Saturday, September 19, 2015

Lo and Behold

Most people don't know about the Paracas skulls (above) or the fact that King Tut also had an elongated skull. Was King Tut's misshapen head the product of "binding" in infancy? Were pharaohs imitating the appearance of a previous age of giants?  Modern archaeology refuses to deal with these sorts of questions.
High Strangeness abounds . . . monsters of all shapes and sizes folded between dimensions. Sometimes they straighten out their lots by accident.  Sometimes they spend thousands of years seeking a way to enter our sense plane. Such are the hidden realms that bump and grind like rusty clockwork behind the fascia of every day reality.  
Steampunk Scientists are not shackled by rules, regulations, and peer pressure. They can pursue knowledgecraft in the comforts of their own space. Believe it or not, some of the greatest technological leaps in history were not made in corporate or academic labs. Most people have not heard about the really big private discoveries that occurred after the Nineteenth Century. Why? Because the information was occulted on a "need to know" basis.
Knowledge is power, lest we forget, and powerful inventions can be priceless. Ironically, many brilliant inventors over the past century were not aware of these all-important facts. Nicola Tesla found out the hard way.
Discoveries about supernatural beings and phenomenon are no different, and many of these were made long before the Nineteenth Century. Rare instances of alliances and friendships between supernatural sentients and humans have often been manipulated and abused by other supernaturals or by greedy third party humans for as long as our species has trod the globe. C'est la vie. 
Ubernaturalism is a system of analysis that acknowledges ancient knowledge of such things, while drawing from modern evidence and scientific reasoning. This said, it is more than a bunch of rules. Ubernaturalism, as a kind of psychic altruism, embraces the need for humanity to transcend livestockhood. It seeks to awaken the dormant sense of psychic awareness in all people.
The ubernaturalist, like the "steampunk scientist," commands scientific dogma to "Sit! Roll over!" But this does not mean that the virtues of science are overlooked or undervalued. Intuition and imagination are as important to the 21st Century as it was to the Seventeenth Century when Sir Isaac Newton spent as much time studying alchemy as he did calculus.  
Just because evidence of the paranormal does not fit neatly inside our present frame of reference, scientifically speaking--this does not mean it should be ignored . . . or worse, covered up. 
And so it goes . . . turn a screw, bust a nut.  Ubernatural data gathering, analysis, and interpretation is a lot hard work. There's no room for armchair philosophers or scientists in this new and budding post-scientific age discipline.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Bigfoot Habituation: Scientific Baiting or Spiritual Offerings?

When it comes to bigfoot habituation, who is the subject and who is the object?

A great many researchers tend to use food as a way to habituate forest giants to become accustomed to interacting with human beings. Oh, if only they knew what is doing the REAL habituation! 

In such cases, it is the sasquatches that are, in turn, habituating humans by allowing the humans to believe they are in charge.

So-called baiting stations, where food is left, can certainly help to establish a connection.

Whether the researcher is acting from a scientific standpoint by leaving bait, or a paranormalist perspective by leaving an offering, is actually fairly irrelevant.  Yes, the latter is quite a bit easier for Intra Dimensional Entities (IDE's) to manipulate, but with time and patience even the most hardened scientist will come around, particularly if he or she returns often enough to check his or her "baiting station."

Such offerings are a form of wish fulfillment that sasquatches and other IDE's may or may not accept as a way to establish a psychic bond.  Often, the likelihood of "habituating" an IDE through such rudimentary methods has more to do with the type of psychic energy and body chemistry that the humans bring to the table.

The actual food that one leaves in such cases is fairly incidental. Yes, certain kinds of food are more tasty to a sasquatch than other kinds of food. Often, however, even if the food is taken it is not eaten.

Accepting an offering (or taking the bait) is a way of connecting with the mental signature of the human(s) involved.

Establishing rapport with sasquatches, ghosts and other Intra-Dimensional Entities (IDE's) tends to accelerate the "meet-greet" process, thereby greatly improving outcomes . . . that is, if one considers contact to be a desirable outcome.

Historically, many different terms have been used for the process of establishing rapport between intra dimensionals and human beings.  Everything from conjuring to invoking to simply offering a greeting or salutation is applicable.  When one realizes this all-important fact, a kind of veil is lifted from one's outlook. Such a vision of what lies underneath can be liberating or greatly discouraging. It all depends upon one's cultural, religious, and philosophical orientation.

Admitting that bigfooting is really just another form of initiating contact between humans and IDE's is a big step for many researchers. Apers tend to poo-poo this very real facet of bigfooting, whereas many paranormalists err on the side of deifying sasquatchs as quasi-gods.

Ubernaturalists forge a path through the rough in order to reconcile each of the two divergent views, as well as lending a helping hand to individual researchers regardless of their orientation. Every field researcher who is conducting research deserves an audience. There are always plenty of interesting details they bring back with them from encounters that transcend the rather pedestrian line of demarcation between apers and supernaturalists.

As I've said, both schools tend to exhibit their own set of weaknesses and strengths. But the data transcends such handicaps. That is why it's so important for apers not to self-censor vital details!  Likewise, it's imperative that paranormalists strive to learn some logic skills from apers. 

Lastly, I thought I would demonstrate how my understanding of the paranormal has evolved over the past twenty years or so. The above documentary was filmed before I understood how the "mind-body connection" applies to the field of bigfooting, as well as ghosting and other paranormal research. 
In fact, I mistakenly believed that my offerings of apples had more to do with the fruit themselves than with the intention by which I left them on the hiking trail. Kurt Lancaster's footage chronicles my pursuit of High Sasquatchery way back in the summer of 2002. Lancaster is currently a tenured Professor of Performance Studies at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
As for the area where most of the footage in Kultus was filmed, it proved to be remarkably squatchy.  About one third of the film is nocturnal bigfooting at Kultus Lake, WA. I took the opportunity to leave offerings. However, none of the apples I left were accepted by sasquatches. It's worth pointing out that the trail on which I left them was a fairly busy one during the daytime.
A high amount of human foot traffic could have certainly reduced the likelihood that a sasquatch would be paying attention. This said, one spot in particular on the trail did seem to give the impression that a cloaked sasquatch was nearby, at least judging by the severity of my own personal "dread response," as well as the documentary film maker's anxiety in one particular spot.
The entire documentary can be found here: Kultus: A Search for Sasquatch.  And, yes, it was filmed before I considered myself an Ubernaturalist.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Ghosts, Spirits, and a Ouija Board

Even though in my experience drinking booze and lighting up pot pipes in the woods tends to reduce interactions with bigfoots, this trend does NOT hold true with other Intra-Dimensional Entities, such as ghosts and spirits.

After having lived in two haunted houses, I can confidently say that drinking alcohol tends to intensify interactions with these two latter forms of Intra-Dimensional Entity (IDE). 

In 2001, I moved into a house on Woodward Street in SE Portland, Oregon. Hauntings in that house were such a problem that its landlord verbally warned my roommates and me, after signing the lease, that we would not be released from our legal obligations if we experienced ghostly visitations. My other three other roommates thought this verbal “clause,” after the fact, was hilarious. Needless to say, I wasn’t very happy to hear such a thing due to my childhood run-ins with ghosts, and a few other odds and ends. 

In a short while after we moved in, I was trying to impress a woman that I met through a newspaper advertisement in the Willamette Week. She was studying to earn a Ph.D in social work, and I found her incredibly sexy. So what did I do?
The haunted house on Woodward Street
What else: I went out and bought a Parker Brothers Oui-Ja board, a bottle of champagne, strawberries, and whipped cream. My date was impressed. We sat at the dining room table drinking champagne and trying to reach the spirit world. An entire story materialized. A baby had fallen out of a window and died. The name of the child was furnished by the game board. 

After the date, my relationship with that woman escalated quickly into a passionate relationship that lasted for over a year. At the time, however, I was curious to push the supernatural possibilities in the house even farther. 

You see, I still was laboring under the (false) impression that my experiences growing up in a haunted house had merely been a product of my young child's imagination. 

After a few months had passed with no ghostly activity at all, I was bored one weekday afternoon when everyone else was at work. Just for kicks, I took out my friend’s synthesizer microphone and made a somewhat half-hearted attempt to record ghostly voices. I repeated the name we’d gotten from playing on the Oui-Ja board (which I will never repeat again), along with the invitation “Come out and play!”

The microphone was very sensitive and would only record if a person sang or spoke directly into it from an inch away. I walked around the house with the microphone on. Nothing happened. When I walked over to the stairwell, the synthesizer “plinked,” indicating the mic had recorded something.

What I played back on the synthesizer’s record feature was bizarre. It reminded me of my grade school cafeteria at a two room country school house that I attended out by the Willamette River near Salem, Oregon. In the distant background, behind the children’s voices, a deep sound rolled and warbled, almost like whales under water. The child-like voices, dozens of them, seemed oblivious to the deep and sonorous calls. I played the recording over and over.

Despite living in a haunted house, my roommates and I found ample time to party

Each time, the whale-like sounds seemed a little more sinister. They didn’t change, of course, in the recording, but my attitude towards them did. They felt malevolent and dangerous to me. A kind of primitive fear prickled at the back of my head and down my spine. But, instead of leaving well enough alone, I duplicated the experiment once more.

The same thing happened: I walked around the living room and dining room to no avail. But when I reached the stairwell, my friend’s synthesizer plinked. This time, I jumped when I heard the recording register because I had been expecting it to happen and when it did, I couldn’t believe my suspicions had been correct.

This recording was very similar to the first, along with a few notable exceptions: the children’s voices were screaming and the whale sounds were very loud indeed, as if whatever had been making the sounds had reached the place where the “children” were. I only listened to this recording a few times.

When my friend, Ken Merhar, came home, I played both recordings for him. He laughed and asked me which movie they’d come from, Poltergeist? I repeated my explanation, and he still wouldn’t believe me. In fact, Ken seemed immune to all ghostly events that happened in the house after that terrible afternoon. 

On a side note, year later, I took Ken Merhar bigfooting to The Dark Corridor of Goat Mountain. As he was off by himself, a cloaked Splintercat leapt up into the sky near him, shattering branches like fire kindling. He came running back and yelled at me for "playing a trick on him." It took me about a minute to cause him to realize there was no way I could do such a thing, nor would I. He grudgingly accepted the veracity of what had happened to him. Even though he was very interested in UFO's, he was a bit put off by bigfooting stuff in general. Because I had taken him on a "bigfooting" trip, the encounter with a cloaked IDE was somehow anticlimactic, but he had to agree that it was supernatural for sure.

Woodward House: Surrounded by heavy foliage and trees
By the time another two months had gone by at Woodward House, one roommate had moved out due to ghostly traumas, and another had saged the entire house in an effort to get rid of the pesky things. Unfortunately, I ending up suffering the most. The fact that I had the strongest imagination was not lost on me. Contrary to what most people think, imaginations do not cause normal rationale people to see things that "are merely in their heads."

Rather, they facilitate a heightened awareness to detect and identify paranormal activity. Children are nearly always born with active imaginations. Yes, they sometimes imagine things that are "not there," but they also detect supernatural agencies that are there--things that adults, in general, have been trained to ignore as being unreal and foolish flights of fancy. 

Modern society tends to stamp out this sort of extra-dimensional creativity as well as intuition. Peer pressure and imprinting behaviors transform young intuitives into lackluster cookie cutter adults--not unlike factory workers on an assembly line that are trained to act like robots (although actual robots are slowly replacing their human counterparts in factories). Healthy imaginations function like a reservoir of "power" deep inside the groundwork of our beings.

Rather than crushing out these vital essences, we can learn to harness them. Our imaginations are then allowed to get out and breathe without being suppressed. In time, this can supercharge our abilities to sense danger from supernatural threats to ourselves, our families, and even the society in which we live. 

At any rate, during my one year stint in Woodward House, I experienced the following supernatural events:
  • Saw a ghost walk through a table in the dining room was I was watching TV in Living room. It was very tall and walked out the front door, which was open in summer time at about one o'clock in the morning.
  • "Lady in Red" (dress) haunted my dreams. The dreams would always start out with her looking through a crack in the door and then coming inside, where she would watch me sleep and then look out the window. She seemed to want something from me, and there was a slight sexual feeling to the ghost's hunger (like a succubus).
  • Touched by ghosts that always felt my legs and torso through a sheet or a blanket. Light pressure, as though by a hand, to determine if I were asleep.
  • Bed would creak when the ghost got on the mattress with me.
  • Ghost would sometimes sit on my back as I slept on my stomach. I later learned it was called "night smothering," which is the third most common type of ghostly encounter according to some books on the subject. Once the ghost was on top of me, it would prevent me from waking up. When I did finally awaken, I would be out of breath and drained of energy.
  • One time, I "rolled" the ghost off my back and it hit the floor with a thud before vanishing. I estimate its weight/bulk to be similar to that of a small chimpanzee.
  • After I moved out, the night "touching" of my leg and foot through covers continued for a few months in my new house, and once when I went down to Salem, Oregon, to visit my parents (in my childhood house).
  • I eventually befriended the wife of a guy who also suffered from night smotherings ever since he had been working on a documentary about the White Eagle Tavern in Portland. The woman was very helpful and a lot of her advice worked. I never met her husband, but I would like to thank him for the advice he told his wife for me if I ever do meet him. She was a bartender at Greater Trumps, a bar near where I was living in Portland at the time.
  • Cliff and I performed a few songs for Finding Bigfoot at the White Eagle Tavern, by the way. The White Eagle is known as one of the most haunted places in Portland. I recommended the location to scouts on the program because I thought this would be an interesting aside. I think I alluded to the haunted nature of the setting in my interview for the show. Not sure if that part was cut from the final footage that aired. I've never seen the episode unfortunately although I would love to see it sometime.

As for the Woodward House, I wasn’t in a position to move out of the house because I had found it, and I was the one that had asked my friends to move in. So, in a way, I was trapped in the lease for another few months until it expired (thankfully only a one year rental agreement).

Darkness without, shadows within

Just today, I dropped by Woodward House to take these pictures around dusk. I spoke with Mike Baker, a next door neighbor. Mike told me that his house had been built in 1885, right around the same time as the house I'd lived in.

When Mike learned why I was taking the pictures, he told me that a few years earlier, a woman who had been making a documentary about ghosts in old Portland buildings stopped by his house and offered to hire a medium to check to see if there was anything unusual cohabiting with Mike and his family. 

The medium said that a "harmless" entity was quite upset with the way Mike had converted the attic into a living space for his family. Incidentally, my bedroom window in the Woodward House faced Mike's attic and was the same height, as well.

The above video was taken in front of Woodward House. After I recorded the account of my run-ins with a succubi that drained me of energy with "night smotherings," I walked in front of the house and then across the street. A woman down the hill spotted me, and then approached quickly from the east.

When this woman reached me, she began repeating the word "Lost, lost" a few times with a thick accent. I asked if she had lost a pet, and she shook her head. I have no idea what she was talking about.  She fit the part of an Old World type of person, if you know what I mean (a gypsy). Her accent sounded distinctly Romanian. I'm fairly familiar with the difference between a Romanian and a Russian accent. There are quite a few Russians who work out at my gym. Three Romanian carpenters have helped me to fix up my house over the past year, so I am fairly familiar with each accent and the subtle differences (to the American ear since Romanian sounds quite a bit different from Russian to people who live in Eastern Europe).

As I drove home, the rather odd encounter with that Romanian gypsy-type woman who said "lost, lost" was weighing on my mind just a little. However, this paled in comparison with a nagging concern that the succubi from Woodward House might somehow be able to follow me home.  I only live a few miles away from there.  Actually, I've lived in the same three mile radius of Southeast Portland since I moved here in 2000 from Wilsonville, OR.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tree Forts & Underground Kingdoms

As  a kid, I used to love to build tree forts. Here I am building a fort for my two nine year-old nephews.

And here I am at nine years of age building my own tree fort. Time keeps on slippin' into the future.

I also built quite a few "bunkers" underground as a boy. In fact, after losing one of my front teeth, the tooth fairy brought me a little shovel. When I awoke to find it beside my bed, shiny and new, I was overjoyed.

Most of the time, out in the forest, I would dig huge pits taller than I was, and then pull a sheet of plywood over top. The finishing touch was piling mounds of dirt and debris over the plywood.

In my "new digs," I would delight in bringing a sleeping bag down the ladder into the subterranean depths, where I would read voraciously about bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and UFO's by the illumination of a penlight. In my homemade cave, I always felt right at home . . . unless its heavy ceiling collapsed on top of my head, threatening to bury me alive.  Actually, this happened more often than you might think. But these setbacks didn't keep me from improving the design of my fortification and seeking refuge underground.

For some reason, I was obsessed with the idea of subterranean dwellings. While living in New York City, well over a decade later, I experienced vivid dreams about a city beneath the city several times per week.

These days, I still find myself dreaming of discovering underground tunnel systems and caves, as well as sunlit kingdoms similar to the "hollow earth" theories of the late 19th Century that helped to fuel Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth.

In fact, just last night I dreamed of an underground kingdom with a storefront entrance in which the employees had no idea of what existed right under their noses. It was a very compelling dream indeed--so real seeming.

Because of this deep subconscious fixation, along with a few other wyrd traits, my girlfriend, Cori, jokes that I have some "Jotun's (giant's) blood" flowing through my veins. She tends to mix up things like Jotunheim (the intra-dimensional realm of mythological giants) and bigfoots, which are rumored to live underground.

I grew up in the country among rusty tractors and abandoned automobiles. As a young boy, while roaming through my parents' oak forest, I discovered a partially buried pioneer wagon. 

My father was impressed with the find. We decided to leave it out in the woods. It had been there for half a century, why disturb the "remains"?

Many years later, I decided to do just that. Before leaving for college, I pulled the wagon wheels and axles out of the blackberry bushes, and lugged them in a wheel barrow down the big hill, along with a bag of cement.  It was a labor of love, a gesture of my appreciation for all my parents had done for me while I grew up in their house. 

Down by the highway at the base of their driveway, I bent a few rebars and set the whole works in concrete. (The concrete was an insurance policy to keep the vintage pioneer wagon from rolling off into the bed of a passing pickup truck.)  My dad seemed to really like the gesture. Out in the open, the wagon wheels and axle looked fairly striking and historic.

There, at the base of my folk's long driveway, which meanders up the hill into an oak forest, those heavy wheels and cast iron axle sit happily to this day. 

Here is one of my favorite bigfooting spots on the Sandy River about 45 minutes east of Portland.  I took a friend along in August 2015. We heard some knocking and moaning up Gordon Creek, which empties into the Sandy. In fact, my friend her the moaning before I did and called my attention to it. Very unusual to hear in daylight.

This spot bisects Gordon Creek canyon. It's a swamp that runs down a steep hill into the Gordon Creek drainage.  Awesome bigfooting. Cliff and I went to check out a sighting report not far from here in 2009.  It was an especially interesting case, and I helped Cliff to put up game cameras on the property, which featured a duck pond that was bringing in bigfoots.

I've been bigfooting quite a bit on Gordon Creek road, and other parts of the Sandy River, over the past decade. Cliff began focusing on the area after he bought a home within a short distance from it in 2009. Since he now lives so close, this part of the Sandy is the perfect "squatchy" place for him to take his dog, relax, and to be around the big'uns, as well as steelhead and rainbow trout.

I took newlyweds Seth and McKenzie to this particular bigfooting spot near Gordon Creek in 2012. We heard two pair of bipedal footsteps out in the brush. They flanked up and followed us back to the road. Seth took off running, but McKenzie stayed another five minutes until she got so spooked, she followed her husband, Seth. 

On another occasion, a year earlier, I took McKenzie up to Goat Mountain and we saw bigfoot eye shine in the trees when we shone our flashlight on a spot where a big knock echoed out over a big quarry. Ironically, that very night, McKenzie's husband, Seth, was robbed at gunpoint while working at Subway sandwich shop on SE Foster road in Portland, OR. The shop is one mile from The Lodge, my Portland home. Yes, I live in a rough neighborhood.

Anyhow, I'd been up to The Goat with another friend two years earlier in the dead of winter with snow on the ground. A series of knocks, above and below the quarry broke out when we first arrived on the scene. Because there is cell service up there, I called my dad and Thom Powell, both of whom heard the knocks on the cell phones.

My dad advised me: "Stay in your Jeep. Don't be a hero. Play it safe and live to see another day."

Needless to say, I did not play it safe. I walked out towards the knocks in two foot deep snow, and eventually the knocking stopped. So much for a dramatic confrontation. As usual, bigfoots melted into the background of space and time, leaving a veil of mystery in their wake.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Something Squatchy This Way Comes

Cliff Barackman and I have known each other since he first moved to Portland, Oregon. He’s a consummate guitarist. I happen to know my way around the drum set, so we’ve “jammed” together for years, playing jazz, Latin, and Old Time music—in addition to camping in the woods from time to time, as well as hanging out in town.

White Eagle Saloon, Portland OR
In July of 2012, I had the pleasure of accompanying Cliff’s playing on his seven string guitar during a performance that was recorded for an episode of Finding Bigfoot. We performed at a local (reputedly haunted) tavern in Portland called The White Eagle, along with Andy, who also owns a seven string guitar.

Both Andy and Cliff trade bass parts because they can, and it’s cool to be weirdly versatile. I hang back and find the groove pocket in which to tuck electrified notes and words. Before we played a few songs, I also recorded a brief interview about Cliff. 

Ironically, the gig was kind of a disaster for me. It was partly my fault. I brought my big bass drum and it crowded the stage. I had thought the stage was going to be larger. On top of that, Andy was forced to put his bass speaker right next to my snare drum, so I had to turn off the snares for all the songs. . . taboo! 

The sound guy and the camera man kept coming over and asking me what was wrong. Andy's bass amp was literally playing my drums for me, but not in a good way. Despite the handicap, I think the gig still ended up being a success.

Afterwards, I drank in the bar for a few hours talking with other bigfooters and fans of the show. I ran into a fellow that had been trying to track me down for months. He wanted me to go bigfooting with him up at a reservoir in eegad knows where.  The place sounded very squatchy, indeed, but I usually make it a point not to squatch with strangers.

Cliff and I perform at HopsSquatch, several years after the White Eagle gig for Finding Bigfoot.

Bobo and Cliff at one of my jazz gigs
Bobo and Cliff have come to several gigs that I played in my other band projects.  Here is Bobes at Livingroom Theater in Downtown Portland, OR. He was in top form that night, and took a huge bite out of Flippy's piece of pizza (half the slice) on the street after the gig. Everybody laughed except Flippy who stared longingly at the stubby piece of crust that had been a hot slice from Sizzle Pie, one of his favorite downtown dives.

I always have a really good time hanging out with Bobo.  My all-time favorite moment happened in the fall of 2009 when a mutual friend of ours was playing in a band in Old Town (Portland). After the gig, we were standing in front of Shanghai Tunnel. A shady dude approached us, and tried to sell us a goat skull.  This piqued Bobo's interest. He asked how much.  The dude's asking price was high, but Bobo talked him down to twenty dollars. The guy reluctantly agreed to the low price. 

Bobo loved the gruesome skull that wasn't particularly clean. He kept showing it off to pretty girls as they walked by on the street. A few of them stopped to regard the skull, and to chat. I must say that this was the only time I've ever seen a goat skull act as a prop to attract the attention of pretty young (drunk) girls! And I think it's safe to say that it is the only time that I will ever see anyone use a goat skull to attract girls!   

Bobo used a goat skull to "habituate" human females

About fifteen minutes later, a tough guy in a leather vest showed up and wanted to buy the skull back for twenty dollars.  Bobo smiled, and shook his head. "Nope," he said. "Finder's keepers."  The guy walked away totally deflated.  Cliff was hanging out with us at the time, along with a few other friends.

Cliff and I were talking about Bobo's infamous skull buying transaction just last weekend, as we camped next to a very squatchy swamp/lake.  I couldn't remember what sort of skull it had been. Cliff was sure it had been a goat skull, and I think he is right about that, as he usually is correct about facts, figures, and scientifically-inclined details. 

But I remembered details about the incident that Cliff had forgotten, such as the tough guy trying to buy the skull back, and how Bobo used it as a prop to chat up pretty girls. 

And, of course, after Bobo bought the skull and was flashing it at girls on the street, I was the one that had to push the envelope a little farther, as I usually tend to do, by daring the girls, "Touch it.  Go ahead, touch it, baby." 

Bobo laughed pretty hard when I said that, milking the double entendre for all it was worth.  A few of the girls laughed, too. It was just so patently absurd for a huge man to be holding a dirty skull like some kind of warped come-on. This was a year or two before Finding Bigfoot, so Bobo was not yet a household name.

The alley where we were'd hung out between Shanghai Tunnel and Dan & Louis Oyster Bar is notorious for heavy partying in Portland.  I have stumbled through those streets many a night over the years, salivating at the scent of Oysters Rockefeller drifting across the street from a  seafood restaurant that I have yet to visit.

Or maybe I did eat there once. I seem to have a vague memory. But if I did, I was too hammered at the time to remember the menu, the dining experience, or the d├ęcor inside.   

Gig at Livingroom Theater

The Good Foot: Another venue in Portland where I've played on occasion in various & sundry music projects

Fee fie fo fum, I smell the spots of a musha-rum! Mad hatters ain't got nothin' on "mad squatchers," yo. And, yes, I have seen my share of amanita muscarias whilst bigfooting in the Pacific Northwest. This one, however, is made of porcelain: it perches atop my bookshelf next to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Here I am with Cliff at the Pied Cow, a restaurant near my house. It's a great spot to chill after playing a gig.
Cliff and I practice regularly. Here we are hammering out the details of the song Madam Crooked Foot with Bobby, the project's bass player.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Bob Gimlin: A Squatcher and a Gentleman

Bob Gimlin is wise, as well as kind. Every time I hang out with the dude, I appreciate him even more. Here I am (above) at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center with Bob in early 2014, where he gave a brilliant account of his experience with Roger Patterson at the time the famous bigfoot footage of "Patty" was taken. 

I've had the chance to chat one-on-one at length with Bob at parties and backyard BBQ's several times. He is quite the conversationalist, and his refreshingly down-to-earth "cowboy perspective" is much appreciated. I, myself, worked on a cattle ranch in Wyoming as a teenager. I also grew up with horses out in the country near Independence, Oregon.

Horses were a joy to ride (and a chore to clean up after) when I was a kid. My weekly duties from 4-12 years of age included caring for my own pony--a Shetland named "Misty," that had enough of a temper to make her a challenge to ride. Still, despite her difficult temperment, which included biting and kicking (she nearly broke my leg once), I loved her all the same. Eventually, my parents, exasperated with Misty's foul temperament, sold her to a breeder.

The original Patterson-Gimlin film was crisp and clear. The standard version (see above video) was released to the media from the late 60's until today has been a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy. Yes, that's five times removed!  Naturally, the footage is a grainy mess. So why wasn't a copy of the original released to the public? It would have been dramatically more clear and definitive. This question is worth considering.  A tiny handful of people have seen the original version. Some disgruntled bigfooters maintain that the US government confiscated it from Patterson's widow. 
Was the grainy footage that the media released to the public part of a "cover up?" Some experts think foul play is a possibility, or, put another way, "expediency in the name of 'national security'." Like much of what is up on Youtube, the above clip muddles the truth with fiction. It starts out by labeling what follows as "original footage." That is simply not true.
Up until my teens, I'd kept Misty's saddle in apple pie condition, combing her diligently, feeding her, and making sure she was comfortable. After Misty was gone, I found that I had a lot more free time. I soon took up percussion as a hobby, as well as reading voluminously. A few years later, I began working in a nearby wine vineyard to save up enough money to buy my first drum set.

Bob laughed pretty hard when I told him about Misty, and he had some good advice to offer if I ever got it in my head to buy another Shetland. He absolutely loves horses (and ponies). They're in his blood and he brings them up every time I see him. Bob is quite naturally in touch with the land.

There's nothing more natural than riding a horse through the remote wilderness. For me, it's even better than backpacking because the heavy pack always seems to provide a distraction. Up atop a horse, free of the burden of a heavy pack, you can really get a feel for the land for days on end of travel, without the exhaustion of backpacking. Bob has quite a repertoire of stories about horses and camping.

He, of course, was covering Roger Patterson (from horseback) with his rifle in October of 1967 when the famous Patterson-Gimlin film footage was taken. This footage is still the best ever taken of a sasquatch, and most people have only seen third and fourth generation (somewhat blurry) copies of the original (surprisingly clear and focused) film.

One thing's for sure: Patty is no "blob-squatch." Her image has become a cultural icon. Frame 352 (above) is instantly recognizable to young and old alike, from New York to Tokyo to Bejing. It's interesting to note that this frame records the image of a nervous Patty who had turned to regard Bob Gimlin on his horse.

At the time, the sights on Bob's rifle was pointed at Patty's head, and his finger was on the trigger. Very few actually know this fact, but people seem to instinctively recognize Patty's innate humanity. She is nervous, unhappy, frustrated: these emotions come through loud and clear. The picture shows a sasquatch literally confronting the threat of the human species; her concerned expression symbolically registers the danger our kind poses to the well-being of the planet as a whole. In this way, the Patterson-Gimlin footage is more than simply iconic: it's downright profound. At the time the footage was taken, a 750-pound Patty ambles off into the woods with her famous long-armed gait, and the telling "no-neck" turn of the head. 

Believe it or not, I'm no stranger to spending time around sasquatches. I know the smell of them, the calls and sounds they utter, the way they break branches to mean different things. I know the difference between a squatch footprint (or a knuckle print) and that of a bear or an elk. In short, I've dedicated a tremendous amount of time and energy to familiarize myself with their calling cards, as well as their behavior.

Be this as it may, I've only had one distinctive sighing after one hundred-odd trips to hot spots (remote locales where sasquatch activity is high, often with a history of contact that predates European settlers) over the past twenty years. When the sighting took place, a friend stood at my side as we looked up at the sight of our lives.

The moment is etched indelibly in my mind. Here we were, in a rock quarry, out in the middle of nowhere, on Indian tribal land, at dusk. A sasquatch was looking down at us with a kind of metaphysical disdain. Although we couldn't see its eyes due to the lighting conditions, we could interpret the posture of its massive head and neck in human terms. It wasn't merely regarding us; it was staring (glaring) at us. And yet, we were not afraid. Why? My friend's loaded rifle was resting on the front seat of my Jeep, within arm's reach through the open door.

After the tension of living through this dramatic sighting, I certainly recognize the importance of Bob covering Roger, who was risking a great deal running across the rocky stream with a Kodak K-100 camera pressed up tight against his face. Both men were quite brave that day, as well as being intrepid enough to ride up into some very remote and rugged forestland at a time when very few people knew that sasquatches even existed, much less had the foresight to go looking for them.

Precise location of my bigfoot sighting, near Spirit Mountain, Oregon

Having a big bore Marlin nearby, during a "Class A" bigfoot sighting in the early autumn of 2008, certainly helped me to enjoy the experience, which lasted about twenty minutes in a stare-down match. The huge sasquatch was perched atop a rock quarry near Spirit Mountain, which is located on an Indian reservation.

Needless to say, the fella was none too pleased about a recent clear cut that could not have been more than a week old. The freshly cut Douglas fir and hemlock trees were still fragrant enough to smell. He announced his presence with a deep moan. In fact, if he hadn't done that, my friend and I would never have seen him.

The sun had just set behind the hill, so we could only see the silhouette of the big sasquatch, which moved several times during our encounter. I was surprised that he had a head of long, flowing hair down over his broad shoulders that blew in the wind, rather than relatively short hair like Patty's. I would estimate the creature's height at about ten feet, and its weight at around nine hundred pounds (about the body mass of four grown men).
Unfortunately, I did not have a video camera at the time, and even if I had, the lighting conditions were not conducive to a nice clear image. The picture (above) was taken in similar lighting conditions, aside from the fact that my sighting took place around dusk, and this pic shows the quarry at dawn. Since the remaining light was shining onto the hill, instead of behind it, we actually could make out more details on the sasquatch than the photograph at dusk illustrates. I need to go back to that quarry and snap a shot at dusk one of these days.
The distance between where I am standing (to take the picture) and where the sasquatch was standing on the edge of the quarry/tree-line during the encounter, is close to being identical. Also, there was more sunlight in the sky during my sighting than the photo indicates.

Mud Thumpers & Cafe Racers

Before Mods: Beat up tank with cracking paint, crooked frame, crushed tail pipe, torn up seat, old factory paint, cracked mirror on one side, shredded rear tire, etc.

My 2009 Triumph Bonneville: after the final mods (modifications). I suped it up, and modded the shit out of it until it was truly a work of art. People stopped me on the street to marvel. I loved that bike. Sold it in 2013 because I was nearly t-boned twice on Powell Boulevard near my home. Portland drivers are not very good at paying attention to motorcyclists.
If I lived in the country, I would have kept the bike forever. A part of my soul left with that bike and I almost wept to see it drive off down the street with a new owner that barely knew how to ride, and, gods forbid, was bound to drop 'er, sooner rather than later. . . .
The original KLR Kawasaki "mud thumper." It got me across rockslides next to sheer cliffs for bigfooting field research. Great low center of gravity for offroad but the kickstart was a lemon, so it had to go. If I counted the number of times I had to push it back to basecamp, I would run out of fingers.

My second mud thumper. This one was too high off the ground for me. Kind of a "goldie locks" syndrome. The first one was too low, and the second one was too high. It was a 2012 KLX 250. Bigfooting requires slower speeds through deep mud and other challenging terrain that just did not work for this bike. It was designed for races and tracks more than deep woods off-road squatching.
This third mud thumper is "just right" in terms of the goldie locks syndrome. A 2013 Yamaha TW200.  Just the right height and perfect for squatchy swamp buggin, while also doubling around town as a really nice super moto scooter.  Big ole phat tires. Umm hmmm. I can't wait to mod my Tee Dub with a bunch of Japanese factory extras. It will soon be "bad azz" on trail or in town. This ultimate "dual sport" thumper earns Sig's Seal of Approval.
Properly modded  Yamaha TW200 Squatch Buggin'  Thumper.  Someday mine will be like this . . . with a few exceptions, like a side chrome pipe to make it swamp worthy and a bigger aluminum tank