Month: July 2016

Guest Post, Re: “The Bigfoot Hunter”

The greatest pleasure in writing something is to have someone read it. To get feedback in the form of a ‘like’ or comment is icing on the cake. It is a tremendous pleasure to connect with people in this way. Well, money would be nice, too, but I’ll get there eventually.

I received this comment on “The Bigfoot Hunter” from one of my most responsive readers, THX1138. He took the time and effort not only to comment, but to provide a wealth of information in an entertaining read. Therefore, I am posting it as a guest blog so it isn’t buried in the comments section (I hope you don’t mind THX).

In addition to his article, I’d like to add that the esteemed Jane Goodall is on record saying she believes that relic hominids, such as Bigfoot, are extremely likely to exist. So is Professor Jeff Meldrum, who has had his own encounters and has collected a wealth of evidence. Also, notable scientists such as Igor Burtsev, the late Rene Dahinden and a host of other imminently  qualified and credible experts in the field of biology and anthropology who agree, although most keep their mouths shut for obvious reasons.

Even more compelling to me is the ubiquity of Native American lore and the thousands of reports by people who actually go into the woods and understand the back country. The Apache and Navajo people in my neck of the woods consistently experience encounters on their lands and view the hairy man as the apex predator of the local fauna. Typical of mainstream ‘consensus science’, these people are dismissed as mistaken fools because institutionalized mainstream science is inherently bigoted and dogmatic.

How arrogant, smug, elitist academics can dismiss the accounts of an entire continent of indigenous peoples is breathtaking, but they have been doing that to ancient mythology and indigenous legend for a couple of centuries now, preferring to “deduce” their own narratives for these peoples history and culture with their own “scholarly” versions.

Thank you THX1138. What follows are his comments unedited.

Bigfoot News | Bigfoot Lunch Club: Panda discovered in 1927 was once as elusive as Bigfoot

The Giant Panda was once as mythical and elusive as Bigfoot. Once captured, we were able to identify fossil records that concluded the existence of the Giant Panda for several million years, and yet it was only discovered within the last century. The first Giant Panda was not captured until November 9, 1927.

The story of the Giant Panda is significant, because even after it was spotted; it took another 60 years and hundreds of highly skilled trackers to finally capture one. So elusive in its natural habitat, the Giant Panda had never been photographed in the wild until 1982 by Franz Camenzind for ABC.

Bigfooters like to include many animals that symbolize the search for Bigfoot is not over. Many of these undocumented, were only discovered within the last century. These animals include the Lowland Gorilla (1860), Komodo Dragon (1910), Platypus (1799), Okapi (1901), and the Coelacanth (1938).

There are hundreds of of these once undiscovered creatures, literally check them out at cryptomundo here

My ex-wife used to tell me “don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to”, when asked where she had been the last few days. Well, I say to you and Ginger: don’t search for something you don’t want to actually find. lol Having said that, I’d accompany you and Ginger anytime on one of these adventures.

I can’t find a reference now, but years ago, I remember a video with, I think it was the famous Dr. Bruce Lipton of “Biology of Belief” fame, and tacked on to one of his presentations, he had shown that bigfoot type creatures must exist. He explained that the unexplored wilderness territories of the Earth, even today are vast. I think one example he used was that of northern Canada.

My dad (83) to this day insists he saw a junior bigfoot in the Shawangunk Mountains, a branch off the Catskills where he (we) grew up. This would have been somewhen between 1941 and 1943. while he was playing with a flying model airplane in the woods. It’s hard to be sure, since dad conflates memories all the time, for example recently attributing to me something his brother did long before I was born.

I don’t think that species are distinct units so much as a spectrum of adaptation which occurs over a few generations, not over millions of years of time. With what we know now of epigenics, and the two-way communication that occurs between the environment and DNA, it’s turning out that Lamarck was more correct than Darwin (unless you include the now excluded Darwinian idea of pangenesis, wherein he basically agreed with Lamarckian type of adaptation scheme using particles in the body called gemules.)

There was a story of a Yeti type creature (a female) who lived in a village in Siberia, and even was said to have mated with a villager, producing a viable offspring, who I think lived to young adulthood or adolescence.

There is also the story of the woodsman who was carried away by a family of 3 Sasquatch, and other stories:

WHERE BIGFOOT WALKS: American Monsters Among Us

“In July 1924, a weird incident involving a group of Bigfoot occurred in the Mount St. Helens region of southwestern Washington. The incident involved a night long assault by unknown creatures on a cabin where four miners were staying. The men had been prospecting a claim on the Muddy, a branch of the Lewis River, about eight miles from Spirit Lake. While working in the canyon, the men occasionally saw huge footprints but had no idea what to make of them. Then one day, they saw a huge ape-like creature peering out from behind a tree and one of the men fired his gun at it. The creature was apparently struck but it ran off. Fred Beck, one of the miners, met one of the monsters at the canyon rim and shot it in the back three times. It fell down the cliff and into the canyon but they never found the body.

That night, the “apes” struck back, starting an assault on the cabin where the men were staying by knocking a heavy strip of wood out from between two logs of the cabin. After that, there were repeated poundings on the walls, door and roof. Luckily, the cabin had been constructed to withstand heavy mountain snows and the creatures were unable to break in. However, they did begin using rocks to hit the roof from above and the miners became nervous enough to barricade the doors. As the creatures began thumping around on top of the cabin, as well as battering the walls, the men fired shots through the walls and roof, but to little effect. The noises and attacks continued until nearly dawn, ending after about five hours. Even though the cabin had no windows and the men could not see what was attacking them, Beck later told Bigfoot researcher John Green that he was sure that more than two creatures had been outside.

The incident was more than enough to get the men to pack up and abandon their mine the next day. They told their story when the returned to Kelso, Washington and a party of men went back to the cabin. Big footprints were found all around it, but no creatures were discovered. There have been other sightings in the area since, but none with such dramatic results. A first-hand account of the events was later written by Fred Beck called I Fought the Ape men of Mt. St. Helen’s. The area where the events took place was later dubbed “Ape Canyon” and it still is called that today.

One of the most bizarre Bigfoot encounters in history also occurred in 1924, although it would not be reported until many years later, in 1957. It involved a man who claimed to be abducted and held captive by a party of the creatures while on a prospecting trip in British Columbia. Although such tales seem to stretch the limits of believability, those who interviewed the man years later, including esteemed investigators John Green and Ivan T. Sanderson, did not for a moment doubt his sincerity or his sanity. Primatologist John Napier remarked that the man gave a “convincing account… which does not ring false in any particular.””

1924 – Albert Ostman

“… I pulled out a full box of snuff, took a big chew. Before I had time to close the box the old man [Sasquatch] reached for it. I was afraid he would waste it, and only had two more boxes. So I held on to the box intending him to take a pinch like I had just done. Instead he grabbed the box and emptied it in his mouth. Swallowed it in one gulp. Then he licked the box inside with his tongue.

After a few minutes his eyes began to roll over in his head, he was looking straight up. I could see he was sick. Then he grabbed my coffee can that was quite cold by this time, he emptied that in his mouth, grounds and all. That did no good. He stuck his head between his legs and rolled forwards a few times away from me. Then he began to squeal like a stuck pig. I grabbed my rifle. I said to myself, “This is it. If he comes for me I will shoot him plumb between his eyes.” But he started for the spring, he wanted water. I packed my sleeping bag in my pack sack with the few cans I had left. The young fellow ran over to his mother. Then she began to squeal. I started for the opening in the wall — and I just made it. The old lady was right behind me. I fired one shot at the rock over her head.

I guess she had never seen a rifle fired before. She turned and ran inside the wall. I injected another shell in the barrel of my rifle and started downhill, looking back over my shoulder every so often to see if they were coming. I was in a canyon, and good traveling and I made fast time. Must have made three miles in some world record time. I came to a turn in the canyon and I had the sun on my left, that meant I was going south, and the canyon turned west. I decided to climb the ridge ahead of me. I knew that I must have two mountain ridges between me and salt water and by climbing this ridge I would have a good view of this canyon, so I could see if the Sasquatch were coming after me. I had a light pack and was making good time up this hill. I stopped soon after to look back to where I came from, but nobody followed me. As I came over the ridge I could see Mt. Baker, then I knew I was going in the right direction. ”


The Bigfoot Hunter

Okay, I’m serious about Bigfoot. It may not make some people happy that I’m mixing the classical physics of Electric Universe with a crypto-legend like the hairy-man, but from my perspective, I’ll be seen as crazy by fewer people for believing in Bigfoot than in a Grand Unified Electrical Theory. Nobody understands magnetism, not even physicists, but everyone gets the boogey-man. My approach is to go for the truth and damn the torpedoes.

Besides, I saw one…it’s leg anyway. It screamed like a banshee and scared the shit out of me. So, how can I undo that. Enjoy the story.

The Bigfoot Hunter


What? You thought it was me? Not on your life. There isn’t a gun big enough to make me feel safe. I send Ginger out. She’s fearless – just look at that face. Here she is in her element:

Ginger on the trail of Bigfoot

You can see the determination. See the furrow in her brow… look out, Bigfoot! I have a theory they avoid people like the plague because we keep dogs. The hairy-men hate dogs.

The Hunt

DSCI0071Ginger and I traveled to a little known place in Arizona where the creatures are known to make an appearance now and then. I’m not saying where it is, but it’s a large mountain that looks like this one. We arrived and found a beautiful camp by the lake.

Now I need to give a little back-story as to why we came to this particular place. That is, besides the many reported sightings, encounters, local legends and Apache lore that attest to its presence.

I camped at this lake a few weeks ago with my friends, Bean and Bobblehead. During the night, around two or three AM, a pick-up truck left a campsite across the lake from us and roared past in a hurry. This woke me up.

A few minutes later I heard loud banging across the lake from the direction the truck came from. Each campsite is equipped with a steel bear-proof food storage container – you can see it in the picture of the campsite. The banging sounded like someone was taking a baseball bat to one of these steel boxes. There were three, or four loud bangs, a pause, more bangs, another pause and more bangs. Then a high pitched, “hoo, hoo” like a chimpanzee shout.

DSCI0043Soon after, Ginger crawled out of the sleeping bag and looked at the tent door. I thought she needed to potty, or get water, so I unzipped the tent. She immediately crouched low, dropped her ears and tail, and growled with deep, serious intent out the opening. She almost never growls and I’ve only heard her do that when fending off a mean dog, or one of the meth addicts in our neighborhood. I don’t know how she can tell a meth addict from anyone else. Same way we do, I guess, because they’re scary.

Anyway, she then turned around and slunk into the bottom of the sleeping bag. I didn’t hear anything, but I shut the tent real quick.

Now, I know this could have been some inconsiderate campers. Nevertheless, on the drive down the mountain I kept my eyes out for any strangeness. Deep, dark, old growth forests have plenty of weird things going on. Humans don’t generally notice because we are as incompetent in the woods as some presidential candidates are with State secrets. But there is strange and there is high strangeness. I saw high strangeness.

So did Ginger. She was the one who had to go back and see more. See, she’s been watching Bigfoot YouTube videos with me for years now. She fashions herself a canine BoBo.

It all started after my own encounter in California (read the “Encounter” if you want that story). When I began to research Bigfoot, Ginger was in my lap, soaking-up all the same information. It’s really quite astounding if you take the time with an honest, open mind to look into it. I know that is almost impossible to do – have an open mind that is – because most people don’t look into anything. They are told everything.

What everyone is told is that the “credible people” who say they’ve seen a Bigfoot are simply mistaken. They likely saw a bear and the “other people” are just nuts. Well there are those, no doubt. But what they don’t say is the improbability of so many hunters, hikers, sheriffs, forest rangers; people educated both in the woods and in schools, who swear they have seen one, or experienced some encounter that isn’t otherwise explicable.

Plus the fact there is absolutely no ecological, or biological reason they can’t exist. After all, we have fossils of large bipedal hominids and apes, we carry Neanderthal and Denovisan DNA in our genes, we have living gorillas, orangutans, chimps, several other apes, and more still being found as recently as the last couple decades, so it isn’t even improbable.

The other thing that pisses me off to no end is every time someone does a documentary on Bigfoot, they bring out some Biology professor in a bow-tie to tell us all how wrong we are to think there is an undocumented ape in the woods. I’ve never seen one of these professors who looked like they could keep a campfire lit, let alone find their way back from the privy without a GPS. We have millions of undocumented people in this country. Who’s to say there aren’t a few thousand hairy ones living where few people dare to go.

Well, Ginger knows all this. That is why she insisted we go camping at that lake again. We couldn’t take Bean, or Bobblehead and their dogs, because they just drink beer and this was to be all business as far as Ginger was concerned. I agreed, because I knew I could take some great photos of the Arc Blast features on the mountain. Besides, there is no saying “no” to Ginger.

We chose this particular campsite because it was the location we heard the banging. It was the farthest down the road, next to the dam and at least a hundred yards from the next campers.

DSCI0002We left on the fourth of July. This was strategic on two counts. First, all the holiday campers would be leaving that day and we like our solitude. Second, all the Bigfoot should be ready to raise hell now that the firework wielding, beer soaked campers were gone.  We thought the Skeezamen ( a local name) might even venture to the lake now that it was quite after the long weekend. I can’t help but think that crawdads would be one of their favorite snacks – its one of mine.

The camp-site was outstanding, the closest to the lake, with a view and even a little landing next to the dam. Behind us the hill climbed to a peak forested with big Ponderosa and lots of fallen wood for the fire.

Our calculations were excellent as far as timing. We passed dozens of trucks going down the mountain. When we arrived at the lake there were only four other campers in the entire campground. We met our closest neighbors, who were staying over from the previous day. They kind of looked happy to see someone else in the campground.

After the usual chores of setting up camp, collecting wood and starting a fire, Ginger sniffed flowers while I relaxed with a cold refreshment and watched the setting sun turn the ripples on the lake monochrome. The evening was cooling, but I was still okay in a tee-shirt.


Two people were fishing the opposite shore in a canoe as I walked down to the landing to enjoy the breeze in the fading light. It was then I heard the chimps again. That’s when I took this picture with the camera pointing in the direction the screams were coming from. I tried to record the sounds, but all I captured was my own breathing.

The time before, what I heard was a “hoo, hoo” yell, like a playful chimp might make. This wasn’t playful. It was screaming, hoots and occasional low grunts that went on for about twenty minutes.

As I listened, Ginger sniffed flowers until I said, “Do you hear that?” She finally perked up and listened. Across the lake, the people in the boat were jostling about, trying to row back to the boat landing. I can’t say whether it was because of the screams, or because it was getting dark, but they seemed to be trying to hurry away from the other shore.

I heard other campers from that direction blowing air horns, as if to chase off a bear. The air horns were no louder than the screaming.

The noise ended. It was not coyotes. I cannot believe it was humans. It was way too loud and continuous. Who screams and hoots and growls for twenty minutes. I don’t think a human can even make some of the sounds we heard.

I built-up the fire and began fixing dinner. We didn’t hear anything else that night, except a skunk that invaded the camp and made a stink.

In the morning, I fired up a big coffee and loaded Ginger in the StRange Rover. It was time to go searching. As we drove out of the campgrounds, we passed by the creek that fed the lake. That was where the screams came from. It was dense forested wetlands that an army could hide in.

We drove about five miles to the end of the road and then followed a four wheel drive trail to some undeveloped campsites. This was a pretty wild area, but I didn’t see anything out of ordinary. We drove back another ten miles the other way. Here is where I saw the strangeness before. For about a five mile stretch near the lake, there were unusual tree breaks and tree structures I noticed the previous trip.


Trees fall over. Trees break; blown by winds, hit by lightning, wounded by fire. There are many ways a tree can fall and be left leaning against another, especially in an ungroomed, old growth area like this one. But there seemed to be a pattern.

DSCI0045Ginger and I scouted several areas where the trees seemed arranged non-randomly. There were several areas where there were these crosses formed from broken tree trunks. They faced the road squarely with lots of other disturbance around them; a profusion of broken limbs, stumps and trunks leaning against other trees.

Often, the trees were wedged between other trees.DSCI0037

So, yes..that can happen naturally, but what about this?DSCI0034

This one is wedged and bent sideways between trees. Here are more views of the same tree. It did not fall this way without help.

The top left picture shows the base of the tree stuck in the ground. The bottom left shows the broken tip wedged between the bigger trees. The big picture show how it crosses like a barrier next to the road.

There were more elaborate structures, too. These trees are bent to the ground and held down by logs.


DSCI0031DSCI0030There are two trees still rooted and bent over in arches, another laid over in the same direction and one pressed against the trunk of the center tree like a spring. Two logs are laid over all four to hold them down. Well, it seems odd to me. Ginger wouldn’t get out of the car. She was bored with tree structures.

I was fascinated though. My engineer mind tried to decode a plausible natural cause. It couldn’t. Here is another that defies logic.DSCI0027uI suppose this could have fallen in a wind this way. If it was the only one like it I would even assume so, but there are several broken, bent or wedged in improbable positions like this in clusters. Note all the other leaning trees nearby. Here are more views of the same trees.DSCI0028DSCI0026Ginger was getting annoyed I was looking at trees. She wanted to look for Bigfoot. She doesn’t make the connection with trees because she’s a dog. Dogs don’t look up. If it had been a turd on the ground, or something fun to pee on, she’d have been more interested.

Here is another.DSCI0029Notice how the leaning trees are held down by the broken tree? They should not have been in the line of fall if this had been wind or snow. That’s how they always seem to fall in this particular area though.

Of course I didn’t get a picture of the best one I found. It was a large trunk of a tree wedged into a standing trio of live trees, but it had branches that wrapped both direction behind the other trees. In other words, it could not have fallen there without snapping those big branches. It looked like it was shoved between the trees, bottom first.

As I examined it, looking for the right camera angle, rock clacking began in the woods not far away. I left without a picture.

So all of this was pretty interesting to me, but Ginger wasn’t impressed. She wanted something to growl at. After an exhausting day searching the forest, we returned to camp and settled down for the evening. At least I did. Ginger wandered off on her own.

Bad Daddy

After all that time I walked in the forest, she sat in the StRange Rover and slept. Now she wanted to go hunting for the Skeezamen. What the hell, I thought. I’m pooped. I wasn’t too nice about corralling her back to the campsite. I even spanked her and it made her mad. So she trotted up the hill and disappeared.

It was dusk, so this action worried me. I climbed the hill after her, all the way to the top. The reverse side of the hill was a cliff. It dropped all the way to the valley floor. I’m talking a drop of about five thousand feet, nearly vertical. It was like looking into the Grand Canyon. If she went down that slope, I knew she wasn’t coming back up.

Not only are these woods legendary for the Skeezamen, but it has the largest bear concentration in the State, not to mention cougars, bobcats and venomous things of all types. I was worried.

Twice more I combed the mountain in the dark with a flashlight. I really didn’t care about any chimp noises at this point. I didn’t hear anything anyway. I even turned the light out to listen – for some reason I seem to hear better that way. Nothing.

I crawled into the tent and left the flap open and the fire burning so she could find her way back. I woke at first light to the sound of a crow. Crows are ubiquitous in these mountain. They caw all the time, part of the forest background noise. This crow was being answered by another. Every time it cawed, another answered. Only the answer was more of a cow than a caw.

It is said that Bigfoot like to mimic animal calls and even people talking, only they aren’t very good at it. They make the right tones, but can’t get the inflections right. I have wondered if this is true, or just an excuse made by TV Bigfoot hunters who don’t have any other “evidence” to point to – you gotta make a show.

This crow made me think twice about that. But I was in no mood to ponder. Ginger had not returned. I climbed the mountain three more times, crossed the dam and followed the stream as far as I could. No sign of her.

By eight AM, other campers were up cooking breakfast. I hoped she’d found shelter with one of them and was at their camp waiting for bacon. For a little dog, she can eat  lot of bacon. I packed my kit and drove to each one. No one had seen her.

Brave Ginger

IMG_1437Ginger and I are very attached. She’s a weird dog, but also the smartest, warmest dog I’ve ever known. By warm, I mean warm. Mexican aristocrats bred Chihuahuas to sleep with because they were better than hot water bottles. This is how we sleep, with her curled against my back to keep us warm.

I returned to the empty camp despondent. I feared at this point she must be dead. There were too many wild and hungry things out there a city dog had no notion of. She’s never slept a single night outside of a bed.

I could not bear the thought of her lost on that vast mountain, alone, defenseless and scared. I could not bear the thought of leaving and never knowing. I realized, I would need to notify the Forest Service, the Humane Society and post flyers around the campground – all in futility. I decided I would wait until noon before leaving for the nearest town.

And then a miracle happened.  She slunk out of the tall grass a few feet from me, head down, a bit torn-up and bloody and terribly frightened. I wiped my tears as she came to me. I thought she was afraid I would be mad. I wasn’t of course and promised her I’d never spank her – or any dog – again.

I don’t think that is what made her scared. After driving home with her in my lap, she was still subdued for days. She wouldn’t leave my side. I think she was traumatized being lost in the woods.

IMG_1460I don’t know where she slept that night. One camper who I’d talked to flagged me down as I left the campground and asked if I’d found her. He said she had approached his camp just after I’d been by earlier and he was looking to tell me. I said, thanks she was with me now and wondered from which direction she’d come. He pointed to the opposite side of the lake from the campground.

Apparently, she’d been lost in the ravine below the dam and came up on the wrong side, then circled the lake to get back. It was a close thing. She was really lost and likely only found her way back by the sounds and smells of the campground that morning. Really a miracle considering all the creatures out hunting food like her at night.

More Bigfoot hunting will have to wait for the fall. I don’t think I’ll take her next time. I’m investing in a .44 magnum and a hot water bottle instead. She wasn’t much good at finding the wild Skeezamen anyway. Or was she?

A.D.Hall 7.9.16

After Dark at EU2016

myIMG_0171_face3This was to be my first EU conference. As I left Tucson on I-10, the temperature was hot. Arizona in June is like Venus. Temperatures always hover above 100ºF, but when it exceeds 110ºF, it’s life threatening.

First, you seem to stop sweating. You still release sweat, but it evaporates immediately and you remain dry as a bone. There is no moisture in the air. No matter how much water is consumed, lips chap, pee turns orange and scratchy salt crusts form in armpits.

It got hotter and dustier as I traveled north into the Phoenix basin.  When I arrived in Mesa at noon, it was 120ºF in the shade.

Since I was a speaker and a last minute addition to the roster, I went straight to the auditorium to get checked out on the A/V system. I needed to know how it worked right away, because I didn’t have my presentation committed to memory. I needed to know if I could read my notes on the screen at the podium, or if I’d need to carry a sheaf of papers, or simply stand up there and look foolish. The last time I gave a presentation, flip charts were the state of the art.

Before I could do that, I found Susan Schirott. She took me under wing, stray cat that I was, and gave me the low-down on the conference.

photoSusan introduced me to the EU. I found Thunderbolts while surfing the web, became convinced for reasons too numerous to get into now and contacted Susan to pitch a guest blog. Susan gave me that opportunity and made everything else happen. I simply had to write what I learned and she handled the rest. Susan is the engine of Thunderbolts, but made time to make sure I was taken care of.

We’d had a bit of drama over adding my presentation at the last minute, including my own moments of high anxiety. Susan let me know the current status and that things were okay. She got me settled in and at ease.

The A/V system turned out to be a piece of cake and gave me all the capability to present that I could hope for, if I could just remember which buttons to push. So, unable to stand there forever pushing buttons to get used to the mechanism, I retired to the bar to relax and trust to fate.

Conference bars are where the action is, in my humble opinion. You have to see the presentations, of course. At least most of them. And you have to socialize in the halls and workshops, but the bar is where people let down their shields. I was to be here for three days, followed by the geology tour for another two days. I hardly knew anyone in the EU community. This seemed the best place to be.

My first encounter was with a young couple from the Phoenix area. Since I wore a speaker ribbon on my name tag, but few people had heard of me, I had a brief advantage. It rose people’s interest, which I need since I’m an introvert. But they didn’t know what to ask since they didn’t know what I was there to talk about. It allowed me attention and still a comfortable anonymity.

I was vague about my presentation, simply saying it had to do with geology and some electrical features. This raised the mystery. They assured me they would watch me speak. So far things were working well – two attentive listeners would be at my talk and I hardly had to do anything. They even bought my beer.

Then a bloke bounded up to our table and began hugging everyone around. I’ll call him Leo. In fact, I’m going to call everyone in this story Leo. I have to protect the innocent. More importantly, I have to protect myself.

IMG_20160621_162210Every Leo was different. Every Leo was interesting. Every Leo is my brother and sister, now, but that is getting ahead of the story. Leo came from British Columbia, Montreal, New Brunswick, Colorado, California, UK, Australia, Belarus, Germany, Tibet and at least one from another planet. Leo wore tattoos and buzz cuts; tie-dyeds and chinos; safari hats and bandanas; piercings and goatees; or in one case, a beaded, braided fu-manchu. All points on the globe, all types of people, representing a common interest in our Electric Universe.

This Leo was from the UK. UK Leo sat down and immediately ordered a beer, and I ordered a second. Little did I know at the time, UK Leo would be at the bar every time I went there. UK Leo, I recognized eventually, was a professional beer drinker.

As we got acquainted, a certain cadence set into our discussion. His thick accent was impossible to understand. So I would say, “uh huh”, when I thought he’d made a point. He would reply, “eehah, mate?” because he couldn’t understand me either. In other words, we were perfect drinking partners – the burden of making sense wasn’t on us.

IMG_20160618_040755The young couple left. I don’t think they understood UK Leo either. He and I talked nonsense through our beers and then I left to circulate. At the bar I spotted Southern Comfort Leo. Southern Comfort Leo was someone I wanted to get to know, because I’d seen him present in a video of the previous year’s EU conference. His topic had direct bearing on mine. He held court at the corner of the bar, a place only a talkative person would take.

I sidled up beside him to see if I could start a conversation (it’s not something I’m very good at). I call him Southern Comfort Leo, because when I asked where he was from, he listed every southern State he’d ever lived – which was all of them. He said he’d “been around.” Much to my surprise, starting this conversation was easy, and he bought my beer.

I still had the advantage of anonymity, so the talk centered around him and his work. I simply listened to the fascinating work he did and the kind of information he got from it. Others joined us. We held court like Norm Petersen and Cliff Claven at the corner of the bar. But as the evening wore on, the crowd dwindled until there were just four of us left. Room Mate Leo, Boorish Leo, Southern Comfort Leo and me.

20160619_215231As I found with all EU conference participants, they are fiercely independent thinkers who fear no topic. In this case, our conversation turned to God and the relative merits of belief in HIS existence. Dangerous ground for a late night at the bar.

Leo held a belief in God’s existence, while the other Leo disagreed. As it became heated, Southern Comfort Leo wisely took his leave, begging the need to rest for his morning presentation. I was to speak in the afternoon, so I stayed.

Having been raised by a devout Christian mother, I have a respect for most beliefs provided it doesn’t involve hacking heads off. So I attempted to mediate the rougher edges in the conversation, but to no avail. Boorish Leo launched into a devastating destruction of Room Mate Leo’s character flaws, which the younger Leo had guilelessly laid bare for our examination.

We finally agreed to disagree around four AM. Leo and I, being room mates dragged ourselves, shirttails hanging, to the room. The emotions scraped bare at the bar were still bleeding however. Leo and I continued to talk in the room, he giving me intimate glimpses into his troubled yet valuable life.  Valuable because he’s brilliant, curious and courageous – the earmarks of an EU scholar. Troubled because he carries baggage – we all do.

I noticed the sun was shining through a gap in the curtain. I sealed the gap before we finally gave up talking and went to sleep. I woke in time to catch Southern Leo’s talk mid-morning.

IMG_20160618_231545The conference room was a comfortable place. Dark, with a casual and attentive audience and the most interesting subjects to hear about, delivered by some of the most knowledgeable people in the world. What could be better. I lost myself in the ambience, surprisingly relaxed, without any building apprehension for my own talk that afternoon.

In fact, my talk went well. I think. Except the lights were blinding my sensitive eyes, which were only closed for an hour and a half that morning. Remember that when you watch the replays on Thunderbolts.

I did almost electrocute myself trying to drink some water with the microphone at my lips. It could have been a great display of Arc Blast – the subject of my talk, had I thought of it. I didn’t trip at the podium, or say anything stupid as far as I can remember.

Following the talks, I and my brother Richard, who was attending the conference to graciously provide moral support, and even more gratifying to me – learn more about our Electric Universe, met-up with Susan. Our timing was perfect, because she and David were heading to dinner with another speaker and an attendee who seemed to have a long association with the EU.

It was a delightful dinner. My brother, a former PR and public affairs professional, enjoyed trading anecdotes about conference organization with Dave and Susan while I stuffed my face with baked grouper. Dave Talbott is a sincere and gentle-hearted man who kept the conversation light and engaging. He suffered a dozen questions about Velikovsky and EU that he must have answered a zillion times before, but he spoke with absolute enthusiasm about the things he champions.

IMG_20160620_001027After dinner, of course, Rich and I retired to the bar, while the sensible people went about other business, like sleep. After one drink, my brother left to meet his son in Scottsdale, leaving me with the Leo’s again. It was pretty much the same crew, UK Leo, Southern Comfort Leo, Roommate Leo and me.  Many other Leos were there, too.

This night was less talk and more drinking. Those of us who were speakers had finished our talks and were ready to unwind. Everyone else was just ready. Michael Claridge-Leo strode in with an electric bicycle to show off. The evening was a hoot, everyone in cheery little clusters around the bar and outside at the pool..

unnamedThe day had been hot and it began to take its toll. People drifted away to bed, leaving only dead-enders. You know us by now. Leo and I had both shifted from beer to vodka at this point, so my recollection may be out of sequence. What I recall is that Leo began speaking gibberish.

We were having a perfectly rational conversation when he suddenly became agitated, and in perfectly articulated English said something that made absolutely no sense. It was as if Neil DeGrasse Tyson had entered his body. I hadn’t the foggiest notion what he was talking about, but it seemed urgent. Then he simply walked away.

The remainder of us carried the night to a quiet conclusion after the waiters stacking chairs refused us any more post closing drinks. We retired to our rooms, confident that, except for the hotel staff, we were the last people standing and our duty had been satisfied – to be the last people standing – somewhat stooped, but standing.

When I arrived in the room, I found Leo. Leo was passed out in the bathroom, undressed, pants around his ankles. This was not the behavior I expected from Leo. I immediately became suspicious. There was a pool of fluid on the floor. I shook him by the shoulder and called his name. He slid to the floor like a greasy snake, taking the toilet seat with him.

I won’t go into any more detail. It took a good two hours to get him to bed. There was a period of time he simply stood, incapable of moving.  Dehydration, heat stroke and vodka don’t mix. I gave him water.

Leo was only the first of the heat casualties. The sun was peaking through the blinds again when I finally laid down. The damn thing wouldn’t stay down. It was already up and blazing people into an ultraviolet-brain cooked stupor and I hadn’t had a wink of sleep yet.

Eight AM came , literally, in the blink of an eye. I met my brother and we enjoyed the talks, seeing almost every one. Incredibly, I never felt tired even though that auditorium could lure a meth addict to sleep. All of the talks were good.

20160619_215313After the banquet there was a gathering at the bar. I happened to join in. Imagine that… Leo was there, too. All of the Leos, in fact. This was the big finale. It wound down as the sun rose and it was too late, or perhaps too early…whatever, to buy beer at the Circle K. I spent my time engrossed in conversation with a charming Leo from UK, this one a female, about documentary film making.

There wasn’t much point in sleep now, since the Geology tour was leaving in less than two hours. UK Leo said he’d just wait-up. I slept until the vans were running downstairs. I had time to simply bundle my kit in a wad and run downstairs and throw it in the StRange Rover. The vans were just loading, so I ran back inside to Starbucks. I wanted to kill the person in front of me ordering a triple mocha hoopla-drip machiacappucinoamericano hand-blended smoothy with sprinkles. After what seemed like a month, I ordered my BIG coffee (I refuse to say Grande) and shuffled out to the StRange Rover and fired her up. I pulled into last place in the caravan and waited.

IMG_20160622_153117There is a mathematical rule that relates the number of people in a party to the time it takes that party to actually do anything. It is called the ‘milling factor’. The more people there are, the larger the milling factor becomes by logarithmic scale. If there are enough people, the milling factor will prevent anything from happening and the situation devolves to chaos. With well over twenty people the milling factor was enormous.

As I watched light refract through heat blistering off the hood, the StRange Rover’s vinyl dashboard disintegrated before my very eyes in the UV, X-ray and gamma radiation from the Sun. The organizer and leader of our caravan, Herr Leo, was circling the vans attempting to get people inside and strapped in.

IMG_20160623_191709Some folks refer to this as ‘herding cats’. I disagree. Cats tend to scatter and move. High milling factor creates a kind of paralysis where people just stand and stare at each other, waiting for someone else to make a move. Milling has a more bovine nature to it. My BIG coffee was almost finished when the vans actually started rolling. Now I had to pee. I held on because I wasn’t about to run inside when everyone else was finally ready, so we took off on the Geology tour.

Southern Comfort Leo joined me in the StRange Rover at the first stop. It was my first chance to pee and survey the group I was with – in that order. I noticed all of the essential Leo’s, meaning the drinking ones, were on the geology tour. We must run in crowds, I thought, mutually attracted by intense heat, miles of driving, lack of sleep and an excuse to party every night.

As I focused my bleary eyes (I don’t think Leo would have climbed in with me if he knew how much sleep I’d had in the past three days) I saw geologic features I’d written about. I was going to point them out to Southern Comfort Leo, when Leo pointed out to me what he’d been noticing. Leo in the car ahead was swerving off the road occasionally.

Why would Leo do that, I wondered. We found out a few miles later, when on a steeply diving switchback road with no shoulder, Leo in-the-car-ahead, swerved off road and punctured his tire. As it happened, he was passing-out from dehydration and heat. Apparently he came from a place where air conditioning is not a life support system.

IMG_20160616_170045He was bundled in the back of a van to re-hydrate and sleep, while someone else took over command of his car, now driving on a spare. We spent a couple of hours getting a new tire for Leo in-the-car-ahead and ended up split into two groups somewhere in Verde Valley  because of lunch preferences. We regrouped in Oak Creek Canyon, just past Sedona. Here, everyone cooled their feet in the water under the shade of cottonwoods at Oak Creek’s shore.

The heat, the fact we hadn’t made it to Meteor Crater that day, Leo in-the-car-ahead’s travails, all melted away as the group laughed and splashed in the creek. It was a fine moment. All of the Leo’s felt better. We were all Leo now. Regrouped and refreshed, the caravan drove on to Flagstaff.

As the group checked-in to the motel and got settled, Southern Comfort Leo and I walked to the bar/restaurant across the parking lot to have a cold one. UK Leo joined us next, then others drifted in. I hadn’t paid much attention, but did notice an older gentleman sitting alone drinking beer at a table in the back.

The Leos and I stood at the bar, while all the other Leo’s congregated at a table behind us. I heard a commotion and turned around to see the distinguished looking gentleman sprawled on his back. Several of our Leo’s were attending to him.

I said, “who’s that guy?” to our little group at the bar, but they paid me no attention, struggling as they were to understand each other – Southern drawl vs. UK soccer slang. I sipped my beer and surveyed the situation. The man was still prostate, being given wet towels and water. Someone was calling 911. What else could I do. I sipped my beer. “Do you guys see what’s happening behind us?” I asked. This time I broke through and they turned to look. “Why that’s Seattle Leo,” said Southern Comfort Leo.

I vaguely knew we were to meet Seattle Leo in Flagstaff. I didn’t know details though, so hadn’t connected the distinguished man at the back table with being a Leo. As the paramedics wheeled him away, I said something lame like “take care” and laid my hands over his. They were cold as ice. Our third victim of heat stroke.

One part of our group driven by Colorado Leo, or as I thought of him: the spitting image of Jeff Bridges, were eclectic Leo’s from around the world. They decided to camp-out in the National Forest instead of staying at the motel. They were a lively and entertaining bunch, so some of the motel Leo’s and I decided we’d visit their camp for a few beers.

They were camped somewhere in Coconino National Forest. Since Coconino National Forest covers approximately 1.8 million acres, I thought our prospects of finding them dubious. Nevertheless, we took two cars, bought some beer and departed Flag for the ‘campground’ they were supposedly at. They weren’t. The location was the Forest Service headquarters. No campground in sight.

This called for an unmanly admission that we didn’t know where we were going and needed directions. A cell phone was produced. I’m not sure if it was a bad connection, or if UK Leo was doing the talking. In any case the directions seemed uncertain.

We tried, but eventually gave up and parked in a dense, dark forest of Ponderosa and Spruce. I kept my eye out for bears and Sasquatch. At least we had beer and other essentials among us, and we stood in the dark and talked about magnetism, mountains and made a toast to Michael Steinbacher. A freight train roared past within a hundred yards of where we stood. It must have been a mile long and it left us feeling pumped from the noise and vibration.

I was driving, so only sipped on my beer. Still, lack of sleep had me seeing pinpoints of light in the corners of my eyes as we drove back to the motel. I followed Room mate Leo as he missed the exit and drove around the longest way conceivable to get back on track. I was almost beside myself thinking we’d entered a never ending road somewhere in the twilight zone. The Leo’s in my car had turned into bobble-heads and didn’t seem to notice we were being sucked back to Sedona, no doubt by the vortex.

I got a solid night’s sleep, rooming with Sacramento Leo. It’s usually a little strange to sleep in a room with a stranger, but in this case my head hit the pillow and didn’t lift until Leo belatedly advised me the vans were ready to roll in five minutes.

No time to shower – day three. I was beginning to stink. Well, not really. I stunk. You either stink or you don’t, there’s really no ‘beginning to’. I felt some pity for my StRange Rover-mate, Southern Comfort Leo.

IMG_20160621_162149After that first devastating day of heat, others began to notice – in addition to how bad I smelled – how I always parked in shade if I could find it, or aim the car away from the sun so the seats didn’t blister my ass when I got back in. At 120ºF, a car’s interior surfaces exposed to sun can reach 195ºF. By comparison, pork is considered safe to eat at 145ºF. I don’t comb my hair either, otherwise I’ll get a sunburned part. Tricks of the desert rat.

Our intrepid leader, Herr Leo, stepped up to a major feat of organization at meteor crater, advising us of the time to regroup. Things went smoothly until I had the sudden urge to (once again) use the bathroom at the last minute, hence I was the one who held up the group. It’s no fun walking out of a restroom, zipping up your fly, while thirty people sit in a parking lot staring at you.

I learned a lot about Michael Steinbacher on the trip. What a vagabond life he led, and how many loyal friends he had who gave him a couch, or bed, and traveled with him to rocky, windswept corners of the southwest, looking at evidence of the vast catastrophic forces that shaped our planet.

It gave me a tremendous morale boost. I recognized in the stories about Michael something I’ve found to be true for me. To truly clear the eyes of mud… to see things clearly for what they are, demands a rejection of convention.

I gave up income, home and stability to find the Electric Universe. Hanging on to what people expect of you will keep you locked into their paradigm forever. All notion that theoretical science explains anything at all had to be discarded and understood as a gross misinterpretation of the physics that govern our universe. I had to disconnect to see that.

IMG_20160621_180037Michael understood and looked at landscape in a way no one else had really captured. His inspirations inspired many more. We came to spread his ashes at the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon. Herr Leo had selected Geology Point as an appropriate place. It was.

Being a generally agnostic group to begin with, and knowing Michael was too, there was not much in the way of spiritual context. Herr Leo and a couple of the female Leo’s took a moment to reflect on Michael’s influence in their lives and his appreciation for truth.

Truth does exist. We could see it with our own eyes in the canyon. The obvious carving of scalloped edges in the ninety degree, boxed side canyon we stood above spoke more to the validity of Michael’s interpretation of geology than anything anyone could have said.

IMG_20160621_162404I spoke with Michael’s friends about the formation of the Grand Canyon. I agree with Michael’s assessment, in general. The canyon was carved by an explosive current locked to the river’s channel. I’d looked into, and written about breccia pipes; karst-like formations of broken rock that fill vertical tunnels emanating from a limestone formation above the inner gorge. These breccia pipes emerge from the ground all over the south rim, concentrated along the rim and even split open in places along the canyon wall.

My belief is these were the result of current flows from the inner gorge that blasted out the stubby, 90 degree angled side canyons by coursing through the limestone aquifer and up through the crust, forming the breccia pipes. Everything I saw standing over Geology Point confirmed my intuition, and Michael’s hypothesis, which I think conforms with mine. It made me feel good we laid his ashes there.

The canyon left me uplifted, but feeling small, knowing how few are the people who even fathom what we could see.

Herr Leo took the caravan speeding down an empty two lane road to Utah, past miles of open country I wanted to walk through. Shallow canyon fingers dipped right away from the roadside, to disappear into dark cavernous gorges that led a mile deep to the Colorado. How were they formed – not by water erosion. There is no evidence of water erosion on the walls of the Grand Canyon  – anywhere, except the very lowest reaches of the inner gorge – the only place the river has ever flowed.

The only evidence given for water erosion creating the canyon is that there is a canyon there. Ergo, typical mainstream circular logic says it must have been carved by water. It ain’t evident in the rocks though. A fact neatly and blithely ignored by geologists.

IMG_20160621_180406We crossed the Little Colorado and skirted the Navajo Nation, heading north. At Cameron, Arizona we stopped for lunch. It made sense, since one of our Leo’s was named Cameran-Leo; wrong spelling, but close enough to earn a sandwich. This was also where I departed, leaving to drive home to Tucson through the best part of Arizona, Highway 191. I’ll tell about that in a moment.

I hate goodbyes. This one didn’t hurt though. I knew I would be seeing these Leo’s again.

Every Leo hugged me. There wasn’t a single hand shake, or fist bump. Just hugs. It was a striking moment for me, when Sacramento Leo gave me a memento from Michael. Something Michael raised on his own, infused with his love of life and our world.  I fired it up as I drove alone to Kayenta.

IMG_20160621_162354As the StRange Rover hummed along, the sun began to set on a landscape I could only imagine had been etched. Magnificent undulating, layered and cap-rocked dunes scalloped and gouged around the edges. A different electrical scarring than I’d been studying. Something to look into in the future.

plasma-rock-artNear Kayenta is where Dave Talbott’s photo of a petroglyph was taken. The one Tony Perratt identified as a plasma instability – rock hard evidence of an aurora in the ancient sky that our ancestors witnessed. I marveled to myself that his paper had been published over a decade ago and so few people had even noticed. Yet it gave up so much truth. It was the very thing that had brought me to look into EU.

As I drove through Tsegi, I looked into the canyon. Tsegi Canyon holds deep mystery for me. This is where the Kayenta Anasazi – the Pueblo people of Northern Arizona spent their final days in cliff dwellings, before, in sudden diaspora they fled to Mexico. Something like the Exodus.

What happened? Why did they live in the cliffs? Mainstream theories of drought and infertile crops is simply a weak and unintelligent answer to the true plight of the Pueblo people of the Four Corners area. Scientists blame everything on climate change now – that’s the paradigm. Something else happened to the Pueblo in 1100 to 1300 AD, when after living in the open for centuries, they turned to living under rocks before simply leaving the area, en masse.

Shooting-StarThey were either hiding from something from above, or below – lightning perhaps, or a swarm of hungry bigfoot (cannibal demons in the native Hopi) come down from the San Juan’s. I don’t know which yet, but I’m going to Tsegi some day to figure it out and write a novel about it.

As I looked into the deep reaches of the canyon, the setting sun shone through, framed by the vertical, black canyon walls and sheets of illuminated virga hanging from the clouds above.

It was damned ominous looking, but spectacular. A few miles beyond Kayenta, there is a mountain feature visible from the road I had used an image of in my presentation. I knew it was there and hoped to see it under the full moon. I couldn’t see it though, because storm clouds blocked the light. Too bad.

I continued non-stop through Navajo lands because I had to. There are no Motel 6’s on the Res. Nor is there any alcohol. Two reasons to keep driving. As I drove South from Four Corners past Canyon De Chelly, the StRange Rover rolled over giant fingers of the Chuska mountains that stretched across the desert. In the sky, the clouds made giant feathered strokes of lichtenberg figures. I knew the land under my feet looked the same, and it was no coincidence.

IMG_20160616_110744After a night in a cheap motel along I-40, where I closed thick drapes and slept late, I departed on my final day. This I knew would be an epic drive. Highway 191 (renamed because Highway 666 seemed to disturb some people) runs down the eastern edge of the State. It is an age-old corridor for migration and trade. The Anasazi traded with the Aztecs along this route. It led to the region’s giant center of trade, Chaco Canyon. The Puebloans retreated on this route during the diaspora.

It was used by Coronado and the conquistadors, when they came as the first tourists to the Grand Canyon. Renegades and outlaws used this trail in the days of Apache wars and stage coach robberies.

Squatter Man

It climbs into the White Mountains through lava fields and hills that appear like huge, low windblown dunes. Near St. John there is a lake right off of the highway, named Lyman Lake. I turned in to look at the State Park campsites and take a break. As I drove in a sign pointed to a road that said “Petroglyph Trail.” I made the turn and parked at the trail head.

It led into some small hills on a peninsula in the lake. The hills have  a cap rock that is black with patina on the top surface. Broken blocks of it are scattered down the hillsides. On these I found a perfect ‘squatter man’ pecked into a flat, patina covered block.

I also noticed the patina appeared to be burnt onto the rock’s surface. There were marks of hot ablation, as if a sheet of flame had seared the cap rock from above. I wondered if it was a thing people had witnessed. Perhaps that is why they chose this place to commemorate the auroras that surely would have preceded such a flash.

220px-Lightnings_sequence_2_animationA few miles further up the road, I passed volcanic cinder cones and rode over vast lava flows. On the lava flows, lightning began to strike. It flashed with an almost constant frequency, close enough to hear the peel of thunder, but far enough to enjoy the show. I pulled to the side on a hill and lowered my tailgate to watch – the reason I drive the StRange Rover is it has a classic drop-down tailgate – essential for such moments. I also celebrated Michael’s green thumb again as I watched the lightning strike and listened to the thunder. It was a fitting spectacle to end the journey and my formal introduction to the Electric Universe.

Thanks to Leo’s gift of Michael’s homegrown, I missed my turn in Springerville, and drove fifteen miles into New Mexico on Highway 60 before I realized I was going downhill when I should be going up. Things were going too well, I suppose. Where I turned around was a dirt road to Luna, New Mexico. I was in a curious feature of land I had spotted on Google Earth before. The dramatic sweep of land before me was a shallow valley, closed in by windswept dunes of sandstone. The name Luna was appropriate. This trip just kept giving surprises. I didn’t take the road, but committed to coming back, to Luna, to the Leo’s and to uncovering the simple majesty of our Electric Universe.

StRange Rover Leo.

DSC_8720Update: Leo is now engaged to Leo. I have confirmation, so feel free to announce it. And I thought I was having fun…apparently not as much as those two.