Tuesday, May 23, 2017

An Author chronicles 155 years of Maine Bigfoot sightings

Daniel Green isn't out to prove Bigfoot exists — but he might have heard one once.

By Kathryn Skelton from the Maine Sun Journal

The Maine native, originally from the town of Franklin, east of Ellsworth, took five years to pull together every historical Bigfoot sighting he could find, from 1855 to 2010, to write "Shadows in the Woods: A Chronicle of Bigfoot in Maine."

Coming in at more than 500 pages, the book recaps and maps 70-plus sightings including 10 in Androscoggin County, three in Franklin and six in Oxford. Green also explores Maine wildlife and tales of wild men, one of whom allegedly spent time in an Auburn jail more than 100 years ago.

Green has spent most of his career in the U.S. Army and now works at the Pentagon as a force management officer. He lives in Virginia, getting back to Maine as much as he can.

He talked to the Sun Journal about his research, the best places to poke around the woods and what Bigfoot and sea serpents have in common.

Can you describe the personal experience that opens your book?

DG: That was in the mid-'80s, it was during the daytime. Franklin is, of course, very rural and we live near Schoodic Mountain. We were just going to go for a walk, myself and my dog. I had her on a leash. We were ascending a gentle blueberry ridge in back of our house. I didn't see anything, but without warning, something called out twice.

There were two distinct cries, each sounding the same and occurring one after the other. They had a guttural quality ending a little deeper than they started, and struck me at the time and upon reflection as perhaps being beyond human convention to precisely mimic. I had the distinct impression I was hearing an ape. The sound-maker made its cries and then repaired back into the woods and though I never saw it, I could hear its passage through the brush. I can imagine it was something at least the size of a black bear.

I certainly think that it let us know that it was there because it was irritated or agitated, that kind of came across. Whatever it was sounded natural enough, just out of place there in Maine. It was unnerving in the sense that moose, deer or bear I'm pretty sure don't sound like that.

How'd the book get its start?

DG: I've always had an interest in the paranormal in general, for whatever reason, Bigfoot in particular. The historical aspect of the subject really interests me a lot. I've been a collector of scraps and snippets of interesting Maine oddities and strangeness for a long time. Probably around '07, '08, I realized I had enough to start thinking about fine-tuning it and honing it into a manuscript.

Do most accounts in "Shadows in the Woods" happen organically or from people going out purposefully looking?

DG: The majority of sightings or encounters are happening by chance. Roughly half happen in the summertime, which I think is interesting because that coincides with berry season and several encounters involve berry pickers or near blueberry fields. Hunters, as a group, have encountered quite a few interesting things. Maybe 100 years ago, swap hunters for woodsmen.

In sighting No. 3, "a terrible wild man, 10 feet tall, with arms 7 feet in length, covered with long, brown hair" is accused of murdering a hunter north of Moosehead Lake. Other hunters kill it in revenge days later and the 1886 story from the Waterville Sentinel reads really matter-of-fact. How did very early reporting generally seem to handle the idea of Bigfoot, hoax or legit phenomenon?

DG: Can I say both? Sometimes, for sure, there's some editorial tongue-in-cheek going on. I think, too, there's some bona fide, "This was a strange occurrence as related to a reporter as best as possible." They do their best to honestly describe those events. The sea serpent analogy, I think, is a good one. That's kind of followed the same editorial trends: While it can be a joke, then there's other times where stories have much more serious — not in danger to anyone, but editorially — more serious flavor to them.

Notice coverage trends through the decades?

DG: Sightings went more from describing wild, perhaps a little-extra-hairy people to more embracing ape-like characteristics.

What was the most interesting story you discovered?

DG: (Maine Bigfoot investigator) Michael Merchant conducted several interviews that he posted online with witnesses. (In sighting) No. 39, Merchant is interviewing a gentleman who claims to have seen something up in The County, that's one of my favorites. The witness is all blacked out and his voice is modulated, but still the raw honesty kind of comes through, what he saw really impacted and affected him.

The witness was up in The County with some friends, they were going to go smelting. Walking from their parked cars down to the stream, the gentleman realized he had left his milk container scoops back in the car. He went back to retrieve them — I should say it's nighttime, that's important. As he's walking back down the path by himself, back down to the stream, he hears a whistle off to one side coming from the wood line and at that same moment, he sees something on the opposite side of the path. He's relatively close to it. It's a massive form, broad-shouldered, there's a moon out so he can see a hair-covered body. It glistened a little bit like it had an oily sheen. It sort of stepped off from the visible part of the trail and melted back into the treeline.

Based on your research, where do you think someone in Maine would be more likely to spot one?

DG: Most of the sightings are near water, so I'd recommend that, and maybe as a precaution, I'd also recommend a buddy, go with a friend. Summertime seems to be a good time, berry season seems to be good. All of the counties registered, but more sightings seem to happen in the interior versus the coast.

Feel like there's going to be a definitive finding someday or believe in the future another author will detail the next 150 years of what-was-that?

DG: I'd go with the latter. Joseph Campbell said something to the effect that we need these kind of stories, it's part of the human condition. It's important for us to have this kind of unknown thing. I have no doubt we'll continue to talk about it in perhaps the latest sighting and the next effort to go find it, but I think it's going to be inscrutable. For my part, I think it's a good thing.

Source: The Maine Sun Journal

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