New Mexico might be one of the last states one thinks of when considering the possibilities of bigfoot. UFO’s, sure, but bigfoot? As it turns out, New Mexico’s dry, high, forested altitudes make for excellent bigfoot habitat. Swamps, forests, meadows, rivers, and everything that goes with these exist in bountiful amounts in isolated pockets throughout the mountains of New Mexico.
Our expedition was centered around the Valles Caldera, one of the world’s six known land-based supervolcanoes. With a diameter of over 12 miles, this caldera is a sight to behold. Huge herds of elk and deer graze on the native perennial grass, and these ungulate herds maintain a healthy population of the animals that feed on them, including sasquatches.
The evidence that brought us to this part of New Mexico was a group of thermal videos of a possible bigfoot taken by Washingtonian Kirk Brandenburg while on a BFRO expedition in April of 2011. The location of the expedition was chosen based on a history of encounters doing back years.
It was seeming like a pretty slow expedition, as no sounds indicating the presence of saquatches were heard during the trip. On one of the nights, Kirk decided he was going to use his H-Series FLIR thermal imager to monitor some outlying tents near their camp in the case of a nocturnal visit by a bigfoot. Before setting up the gear, he took a few looks around camp. One of the sweeps of the outlying area showed what Kirk initially thought was a stump or some other inanimate object. Though the figure didn’t seem to be moving, he zoomed in on the figure for a closer look for a second video. Finally, a third video of the object was obtained from a slightly different position, about twenty feet closer than the first two clips.
It was only the next day when Kirk realized what he might have captured on video. He was discussing the strange thing he saw the night before with his fellow expeditioners, and they later reviewed the footage on a larger laptop screen. The humanoid shape was only then really visible. They then went to the location where Kirk was standing and looked through the thermal imager to where the figure was standing, and much to Kirk’s surprise, the figure was gone.
Kirk, being a seasoned bigfoot investigator, took several measurements and took careful note of where he was standing for each of the three pieces of footage. He also took efforts to figure out where the subject was standing. We used this information in our recreation of the video, though slight refinements of camera position and subject placement were made. These refinements were based on the use of trees and limbs in the foreground of the video. I am confident that I was standing just a few feet at most from the exact location Kirk was in when the video was taken.
The subject of the video was 142 yards from the camera in the first and third videos. By putting Bobo in the subject’s position, it was clear that whatever that is in the video was bigger than Bobo, both in height and girth. My best estimate of the figure’s height placed it between 7 and 7.5 feet tall.
Kirk also did an excellent analysis of his own video. The height he arrived at was 7 ft 1 in. Since both of our estimates match each other, I am satisfied that this is the real approximate height of the unknown figure. Below is a video from Kirk’s Youtube channel showing his work.
Joe and Vanessa, the good-looking younger couple Ranae and I interviewed, encountered their bigfoot in the exact same valley where Kirk filmed the possible sasquatch, but seven months earlier in September of 2010. There were more details to their encounter that didn’t make the final cut of the show. The creature woke the couple up as they were sleeping in the back of an SUV. It brushed up against the car at one point as it walked around their camp. The creature then messed around with the cooler, and knocked down a piles of poles and a shovel with a loud crash. Immediately behind the SUV, Joe had put up one of those “instant pop-up” canopies with four aluminum legs, no walls, and a tarp-like ceiling. The creature moved the canopy, and flipped it over. When Joe and Vanessa found it, it was over 30 feet away from where they had set it up, and turned upside-down.
As the creature walked by the back window of the SUV, the couple saw its profile, giving them a decent idea of what they were listening to. They saw a large, man-shaped figure silhouetted against the background sky. The size of the figure, however, clearly indicated that they were not looking at just a large man. The witnesses both indicated that there was no chance that they were looking at any other shape but a man-shaped object, thus safely eliminating elk, deer, or bear.
The figure was so terrifying that the couple left the campsite that night and slept on the side of a nearby highway. When they returned the next morning, they found their camp slightly disheveled, but what really grabbed their attention was their cooler. A large, dirty hand print was clearly left on their white cooler by whatever was messing with it the night before. The palm of the hand was placed on its top, and three fingers left marks on the side of the cooler. The print was so clear and fresh that they could make out flexion creases on the fingers. The distance from the palm to the tip of the fingers was approximately 15 inches.
Our recreation gave us some very good estimates of the size of this creature: about 6 feet 3 inches tall at the shoulder. The top of the head was obscured from view due to the size of the window. A quick measurement using my own height and proportions show that my head is about 17.6% of my body height (12 inch head on a 68 inch body). So if this proportion holds approximately true for most humans, then the total height of the figure would be 7 ft 9 in. That’s a truly gigantic human roaming around empty camps in the middle of the night!
However, bigfoots are not humans, so they do not have human proportions. Their heads seem to sit right on top of their shoulders with little or no neck extension, and their chins are lower than this level by some distance. A different ratio must be used when determining a bigfoot’s height.
Using the subject in the Patterson/Gimlin film, I have determined that when looked at from behind, the head sticks up above a bigfoot’s shoulders to represent 15% of its body height when walking. Using this smaller figure, it can be determined that the top of the figure’s head was somewhere in the range of 7 ft 4 inches. Interestingly, this is squarely in the range of the height of the figure that Kirk filmed just a few hundred yards from where this encounter happened. This could easily be the very same sasquatch in its stomping grounds only a few months before it was filmed. This is also the height of the figure that Christina saw looking in her window in our later recreation. Since Christina’s property is just a few miles from the site of Joe and Vanessa’s encounter and Kirk’s film, it seems likely that this is also the same individual.
For me, a definite highlight of the New Mexico expedition was the hot air balloon ride. It was far scarier than it looked on screen. To begin with, nobody had ever flown a balloon out of the valley we were in because of the unpredictable wind currents. In fact, our pilot was chosen because of not only his flight record (more than 3000 flights), but also for the fact that he was pretty much the only pilot who would be willing to even try to take off from this canyon. He later told us that it was on his bucket list of crazy things he’d like to try.
For more than an hour before take off, our pilot continually let loose test balloons to determine wind direction and speed. Every time he did so, he had a worried look on his face. Right before we were scheduled to launch, he said that he couldn’t make the flight because it was too dangerous. We then realized that we were going to have to do the balloon scenes while tethered to the ground, only a hundred or so feet above the valley floor. Obviously, we were deeply disappointed, and Bobo and I were grumbling to ourselves about being put in position to have to fake something cool in a lame way.
Suddenly, without even letting loose another test balloon, the pilot said, “OK, I’ll do it. Let’s go now before I change my mind.”
I very briefly wondered what changed, but then realized nothing had. It was still dangerous, and the pilot was still worried. However, this was our only chance, and we wanted to get off the ground before the pilot could come to his senses and stop the whole affair. Bobo and I sprinted to the balloon and climbed in, along with Mark the cameraman, and Chad, the Co-Executive Producer.
Somehow, I knew things would be OK in the end, though I knew we were in for quite the ride. That’s the way it is whenever you hang out with Bobo in unpredictable environments. You may be in grave danger at some point, but it’ll somehow turn out fine, more or less. Besides, we are both strong in the Force, and a Jedi has to trust his/her feelings.
Immediately upon take off, it became apparent that the wind was going to be an issue. It was a bit stronger than we realized, and before gaining enough altitude, we were soon pushed into the tree tops of the towering pines that dotted the valley floor. Since only the basket scraped against the trees, the pilot laughed it off and called them “air brakes.” I think that was when it hit me that this was going to be one hell of a ride.
We started floating down wind through the narrow canyon, slightly gaining altitude as we went along. The buggy containing Matt and Ranae was zipping around beneath us, exploring this canyon or that along the way. As we gained enough altitude to get above the canyon walls and see the extended plateaus beyond, the pilot said, “We’ll be fine now, as long as we don’t end up going that way,” as he pointed to the west. Of course, as we climbed another hundred feet, the wind currents changed, and we started moving quickly westward. With a slightly worried look, the pilot started communicating via radio with his ground team to try to find a landing spot somewhere along our trajectory, and at a close enough distance where we still have some fuel to cushion our fall.
Picture, if you will, five grown men shoved in a 4 ft x 4 ft wicker basket, but make one of those men Bobo. Along with the propane tanks and a $60,000 camera, there’s not much room to move around. In fact, to change positions for various shots, we had to squeeze past one another, and often hang out over the edge of the basket at precarious angles. The experience of getting the necessary scenes shot while silently drifting in a dangerous direction hundreds of feet above the forested plateaus of New Mexico was one of the most awe-inspiring and exhilarating moments so far in my crazy life.
As our fuel tanks slowly emptied, I asked the pilot about how we were going to land without crashing. He looked at me, smiled a crooked smile, and said that every balloon landing was a crash landing. He went on to explain that since there was no landing gear on the basket, all balloon landings are considered crash landings by the FAA. His job was to make the “crash” part less dangerous. Most injuries and fatalities while landing are apparently caused by power lines, not smashing into the ground. Our difficulty would be finding a place that’s open enough to land in the thick woods below.
It was decided that we were to crash land on a fairly busy highway at the bottom of a deep canyon. While this was not an ideal spot, it was the last semi-safe location within range of our fuel tanks. If we somehow missed this landing site, we were basically screwed.
As we came over the lip of the canyon, I could see the two-lane highway below. Of course, right along the highway, and in fact crossing the highway at its widest part, were power lines. If we didn’t want to get electrocuted, our pilot would have to be pretty accurate on where he put us down.
Descending into the valley was sketchy, to say the very least. We started using the tops of the trees as “air brakes,” bumping the wicker basket into the top five to ten feet of tree tops to slow our horizontal speed. The unpredictable and cross-crossing air currents pushed us this way and that throughout our descent. At one point, we flew directly into the middle of a snag, and one of its bare branches ripped a sizable hole in our balloon a short distance above our heads. Another tree blocked our way, and with a solid “thud” we found ourselves teetering precariously on the top of a 30 foot precipice held aloft by our failing balloon and the warm air the pilot was pumping into it.
The pilot yelled, “Two of you, get out! Now!” The sense of urgency in his voice left no room for arguing. Chad and Mark scrambled out of the basket and perched themselves on the top of the cliff. Mark instinctively lifted his camera to his eye and started filming what would come next.
A gust of wind combined with a swift move by our pilot send the basket over the edge of the cliff with Bobo and I inside of it. The wind was pushing the balloon like a sail, dragging our basket behind it like a legless dog out for a walk. The pilot told us to duck down, so we squatted, laughed and felt the Force course through us. A few loud moments later, the basket slammed against the ground on the side of the highway at the bottom of the cliff, spilling Bobo and I out sideways. My landing was softer than Bobo’s, as I was thrown on top of him. Laughing wildly, Bobo and I stood up and gave each other an enthusiastic high five. What a ride!
The New Mexico expedition was excellent. The witnesses were very credible, and some sounds were heard on our night investigations that might have been bigfoots. Since our visit, several reports from this same area have been submitted to me via my website. Out of all the places I have traveled so far, New Mexico is definitely in the top three on the “must return” list. I will be back. It’s too squatchy there not to.
Back to Finding Bigfoot Season Three Episode Guide