Bigfoot: it’s a controversy-filled word that is instantly recognizable to just about one and all. And, regardless of whether one is a true believer, an open-minded skeptic, a definitive non-believer, or a semi-interested observer of the controversy, pretty much everyone knows what the word implies and describes: a large, hair-covered, ape-style animal that is said to roam, and lurk within, the mysterious, forested wilds of the United States. The number of people who claim to have seen a Bigfoot is, now, in the thousands. The beast has been the subject of big-bucks, hit movies. Today’s world of reality television loves the legendary monster – viewing figures make that abundantly clear. It occupies the minds and weekends of monster hunters and creature seekers everywhere, each and every one of them hoping to be the person who finally bags a Bigfoot and, as a result, goes down in history. But, there’s more to Bigfoot than that. In fact, there’s far more. The term, “Bigfoot,” was created in 1958, when huge, apelike footprints were found in Del Norte County, California. We have a journalist named Andrew Genzoli, of the Humboldt Times, to thank for coming up with the famous, monstrous moniker. It’s a fact, however, that giant, lumbering, hair-covered, upright creatures have been encountered in the United States for centuries, and long before “the B word” was even a dim blip on anyone’s radar.
Ancient Native American lore tells of the legendary, and sometimes savage, beasts that were as feared as they were revered. Encounters with violent, so-called “wild men,” of thick woods and ice cold, frozen mountains, were regularly reported in the pages of 19th Century-era American newspapers. Photographs and film-footage – of varying degrees of credibility and clarity – purport to show the elusive animals, in action, so to speak. Audio-recordings exist of the creatures’ eerie chatter and bone-chilling screaming. Startling witness accounts abound. There are whispers that elements of the U.S. Government have the bodies of several Bigfoot on ice, hidden at some Area 51-style, secret installation. There are claims of a UFO link to Bigfoot. Theorists suggest the reason why we lack a body of a Bigfoot, and the reason for their near-mystifying, overwhelming elusiveness, is because the creatures are the denizens of a vast underworld; animals that spend most of their time living in dark caves and deep caverns, unknown to man, and which extend and spread out for miles underground.
(Nick Redfern) There's something weird about the Bigfoot creatures
Then, there is the matter of the other Bigfoot-like creatures. That’s right: while Bigfoot – also known as Sasquatch - is certainly America’s most famous unknown ape, it’s far from being a solitary monster. Florida is home to the Skunk Ape. Southern Arkansas has the Beast of Boggy Creek. Texas is the domain of the Lake Worth Monster. In fact, the creature has been seen in every single U.S. state – aside, reportedly, from Hawaii, which is not surprising, given that it is not connected to the mainland. Bigfoot, and somewhat similar creatures, extends widely, and wildly, outside of the United States, too. Australia can boast of its own equivalent to Bigfoot. Its name is the Yowie. And, just like Bigfoot, the Yowie is a towering, hairy, man-like animal, one best avoided at all costs. In China there are reports of a similar creature, the Yeren. The Abominable Snowman – also known as the Yeti – forages on, and around, the vast Himalayas of Tibet. The cold, harsh landscape of Russia is the territory of the Almasty. Even the people of England and Scotland claim to have such legendary beasts in their midst. The names of the animals of the U.K. include the Big Grey Man, the Beast of Bolam, and the Man-Monkey.
Moving on, and demonstrating that there are very few places on the planet that do not appear to be home to cryptid apes and monkeys of very strange kinds, there is the Orang-pendek of Sumatra, India’s Mandeburung, the Kikomba of the Congo, Pakistan’s Bar-manu, the Hibagon of Japan, Cuba’s Guije, and the Mumulou of the Solomon Islands. And that’s just barely touching upon what amounts to a vast, monstrous menagerie of Bigfoot-like creatures seen across pretty much the entirety of the globe. With all that said, it’s now time for you to join me on a strange, wild, and sometimes terrifying, journey into Bigfoot’s A to Z world. It’s a world dominated by the man-monster in reality, in history, in folklore, in movies and entertainment, in the domain of conspiracy theorizing, in the world of the supernatural, and, quite possibly, in the wild, dark woods of just about here, there, and everywhere.
With that said, let's have a look at some of the stranger stories concerning Bigfoot. Here we go: the origins of Anniston, Alabama date back to the height of the American Civil War. It’s a city, in Calhoun County, of around 23,000 and which is dominated by the huge, picturesque, Blue Ridge Mountains. In 1938, however, it was something else that was dominating the people of Anniston: a strange and distinctly out of place ape. It was in April 1938 that sightings began, in the Choccolocco Valley, of what was quickly referred to by the local press as “a hairy wild man.” Rather notably, the beast – which apparently had a hatred for dogs - would walk on two legs, but then drop down onto all-fours when it wanted to run – which was usually when it was being pursued by frightened and enraged gun-toting locals. Most fascinating of all, the beast was not always spotted alone. On several occasions witnesses reported seeing it with a female and “a child,” both displaying thick coats of hair and both having the ability to move around in bipedal and quadruped mode, as the mood took them. That is indeed a strange story, as it's very rare that you see a Bigfoot running on four-limbs.
(Nick Redfern) Stan Gordon, who recognizes the stranger side of the Bigfoot mystery
Now, onto another memorably weird story: On the night of November 28, 2014, on the hugely popular radio show, Coast to Coast AM, author and Sasquatch expert Stan Gordon spoke about his Bigfoot research and writing. Gordon’s Bigfoot studies demonstrate a connection between the strange beasts and multiple, weird phenomena – including matters of a psychic nature and also UFOs. One of the issues that Gordon discussed on the show was Bigfoot’s seeming ability to remain unaffected when blasted with bullets. This was made clear in the summary of Gordon’s interview, which appeared at the Coast to Coast AM website the very next day: “[Gordon] explained that, in October of 1973, witnesses spotted a slow-moving, bright red UFO apparently land in the pasture of a farm…Suddenly, they noticed two Bigfoot creeping along a barbed wire fence about 75-feet away from the UFO and making those strange sounds.” One of the men “…then tried shooting the Bigfoot with live ammunition, but the bullets had no effect and the creatures wandered off into the woods.”
This was not a one-off event, however: it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Philip Rife, Bigfoot investigator, says: “In 1959, a policeman had a scary encounter with a Bigfoot on a rural road in Carroll County. The officer watched in amazement as the creature crossed directly in front of his patrol car and stepped effortlessly over a barbed wire fence...The policeman then withdrew his service revolver and fired at the Bigfoot. When the bullets appeared to have no effect, the officer sprinted to his car and sped from the scene.” As strange as it sounds, the Bigfoot creatures appear to be indestructible when it comes to bullets. Weird! Now, something else that is even stranger.
Beyond any shadow of doubt, one of the strangest claims made about Bigfoot is that the creatures have a particularly liking for braiding the manes of horses! While it’s a scenario that, at first glance, sounds manifestly absurd, the fact is that throughout recorded history there are stories of strange creatures with a fascination for horse-braiding, with Bigfoot and its mysterious ilk leading the pack. Certainly, the leading expert in this curious field is Lisa Shiel, the author of Backyard Bigfoot and Forbidden Bigfoot. Shiel, whose books chronicle her very own encounters with Bigfoot, says: “I first encountered the main braiding phenomenon while living in Texas. In the beginning, I allowed myself to dismiss them as natural tangles or perhaps the handiwork of the neighbors’ children. As time went on, however, I found it more and more difficult to stick to my original hypothesis.” Indeed, in the 2000s, and particularly 2005, Shiel experienced numerous examples of horse-braiding when Bigfoot activity in her vicinity was at its height.
The vast majority of Bigfoot researchers subscribe to the viewpoint that Bigfoot is nothing stranger than a giant ape that science and zoology have yet to conclusively classify. There is, however, a small body of data that suggests Bigfoot is something far stranger than just a regular ape. Peppered throughout Bigfoot lore and history are stories of the beasts vanishing in flashes of light, of them fading away into nothingness, and of them becoming invisible to the human eye. This has given rise to an intriguing theory: that Bigfoot has the ability to traverse multi-dimensions. In other words, while the creatures may be comprised of flesh and blood, their overwhelming elusiveness may be due to the fact that they are only temporary visitors to our realm of existence.
(Nick Redfern) They're not called Bigfoot for no reason
A perfect example has been recorded by Jack Lapseritis, author of The Psychic Sasquatch. He tells the story of a group of people that had an amazing encounter with a Bigfoot. The story came from a Mrs. Jeffery, and whose story Lapseritis summarizes as follows: “After returning from a long hike, the group was stunned when a nine-to-ten foot Sasquatch stepped out in front of them a short distance away. Then, in the twinkling of an eye, the Bigfoot completely disappeared in front of the witnesses! The witnesses insisted that it literally dematerialized! Mrs. Jeffrey reported that she was so awed at what she saw, that when they returned home, she did not leave the house for two weeks. The woman was in such a total state of shock that she did not return to the area for some time.” Now, to something really weird.
It’s one thing to see a Bigfoot. It is, however, quite another thing entirely to claim to have been kidnapped by one, and held hostage for several days! That was the controversial claim of a man named Albert Ostman, who was of Scandinavian extraction. Although Ostman claimed the traumatic event occurred in 1924, he did not go public with the story until 1957 – which is, perhaps, understandable, given its wild nature. At the time in question, Ostman was employed in the field of construction, although his background was as a lumberman. After having worked solidly for a considerable period of time, he decided it was time for a much welcome and deserved break and something different. He decided to do a bit of gold prospecting in the Toba Inlet, situated on the British Columbia coast. It was during the course of the prospecting that Ostman experienced something that made him distinctly troubled and uneasy: someone, or something, had clearly been wandering around his camp while he was on his quest for gold.
Ostman decided he was going to find out the guilty party’s identity and, instead of going to sleep, he stayed wide awake in his sleeping bag, with his rifle right by his side. Unfortunately, a hard day toiling for gold took its toll and Ostman quickly fell asleep. But not for long: he was jolted from his sleep by a sensation of being scooped up and carried away while still in his sleeping bag. In fact, that’s exactly what happened. For roughly three hours or so, Ostman was unceremoniously carried through, up, and down, the dark woods by something large and powerful. According to Ostman, he had heard stories of “the mountain Sasquatch giants” from Native American sources. Finally, the terror-filled trek came to its end. That much was made clear when the mighty creature relaxed its grip on the sleeping bag and let it drop to the forest floor.
Since the woods were still enveloped by the blackness of night, Ostman could not make out his kidnapper. As dawn broke, that situation radically changed. He found himself confronted by what can only be accurately described as a Bigfoot family: a giant male, a smaller female, and two juveniles, one male and one female. In other words: mom, dad, and the kids. As Ostman looked around, he could see he was deep in the heart of a heavily forested valley that was surrounded by huge mountains. Clearly anticipating the likelihood that Ostman would try and escape, the “Old Man” – as Ostman referred to the huge male – kept careful watch on Ostman, making sure at all times that he didn’t try and make a run for it, via the entrance to the valley. Thankfully, for Ostman, he did manage to escape. It's absolutely clear: the Bigfoot creatures are weird!