Wood Knocks Volume One: Journal of Sasquatch Research is, as the title suggests, the first in an ongoing series of books on the Bigfoot controversy. Published by David Weatherly’s Leprechaun Press, and with excellent cover artwork from Sam Shearon, the book is a collection of papers on a wide variety of Bigfoot-themed issues. If you’re interested in the mystery of Sasquatch, and various other, similar creatures reported throughout the world, then you’ll likely want to get a copy of Wood Knocks.
The book begins with an excellent paper titled “Giants of the Piney Woods.” The author: Lyle Blackburn, who penned The Beast of Boggy Creek and Lizard Man. I have known Lyle for about four or five years (he lives just about twenty minutes’ drive from me), and can state that when it comes to Bigfoot, Lyle definitely knows his stuff. And that shines through in his paper. Many people associate Bigfoot with the vast forests of the Pacific North West. Lyle, however, demonstrates that Texas’ Piney Woods have a long history of sightings of large, hair-covered creatures that fit the description of Bigfoot. Lyle writes in an atmospheric fashion that skilfully captures the eerie nature of those woods. And, of course, he presents a sizeable body of Bigfoot-based testimony and data spanning decades. The Sulphur River, Caddo Lake (which borders Texas and Louisiana), and the Sabine River are just a few of the Bigfoot hot-spots that Lyle discusses.
Now, we have Linda Godfrey. Although Linda is primarily known for her books on the so-called “Dogman” phenomenon (such as The Beast of Bray Road and Real Wolfmen), her article, “Kettles, Cows and Sasquatch: Bigfoot in Southern Wisconsin,” takes her in a different direction. As is the case with Texas, most people might not think of Wisconsin as a state with a sizeable number of Bigfoot reports. But, it is. Linda gets into some very intriguing areas, such as the ingenious ways in which Bigfoot may be able to camouflage itself (we’re talking about what, in part, Linda refers to as the “frozen Bigfoot” phenomenon). Decades-old cases are revealed, as are reports of disturbing attacks on horses. Intriguingly, Linda’s research also reveals that when it comes to Bigfoot in her home state, “…there are three different fur colors seen and reported in southern Wisconsin.”
Following on from Linda Godfrey is David Weatherly (author of The Black Eyed Children). His paper: “Big Man on the Reservation.” As David notes, “In the heart of the southwest of the United States lies the largest American Indian reservation in the country. The Navajo Nation covers 27,425 miles, with portions of the reservation in northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico and southeastern Utah.” It’s from this vast area, David shows, that numerous Bigfoot reports emanate. David reveals that stories of Bigfoot absolutely proliferate among Native Americans. For the Navajo people it’s “Y’e’iitsoh,” which translates as “huge monster.” As for what Bigfoot may be, David notes that, “There are some among the tribe who believe Bigfoot is a creature based in the spiritual world, the providence of those who work in the spiritual realms, and that there are greater implications to the growing number of reported encounters.”
Heading outside of the United States, next on the agenda is the matter of unknown, hairy humanoids reported in Hong Kong. The author is Richard Muirhead, who was born in Hong Kong in 1966. This particular chapter was one of my favorites, primarily because we don’t hear too much about the subject from this specific part of the world. Richard digs deep into the Hong Kong Bigfoot, but he also tackles other issues, too: (a) controversial claims of half-human/half-wild-man type reports; and (b) alleged kidnappings of people by wild-men and anomalous apes. And Richard makes a very good point: “Even in the early 21st century, Hong Kong could be described as an almost magical, very Fortean place, with its strange juxtaposition of former British colonial and Chinese influences.”
Moving on, Ken Gerhard – in “Is Bigfoot a Giant Form of Homo erectus?” – takes us on a journey into the distant past, as he seeks to answer the question posed in the title of his paper. Ken demonstrates his skills by logically and methodically tackling the most important question of all: what is Bigfoot? Ken provides a large body of data on Homo erectus, shares information on the period in which it lived, and he addresses the matter of whether, and to what extent, Homo erectus may be a viable candidate for Bigfoot. Ken, as always, remains balanced on his thoughts: “Ultimately, while it is tempting to choose a conclusive identity for our enigmatic wild men, it remains imperative that physical remains of Bigfoot (or one of his many cousins around the world) be found and examined by qualified experts in order to determine their true nature and classification.”
Richard Freeman takes us even further afield with his paper: “Orang-Pendek: On the Track of Sumatra’s ‘Short Man.'” If you have an interest in Cryptozoology, doubtless you will have heard of Sumatra’s legendary hair-covered wild-man, the Orang-pendek. Rich, a former zoo-keeper, has traveled to Sumatra on a number of occasions, and has uncovered a mountain of reports, testimony, and eye-witnesses to what might be termed “Littlefoot.” Yes, we’re talking about a relatively short ape, with flowing hair and – according to some – an eerily human-like face. That Rich has uncovered so much data on his various expeditions, demonstrates the vital importance of field work in this area of research. One of those who Rich interviewed was Debbie Martyr, who described the Orang-pendek she saw as follows: “…if you looked at the animal you might say that it resembled a siamang or an agile gibbon on steroids! It doesn’t look like an orang-utan. Their proportions are very different. It is built like a boxer, with immense upper body strength.”
Micah Hanks takes on the “Kidnapped by Bigfoot” topic – possibly one of the most controversial aspects of the entire mystery. There’s no doubt that the most famous/infamous such case is the 1924 claimed encounter of Albert Ostman – a man who allegedly had the distinct bad luck to get carried away by a Bigfoot and forced to live with nothing less than Mom, Pop and a couple of kids, before finally making good his escape! Micah’s article is an important one as it shows that while the Ostman case is the one everyone thinks of, it’s nowhere near being a solitary event. Of course, as you might imagine, this gets into some really inflammatory areas, such as claims of women being kidnapped, forced into having sex, and giving birth to strange, half-human-looking babies. Legend? Folklore? Myths? Reality? Micah tackles the matter from a refreshingly logical and non-sensational stance.
And the final paper is one from me on the stranger side of Bigfoot. Namely, that which concerns the possible links between Bigfoot and what is termed Infrasound. As I note: “We may never know for sure if Bigfoot is a creature that uses infrasound to protect itself, to keep itself free of harm from the human race, and to manipulate the minds and nervous-systems of those that intrude upon its territory. As we have seen time and again, however, infrasound is a viable candidate to explain much of the high-strangeness attached to the Bigfoot controversy…”
If you’re interested in the Bigfoot controversy, Wood Knocks Volume One is a book well worth reading.