Monday, June 14, 2010
CONVERSATIONS WITH BIGFOOT: A Hoax? Plus BIGFOOT MEGA-MISCELLANY, Including a Discussion with ONIL DAS GUPTA, News, Links and... Bigfoot POOP
BIGFOOT'S BLOG, EARLY-MID JUNE EDITION
"We do have some unique powers and abilities--but what living lacks its own uniqueness? ...We do not pull rabbits from a hat. But we can become rabbits."
--Shadarue, Bigfoot, Priorian, Ladantian, or whatever, from "Conversations with Bigfoot"
Summer approaches, with it's inevitable trips up into the Bluff Creek basin, but so do plans of starting a publishing company, an online radio show, and so many other things we can't even begin to talk about them here. At one point we thought we were just out merrily Bigfoot hunting, but instead we found TROLLS... on the Bigfoot Forums. Boy, what fun! Meanwhile, the inbox grows ever more full of unanswered mail, and the piles of books threaten to give up defying gravity and to fall into utter chaos. Here in this issue you will find a crazy collection of just some of the ways in which Bigfoot has once again stalked and treed us.
Look down below for our recent discovery that the book, "Conversations with Bigfoot," is basically most assuredly a hoax. An email to Matt Moneymaker about the aforementioned "Conversations" has led to an interesting discussion with someone on the BFRO mailing list concerning the mysterious intelligence of the Bigfoot, and its possible "human" or supra-human characteristics. We also include a bunch of interesting links and news topics. For now, in lieu of our "What Constitutes a Bigfoot/Sasquatch Encounter" project, we'll give you instead a couple of interesting quotes from two prominent Bigfoot researchers.
“Unfortunately for the proponents, this apparent stand-off is resolved in favor of the skeptics. The truth of that required one item of evidence must be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the skeptics. If they are not convinced, the issue cannot be resolved favorably. The skeptics are under no obligation to disprove all or, for that matter, any of the evidence. The burden of proof rests with those who think that the animals are real. The skeptics are not obligated even to look at the evidence. If that seems unfair, consider what happens when someone insists that you pay attention to the arguments for his/her religion. Are you under any obligation to defend your position, or even to listen to them?” (Bigfoot Sasquatch Evidence, page 7)
CONVERSATIONS WITH BIGFOOT A HOAX???
A little bit of Sherlocking has led us to the discovery that the booklet CONVERSATIONS WITH BIGFOOT is actually almost certainly nothing more than a literary lark. Beyond that, is was apparently written by noted poet and novelist, JIM DODGE.
What is in this booklet? Supposedly, in 1975, a scientist out doing field research in Northern California finds a wounded Bigfoot named Shadarue who is near death due to a fall and being covered by a rockslide. He speaks with this being, and it is eloquent and refined in perfect English. It claims to be of the "Priorian" (as in "prior," or "before," we assume) race of beings. It also claims to be of the "moon families." The being then goes on to explain a fairly complex philosophy and culture centered upon balance and the interconnection with nature. Far from being all about survival, a scrappy relic of a bygone epoch, this creature is a full blown, natural born Thoreau, a John Muir without hiking boots, a wise man without the need of civilization, temples or schools.
Some in the Bigfoot world have been talking about this book as if it were a true story, and as if it supported the idea that Sasquatch is not only intelligent, but capable of learning and fluently speaking English whilst discoursing upon abstruse Philosophy. Now, we will grant that Bigfoot does indeed have capabilities which elude our understanding (like the rabbit and the hat quote, above), but this one just seemed to be WAY too big a stretch. The tale seems really far-flung: too human, too similar to us, with too many human cultural devices to come from another species. But who knows? The world is full of Mystery! We wanted to find out where this book came from, and how it came into existence, and so we dug a bit more deeply.
The booklet appeared recently in its full text on a site called BIGFOOT HUB. You can read it there, or at the very bottom of this very blog (the work is copyright-free, so we are posting it here). Judge for yourself. Some have told us that the book gets a lot of things about Bigfoot "right," and that it conforms to their experience or certain witnesses' reports of non-apelike Bigfoot behaviors. It very well might; but that might be due to the poetic imagination of its creator.
"This is a very difficult and expensive book to find. One of our researchers found and read it, he recommended that our team review it. An ornithologist happened to find a bigfoot that was seriously injured. The story is about a conversation he had with the biped. The conversation was tape recorded and that tape was submitted to experts who stated that a human could not have stated the words. It's an interesting book. 16 Pages Floating Island Publications Cedarville, CA 1998 Author- Gordon Langley **Nabs recently was able to find a group of these books for sale and purchased the lot. They are new and can be immediately shipped."
The NABS product page is HERE.
Here is some of the dialogue between us and the bookseller and publisher. We have edited out a few bits of irrelevant data.
BIGFOOT BOOKS: Could you tell me please what your source is for saying this was written by Jim Dodge? A publication? The introduction? Thanks! Steve, Bigfoot Books.
BOOKSELLER: Hello, You asked about the author of the book, since it is not listed on the book itself. The book is published by Floating Island Press. The publisher, Michael Sykes, lives here in Cedarville. He is the source of my copy, and the one who told me who the author is. He started the press in Point Reyes back in the day, published a number of interesting authors from the Bay Area and elsewhere, and still maintains friendships with many of them. Very interesting man, a writer and photographer as well. Sara, Sara Armstrong - Bookseller
BIGFOOT BOOKS: Hi, My interest is both literary and Bigfoot-related. I have met Dodge. He lives here in Humboldt County now. But also, I write a blog on Bigfoot. There are a number of people in the BF world who think this book is non-fiction. Knowing of Dodge and his work, I think it must be a fictional lark, a parody containing interesting ideas. Before your listing no one has been able to find anything on the ostensible "author" behind this work, no reference to this scientist, "Ives." Hence, your bibliographic information has come in very handy for me, especially if it is verifiable.
Can you confirm it, or provide any contact info on the publisher? It seems he ran a literary press, right? I'd like to know if this was intended to be a "hoax," or a joke, or if it was clearly a literary piece. Were there people who believed it to be "real" at the time? Now, there are some who do, and will not accept that it is fictional, or humorous. Any further info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for your help, and for the helpful attention you paid in doing the bibliography for this listing. Please let me know if you can find out more on this! Best regards, Steve, Bigfoot Books
ARGUING WITH NASTIES ON THE BFF
A New Jack Link's MESSIN' WITH SASQUATCH Commercial,
"Camp Fire," has recently appeared. This is one of the best--or worst--yet!
View it HERE ON YOUTUBE...
and see Bigfoot prove that methane gas is indeed flammable. Don't try this at home!
NEWS FROM TOBY JOHNSON OF THE O.S.S.:
"OREGON SASQUATCH SYMPOSIUM UPDATE!!!!!!!!!
If you are a Premium ticket holder and want to assure your spot, you can show up on the 18th as well and mark your territory. I will have someone there from about 8-5. Just show up and we will get you taken care of."
In addition ANOTHER friend of mine… big hunter back in the day said he’d seen one out in the woods, up near Board Camp I think it was… this is going back quite a ways and my memory doesn’t serve me well on it. But that’s three independent sightings. All 3 were convinced of what they saw, and one saw the cub on a number of occasions and reported it as a hazard. I assume it’s a cougar, just a black one, and there may be more than one. Panther and Cougar get used together. I also remember my kids seeing cougar on the bottom of Enchanted Springs road, where we used to live, and near Panther Road.
There is a possibility that the 'Cub' is actually a fisher, which look a lot like a big cat/otter and are blackish. Those are also prevalent. I saw one last year and thought it was a black panther at first as it ran away from me. I’ve skinned one, so I’m well acquainted with their looks. Even so, it ran and moved like a cougar, except the tail was held lower and legs shorter.”
Adults and kids have seen these creatures at the school. These are people who live in the mountains and woods, who would not be likely to mis-identify animals. Mountain lions are seen all of the time. What is so unusual about a black one, and why are they considered to be within the realms of Cryptozoology?
This is the issue with David Paulides on the cover, with an asterisk behind his name (think, as in Barry Bonds). Our name got thrown into the mix, too. Hey Daniel, I thought we were supposed to be anonymous?! Check it out. The Bigfoot Times is always cool, and incisive. Don't let its yellow color fool you--this is NOT just "Yellow Journalism."
EVOLUTION IN PROGRESS? The Handfish.
National Geographic has an interesting little photo gallery of these bizarre Australian-area fish, recently declared a new species, that use their pectoral and pelvic fins as "hands" to "walk" along the sea floor. Could these be the kind of adaptation that enabled our early ancestors to climb up onto the land? Check it out HERE. We just had to find a way to post this!
'Band aids are not an excuse for bleeding.'"
--Christa Harrison, MA-TW, HSU and CR Lecturer in English
Think it through. The statement does not make sense AT ALL. What are NABS trying to say? That critical thinking is somehow bad, and that having beliefs is no excuse for doing it? A true puzzle piece, that does indeed fit the larger NABS picture. We're assuming NABS means to say, "Having beliefs does not excuse one from having to think critically." Or, um, something like that.
Also: we're glad to see that Paulides is now bending over backwards trying to give credit to JOHN GREEN. It's about time! Check the NABS BIGFOOT BLOG, #95.
This just in to our shop: YETI BEER!
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Bigfoot Sighting Investigation: ODEN FLAT; AL HODG...":
"I live in prospect or. I was out mushroom hunting 2 days ago and I found something really strange. a large pile of pooh I mean a really large pile a foot in a half long by about 8 inhes high it was a the foot of a large pipe tree it looked human and it was a well use potty spot months of potty. and a very strong odor but noty from the poop. I would like to know what I found. is there anyone out there that could test it or something, sandy at email@example.com (email excised) I am going to take some pic's."
OK, folks, we just don't know what to say. This is one of the reasons we shy away from the title, Professional Bigfoot Investigator.
I think we should refrain from statements such as this. Why? Because we don't have a clue what "Sasquatch" are. Everyone has an opinion and theories, from the average person to the deemed experts in this field. But, the fact remains that we have no clue what they really are. Are they animals, wildmen, humans, spirits or extraterrestrial?? As a matter of fact my opinion differs from Matt's opinion and probably yours.
Fact remains Steven, you don't know what they are and I don't either. The only conclusion I have come to is that Sasquatches are unlike anything we currently know about in the animal kingdom. It makes you wonder.... Regards, Onil Das Gupta, BFRO Investigator - Ontario, Canada
BIGFOOT BOOKS: Hello, And yes, a very good point that is! Far be it for me to differ. In fact, I am writing a blog entry on this now.
My own views of Sasquatch/Bigfoot are along the Mysterian line of things. However, I do think it is a flesh and blood animal. We, too, are animals. We are apes. That is what I would say; but that is NOT to exclude mystery and the unknown. The majority of the world is not perceived by our senses nor known by our minds. Our Science goes a long way, though, toward getting it. So, I do recommend starting from parsimony: that the thing is an animal, and it can be found in the woods, and it is not exactly "human," though obviously a lot like us.
What I meant in that quote you included was that the book in question appeals to or presents what I would call the nuttier side of the "BF is human" belief; that is, not to say it is nutty to think of BF as "human" or human-like, but to say that this is the extreme form of that view. I don't believe that BF would be a Philosopher who could converse with Schopenhauer, or enter Harvard. They must be radically different from us in that regard, however intelligent they are.
Look at human variation. I mean on the cultural level. The world of the Eskimo is radically different from that of the Amazonian tribesman. The Sasquatch has all the signs of being a different species, so I would assume their reality and their minds would be radical degrees away from ours.
Have you read "Conversations with Bigfoot"? If not, try it out. I think you will agree with me.
SAY, may I quote your email in my blog? I can do it anonymously if you'd like. But I feel it would make a good presentation of your viewpoint within the discussion of the issue I am endeavoring upon in my current writing. I'd really appreciate it. Check out my blog here: http://bigfootbooksblog.blogspot.com/.
ONIL DAS GUPTA: Hi Steven, Well said. It's nice to get into a discussion without people becoming offended because of different points of views. Very refreshing.
After learning the above....I must say I was confused. I knew then that we were dealing with something that was entirely different. This was a species unlike anything else we know. Was this a hairy aboriginal type people with highly specialized skills much like the "ultimate commando" that was so specialized that they have avoided humans all this time? Or were they a "spirit" being like the natives believe they are? Or are they not of this earth or dimension? I would never have believed the last two, as a matter of fact I laughed at people who brought that up. But now I just don't know. I simply know that they are a very intelligent beings with highly specialized traits/skills that makes them masters of their domain. They know us far, far better than we know them. They cannot be "bought" like us and they have the uncanny ability to avoid traps. They are either the ultimate, ultimate survivors or from a place that is of a higher intelligence than ours. They may not be able to attend our "Harvard" or "Yale", but they seem to have it all figured out and I think they know our weakness of power, greed and vanity. I think the Sasquatch is MORE intelligent than us. We are on a course to destroy ourselves with war, disease and crime and they are not. Their only demise is us finally proving their existence. Once proved and accepted worldwide then they too will be doomed. Perhaps they know this too. I could go on Steven, but that kind of it in a nutshell. I just may be one of the "nuttier" BF people. I don't know. I am just amazed and in awe of them. Absolutely. Use my last e-mail for your blog. Keep my name and title. I have nothing to hide. That book sounds interesting, I'm going to read it. Thanks. Feel free to contact me anytime. Onil
BIGFOOT BOOKS: Good! You are saving me, in a way--I WAS just going to slaughter the booklet as a hoax, nut now I can present both sides and the Bigger Picture. I'll reply later--I somehow fell asleep early last night, and missed a whole night of writing for the blog.
ONIL DAS GUPTA: Steven, I read your blog website. I enjoyed reading it. You seem to touch on areas that very few researchers and authors talk about: the psychology of the witnesses and researchers and the psychology of Sasquatches themselves. I think this is an area that is more important than we even realize. It's not "National Geographic" or "Wild Kingdom". We are not dealing with rhinos or lions, as spectacular as they are. The psychological connection between us and Sasquatches will the most amazing and earth shattering revelation, in my opinion. Ask me why, I don't know, but I am being pulled in that direction more and more. As I get older I seem to rely on my instinct more than just intellect because the brain is "prejudiced" as a result of our upbringing and what our schools and the media has taught (brainwashed) us, while our instinct is pure, uncluttered and unmolested. Our instinct seems to be our very own "crystal ball" if we all learn to tap into it properly.
I also read "Conversation with Bigfoot". What is your take on the authenticity? I would love to hear the tapes. Any chance of that? Once again I must say that right off the bat I was surprised, but not shocked other than the fact that the Sasquatch spoke "English". This seems strange, but I can accept this. I think this is indeed what we are dealing with. I think we are afraid to admit and face it. You have to listen to what is being said. The Sasquatch speaks of "balance" constantly. Balance is something universal and is understood more by Eastern cultures than Western cultures. I am half East Indian and half German and lived in Canada my whole life so I can compare cultures and attitudes. My Indian counterparts are much more in tune with nature and spirits that my Western (Germany and Canada) counterparts. It was always my belief that these beings must be extremely in tune with nature and the spirit world and reading the story of the conversation it seems to support that theory. I cannot say if that story is true or not because all I have been given is a written copy. An intelligent person can possibly make this up, but my instincts tell me that this "may be true" based on the content of the dialogue. This may not convince anyone else, but it's myself that I have to convince and deal with. This is how I see the Sasquatches and so this story merely backs up something that I seem to be leaning towards more and more as times goes on. I would like to know more about this printed conversation and tapes. Very interesting so say the least. Best regards, Onil
BIGFOOT BOOKS: First, in regard to "Conversations with Bigfoot": I don't think there ever was a tape. I don't think this is based on a real encounter, but rather is a literary creation. I have leads suggesting that this book was written by poet and novelist, Jim Dodge. I am trying to confirm his authorship by email, but have not received a reply yet. I have spoken with a bookseller who knows the publisher who put this booklet out originally. She confirms that the publisher specifically told her the book was written by Dodge, who lived in the area then, as well as having connections up here in Arcata. The booklet says it was originally released in a "streetsheet," in Arcata, which would indicate further that it was part of a collection of poems and other literary works. This is the kind of funny thing that Dodge would do, as he has been connected to the poetic and back-to-the-land, kind of Zen-like subculture. He writes along the lines of Thomas Pynchon, which is to say, he is a bit of a humorist and also a literary post-modernist. I tried searching for this ostensible author, Dr. Gordon Langley Ives, and found no mention of nor any publications by him anywhere. For a professional scientist with a Ph.D. this is highly unusual. At this stage of my investigation, then, I am definitely concluding that the book is a hoax.
I may be wrong. I can't yet rule out the possibilities; and I wouldn't want to. A few Bigfooters have suggested to me that the booklet gets much "right" about Bigfoot, in their view. So, it was suggested, maybe this booklet was based upon an actual encounter, or the tale of one who had one. Maybe! But I doubt it. The way the creature speaks is just too human, in tone and cultural reference. It sounds like a cross between Kahlil Gibran's "Prophet" and a wise Native American. I just don't think that these creatures, however intelligent, would have the SAME kind of intelligence as we do, nor the same basic cultural referents. Perhaps they have a language, but it is THEIR language. If they have a culture beyond survival it would be THEIR culture, radically different from our own.
The behaviors you mention, as well as their general ability to avoid human detection and contact, ARE quite stunning; but does that mean they are "supernatural"? I would argue that the universe itself, and the creatures and things in it, are MUCH more mysterious than we currently know. Human knowledge is limited, and through Science progresses by increments rather than grand leaps. There are, too, many things we just do not "get" as they are so different from us. Do we really understand the consciousness of whales, for instance, or gorillas? There are cases where chimpanzees have been observed hunting and acting in social groups, cooperatively, for common and intelligent ends. That the Sasquatch, so much more like us apparently, does so is then not so surprising. That intelligence that has been observed is not, though, necessarily like our own. Our kind of intelligence is our kind, particular to our species and its civilization and evolution, but not necessarily one "superior" to that of all creatures. As we cannot really know what a whale thinks and knows, our limitations are revealed. We may understand its behavior and biology, but we cannot fully and necessarily know the thing itself. It is arrogance of us to think of ourselves as "above" the other creatures; and especially so if the Sasquatch or some kind of alien race were to prove itself as having capacities quite beyond our own. Also, our current capacity and knowledge will not necessarily be the end of it--we are still an evolving species, and we may come to some kind of epiphany of something quite larger than our current world.
All of the things you mention are possible for a flesh-and-blood creature, so I would tend to rule out the "spirit being" theory. But then, are WE not, too, such beings? Our deeper nature is as much a mystery to ourselves as the nature of the Bigfoot is. Native Americans held those spiritual types of beliefs about the Bigfoot, but then, they held every animal in the same regard, as beings with spirit, living in mysterious ways, having powers different from humans, and often quite strange and unusual ones at that. A Sasquatch may not be able to operate in Harvard or NASA, but it is clear that they are much more highly adapted to the natural world, their particular habitat, than we are. This intelligence is different from human forms of intelligence. Perhaps human civilization is inherently and deeply flawed, as you have indicated, and we are doomed to destroy ourselves. This would prove our intelligence to be inferior to even the mouse. It may be that, like whales, Sasquatch are so perfectly adapted that they do not need our tools and toys and silly culture. Perhaps their intelligence, free of stupid distractions, is able to encompass more of the universe than ours is? It is perfectly likely. The sooner we recognize these other forms of intelligence, the better for us. Perhaps Sasquatch is the messenger for this goal? Clearly, we still have much to learn.
ONIL DAS GUPTA: Hello Steven, Thanks for your reply. When I wrote you the first time I had no knowledge that there was a discrepancy with regards to the author. I didn't know that Jim Dodge, poet/author, might have written this book.
However, it makes no difference. What this book, real or not, signifies for me is that there is much more to Sasquatches than we think or know about. The fact that this Sasquatch spoke in English and knew much about our culture will immediately affect the credibility of the validity of this encounter with many people, investigators and general public alike. But, this is what I am talking about. Something tells me that we totally underestimate these beings and as a result we are having a difficult time of coming in contact with them. It appears simple enough: they are large, hairy, bipedal apes that live in our forests for thousands of years. Then why have we had almost no contact with them outside of chance encounters? We don't have this kind of trouble with any outer creatures?
My point is this, I think they are as intelligent as the book "Conversation with Bigfoot" suggests. Whether this is book is true or not, I believe that it is this kind of self-awareness and intellect that has kept the Sasquatch in the shadows. They are a "balanced" being that is at one with nature. I like the references to the fact that we are obsessed with metal, oil and sex. There is also reference to the fact that they focus on being "centred" while we live on the "edge" with precision on extremes. That is exactly right. This is the down fall of our race and species. You said you have practised Hinduism and Buddhism for many years. Hindus and Buddhists have no problem grasping the concept of and believing spirits or unearthly beings. It is Western people who have the hang ups. We feel we are the centre of the universe for some unknown reason. We are not nor have we ever been. Once we figure that out then and only then will we have some sort of peace.
Perhaps that is our problem. We repel evidence such as this because it doesn't fit in the "box" that we made for Sasquatches. In other words, we think we have figured out what they are even though we don't have a clue what they are. Does this make sense??? So, since we have our "Wikipedia "description of the Sasquatch we are now incapable of accepting any other profile. How absurd is this? We have known the whale and dolphin for how long now?, and still we do not understand or accept just how intelligent and "self aware" they really are!! Scientists are just now in 2010 realizing that they just might be the first creatures on earth, next to us, that are self aware. What does mean? They are a "conscious being". This is more important than just saying they are "intelligent". A rat is intelligent. But our race is petrified in admitting that anything in the world or universe is as smart or smarter than ourselves. We "tread lightly" when admitting this about whales, dolphins or Sasquatches for that matter because we are frightened at that possibility and frightened about being ridiculed by others of our species if we do admit it.
My position is this Steven, if anything, this booklet brings to surface the fact that we are perhaps dealing with a being that is as intelligent or more intelligent than us. We are dealing with a being that is one with nature, has their own language, culture and beliefs, and lack the phobias and obsessions of our race. Yes, they are "primitive" in the sense that they live in the woods and are hair covered, but when one is in harmony with nature and balanced with the universe.....what else would you look and act like?
Well, what do you think so far? I think you will find my view very different from others in the BFRO. But, that is ok because at least we all agree that they exist. It just comes down to what we each of us think the Sasquatch exactly are. Hope our discussion helps your blog site. Onil
[Ed. NOTE. This discussion may continue on into our next blog post.]
HERE IT IS! The absolutely fabulous text of
CONVERSATIONS WITH BIGFOOT
[Ed. note: the numbers at some parts of the text are footnotes, so see below for their explication. The breaks where the numbered footnotes appear indicate page breaks. We make no personal claims as to the veracity of the following text, but rather present it as a literary curiosity. As per the above about it, we think it is a poetic hoax and modern-day folk tale.]
STATEMENT: My name is Gordon Langley Ives. I was born in Portsmouth, England, in 1936 and came to America in 1959 to study for a Doctorate in Ornithology at the University of California, Davis. I obtained my Ph.D. in 1965, specializing in bird communication (movement, plumage, song, etc.). From 1966 through 1973, I was a Professor of Zoology at Portland University. In 1973, I received a four-year grant from the Ford Foundation to do further research on bird communications. I chose to center my research on the Piliated Woodpecker because they are near extinction and I hoped aside from my central research to gather ancillary data on their existence towards a program of preservation.
In March of 1975 I came to Northern California (I refuse to be more specific) to do field work. After locating an adequate study population, I set up a base camp and began daily field excursions. For the purpose of my work, I was equipped with a 16mm movie camera and a portable tape recorder. On May 1st, at approximately 7:30 a.m., in the field and equipped with only the tape recorder, I encountered a human-like creature who identified himself, using the English language, as a Priorian a species known to us as Bigfoot. He had, by visual evidence, been standing on a rock out-cropping above a stream when it gave way; he had fallen approximately 45 feet and, except for his head and left arm, was buried under stone and debris from the resultant slide. I surmised the accident had occurred sometime in the night, although this was not confirmed. Consequent direct observation revealed that the creature-persons ribcage, pelvis, and both legs were severely injured. I attempted to render what aid I could under the conditions (refer to transcription and notes), and to abide by the creature-persons instructions for the disposition of his body and the accompanying rites. Throughout the verbal encounter with the creature-person, I left my tape recorder running without his stated permission but I believe, not without his knowledge.
I hereby attest to the veracity of this statement, the tape recording, the transcription of the recording, and those notes of mine appended to the transcription.
The tape starts with a long whistling scream. 1
1 This sound had a rather strange property of both attracting and repelling the listener.
IVES: What is it?
BF: Approach. (long pause)
IVES: What happened? Who are you? 2
BF: Please move the stones from me. (sound of stones being moved; labored breathing)
IVES: I can't budge this one...it's huge.
BF: Think of the stone.
IVES: (panting) What?
BF: Think of the stone. (labored breathing)
IVES: Got it, got it...there! (panting) Heavy. (long pause) 3
BF: I recognize my death. Would you bring me water?
IVES: Yes, yes...but I have nothing to hold it in. 4
BF: Bring it to me in your cupped hands. (footsteps, sounds of running water, footsteps again)
IVES: Here. (sound of drinking)
BF: Thank you. Your kindness is the pride of bone.
IVES: What happened? Who are you?
BF: My name is Shadarue. It indicates that I am of the moon families and it signifies the pale green color in the moon's ring.
IVES: What happened? 5
BF: We cannot speak where vision is sufficient. I'm sorry.
IVES: I'll go for help. My car is back on the skid road, I'll get a doctor, it won't...
IVES: It won't take long. Doctors can do amazing things.
BF: Death is more amazing.
IVES: You don't understand-they can save you. It is serious but they can save you. But I must go now.
BF: No. Stay to ease my spirit forth.
IVES: There's still hope. Hang on, I'll... 6
2 My confusion under the circumstances is, I believe, understandable.
3 I can't explain my ability to move this rather large stone; it weighed perhaps 400 lbs.
4 In my confusion I neglected the obvious solution.
5 And in this instance I unfortunately belabored the obvious.
6 Although I am not a medical doctor, I have had professional training in vertebrate anatomy and physiology, and in my immediate judgement the injuries appeared fatal. I don't know why I lied.
BF: I am broken inside. I am very old. Consider those things. Consider: I could not go with you anyway.
IVES: No, no. I dont know who or what you are exactly, but you are human, you speak English...something could be done. 7
BF: Nothing in the flesh, nothing in the stone.
IVES: I want to help you. I must get help.
BF: If you wish to help then grace my words with attention. There are no accidents. You answered that you might hear and remember. You know what I am in your world.
IVES: A Bigfoot, I guess...but that doesn't matter. You would be a curiosity, but...
BF: Please hear me. As you shall understand-if my face is too pain conscious to convey it-what I have to speak is of importance to me. 8 Among my people I am a "doctor", only much different than your kind. We Ladantias, as we are known, seek the balance of things, and through the maintenance and restoration of that balance, we keep our integrities and fulfill our obligation to integrities larger than our own being. A Ladantia, therefore, must know deeply of himself and the others. As part of this learning every seventy moons, he makes The Walk. Each Walk leads to a place where life is given. This renews the energy of balance in the pilgrim. I am on The Walk, to be my last. Among Ladantias, the last Walk is considered most powerful, for knowledge has no definition until its edges are revealed. Decisions carry the weight of a life, and strike deeply. I have decided to tell you of the Priorians, as we are known. Many other humans have been told, but joined to secrecy lest there be discord. You understand that our existence is known among you; we have talked to many of your people. Joining is a power we have. It can be used for silence as well as song. And of course our mad ones reveal themselves, and occasionally we are seen. To use a joke popular with us: There is ample predication for our existence. The Priorians are not a superior people. We do not, for instance, have your minds for the beauties of metal and oil. We lack obsession. Nor do our languages have nearly the grace as some of your Indian tongues. We do have some unique powers and abilities-but what living lacks its own uniqueness? Some of our abilities would perhaps astonish you, but not for long. One of them is the ability to join things in marvelous orders and complexities and in that way create new connections to refresh the old. This, if anything constitutes an equivalent to your arts-we do not make the distinction. Because we live through those connections as we are able, our lives are magical-but we have the magicians respect for "reality", as you call it, for reality is a limit of magic, and thus a point of balance. We do not pull rabbits from a hat. But we can become rabbits. I hope my example is not too clumsy- in our languages there are no comparative structures, while in yours they are a necessity of the imagination. Our language, you understand, does not admit of metaphor and is not a metaphor itself. Sometimes it bores me.
IVES: No, I understand, really. Really it is quite astonishing. But why are you telling me this? 9
BF: It is given me to do so; I have decided to comply. Birds sing. Always in my life Ive had a weakness for speech, a foolishness that often afflicts us of the moon families. Foolishness, age, pain-many possibilities. Because my voice rises to your face. Because my voice soon finds its stillness. (pause) But also because things are bad with my people. For too long now we have lived like trout under the frozen crust of a winter lake, sluggish, suspended in ourselves. Despite our powers and small magic there is a sickness amongst us, a sadness, a grief very deep. No one knows the exact origin of this sadness. My own feeling is that it is of astonishing complexity, beyond even dream music. No doubt it breeds in our isolation, no doubt it finds fecund [meaning fertile, or highly imaginative...ed] our enforced disconnection from old springs and spirit grounds that your people now occupy. Nescomela, one of our most gifted, feels your people have maddened the earth beyond anything we might balance. Perhaps. But on this Walk there was feeling in me of a more serious sort, that our sadness is the first tremble of extinction, a blood premonition of species-death. I must explain that it is Ladantia practice to read "emotion" in the blood-I did so by opening a vein in my arm. In the bloom I saw a fish with corroded fins and the trunk of an oak tree split. And I saw most clearly a bird creature feeding on itself, its beak tearing at its own breast. Birds are the densest energy-they are like song. And among us, always, only with singing has sadness dissolved. Long ago, when your people lost respect, we learned to sing silently against our discovery. I now realize, to swallow one's songs, for they grow mad in the heart and the blood. That is what the bird creature told me in its being. There are other signs of discordance; the quality of dreaming-to which we pay careful attention-has deteriorated. And there are more mad ones. They are the ones who leave footprints and cross highways. So great is their torment they wish to flirt their existence. Two have been shot this year.
7. An unpardonable display of chauvinism on my part.
8. His face was very composed, but not relaxed; he was obviously maintaining composure with great effort.
9. My first intelligent question. I am disappointed in myself for not having more presence of mind to ask deeper questions, but I was totally confounded by the situation.
IVES: How many of you are there?
BF: Yes, many questions. But my voice is losing its gather as death comes on. May I appeal to kindness again?
IVES: More water? Yes, of course.
BF: No. I would ask you to care for my corpse. I would ask you to fire my flesh and break and scatter my bones. I ask, simply, that nothing remain that might identify me.
IVES: Yes, I will. I take it I am joined to secrecy.
BF: You may report our conversation.
IVES: Without substantiation I will be laughed at.
BF: Perhaps. But it is our way and I am bound to it.
IVES: Do you want me to be believed?
BF: Balance is always complex. Excess sometimes tips; sometimes it rectifies. I do not know, very simply. Usually I proceed with recklessness but in this instance considerations exist much beyond myself.
IVES: I will care for your corpse.
BF: Also, with us it is customary to place a flower in the mouth of the dead and a feather in each hand.
IVES: I will do that, too. I found some strangely-colored raven feathers this morning. I'm an ornithologist; I study birds.
BF: My other hearts would laugh knowing I rose on raven wings. The ravens and I have not been close since one of them stole my joining stone when I was young and would not return it.
IVES: A joining stone?
BF: Of value only to the individual. We hold them in our hands when we wish to be beyond ourselves-the shapes and volumes are helpful. But I am old and digress. Satisfy your curiosity quickly.
IVES: How many of you are there?
BF: I cannot tell you directly. Enough that it requires much energy to remain unknown.
IVES: Where do you live...your territory, your home?
BF: I can only repeat Nescomales excellent reply: "Just over your shoulder."
IVES: Geographically, I mean.
BF: There are no boundaries.
IVES: How long have your people been here?
BF: Our histories are water.
IVES: Are my questions inappropriate? You don't seem to answer them.
BF: Perhaps my answers baffle themselves. It has been said, "The excellence of the song is limited by the listeners ears in the same way the song limits the ears." No blame. I always found the saying clumsy, though.
IVES: Well, what can you tell me of your lives? Do you have houses, what do you eat, how do you mate-that kind of thing? 10
BF: Those are good questions, questions worthy of a man who follows birds. We do not have houses. Only in the winter do we require shelter, and then we go to caves. For us, winter is a ceremonial season, and much of it is given to foodlessness and towsinga-towsinga is much like your meditation practices, only rather than emptying the mind, the object is to fill it, to pursue images. As for food, we eat other beings-plants, animals, insects...there is no scarcity of things. We dry a few herbs for ceremonial use, and some roots for the snow season, but other than that we preserve nothing. As for mating, we are as you...though we lack your deep fascination with the subject. We mate at all times but we only conceive in early Spring, for our gestation period is exactly a year and Spring is best for birthing. It is part of our power, we think, that the dates of our conception and birth often coincide.
10. It was my feeling that he was dismayed either at my questions or his allowance of them. It is also possible that he could not, or did not wish to, tell me. My change to the direct approach seemed to please him.
IVES: You say you conceive only in the Spring. How do you control conception? Are the females only fertile in the Spring?
BF: We pay attention to balances. Fertility partakes of balance.
IVES: You use that word often. It must have special significance for you.
BF: It is our knowledge, just as the play between the real and imaginary has become yours.
IVES: I must ask you this-how do you know English?
BF: Nescomale was my teacher.
IVES: But how did he learn it?
BF: From his teacher, Fuscus. That's as far as I know, though I think your language has been with us always. And it is very pretty in its own way, though not like the fox's, so roughly eloquent, or like the wild pigs, earnest and preoccupied. 11
IVES: How can...
BF: Excuse me, but may I ask you a question?
IVES: Certainly. Anything.
BF: Do you have any cashew nuts? 12
IVES? Cashew nuts? No...no, I dont.
BF: No matter. The last one of your people I talked with gave me some. I liked them very much. Some would be good now.
IVES: You confound me. I mean, how can you ask me that. You must have twenty broken bones-doesnt it hurt?
BF: The pain is very bad.
IVES: But you don't show it.
BF: I will, later. It is not necessary now.
IVES: You mean you can control it?
BF: I can manipulate the necessity of its time, but not its inevitability. To do so would torture balance.
IVES: Is balance like a religion with you?
BF: No. While we do have many ceremonies celebrating our being, and respect all that lies beyond our knowledge, we have no necessity for religion. I assure you, we know no more of "God" or gods than you. It is one of our powers. (long pause) You see, because our knowledge is involved with balance we live very near the center of things. Your knowledge being the way it is-the precision of extremes-you live on the edge. For us it takes little energy to maintain our existence; for you, the amount is huge. It would deform our being to join you, it would leave the center unmediated-such a journey! Understand, please, you are exhausting us. We cannot mediate you much longer. You must return to the point of balance.
11. I felt a playful mockery here.
12. I still find his asking for cashew nuts astonishing. Perhaps he wished to demonstrate that he had previous contact with humans or that he needed salt.
IVES: I don't understand. 14
13. He ignored the water and it all ran from my hands.
14. Like much of what he said, this injunction is open to the wildest speculation.
[Ed. NOTE: No copyright was claimed for this piece. It was stated as "free to distribute" in its original form, and the current publisher has confirmed this. Hence, we print it here and encourage you to save it to your hard drive.]
COMING UP NEXT TIME:
Pursuant to our previous "Letter to a Young Squatcher" blog post, the I-Search school project on Bigfoot by one Andrei Galic, 8th grader, Los Angeles. This is a lengthy piece, so we will be giving it "guest blogger status and its own post. This will make up for the time we will be spending in Oregon, away from blogging, but definitely SQUATCHING. We may be able to squeeze in something from the Sasquatch Symposium, but we suspect we will be needing sleep very badly when we return.
Me Shadarue. Me Priorian. Me Ladantian. Me Lemurian. Me Big Hairy Dude. Me abide. Hear me roar and scream. How many times I have to tell you hu-mans? What the point of conversations with Bigfoot if you never listen? You destroy tree, you make flat on road my friend squirrel. You hopeless. But read my book, stupid. I hear you hu-man say before, Get a Clue, Man. That right, you big, dumb ape. It been said, "No Man Knows My History."
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