As someone who has a big interest in the Bigfoot phenomenon, I’m very pleased to see that David Weatherly’s Eerie Lights Publishing company has recently released a new book. It’s the latest (and fourth) volume in the Wood Knocks: Journal of Sasquatch Research series. As is the case with the earlier volumes – and this one, too – David’s approach is a very good one: he invites people in the Bigfoot research arena to write their own papers on various aspects of the controversy. It’s an approach that works very well, as it allows numerous theories, ideas and concepts to be addressed and mused upon – all on the matter of the most famous monsters on the planet. And, I’m also pleased to say that the latest volume does not disappoint. Indeed, it provides the reader with a wealth of new material. With that said, let’s now take a close look at the book and its contents.
I’ll begin with the chapter that intrigued me most of all – namely, that of Ulrich Magin, whose paper is titled “Bigfoot and Wild Men in Europe.” Most people have heard of the Bigfoot of the United States and the Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas. Far less well-known, however, are their European equivalents. Ulrich provides us with an excellent, 28-pages-long article on the history of Bigfoot-type beasts and wild humans across much of Europe. The U.K. gets significant coverage, with some of it on the “Man-Monkey,” a monster that I have written extensively about over the years. Notably, Ulrich highlights the legend of the wild man of Orford, Suffolk, England – a tale that dates back to the year 1167. It’s a curious and fascinating saga of a hairy beast captured and held at the ancient Orford Castle – that is, until it was able to make good its escape, and never to be seen again. And, the mountains of Scotland are scrutinized too, which is not surprising, as there are a number of tales of wild things coming from those huge peaks; one of them being the “Big Gray Man of Ben Macdhui.” Its name is a very apt one.
Now, what of the rest of Europe? Well, let’s see. While addressing tales coming out of France, Ulrich notes that a number of the cases involve wild people and feral people – rather than literal Bigfoot. Nevertheless, this is without doubt an aspect of the phenomenon that needs to be scrutinized. Similar stories of wild people have surfaced out of Germany, as we learn. Controversial, but fascinating, is a case from Germany in 1974 of what was described as being “related to Neanderthal Man.” Add to that the 1661 tale of a “bear man” encountered in Lithuania, and what you have is an excellent paper on a topic that many might be unaware of.
In her paper titled “Hairy Bipeds Across the U.S.,” Shannon LeGro spans the country – as the title suggests. Shannon takes us from Ohio to New York State, and from Kentucky to Idaho. And more, too. If you want to get a good, solid study of how the Bigfoot phenomenon has made its presence across much of the United States, then don’t miss this chapter. Moving on, there’s a fascinating story from Shannon, with photos, of a case from Ohio’s Salt Fork State Park that will fascinate those intrigued by the Bigfoot mystery. And, there’s “Big Red Eye of the Highlands,” a creature said to be truly immense: ten feet tall, no less. Caddo Lake – on the Texas-Louisiana border – is a body of water I know very well. And it’s known for its reports of large, hair-covered creatures that date back to the 1800s – long before the term “Bigfoot” was created. Jeff Stewart shares with us his findings on the Caddo Lake Bigfoot. Not only that, Jeff, in his contribution to the book, details his very own encounters with the legendary creatures.
In “Where the Wild Things Are,” Sam Shearon makes a very interesting point: ” There isn’t of course a Bigfoot being held in a zoo that we can readily go and see for ourselves. Personally, I don’t think there ever will be – even if one is brought in alive for the world to accept as a real creature. I firmly doubt one will ever be on display behind bars or in an enclosure. This is because, simply put, I believe they’re a type of people. You only have to look at their footprints, those are ‘people feet’ not tracks like a gorilla, or like a chimpanzee’s feet that have a divergent toe. They’re human-shaped tracks, albeit huge!”
The chapter of Chad Lewis is both fascinating and sinister. You can see that from its title alone: “A Wisconsin Sasquatch Encounter Spawns a Curse.” This is a definitive page-turner, a story that is filled with matters of a supernatural kind, of cleansing rites to keep these beasts away, and of much more of a definitively paranormal nature. A good case is made by Chad that the Bigfoot creatures may be far more than many assume them to be. They may well be something far more than just unidentified and unclassified apes. And, finally, we have David Weatherly himself, who informs and entertains us with his regional-based paper. Its title: “Bigfoot in Big Sky County.” That’s right: David takes a deep look at the Bigfoot history in Montana. There is some fascinating data from Native Americans. Accounts of ancient giants surface. As do reports of cave-dwelling beasts. And David shares the story of what just might have been a Bigfoot-themed tale told to a U.S. president. No less than Theodore Roosevelt. All in all, the latest volume of Wood Knocks is an excellent collection – and a varied collection, too – that anyone and everyone with an interest in Bigfoot will find fascinating.