Thursday, October 24, 2013

Why Bigfoot?

Apart from a relatively small--but rapidly growing--community of believers (squatchers), the response from most people at the mention of Bigfoot or Sasquatch is a muted chuckle at best. So why would a new novelist risk being relegated to the ranks of conspiracy kooks right out of the chute?

Until about a year ago, I was a skeptic--although I'd straddled the fence for a while. I was just out of high school when I first saw a clip of the famous Patterson-Gimlin film (the one where the big hairy beast walking along the dry riverbed looks back over its shoulder before disappearing into the forest). Roger Patterson filmed that clip in in 1967, five years before I saw it, in a remote area of Bluff Creek, a tributary of the Klamath River, in northern California.

A year after seeing that film, I was headed off to my first year of college, just a few miles from where Patterson shot that famous film, the one that by then I had heard debunked so frequently and vehemently that I too had dismissed it as a hoax. I never gave it another thought throughout my twenty-seven years living in the Pacific Northwest. I was so confident of Bigfoot being a myth that several times before Mt. Saint Helens blew in May of 1980, I hiked through the huge lavacast caves known as the Ape Caves--the long portion of the caves, going north.

I thought no more about the legendary hairy beasts until last year, when I bought a recumbent exercycle. I wanted to watch something while riding, so on my Internet video I tuned into an episode of Monsterquest. The episode happened to be about Bigfoot. I chuckled. But I decided to watch while I completed my ride. By the end of the show my skepticism was fading.

I watched more Bigfoot videos while riding each night. Then I began reading reports (contemporary and going back through the centuries). I was transforming from skeptic to believer. Too many people (thousands, over several centuries and on virtually every continent) had seen the creatures--too many to dismiss as hoaxes or misidentifications.

But forensic evidence also was beginning to pop up. The most intriguing being the DNA analysis of some hair and tissue samples. Dr. Melba Ketchum and her team had determined that the analysis showed that the creature's mitochondrial DNA was from a human woman, but they could not determine the source of the male DNA. Upon reading of that discovery, I recalled stories of these giant, hairy, wild men stealing Native American women as mates. And then I thought of Genesis 6:
"When mankind began to multiply on the earth and daughters were born to them,  the sons of God saw that the daughters of mankind were beautiful, and they took any they chose as wives for themselves. And the Lord said, 'My Spirit will not remain with mankind forever, because they are corrupt. Their days will be 120 years.'  The Nephilim were on the earth both in those days and afterward, when the sons of God came to the daughters of mankind, who bore children to them. They were the powerful men of old, the famous men."
The biblical accounts show these giants (Nephilim ) reappearing after the Flood.

I also recalled from my recent research on the creatures seeing a video in which Dave Paulides, a police detective turned investigative journalist, wrote of the hundreds of mysterious disappearances of people--mostly children--in America's national and state parks. In comparing the sites of the disappearances with reports of Bigfoot sightings, he found an astonishing correlation. Coincidence? Perhaps; but if so, a strange and intriguing coincidence.

And then I remembered that in another video, Paulides referred to Harvey Pratt, another cop he often worked with in investigating Bigfoot sightings. In addition to being a cop, Pratt, a Native American, also is a talented police sketch artist. Many eyewitnesses of Bigfoot have said that Pratt's drawings of their descriptions of the creatures are the most accurate they've seen. And, as you saw if you looked at the Harvey Pratt drawing at the top of this blog, Bigfoot is not a man-like beast. Bigfoot is a giant, hairy, beast-like man. What could be more intriguing--and terrifying--than that?

Why Bigfoot? How could I possibly resist?