Nov 22, 2022 I Nick Redfern

The Bigfoot Creatures: The Wildest and Weirdest Side of Sasquatch

When the matter of the Bigfoot creatures surface, most people probably think they are just unknown apes that are yet to be identified. Well, that's certainly a part of it. But, there are some seriously weird aspects to the Bigfoot phenomenon. For example, there's the matter of Bigfoot and Horse-braiding. You might very well say "What?!" And you would have the right  to. With that said, let's look at this strange side of Bigfoot. 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.”

(Nick Redfern) It's official: the Bigfoot creatures are very strange!

Indeed, in the 2000s, and particularly 2005, Shiel experienced numerous examples of horse-braiding when Bigfoot activity in her vicinity was at its height. Before dismissing this odd aspect of Bigfoot lore out of hand, it’s worth noting there is nothing new about the phenomenon. In the 1200s, the Bishop of Paris (William of Auvergne) wrote of a fairy queen whose female underlings would stealthily enter stables in the dead of night, “...with wax tapers, the drippings of which appear on the hairs and necks of the horses, whilst their manes are carefully plaited.” Even none other than William Shakespeare, himself, got in on the act. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare wrote of “elf-locks,” which, essentially, were the work of supernatural sprite-like creatures that braided horses. Ebenezer Cobham Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable talks about the “Hag’s knot,” which he goes on to describe as “Tangles in the manes of horses, etc., supposed to be used by witches for stirrups.” Similarly, Newbell Nil Puckett said:

“When you find your hair plaited into little stirrups in the morning or when it is all tangled up and your face scratched you may be sure that the witches have been bothering you at night… Horses as well as humans are ridden; you can tell when the witches have been bothering them by finding ‘witches stirrups’ (two strands of hair twisted together) in the horses’ mane. A person who plaits a horse’s mane and leaves it that way is simply inviting the witches to ride, though they will seldom bother the horses except on very dark nights, and even then have a decided preferences for dark colored horses. In England and Scotland, such ‘fairy stirrups’ are attributed to the pigsies (piskies) riding the animals.” Is it feasible that these stories of fairies, elves, witches, and other supernatural entities braiding the manes of horses were, in reality, distortions of braiding undertaken by cryptid apes, such as Bigfoot? Certainly, there is no shortage of cases in support of such a scenario.

Russia has also been the site of such activity. George M. Eberhart says: “While he remained hidden in a barn in Kuruko ravine, Kabardin-Balkar Republic, Russia, on August 25, 1991, biologist Gregory Panchenko observed an Almasti enter through a window and plait a horse’s mane. The horse did not offer any resistance. After a short time, during which it made high-pitched, twittering sounds, the Almasti departed through an open window above the barn door. Panchenko verified that the horse’s mane had new and clumsily plaited braids that were not there the day before.” In Dorset, United Kingdom –– the site of many so-called “wild man” reports in centuries long gone - there was a spate of mysterious hair-braiding of horses in 2009. Even the British Police Force found themselves plunged into the heart of the mystery. Police Constable Tim Poole, one of the officers that investigated the Dorset cases, said: “We have some very good information from a warlock that this is part of a white magic ritual and is to do with knot magick. “It would appear that for people of this belief, knot magick is used when they want to cast a spell. Some of the gods they worship have a strong connection to horses so if they have a particular request, plaiting this knot in a horse's mane lends strength to the request. This warlock said it is a benign activity, albeit maybe a bit distressing for the horse owner.”

(Nick Redfern) Nick Redfern and Stan Gordon: UFOs and Bigfoot...and seen at the same time

Now, what about Bigfoot and guns and ammunition? Yep, there's a connection: the Bigfoot animals cannot be hurt by bullets - at least, most of the time they can't. On the night of November 28, 2014, on the hugely popular radio show, Coast to Coast, 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 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.” I could go on, but you get the picture. Still on the matter of Bigfoot, how about a strange UFO connection? Stan Gordon is the expert in the UFO-Bigfoot controversy. 

Now, onto Fayette County, Pennsylvania and the weirdness of Bigfoot and UFOs. Stan Gordon is one of the United States’ leading researchers of the stranger sides of the Bigfoot phenomenon. And they don’t come much stranger than a case that Gordon investigated, in late 1973, in his home state of Pennsylvania. It’s important to note that the case in question was one of dozens that Gordon received from 1972 to 1974, which, collectively, suggested the presence of unknown, hairy, man-beasts all across Pennsylvania. Many of the cases that Gordon investigated, however, were dominated by phenomena that, for many Bigfoot investigators, fell far outside what one could call the norm – including a certain event that occurred at Fayette County, in October 1973. It was the dark night of October 25 when all hell broke loose in the heart of the county. The primary player in the story was one Steve Palmer who was both amazed and frightened to see a brightly illuminated UFO hovering over local farmland, around 9.00 p.m. But that wasn’t all that Palmer encountered: a pair of immense, ape-like animals with very long and muscular arms surfaced out of the shadows of the dark field and proceeded to walk right towards Palmer, himself. He wasted no time and blasted them with a salvo of bullets. As we've seen, though, bullets don't work on the hairy beasts.

On numerous occasions, Bigfoot seekers have reported finding curious creations in areas where Bigfoot has been seen. Essentially, they are teepee-like structures that appear to have been created by something with intelligence – and a great deal of strength, too. The latter is made abundantly evident by the fact that in many cases the branches of the trees used to create these sometimes huge structures appear to have been wrenched off. In other cases, the branches appear to have been carefully bent over and intertwined. As for why Bigfoot might engage in such curious behavior, the theories are several. At first glance, one might assume they have been constructed to offer the beasts a degree of shelter, and particularly so during the cold, winter months. In many cases, however, there does not appear to have been any attempt made to create a canopy or walls. In other words, the structures are open to the environment and all of its attendant harshness.

Other theories are more intriguing: it has been speculated that, perhaps, the teepees represent territorial markers, created by Bigfoot creatures to alert others of their kind that they are present in the area. They may also be a warning to man, to stay firmly away – although, of course, the obscure nature of the formations effectively means that very few are of us are likely to understand such a warning, never mind act upon it. Whatever the purpose of the Bigfoot teepees, it must be said that they are very often found in areas where Bigfoot has been seen. Personally, I have found such creations on several occasions. One was in 2005 when, along with fellow creature seeker, Ken Gerhard, I traveled out to Lake Worth, Texas, to investigate the legend of the Goat Man, which may well have been a white Bigfoot. On a small island on the lake – Greer Island – Gerhard and I found just such a formation, along with the remains of a devoured fish and a large depression in the ground that gave the impression of something large and heavy having sat there for a period of time.

(Nick Redfern) The Bigfoots: the most mysterious and complicated creatures in the field of Cryptozoology

I made a similar discovery in 2008, when I traveled to Ray Roberts Lake, Texas, with Lance Oliver, of the Denton Area Paranormal Society (DAPS). In one particular, heavily wooded part of the lake, we found numerous such creations, all of which appeared to have been fashioned with a high degree of intelligence, strength, and dexterity. All of the above notwithstanding, it’s important to keep a sensible head on one’s shoulders and realize that at least some Bigfoot teepees are the work of Mother Nature. Jonathan Downes, of the Center for Fortean Zoology, made a good point to me on this very issue in 2012: “I’ve always found the whole ‘Bigfoot teepee’ thing dodgy as hell. I’ll give you an example. Just recently, we bought a chainsaw, as there are places in the garden – the trees – that haven’t been pruned in years. And there are bits and places where the branches have grown together in what look like quite a complicated way. This is in my little garden in Woolsery [England]. You’ve got trees and branches doing odd things. And, it is things like this that mean I’ve never been impressed by the Bigfoot teepees. I think they are purely natural phenomena and nothing to do with Bigfoot – in Britain or anywhere.” Given that many Bigfoot investigators would likely disagree with Downes, it would be wise to keep an open mind, but always err on the side of caution, when it comes to the controversy of the Bigfoot tree structure phenomenon.

Now, let's turn our attentions to the matter of Bigfoot's fun for chasing cars. Yep, true. I have more than a dozen of such cases. Here's one that presents such a phenomenon: In January 2003, Peter Rhodes, of England’s Express and Star newspaper wrote an article on an extraordinary encounter on the Cannock Chase – a large area of woodland in the county of Staffordshire. Rhodes reported, under the graphic and memorable headline of Night Terror with a British Bigfoot: “Whatever it was, it scared the living daylights out of Craig Blackmore. His mother Val says: ‘I have never seen Craig like that before. He came home shaking, absolutely petrified and white, as though he’d seen a ghost.’” What Blackmore – and a friend named Jo – had actually seen was not a ghost but a “huge, ape-like creature at the side of the road on Levedale Lane between Stafford and Penkridge.” Blackmore told Peter Rhodes that: “I was driving my [Ford] Fiesta [car] down the road towards Penkridge and as we approached a house, the security light came on. I saw something in the corner of my eye. It was coming towards the car, running very fast. It wasn’t a dog or a deer. It was running like a human would run, but it was really hairy and dark. It came level and jumped at the car but just missed. My friend turned round and said it was huge and had run through the hedge and across the field. I turned the car around but there was no sign of it.”

Blackmore’s mother added: “I thought maybe Craig had been drinking, or perhaps someone had spiked a drink. But that hadn’t happened. He is a very truthful boy. He would not say something had happened if it hadn’t. And anyway, his friend was in the same state of shock.” Peter Rhodes noted: “Although the event had been terrifying, Craig, a 19-year-old HGV mechanic, did not report it to the police. He told a few friends (‘they all laughed’) and tried to forget the experience.” There's no doubt the Bigfoot creatures are strange!

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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