Showing posts with label Pennsylvania. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pennsylvania. Show all posts

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.