Category: Squatchy Encounters

Cannibal Bigfoot

That’s the rumor, you know. It’s been around for centuries. Though Native American’s often relate Bigfoot as a nocturnal, petty trickster who steals salmon, there are also legends of hairy devils with evil intent.

Photo By Edward S. Curtis – Library of Congress

The Shampe of Choctaw fable,  Ts’el’eni, the woodman of Athabaskan’s in Alaska, the Boqs of the Bella Coola, and Tsiatko, Stick Indians of Salish legend in the Pacific Northwest are a few examples. These big hairy creatures were known for stealing women and children, and eating people.

The Windigo, known to many tribes, is associated with evil. In times of famine, it ate human flesh and forever has a taste for it. There are also the Teihiihan, the little cannibals of Cheyenne and other tribal lore, described as something like a dwarf Bigfoot that entices children to play – and eats them.

Hopi believe Bigfoot is a harbinger of strife and doom. He shows himself to fellow man as a message that human behavior has strayed from the creator’s plan, and an accounting is coming due.

Photo by Edward S. Curtis – Library of Congress

It’s not a cannibal unless it’s human. Otherwise it’s just another predator. Cannibal means a particular type of predator far more chilling to contemplate. The fact Native Americans call it cannibal betrays their belief in what it is. It’s the hairy man of the forest, a brother tribe of people.

Everyone has opinions, including a majority who outright deny its existence. But if you believe in the creature, you’re probably on a spectrum of opinion that runs from a big, relic ape, to a close cousin of mankind. Perhaps an archaic race similar to Neanderthal, or even a hybrid race that interbred with us.

Personally, I suspect they are relic hominids evolved from the same branch of genetic tree we are from. Shave Patty, the Bigfoot in the famous Patterson-Gimlin film, put lipstick and a dress on, and she’d have luck getting picked-up at the Bashful Bandit, my local biker bar.

Photo by Roger Patterson

That seems to be the way Native Americans think about Sasquatch. They are the wild people of the woods, not another animal. They are feared and respected, and not to be allowed near children. They are not something to go looking for.

Enter the ancestors of mad Englishmen. Have you noticed Bigfoot hunters are usually white people? Non-believers account this to the ignorance of white trailer-trash folk, like me, who prefer a walk in Nature to working off the Mercedes payment all day.

This makes no sense to me. I’ll believe an outdoors man about the woods, no matter what the armchair people say. I think it’s because I belong to the only race in denial about Bigfoot.

Genetics experts say non-African people carry around 4% Neanderthal DNA, whereas Africans have hardly any. Maybe there is something dark in the Caucasian past we’re still dealing with. Perhaps that is why it’s existence is so vehemently denied by urbane people who consider themselves the pinnacle of civilization. The realities of the past are too uncomfortable to think about.

One reason Bigfoot fascinates many people is the idea humans and Neanderthal coupled in Europe in the distant past. And in Asia and Melanesia, DNA shows that people slept with Denisovan’s. The term ‘slept with’ is probably not accurate. Rape in the woods is more likely.

It points to a past when catastrophe decimated the population. There have been planet-wide catastrophes that nearly wiped life away, and the human race was reduced to small groups of survivors.

For life to go on, there had to be compromises. Brutal as it seems, there had to be cross-breeding. Perhaps forcibly and uninvited, but necessary nevertheless. It’s even believed cross-breeding bolstered the human immune system, giving us immunity to some disease.

So if there is the remnant of Neanderthal and Denisovan in the gene pool, that means at one time there were people born of interbreeding that had a fifty-fifty blend. Over time those individuals bred with other humans and the gene pool became diluted. Now there is a remnant of their DNA still carried in our blood.

But the corollary must also be true. Some of those hybrid babies were raised by surviving Neanderthal and Denisovan tribes. They would have bred in those communities, diluting the human gene. There must have been a hybrid being whose race was much less human. A feral race with more DNA of the ‘other thing.’

One can imagine they would be smart enough to survive. Smart enough to use rudimentary tools and even communicate.  They could have come from Europe and Asia to populate the New World alongside human beings.

One could also imagine they were hunted mercilessly for indiscretions in the past. Nothing puts a man into fight mode faster than someone stealing his wife and eating his children. They would have been attacked and chased into hiding, like so many Hollywood bigwigs. They would have been the Harvey Weinstein of the time, rightfully shunned for predatory sexual behavior. Harvey even looks Neanderthal, come to think of it.

They got away with it for awhile, when calamitous weather, pestilence and famine decimated life. Survival meant taking what was needed wherever it was available, and the bigger and stronger hominids had the upper hand. Humans didn’t choose to be the wives, or the dinner for their ‘brother’ tribe. But humans had to wake-up at some point and say, “enough!” The Neanderthal and Denisovan would have been hunted down and made to account.

Feared, hunted and killed, and smart enough to understand their persecution, the remnants of those races hid from the enemy. Now they watch and keep track of us when we enter their territory, but like pedophiles and creeps, know better than to show themselves. Except when opportunity allows instinct to take over and satisfy a nasty, old habit.

Native people aren’t the only ones to have these legends, We all do, regardless of race. My people have just sanitized the stories and called them fairy tales to discredit them, but like all stories they begin from a grain of truth. Werewolves and boogeymen, giants and little people have origins of truth in the distant past. Horrible truths.

What happens in the mountains seems to bear this out. People go missing, without rhyme, or reason, never to be seen again. These disappearances have a pattern that is disturbing. David Paulides is an ex-cop and writer who documents strange and inexplicable disappearances in the National Forests.

 The pattern repeats time and again. People go missing without a trace. If a trace is found, or even a body, they are found far from where they disappeared, sometimes in areas nearly impossible to reach.

Small children are found miles from where they vanish, across rugged, mountain country. People disappear while companions are just a few feet away. Experienced outdoors men take a walk and never come home. The typical profile is the last person on the trail, a child who wanders out of sight, or a solo hiker.

The disappearances often occur near a boulder field, rocky pinnacle, or cliff. As I’ve experienced myself, these are hangouts for Bigfoot. They also occur just prior to storms. Maybe an impending storm is a trigger. The blood rises with electricity in the air. A storm also provides cover – a better opportunity to get away.

Dogs trained for tracking can’t find them. Whatever scent they pick-up seems to create fear, and they refuse to track. Some lay down and whimper.

The mountain ranges I frequent have occurrences recorded that fit the profile. The camp host at one of my favorites called it “the last mountain in Arizona,” meaning it’s not overrun by anybody. Well it is, because there are billions of dollars worth of telescopes up there, but the astronomers keep to themselves, fenced inside the observatory. Otherwise, locals go there to hunt and camp, there are a few backpacking trails, and a smattering of cabins, but that’s all.

Many of the locals who go there, both Native American and otherwise, know of the presence of Bigfoot. Reports of intimidation are disturbing. People hear trees snapped in anger in the darkness at the edge of their campsites. Campers get pounded awake with blows that leave dents in the walls of their travel trailers. They hear guttural, unintelligible talking in some jabberwolky language. And there is howling at night.

I listened to howling that sounded like a cage of monkeys fighting a lion. Deep growls and grunts accompanied chimp-like squealing. It was a night of full moon at an elevation far above coyote country. It wasn’t coyote’s.

A few years ago, a woman reported to be mentally disabled walked just a hundred yards behind her family near a campsite in an adjacent mountain range. She disappeared without a trace within sight of her family, who were watchful because of her handicap. She vanished in a brief moment when they turned their attention away. And not a trace could be found. There was no trail, or track to follow.

The prior year, another woman, middle aged, camped with a group of people she didn’t know well. She’d been invited by a friend, but she wasn’t a regular in the group. As they partied around the campfire one evening, she left on her own to watch the sunset from rocky cliffs about a quarter-mile away. The cliffs overlooked a canyon named Hell’s Hole.

This is another common theme. Sightings and disappearances happen in locations with demonic names. One has to wonder why these places were named that way in the first place.

Of course, she was never seen again. Her belongings were left in her tent and no sign of her could be found. The searchers used cadaver dogs, lowered by rope to find her body in the cliffs below, because it seemed that was the only way she could have gone. They found nothing and the mystery remains.

Bigfoot of the Urals – Menk filmed by the Dyatlov Party before they died.

From those same mountains, another story may shed light on what happens. It comes from an elderly woman who camped there with her parents as a little girl. She says she was six years old at the time, so this occurred in the sixties.

She sat on a log in the woods in sight of her parents when she heard something behind her. She turned around to see a big, black creature behind a tree. It was creeping up on her, she said, crawling from tree to tree and hiding behind logs. She thought it was a bear, until it stood up and she saw its face looked human. She ran to her parents and got away, her parents unaware of anything.

I came upon the trunk of a large tree hung upside down, cradled in the branches of another, with other trees leaned against it tee-pee fashion. I studied it trying to fathom if it could have happened naturally. It didn’t seem plausible.

As I scouted around the area, a path, or game trail led through brush, and I followed it a few yards to where it came to a boulder outcrop. As I reached the outcrop, I heard children playing, and realized it overlooked a campsite. The campsite was down the canyon, maybe five hundred feet below.

Typical tree structures mark a Bigfoot Trail

When I climbed onto the rocks, I was met with rock clacks. Something began tapping a substantial rock against another, warning me away. It tapped repeatedly, and not with a little pebble that a squirrel, or bird could pick up. It was a rock I’d gauge as big as my hand. I turned around and left, with the creepy realization that whatever clacked the rock was sitting in that boulder outcrop watching the kids play below.

In every instance I’ve seen, their trails lead uphill to natural lookout sites, usually at large granite outcrops. A ridge, or mountain top with a cap of rock that overlooks a campsite, or roadway is a likely spot.

When I have approached such areas, I have several times heard whoops. On one occasion, crossing a meadow towards an outcropping of boulders, there was a distinct whoop from the treeline to my right, and an answering whoop from the boulders. They were communicating a warning I was coming.

The interesting thing is that I parked my truck and fiddled around next to it for several minutes before I started walking towards the boulders. The whoops came only after I’d left the road and committed across the field. I’m sure the lookout could see me the whole time, but didn’t alarm until I started their way.

They watch us. They hang out in the rocks and trees and watch every move we make. They see us coming as soon as we start. They stay hidden and keep their distance. If we approach they fall back. Only if you keep invading their area do they start clacking rocks, or throwing them. To my knowledge, I’ve never had a rock thrown at me, although a pine cone did hit the car from a clear blue sky once.

Sightings of Bigfoot most often occur on roadways. It’s their biggest vulnerability. We’ve criss-crossed the land with big swaths naked of trees. Where there are trees, the Mountain Devil can’t be seen, except for the occasional glimpse, or surprise encounter. It’s rare they are surprised, but they have to cross roads.

Away from the trails and roads, in areas overgrown with underbrush, beneath peaks and ridges, where dead trees lean against each other, and there are rocky outcrops, and boulder fields – that is where they live. To enter is to experience them watching you, hear their whistles, whoops and clacks, and find their scuffs and footprints.

I filmed the following clip at Hell’s Hole, the location where the woman vanished. You’ll see several things in the video.

First, the trail was blocked every hundred yards, or so with broken trees. I was entering an area that had been closed all winter, and just reopened. I knew from the prior year it was a hot spot, where campsites coincide with access to a creek and one of their trails.

The further I went down the trail, the more trees I found felled, and the more obstacles blocked my way. It was as if, after the roads were closed and people had left for the season, they went-off on the campsite and road, tearing down trees in the hope maybe it would keep people from coming back.

At first, I maintained skepticism. The snows and winds of winter could have knocked the trees down. The further I went, however, the more apparent it became there was more than wind and snow pack at work.

On the way, I found a footprint. The toes impressed perfectly in the mud, but the heel landed in foliage making it hard to judge its length. It was at least twelve inches, but might have been as much as fourteen. It’s width was half-again the width of my bare foot – five inches, or more, in an area I had trouble walking in high boots. The ground was covered in brambles and broken trees. You can watch the video and judge for yourself if a human would walk barefoot in that country.

The footprint is bound by the arrows, toes to the left.
The cap rests just inside the print.

I followed what I suspected was a track they’d made. The ground was covered in fallen trees, browning ferns and broken twigs. Through it all, there was a distinct trail of steps, like post-holes in the dry ferns that left them broken down. The footprint appeared along the track in a rare patch of bare soil.

I had no plaster, which is a shame because I think it would have cast very well. I placed a water bottle along the edge of the print with the cap resting inside for scale. The print was flat, with a hint of a rise just left of the bottle cap that may have been at the mid-tarsal break. The toes prints are seen, with the big toe splayed away from the others.

A mid-tarsal break, and the ability to splay toes for balance, is characteristic of Bigfoot prints according to Dr. Grover Krantz, and Dr. Jeff Meldrum, both qualified experts in the subject. The pictures I took are not good as the mid-day sun beat straight down, making it impossible to keep shadows away, or see what I was framing.

The tracks led to the boulders above Hell’s Hole, the very place I was I was heading. The same place searchers lowered cadaver dogs to look for the missing woman. I had Ginger with me. She almost never barks, and only growls when she means business. She started growling almost the moment we reached the boulders. At the same time I heard a repetitive knock on wood. Knock-knock…knock-knock-knock. Knock-knock…knock-knock-knock.

This is on film in Part 2, but the knocking isn’t picked-up by the camera. It wasn’t the machine-gun rata-tat-tat of a woodpecker, but a slow and precise rhythm, like keeping time with a tune. Ginger refused to follow me any further in that direction. She stood her ground and growled.

I don’t know any normal forest animal that makes a knock like that. I had the feeling the playful sound was meant to entice me. Part of me wanted to go find the source, even though Ginger was growling. I couldn’t put the leash on and drag her, because there were too many trees broken down. I had to let her free to run her own obstacle course, but she refused to follow me.

We stayed long enough to take some film and left. I didn’t feel threatened. In fact, after a few minutes I felt whatever was making the knocks was gone. On the way out, though, I heard a solid wood-knock from a different direction.

It’s at this point I generally turn around, anyway. If I hear knocking, or whoops, I don’t go further. I know that won’t get me a photo op, but there is something about intruding where you’re not wanted. To be a paparazzi, even a Bigfoot paparazzi, is to be a cad, intruding on others privacy for the hope of a photo to sell.

Besides, I don’t want my head torn-off.

Interesting Resources:

Rise of the Warrior Apes … new perspective on our not-so-nice cousins, the chimpanzee.

From Discovery UK

Tolkien’s World – Cousin Species…

Update: They are smarter than you think…Can Great Apes Read Your Mind? from “The Conversation

We shared the planet with pre-modern humans…Science DailyRed Deer Cave People…less than 14,000 years ago.

Homo Floresiensis…17,000 years ago – hobbits!

NeanderthalDenisovan…30,000 to 70,000 years ago. “The Truth Behind the Neanderthal Case“…a good documentary. Professor Tom Higham…”When Neanderthals and Modern Humans Meet” lecture at University of Oxford.

New genetic data on aboriginal  Australian’s…Mystery ancient human ancestor found in Australasian family tree

What were they like…Super Predators?

What are they like…1967…”Patterson-Gimlin“…the full Munn’s Report.


Documentary: Stranger than Fiction – “The Patterson Film”

Most recent sighting.

For the price of covfefe…

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Gila Bigfoot

Bigfoot is not an important thing to most people. It’s entertainment – a tantalizing possibility to tease curiosity and fuel ‘B’ movies, YouTube and reality TV. How would life change if indisputable proof were produced?

If you knew for sure there was something ‘out there’, faster, sneakier and smarter than you, able to take your head off with an audible pop – you might avoid the forest…right? But you probably do already. So, what else? What difference would it make?

News flash: Squirrels know more about reality than humans – 800 pound ape-men wander the forests and mankind is clueless.

If you know the truth about Bigfoot, it puts a new perspective on human arrogance. To realize, right next to seven billion of us there are who-knows-how-many thousands of eight-foot, hairy, bipedal hominids who are so good at playing hide-and-seek that we lost track of their existence. One might wonder if we are the dumber ape.

We weren’t always clueless. And some people never have been. Traditional First Nation people have always accepted it’s existence. Only in the last century has there been a concerted denial by skeptics.

Skeptics are bred in cities for the most part…need I say more?

The Bigfoot community likes to blame scientists, and we should. They hold themselves as the arbiters of truth when they are as clueless as anyone… they don’t even go look. They’ve erected a wall of ostracism to climb over for anyone who hints of Bigfoot’s plausibility. Cheers to the hand-full of brave scientists who’ve had the courage to investigate the subject.

In spite of a mountain of evidence and eyewitness accounts, the argument is that none of it is conclusive. And thanks to hoaxers, who should be burned at the stake (I don’t care how funny it is, it’s dishonest) there is an easy excuse for any single piece of evidence.

Perhaps it’s better this way. It will be terrible if biologists run around bagging DNA samples, tranquilizing and tagging the creatures, probing and categorizing them like they do everything else. I don’t want Bigfoot sporting ear tags and GPS transponders. I don’t want our behavior to affect theirs.

I pity the great whales being harassed endlessly by dart guns and tags, speedboats and self righteous environmental protectionistas. It may have the optics of being well-intentioned, but it doesn’t amount to much more than papers written by academics to justify their existence. The world rolls on; whale, elephant and tiger populations rise and fall, but generally fall, largely under the heavy hand of humans in spite of those efforts.

I fear armies of undisciplined, city-bred college students tramping through the mountains measuring the angle of tree leans. What would be the plus side – sales of pith helmets would skyrocket? The hairy folks in the forest seem to be doing fine without our help now.

It would also be terrible to see huge swaths of forest lands isolated from our enjoyment. You must know, ultimately it would happen to ‘protect the species’ – mankind can’t resist the urge to meddle. It might also mean protecting us the same way it’s done for bear and mountain lion – with a gun.

Certainly there are people in the Forest Service who know of them, and may have come to this conclusion: leave things as they are. It may be a sad day when ‘Science’ finds Bigfoot.

Nevertheless, truth is the most important thing for some of us. Ignorance isn’t bliss, because it doesn’t satisfy the need to know. Fortunately, there is a way to know, for yourself, the truth about Bigfoot. Forget those who snicker and deny its existence. It would diminish their self importance if they knew what lurks behind the backyard fence.

The purpose of this post is to introduce Gila Bigfoot, a ‘YouTube’ playlist devoted to searching for Bigfoot. I just needed to rant for a minute.

Utah Sasquatch

Credit is due to Utah Sasquatch for conceiving of #projectgoandsee which, along with many other people participating in the project, inspired the production of ‘Gila Bigfoot’, .

Reo is a hero, which rhymes nicely, but is a worthy tribute, because he shows anyone interested in how to find Bigfoot, how to actually do it. He makes the challenge to all of us very simple and straight (why is it someone even has to say this?): Go Look!

Colorado Bigfoot

#projectgoandsee and its many contributors are simply walking into the woods to see for themselves. Possibly the best contributor is ‘Colorado Bigfoot‘, who’s YouTube videos of complex, massive, and absolutely un-hoaxable tree structures provide conclusive evidence of, at least, a coherent entity behind their making. What he films in the forests of Colorado begs an explanation.

arizonaannotatedArizona isn’t the first place people think of when Bigfoot is the subject. This is one paradigm people should get over. They are not isolated to the Pacific North-West; the Cascades, the Rockies, or this, or that…they are closer than you think.

Arizona is a patchwork of desert and mountain, but south of Four Corners, along the eastern border of the state, there is a hopscotch of mountains all the way to Mexico.

Bigfoot reports are concentrated in four, high country, forested areas. Area 1, on the map, is the Kiabab Plateau, which includes Mt. Humphreys and the Grand Canyon, particularly the isolated, barely inhabited North Rim.

Area 2 is the Navajo Nation, which includes the San Juan Basin, and the Carrizo and Chuska Mountains, where sighting aren’t discussed much with outsiders.

Area 3 is the best known area in Arizona. It’s home of the Mogollon Monster. Sighting reports are numerous along the rim, all the way to the Continental Divide. Here is a good video featuring the late Mitch Waite, Arizona’s original Bigfoot Hunter.

Gila Bigfoot lives in Area 4, the White Mountains north of the Gila River, and a few Sky Islands to the south. The White Mountains are mostly reservation lands for the White Mountain and San Carlos Apaches. The Sky Islands are National Forest lands.

portal_peak_in_the_chiricahua_mountainsThe term “Sky Island‘ pertains to the mountains in the basin and range country of Southeastern Arizona and well into Sonora Mexico. The ranges are surrounded by basins of arid desert. Like islands on the sea, forest habitat is isolated above seven thousand feet. Yet there is ample territory to support a profusion of wildlife. These mountains boast more diversity of species than Yellowstone.

Isolated ranges provide some interesting topographical advantages, and challenges for locating Bigfoot. The habitable range is geographically contained. Rugged, mountainous terrain limits possible occupation areas, where water and flat, livable space is available. Human traffic is scarce, limited to designated campsites on mostly primitive roads. Few people know about the area, and most traffic is local.

I use these feature to advantage. Trail finding is easy in the area I survey. Obvious paths marked by tree leans, tree breaks and barriers cross the minimal network of roads on the mountain in several places.

The mountains are rocky, mostly steep ground a sane person wouldn’t venture through without a trail. Every canyon, meadow and waterway is brooded over by rocky caps on the peaks, where a single lookout can see all approaches.

dsci0023My technique is simple. I go light and alone except for my dog. I hike straight up a path of tree leans, quickly and quietly. I choose trails that lead a short distance to a ridge, or peak, where there is likely to be evidence of their presence. There is also the possibility of an encounter.

I don’t try to hide, my footsteps will give me away anyway. I simply move quickly, under the assumption it will take them a few minutes to realize I’m off the human trail and coming their way. I hope they hesitate to move away before I get close enough.

I don’t whoop, or call blast, or beat on trees, or perform any other stunt to “draw them in”. The only thing that would accomplish is chase them away, or bring them into my campsite at night, which is the last thing I want.

I’ve been rewarded about thirty percent of the time with a whoop, rock clacking or, in one case, a horrible smell. The whoops and rock clacks were authentic. There is no animal that could do either and I’m certain no humans were around. The smell – well, it wasn’t me. That is enough, along with marveling at their ingenuity with trees, to make the effort worthwhile. They work trees like we do flower arrangements.

Of course I want to see one. That’s the ultimate goal. But I don’t expect that to happen and be able to film it. Besides, I’ve crossed that Rubicon. I saw one in California several years ago. It screamed at me. It wasn’t a pleasant experience.

I wasn’t looking for one then. Now that I am, will it scare the hell out of me again? Probably…but then, that is the adventure. I hope you enjoy these first episodes of Gila Bigfoot.

Thank you.

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

My Encounter

forest_by_YassmineLocation: Sespe Wilderness Area of Los Padres National Forest; GPS coordinates 34 deg, 32’.36” North; 118 deg, 52’.42” West

Nearest Town: Fillmore, California

Time: Spring, 2004

Event: Bigfoot Encounter

The Sespe is the longest remaining undammed river in California. It’s also home to the endangered California Condor. The condor’s Sanctuary lies within the Sespe Wilderness Area, which lies within Los Padres National Forest.

Sespe_Wilderness_in_the_Los_Padres_National_ForestAlthough the Wilderness lies at the edge of modern civilization – the coastal mountains it protects stretch from Los Angeles to Monterey – it is the fourth largest acreage of roadless Wilderness Area in the lower 48 states. Within the Wilderness Area, no roads, or vehicles are allowed. Within the Sanctuary, additional protections apply for the condors. It’s one of the most protected pieces of land on the planet.

Fillmore sits at the edge of the National Forest, at the mouth of Sespe Canyon. East of town, a rugged forest road leads 20 miles to a place called Doughnut Flat. At Doughnut Flat, the road ends on the edge of the Wilderness Area, and it’s the beginning of the Alder Trail. There were no other cars at the trail-head when I arrived.

At the time, I lived in Fillmore. This is an area I’d been to before, since it’s almost my old backyard. From Doughnut Flat, Alder trail follows a meandering creek at an elevation of about 4,000 feet, before it drops down a steep canyon to join with a longer trail that follows the upper reaches of the river.

Sespe_Wilderness_Topography_4A mile in, the trail passes a cluster of trees. A big oak in the center has a campsite beneath. I hiked alone this day, and didn’t intend to go far, carrying only water and a walking stick. I stopped to survey the campsite thinking I might one day bring the kids, since it’s such an easy hike from the car.

I was disappointed to find the site trashy with beer cans and broken glass – being a mile from the trail-head, it evidently got heavy use.

As I poked around beneath the oaks, I heard heavy steps, and glimpsed the knee and lower leg of a man bolting from a brush-filled ravine not twenty yards away.

The knee and leg thrust forward in a run. The foot was obscured by grass, and the body was obscured by the branches of the tree I stood beneath. The leg was a uniform, dark grey color. I saw no cuff, or sock, or other feature, and he was gone up the canyon before I could think to move.

This disturbed me. He apparently bolted because I was there. Why was he hiding? I concluded the man must have an illegal camp, or pot growing back in the canyon – up to something he didn’t want known.  I immediately gathered my things and left, hiking to my truck.

ManzanaI returned a week later. Again, by myself, thinking whoever lurked in that canyon ought to be gone. I wanted to survey the situation – like I said, this is a trail I used a lot, a place I wanted to bring the kids. I might add, I am always very aware in the wild, especially by myself. But on this occasion, I half expected to run into someone, so was particularly aware. That’s one reason my memory is clear.

I walked beyond the trees to where I saw the man run and found a path. The path led up the shallow canyon towards an unusual blue-gray cut in the mountain that looked like a small mining operation from a time in the past. I found an old fallen windmill near the cut, and some rusted sections of a water tank confirming my suspicion.

I found no campsite, or trash, or other evidence of recent activity. I explored the artifacts and then continued up the draw, which led to a shallow saddle on a ridge. I had to scrabble up a rocky cleft to gain the ridge.

When I topped the ridge, I looked down into a lush green pocket valley, enclosed by cliffs on the opposite side; and on my side, a sandy slope covered in Manzanita. This verdant valley looked untouched and inviting – I could see no roads, or trails. The slope into it was bowl-like and negotiable, so I continued on, skirting the hillside looking for the best way down.

The path ended at the ridge, so I continued on game trails that wove through the chaparral. The Manzanita grew five feet tall, spaced such that I could wend my way through it, but not in a straight line. I could see over the top, but I couldn’t see through. The day was calm, clear, sunny and warm. I’d worked-up a good sweat climbing the ridge, hearing nothing but the sound of my own heavy breathing.

IMG_0581“EEAAAAAAHHHH” – a shriek filled the valley – I stopped in my tracks. The sound came from below, and was directed right at me. So sudden, so loud, and so…unknown was this sound that it startled me witless.

It’s perplexing to hear something you can’t identify – especially in the wild, without warning, where there shouldn’t be such a sound.

No living thing I know in those woods could make that ripping scream; no lion, bobcat, or condor could have carried that volume, or pitch. What entered my mind was T-Rex … from “Jurassic Park.”

The shriek gave me chills, but I knew there had to be a rational answer. My mind ticked through possibilities and came up with the best similarity – there must be heavy equipment in the canyon. Only the screech of metal-on-metal made any sense. I imagined a giant, rusty gate hinge. Only it wasn’t quite like that.

I listened for other sounds. I looked. Nothing moved. There was no sound, or sight of anything – nothing but a pristine valley overgrown with oak and pine along the narrow stream below. There were not supposed to be machines in the Wilderness Area.

The sound didn’t waft up to me, bouncing and distorting off the canyon walls. It hit my face, so to speak, like standing in front of a loudspeaker. Nevertheless, I rationalized the sound must have come from somewhere around a dog-leg in the canyon where I could not see. If I could see down there, I was sure there would be a backhoe, or bulldozer doing heavy work.

I continued across the slope to a rise that promised a view past the dog-leg. As I topped the rise the ground became steep and sandy and I had to dig in my boots to get a stance, which occupied my attention. When I looked – I had a perfect view. I saw the entire length past the dog-leg and the slopes all around. There was nothing there.

I stood for only a moment surveying the scene. Not a fly buzzed it was so still. And then a feeling came over me – I did not belong there.

IMG_0023This was far more than a feeling of being watched, or a case of heebie-jeebies – I’ve had those before. Some thing didn’t want me there. I struggled with this feeling – trying to swallow it. It made no sense, but it kept building almost to a feeling of panic. I turned and retraced my steps towards the ridge.

As I neared the ridge, I heard what sounded like footfalls behind me, in time with my own. I told myself it was my imagination, until I stopped at the ridge top, where I had to climb down the cleft, and I heard one more footfall that wasn’t mine.

I hurtled down the cleft in two bounds, and ran a good fifty yards. Then I heard another sound. It came from the ridge. I turned, thinking I would see whatever was coming down the cleft. There was nothing, except one branch swaying among some brush below the cleft. Just one branch.

I turned and made double time all the way to the Land Rover, roughly three miles, got in and locked the doors. Even inside, with the doors locked, I had the willies driving down the long road.

About five miles from Doughnut Flat, outside the wilderness area at a considerably lower elevation, there is an oilfield with active drilling and production work. As I passed through this area, I thought, what I heard was oil-field equipment. They must be drilling near the Wilderness close to where I was. Convinced I’d found the answer, I forgot about the incident … for ten years.

BF2I am not prone to apprehension in the wilderness. I generally feel quite safe and competent on my own. I’ve spent many days and nights backpacking alone in remote areas, including several trips in this Wilderness. I have experienced weird feelings, like being watched, or that a place feels spooky on occasion. It isn’t unusual in lonely, remote places where creatures roam. But I have never been scared, even confronted by bears, and I’ve never felt compelled to leave a place before, or since this experience.

I never connected the sound with Bigfoot. In my mind Bigfoot – well, if he even exists – lives in rainforests far north, not down in the coastal mountains fifty miles from LA. It wasn’t until my interest in Bigfoot got sparked by someone I admire that the connection finally came.

I’m a fan of Survivorman, and think Les Stroud is an honest, sober guy with a whole lot of back country experience. So when he started looking for Bigfoot, I took it seriously.

Intrigued by his show, I looked through You-Tube for other info, where I ran across various alleged recordings of Bigfoot vocals. That’s when I recognized the sound.

I heard the same blood curdling screech of a rusty hinge, chorused with a resonant, guttural growl. It’s been described as many voices screaming, or many dogs barking in unison. Bigfoot researchers speculate it is a warning.

IMG_1683That is certainly what I felt. The memory of the event is quite clear. I had to look for one more thing.

I found the place on Google Earth. I found views from the same time frame. There is no road, no nearby oil field. Not even a trail in that canyon, or anywhere for miles around. I looked up sightings for the area on the BFRO web-site. There have been several in the Sespe, going back decades.

I also discovered a wealth of information about that one credible Patterson-Gimlin film that has been enhanced and analyzed with digital technology not available at the time it was filmed. There is incredible detail of body proportion and movement that cannot be human.

Whatever drove me out of that canyon made a hell of a noise I cannot associate with anything but a Bigfoot vocalization. Now that I’ve heard it, I can’t ignore it. I’m going back to that canyon, once I find somebody who’ll go with me..


Why do people believe weird things? Because they believe this guy…

“Skeptic” Michael Shermer shows his true colors – too lazy to listen, denigrates EU Community ad hominem – lost in the circular reasoning of establishment science.

Shamelessly misleads….claims EU about Chemtrails and 9/11 conspiracy.

Dr. Donald Scott rebuttal…Scientific American won’t fact check.

lightnings12What’s Hot…Lightning.

  • Mountain buster lightning…Nat Geo
  • Rock melting lightning…Live Science
  • Paleo-lightning and petroglyphs…JSTOR
  • From petroglyphs to Mars…USRA

The Daily Plasma is the new landing page for up to date news and fascinating articles. Plus a listing of sites with news of science, Electric Universe and even Bigfoot. See these articles and more…and if you know an article, a website, or you-tube channel worth following, let me know and I’ll include it.