Stan Gordon is a well-known, long-term researcher, writer and authority on many things of a Fortean nature - as is clearly evidenced by his excellent and insightful 2010 book, Silent Invasion: The Pennsylvania UFO-Bigfoot Casebook, which was sent to me for review in January of that year. Now, I know for sure that any book suggesting Bigfoot may somehow be inextricably linked with the UFO phenomenon is bound to raise distinct hackles in certain quarters, but such reports undeniably exist, so examine them we must. The fact of the matter is that there is surely not a Bigfoot researcher out there who has not been exposed to even just a few creature cases that absolutely reek of undeniable high-strangeness, and that place the hairy man-beasts into definitively Fortean - rather than zoological or cryptozoological - realms, whether in Britain, the United States, Australia, or elsewhere. But, whether or not those same Bigfoot researchers are willing to give such reports some degree of credence is a very different matter. Fortunately, there are a number of researchers who recognise that as much as it would be undeniably preferable to place Bigfoot in a purely flesh and blood category and nothing else whatsoever, there is a significant and hard to deny body of data and testimony that points in a very different direction. And it's a direction that, to his credit, Stan Gordon does not shy away from. Indeed, Stan’s book is a first-class study of a truly weird wave of Bigfoot / UFO activity that swamped the good folk of Pennsylvania, USA in the period from 1972 to 1974.
Silent Invasion is a swirling cauldron filled with dark and ominous woods; glowing-eyed beast-men prowling the countryside by night; strange lights in the sky; UFO landings; neighborhoods gripped by terror and fear; and much, much more, too. And, it’s thanks to Stan’s research, as well as his in-depth files prepared back when all of the dark drama was at its very height, that we’re now able to appreciate the curious chaos and calamity that collectively hit the unsuspecting people of Pennsylvania all those years ago. But, that’s not all: Macabre Men in Black, paranormal activity, psychic possession, secret government interest in Bigfoot, and prophetic visions of a dark and foreboding future, all come to the fore in a book that is guaranteed to make you think twice - probably far more than twice, actually - about the true nature of Bigfoot. To his lasting credit, Stan does not just take the simplistic approach that Bigfoot is some sort of ‘pet of the aliens’, as some might very well assume. Instead, he logically, forthrightly and with supportive data in-hand, makes it abundantly clear that - even if we don’t have all of the answers, and maybe even hardly any - addressing the Bigfoot controversy from a purely zoological perspective alone just simply does not work, at all.
Stan notes the problematic lack of a body (even just one would be nice), the meager evidence of Bigfoot’s eating habits, and its uncanny ability to always avoid capture - not to mention that the beast appears to be nigh-on bullet-proof, too. And, I do mean that literally. Stan also hammers home, time and again, that when and where Bigfoot turns up, so - very often - do a host of other Fortean favorites. Something strange and diabolical was afoot in Pennsylvania between 1972 and 1974. Bigfoot, UFOs and a plethora of paranormal activity were all in evidence. Somewhere, somehow, there is a connection - even if it’s one we’re not fully able to understand or - in some cases - accept, just yet. Until we do, however, Silent Invasion will provide you with much to think about, to muse upon, and to ponder on. And it may just make you totally revise your views on North America’s most famous ape-man. It’s also a book that can be said to have a major bearing on Bigfoot in Britain too, since the hairy thing and UFOs are not exactly strangers in these quarters either.
Regardless of what people may personally feel or conclude about the Bigfoot-UFO connection - or, more correctly, the theoretical connection - none can deny that when we go looking for places in Britain where both enigmas have been seen and encountered, there’s certainly no shortage of stories to address. As I have noted, a number of sightings of the Man-Monkey of the Shropshire Union Canal were made in the nearby village of Ranton. It so happens that, back in the 1950s, Ranton was the site of a famous - but now largely forgotten - UFO encounter. Researcher Gavin Gibbons wrote in 1957 that one October evening in 1954, a Dutchman living in England named Tony Roestenberg returned home to find his wife, Jessie, ‘in a terrified state’. According to Jessie: earlier that day nothing less than a flying saucer hovered over their isolated farmhouse in Ranton. In addition, Jessie could see peering down from the craft two very ‘Nordic’-like men that could have stepped right out of the pages of the controversial Desmond Leslie-George Adamski tome, Flying Saucers Have Landed. Their foreheads were high, their hair was long and fair, and they seemed to have ‘pitiful’ looks on their faces. The strange craft reportedly circled the family’s home twice, before streaking away. Curiously, on the following Sunday, Tony Roestenberg had a ‘hunch’ that if he climbed on the roof of his house ‘he would see something unusual’, which he most certainly did. It was a high-flying, cigar-shaped object that vanished into the clouds.
Gavin Gibbons, who investigated the case personally, stated: "When I visited the Roestenberg’s house almost three weeks after the sighting…Jessie Roestenberg appeared. She seemed highly strained and nervous and her husband, coming in later, was also very strained. It was evident that something most unusual had occurred." Moving on: Castle Ring, Staffordshire - from where a number of significant Bigfoot-type reports have surfaced - also has longstanding link to UFO activity. Graham Allen, former head of the now-defunct Etchinghill, Rugeley-based Staffordshire UFO Group, and who had taken over the reins from the group’s founder, Irene Bott, several years earlier, said in 2005: "Castle Ring is the highest point on the [Cannock] Chase which makes it a good place for UFO spotting. There have been numerous incidents of UFOs, which could be because you are more likely to see something from a high point.’ Allen elaborated that with respect to unearthly encounters at Castle Ring: "There have been reports of something landing there in the 1960s. From a research point of view there are a high number of reports around ancient sites. One argument could be that ancient sites have been located there because of the incidents of UFOs and natural phenomenon. There could be locations where there could be magnetic influences in the ground which have been attributed to earth lights."
Then, there is the Shug Monkey of Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk - which also happens to be the site of what is undeniably Britain’s most famous UFO encounter: that of December 1980. And, to illustrate still further the UFO-hairy man connection, just down the road, so to speak, from Rendlesham Forest is the town of Orford - home to the legendary wild man caught in the seas off the coast of Orford all those centuries ago. And...In 1968, Alistair Baxter - who had a lifelong interest in stories and folklore relative to Irish and Scottish lake monsters - travelled to Loch Ness and spent nine weeks armed with a camera and binoculars quietly and carefully monitoring the loch for any unusual activity of the long-necked and humped variety. Baxter never did see the elusive beast of Loch Ness, but he was able to speak with numerous people who had seen it. After being at the loch-side almost constantly for five weeks, however, an unusual event occurred. Baxter was awoken in the middle of the night by a curious humming sound that was emanating from a bright, small, ball of light about the size of a football that - at a height of around fifteen feet from the ground - was slowly and carefully making its way through the surrounding trees that enveloped Baxter’s modestly sized tent.
Suddenly, and without warning, the ball of light shot into the sky to a height of several hundred feet and hovered in deathly silence over the still waters of Loch Ness. For reasons that Baxter was at a loss to explain, he felt an overwhelming urge to go back to sleep and the next thing he knew it was daybreak. But the strangeness had barely begun. Shortly after breakfast three men in black suits appeared outside of Baxter’s tent seemingly out of nowhere and proceeded to ask him if he had seen anything unusual during the night. He replied that he hadn’t, at which point one of the three men turned to his two colleagues and made what Baxter said was ‘a strange smile’. He turned to face Baxter. ‘We might return,’ said one of the mysterious men in black and all three departed by simply walking off into the woods. They never did return. Most interesting of all, and of deep relevance to the overall story this book tells, for the following three nights, Baxter had a recurring and frightening dream of a large and lumbering ape-man that would pace outside of his tent and that would then head down to the shores of the loch, whereupon, under a star-lit sky, it would tilt its head back, wail loudly and stand staring at the ink-black water. The dream would always end the same way: with an image of a huge and ominous atomic mushroom cloud exploding in the distance, and the beginning of the Third World War and the end of civilization.
Baxter’s story is made more thought-provoking for the following reason: I have numerous accounts in my own files from people who believe that they have undergone some form of ‘alien abduction’ and who, they maintain, have been shown images by "the aliens" of a desolate and irradiated Earth of the near-future that had been ravaged by a world-wide nuclear war. ‘This is a warning of what will happen if we don’t change our ways," Now, one of the abductees – Ann-Marie - said to me. Interestingly, she told of a frightening and futuristic scene that she believed showed a ruined and permanently cloud-covered city of London where the starving survivors were forced to do battle for food with strange, hairy ape men that would surface at night out of the rubble and remains of the flattened London Underground rail tunnels. How do we explain such undeniably rogue events like those of Alistair Baxter and that of Ann-Marie? Well, right now, we don’t, simply because we can’t. All we can really say is that they offer yet further food for thought that the British Bigfoot is not all that it initially appears to be. Perhaps, until we do know more, it’s apposite and wise to place such very hard to define cases in our definitive grey-basket and leave them there to languish. But before we move on to other avenues, there are the UFO-related words of a
Ronan Coghlan is the author of a number of acclaimed books, including A Dictionary of Cryptozoology and - with Gary Cunningham - The Mystery Animals of Ireland. In a 2012 interview with me, Ronan provided his views on the nature of the British Bigfoot, and what he believes may be evidence of a link between the phenomenon and that of UFOs. " The idea that there is a viable, reproducing population of apes or humanoids in Britain is totally risible; it just couldn’t be. So, alternative explanations for their presence are to be sought," begins Ronan. "A lot of the British reports seem to be quite authentic. So, there probably are actual beasts or humanoids out there. And the question is: How did they arrive there in the first place?" Ronan answers his question with the following words of reply: "It’s now becoming acceptable in physics to say there are alternative universes." He continues on this controversial but thought-provoking path:
"The main pioneer of this is Professor Michio Kaku, of the City College of New York. He has suggested that not only are there alternate universes, but when ours is about to go out in a couple of billion years, we might have the science to migrate to a more congenial one that isn’t going to go out. I think he expects science to keep improving for countless millennia, which is very optimistic of him, but whatever one thinks about that, the idea of alternative universes is now gaining an acceptance among physicists, and he’s the name to cite in this area." The subject is far from one lacking in mysteries and questions, however, as Ronan acknowledges:
"Now, how do you get into, or out of, alternative universes? Well, the answer is quite simple: You have heard of worm-holes, I’m sure? No-one has ever seen a worm-hole, I hasten to add. They are hypothetical, but mainstream physicists say they could be there, and there’s one particular type called the Lorentzian Traversable Wormhole. Physicists admit there is a possibility that this exists, and it would be like a short-cut, from one universe to another. Thus, for example, it’s rather like a portal: Something from the other universe would come through it. Or, something from another planet could come through it." Turning his attentions towards the links between worm-holes and bizarre beasts, Ronan comments that: "If there are any of these worm-holes on Earth, it would be quite easy for anything to come through, and it’s quite possible any number of anomalous creatures could find their way through from time to time. You remember John Keel and his window-areas? That would tend to indicate there’s a worm-hole in the vicinity; such as Point Pleasant, West Virginia, where the Mothman was seen. ‘I have the distinct suspicion we are dealing with window-areas that either contact some other planet, or they contact another universe. My money is on the other universe, rather than the other planet, to be honest with you. Either a short-cut through time, or a short-cut through space, is recognized as possible these days. This is kind of cutting-edge physics, as it were."
"Now, the other one isn’t cutting-edge physics at all. It’s my own little theory. I think, looking at a great many legends, folk-tales, and things of that nature, it is possible to vibrate at different rates. And if you vibrate at a different rate, you are not seen. You are not tangible. And, then, when your vibration changes, you are seen, and you are tangible; maybe that this has something to do with Bigfoot appearing and disappearing in a strange fashion. And, finally, on the question of UFOs: Quite a large number of Bigfoot-type creatures have been seen in the vicinity of UFOs. I’m not saying there’s necessarily a connection between the two, but they do – quite often – turn up in the same areas. Now, if UFOs travel by worm-holes, and if Bigfoot does the same, that might allow for a connection between the two. They might not be mutually exclusive. Regardless of the extent to which certain aspects of the worm-hole theories may be wholly theoretical, possible, or literal reality, and whether or not there is some connection between UFOs and Bigfoot, Ronan, just like Jon Downes, Neil Arnold, Andy Roberts, and Richard Freeman, is absolutely certain of one thing: "There’s no possibility of a British, native, great-ape." But, there is something that is undeniably supernatural.