Have you seen that Progressive Insurance ad in which Flo, the iconic comedic insurance salesperson, has a conversation with Big Foot? Poor, Big Foot, getting exploited for commercial use. But they are not exactly speaking up in opposition. Though Flo better stay out of the woods!
When I saw that ad the other day, it reminded me of my one encounter with Big Foot (aka Yeti, Abominable Snowman, Sasquatch). That was many years ago in the North Woods of Minnesota, a large region in the northeastern part of the state known as Arrowhead Country or the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). No motorized vehicles are allowed and transportation is by canoe and portages…trails connecting the numerous lakes. I still recall portaging my canoe on my back resting the padded cross-bar on my shoulders and carrying a Duluth pack with my camping gear on trips I used to take, usually one around Memorial Day weekend, the Fourth of July or Labor Day. Sometimes, all three.
On one particular trip, a friend and I paddled across a lake to a campsite at sunset. It was the only campsite on that lake. We had the place to ourselves. After pulling the canoe up to shore, I followed a trail leading from the campsite to a big wooden box, the outdoor toilet supplied by the park service. No outhouse, just a box above a hole in the ground, in the forest.
As I approached it, I stopped as I saw a figure moving through the woods about fifty feet away. I glanced down for just a moment, feeling a bit disappointed that someone else was here. As I looked up, the figure raced through the thick woods at an incredible speed on two feet. It wasn’t human, wasn’t a bear. Within moments, it was gone.
When I told my friend what I saw, he was intrigued at first. But then he thought otherwise when I told him exactly what I saw. The creature appeared to be wearing something white on its head that I described as a sailor hat with the brim pulled down. My friend, Laurel, just shook his head. He believed there might be Yeti in the forest, but not one wearing a sailor hat.
A few years later, I read a description of a Bigfoot sighting that included an illustration. The creature had a conical head, and the top half of it was white, suggesting that it was an older Sasquatch.
I’ve never seen the Florida version of the Sasquatch, but others have, and they’ve even written a book about their encounters and theories. It all began in 2012 when authors and radio personalities Jeffrey Pritchett and Andrew B. Colvin invited a number of Bigfoot researchers onto their radio show, The Church of Mabus, and began an investigation into the Bigfoot phenomenon. The result is a fascinating book by Colvin and Pritchett called, Praise for the Hairy Man: The Secret Life of Bigfoot.
The authors, both of whom have had Bigfoot sightings and experiences, used a simple 10-question interview format and delved into a diversity of areas about this elusive creature. The areas include: the Bigfoot/alien connection, the possible role of ancient aliens in the genetic history of the Yeti, the sex habits of Sasquatch, reports of telepathy, shapeshifting and flight with Bigfoot, Native American beliefs in Sasquatch.
One of the chapters that intrigued me was an interview with Stacy Brown Jr., whose team is called the Sasquatch Hunters of Florida. There are 12 members on his team who come from a variety of backgrounds but are united in their passion to find out the truth about Sasquatch. I guess they didn’t want to use the more common name for the Florida version of the creature, which is skunk ape.
Brown recounted one of his own experiences. In November 2011, he and another man, Matt Roberts, pitched a tent on a property and were in “for one scary night. The creatures walked around our camp all night. We had hickory nuts thrown at us. At one point, we woke up to our tent shaking. We got a thermal image that night and some really good audio. Needless to say, I was ‘sold.’ I quit the band I was in, and went into Bigfoot full-throttle.”
When Brown was asked if Sasquatch might be a paranormal or multidimensional creature, he replied that anything is possible. “Any time you go that route, though, people think you are nuts. It’s just too much for their minds to grasp.” During his experiences that night in November, he thought the creatures might be ghosts because they moved around so effortlessly
I particularly enjoyed the chapters that drew connections between Bigfoot and UFOs. In Chapter 5, the authors interview Stan Gordon, a former Pennsylvania state director for MUFON. He’s also an author and has appeared on numerous TV shows talking about his research. According to Gordon: “There are a small percentage of cases… where observers have seen both a UFO and Bigfoot at the same time and location. From the reports I have received from across the country and around the world, such cases may be much more common than first thought.” The biggest problem, Gordon notes, is that many researchers are reluctant to publish such accounts for fear of ridicule.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Whether it’s Bigfoot, UFOs, aliens, or anything else that goes bump in the night, fear of ridicule seems to be a huge impediment to finding the truth.