8/12/20: RUN FOREST RUN! W/ SHANNON LEGRO

MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS

We are all told that there are no monsters, that there are no real monsters; however, a monster is also a matter of how you think, what you observe. A predator can be just about anything from a mountain lion to a wolf. Their hunger is overwhelming and their need to feed for survival is also something to consider.

Just as no one really needs to explain that characters who turn into wolves during a full moon are werewolves, no one needs to explain who a hairy man-ape walking out of the woods would be.

That, of course, is the Sasquatch or the Bigfoot. We all know how most Bigfoot stories begin, first there is the glimpse. Something tall. Something hairy. Something that left footprints too big to be human.

Some detect a foul odor, others claim that the crickets they hear at night go silent the silence is overwhelming and then they hear the breaking of branches, some can hear the breathing, a snarl or growl.

But what you don’t hear about in these stories is the attacks, the massacres, the people whose lives are changed as the meet up with what can be called the Apex predator of the woods and swamps.

In my childhood and into my young adulthood I was always taught that the Sasquatch was a timid creature and Hollywood wanted us to believe the same thing as Bigfoot showed his softer side in the film Harry and the Henderson’s.

Over the past few decades, pop culture has done its best to defang Bigfoot. We have been seeing a series of commercials, where Bigfoot is selling beef jerky and Flo the woman who tries to sell you insurance has make the creature cuddly, or a joke where the creature calls himself Darrel.

Now keep in mind that Bigfoot allegedly weighs hundreds of pounds and stands anywhere from seven to ten feet tall – has sharp teeth and is literally an aggressive predator – however there are still many Bigfoot believers claim he a gentle giant, easily spooked by humans. Some say he is a supernatural being, a pet of the aliens or the last surviving Nephilim.

For some he has become a big, soft Muppet, much like the imaginary and invisible Snuffleupagus hiding out in the wilderness.

But now with reality being a horror unto itself and invisible enemies are enough to mount a terror campaign on their own, the Sasquatch which literally has become another semi-invisible enemy is becoming aggressive, the hide and seek champion of the deep woods is no longer hiding and stories of how the Sasquatch terrifies and even kills unassuming campers is now big business as authors and film producers are no longer silent about what creeps in the darkness.

There is now the darker side of Bigfoot and the stories are terrifying.

In the years that I have been an investigator of the paranormal, I have watched many documentaries about Bigfoot, I have seen the Bigfoot hunters on TV, I was raised watching Bigfoot, fight against evil on the Six Million Dollar man TV show –and with all of the pop cukture tablid takes on the creature, I still feel that most people who say they have an interest in Bigfoot go into the woods thinking that Bigfoot is some Disneyfied entity that hangs out with his furry friends or Shrek and Donkey.

In the late 1990’s I came to the conclusion that Bigfoot was many things of not different things to many people. First and foremost, many people believe that he is a mythological creature that has become somewhat of a sociological icon that is more or less a catch-all for unexplained activities in the woods.

He can also be the result of physical manifestation through willful manufacture, meaning that he or it exists but has been brought into the realms of a supernatural being rather than a flesh and blood animal.

I have always seen the Bigfoot enigma as simply an uncatalogued animal that possesses the intelligence of a typical primate. I was also of the opinion that the Sasquatch had to be an Apex predator in order to survive encounters with bears or even mountain lions and could only imagine how something of that size could literally block the moon from view as the creature rips apart any and all who unfortunately cross him.

I remember the first time a read about Bigfoot at my school library and the first story I ever read about the creature was horrific and it affected me in such a way that whenever I was camping I always looked over my shoulder wondering if something was watching me in the dark.

It was the story of the Ape Canyon attack.

In August of 1963 a story ran in the Longview, Washington times about a skier that disappeared near the Ape Caves named Jim Carter., who disappeared without a trace in the 1950’s. Carter, was with a twenty-member climbing party, was ever found although teams of experienced mountain rescue units scoured the area for a week.

As the party came down the mountain Carter left them at the 8,000-foot level, near a landmark called Dog’s Head. He said he would go ahead and photograph the others as the skied towards the timber line. That was the last time he was seen. The next morning a discarded film box was found at the spot where presumably he had loaded his camera.

Carter’s ski tracks indicated that he had raced down the mountain — something was chasing him. In his wild descent, Carter jumped several gaping crevices before going right off a steep canyon wall. Neither he nor his equipment was ever found.

Several of the seventy-five men in the search parties reported they experienced an uncomfortable feeling of being watched the whole time they were in the area. They concluded that he was attacked by the ape men; apparently, a very aggressive or a pack of very aggressive Bigfoot.

Although retreating appears to be the typical response of a Sasquatch to the presence of humans, many credible reports describe after dark harassment of campers and rural property owners by animals believed to be Sasquatches. The harassment activity is usually limited to screams, crashing and snapping of tree limbs and brush, and occasionally the throwing of rocks.

There have also been stories of dogs being ripped to pieces by the beast and house cats that disappear or are later found to be ripped in half.

President Theodore Roosevelt included a campfire tale of a Bigfoot who tore the throat out of an unlucky trapper in his writings.

And there are those who claim that the creatures are responsible for literally hundreds of murders of visitors to national parks and forests, which the federal authorities are covering up or ignoring. One Bigfoot sighting in California in 2017 led to a lawsuit demanding that the state warn people of the danger. The plaintiffs later dropped the suit. In interviews, people who have sighted Bigfoot say the Sasquatch has filled them with a sense of overwhelming terror.

Bigfoot researcher Tim “Coonbo” Baker told a story during an interview on Bigfoot Outlaws, an Internet radio show of a first person account he was given by someone who claims to have witnessed a Bigfoot killing someone.

Apparently two men, a hunter and a guide, we’re in rural New Mexico back in the 80’s. During their hunting excursion they cited a Bigfoot creature. Evidently the hunter decided to get famous and took a shot at the creature. However, instead of killing it, all it did was piss him off. The creature attacked the men, knocking the hunter’s head off with a swipe of his hand. When he turned to the guide, the guide dropped his rifle and backed away, and managed to escape with his life.

The guide reported this event to law enforcement, and took them to the location where it occurred. There was blood scattered about and the hunter’s body and severed head were lying there as the witness had reported. Even though huge footprints where everywhere and the witness clearly stated that it was a Bigfoot that did it, the law enforcement officer stated at the time that his report would theorize that it was a bear attack.

Coonbo states that he spent some time researching this to see if any official report of the “death by bear attack” had been filed those years ago, but he was unable to locate any such report in the archives of the county where this supposedly took place.

Serious reports of aggressive Bigfoot are a terrifying thought and there have been recordings and video of campers and hikers who have unfortunately come to close, only to be chased out of an area, or forced to hide and producing recordings of their terrifying screams and grunts.

Back in 2011, I was called about a report out of Madras, Oregon of a group of Sasquatch pushing boulders on to a train trestle. A freight train locomotive hit the first boulder and suffered damage while the other Burlington Northern train was able to stop.

The boulders weighed 300 pounds. Officials say that the boulders were meant to derail the trains. The train that hit the rock and was lifted off the tracks momentarily before setting safely back on the rails.

The train sustained between $2,000 and $3,000 in damage, but no crew members were injured. Railroad officials didn’t report the incident at the time, claiming that it was a natural occurrence — the second time it happened was when authorities were called in to investigate the incident.
Both boulders were left on the tracks in the dark.

It is hard to contemplate how 300 pound rocks were carried in the middle of a high rise train trestle – humans could have done it of course but why go through all the trouble of moving heavy boulders to the middle of a track and running the risk of injuring yourself or being hit by an oncoming train?

The authorities may have been embarrassed to admit that perhaps that Sasquatch may have been the culprit.

I encountered a Bigfoot near Trout Lake in Washington and while I have told my story many times on the air or at Bigfoot conventions – I feel that these are probably the only venues where I would certainly get someone to listen and understand what was happening. It really wasn’t all that thrilling as at first I did not know what I was looking at. It was the face that convinced me that what I was looking at did not fit the typical fuzzy muppet I have seen in movies and picture books.

People want a belief system that is comprehensive and consistent, and if something in our belief system is inconsistent, we get cognitive dissonance—and for me Bigfoot fits that mold.. it is a topic that literally bugs me and frustrates me.

I think this why a lot of people have a hard time believing in Bigfoot or even believing the stories about the encounters. It bugs them – it does not fit with their normalcy bias.

Relatively few people, in or out of the field of science, believe in Bigfoot. The attitude about the creature is met with the same level of credulity as a discovery of Casper the friendly ghost, the living Elvis or Tupac, or the real Santa Claus.

With only 16 percent of Americans Bigfoot believers, you might just write them off as crazy. But contrary to popular assumption, folklore experts say, Bigfoot believers may not be as irrational as you’d think.

 At least every other person walking among us believes in ghosts or ancient civilizations. They believe that aliens are among us –werewolf sightings happen all the time – Big Cats and Skinwalkers are also reported – the Chupacabra has been reported in places like Puerto Rico and other parts of Central America and Chile.

On of my favorite stories is Mothman the creature that was seen in Point Pleasant in 1966 and is rumored to be seen before disastrous events occur.

Many of these stories as crazy as they sound are certainly as elusive as Bigfoot.

Polls are always asking people whether or not they believe in aliens or ghosts. But the thing is, if their only options for an answer are yes or no, then they know what the right answer is—the right answer is no, peer pressure dictates that you say no.

But when you are alone with someone you can trust or if you anonymously call a talk show at night the answer is a big maybe or a definite yes –with a play by play account that terrifies people who have also experienced some unexplained bump in the night.

Give people some intellectual breathing room  and ask them to talk about their beliefs, what you find is a grey area that most people are existing in, where they say, ‘Well, you know, I haven’t seen hard proof myself but I have a really good friend or family member or someone I trust who has seen Bigfoot.’ Or they’ll say, ‘Well, I don’t believe in this stuff, but I did see Bigfoot one time.’”

Because so few Americans publicly claim to believe in Bigfoot, these kind of answers allow people to express the variations in their beliefs while protecting themselves from potential ostracization.

Humans tend to gather their beliefs socially. Not from reading the newspaper, not from reading scientific journals, not even from religious leaders. Most people, I would say, gather their belief systems from their social group.

The media and Hollywood fuels the socially acceptable beliefs and fads of popular cultural interests – it is easier for young romantics to fantasize about benevolent vampires in our midst than a big furry creature that hangs out in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and the swamps of the United States.

But for those that are not discouraged – it is the mythology and the legend that motivates people and attracts people to Bigfoot.

Though Bigfoot believers obviously don’t represent a huge section of the American population, and scientific proof of the creature’s existence has eluded them, they don’t seem discouraged.

What keeps legends alive is actually the lack of proof, the beliefs that are s based on faith and the testimonies’ of others and the thrill they get from hearing them.

Mysteries appeal to the natural curiosity inherent in human beings. The act of entertaining legends allows people to expand their minds and challenge traditional perceptions.

If there were absolutely no chance of Bigfoot being real, then the legend would disappear equally if science came out in full support of Bigfoot’s existence, then that would also make the legend disappear.

So whatever blurry photo you can present, whatever plaster cast you can grab, every hair follicle you collect, the discovery of what the creature truly is may be mundane and unsatisfying – the mystery flues everything and the possibility that Bigfoot can attack brings everything into a new dimension that needs to be discussed as we learn more about what lurks in the forest.

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