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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Are Bigfoot Conferences Worth the Effort?

By Randy "Rebelistic" Savig, MABRC Missouri State Director

Another Oklahoma Bigfoot Symposium is in the bag.  Long hours of preparation done.  Anyone behind the scenes has a good understanding of what controlled chaos is all about.  Planning, setting up vendors, speakers, food, all are an undertaking in of themselves.  Just like in expeditions everyone has an idea or two that may or may not help but are sure to put out there.  All are nervous and hope the public and others will have a good time and learn a thing or two.  

I was privileged again this year to be asked to be a speaker.  Let me tell you one thing, it ain’t as easy as one thinks.  All the hours combing through audio, listening to the possible vocals and sounds that could be related to Bigfoot.  Going through notes to put the whole thing in sequence.  Doing a second run through comparing known critters against what you are wanting to present.  One thing that I find is important is to try and put a presentation together that the public will find interesting but also may be a benefit to other researchers out there.  Knowing me, I probably worry too much about it.  But for me I always want to make a presentation that shows, the MABRC and the Bigfoot Community in a positive light.  

One thing about the Oklahoma Bigfoot Symposium.  We don’t try to get the biggest celebrity names, rather we try to bring in local and active field researchers who put boots on the ground.  Fancy and flashy just don’t seem to impress us much, but honest, creditable, verifiable research and collecting the best possible evidence does.  

We were honored to have Lyle Blackburn as a speaker this year.  His research and dedication in compiling and writing his books is top notch.  Anyone who has read his books on Boggy Creek can feel his passion and drive to get things told as they actually happened.  Not only is he a great author and speaker, but is so sincere and down to earth that he was a great ambassador to the Bigfoot Community.  He is always welcome at the Oklahoma Bigfoot Symposium.  Maybe in the future we can get him to join us in the field for an expedition!

Robert Swain has been an integral part of the Oklahoma Bigfoot Symposium from day one and he has spoken every time on his Laughsquatch books but more importantly about the research being done in the APES (Arkansas Primate Evidence Society) in central Arkansas.  I know he is working on another book and really hopes he can get it finished before the next Symposium.  I know it will be a very informative book.  The APES team started the Arkansas Bigfoot Conference a couple years back and it has been an honor for me personally and the MABRC to help them get that a huge success and we will continue to work closely with the group.  Robert was lucky enough to see his first Bigfoot sighting during the weekend.  His sightings report along with recreations, drawing of the sighting, and the print casted to help and verify the sighting is posted on the MABRC.COM website.  Congratulations Robert!

We were lucky enough this year to get a Tennessee State Director, Mark Newbill.  For those of you have not yet heard of Mark, he is the founder of B.E.A.S.T. (Bigfoot Evidence Analysis Sawdustt Team).  He has compiled a top-notch group of people to help with reviewing possible evidence giving him and his team more time in the woods instead of spending time on review.  Congratulation Mark!    

He gave an interesting presentation on the work they are doing in the LBL (Land Between the Lakes) area.  After spending some time getting to know one of his research partners I’ve concluded that everyone needs a Larry!  Hopefully in the next year I’ll be able to go over and hit the woods in Tennessee.  

Sisters of the Moon.  Henri, Kerri, and Debi put on an interesting presentation of an experience they had during an escapade as they called it.  Anyone who thinks an all-female group can’t get the job done has never met these ladies.  They had kind of a rough beginning to the Bigfoot world but we are honored to have them be part of the MABRC.  I’ve had the pleasure to be in the woods with these gals and they really hold their own when it comes to evidence collection as well as trying to debunk anything that is an unknown.  I’m really looking forward to hitting the woods again with them and hopefully with the rest of their team.  These girls we noticeably nervous when they started their presentation but did great.  They had a way of making you feel that you were there when their experience happened.  Hopefully next year they will have another batch of possible evidence to share with us.

Jim “Biggjimm” Whitehead gave a thought provoking presentation comparing old world legends and histories of critters with the behaviors usually associated with Bigfoot activity.  Anyone who says that the Bigfoot phenomena are a recent thing needs to see his presentation.  Biggjimm’s knowledge into natural sciences and biology is a great asset to the group.  Anytime I get the chance to share a campfire with him I always come away with new ideas and perspectives.  Saturday night when movement was thought to be seen in a tree line outside of camp he got out his thermal and locked on to two heat signatures.  Bernie went to see what it was and was confronted by a growl.  It is highly suspected that it was a Bigfoot and according to the different sizes of heat signatures Bernie was about half the size of the critter.  The thermal pictures can also be seen at MABRC.COM.

D.W. Lee, Founder and Executive Director of the MABRC was again this year’s Emcee.  He opened this year with a brief history of the group and set the tone of excitement for the weekend.  What he does in front and behind the scenes is unbelievable.   No one in the MABRC has challenged me to become a better researcher than D.W..  He has set the bar for the MABRC high for integrity, honesty, credibility, in all possible evidence.  I think that is why the success of the group is as it is. 

With the speaker’s informative presentations, and just researchers trading ideas of what they do that works and don’t makes it worth it.  But there is another factor that we sometimes forget as researchers.  The human element.  The public has had encounters, experiences that they have questions and concerns about.   These people come in to see if someone can help them to understand the what and why of these critters.  They look at us as the “experts”.  As researchers we know there ain’t any experts in Bigfoot and even though our knowledge is actually very limited, the folks coming for these events think we know it all.  I had one family come up to me after the open house where there was a good question and answer session.  Sometimes we forget that people can be very reluctant to talk about what they are experiencing.  We are so used to getting the looks and eye rolls from people who don’t think there is such a critter we seem to forget the embarrassment that can go with having an encounter.  

This fella has lived in the general area since he was a kid.  Grew up in a house not a mile from where he lives now.  The first question he asked in a quiet tone of voice like I’ve seen before when people are used to be ridiculed.  “Why do they slap the side of the house?”  I could see by his wife’s expression that this really bothered her and their son had a real fearful look in his eyes.  I kind of smiled and explained that in primate behavior slapping trees etc. usually done during shall we call it the teenage years, as males seem to want to show off for either possible mates or to gain rank in the hierarchy.  The relief in them was so apparent as their whole bodies seemed to relax.  I told them that there was little or no evidence that is was meant as any aggression toward them.  I had them chuckling when I told them that even the human primate did it.  Used an example of when we used to play that same game on a grouchy old fella back home.  We’d knock on his door and run!  It was all good for us teenage boys and we got a kick out of it but I’m sure he didn’t.  They talked about an odd whistle that they would hear at times when they were in the yard.  I mimicked one that I’ve recorded and it gave the gal goose bumps as he excitedly said, “Yep that’s it!”.  I explained that most likely either a location vocal or maybe just a way to say we’re here.  I tried to reassure him that if he had lived there all his life that the area Bigfoot were used to him being around and knew he was no threat to them.  Kind of like the stray cat analogy.  A stray cat shows up on the farm and doesn’t bother anything you both tolerate each other and share the same space.  After a while you actual seem to bond with it and watch out for it.  

That is when the conversation took a weird twist.  He got a real serious look on his face.  He started with “I wonder if….”.  He really was reluctant to finish the sentence.  Long story short, he told me a time a year or so back where he came home one night after work to seeing all the lights on and doors opened in the house where it should have been dark and locked.  When he got closer he saw that he had been broken into.  After the sheriff’s department arrived they entered the house to see piles of stuff by the doors and some windows like it was being readied to be loaded up.  But very little was removed as if the burglars were scared off.  He always wondered what scared them off.  This was perplexing to him as he lives on a dead-end road and there were no cars met as he came home and no others until the deputies arrived.  He has no close neighbors.

He then asked, “Were they looking out for me?”.  Of course, I was floored.  I told him that I could only speculate because I had no way of answering that.  But it could have been just a coincidence that one may have slapped the house that night as they had said happened often in the past and that could have scared them away.  But honestly, my brain was spinning at the possibility that maybe, just maybe they were looking after him.  The intelligence that these critters seem to have its not beyond the possibility.  He has lived there all this life.  They have had what appears to be limited interaction with them.  So, it is an intriguing thing to consider.

So, to answer the question.  Are Bigfoot Conferences Worth the Effort?  Even though it is a strenuous time where the days are long and the nights are short, nothing really goes as we think it should, even with all that I’d have to say yes.  The human factor makes it important that we as researchers can help people understand a little more of what could be going on.  And if we ain’t careful, we may learn some new things too.  It’s these little things that mean so much.  Sure, it’s cool to get a picture with some celebrity, get a t-shirt or hat, maybe a book, but at the end of the day it should do with people who are the greatest asset to the researcher. The little pieces they can give us with their experiences can help fill in some blanks and expand our knowledge.   

Until the Next conference.  The answer is in the woods!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Territory Markers and Scent

The MABRC has been discussing behind closed doors about territory markers and scent markers now for over two years, including putting together a paper outlining what is meant by this and by putting supporting evidence to back it up.

I thought I would post this today with just a little background information to show that the MABRC has been working on this for that long.  The theory was originally brought forward by MABRC Researcher Carissa "Splatter" Schulze nearly two years ago, and was based on her experience with training dogs and the way they handle scent.  Most animals use scent to mark territory, proclaim their breeding status and more.

So the MABRC started discussing how does Bigfoot find markers that are created in the wilderness.  Directional sticks are usually placed up high in trees, at night, how would a Bigfoot see this?  How would a Bigfoot detect markers in heavy woods at night?  Or even at a distance?  Simple, they mark these structures with scent.  Whether it be with urine, musk scent, or other scent that they can produce.

The report will be out before Christmas, with more information related to this theory, but for now, the word is out there that the MABRC has been working on this theory now for several years.

The picture below shows a captive Lemur marking a tree in proximity of where it meets it's human caregiver, in what was regarded as it marking it as a safe place for itself and others, or even as a warning to others to stay away from it's human.  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Bigfooters and Healthy Skepticism.

I have always considered Melissa Hovey an old school researcher, she came along a while after I did, but I like to think we both got our feet wet and learned our lessons through the years in our class of the Bigfoot Community. Today she released an article on her blog about Bigfooters and Healthy Skepticism and I totally agree with what she has to say. To read it, go to the Search for Bigfoot blog here.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Biped vs. 4X4 Mode

There has been much debate between the PNW Bigfoot Researchers and the Southern Bigfoot Researchers about the possibility of Bigfoot being able to go into 4X4 mode, a term made commonplace by Darkwing after learning about it from Timberghost.  In the Southern United States, researchers have spotted Bigfoot moving in 4X4 mode as the creatures hunt and also to avoid detection.
Here is a statement explaining about 4X4 mode from Darkwing.

They will hunt in 4X4 mode to give them extra speed in short distances, they also will cross open areas in 4X4 mode to avoid detection. I've seen a whole troop cross a field in 4X4 mode, initially giving me the impression that it was cows or other animals in the darkness, until they reached the tree line, then stood up and walked into the woods.

With an animal the height of a bigfoot, 4X4 mode and belly crawling are part of their stealth. In Oklahoma and Arkansas, it's accepted by the researchers there, that Bigfoot does go in 4X4 mode quite often. Next time you see what you think is possibly a bear moving across the field, better look a little closer, it may be a Bigfoot crossing in 4X4 mode. And for those who will claim that the reports don't show this trait of Bigfoot, they need to dig deeper, the International Bigfoot Society had multiple reports from across the country that shows Bigfoot were in 4X4 mode.

Parnassus from the Bigfootforums asked D.W. if the Bigfoot left tracks, to which D.W. replied.

Yes they do Parnassus, but they tend to resemble bear tracks once the mid-tarsal break comes into play. I followed a trackway once for over 200 feet that then turned into what looked like bear tracks. Only the front half of the foot is touching the ground when in 4X4 mode.

The first one I saw in 4X4 mode, actually came up about even with the bottom of the window on my Chevy Blazer with the top of it's back, it was also nearly half the length of it. The smaller ones tend to resemble chimps in 4X4 mode, as one of our researchers had a close encounter with one from about 10 feet away. First time I ever heard that researcher cuss from the shock of getting that close.

I was the first to bring this forward into the mainstream Bigfoot Community well over 10 years ago, and was unmercilessly bashed for daring to claim Bigfoot went into 4X4 mode. My how the times have changed and folks are now onboard with it. I'm really glad to see that some folks have been more open to what Bigfoot does.

This is the juvenile in 4X4 mode that was sketched by Biggjimm, the MABRC Western Oklahoma State Director for Squatchfinder, the MABRC Researcher who had the close (10 feet) encounter. Hopefully it illustrates somewhat about how 4X4 mode looks.

The thumb is splayed out, if you turn it sideways, they put it out to the side to help steady themselves. The knuckles are more than twice the size of a human hand. Here is roughly what it would look like.

 Freeman's famous Low Creek Knuckle Print from July 1982 is a good example of the way it looks when they are in 4X4 mode, with the thumb splayed out away from the hand and knuckles.

For more about the 4X4 mode, visit the MABRC Forums for more information.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Audio Drop Boxes

An article written by D.W. "Darkwing" Lee, Executive Director, MABRC.

(Special thanks to Dave "Therealsuperdave" Jett for creating this unique drop box, without him, I don't think I would have ever come up with this great idea.)

About 9 years ago, I happen to talk to the guys from Texlaresearch about their dropboxes they used to place their audio recorders out in the field.

Courtesy of Texlaresearch

Courtesy of Texlaresearch

Courtesy of Texlaresearch

They have used these dropboxes to obtain some really great audio, and I learned a lot from these guys, one of the main things I learned, is to just walk along through the woods and just drop off the box and continue going on, not dwelling on the fact you are putting this recorder in place.

The MABRC uses this approach on our audio recorders and guys like Randy "Rebelistic" Savig, Mark "Sawdustt" Newbill, Dave "Therealsuperdave" Jett and Mike "CompresserMike" Hartsell have taken these to a new level with the numbers of dropboxes and the design of them.  

One design in particular caught my attention, and with good reason.  On an expedition about a year ago, I took Dave Jett out on a four wheeler to place his new dropbox, and I was very impressed.  It was a PVC pipe sealed on one end, with the other end filled with foam rubber to keep the recorder in and a very ingenious hook system that allowed Dave to place his recorder up high above the eye level of even the tallest Bigfoot.  

Placing bark around the entire rig, once placed high up into the tree, unless you knew it was there, you would never know it was hanging there above you.

So lets fast forward to January 2017, I had deployed some of my dropboxes out during the MABRC expedition.  These were made out of small tupperware bowls with lids, easily seen at long distances. 
Upon reviewing the audio, I was shocked to hear 4 wheelers approach my recorder, stop, and the people dismounted.  They approached the box and you could hear them open the box saying "what the heck is this?".  Then they realized it was recording, they closed the box back.  I came so close to loosing my recorder.

SO D.W., what next?  You may ask?

I took Dave Jett's idea and built two prototypes to use in my areas.  To do this, I needed to buy some items.  While I used a different capping system because my local hardware stores didn't carry what I needed, I have found everything I would require since on Lowes.com, I will be building newer models within the next month.

Here is the list of what you will need:

A substantial length of 2 inch wide PVC pipe  (Most places will sale you smaller sections, but the average is about 10 foot lengths.)
2 inch end caps
Silicone (clear)
eye hooks
OD Green spray paint
wire clothes hangers
paint extension pole
camouflage masking tape
foam rubber
black tape

Here are photos of what each one looks like for the record (Minus the masking tape, paint and foam rubber)

So how does it all go together?  The following photos shows the initial prototype.

The outside of the drop box, the bark is siliconed on it, but the plastic ties are on there to keep it tight on the box.

The bottom of the box, notice the foam rubber that is siliconed inside it with a small part cut out just big enough to slide a recorder into.

The top of the prototype was a reducing cap and plug, in the future, my dropboxes will use the end cap as shown above in the list of items needed.  The eyebolt is bolted on both sides of the plug to make sure it doesn't wriggle itself loose.  The wire clothes hanger is then bent into shape around the eyebolt to form the hook and the little arm used to put up in the tree.

A small part of the clothes hanger can be used to make a metal loop on the end of your pole and secured with black tape.

This loop fits over the little wire arm on the hook, and allows you to place it on a tree limb around 15 to 20 feet above the area.  

To test out my hope that people would not notice this dropbox once it was in place, I took it up to a fellow MABRC researcher's home, and placed two dropboxes around their house.  The researcher's husband was not told the recorders were there, and they were left in place for a week, with him walking by them on multiple occasions at eye level.  It finally took her taking him out there to them and pointing them out before he seen them.

So now, I have a viable option that when I am going down into the research areas on a four wheeler, I can pause long enough to raise my dropbox up to a tree limb over the trail, hook it, and continue on, no one or no bigfoot the wiser that I just dropped a recorder off.  

In the future, when I begin building the newer dropboxes, I will record the entire process and post it here on the blog.

Once again, I want to say thanks to Texlaresearch and Dave Jett for imparting their knowledge to me.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Arkansas Bigfoot Conference 2017 Presentations

Want to say thanks to Mark "Sawdustt" Newbill and his team for the recording of these videos. visit his YouTube Channel for other great videos he has there.

A great event put on by Robert Swain and the APES folks, this is the first 3.5 presentations, as the videos are being released one at a time as it takes a while to put them together.  We are reposting the schedule here to give you and idea of what each presentation was about.

One speaker was unable to make it, so I removed the presentation off the list just to avoid confusion.  

 More videos will be added as they are released.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Google, a researcher's best friend........

By D.W. "Darkwing" Lee, MABRC Executive Director

Google is perhaps the best investigative tool a researcher can have online, not just for articles, stories and other media online, but the most important is images.

Images?  What do you mean images, D.W.?

For the most part, especially on Facebook, I see posts like this.

I blacked out the user's name because it is someone I have gotten to know online fairly well, but they fell for the old, "I got it from someone else" ruse.

Even though I remember this picture really well as it was from a photo that claimed to have been taken at a lumber company's clear cut area.  This was nothing more than a tree.

But it could have easily been debunked by doing a Google Image search.  Let's go through the steps to show everyone one of the tricks I use to debunk a photo, because chances are, the photo has existed for sometime and can be easily discovered if people just do their research.

I took the photo shown below to illustrate this as it's a more well known photo that someone claimed to have taken of a Bigfoot in Oregon State.

First we go to Google, and in the right top corner of the page you will see Images, click this and it will open up the Images search box.  Click on the Camera (1) icon.

This will open up the Search by image dialog box and you will need to select Upload an Image (1)

This will bring up the Upload an image upload box.  Click on the Choose File (1) button to browse to the location of the photo on your computer.  Once you select okay on the file, it will start the upload to Google's server for the search.

The search results window will appear with the image size (1) shown of the photo you just uploaded.  You can search other sizes of this image, I prefer clicking All sizes (2) to get the most results.  (3) shows the search terms that Google guesses would be the best to search for related to this photo.  (4) is going to show several websites that have the most related information related to this photo per Google.  (5) shows several rows of photos that returned similar to this photo.  (6) continues other websites to check out that might be related to this photo.  I usually will go through two pages of the websites just checking them out to see what information is related to the photo, if any exists on those pages.  I will also search the images by clicking on the Visually similar images (5) link.

I have three images turn up that are very similar, so I take these three links (1) (2) and (3) and follow them.  They take me to a Bigfoot blog where the original claim was made over the photo.

You can see, that nothing about this photo is even close to looking like real woods, or a real Bigfoot.  But scrolling down, we find this.

A comment appears that shows this is a photo of a Bigfoot diorama in a museum in Wisconsin.

So the photo is fake, and since someone made claims that it was a real Bigfoot, the person making those claims is now a hoaxer in my opinion.

When this story first came out several years ago, I realized where it was from immediately, took the photos I had from the museum, and compared them together to prove it was a hoax.  But a lot of people started ooohh, and aaahhhh-ing, and believed it was real, and all they had to do, is Google the photo and follow the trail of information.

I hope this has been informative for someone out there to use.