One would think that a highlight of my job would be to travel to all sorts of locations in search for sasquatches, and that would be a correct assumption. However, as the saying goes, there is no place like home. Whenever we have done episodes in the Pacific Northwest, they always turn out to be my favorites.
This episode was particularly fun for me because the main evidence that brought us back to Oregon was the London Trackway. Detailed information on the London Trackway can be found elsewhere on my website, but our investigation turned up a few new tidbits that were interesting to share with the team. For example, when Max Roy found the footprints he was told about by the dog walker, he initially only found two footprints. He was unaware of two other good prints just a few yards away from the tracks in the ground that Toby Johnson later cast. Max was also unaware of the 122 footprints that led out into the lake bed and back to the forest line. Many of these footprints were later cast by Chris Minnear and me on the night of February 16, 2012, and then the following day by Thom Powell and Guy Edwards.
Joining us for our investigation was a man named Eric, though he did not appear in the final cut that made it to the TV screen. Eric is the second tallest man in Oregon, standing at an incredible seven feet, three inches in height. Even Bobo was dwarfed by this man. (It was good to see Bobo get a feel of what I go through when I stand next to him.) Eric was kind enough to let me cast a couple of his footprints in the sandy substrate that forms the edge of Cottage Grove Reservoir. Most of the London Trackway was in the sticky, organic muck of the lake bottom, but several casts were taken from the same substrate that Eric walked in, so a comparison between the prints is a valuable exercise.
Eric’s footprints are almost as long as the London prints, but there are some very stark differences. First of all, Eric’s feet are only four inches wide at the ball while the London prints vary from five inches to six and a quarter inches. The average ball width of the London prints is five and three-quarters inches, making them one-third wider than Eric’s foot. Eric’s heel also fell far short of the width of the London individual, measuring only three inches wide as compared to four or more inches in the case of the latter. Eric’s longitudinal arch, which is the big arch that runs front to back on a human foot, left clear markers in his footprints, while the London individual left no such markers.
There were some similarities that I found interesting as well. While walking across the sandy substrate, Eric kicked up a thin ridge of soil right behind the toes. Many of the London tracks show this same feature. This ridge initially concerned me because of my expectations that it would be further back on the foot, probably behind the mid part of the foot commonly associated with the midtarsal hinge area. However, Eric’s prints having this same ridge at approximately the same location has shown it to be a naturally occurring feature.
For this episode, we had the opportunity to visit the locations where Chris Minniear and his friend Will saw a bigfoot. Will was a skeptic when he went out that night with Chris, but after seeing the bigfoot for himself, he has now changed his mind on the matter. Whenever I drive south past Cottage Grove, I always turn to the east to look at the clearcut where Chris and Will observed their bigfoots, as the location is clearly visible from Interstate 5.
Chris was trying to use scent attractants that night, but not the ones that are commonly used. Instead of pheromone chips or apple scents, Chris soaked a rag in the cheapest cologne he could find. Why not? It would cost almost nothing, and the smell would probably be totally foreign to a bigfoot in the wilds of Oregon. I think this is a great idea, as the best way to get a bigfoot close to you is to do something interesting that it has never experienced before. Whatever the case, this is a circumstance in which this seemed to work.
What didn’t seem to translate well to television is that Chris and Will believe there were three bigfoots there that night. They saw the big one at the edge of the wood line only 65 yards away, but there seemed to be another one a bit further down slope, based on another shadow that was observed moving about in that area. At about the same time these two were observed, a tall shadowy figure ran across the road to their right just inside the tree line. Over the coming months, more bigfoot activity would be reported from this same hillside, further reaffirming the men’s encounter that night.
John Bull, another friend who was on hand for the casting of the London Trackway, was another featured witness on this episode. I had never heard John’s story, however, so his close encounter was full of surprises for me. John observed the bigfoot over 20 years ago, but an experience like that is not soon forgotten, and his vivid description was full of details. Of particular note was the eyes of the creature, which were described as green in color with a slight sclera (the white part of the eyes) at the outside fringes. Keep in mind that John observed this sasquatch for a good period of time over three days as it returned to the stump to watch the prospectors.
As the team’s resident tree-climber, I was chosen to ascend to the top of a 100 foot tall douglas fir tree at the top of a clear cut for our final night investigation. My guides for this adventure were Rob and Jason from the Pacific Tree Climbing Institute. Rob and Jason went up before me to suspend a cable between to adjacent trees, from which they hung a 4 foot by 8 foot portaledge where I sat for four hours with Rob (our guide) and Tyler Bounds, who was tasked with filming me. Three men in 32 square feet is pretty crowded, especially when suspended more than 100 feet above the ground. It was a cramped, unnerving experience, to say the very least. Still, when I heard those three initial knocks coming from the valley floor, it made the cramped quarters well worth it. Throughout the rest of the night, we heard five more knocks just to round out the night. Rob, our tree climbing guide, heard his first knock that night, and I’m pretty sure he is now a believer. One more convert for an ever-growing number of people on the correct side of the fence…