs.

And the obvious question: how do you know you have a Bigfoot sample? Benjamin Radford of The Skeptical Inquirer notes, 
Previous alleged Bigfoot samples subjected to DNA analysis have been deemed "unknown" or "unidentified." However, "unknown" or "unidentified" results do not mean "Bigfoot." There are many reasons why a DNA sample might come back unknown, including that it was contaminated or too degraded by environmental conditions. Or it could simply mean that the animal it came from was not among the reference samples that the laboratory used for comparison. There is no reference sample of Bigfoot DNA to compare it with, so by definition, there cannot be a conclusive match.
Anthropologist and blogger John Hawks says that he is withholding judgment, adding,
One benefit of the world of genetics as opposed to traditional anthropology: The original sequence data must be made available to the public. No data, no discovery.
Two big hurdles to jump there before you can start talking about "indigenous people."

August 17, 2012

Animals on the Move

Just some quick notes:

SeEtta Moss documents acorn woodpeckers nesting at Pueblo Mountain Park — a rarity in this part of  the state.

"Bad" ground squirrels moving into western Colorado. This trend has been documented since the early twentieth century.

Got any alleged Bigfoot hair samples for European scientists to test? Do you think that we will ever hear about a follow-up?

July 06, 2012

The Bigfoot Diet

Or "paleo" before Paleo was cool.

Australopithecus sediba, " an early relative of humans," ate leaves and bark, new research suggests.

"They were eating bark and woody substances, which is quite a unique dietary mechanism; it hasn't been reported for any other human relative before."

I reckon that the Bigfoot researchers will have an "Aha!" moment over this, because if they don't hibernate in climates like ours, what would a hypothetical giant primate be eating?

(h/t Reid Farmer at Querencia)