Sunday, May 7, 2017

Bigfoot Tales

The Two Rivers Tribune did a nice lengthy piece on Bigfoot by pulling stories from their vaults. Since Finding Bigfoot and the Discovery Channel were doing a special event there in Willow Creek, the newspaper wanted to share their rich history in Sasquatch stories.

Bigfoot Special Edition Too Big, Overflows Online
Welcome to the Bigfoot Capital of the World. Klamath-Trinity communities love their furry friend of the forest so much that dozens of local businesses and products boast his name and likeness from the Bigfoot Burger at the Early Bird in Willow Creek to the larger-than-life metal sculpture in Happy Camp. Our community’s deep reverence for Bigfoot is steeped in a rich history of stories—personal accounts, legends, beliefs, investigation and mystery.

Upon learning about the Bigfoot Festival planned by the Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet, we cracked open our poorly organized vault of previously published Bigfoot stories and hand-picked a few of our favorites to share with you. The special edition is for sale now on eastern Humboldt newsstands. We couldn’t fit all of what we wanted into the newspaper, so we’re posting the overflow here.

Some of the best photos and stories in our archive date back to 1960 when the first Bigfoot Daze Celebration was held in Willow Creek. Others date back to 2004 when famous Bigfoot researchers set up televised productions in Happy Camp. But, our most cherished stories are those that feature community members who generously shared their accounts, their legends and beliefs. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Don’t forget to keep an eye out while traveling the Bigfoot Scenic Highway from Willow Creek to Happy Camp—you never know when he may cross your path.

National Geographic Embarrasses Bigfoot Sighter
First published in 2004

“I felt so embarrassed,” said Katherine Markofer of Sacramento, who had a Bigfoot sighting on Ironside Mountain in August 2004. Markofer was featured in the National Geographic (NG) Channel’s documentary “Behind the Mysteries: Bigfoot,” which premiered January 31, 2005.

Markofer was one of several people who came to speak to film maker Noel Dockstader in September 2004 at Trinity River Farm in Willow Creek. Bigfoot enthusiast Al Hodgson organized the meeting, encouraging those who had sightings to speak on camera for Dockstader and the reputable organization. Hodgson was reassured the documentary would not portray those people in a negative way and is protective of “sighters” who come to him with their experiences.

Even though at first glance it appears NG tried to show both sides of the story, most believers on record came away from it feeling betrayed.

“I haven’t seen the NG documentary, and don’t much want to,” wrote Bigfoot researcher John Green in an email. “I knew from considerable exchange with Noel Dockstader that there was no hope of it being fair and balanced, and from what I have read about it and seen quoted from it, that has been more than confirmed. To provide ‘balance’ by providing equal time to people with little knowledge of the subject solely to have someone contradict those who have done exhaustive research is not balance.”

The documentary starts out with scenes from Willow Creek’s own Bigfoot Days Parade, featuring locals commenting on whether they believe in the elusive creature. Only one person said she didn’t believe. Considering that the town is probably split in half on who believes and who doesn’t, that portrayal doesn’t seem balanced.

After the parade shots, the film shows a short clip of retired CHP Officer Richard Kehl, who had a split second sighting on Waterman Ridge. Kehl hadn’t returned calls at press time for his comments.

Markofer was next. Her experience had been the most recent and she was still visibly shaken. While describing what she saw, her eyes seemed to be popping out of her head as she held her arms out to demonstrate the size of the creature’s shoulders.

“I saw Bigfoot, and they made it seem like everybody lied,” she said in a telephone interview. “They used our stories to get their point across that there wasn’t one. I know there are hoaxes, but even now, it’s so real to me. No one is going to change my mind. I know what I saw.”

The re-enactment of her experience in the documentary portrays she and her sister being chased while trying to drive away.

“I never said he chased me,” Markofer said.

Furthermore, Markofer wondered why the producers didn’t use the footage of Native Americans at the filming who told of their experiences.

“Why weren’t the Indians in it? Were they afraid they wouldn’t want to share with them anymore?” she said.

Dermal Ridges

One part of the film included the issue of dermal ridges found on the footprints of more than one cast.

Investigator Jimmy Chilcutt of the Conroe Police Department in Texas, who specializes in finger- and footprints, has analyzed more than 150 casts of Bigfoot prints that Jeff Meldrum, an Idaho State professor who has done extensive study on the phenomenon, keeps in a laboratory. Chilcutt says one footprint found in 1987 in Walla Walla, Washington, has convinced him that Bigfoot is real.

Chilcutt said the ridge flow pattern and the texture was completely different from anything he had ever seen.

“It certainly wasn’t human, and of no known primate that I’ve examined,” he said.

Furthermore, the print ridges flow lengthwise along the foot, unlike human prints, which flow across. The texture of the ridges was about twice the thickness of a human, which indicate the animal has rather thick skin.

Estebian Sarmiento is a primatologist from the American Museum of Natural History and was featured on the film, making molds of the dermal ridges. John Green said Sarmiento is actually quite sympathetic and helpful to enthusiasts, which is obvious in the documentary aired on the Discovery Channel, entitled “Legend Meets Science.”

“But he doesn’t have much knowledge of what has gone on over the years,” Green wrote in the email..”On the segment they showed I guess he thought he was introducing something new, when actually that technique has been known and kept in mind in this investigation for a very long time. Too bad Chilcutt or Meldrum were not asked to comment on that, but I guess the show was structured the other way around.”

At the Bigfoot Symposium held in Willow Creek in 2002, Chilcutt said he didn’t think many people would even know to fake the ridges, much less how.

The Patterson Film

Another bone of contention is the notorious Patterson Film and a man named Bob Heironimus, who claims to have worn a monkey suit given to him by Roger Patterson.

After the incident filmed at Bluff Creek in ‘67, investigators went to the scene and measured the tracks left behind. The track measurements were later compared to the figure’s feet visible in the footage. This allowed for various other measurements and calculations of body mass and weight of the figure.

The Patterson footage has been studied for 35 years and has always held up to scrutiny. There’s the bulge in the thigh, the leg movements and speed of the being, the exact way in which it moves its neck, and its unusual method of distributing its weight as it strides, which have all led many to conclude this could not be a man in a suit. Furthermore, its feet undergo flexion like a real foot, which eliminates the possibility of a man-made solid foot piece.

Patterson’s friend, Bob Gimlin, who didn’t make a nickel on the film, maintains it is genuine.

“To devote a substantial portion of the program, or any of it for that matter, to the latest people with transparently false claims of fakery is more than unbalanced, it is deliberate deception,” Green said. “I blame Dockstader only partially, since it is clear that he did not have the final editing authority. He told me that he had been surprised by the depth of the subject, and that he would not be able to deal with it as he now realized it deserved. Obviously, the main thrust for NG was to exploit the public interest in the subject while still making sure that no one thought they took it seriously.”

Loren Coleman is a retired professor who taught a course on documentary film analysis from 1989-2004, at the University of Southern Maine. Coleman reviewed the film

“What an uneven disaster,” Coleman wrote on an online forum. “Within the first ten minutes, such words and phrases as ‘imagination’ and ‘imaginative people’ are sprinkled throughout the narrator’s running reminder that there may be nothing to Bigfoot. Every time a piece of evidence is presented, it is, within the design of the program, countered with a skeptical point of view.

“If you are a skeptic, you would be happy about this special. If you are someone in it, and pro-Bigfoot, I would think you might feel you were tricked.”

Bigfoot videostream up and running
Injured Bigfoot said to be in captivity
First published in 2005

For those following the Bigfoot phenomenon, the expedition put together by Tom Biscardi of the Great American Bigfoot Research Organization (GABRO) that is being videostreamed live to 64 countries is a big deal. Even though some believers don’t necessarily believe in Biscardi’s work, it’s hard to deny the man is making news.

Biscardi has had his moment (via videostream) to bash naysayers and will now have the opportunity to prove himself as the one who knows where at least two Bigfoot males are residing near Happy Camp.

The webcast claims to be checking out Happy Camp, Big Bend, Seiad Valley and the Marble Mountains, but so far it seems they have mostly been around Happy Camp. The videostream is scheduled for 90 days ($59.95), though, so it’s likely they will move to different locations.

First of all, it’s important to note that unless the viewer has a high performance Internet connection, it’s nearly impossible to get a smooth, continuous videostream. Dial-up connections are not good for video but it’s still possible to see what is going on.

Once registered at the website, viewers have three cameras to choose from. Camera one pans around 360 degrees near a cave opening, something Biscardi also called a mine shaft. On to camera two, a creek at the end of a path where it is believed Bigfoot goes to drink. It’s a well-worn path and it makes one wonder who has worn this path down. It seems all the activity in the area would keep the creature away even if it were nearby. Camera three is different investigations, interviews, and tours, including the Willow Creek Museum and Bigfoot Wing, and the Hoopa Tribal Museum.

The first part of the week, Biscardi gave viewers background information about where they set their cameras up and how the crew managed to get to the remote places they needed to go.

The operation seems somewhat invasive, involving lots of wires and several vehicles, not to mention people. They have a Hummer, two ATVs, a pick-up and a trailer with all the equipment. The Hummer, trailer and pick-up even made an appearance in the Bigfoot Parade in Willow Creek Sept. 10.

Here is a small excerpt from the videostream during the first part of the first week (Aug. 6-13):

Biscardi: We’re with Tim McMillan, who is an integral part of work at this one particular spot. He’s been with us since the concept. We’re lucky to have a guy of this man’s caliber and talent. Tim, what I’d like you to do is to tell everybody when we brought you on the site with your team how dense the bushes were, how dense the berry bushes were and the fawns as you set up the camp. Let the world know what you did.

McMillan: It’s pretty strenuous work. You’ve got blackberries and thistle, and hacking your way through this stuff, it can cut you up. Not only that, we’re fighting mosquitos here besides the 105 degree temperature. It’s been a push, but we’re putting it together.

Biscardi: Why don’t we go down the trail and just talk as you want to randomly, tell them what happened. (Biscardi said he wanted McMillan to describe how he got one of the videostream cameras up a tree at the thermal spring.)

McMillan: It was strenuous getting it up there correctly. It’s an infrared extreme camera. It’s not grainy. They’re specialized cameras.

The audience then went through the path McMillan and crew cut through, including an eye-view of an injury he incurred on his hand.

Suddenly, viewers are treated to the sight of an Indian sweat lodge. The last Bigfoot sighting there was when the pastor and his wife saw one crossing the road in two huge steps in July.

The next area Biscardi and crew takes viewers has the water, vegetation, food source he believes the creature needs. The hill on the other side is where the caverns are, Biscardi said.

Next, the crew is going to the swampy area where the creatures have been found recently, a “hot spot.”

Biscardi: Here we are at the second portal. Behind me is a natural spring that’s mossed over. On the opposite side of that swamp are a lot of berries–a lot of vegetation, and natural cover all over the place. The thing is these creatures are probably out there looking at us, just blending in, and we can’t even see them. As promised, we want you to see it as we’re seeing it, but getting out here is a little dangerous. On to one of the caves.

Biscardi went on to the Happy Camp Airport/Museum and did a short tour of it before going on to the caverns.

Biscardi said one of the caves had a spring running through it. The camera pans to Tim McMillan sitting in the opening of the cave. The two men comment that it’s about 68 degrees in the cave, and about 105 outside.

Then on to the Happy Camp Airport again, this time for a look at the panoramic view. Next is the Karuk Tribal People’s Center and Museum.

Next, he says they will be visiting Peggy Marx, co-founder of the GABRO.

One woman with long, dark hair talked about beds that she found made of ferns and other plant materials. When Biscardi went to interview Peggy Marx, roosters were crowing and it was difficult to hear. Her former husband had sightings and his grandsons are still involved in Bigfoot research.

Biscardi proceeded to go through Happy Camp to all Bigfoot businesses and statues.

Debunking of Stagecoach story

Tom Biscardi spoke on the George Noory show, “Coast to Coast AM,” on August 19, apparently announcing someone had a Bigfoot or that he would soon have one in his possession.

“I honestly and truly believed that we had one of these creatures,” he wrote in an apology to those who signed up for the videostream after that broadcast. Those signed up for the webcast received a written message regarding the mistake in which Biscardi and Marx thought an Bigfoot was in captivity in Stagecoach, Nev.

On July 15, Biscardi was informed by Marx that an acquaintance she believed was credible claimed to have an injured Bigfoot in captivity. The woman insisted that doctors were caring for this creature, and that while no one could see it until it recovered from its injuries, they wanted assistance from GABRO to protect, care for and study it.

Weeks later, they received information that the creature was abducted by one of the doctors. GABRO took action to ensure the creature’s safety and by August 17, Biscardi assembled a small expedition team and made arrangements for professionals outside of the organization which included transportation, physicians, scientists and other volunteers.

Following “bizarre and outrageous” instructions, the team traveled four days and over 1,500 miles between California and Nevada. By the third day the expedition team suspected they were being misinformed and insisted on meeting the woman immediately. They finally arrived in a desert town, Stagecoach, Nev., and discovered the shocking truth.

Although the written version doesn’t say what that is, it seems there is no captured Bigfoot.

Seeing is Believing
First published in 2009

For some skeptics seeing is believing, but for others, finding prints can solidify the theory that northern California’s myth of Bigfoot continues to live on.

Willow Creek residents Jodee Gower and his girlfriend Monica Gates decided to take to the hills last Friday for a day of fun in the mountains and chose to head up South Fork Road.

“We were just cruising up the hill looking for mountain lion prints in the snow,” he explained.

Gower said as they headed up the hill, they came around a corner and noticed several prints in a patch of snow off the roadway. They pulled over to investigate, believing the prints were that of a mountain lion.

“I looked at my girlfriend and asked her what she thought they were and the first word out of her mouth was ‘Bigfoot,’” said Gower.

Gower, a lifelong resident, born and raised in Willow Creek, said he was well aware of the presence of the hairy human/ape-like creature that hundreds of people have claimed to see, but whether he actually believed in Bigfoot was another story.

“I wouldn’t say I was a believer…Growing up in Willow Creek, I heard all the stories, but I didn’t think he was still alive,” Gower explained.

After seeing the tracks, which at first glance looked like human prints, Gower said he’s 99 percent sure that the elusive Bigfoot lives on.

The prints were found in the snow, making it difficult to determine whether or not they were the imprints of man or beast, but there was one thing that made both Gower and Gates believe it was those of Bigfoot.

“We measured the strides and they were 5 feet 8 inches apart,” he said.

The couple went back home to get their camera, video camera,and invited Gower’s father, Gary,and girlfriend Kathy Woods back to the location.

Gower followed the tracks approximately ¼ mile down the hill, and examined the consistency of the prints and how large they were.

“I got a video of me trying to walk the strides, but I couldn’t do it,” he explained.

Although the couple did not measure the full length of the prints, from heel to toe, they did get photos and video of their foot compared to the prints. Gower wears a size nine in men’s shoes and said, when compared to the print, his foot was at least 4-5 inches smaller.

Gower said the prints were extremely deep as well, as they went all the way to the pavement, approximately 3-4 inches in depth. Gower said his prints only sank about 1-2 inches into the snowmelt.

It was believed that the snow fell about five days before Friday, the day they found the prints. When asked if the prints could’ve been those of a human and have expanded during the snowmelt to look as if they were large human prints, Gower said it was a possibility but highly unlikely.

“Unless it was a really tall guy walking barefoot in the snow,” he said with a slight chuckle. “It’s a possibility, but the thing that got me was the strides and how straight they were.”

After following the tracks for a while, Gower said they located some that appeared to have toe imprints.

Gower was so intrigued by the prints that he began searching the area for other evidence of Bigfoot.

“I looked for hair, but I couldn’t find anything,” he said.

Gower said he did not get the feeling that Bigfoot was in the area while the group examined the tracks, although one of her father’s dogs may have thought otherwise.

“I didn’t get an eerie feeling or anything, but the dog wouldn’t get out of the truck. It usually gets out, he loves snow,” he explained.

It is common for pets, particularly dogs, to show signs of either being timid, scared or warn their owners of a fear by barking, in a majority of sighting reported by locals.

Gower said finding the tracks was an altering experience, but wishes he would’ve found other tracks in mud or dirt to solidify his belief that they were in fact those of Bigfoot.

Interview with David Paulides on Native Bigfoot perspectives and DNA revelations
First published in 2012

David Paulides has written some of the best Bigfoot books out there. Starting with The Hoopa Project: Bigfoot Encounters In California and his second book Tribal Bigfoot. I have interviewed David Paulides on The Church Of Mabus radio show and on the Examiner once before. Making his books even more great are the sketches by police forensic artist Harvey Pratt. The books go into Native perspectives and eye witness testimonies of actual cases of Bigfoot sightings. Chronicling this information in two worthwhile volumes that are a must have for any Bigfoot enthusiast. The organization David belongs to is called North America Bigfoot Search is a good place to keep up with when it comes to Bigfoot research. In this interview we delve into the Native American perspective of Bigfoot as well as the subject of DNA with some startling revelations of information to add to the discussion.

Q: In your book The Hoopa Project Bigfoot Encounters in California the method is to bring forensic abilities from your knowledge into learning about sightings of Bigfoot by using a police sketch artist and your knowledge. What are some of the methods you used to get deeper into these cases forensics wise?

A: In regards to the forensic drawing. A trained law enforcement forensic artist is formally trained, they are not just an artist. They are trained to draw exactly what the witness observes, they do not interpret. They do their work face to face, not over a phone. This was a huge cost to our organization but reaped a major change on how the biped is viewed. Example-Harvey Pratt (Forensic Artist) and I did a conference in Texas for another bigfoot organization that believes bigfoot is an ape. Our drawings show a profoundly more human face then what has been put in front of the public. We were at the conference with Harvey’s drawings placed on a table for public view when a young witness came into the building. He screamed across the room and had his mom come to his side. The man told his mom that this was the first time he had seen a drawing showing something much more of what he observed and not an ape. He explained that another major bigfoot group had placed him in contact with an artist. The artist attempted to do the drawing by phone, speaking to the witness for 20-30 minutes, drawing for two days and then calling him back. After five-to-six attempts and the witness telling the artists to stop drawing the biped to make it look more like an ape and start drawing to his directions (more human), the witness stated he eventually gave up because the artist wouldn’t change it. He stated that it appeared that the artist and the bigfoot organization had an agenda.

Q: What is the Hoopa people’s perspective on Bigfoot and also in Tribal Bigfoot, your second book in the series, you speak of a consistent link between the Native American community and Bigfoot. Could you tell us more about that?

A: We visited many tribes in our attempt to understand the Native American perspective on the topic. Every group, repeat, every tribe viewed them as another group of people, another tribe of their own. We received special permission from the Tule River Indian Reservation at the base of the Sierra’s near Fresno. They showed us 1,500 year-old pictographs of a bigfoot family on a cave wall (Photos on our website). They explained that they were the keeper of their forest and they lived in harmony with their tribe, a relationship that has existed for thousands of years.

Q: Could you tell us about some of the patterns of Bigfoot sightings events that happen with witnesses?

A: We initially focused on northern California and then moved east. There is a pattern of sightings associated with water and ridges. It would appear the bigfoot is more likely not afraid of children and older people. Many sightings occur when they place themselves near kids and many habituations happen around residences of older adults.

Q: What are a few cases that you’d like to recount for us that stand out from your books regarding Bigfoot experiences?

A: The Ullibarri sighting in Hoopa is a classic. A young woman living in a residence at the edge of the woods observes a bigfoot going through garbage in her yard. The woman calls local police, they respond and arrive just as the biped is walking into the forest. Researchers arrive and collect hair from the shed the biped was leaning on. The hair goes through DNA testing with the result listed in Tribal bigfoot. (The Ulibarri family later disclosed the DNA results found the hair belonged to an “unidentified primate”.

Q: In your perspective what exactly is Bigfoot? A lot of people believe ape-type creatures and some think that it has paranormal type qualities or could be multidimensional. Some have brought forth high strangeness tying in UFO sightings with Bigfoot. In your opinion what the heck is it exactly?

A: Bigfoot is far more human than an ape. Apes do not walk upright. The ability of complex thinking and communication is only a skill of a biped of human qualities. Every hair that has ever been DNA tested has shown to be more on the human side of the genetic scale, not ape.

Q: Different Native tribes have different beliefs about Bigfoot and I find the Native belief system to be the most profound and fascinating. I have interviewed Kathy Strain about Native folklore, and many shamans, and I can’t get enough. I Love it. Anything else you can share with from the Natives about Bigfoot?

A: Kathy’s book is excellent. What she has outlined in “Giants, Cannibals and Monsters is directly in line with our beliefs.

Q: Why do you think Bigfoot is interacting with humans or going so close to them on so many levels? Is it truly by accident or on purpose for some reason?

A: We believe bigfoot is an interested with us as we are with them, especially younger ones. The behavior of the older bipeds is more calculated but younger ones demonstrate pure interest, and probably friendship.

Q: We all know the evidence situation with Bigfoot is absolutely strange on many levels. No dead bodies that I’m aware of. Why do you think this is?

A: There are thousands of Mountain lions in the hills of California. I have spent countless hours, hiking, camping, backpacking and researching in California, I have never seen a Mountain Lion and I’ve never seen a skeleton in the wild. Does this mean Mountain Lions don’t exist? No. The floor of the forest is a very efficient mechanism at disposal of bodies. If bigfoot is as human as Native Americans believe, then they may practice what other tribes do. Some tribes believe that Bigfoot bury their own.

Q: As we depart what can you share with us about Bigfoot’s lifestyle? Like for instance their living situation and possible customs and way of life?

A: We are not experts and we don’t make outlandish claims. We have reported on what witnesses observe, based on proven scientific methods. Harvey has testified hundreds of times as an expert on his skills as a forensic artist. When he draws a sketch of what a subject looks like and that suspect is later apprehended, that sketch appears as though they were in the room when Harvey drew the sketch, that’s how good he is.

Q: DNA testing has been around for over a decade yet there has never been another bigfoot group to attempt classification, why?

A: When we started the bigfoot DNA project we collected dozens of samples and then solicited specimens from different groups and individuals across North America, eventually collecting over 100.

The bigfoot DNA is much more complex than anyone outside the project understands. Dr. Melba Ketchum has been the lead scientific researcher and has caught much flak from other groups who have no idea of the complexity or the internal protocol developed by researchers. There are some outsiders who believe they are entitled to more information than has been released.

Our intentions have always been to submit the results of the bigfoot DNA project to a scientific journal and to have our results peer reviewed. If other scientists of international notoriety give the paper their blessing, there is then no basis for refusing to accept the validity of the results. Protocol in this process is mandated, scientists (participants) can never release results of the testing until the paper is peer reviewed.

People need to understand that the results of the DNA are not Dr. Ketchum’s interpretation or the product of her independent work, they are the cumulative effort of many organizations and institutions who contributed their intellect to the results. Great discoveries sometimes take years of success and failure before enlightenment occurs. The results of this study will change the way the world views the biped.

About NABS

North America Bigfoot Search (NABS) is a privately funded organization that had its start in Silicon Valley. A small group of technology executives had prior incidents in the woods of Northern California and dedicated resources for the research and investigation of the biped.

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