BIGFOOT ...and Other Human Encounters...

For the last few weeks I’ve been stuck in a loop.

I mean, loops are fine. They go round and round, and that can be fun. You don’t get stuck in corners when you’re in loops, but this particular ride has been disconcerting, to say the least.

You see, as a literary novelist, I need an out. I’m neck deep in my current work, a research-heavy, somber tale that has me drowning in more ways than one. 

*Embark book plug here*

WWII Pearl Harbor epic, entitled AIR, about 6 US Navy sailors trapped inside the capsized USS Oklahoma after the attack, and while fighting to live they discover there are worse things in life than death. AIR will be released December 7, 2020.

 *Disembark shameless plug*

And I needed a way to shut down my mind, have it wander from my work-a-day manuscript ruminations, and relax with some bedtime tales… soft, restful, slumber-inducing sounds…so the natural Go To was to hit up Stitcher and punch a podcast called the Sasquatch Chronicles.

It’s a show where people tell their up-close and personal tales of fright and mayhem with the Big Hairy Dude. There’s nothing better than sheer terror to quell my stress and enter Sleep Land, right? Am I right?

Yeah. No. I’m not right.


Listening to the S’quatch Chronicles wasn’t a very good idea. It was a bloody lousy idea. A sleep depriving idea that is wrecking my brain. But now like a degenerate gambler, I’m All-In, until every last one of those episodes is listened to and vicariously experienced because I’m nothing if not a quitter. Rehab is for quitters. I’m not one. I’m not going to one. Gavel banged. *jump from fright* I’m rather edgy these days.

Every night, after a hard day of writing on AIR, I pad to my bedroom and resign myself to a sleepless night, push the covers up to my neck, lie stock-still in the coffin darkness, and let my mind’s eye and perked ears drink in the tales. One after another after another — like eating Pringles potato chips ’til the can is done — and none of them are pretty. None of them star Harry from Harry and the Henderson’s. Not a single one. None of these episodic giants seem huggable, lovable or survivable. Oh, woes to the Me.

Courtesy The Crypto Crew
And down this disturbing road, factoids, statistics, gather in a basket not dissimilar to Little Red Riding Hood’s (whereas I’m Red and you know who’s the Big Bad Wolf). The average height, weight, hair type and facial/body features are learned; which ones growl, which ones bark, which ones scream and mash teeth and throw off a thing called Infrasound.

The idea of being hit with this unseen force makes my stomach quiver like I’ve been hit with that unseen force. The last thing you want to do at bedtime is hurl chunks from a dose of Infrasound. No mediation guru, to my knowledge, has ever recommended that.

Regardless the effect, each night, the S’quatch Chronicles churn out new witnesses, all tortured and tremor-filled initiates, who find comfort in spilling the beans on air to the soothing sounds of the show’s host and Bigfoot investigator, Wes Germer, (Wes does not like the term researcher. It’s a long story). Wes is a scary-looking dude himself, but well spoken, polite, and possessing a heart of gold, characteristics not often seen in Bigfoot.

The issue, the 900lb S’quatch in the room — are these creatures real? — has no home in the Chronicles, so the listener doesn’t have to go down that rabbit hole either. There’s no debating or Ego slaying, no manly tiffs or spats or verbal duels with the wielding of Bigfoot casts as evidentiary weapons. This is a “safe place” for witnesses who have probably needed a safe place for some time. Hell, it can’t be easy clapping eyes on an otherworldly woodland creature that doesn’t hop, skip and jump into any known category, that towers over you, burning holes into your very soul with its glassy bottomless eyes. And mocking the initiated, regardless of what they’ve seen, does that not speak more of the Disbelievers, and poorly? Do these jokers make fun because to take the sightings seriously would force a reality check in themselves? Is fear more than disbelief driving their emotions in the retelling of these heart-pounding nights?

Manly men, who populate the majority of the initiated, are a touchy breed themselves. Pride, Courage, Image — this trifecta oftentimes rules their personality. With such beings, life is black or white, it’s real or it’s fake, and if all of a sudden the fake becomes real, well, the “Loose lips sink ships” motto comes into play and the witnesses go radio silent, fearing ridicule and a hit to their socio-economic status. Wes is trying to mesh the impossible — manly men willing to confess — and given that he’s mostly dealing with 21st century men instead of the stoic 20th, he’s having decent success. At least on air, it seems to work. On his website’s comments, there are chinks in the armor. Jokes and snide remarks breed, and I wonder if it’s ultimately because we see our feral selves in these creatures — what was or what could be if we evolved or devolve. Maybe we fear ourselves more than the beast, and what do we do with a thought like that?

After downing scads of these shows, I’ve come to the conclusion that seeing a S’quatch is more about the man, and it brings up the issue of how we’ll all have to better cope as the eye-witness numbers increase. As an open-minded individual, I could never rule out Bigfoot’s existence. I always thought it funny that S’quatch Watchers were ridiculed for their footprint, hair and scat finds while a fisherman who pulls the remains of an unknown creature from the depths of the sea warrants not even a second glance.

Back in the day, pre and à la Patterson-Gimlin “Patty” film, S’quatch Watchers were old-timey mountain men who themselves, in look and speech, had more in common with the Big Hairy Guy than they did the average civilized Joe, what with the sweat-stained hats, the scruffy beards, the lumberjack shirts and the social acumen of a hibernating bear, never having crawled out and remained long away from the forest depths themselves. In those heady days of sightings and their sightseers, was society making fun of the beast or of the man who saw the beast?

The timeline for obtaining a definitive answer is slowly coming to a close with man’s further encroachment on virgin lands, so what or whomever has been peacefully living in those shade-filled, mossy grounds will undoubtedly be seen by more of us average Joes, encounters no longer the purview of yesteryear’s hermit hunters. 

Nowadays, S’quatch Watchers are your doctors and lawyers and Oprah-loving housewives, who for a lark become weekend woodland warriors, hunting, hiking, fishing, and camping out in the Great Divide.

And so it goes…

Wes, from his studio, and I, from my bed, continue to listen to these harrowing tales and accumulate disturbing factoids that over time become emblazoned into memory;

· Average foot length — 17.5 inches, a few casts showing dermal ridges
· Average height — 7 to 10 feet, depending on geographical location
· Average weight — 600 to 1,500 lbs.
· Inset eyes, usually glassy brown with no whites, giving off a penetrating stare
· Eye shine seems dependent on the light source used, the result: gooey green, evil red, and that lovely other-worldly mix of sick-as-a-feral-puppy yellow-brown.
· The fur is actually hair, usually 4 inches long, and not seen much on the underside of hands or feet, or on the face, with the immense muscular body structure easily viewed through the matted strands.
· Their body stench — a mélange of urine, feces, putrefying flesh and rotting garbage — comes and goes, depending on the creature’s stress/emotional level
· The head is cone-shaped, but not always, and with a rarely visible neck due to the huge trapezius muscles
· Their vocalizations are so loud/intense they could not be made by any known man or beast
· They run with strides of 6 feet or more, their gait smooth, like that of walking on a conveyor belt, their speed easily matching ATVs.
· That smiling, showing one’s teeth, to them, is not making nice, so don’t smile back. If you do, now you’ve become a threat, and the only Kodak Moment will be shot by some other guy snapping a photo of Bigfoot disembowelling your lifeless corpse.
· Their wood knockings could be used to find food nestled inside tree trunks — small animals, grubs — or as a code for a hairy clan to gather in, stalk and overtake a solitary woodsman, woman or child, the world never seeing hide nor hair of the victim again.
· The term, “you’re on the menu” gets batted around a lot and takes on a whole other air, as does the phrase, “an underwear changing moment.”
· S’quatches rip off the heads of prey, throw the kill over their shoulders and carry it off to privately munch. One swipe, and off with your head. Such a comforting thought. It’s like being subjected to a hairy guillotine without having to speak French.
· And whatever you do, when facing a S’quatch, do not run. You’re to stand your ground, so you’re viewed by the Big Guy as a predator, not prey, thereby removing your name off his menu. Right. Got it, Wes. Do. Not. Run. Don’t run, don’t run, don’t run. Did you read me right, peeps? Maybe not, huh. Okay, I’ll repeat myself. Don’t run.

And how in lo these many tales, quirky S’quatch personality traits/skills come to light. They will often vocally mimic their human counterparts like glorified parrots. In the dark of night, some beasts will creep up to backwoods homes, put their mammoth mouths next to windows, and whisper in the most gut-wrenching raspy way possible, “PEEEEENOWWWWT, PEEEENOWWWWT,” the creature pretending to call an old man’s lap dog named Peanut just like the old man does.
That particular episode still sends shivers down my non-hairy spine, and I find myself wandering through my house, saying, “PEENOWWWT” under my breath (I’m told this is not healthy behavior). This equates to the scenes in horror movies where the house whispers, “GEET OWWT” and the dumb-ass human doesn’t. Who’s the dumb animal now?

I’m putting a statement on the record right now: if I hear either beast or house speak to me that way, I don’t care if I’m living in Bill Gate’s Pacific Northwest mansion, I’m gone… right after I change my underwear. As an aside, I shall never have a pet named Peanut.

And the stats of S’quatch Watchers accumulate as well;

· There have been men, women and children who tell these incredible tales
· Bigfoot encounters are blind to class, age, race and occupation (it’s nice to see humanity lives on an even scale somewhere)
· And sightings are increasing over time, as does the evidence, some DNA tests coming back as “unknown primate” (Advice: if you’re intent on sampling some S’quatch scat, dab the first doo-doo dropped and not the last. I gather that’s where the DNA lies. The stuff you can learn on a podcast that you never thought you would, that may come in handy one day. You never, ever know.)

While ears-deep in the podcast, I totally get wrapped up in the S’quatch Watcher reality. When the podcast is shut off, I question my own sanity. I bounce from, “Of course, they exist,” to “What the hell am I thinking?” all the while mired like quicksand in this never-ending show. Talk about being the proverbial 7-foot hairy mouse caught in a virtual mouse trap.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “B. J., X off Stitcher, step away from your cell, and come back into the light where the real people live.”

If only I could.

No, I’ll stick with Wes and his S’quatch Watchers until I’m caught up on the ‘sodes, ’cause that’s the kind of otherworldly creature I am.

I am not a hunter.
I’m not much of a hiker.
And I rarely camp.
I don’t even own a water gun much less a whatchamacallit fully auto, super-duper atomic magnum beast bullet-blaster (see how my technical knowledge of guns has increased with this podcast!) So, if I ran into one, I’d have to talk him to death (those closest to me say I have that power).

When all is said and done, if I encountered the dude, all I know for sure is that I’d vomit on the creature’s big feet. I’ve been a hurler of chunks all my life. Anything a wee bit out of kilter in my world, and I vomit. It’s my Go To inner revolutionary move. Some picket. I vomit. I’d assume the Big Guy would be grossed out by my effluent and he’d run… or lob off my head first and then run, just so I couldn’t vomit on him again. What I’m trying to say is me encountering a S’quatch wouldn’t be a great thing for either one of us.

I am, however, intrigued… there are things called “Expeditions.”

Courtesy CNet
Where, for a fee, we civilized lot can head out with the old-timey S’quatch Watchers over a long weekend to get a wee taste of the furry brutes’ world, up-close and personal-like; rocks and sticks lobbed at your head by the beasts, at no extra charge. Yes, for $500USD, you, too, can camp in the forest and have your own “underwear changing moment.” I’d be lying if the idea to Pay ’n’ Ride like so much Disneyland pass in my hot little hand hadn’t crossed my mind as my credit card glints in the day’s dying light.

But if the experience is not faked, and I become one of the truly initiated, a certified, bonafide S’quatch Watcher, then what?

Wes and the other initiates say their encounters are life-changing, and the experience and the hunger to know more consumes you.

And here’s me just trying to finish a gosh-darn difficult novel before deadline…

Can I seriously pencil in another obsession and a life change?


· The idea of an encounter sounds so emotionally draining, like I’m not already wiped out from merely listening to the Chronicles.
· If this obsession culminates with the hairy dude seeping into my WWII manuscript, all I can say is that I hope he can swim. Note To Self: add gaffe into book’s Author’s Notes with profuse apology

I’ve told everyone I know that after AIR is published, I’ll need a break from the serious to venture forth into the weird. To be on the safe side, I’ve scheduled an afternoon shopping spree at Cabela’s because you can never be too prepared when you wail…

Bigfoot Drawing Courtesy


Courtesy Canopy Tree Service
P.S. In 1976, some nine years after the Patterson film debuted, my cousin scared me in the British Columbia, Canada woods. She came upon a blackened burned-out tree trunk, and jonesin’ to play a trick, cried, “BIGFOOT!”

 I jerked my head, got an eyeball full, and I ran, and ran, and ran some more (sorry, Wes)… all the way home, leaving her there to be “on the menu.”

Turns out since the ripe old age of 12, underneath it all, I’ve been a true Believer, and a sociopath.

What could be wrong in that?