I’m not a big fan of snow. It’s cold. It’s wet. It’s a lot of things that don’t make sense to me. However, there are some great things about snow. My favorite thing about it, is of course, SnowSquatches.
The Legend of Boggy Creek was an important movie to me when I was growing up in the 1970’s Honestly, it scared the willies out of me. Since then I’ve watched the film dozens of times, including at a screening in Texarkana when we were filming an episode of Finding Bigfoot based on the local sightings. I suppose it was because of my special relationship that I chose Boggy Creek Monster to be the first movie to watch made by Seth Breedlove and his Small Town Monsters production team.
The reader should probably know that I have a love/hate relationship with bigfoot documentaries. I have a special place in my heart for those that I watched growing up. Many modern documentaries seem to lack something in my mind. Perhaps it’s the familiar format of talking heads and recreations. Maybe it’s that they lack actual evidence and analysis and instead rely on eyewitness testimony. Maybe it’s just that I worked on a television show for eight years and the magic is gone in my eyes. I don’t know. Whatever the case, it’s hard for me to get excited about watching bigfoot television anymore. However, after being gently heckled by Seth about not having any of his films on my list of recommended documentaries, I decided to do my friend a solid and start watching his films. I’m glad I did.
Boggy Creek Monster is a deep dive into the events surrounding the film, The Legend of Boggy Creek. Hosted and narrated by the only person qualified for the job, Lyle Blackburn, the film has information and access to locations and evidence that had never been presented in this format.
In case the reader is unaware, Lyle write the book, The Beast of Boggy Creek, which documents the sighting reports in the movie, as well as the bigfoot activity in the area before and after the film was made. He has done a masterful job digging into the bigfoot history and current activity in the Fouke, AR area, and has endeared himself to the community, giving him access to never-before-heard accounts.
I was pleased to find a plethora of historical documents and images in Boggy Creek Monster. The photographs of the famous footprints through the bean field were some I had never seen. Actual locations from The Legend of Boggy Creek where actual bigfoot encounters occurred were shown in the film, bringing them to life in a way that no still photograph could.
Speaking of those footprints through the bean field, most researchers have deep doubts about their authenticity due to there being only three toes visible in the cast. While I also have my doubts, there is an outside chance they could be real. I find that the vast majority of bigfoot enthusiasts and even researchers don’t have a good grasp on the flexibility of the sasquatch foot. I have numerous casts in my collection in which not all five digits registered in the ground. Three is a bit strange, but it’s possible. Unless deformed or injured, the animal would have five digits, but if the sasquatch favored the inside (or outside) of its foot as it walked, it is possible that such prints could result. I still suspect they are likely a hoax because of the uproar of events in the area, but I thought this point was worth mentioning.
The film featured footage of Smokey Crabtree, author and default patriarch of the Boggy Creek legend. I did not meet Smokey before he died, though I wish I had. He was feeling ill when we were filming the Finding Bigfoot episode in the area and was unable to get together, but I did have the opportunity to meet numerous other Crabtrees in the area. Let me tell you, there are a lot of Crabtrees in the area. It was no shock to me that there is a body of water nearby named Crabtree Lake.
Doyle Holmes, one of the witnesses we worked with on Finding Bigfoot, was featured in the film as well. He retold the story we featured in our episode, but he also had the opportunity to recount his second sighting as well, which our editors chose not to include in the Finding Bigfoot episode. The second sighting was interesting in that he observed a juvenile, supporting the idea that the Mercer Bayou is a rich enough habitat to support a breeding population of sasquatches. Doyle’s 2004 cast got some screen time as well.
I really enjoyed Boggy Creek Monster and was happy I took the time to watch it. I certainly enjoyed it enough to get over my bigfoot-documentary bias and take the plunge into some of the other documentaries Seth and his team have made. More reviews will be coming! Besides, I owed it to Seth. I made friends with the man before I watched any of his works. Apparently, I have some catching up to do.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post lead you straight to Amazon where you can purchase something or other. I might get a small commission if you do buy something. However, I wouldn’t link to it unless I thought it was cool and I already had one in my collection.
Last May at the Ohio Bigfoot Festival, I was pulled aside for a few moments by Kevin Patrick for a short on-camera interview. Kevin recently shared the completed interview below with me.
He was very patient and persistent with me as he waited for me to take care of customers at my merchandise table or people wanting selfies. If you’ve been to the Ohio Bigfoot Conference, you know that can be a long wait. The vendor room is packed to capacity for much of the day.
I will be appearing at the Ohio Bigfoot Festival again this year on May 4, 2019. I understand it has already sold out, as it does every year in less than a couple hours. Keep your eyes on the event’s Facebook page, though. The organizer sometimes has cancellations or other opportunities to release more tickets.
Bigfoot researchers face a conundrum of life-and-death importance. We pretend that it’s not true, but it is. The only way that sasquatches will be proven as a real species is for a dead one, or a large portion of one, to be brought in for scientific scrutiny. That’s right, a dead one is the only way this mystery will be solved.
We might hope that DNA evidence will prove the species exists without having to kill one, but this is unlikely. Novel DNA would only draw the interest of those specialists that understand DNA data to begin with. I suppose that when enough specialists start making enough noise about the likelihood of bigfoots being real, then perhaps an organized party would be dispatched with the mandate to take a specimen. At the end of it all, though, is a dead one.
This post isn’t about whether or not that point of view is morally or philosophically right (we all have our opinions), but rather about the dangers that obtaining a specimen holds in store for the person holding the gun. It is a position that I would never want to be in, and one that could cost the hunter his/her own life, as well as that of the sasquatch in the cross hairs.
The first danger that comes immediately to mind is the general hazard of being in the woods. Since most seasoned hunters are pretty well equipped to deal with the elements and animal dangers in the woods, I’ll skip this one.
Personal safety should be seriously considered AFTER the shot is fired at a sasquatch. If a hunter managed to shoot one of these things, it is most likely that the shot would not immediately kill the sasquatch. So, the hunter would effectively manage to seriously injure and piss off a cunningly intelligent, blindingly fast, and brutally strong monster that probably knows where you parked your car. Think about that walk back to the car, probably in the dark, and probably in difficult terrain… The wounded sasquatch is out there somewhere, and it isn’t happy.
In the unlikely event that the sasquatch is brought down with one or two shots, can one be sure it was alone? Primates, whether we’re talking about humans, baboons, or apes, are social animals. When a bigfoot vocalizes or knocks, is it doing that to itself? Probably not. They’re doing that to communicate with the other bigfoots in the neighborhood. If there are other bigfoots in the neighborhood, I wonder what they’d think about someone killing a member of their family group? They might feel much like what you would feel like under similar circumstances: vengeful.
Dr. Krantz, an advocate of killing a sasquatch to prove they exist, was once asked what he’d do after killing a sasquatch. He thought for a moment and replied, “Reload.” Good advice.
And finally, think about misidentifications. What if it’s not a bigfoot that is being shot at? What if it’s a person in an ape costume? What if it’s a person in dark clothing? While laws prohibiting the hunt of sasquatches are rare, it is illegal to shoot morons in ape costumes everywhere in America and Canada.
Hunters out there are probably saying that they know about the first rule of hunting, which is to never shoot at anything unless you are absolutely positive you know what it is. That may be true, but some hunters aren’t as smart as you probably are, and mistakes happen. It’s possible that somebody might take a shot at someone thinking they were a bigfoot.
That happened recently. Check out this news item:
Montana man says he was shot at after being mistaken for Bigfoot
Alleged shooter: “If I see something that looks like Bigfoot, I just shoot”
By Brian Newlin
HELENA, Mont. – A Montana man told authorities Monday that he had been shot at while doing target practice because a man mistook him for Bigfoot.
The 27-year-old alleged victim said he had been putting up targets on public land in the North Hills on Sunday when bullets started flying. He told police a bullet hit about 3 feet to his left, and then another to his right before he ran for cover and continued to hear more shots.
The man said he then confronted the shooter, who was in a black Ford F-150. The shooter reportedly told him that because he wasn’t wearing orange, he thought he was the mythical creature Bigfoot.
“I don’t target practice, but if I see something that looks like Bigfoot, I just shoot at it,” the shooter said, according to the victim.
For the rest of the article, click this link.
I ran across this exquisite doll depicting a person in a Dzonoqua ceremonial mask and costume. The mask shows the traditional depiction of Dzonoqua, the wild woman of the woods, with her pursed lips as if whistling (as bigfoots are reported to do). Dzonoqua is covered in hair, and is often represented in ceremonies by a person wearing bear fur and a mask as is seen in the doll. In the images above, Dzonoqua’s breasts are depicted indicating she is a female figure, a giantess or ogress, not her mail counterpart known as Bukwas. It is generally thought that she and Bukwas represent sasquatch. For more on the Dzonoqua mythology, click this link.
The artist responsible for this piece is the late Shona-Hah, also known as Mary Smith. The work was created sometime around 1980 using red cedar, cedar bark, wood, faux fur, greens and pigment. I think all would agree this is a tremendous representation.
I could find little online about Shona-Hah, though I found many pieces of art she created. What little I found about the artist herself is below:
Shona-Hah (1912-1997) is the mother of Lelooska, Kwunkwa-dzi, Patty Fawn, and Tsungani. She was born in a black walnut log cabin in Oklahoma’s old Cherokee Nation. There, she was given the name Shona-Hah, “gray dove”. Her Kwakiutl name, Tl’alilhilugwa, bestowed in 1968 by , means “whale rising”.
Shona-Hah’s life bespeaks her Indian heritage. In her youth, she both trained horses and rode in races and exhibitions. As a small child, she began participating in the traditional dances and continued throughout her life. Always interested in all facets of Indian art, she exceled at beadwork, skin sewing, carving, painting, and doll making.
Her dolls are valued highly by private collectors and museums as illustrations of vanished cultures. They bring alive both ceremonial and every day events in the lives of the people of many different North American tribes. From the Osage of Oklahoma to the Kwakiutls of British Columbia, she draws on first-hand knowledge of the cultures and the memories of the Old Ones for her inspiration.
Shona-Hah’s children credit her with their love and respect for Indian art and traditions. She taught them the skills she had acquired and sacrificed to help them become artists in their own right.
“She and our grandfather,” Lelooska says, “imparted to us that which was to become the essence of our heritage.”
Passing away in October of 1997, Shona-Hah occupied a place of major importance in the family structure. A cohesive element in the group, she was also an important contributor to the educational programs. She not only participated in them, she also made many of the costumes.
If you or someone you know has more information about Shona Ha, her work, or her legacy, I would be very interested to hear more about it. Feel free to contact me by clicking this link and sharing what you know about her. Thank you!
UPDATE – 12/18/18
A reader sent me more information on Shona-Hah from the Seattle Times. The article is below:
Indian Dollmaker Carves Niche For Herself With An EyeFor Detail
By Tom Vogt
ARIEL, Cowlitz County – Shona-Hah prefers old faces. Creased by the years, weary and wrinkled, they have stories to tell. And she helps tell them. She coaxes their stories out of wood, then fills them in with cloth and leather and human hair. When she’s done, the result is a 12-inch doll portraying a Native American; an old Indian,usually.
“I don’t like to carve young people,” she said in her studio near Ariel, northeast of Woodland. “They don’t have much to say. Older people have a lot of history on them.”
That includes the Clark County dollmaker. Her father performed in Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show. Born in 1911, Mary Smith is three-quarters Cherokee and one-quarter French. (Shona-Hah is Cherokee for Gray Dove and it is the name she uses professionally.) She says she was born in Oklahoma or Missouri. Their dirt-floor cabin straddled the state line, and “I don’t know which state I was born in,” she said with a smile.
She lived on a reservation until the age of 4, then grew up on a Wyoming cattle ranch. At 6, Mary survived being struck by lightning. “Shoshone and Arapaho would come down to touch her,” Don Smith, her son, said. “They thought she was blessed. That’s some heavy-duty blessing.
“Don Smith was seated at a nearby table, bent over a block of cedar that will become shore birds nesting on an ocean-side rock. He is better known as noted story-teller and mask-carver Chief Lelooska.
“Almost everybody here has more than one name; it’s hard for the post office to sort it out,” said Patty Fawn, Mary Smith’s daughter.
BEEN ARTIST MOST OF HER LIFE
Three of Mary Smith’s four children are artists with work on display at the Lelooska Gallery. Mary Smith has been an artist for most of her life, although she might dispute that description.
“She doesn’t consider herself an artist,” Fawn said. “But people who collect her dolls fight over them.
“One collector calls Mary Smith the modern equivalent of Charlie Russell.
“He was the best of the Western artists,” said Ken MacRae of Enumclaw. “She has more skill, she’s better at what she does” than anyone else in her line of work.
“Most people call them dolls, but I call them little people,” said MacRae, who has been collecting Smith’s work for 30 years. “She doesn’t know she’s the artist that she is.”
“I carve to help make a living for my family,” Mary Smith said as her son’s knife released more fragrance of fresh-carved cedar into the room. “It’s a necessity. Isn’t that what drives us all?
“I just remember the crazy jobs I took,” said Smith, who just turned 84. “I carved a lot of flying horses for Mobil Oil managers. I’ve done velvet paintings. One woman, whose husband was an importer, had her house fashioned in Chinese style and wanted dragons on her drapes.”
After the woman bought two huge pieces of velvet for the drapes, “We painted gold dragons on black velvet,” she said.
“I carved 100 horses with saddles so we could put a roof on our house here,” she said.
DIDN’T KEEP COUNT OF PIECES
Smith has no idea how many Indian dolls she has produced, although she kept a log for several years.
“You can see the price go up, too,” Smith said. The early works in the log went for about $250 in the mid 1970’s. One of her latest creations is “The Journey,” showing an old woman and her dog on a trek. It is on display next door at the family gallery with a price tag of $1,250. MacRae said four of Smith’s dolls were selling for $1,800 apiece at a recent Indian art show in California.
Each transaction in Smith’s log also described the type of Indian, and what he or she was doing.
“I like to have them doing something – making baskets, cutting up a salmon. One played the violin,” Smith said. Her current creation is an Indian woman carrying her grandson in a blanket backpack.
“Like a lot of people raised traditionally, an Indian lady is never idle,” Don Smith said. “That’s why the dolls do something.”
Each Indian also represents a particular tribe.
“We always try to put them in authentic costumes,” she said. “Seminoles are the worst – those costumes. And they’ll drive you crazy with their hairdos.”
“Nobody anywhere is making them as accurately as she is,” MacRae said.
Copyright (c) 1995 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.
|Found by||Witness name withheld|
|Length||16 in (see below)|
|Width (ball)||7.7 in (see below)|
|Width (heel)||(see below)|
I received an email from a man who lives in Tillamook County about a footprint find near Munson Creek. About a mile back from the gate on Munson Road, a series of footprints was found. No measurements were taken of the step nor stride length. The trackway was followed for about 50 yards until they were lost. The witness returned to the location the next day, but heavy rains had all but destroyed the footprints. No casts were taken from the site.
The witness reported the tracks measured 16 inches long, and 7.5 inches wide. However, the partial print in the gallery below with the measuring tape next to it indicates that the print was actually in the realm of 13 or 14 inches. Perhaps the witness measured a track with some slippage or elongation due to the substrate. Perhaps the shorter measurement in the photographs is due to the lack of impression in the heel. This is unknown.
The photograph above was taken by the reporting witness, but the other two photographs (see gallery below) were taken by his companion with him that day.
Other sightings have occurred in this same area over the years. In fact, just a month later and only two miles away a logging truck driver reported seeing a tan bigfoot running through timber. The driver initially thought it was an elk but saw it was on two legs. The sasquatch seemed to raise an arm towards the driver “almost as if it was acknowledging” the driver and turned off into the trees and disappeared.
Over the years, I have spent a lot of time in the woods at night trying to elicit vocalizations from sasquatches. To get a bigfoot to call back, I usually make sounds of my own in hopes of tricking a sasquatch into thinking one of their own species is calling. I might try howls, screams, whoops, or any number of other vocalizations. Usually, nothing calls back and the night is quiet for long stretches of time. However, every once in a while a vocalization immediately rings out in the night suggesting a sasquatch was within earshot (or some other animal, like coyotes). Immediate call backs are rare, though. More commonly, a period of time passes, and a vocalization happens when one least expects it (which is a good reason to have an audio recorder constantly running). These vocalizations could happen a few minutes later, or quite a bit later in the night.
I’ve often speculated why this might be true, thinking the sasquatch was far away and wanted to get closer to the source noise (my vocalization), or perhaps wanted to move to a better acoustic position for listening our projecting sounds. A new hypothesis has now arisen from the study of another ape species, the orangutan.
Researchers exposed wild orangutans to models of predators (like tigers) and waited for alarm responses. As it turns out, the closer the predator was to the orangutan, the longer it waited to vocalize its alarm call. Also, the younger a female’s infant was had bearing on when the orangutan would vocalize. In many cases, the vocalizations would come long after the predator model was removed.
What this means in the case of the orangutan is that the species can vocalize, or talk, about things that aren’t there. This is very rare in the animal kingdom with only humans and honeybees having this ability, often referred to as “displaced reference.”
Is this what is happening with sasquatches and their delayed callbacks? I’m not sure. However, it is certainly an interesting possibility that should be considered while doing field research. Just your presence in an area would likely be considered something of a threat for a sasquatch, so delays in responses should probably be the norm in this case.
I think the only takeaway for us researchers would be to cultivate patience when waiting for callbacks. Too often I’ve been in the woods and my colleagues have urged me to move on after only a few minutes of listening. I’ve always thought that a minimum of 20 or 30 minutes should be spent listening quietly for responses, and this study supports my gut feeling on this issue.
That the sasquatch might have the cognitive ability of displaced reference should come as no surprise. After all, they are likely a hominin like us in many ways, so they should show many of the same cognative features that we do, both morphologically and behaviorally. As we learn more about bigfoots, I will not at all be surprised when better documentation arises suggesting they have a language or some sort of proto-language with which they often chat each other up about stuff in the recent past or near future.
As a final note, I strongly suggest all bigfoot researchers dive deeply into the sciences of primatology and paleoanthropology. It is only by studying the context from which sasquatches arose that we will properly assign them their perch in the brushy limbs of human evolution. Studying the other apes will give insight to sasquatch behavior, as Dr. Bindernagel showed in his excellent book. Studying sasquatch behavior will shed light into what it means to be human by comparing and contrasting them with ourselves.
It’s easy enough to spot similarities between orangutans and humans — the “man of the forest” can certainly act human, and they share our big brains, social structures and even opposable thumbs. It shouldn’t be too surprising, since we also share about 97 percent of our DNA with the great apes.
But a new finding, published today in Science Advances, suggests we may have even more in common than that, as orangutans showed the capacity for a form of abstract communication we’d never seen before. It’s a finding that reflects not just the apes’ abilities, but may also shed light on how language evolved in the first place.
Thinking Like Orangutans
While many animals can communicate with each other, only humans seem to have actual languages, a hallmark of which is the ability to talk about things that aren’t there. The linguist Charles Hockett called this phenomenon “displaced reference,” since whatever the speaker referred to was displaced in space or time. Besides humans, only honeybees had been observed to engage in this behavior, communicating the location of food via dance — and it’s not really a function of cognitive abilities, either. Great apes, such as orangutans, have displayed the capacity for displaced reference, albeit only in captivity.
I do love November for its weather, holidays and for my birthday later in the month. I suspect that sasquatches do too, and for all the same reasons.
I also love that there is a holiday in November that celebrates gratitude. Are you thankful for bigfoot? I am.
If you click the link above and purchase that shirt, I get a small commission on it. It’s OK, though. I wouldn’t offer you any products that I don’t personally like.
From the same good people who brought you the game Yeti in my Spaghetti comes their next cryptozoological installment, Yeti, Set, Go! I haven’t played this one, but it seems that you try to kick meatballs to the top of a mountain ledges, and the first player to kick all their meatballs on the ledges wins. Simple, to the point, and squatchy. I love it.
Disclaimer: The above links sends you right to the Amazon page where you can buy this game. I get a small commission on your purchase, but I wouldn’t recommend this game if it didn’t look like a good way for your children (or your inner child) to enjoy some family time with a hairy hominoid theme!
I recently was interviewed for a podcast called “On the Odd.” Here is the result!