British Bigfoot Bizarrerie: The Blogsquatcher meets Nick Redfern

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Sightings of hairy hominoid creatures occur in many places worldwide. Ufologist and monster hunter Nick Redfern has done some incredible research into the British version. Because yes, there are sightings in Great Britain. But there’s no way that a population of undiscovered relic hominoids could exist on the densely populated British isles. So are these reports all hoaxes and misidentifications? Or is there something else going on? US researcher DB Donlon had a lengthy and captivating discussion with Nick about the nature of Bigfoot and similar phenomena.

This interview was originally published in 2008 on Donlon’s now defunct Blogsquatcher website and is reposted here with Donlon’s approval.

A few days ago I had the good fortune to speak at length with well known Fortean author Nick Redfern. Over the course of the interview, Redfern took on several topics that should be of interest to readers here, although I’m certain much of it will be controversial to many readers too. Redfern, largely due to his experiences in Britain, has come to view the bigfoot phenomena as likely having something paranormal in it. (Nick, by the way, has a new book on this very topic, There’s Something in the Woods. He keeps a blog of the same name dedicated to bigfoot-type phenomena here.)

Usually, that’s about enough to stop most bigfoot researchers right there. I hope people will be able to keep an open mind and actually read what Nick had to say, because I think what he’s saying is worth hearing and judging for ourselves. As I have said before on this blog, in a post concerning the intersection of bigfoot and UFOs:

But hereʼs the deal on that — we really donʼt know anything about whatʼs going on out there. Some of these details that have been historically winnowed out of bigfoot reports, details like the subjective response of witnesses, how their bodies felt, their emotional reaction; and physical details that donʼt fit our understanding of the world, like the occasional light, and who knows what else — these things get edited right out of the report. We have already been looking at the idea of infrasound on this blog. Itʼs very difficult now to reconstruct older cases that might be helpful in figuring out whether infrasound has anything to do with bigfoot because the clues have been edited out or repressed. . . Thirty years ago, we had no rational conceptual basket for the experiences that go along with the infrasound hypothesis, so rather than collect the data, we (almost always) threw it out. The same thing could be happening with the lights and other trappings of UFO [and let me add now, other strange] encounters. There could be data here that, thirty years from now, will have a rational explanation, but we just donʼt have the mental framework to grasp it now. We should be meticulous in our collection of the data. If the witness is otherwise reliable, and especially when there is physical evidence too, letʼs take it all in. I can almost guarantee that, down the line, the things that weird us out now will look different later on.

And that’s what I really want any researchers who might read this to take away from it. You’ll see Nick make the same kind of call — let’s not throw anything away. Let’s gather all the evidence, even if it’s weird, and put it all together. What looks strange to us today may one day have a completely rational explanation.

I enjoyed the chance to hear Nick’s views and I have to tell you, with some of the problems we have in bigfoot research, ie, finding enough physical evidence to prove bigfoot exists, I’m downright sympathetic to his views. Whatever your views, I hope you’ll enjoy the interview too.

Now, without further adeiu, here’s part one of my interview with Nick Redfern.

DB: What I’m interested in is exactly what you were talking about on Paranormal Radio with Captain Jack — bigfoot accounts with “high strangeness” in them. It’s been a kind of obsession of mine for quite a while, though I’ve never.. I may have been near a few bigfoot creatures before, but I’ve never experienced any “high strangeness” stuff.

Nick: Hmm..

That I noticed anyway..

Okay.

But I get a lot of other people telling me stuff that does seem strange. You may remember I had a couple of interviews up from people who had very strange things happen during their encounters..

Yeah.

So if you’ve got any stuff like that I’m interested in hearing about it. And I’m also especially interested in any bigfoot encounters you might have had yourself.

Okay. Yeah, I mean I can talk about a few weird things that have happened. Do you want me to just sort of start at the beginning as to how I came to this conclusion and the journey along the way and things like that?

Sure, that’d be great!

Okay. Well basically, my interest in cryptozoology goes back to when I was about five years old. And my parents took me on holiday one summer to Scotland, and we spent a day at Loch Ness. I’ve still got a fragmentary memory of this story of my dad telling me about how, you know, there was supposedly this dinosaur living in the depths of Loch Ness. And, you know, when you’re five years old you’re not necessarily old enough to appreciate all the intricacies of the story. But you’re old enough to know, “Wow, there’s a monster living in that lake!”

Right.

And so that really sort of sparked my interest, and even now as I said I can remember a few things from that day, but having been to Loch Ness again on several occasions.. You know I think one of the reasons why it captures people’s imagination so much is the fact that it looks spooky. You know, it’s a huge loch, very very black water, it’s got an old ruined castle on it’s shores. It looks atmospheric, andI think, you know, that was one of the things that sort of captured my interest and imagination. And over the years, you know, from that age upwards, fourteen, fifteen, I began reading books on the subject, the ones that were around at that particular time in the late 70s early 1980s. You know there actually weren’t that many books available, in England at least — a lot of imports. It was very much an underground subject, a fringe subject. But I started subscribing to newsletters and things like that,and then, when I finished school, I went into journalism. I worked as a feature writer for a rock music magazine in England called Zero. And so what happened was they taught me the inside and out of journalism. I was still developing this interest in, I guess, the UFO subject, cryptozoology, and the paranormal. And so I thought, “Why not try and combine the two?” So I started writing for magazines and newsletters — of course this was pre-internet era. It was just somebody would put their own stapled newsletter together and send 50 copies out to different people or whatever. So I used to do a lot of that. And then that kind of progressed into more mainstream journalism writing, and then also doing crypto and Fortean stuff for mainstream publications. From there, that led to the books.

Uh huh.

And so, what basically happened over time was — where I was living back in England, which was an area called Staffordshire, a county in England — I was doing a weekly column for a newspaper called the Chase Post. And this brought in a lot of reports from people who, you know, they’d seen like a black cat, a big large black cat running across the road late at night, or they’d seen an out of place animal. Something like a wolf, for example. People would see wolves, wallabies and things like that, kangaroos. But I would say for every, I don’t know, twenty or thirty reports that would pour in, there would be one or two which would fall into the classic bigfoot type of category.

Really?

Now of course, when you talk about bigfoot, everybody knows the bigfoot, the sasquatch of the Pacific Northwest, or other parts of the US, or the Yeti of the Himalayas, and then you’ve got the Yowie in Australia, and etc., but bigfoot and Britain aren’t two words that spring to mind collectively. You know, when you’re investigating and thinking about these things.

Right

I mean Britain itself, to put it into perspective, England, Scotland, and Wales combined, in terms of the square mileage, is actually smaller than the state of Texas where I now live.

Yeah.

So it’s not that big a country, even though there are a lot of wild areas and forests and woods, etc. And the population is 60 million, which is a pretty substantial population for a small country. And so the idea that a bigfoot or a colony of bigfoot creatures could be roaming around the British Isles sounds bizarre and preposterous, and yet the witness reports are no less credible than anything we’re getting from the US, or China, or India, or wherever, Russia. So I began looking into these reports and, just to go back to the big cats, I mean everybody who is interested in cryptozoology has heard these stories of big cats roaming the British Isles.

Right.

And that’s quite plausible.

Yes.

A lot of reports, a lot of escapees, that sort of thing. But when it comes to bigfoot, then you really are in a whole different category. Now, one of the things I found is that many of the bigfoot reports that, not just came to me, but that came to other researchers as well — what I did, as well as digging through my reports that people would give to me, I went back and looked through the old literature from years ago and found a lot of very similar reports, where people had said things like they’d seen a giant gorilla in the woods fifty years ago.

Right.

Or what they described as a man-like bear being seen in the woods, that sort of thing. And I began to realize that, to my surprise, the number of bigfoot reports in Britain was probably much bigger than anyone else had probably previously realized. I mean, certain areas of the British Isles were teaming with reports. I would say I’ve got upwards of, probably, low three figures from all across the British Isles and spanning a period of about eleven centuries. The earliest one is literally from about 900AD, something like that.

Uh huh.

Now, several things stand out when you talk about the British bigfoot. One is that in many of the reports, the areas in which they’ve been seen has some sort of significance. Let me explain what I mean by that. A lot of bigfoot sightings in Britain have been made in the vicinity of ancient stone circles, prehistoric burial mounds, and areas that ancient man perceived as being of some significance. Whether magical, cultural significance, whatever. One classic example is a place, ironically not far from where I was born and grew up, called the Cannock Chase. The Cannock Chase is this large area of woodland, or forestland, in the county of Staffordshire that I mentioned earlier, where I was born. And there’s an area on the Cannock Chase called the “castle ring.” Now the castle ring is an ancient structure built by ancient man, I think something like four or five thousand years ago. There are all sorts of theories concerning why it was built, what it’s significance was and is..

Uh huh.

But the interesting thing about castle ring is that it has been the sight of nine or ten bigfoot-type encounters, that I’m aware of at least.

Hmm!

This includes people seeing shadowy forms in the woods, bright red eyes — I actually had a very weird experience myself once over there when staking the area out, and saw what looked like a flitting, shadowy form with these two red eyes. Now of course people can say, “You’re seeing things that you’re looking for,” and what are the chances of something being in the area at the time you’re looking for it. I would agree with those sentiments and those statements. And that’s why I think the British bigfoot, at least, is different in some ways to some of the reports from elsewhere. It is the case that they, you know, turn up in these prehistoric locations, and sometimes people are looking for them. It’s almost as if these creatures know and manifest for them. Now I know to some people, they think, “Oh, Nick’s off on his paranormal tangent again,” and there’s like a little rolling of eyes and shaking of heads..

Yeah.

But I mean, I can only tell the story as I know it from my perspective in interviewing the witnesses, and I would say I’ve probably got.. probably at least twenty or thirty reports where these creatures have been seen in areas that are standout areas, stone circles, places like that. Now you could argue on the one hand, Britain is a very old country, and you don’t have to drive too far anywhere to find an old castle, or an old stone circle, which is quite true. But when you specifically get these reports of people seeing these creatures within like ten or twenty feet of these stone formations time and again, and the witnesses don’t know each other, then I think we have to conclude, or I do at least, that something weirder is afoot.

Yeah.

Now there are other reports, for example, of bigfoot having been seen in the UK. One case, that I can think of, in the same location as a crop circle. And there was evidence at this crop circle where there’d been some sort of ritualistic activity going on. For example, there were five peacock feathers laid out, like in the form of a pentagram.

And, of course, if you go to wikipedia or some search like that you’ll find that there’s a lot of legends and folklore, not all positive and good ones, attached to peacock feathers and the peacock itself. So to find a report where somebody had seen this, like they described it like a huge, or large chimpanzee racing across the road late at night from the same area where rites and rituals have been undertaken inside a crop circle. Then, again, I find it difficult to, kind of, separate these various phenomena.

Uh huh.

You know, is it just coincidence that bigfoot has been directly opposite where a crop circle was made and there were some weird rites and rituals afoot? I think it’s very very unlikely that there wasn’t a connection. Now, to expound upon that, there are people within the UK, for example — and I’ve tried this a couple of times — who tried ritualistic magic to try and conjure these things up. And there have been a number of cases where people, including me, have basically gone out into the woods — I actually detail this in my latest book, There’s Something in the Woods..

Uh huh?

Yeah, I’ve gone out and basically tried meditation and learned how to do ritualistic magic, and then, maybe a year or so later, somebody has seen something very very similar to what I envisaged in that area. Now I’m not, certainly there’s nothing special about me, a number of people have done this and in their own minds as well they’ve had some success in this area.

Right.

One of the other areas that clinches it for me, at least, that there’s more to bigfoot than meets the eye in Britain, is that, I think I’ve got three or four reports on file– it’s a very small number, but to me it’s significant — where people have been driving home late at night and they’ve seen this large hairy creature shamble across the road. And as it’s done so, anything from like a hundred to a couple of hundred yards in front of them, their headlights, or car engine, or both of them, have failed. Almost like a vehicle interference case in some UFO reports.

Yeah.

Now how we explain that, I haven’t got a clue, I’ll be the first to admit. But, again, I fully realize that some people think, you know, that’s just too outrageous, the idea that a bigfoot, or a living creature, could affect the headlights of a car, and yet the people relating these accounts have, to my mind at least, no reason to lie. They come across as genuine as other people, and no axe to grind, you know, not looking for payments for the interview, concerned about not having too much publicity, in some cases quite happy for their first name to be revealed, but they don’t want everybody and his brother knocking on their front door. So you have to wonder what is the motivation for coming up with a really wild story like that which in many respects defies convention and reality? So I would say it’s these sorts of things, having grown up in Britain, and having been exposed to British bigfoot reports, has made me appreciate more the high strangeness angle, that Is so relevant because of Britain being such a small country. And, as I say, because of the locations where these things have been seen also.

Right.

Now when it comes to the US, I’m fully aware that most US researchers of the subject do take the approach that we’re dealing with a flesh and blood animal that is simply hiding out in huge forests and has successfully managed to keep away from society for however many years, for the most part. And that could well be the case. But I have to say, I have investigated, like I’m sure most researchers have, so called “fringe cases,” in the US.

Yes.

One classic one, which is also in the new book, was concerning a sighting of a bigfoot in the woods of Oklahoma, which I think was about two years ago. And the couple who said they saw this huge creature just sort of stride across the path way in front of them in the woods, which they described as an immense creature, like eight foot tall or something like that.

Uh huh?

And they said, and I know this gets into some wild areas, that the creature, they felt, was talking to them through their minds, almost like a telepathy, saying, “Don’t come any closer, stay away.”

Uh huh.

And the bizarre thing was, they described it as almost being a very gentle, womanly voice, coming from this creature, as I say in the book, that looks like it could tear apart a small car! And they afterward began to experience a lot of weird activity in their home, like poltergeist activity, seeing strange balls of light flitting in the woods outside of their home, things like that. Now, again, you either have to say, “Well these people are just cranks,” you know, seeking publicity, etc. But actually, the ironic thing is they weren’t seeking publicity, rather they were looking to get some sort of idea, from someone who could, hopefully, help them as to what they saw. So, you know, if they’re not cranks, if they’re not crazy, if they’re not fantasists, again, I have to conclude that even if bigfoot is a physical creature, there are far stranger things going on with respect to these perceived paranormal aspects, poltergeist activity in the wake of an encounter.

Right.

And I think one of the things that parallels very closely some of the cases I investigated in America and practically all of them in Britain is this issue of the self illuminating red eyes.

Yeah.

Now, in England, I can tell you that I don’t think.. there’s probably no more than a handful of the three figure reports I’ve got that don’t mention either self-luminating red eyes, or very very bright eyes, like silver eyes or white eyes, but that don’t seem to be reflecting from any particular light source.

Right

Of course, you know, you can see an animals eyes in the headlights of your car if you’re driving late at night, but most of the people I’ve spoken with said that, no, it was far stranger than that. It was almost like these eyes were lighting up half the face. They were that bright.

Hmm!

I’ve got a lot of reports like that, where there are these stand out red eyes. And we get that in a lot of other crypto reports as well. Even some of the black cat reports in England have these aspects, and particularly the ancient black dog legends in Britain. A lot of the British towns and villages have these ancient stories of phantom black dogs, kind of like The Hound of the Baskervilles, which itself was actually based on one of these legends. And in these cases, the black dog is sort of like a “Grim Reaper” type character. If you see it on a lonely road late at night, there’s going to be tragedy in the family, or somebody is going to die, that sort of thing.

Uh huh.

And they’re kind of like an archetypal legend that is instilled in much of British folklore, but again, these black dogs are described as having these huge, illuminated eyes. In some cases bright red, or silver, or white. You know, you look at the Mothman as well, this winged creature with glowing eyes. So whether or not.. to what extent that’s relevant, and even what it means, I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know. I’d be speculating, I just haven’t got a clue. But collectively, it’s these types ofreports — the locations, some of the after-effects — that lead me to believe, as I said, even if bigfoot is physical, there’s more going on.

Yeah.

Now let me talk about the paranormal, of course that’s very much a simplistic term. You know, it’s a catch-all term for who-knows-what. And it’s also the same with people who say, well, bigfoot can flit in and out of dimensions, etc. That sounds great, but my first question is, “How do you define what a dimension is?”

Uh huh.

It’s these simplistic that get bandied about so much within many aspects of the Fortean world. And I think things like quantum physics, possibly, are beginning to answer some of these questions about other realities and things like that. But I think it’s in the very early stages and I hesitate to go down that path and fully embrace it, but equally I think it’s not a responsible thing to ignore the high strangeness, fringe cases. Unfortunately I know some researchers who do. They just flat out think that, you know, the witness had to be mistaken at best, or at worst, they’re trying to con me and hoax me.

Right

I can understand that if you’re of a mindset that — particularly if someone has seen a creature close up and they’re convinced it was a fully flesh and blood animate object. But equally I think the responsibility is on us to try not to get caught up in belief systems, and to analyze all of the evidence, even if it doesn’t always sit well with what we tentatively conclude. So that’s what I try and do, and I’ll be the first to admit — I don’t mind admitting some people think, when I start going off on this paranormal tangent, you know, they think, “Nick’s lost it” or, you know, “He’s been smoking too much of the good stuff!” So in that respect I find it — what shall I say.. I’m trying to follow the path of staying impartial..

Right

But I won’t lie and say I don’t come across cases that suggest there’s more going on, because I do. And I don’t want to ignore those cases. I want to be able to try and have an open, wide approach to the subject that doesn’t cause conflicts because I believe this or I believe that. Now in saying the fact that I do subscribe to the idea that at least some of these things are paranormal, as I said, one of the things I’ve tried to think of is, well, how can we take this to the next level?

—–

We’ve spend a little of our time in the last couple of days just trying get a sense of how weird our world actually is, and that was done to help Nick’s views get a fair hearing. I know many of my readers have no use for paranormal theories, and I’m not trying to force feed them to you, honestly. I don’t mind if you cluck your tongues and shake your heads, so long as the theory is noted down and tallied up.

Six months ago we couldn’t even have had this discussion. Erik Beckjord would have made it impossible with his trademark disruptions. You might think that’s a stretch, that he had no reason to know me or my blog from Adam, but actually I got several emails from him in the last few years just from posts I made on the BFF. And when he learned I had been in on the “Ohio River Valley” situation, also referred to as the “Kentucky Pancake-Eating Bigfoot,” I heard from him again. I knew better than to answer those emails.

It’s always seemed an extreme irony to me that Beckjord’s fiery advocacy of the paranormal in bigfoot research actually acted to inhibit discussion of it at all, but that is just what it did. Now that he’s finally resting from his labors, it seems to me that we can discuss these things a bit. I think it’s important in an epistemological sense to map out all the theories, the different ways of looking at the evidence we get, and to throw out nothing without reason. (And disliking the paranormal or UFOs is no reason to throw out reports with those characteristics.)

If I’m remembering right, in one of the first posts I ever made here, I was lamenting that nobody had given the paranormal bigfoot angle much thought, at least in publications. Even if you are ultimately going to reject it, you ought to know what there is out there that you are rejecting. The subject needs a good, conscientious reporter. And this is where Nick Redfern steps right in. Whatever you think of his theories, he has a good head on his shoulders. He’s thought about these things, and even more, he’s gone out and directly tested and experienced them. And to a shell-shocked bigfoot audience, the best part is he’s not going to bombard your inbox with apoplectic emails if you disagree with him. As a bonus, whatever you think of them, his expositions of his ideas do amount to more than, “that’s the way it is, deal with it!”

My own experiences with bigfoot have been with what seems a fully flesh and blood creature, and without obvious paranormal overtones. That’s for the most part. There might be one or two strange things I directly witnessed, yet I don’t doubt that even these may have conventional explanations. But I have reports from people that I trust, and have good reason to trust, that have very strange elements to them. One way of looking at those elements is to hypothesize that there is something strange going on, something that we would define as paranormal right now, but perhaps would not in another hundred years when scientific advances reveal new things about our world that we never knew. So I advocate collecting the evidence against that time when it will have an obvious application. And until then, I don’t really see the harm in speculating.

Now without any more fanfare, I give you part two of my interview with Nick Redfern:

Nick: On the one hand we have these reports where the creatures appear and they vanish, and they are almost like, insubstantial in some ways. But equally very substantial in terms of how they look. Now one of the areas I’m particularly interested in, which I’ve also tried to focus on in bigfoot research, and crypto research in general, is the issue of tulpas.

DB: Uh huh.

Which is a big interest of mine. The idea of thought forms conjured up, whether deliberately or not, but that can.. you know, we can externalize them and maybe they can take on a semblance of reality, like a quasi-existence. As more people believe in them, they become stronger, they take sustenance, basically emotional sustenance, from the human mind. Now, again, this is something that, particularly in Tibet, and in Buddhist lore is very much an accepted scenario. That people can create thought forms, project them outwardly, and that they can take on some form of independent existence. This is getting into really controversial areas..

Oh yes!

Of course. But there are people who have tried this, and as I said something has appeared or manifested, however you want to term it, in that particular area. Not necessarily at the same time, but in some ways according to the preconceived ideas of the person who’s involved in experiment. The creature may look very similar. Then one theory is, maybe we’re not conjuring them up; are we opening doorways or portals? Or, is it the case, woods and forests are spooky places, and whether we believe or not, all of us unconsciously think, “Wow, there’s weird things in the woods!” Could it be that unconscious belief that actually leads to the creation of certain archetypes all around the world? The big hairy man. Or, oh, that’s a big body of murky water, I wonder what’s lurking under the waves. That kind of thing. Some researchers have suggested, perhaps that’s why we get certain archetypes. We get the lake monsters, and sea serpents, one category. We get the big hairy men, whether it’s bigfoot or werewolves. We get the giant birdlike creatures, whether it’s mothman, the thunderbird, or pterodactyls. And then we get big cats, and then kind of catch all things like black dogs and chupacabras, things like that.

Uh huh.

Is there a reason why cultures all around the world and throughout the centuries have reported these similar creatures from different sides of the world? I don’t know, but that’s one theory that’s been put forward. But for me, at least, the more I delve into it, the more I find my views veering away from the purely physical.

Right.

Towards something else. Now, in saying that, I’ll be the first to admit that doesn’t necessarily sit well with.. when you have footprints and things like that. But on the other hand there are reports where footprints have just stopped.

Yes.

Where they shouldn’t have stopped, frankly.

Yes..

So, how do you explain that? Is this literally like some sort of thought form that was there and then was gone? It’s kind of like, if there’s nobody in the forest, is bigfoot there? (laughs)

Right!

Or is bigfoot only there when people are there? Because the two are somehow interconnected? Which is like the old adage, if a tree falls over in the forest and there’s nobody there, does it make a sound? I don’t know. I can only speculate, and as I said, I know a lot of things that I talk about don’t sit well with a lot of researchers..I’m not going to apologize for that. I’m not going to apologize for the fact that I’ve spoken to a lot of witnesses who relate stories of high strangeness. That’s just how it goes, people can take it on board or not. But I think it is an important aspect of the subject that shouldn’t be dismissed as just a bunch of people hallucinating, or taking too much LSD or whatever. I think it’s an area that deserves to be looked at seriously. And even for people who don’t believe it, just look at the evidence and see if you can come up with anything that would explain it beyond just saying, “Oh, these people are nuts!”

Right.

I guess, from the age of five that’s where I’ve gone from to where I am now.

Right, and a few of the things that you’ve talked about have made me think of some questions.

Go ahead.

You mentioned that some of the bigfoot creatures would have some effects on cars.

Yeah.

And I can’t.. of course the problem with American bigfoot reports is that so many of the people who collected them and wrote them up were the kinds of people who might suppress something like that..

Okay.

Because they had the flesh and blood mindset.

Hmm!

I mean, we know that Rene Dahinden would have. If somebody ever told him, ”Uh, the bigfoot made my car stop!” he wouldn’t even take the report. There’s the famous anecdote of him going out to this field in the snow where there were footprints; the footprints lead to a certain spot and then they stop. And he asks the lady who found the footprints, “Where do they go from here?” And she points up, like, I don’t know, maybe it flew or she thinks a UFO picked it up. He wouldn’t, you know, he just turned around and walked off..

Yeah.

Never to think about that case again. So that illustrates how some of our American authors and researchers would not necessarily take and recount those stories. But we don’t have the stories, that I can find anyway, of people saying that the cars were affected by a bigfoot encounter. But we do have that with UFO accounts. And we also have some accounts of UFOs and bigfoot being put together.

Yeah that’s true.

And I wonder if that could be the case in the Great Britain cases also..

Yeah –

You obviously do have UFO sightings in Great Britain..

Yeah, see the weird thing is in Britain, most of the reports I’ve found do have some paranormal aspect to them..

Mm hmm.

Whether it’s large or it’s minor, there’s always something a little bit weird about the reports. The odd thing is I’ve never heard of a report in Britain of bigfoot having been seen in conjunction with a UFO.

Really?

I would stress, I don’t personally think that it’s.. it’s not as simplistic as bigfoot is a pet of the aliens and they let him out when they land. I don’t think it’s anything like that. I think, possibly we could be dealing with something that people like Jacques Vallee talk about..

Yes, exactly.

Where there’s some phenomena which can manifest in different ways. Now whether it’s us making it, or whether it’s external.. the idea that some sort of intelligence has been with us for millennia and has the ability to appear in different forms for the witness. I’m talking about how, if you go back a hundred years, everybody was seeing phantom airships in the sky.

Uh huh, yeah.

Then it was foo fighters. Then ghost rockets. Then it’s flying saucers. And today, the flying saucers have gone and its these big black triangles.

Right

And with entity encounters in the UFO subject, we had the long-haired contactee type aliens, and the men in black. We don’t get many men in black type reports today, and we certainly don’t get many contactees..

Yes.

.. and they’ve been replaced by the grays.

Right.

The little guys with the black eyes. And you look at crypto history in Britain. You have the black dogs in the 1500s, for the most part, though we do get a few sporadic reports, we don’t really hear of black dogs today. They’ve been replaced by these mysterious big cats.

Mm hmm.

I actually wonder if the stuff that people like Jacques Vallee talk about, and John Keel.. I actually think to some extent they’ve hit the nail on the head. But we’re not really sure what it means. There could be something, maybe like a tulpa, that feeds on human.. high states of emotion. And it does so by manifesting in extraordinary ways.

Uh huh.

That might also explain the elusive nature of some of these creatures, how it’s always so difficult to pinpoint them and catch them. Despite the best efforts, when sonar has been used at Loch Ness, the results are either complete failure, or, for the most part at least, inconclusive.

Yeah.

If there was a colony, or however you want to term it, of flesh eating predators in Loch Ness, I think we would have.. some of these sonar trips would be far more successful, for the size that a colony would have to be to prevent problems with inbreeding and that sort of thing. And you’re talking about creatures fifteen to thirty feet long.

Right.

This is sort of going off on a little tangent from bigfoot, but it’s also focusing on the paranormal aspect — Is the fact that none other than Aleister Crowley had a house, Boleskine House at Loch Ness at the turn of the twentieth century. And he did all sorts of rites and rituals to try and conjure up demons. That in itself is weird.

Hmm!

And people like Ted Holiday, a famous.. I guess he’s probably better described as a Fortean researcher. He focused heavily on lake monsters. He began with the mindset that I did, these are flesh and blood animals of some sort. But then came round to the more Fortean, paranormal angle. He got quite disturbed that, during his investigation of Loch Ness and elsewhere, a lot of weird synchronicities began to happen to him. And I think that’s an aspect that is widespread throughout all of Forteana, and also cryptozoology — this synchronistic series of events that happen to a lot of researchers and people in the field. Almost as if you’re being manipulated in some way. And Holiday got quite disturbed by the fact that what began as a quest to locate some sort of unknown animal in the lochs and lakes of Scotland and Ireland became something very weirder and more sinister.

Yeah.

That doesn’t take away from the fact that I think some of these creatures are flesh and blood, but others of them, to me, when you have a Loch Ness and Crowley, things like that.. I wonder if we can actually dismiss that as being coincidence? Or is it somehow relevant to the bigger story? I’m not sure.

Yeah, those are interesting connections. The fact that you said in Britain almost all the bigfoot sightings are in a place that had meaning or importance to early man.. In Virginia, two of the places that I have done some research — one of them was on a battle field, but that portion of the battle field was also said to be a Native American burial ground.

Hmm!

And it’s right outside Richmond, Virginia. I mean it’s just right across the river form one of the industrial sections of Richmond. You can throw a rock across the river and break a warehouse window. So that’s how close it is to the city. And yet there were three sightings of the creature there, with various witnesses, including the sons of a researcher.

Yeah, that’s a classic example, and I’ll give you another perfect example in the US that’s almost identical to what you’re talking about, and that’s Linda Godfrey’s research into things like the beast of Bray Road, and werewolf type creatures that she’s investigated. A lot of those are in the vicinity of Native American burial mounds, and places like that, these sacred mounds from centuries ago. And yes many are built up areas, but then, as Linda has found, if you look back historically, there’s a lot of this burial mound activity in these exact same areas. Again, what that means, if ancient man had some sort of knowledge of other realms, or conjuring up these things, and maybe what we’re seeing today possibly is just like the vestigial remains, almost, of something that was conjured up centuries ago, and that may not even know why it’s here. It’s just some sort of phantom wandering around in the last throws of its conjured up existence or whatever. And then maybe, when people see it occasionally, it gives it a boost.

The odd thing about that one [the Richmond sighting location]. Well I guess it’s not really odd. We came across one possible footprint in an area where there was an old abandoned pond..

Um hmm?

And it’s still stocked — there’s still fish in that pond. And there was a.. someone had dragged a branch, to strike out their footprints, and they had just missed one..

Hmm!

While they went into the water, got a fish, brought the fish out to the shore and ate it. Which is, you know.. humans don’t do that!

Yeah, that’s interesting. And weird as well!

We don’t eat the fish raw on the bank like that! That would be something that supports that it has some kind of physical existence.

Yeah.

I mean, maybe it’s not here all the time, but when it’s here it seems to have to eat, it leaves footprints, sometimes people claim they’ve found scat, so it’s a weird..

Yeah, that’s strange. One of the interesting things about what you’ve just said there, even if it’s physical, or can be physical, it would seem to suggest that it knows .. it has enough reason and sense to continually hide evidence of its existence.

Right.

And then of course the question: well, why? Is it actually like a very attuned, intelligent creature? I’ve had this discussion with other researchers and even the media sometimes, the idea that bigfoot looks like this big lumbering ape, a savage creature. So we’ve presumed it must be a stupid lumbering creature with a brain the size of a walnut or whatever.

Right.

Very animalistic. But what if it actually isn’t? What if it’s actually very developed?

Most of the researchers I hang out with, while they won’t cotton too much to the supernatural element.. some of them might talk about it a little, but they try to stay away from it. They do think that bigfoot has to be much smarter than previously thought. You know, I mean, obviously they are not — I think you said this on Paranormal Radio the other night, they are obviously not smart enough to have the technology. They aren’t driving the cars. If they were, we’d be in the woods hiding from them!

Yeah!

But they’ve definitely got enough intelligence to be cunning enough to evade us. And we find evidence of it, where it looks like the footprint has been wiped. Another guy found a footprint in another area in Virginia, and when he brought me to see it, the footprint had been obliterated, between the time he found it and he brought me to it.

Oh, wow. You know it’s things like that.. I think this is also something I mentioned on the show the other night, the fact that intelligence, or the skills of an animal are not necessarily defined by whether you can send a man to the moon or not. It’s like I said on the show, show me one human being, just one, who can make a spider’s web. It’s not going to happen. I defy anyone, ever, to be able to spin a spider’s web.

Right.

Even if you’ve got all the stuff that a spider uses, it’s not going to happen. Or making a bird’s nest, that sort of thing. Different animals have different skills that go far beyond, in many ways, things we can do. Just not necessarily on the technological level. So I wonder with bigfoot if there’s a possibility of something like that. There’s a lot of reports where people have seen it and it’s not there the next second. I wonder if that could be a chameleon type thing.

Yeah, could be..

Or sometimes like when a rabbit will be entranced by a snake, and the snake will creep up on it, maybe there are skills like that at work, where they can.. we’re looking at them and, for whatever reason, not actually seeing them.

You know, that’s an interesting thing. I remember reading a long time ago the thing where snakes could entrance a rabbit and had forgotten about that. You know I have the interest in the infrasound hypothesis.

Yeah.

And that is that bigfoot is big enough that it might be able to produce infrasound. There’s some research that shows that if you are hit with enough infrasound, it can disorient you. Maybe even to the point where it knocks your brain “offline” for a minute. If that happens, when your brain comes back “online” you will not be aware that you had missing time. So it would look like they had vanished, when perhaps it hadn’t — perhaps it had just zapped you with the infrasound and walked off. But even speculating about that, a lot of bigfoot researchers will roll their eyes about that. It’s just a speculation. We can’t prove it. I do have a friend who has got a degree in Geophysics, and he’s trying to put together some microphones that would record infrasound, but it’ll take good luck to get them into the right place at the right time.

Yeah, I think, regardless of whose theory is correct and whose isn’t, I think there’s a hell of an argument for saying, bigfoot, somehow or other, is incredibly good at staying elusive. Now how it does it, why it does it, those are the questions that are still outstanding. But I think, for it to have gone on this long, and for the creature to always remain elusive, for me at least, it has to be down to more than just good luck on their part.

—–

Picking up from where we left off in part 2, here’s the conclusion to my interview with Nick Redfern, author of the new book on the British bigfoot, There’s Something in the Woods. Thanks again to Nick for being so generous with his time and for such a great interview.

DB: There’s another thing I could say about having an area to investigate where many bigfoot sightings have occurred, that’s close enough for me to visit often, and several other researchers who are friends of mine also visit the same place, we have combed that location pretty much backwards and forwards looking for where they could be living and we can’t come up with anything.

Nick: Yeah.

So they’re seen, they are there when you see them, but when you try to look for where they might be living, so they can be close enough to be where they are seena ll the time, you know, you don’t come up with anything. So that’s something that feeds into the thought that they’re not here all the time.

That’s actually brought up one of the most important issues about the British reports I forgot to mention! And that’s the fact that people see these huge creatures in Britain, lumbering across the road, in the places where you would imagine would be the right place, large woods and forests..

Uh huh.

But the problem is, when we go into these woods and forests, we don’t see, for a creature that’s seven or eight feet tall, and there’s got to be a lot of them, what we don’t see is massive tree or plant damage.. you know if these creatures are like gorillas, living on vegetation, in Britain, we’re just not seeing any evidence of massive stripping of trees and things like that. If you do a Google search on how much food a day a mountain gorilla has to ingest just to survive.. And then you’ve got something that’s eight feet tall and six hundred pounds, by the looks of it, where’s the evidence of massive ingestion of, not just the one, but if it’s a physical animal, it’s parents, and their parents, and it’s offspring, and etc. etc. That to me is problematic. And also, if it was purely a flesh eating creature, we also don’t get a lot of weird body parts. Occasionally you’ll find a deer or whatever that’s obviously been attacked by something, but a lot of people put these down to the big cat reports because big cats have been seen in the vicinity. But we’re not getting raids on farms every night with ten sheep vanishing or five pigs disappearing.

Right.

That isn’t happening in Britain. So to me, that’s problematic as well. How are these creatures surviving?

Yeah, we have similar problems here. Well, we’ve recently had an explosion of the deer population in the United States, so if you were to imagine that they were just eating deer now you could maybe think they could survive on that for much of the year. But going back thirty or forty years, when much more of the land was still farmed, the deer population was much lower. And there were fewer places where bigfoot could have been able to hide and find food and keep away from people.[Edit: I’m talking about the situation on the East Coast here.] So you still have the problem, if now you might imagine they’ve got enough food, fifty years ago it would have been much harder for them.

I agree. I think these are all valuable ideas that need to be brought up. From my research at least, I’ve come across.. most researchers cover all bases, but I have come across some who just collect witness reports, and to me that’s like collecting lights-in-the-sky reports, it’s not answering what’s at the heart of the mystery. After so long, it’s like, “Mr. Smith saw bigfoot cross the road in front of him.” It’s almost like,well, so what? It’s still.. fifty years ago somebody might have seen bigfoot cross the road, and in 2008 somebody saw bigfoot cross the road, but we’re no closer to answering..

Yeah, where was that guy between the time he was seen fifty years ago and now, and not just him, his whole family, where have they been?

Yeah.

And we can’t find any place that looks like they’ve been living, or..

Yeah, from my perspective, what I would say is, however much witness testimony doesn’t sit well with this researchers beliefs or that researchers beliefs, don’t ignore it. It’s not like I ignore the evidence suggesting it’s all purely physical,and just focus on the paranormal. I think what has happened over time, though, is that, somebody has had a high strangeness type case, and they’ve searched around for the person who might be, sort of, more sympathetic to listening to that type of story.

Right.

And I think that might have something to do with why sometimes, I’ll just get phone calls out of the blue, “Are you the guy who hunts bigfoot?” And then they tell this story which might not sit well with another researcher who might just say, “Thank you very much, I’ll look into it,” and they just file it away or whatever.

Yes.

it’s a difficult area at the best of times when you’re talking about bigfoot, without bringing in anything else as well! (laughing) So as I said before, I can only go where the evidence leads me, and it would be dishonest of me to throw out something that I think is weird. Unless I can prove it’s a hoax.

Yeah. That’s my attitude too, like I say, I think I’ve been near a bigfoot at least three times, and nothing that I would call paranormal happened during any of those times.. well actually, there was one thing. This was in Kentucky. We thought there was a bigfoot that came right up to the edge of the woods, it was pitch black dark so I couldn’t see anything. The guy I was with was a dedicated nighttime hunter, and he had excellent night vision, so he thinks he’s seeing it and he starts stammering.. I never saw anything but I definitely smelled something, and I heard the footsteps as it walked away. And then, where it would have had to have gone was behind a house where these three very large dogs were chained up. And about the time when it should have been crossing behind there, the three dogs set up a terrible howling, they all laid down in the most submissive poses.. I’ve never seen dogs do what those dogs did that night. I’ve read it described, but usually in cases where there’s something paranormal going on.

Yeah.

Where the dogs will lay down and cry like they think they are about to die. And it was one of the most unnerving things I’ve ever seen. Now that might have been paranormal. I really don’t know. But like I say, I’ve never seen dogs behave that way.

It’s one of those things, where you do find that, there are a lot of reports of dogs and bigfoot where the bigfoot reacts, sometimes in a hostile fashion to them, and the dogs likewise, but there’s always a significant response I think between dogs and bigfoot. Whatever it is, it’s like there’s something going on between them.

Yeah. Now, I have wanted to know whether in your active researching if you have ever run into anything that you thought was a bigfoot.

Well… there’s been a couple of weird things. I’ll tell you one thing that happened. Me and a friend of mine, Ken Gerhard, I don’t know if you know Ken but he wrote a book called Big Bird, about these mystery birds in the United States. He lives in San Antonio and we meet up every so often and do some expeditions. In the Summer of 2005 we went out to Lake Worth, Texas. Lake Worth is the name of the town but there’s also a Lake there by that name as well. Back in the ’60s there was this creature that was seen in the area which became known as the Goat Man.

Right.

If you look on the internet you’ll find that a lot of states around the US have Goat Man legends, about these cloven-hoofed creatures that almost, in some ways, sound kind of demonic. But we went out to this area where the creature had been seen, back in the woods, in the late ’60s. Of course we didn’t expect to find anything in 2005, 30-something years after the main rash of reports. But we went out to this one part of Lake Worth called Greer Island, where a lot of the reports emanated from. Greer Island, for the most part, is very often closed, but we were lucky enough that we were able to cross the land strip and we had access to the island. While we were out there we found a couple of weird things. We found in this area of flattened ground the remains of a half eaten fish. Right next to that we found what looked very much like one of these so called bigfoot tipis.

Uh huh.

You know, these pyramid, triangular type formations that you often find in a lot of these reports. And we got a weird feeling, you know that feeling when you turnaround and somebody is watching you and you know they’re watching you.

Right!

It was like that feeling, as if something was almost taunting us and playing with us, if you like. I had a distinct feeling that we weren’t alone. There was this weird silence and the hairs on the back of your neck would stand up.

Yeah!

Also, I’ve heard on several occasions in the woods just outside of Decatur, Texas, where there are a lot of reports there in heavily wooded areas.. a couple of times a very loud grunting. That actually happened twice, and my wife was with me once, and she jumped out of her skin. I don’t know what that was, but it was like avery loud.. if you can imagine an animal grunting in a way where it wanted to sound hostile — that’s the best way I can describe it, it was almost as if it was like a challenging, echoing, hostile grunt. So there have been things like that, where I’ve felt that, you know, you are in the right area, and there’s something around, but equally, it’s like it’s one step ahead of you. You become almost like the hunted instead of the hunter. Or, it stays one step ahead of you in the sense that it’s evading you all the time. But maybe it just wants to taunt at the same time — it’s not like it’s making haste and getting out of the area at high speed. It’s almost as if it’s cunningly intelligent and watching you as if it is as interested in watching you as you are in finding it.

Yeah..

I’ve found those tipis on several occasions — another one was at a place called Lake Ray Roberts, which is North of Dallas, probably about an hour or so’s drive away. And there have been various bigfoot reports from the area of Lake Ray Roberts over the years. Me and a friend went out there in February and we trekked through the woods about forty minutes, and it’s quite a thick area of woodland to be able to trek through for that long, and on one particular hill where there had been reports we found probably five or six very weird formations, which I can send you a picture of..

Oh, I’d appreciate that.

Sure, it’s no problem. And they don’t look like the trees and branches had just fallen down. Now, are they territorial markers? Who knows what they are. But whenyou are looking for bigfoot, it seems often you find these things. And it’s things like that I come across where you feel, ok maybe I haven’t seen anything definitive, but you get this weird sort of feeling.. an atmosphere.. that there’s more going on around you that you are not seeing.

Yeah, we find those stick structures — that’s what we like to call them, “stickstructures”– we find those often and we have no idea what they are for either.

Here’s the thing, though, you get those in England.

Really?

There was a case in early 2003 at a place called Bolam Lake, in the North of England, where this creature that became known as the Beast of Bolam was being seen. And it had these brightly lit eyes and was tall.. and Bolam Lake is a wooded area, but it’s not a huge forest. It’s actually not far from the city of Newcastle. The idea that there is an eight-foot yeti wandering around there is almost implausible. And yet the CFZ, the Center of Fortean Zoology in England, they sent a team up there in early 2003. And they came across a number of these structures and formations in the woods. So quite clearly there’s a trend at work, where it’s not just something that’s being seen in Virginia, or Washington state. Not only are the creatures the same in Britain, we’re also seeing these weird formations as well.

Well that is interesting. And it’s in Australia, also.

Oh, yeah, you get them here, there, and everywhere. So I don’t know what to make of it all. As I said, the most.. I won’t say troubling because it’s not troubling –puzzling, the most puzzling aspect is the fact that you get some reports.. there’s a collective body of evidence that in some respects suggests that bigfoot is purely physical, and other ones that veer toward paranormal. So are we looking at something that can straddle both realms? It’s not like it sits comfortably just in one area. If we didn’t have the paranormal aspect, it’d be easy, perhaps, to resolve. Equally, if we didn’t have any straight-forward evidence of flesh-and-blood reports, like footprints, we’d be more inclined just to say, well, it’s paranormal. But bigfoot doesn’t seem to fall into one category. That’s the problem I think, it remains insubstantial but substantial at the same time.

Yeah. My own experience in researching into this has.. you know I started out thinking that certainly it’s just an actual animal. But the farther I’ve gone along, the more stories I’ve heard, the more I’ve looked where I think they have to be and I still can’t find evidence that they actually live there, rather than just pass through from time to time from who knows where, you know I’m starting to entertain these other ideas.

Yeah, well I think it’s one of these things, for me at least, where.. it’s like the case of the penny dropping, where I suddenly thought one day, hey, this isn’t what I originally thought it was. Now some people don’t go down that path, and I respect that. They are fully convinced it’s a physical animal and that’s their right to think that, to conclude that. They are not keen on the high strangeness cases, and I respect anybody’s opinion if they’ve looked at the evidence and come to a conclusion based on the study of the evidence, that’s great. But I still think there’s a time and a place to discuss everybody else’s theories. Even if it’s UFOs or whatever it is, let’s not try to get too tied into a belief system, on anybody’s part.

Right.

Because we still don’t know what bigfoot is. Is it an ape, is it some sort of protohuman, is it gigantopithecus, is it paranormal? We just don’t know. So I think for that reason we should come together as a community, share ideas, share theories, and not throw evidence out because it’s not within our mindsets.

Yeah, I totally agree with that. I think it’s going to be hard to get a good number of bigfoot researchers to agree! But I think that’s the way to go from here.

Even if they don’t agree, don’t throw the paranormal reports out, don’t ignore them, give them to somebody who is willing to look into them.

Well that’s where I think we might have some trouble, I think some of them have a definite.. prejudice is the right word but it has not really got the right slant to it — I mean some researchers really are prejudiced against the paranormal aspects of some bigfoot reports. But it’s more like.. I think it’s like there’s a closed door and they don’t want to open that door.

Yeah, and I think one of the reasons is because, if you look into some of the cases, they can be a little disturbing. Whether consciously or subconsciously, yes, a flesh-and-blood bigfoot is a fantastic thing, if it exists. It would be incredible if we could prove that it really exists. But — it’s a secret of nature. It’s an animal that hasn’t been classified. So if you’re looking for a purely flesh-and-blood physical mystery, that’s intriguing, it’s interesting, it’s fascinating, but it’s not disturbing.

Uh huh.

But if you go down the other path, towards the paranormal aspect, and all that implies, then I think, as I say whether consciously or unconsciously, some people do perceive that, even if they don’t necessarily accept the theory, they do see it as potentially causing problems.. it’s dark and disturbing and what’s it going to get me involved in? And I think possibly that keeps some people away from it. For example, there’s a case in the new book where somebody saw this hairy man-like creature in their bedroom the night after they had been playing around with the Ouija board.

Uh huh!

At the time, they were teenagers and they were literally just messing around. And then one of the girls had something that was I guess similar to a sleep paralysis-type situation, but it scared the life out of her. You have to ask the question, “Why did it manifest as a large hairy man?” It’s things like this that could possibly make some people reticent to really get involved in the paranormal aspect because of these dark overtones that surround it.

Yeah.. And I’m not even sure I’m going to have the guts to put the last little bit of our conversation on the blog! It’s likely to turn off some of my readers..

I always say this: I never judge people on their beliefs, because I don’t — none of us has the answers. But I would say that, regardless of whether or not bigfoot researchers agree with me or not, I think the one thing they most would agree with me about, is that at some point, pretty much every bigfoot researcher has come across at least one case of the type that I’m talking about. I would defy you to find a bigfoot researcher who has never found a case that has even the smallest aspect of weirdness to it. I think in everybody’s files you’re going to find one like that. Either it was seen near a Native American burial ground, or it had glowing eyes, or something weird happened. I’m not saying they make up the majority of most people’s files, I’m sure they don’t. But I’ll bet for every hundred, most researchers have got one or two that just doesn’t sit well with the rest of the material.

Yeah, definitely. Everybody that I know has plenty of strange stuff in their files that they don’t know how to explain.

I realize from my perspective that I’m going out on a limb a little bit, but for me, that’s what I have to do because that’s where the evidence has taken me. You have to have a tough skin, and if somebody disagrees with you, fair enough. I’m not going to let that get to me because I feel it’s valid to investigate these types of cases, and it’s worthy. You have to have tough enough skin to take the knocks as well as the praises and if people disagree, well, that’s research. We’re all human at the end of the day and we’re not going to agree, whatever the subject is. So I would say to everybody, whether they take a physical approach or a paranormal approach, just have the strength of character to do your research and don’t be worried about ridicule. If somebody asks you what you’re doing, tell them. If they laugh at it that says more about them than it does about you.

Well I think that’s good advice!

(laughing) That’s the lesson from Nick!

Nick has spoken..

Some people would say that doesn’t mean anything! I just try to follow the evidence where it goes.

Yeah, and by trying to do that, following the evidence and also the lack ofevidence that I was talking about, you might start to feel like you are getting backed into the corner, even if you didn’t want to go there, if that’s the only place you haven’t looked yet.. Pretty soon you have to turn around and look at it.

Yeah, exactly. I think, whatever it is, the worst thing we can do is ignore it.

__________

Photo credits:

– The photo of Redfern is a screen capture from a video interview by UFO HUB.

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Chris Kummer ist langjähriger Journalist aus der Schweiz. Er schreibt für verschiedene Zeitungen und Magazine über unterschiedliche Themen. Er interessiert sich besonders für wissenschaftliche Kontroversen, Zukunftsforschung und Videospiele. Er folgt dem Credo «nichts glauben, alles hinterfragen» und setzt sich für offene und zugleich kritische Untersuchungen ein.

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