THE BIGFOOT FILES | Chapter Thirteen: ‘The Bigfoot Adventure Weekend’

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(Editor’s note: This review contains major spoilers.)

Episode 4 of Chasing Bigfoot: The Quest for Truth is titled “The Bigfoot Adventure Weekend” and simply follows the organizers and the folks attending the 2016 event at Salt Fork State Park in Ohio.

It’s more informal and less informative than the previous episodes, which I reviewed. Here are the links for the reviews on Episode 1, Episode 2, and Episode 3.

This episode is an introduction for anyone interested in what happens on a family-friendly Bigfoot Adventure Weekends expedition. The event is a three-day, two-night camping trip and attracts Bigfoot enthusiasts from as far away as Canada, New York, and Florida.

“We started out with 12 to 15 the first year,” said Alan Megargle, one of the event’s three co-founders. “This year we’re close to 50. We have people here that have claimed to see Bigfoot and people here that have never been camping before. We have a whole mix of people. That’s what we take pride in this event. It’s for everyone.”

“Our expectation every year is that people come away and talk about it and realize it’s just a little more than about Bigfooting,” said co-founder Jesse Morgan. “It’s more about you can come out and have a good time. It doesn’t have to be so serious.”

“I think it was the third year we did it, and the group came back from the night hike and they were just freaking out because they had so much activity that was happening,” said co-founder Sharon Lomurno. “And they all came back to the campfire, and they were all chatting. That’s what makes us feel good.”

The episode features brief interviews with a few of the attendees from first-time families to more serious Bigfoot researchers like Robert Webb. Webb said he’s seen Bigfoot twice and shared photographs of his evidence (a twisted tree and a track at least 16 inches long). Webb leads us to the park’s Bigfoot Ridge and shows us the location of his first sighting, where he used a night vision device to see half the head, a shoulder, and the left arm of a Bigfoot behind a tree. He says he’s had more success with his “passive observation” technique than using howls and wood knocks.

The event also included a presentation on casting a Bigfoot print and a class about video and audio evidence. I have to admit hearing the audio playback of the howls of a possible Bigfoot was the highlight for me.

The centerpiece of Bigfoot Adventure Weekends is the night hikes where groups venture into the woods, using howls and wood knocks to try and stir up a Bigfoot.

“Ninety-five percent of the time nothing ever happens,” said Bigfoot investigator Marc DeWerth. “It’s just being persistent in your location.”

While nothing happened on the Bigfoot front, the night groups did hear sounds and movement, most likely an owl and coyotes. Trail cameras didn’t produce any interesting photographs over the weekend.

Anyone watching Episode 4 hoping for new evidence of Bigfoot will be disappointed. But if you’re interested in attending a Bigfoot Adventure Weekends event, the episode does give you an extended snapshot of what it’s all about.

I checked the website, and the next Bigfoot Adventure Weekend in Salt Fork State Park is scheduled August 28-30. It costs $140 for adults and $60 for children. There’s another one at Glen Isle Resort in Bailey, Colorado, from Aug. 7-9 for $150. Click here to go to the website.

Don’t expect to encounter Bigfoot at these events, though. But as one attendee said while gesturing to the other campers, “It really doesn’t matter if Bigfoot exists. This is what’s fun.”

NEXT UP: Chapter Fourteen: Chasing Bigfoot: The Quest for Truth. I review Episode 5 in the 2015 documentary series titled “Bigfoot Research and Evidence.”


Lionel Ray Green is a horror and fantasy writer, an award-winning newspaper journalist, and a U.S. Army gulf war veteran living in Alabama. Lionel writes a column for HorrorAddicts.net titled The Bigfoot Files. His fiction has appeared in more than two dozen anthologies, magazines, and ezines, and his short story “Scarecrow Road” won the WriterWriter 2018 International Halloween Themed Writing Competition All Hallows’ Prose. Visit his website at lionelraygreen.com and say hi.

THE BIGFOOT FILES : Chapter Twelve | ‘The Bigfoot Phenomenon’

bigfootfiles

(Editor’s note: This review contains major spoilers.)

Episode 3 of Chasing Bigfoot: The Quest for Truth is titled “The Bigfoot Phenomenon” and focuses on how the cryptid became so popular by interviewing investigators, researchers, and people in the business of selling Bigfoot merchandise.

While the first two episodes concentrated more on the actual cryptid, this episode is more about the media that propelled Bigfoot to popularity. You can read my reviews of the first episode here and the second episode here.

While sightings of Bigfoot were first reported in 1811, the phenomenon didn’t take off till the latter half of the 20th century.

“When Bigfoot was brought to TV, it really took off,” said Cliff Barackman, a researcher and a member of Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot team. “I think that popular television programs have really played a role in kind of getting the subject out there. There was a surge in the 1970s. In the 1970s you had things like In Search Of …, but really the 1980s kind of shut that surge down.”

What happened in the 1980s? The tabloids turned Bigfoot into fodder for trashy stories.

“The tabloids would blast on the front page ‘Bigfoot ate my baby’ … or all those nonsense things, and we all saw them while waiting in line at the grocery store,” Barackman said.

Today, many in the Bigfoot “business” feel the cryptid is a legitimate mystery.

“I think Bigfoot moved from tabloid … to something the majority of people think there may be something out there,” said Robert Swain, a co-founder of the Arkansas Primate Evidence Society.

Episode 3 mentions TV shows and movies like Bigfoot and Wildboy (1977), The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972), Harry and the Hendersons (1987), The Sasquatch Gang (2006), Fishing Naked (2015), and Willow Creek (2013) for helping popularize the elusive legend.

Of course, with the Internet now, anyone can share an encounter – or a hoax – the moment after it happens.

One of the more interesting parts of Episode 3 is the interviews with the people who have used the phenomenon for business. Consumers can pay to go on Bigfoot hunts, attend conferences, or buy merchandise.

“The number of people interested has grown,” said John Pickering, core member of the Olympic Project. “And with that, you have economic things become involved.”

In Episode 3, you meet Jim Myers who owns The Sasquatch Outpost in Bailey, Colorado, where you can tour a museum and meet Boomer, a seven-foot-tall Bigfoot figure; and Michael Johnson who’s co-founder of Sasquatch Investigations of the Rockies and the Bigfoot, Yowie & Yeti store in Denver, Colorado.

“A lot of people come to our store, and they’re looking for answers,” Johnson said.

Snuffy Destefano, of Pennsylvania, specializes in Bigfoot chainsaw carvings.

“I make a living off carving Bigfoot,” said Destefano while at an Ohio Bigfoot Conference where he was trying to sell his work to the more than 2,000 attendees.

The Bigfoot phenomenon has spawned a community of thousands of investigators and researchers, and many are part of organized associations.

“It’s become quite a hobby looking for more evidence,” Pickering said. “It’s becoming more a social affair.”

“The Bigfoot community at large is like this big dysfunctional family,” said Derek Randles, co-founder of the Olympic Project. “There’s a lot of infighting. There are a lot of politics in Bigfoot research. It would shock you.”

Whether or not Bigfoot is real, the phenomenon certainly is. There’s even a $1 million reward out there for someone who can produce a Bigfoot.

“You’re getting more sightings because now Bigfoot’s mainstream,” said Bigfoot investigator Marc DeWerth of Ohio. “Twenty-five years ago, if you said you saw a Bigfoot, you wouldn’t even tell your own family because nobody would believe you. I think the mystery is going to be solved very soon.”

Perhaps primatologist Esteban Sarmiento summed up the impetus of the Bigfoot phenomenon best.

“If you live long enough, you’ve seen things that you can’t explain.”

NEXT UP: Chapter Thirteen: Chasing Bigfoot: The Quest for Truth. I review Episode 4 in the 2015 documentary series titled “The Bigfoot Adventure Weekend.”


Lionel Ray Green is a horror and fantasy writer, an award-winning newspaper journalist, and a U.S. Army gulf war veteran living in Alabama. Lionel writes a column for HorrorAddicts.net titled The Bigfoot Files. His fiction has appeared in more than two dozen anthologies, magazines, and ezines, and his short story “Scarecrow Road” won the WriterWriter 2018 International Halloween Themed Writing Competition All Hallows’ Prose.

THE BIGFOOT FILES | Chapter Ten: Chasing Bigfoot: ‘The Nature of Bigfoot’

bigfootfiles

(Editor’s note: This review contains major spoilers.)

Episode 1 of Chasing Bigfoot: The Quest for Truth is titled “The Nature of Bigfoot” and delves into the history and legend of the Sasquatch. While Bigfoot enthusiasts will likely know most of what the episode covers, I certainly learned a couple of interesting tidbits of Bigfoot lore.

Not to be confused with Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot, Mill Creek Entertainment’s Chasing Bigfoot: The Quest for Truth is a documentary with five episodes of Season 1 streaming on Amazon Prime. It’s not following the adventures of hunters but rather is focused on examining the history of reported encounters and the phenomenon of Bigfoot. Episodes are only 24 minutes long and move along at a brisk pace.

Episode 1 features interviews with a number of Bigfoot researchers, including the usual players like wildlife researcher Doug Hajicek, Finding Bigfoot field researcher Cliff Barackman, and primatologist Esteban Sarmiento.

The interviews are mostly speculation and don’t reveal any earth-shattering insight.

For example, Hajicek estimates a minimum of 4,000 Bigfoots roams North America. Barackman says Bigfoot is a species of higher primate up to 9 feet tall. Sarmiento says if Bigfoot exists, it likely migrated from Asia across the Bering land bridge and has the same distribution as other animals that crossed the Bering Strait from Asia.

Okay. Those guesses are as good as any. After all, who can prove them right or wrong?

I was more interested in the accounts of history reported by the documentary, which are mostly well known to Bigfoot enthusiasts.

For example, Bigfoot first showed up in North America via the rock art and folklore of Native Americans.

The documentary also speculates Bigfoot could be a relative of prehistoric ape Gigantopithecus, citing fossil records and examination of scat.

The first report of Bigfoot by a white man happened in 1811 in Jasper, an alpine town in Alberta, Canada. A trader named David Thompson reported footprints 14 inches long and 8 inches wide in the snow.

The term Bigfoot was first used in a Humboldt Times newspaper report about Jerry Crew finding 16-inch long footprints at a construction site in California. However, after the construction company owner died, his family revealed it was a hoax.

But Bigfoot was born forever into pop culture.

Despite the hoaxes, the hundreds of Bigfoot reports over the years are seemingly credible enough to keep researchers interested in the cryptid.

Based on all the sightings and evidence, some researchers think Bigfoot’s appearance is somewhere between an adult gorilla and a human being, and the cryptid is shy and nomadic, living in small family groups that have spread all across North America.

However, the speculation is all over the map. The most interesting parts of the interviews are when researchers talk about Bigfoot’s lifestyle.

For example, British Columbia investigator John Kirk said one report indicates Bigfoot sleeps facedown with his hands tucked under his head and butt in the air. Huh?

“We don’t know where they go to die,” Kirk said, addressing the mystery of why no dead bodies have ever been found.

The documentary addresses other questions like the nocturnal-versus-diurnal debate and whether Bigfoot is dangerous to humans.

The final six minutes of the documentary briefly discuss the other possibilities of Bigfoot’s nature.

For example, some say Cain, the one from the Bible who killed his brother Abel and was doomed to a life of wandering, could be the first Bigfoot. Others say Bigfoot is extraterrestrial. And there’s a paranormal contingent who believes Bigfoot perhaps travels interdimensionally through portals.

Rockies Bigfoot researcher Michael Johnson puts a lot of stock in the stories of the Native Americans.

“The Lakota Sioux call Bigfoot chiye tanka, and I love that name,” Johnson says. “They’re not calling Bigfoot an animal. They’re calling Bigfoot their brother. I think it tells us to a certain degree that Bigfoot isn’t necessarily an animal, but it may be a type of people.”

Many tribes of North America describe a giant, hairy creature who dwells in the forest, sometimes possessing supernatural powers. Johnson cites a Miwok Indian saying, which alludes to either the spiritual or the supernatural aspect of Bigfoot.

“The Miwok Indians say wherever Sasquatch walks, a lantern follows,” Johnson says. “We’ve seen this light phenomenon when they’re around. I think that’s what the Miwok Indians of Yosemite Valley were talking about.”

Native American Sasquatch investigator Winona Kirk says an elder told her a story that Sasquatch takes children who are ill but returns them healthy.

Overall, “The Nature of Bigfoot” is an effective introduction to Chasing Bigfoot: The Quest for Truth and a quick refresher course on Bigfoot’s history.

Bonus: You get to hear a recording of an eerie vocalization that could possibly be a Bigfoot, which made the whole episode worth my time.

NEXT UP: Chapter Eleven: Chasing Bigfoot: The Quest for Truth. I review Episode 2 in the 2015 documentary series Chasing Bigfoot titled “Bigfoot Encounters.”