Sometimes, I'm asked - and particularly so at conferences - what's it like going on an expedition in search of all-things of a supernatural, paranormal, ufological, cryptozoological or Fortean nature? Well, sometimes it goes very much like the following, which gives a good indication of what life is like in the field when pursuing the odd, the eerie and the downright uncanny. It was February 2008, I was on the road with Lance Oliver, of the Texas-based Denton Area Paranormal Society, and we were headed for Lake Ray Roberts, Texas - where something strange and monstrous had reportedly been seen...
The lake and its surrounding areas are notable: in times past they were the haunt of various Native American Indian tribes, including the Comanche, the Kiowa and the Tonkawa. Before we arrived, Lance told me there had been a number of interesting UFO encounters in the vicinity, and in May 1990 strange roaring and screaming noises of a distinctly animalistic nature were heard in the woods. Not only that, but in the very same time frame nothing less than an approximately eight-foot-tall hairy man-beast was seen late at night by several young guys who were camped on the north side of the lake. Well, of course, with all that going on, we just had to check the place out!
I followed Lance in my car as he drove to a small parking area - that was just about as close as a person could get by vehicle to where all the specific Bigfoot action had taken place. We were then faced with approximately a mile-long trek through the thick woods, up and down several steep climbs, and across a couple of rocky sandbars, against which the lake’s cool waters gently lapped.
But finally we got to the location where all of the hair-raising – and hairy – action had occurred: a steep and wide hill that was packed from floor to ceiling with dense trees and rotting vegetation. In addition, there was a seeming distinct lack of animal life and noise. Indeed, deathly quiet would be a veritable understatement. Even though the Bigfoot encounters had taken place years before, experience on the road has shown me time and again that one should never turn up the chance to conduct a deep investigation of such a mysterious locale – just in the event that something of profound interest might turn up. And it did.
Taking into consideration the fact that the hill was a large one, Lance and I decided that the wisest approach would be to split up and cover as much of the area as was humanly possible. It was a good idea, to say the least. As I have come to learn, in areas where Bigfoot has been seen on regular occasions, it is not uncommon to find what appear to be curious formations of tree branches that appear to be have fashioned into particular designs by something with a high degree of intelligence.
These odd structures are essentially made up of thick branches that, in many cases, look like they have literally been wrenched off of trees and placed into distinct pyramid-style formations. Some researchers have suggested they are made by the creatures as territorial markers; while others have suggested they might very well be connected to Bigfoot mating rituals.
A definitive answer to their construction still eludes us; however, I do not exaggerate when I say that the peak of the wooded hill was infested with such formations. To the left of us, to the right of us, in front of us and behind us: they were everywhere. Of course, out came the cameras to preserve the astounding scene. But there was more. Curious stone structures were prevalent, including what looked like a miniature version of Stonehenge; and strange, almost cave-like, dwellings could be found in the undergrowth on the slopes of the hill.
But perhaps most interesting of all was a discovery that Lance made as our search was nearing its end: a large stone that had a perfect, circular hole running through its length. Interestingly, a Shaman contact of Lance’s had told him such stone-holes were said to be doorways that allowed enlightened souls to peer into other realms and dimensions.
Is Lake Ray Roberts home to a dimensional gateway through which enigmatic Bigfoot-type beasts gain access to our world? Given some of the stranger stories of Bigfoot blinking out in a flash of light, or tracks suddenly coming to a halt as if the beast had vanished in an instant, I wouldn't bet against it!
And, in expedition terms, it was yet another weird day on the road - just like so many others.