Thursday, March 25, 2010

Reading the BIGFOOT TIMES, plus News: MONSTER QUEST R.I.P., BIGFOOT AUTOPSY, Rock Slide on Hwy. 96, BIGFOOT DAYS 2010

READING THE BIGFOOT TIMES: What a Difference a Critical Viewpoint Makes!

"You did the best, most significant interview with Al Hodgson, ever, to this point"

---Daniel Perez, on our recent INTERVIEW WITH AL HODGSON (click highlighted text to view)

Coincidentally, just as we'd begun to write this blog entry involving his newsletter, we received a call from Daniel Perez, editor and writer of the best periodical publication on Bigfoot, the BIGFOOT TIMES. He brightened our day with the quote above. A dogged and persistently critical-minded investigator of this phenomenon since he was 10 years old, Daniel practically qualifies as a member of the Bigfooting "old guard," even though he is only in his 40s. His only currently-operating rivals in terms of historical scholarship in The Field are Loren Coleman and Christopher Murphy. He has spent not only his entire adult life seriously pursuing this mystery, but also a good part of his childhood and youth. Though he is not averse to field research, Perez really shines when it comes to Bibliography, History, and his Historiographical meta-view of the field of study as a whole and its place within human culture.

Images: Perez speaking at the 2007 PGF 40th Anniversary Celebration, Photographed by Steven Streufert. The cover of the Bigfoot Times that featured not only the Bigfoot Books shop sign, but also yours truly with the gang at the  Celebration. CLICK TO ENLARGE ALL IMAGES.

Last month, suffering a dearth of new Bigfoot material to read, we finally broke down and bought the entire print run of the BIGFOOT TIMES. We just couldn't bear the wait anymore for each month's new issue. We had to have it all. It cost a pretty penny, but we can tell you that it was well worth it. In the saved cost of gas, phone calls, time spent interviewing witnesses and attending conferences, and paying for room and board on the road, this publication's full run has probably saved us a hundred times its cost. We devoured it all at once, reading numerous issues a day, in less than a month.

Comprehensively covering some twelve years now of the activities of the world of Bigfooting, the newsletter is a veritable Cryptozoological time machine. Not only does it cover in-depth and with a cutting edge all the events, discoveries and disappointments, the Bigfoot Wars between the advocates and the skeptics and the believers amongst themselves, but it also offers the true jewel of Perez' sense of the history of the field. He not only knows that history, but he checks his facts. He doesn't just dig up rumors and word-of-mouth gossip and theory-trading, but actually makes phone calls to the primary sources, or digs them up out of the massive archives in his home. Not only does he know personally most of the investigators in the field, past and present, but he is not afraid to call one of them a fool when it is due. One has to earn Daniel's praise. He may annoy some Bigfoot researchers with his critical gadfly behavior, but ultimately that is for the best--it keeps us all on our toes and within reason. Some may call it muchraking; but we will call it truth-seeking. They killed Socrates for such things, but look at the impact that man had on the formation of true Philosophy in the West.

Images: Perez' masterwork, BIGFOOT AT BLUFF CREEK. You may order one through Bigfoot Books: Below, the MK Davis Bigfooter of the Year issue--only two years later he would be called a "discredited researcher" in the publication's pages.

 Perez combines all the wit and skeptical incision of a Rene Dahinden and the logical aplomb of a John Green with the investigative journalism of an early, pre-sellout Geraldo Rivera (the guy used to be serious!). It seems to us that he is the true heir to the "Four Horsemen of Sasquatchery." No other voice in Bigfooting compares at this time, though many do a good job in their own right and areas of focus. One gets the feeling from Daniel of the excitement of the chase, but also benefits from the bullshit detector of one who has seen it all, good and bad and abysmal, and yet still preserves enthusiasm. For one who has been looking into the field at this depth for some three decades not to have burned out is extraordinary in and of itself. It is one thing to just collect all of the stories and sugarcoat them to support a belief in Bigfoot or publish some regurgitation of a book; it is another thing altogether to drill down to the heart of the matter in all cases, to never accept evidence at mere face value, and to carry on despite finding repeatedly that a lot of the hoped-for proof turns out to be silly hoaxing and tall tales. Well, we all must carry on. And surely we shall, to the end. If anything gets past the gauntlet of Daniel's critical eye you can be sure that it is GOOD evidence. No BS hurling grandstander, media trickster or footprint-faking con man gets past him, either; at least, not for long. He knows an ape suit when he sees one; and in the Patterson-Gimlin film, his specialty, he sees a real, living Creature.

One thing that really makes the TIMES stand out is the commitment over time shown by the author/editor. It is one thing to put things together into a time-bound book or one-off article, but it is another to publish on-the-record, monthly, over a considerable time. Thus, the BIGFOOT TIMES leaves behind a chronological paper trail of events as they happened and are still happening. There is no going back and editing. One can thereby see the evolution of the field and its ideas, members, groups and tactics along the way. We see, for instance, the rise and fall of MK Davis; the movement of Tom Biscardi from being a slightly odd carney-type investigator to an outright pariah; the excitement and then the disappointment over such evidence as the Sonoma video and various blobsquatches; the persistent and increasingly psychotic presence of E.B., Jon-Erik Beckjord, and his eventual demise both professional and physical.

Images: Author photo and logos courtesy of Bigfoot Times. Mr. Perez in his usual baseball cap.

There are ups and downs along the way, for sure, where one may see some evidence come in with big hopes, only eventually to be dashed on the rocks. Or where, earlier on, an investigator like Tom Biscardi gets attention in the newsletter, along with some of his suspicious activities and evidence, only later to be revealed as the hoaxer and media exploiter that he is.  The newsletter covers sightings, footprints and field findings as they happen, so this kind of thing is inevitable. Perez has a month at a time to think these things over, though, so he tends to stay away from the flash in the pan sensationalism that surrounds today's current internet blobsquatching and YouTube footage hypes. Some of the things covered in the pages of the newsletter over the years end up seeming a bit ephemeral given a retrospective view; but in significantly more cases a transient bit of information otherwise forgotten turns out to be a hidden treasure. Book reviews reveal publications that we're sure you've never seen before, nor even heard of, often privately published works that are incredibly difficult to locate now. (If only one might convince Daniel to lend out or make copies from his library!)

One may also watch the development of projects such as David Daegling's "Bigfoot Exposed," in their formative stages; and in this case, see how that particular writer used Perez as a source and entry into the viewpoint of the Bigfoot believer, but then turned around and betrayed him in the end by publishing a mockingly skeptical book. A saddening aspect of the publication is how it recounts a crucial decade in Bigfooting/Sasquatchery wherein a very large number of its primary writers, witnesses and investigators passed away. At times it seems, reading the newsletter chronologically, that every month brings another death. Rene Dahinden, Grover Krantz, Bernard Heuvelmans, and so many others' passings are covered in the newsletter. Perez eulogies for his lost colleagues are deeply moving, especially the one for Dahinden. One watches, as well, the rise of a new generation, including Jeff Meldrum, Matt Moneymaker, MK Davis and many more. One may observe, as well, the coming of the internet into its full force in the world of Bigfoot, changing it forever. There are strange moments in the TIMES, as well; but it only adds to the interest and appeal of  it. A good example is when he named Moneymaker, founder of the BFRO, as the "Bigfooter of the Year," only to accompany the award with an extensive collection of criticisms and in-group gossip. Odd, but curious, it was, and still fascinating.

Images: Above and below, the 16mm Kodak camera similar to the one Roger Patterson used in his famous film, brought by Perez to the 2007 Willow Creek PGF Celebration. Photos by Steven Streufert. 

One could argue that the BIGFOOT TIMES is now at a transition point. How will Perez deal with the latest movements in Bigfooting? Will he adapt to or fight against the current trend towards gonzo "field research," or will he slowly become an "elder statesman" himself, settling into a phase of bookish scholarship? We encourage him to do both at once. We never can tell--it may be someone who knows nothing about the history of the PGF and the field of ABSMery who turns out to be the one who "proves" that Bigfoot exists.

All along the way Perez is a great tour guide and teacher; and he is full of sardonic wit without being snide. His fascination leads him on, but he doesn't just go barrelling over the cliff like much of the Bigfoot herd. He looks before he leaps. He knows better, and he knows the track record of all involved, the credibility factors and the patterns that make up movements in the research. If you weren't there for all of those years of Bigfooting, and would like to absorb that history not as after-the-fact, but as History-as-it-happened, then this newsletter is HIGHLY recommended. (We also seriously recommend SUBSCRIBING to keep up with current issues--no web site out there does things quite like BIGFOOT TIMES does.) Books can condense and consolidate information, DVDs can catch a glimpse of a moment, web sites can show the flashes in the pan; but a dedicated publication like this can teach you the meaning of what it really is to be a committed investigator over time, through all the crazy ups and downs. With a guy like Perez at the helm this ship can sail through the night of unreason toward the simple recognition of the reality of giant anthropoids currently denied and mocked by the status quo of our society. And it will be a fun ride along the way, we guarantee it. Taken as a whole, the BIGFOOT TIMES easily equals the best of the Bigfoot books, among which we place it in the top five, right next to Green, Sanderson, Meldrum, and Murphy. Don't miss out.

Above you may view the contact information for Daniel and his Center for Bigfoot Studies. Subscriptions and back issue orders may be made by snail mail at the address above, email, over the internet, or by phone as above. Just keep in mind, he's a busy guy who works as a full-time electrician. I've always found him to be incredibly prompt and responsive with all order inquiries.

Subscriptions run "USA = $15, Canada = $16, Rest of World = $19," and we assure you it is well worth it. Back issues are $1.50 each, but Daniel might be encouraged to make you a deal like he did with us for a bulk purchase. The BIGFOOT TIMES is a four-page 8.5 by 11-inch illustrated newsletter sent by postal mail; but it isn't just about the paper, it's the CONTENT that counts. And what it contains, really, is priceless, if one is a serious Bigfoot researcher.
Interested in viewing the incredible breadth of topics, regions and reviews covered in the BIGFOOT TIMES? Download the massive 57-page BIGFOOT TIMES INDEX HERE. It comes in printable PDF document format. It is current through December 2009 at this point, and is maintained by George M. Eberhart.

Image: Perez, Willow Creek, 2007, by Steven Streufert.

Go to Squatchopedia, the Bigfoot Wiki, for more info and a nice download link to a FREE SAMPLE ISSUE of the BIGFOOT TIMES.

NOTE: Daniel Perez published a newsletter back in the eighties called BigfooTimes. Back issues of these are also available, though we can't comment yet as we haven't gotten a hold of those yet.

Want to know MORE about Daniel Perez and the BIGFOOT TIMES? What bigfooter woudn't? Well, go now and read our extensive BIGFOOT BOOKS INTERVIEW AND DISCUSSION WITH BIGFOOT TIMES EDITOR DANIEL PEREZ, originally published here on 8 November 2009.



Those of you planning trips into the Bluff Creek area of Bigfoot Country should be advised that there have been some rock slide problems, closing sections of Highway 96 between Orleans and Happy Camp, CA. There are huge amounts of rock covering the entire roadbed, and finishing time for cleanup work has not been determined. As the backcountry forest roads are all closed for the season going in to Bluff Creek itself, we are very concerned that there may be roadway horrors along the way for any early season bigfooting activities.
We surely hope that this year both the PGF site and Louse Camp with be open and accessible. There was a nasty rock slide above Louse and Notice Creek last year. If there are slides on the main highways, one can only imagine how bad it will probably be along Forest Road 12N13! At the current moment limited traffic is being allowed through on a detour over the narrow and winding Ishi Pishi Road.

View a very cool online ROCK SLIDE VIDEO of the Highway 299 event as it happens here.

Read more via the Redding Record Searchlight in their article, STAGGERING ROCK SLIDE CLOSES HIGHWAY 96 NEAR HUMBOLDT-SISKIYOU LINE.

Images: Top, courtesy of CalTrans. Second, at the Willow Creek side of Hwy. 96, near the ranger station; by Steven Streufert.



Bigfoot is already in the air around Willow Creek, with the coming of Spring. As evidenced by posters appearing on bulletin boards around town, a planning meeting is scheduled for April 7th at the Coast Central Credit Union office in town, at 6:00 p.m. This will the the 50th anniversary of the event, so it promises to be good! Al Hodgson is involved and is working on a photo exhibit. There may be Bigfoot speakers, too, especially if funds can be found. Al mentioned bringing John Green down, but that is quite up in the air at the moment. Loren Coleman has offered to speak as well, but the issue of buying his airline ticket needs to be resolved. Check back here for news over the summer. The event happens every year over Labor Day weekend, and normally features a community parade with small Bigfoot content and a festival down in Veteran's Park with vendors, food and live music.

Bring your Bigfoot to town! Be a speaker or run a table. We'll have the official contact number and information here soon.

Image: The flier at Ray's Grocery in Willow Creek. By Steven Streufert.



Interested in the BIGFOOT AUTOPSY?

Click the linked text to view it! This is the truly disgusting truth behind the GEORGIA BIGFOOT BODY HOAX of 2008. Well, perhaps animal entrails, sheep testicles and cut up parts of a pig (including the severed head) stuffed into a Sasquatch costume are not nearly as disgusting as the behavior of Tom Biscardi, Rick Dyer and Matt Whitton. We'll leave you to be the judge. Just turn the volume down to avoid the clownish music that so aptly describes Dyer himself.

Images: From Dyer Films on YouTube; the head of the suit was full of plastic bags, the torso full of pig parts including legless body and severed head.

Recently, Rick Dyer re-emerged with a new "Bigfoot Tracker" identity on BlogTalk Radio, using the name "BIGFOOT IS A SCAM." Apparently he wants to reinvent himself and his web site as a "Scam Police," accusing all bigfooters of being insane, delusional members of a cult. Listen to the show... it is astonishingly bad, but revealing. This guy is into money, and nothing else (well, OK, he also ADMITS that he is "into Asian whores"), and obviously now sees yet another angle at grabbing the spotlight. Sorry Rick, you've used up your 15 minutes of fame.

It is fascinating to see him move, in the few shows he's posted so far, from initially calling all Bigfoot believers crazy, deluded scammers, to, at the end, starting to seek connections to go out on expeditions because there just might be something out there after all. Rick, who is insane and deluded, now? We're wondering where you really stand, Mr. D. Now he says, on his web page, " is a skeptical Bigfoot Research Group has [sic] been investigating the possibility of Bigfoot creatures existing in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Russia, Thialand [sic] and China since 2007. We are known world wide as "The Best Bigfoot Trackers in the World." Yeah, right. They can't even seem to use the English language correctly, or even display basic literacy, let alone use Science to find Bigfoot. A hint to Rick--if you're going to try to pull another scam, at least get your con story straight first! This really, really makes sense: "We are very skeptical, but we have a intrest [SIC!] in finding him, the skill to do it, and the money to back it." Come on! Just a come-on!

Here is a slightly different version, with funny satirical captions, and a different ending:

Just don't believe this guy, OK? If anything is a scam it is! Groups such as the Bigfoot Discovery Museum and BFRO are NOT scams--they may make a little money on Bigfoot, but they are just trying to pay the rent and subsidize their Bigfoot research. They believe in Bigfoot, and the cause; a scam or con involves the generation of a false confidence in the consumer, but the Bigfoot organizations (save for Biscardi's) obviously just want to spread their interest and faith in the Creature's reality. Who made a ton of illegitimate cash off Bigfoot? Why, it is Dyer himself. Dyer, the scammer, full of sheep guts, bull shit, and pig heads! 

Steve Kulls, the SquachDetective, was involved with Searching for Bigfoot, Inc. and Tom Biscardi, but eventually exited the group and exposed the hoax. Visit his site, BISCARDI EXPOSED.

Image to Right: Kulls' Oscar for "Best Hoaxer" awarded to Tom Biscardi.

While you're at it, maybe get a copy of the silly waste of plastic, ANATOMY OF A BIGFOOT HOAX, and support the BIGFOOT DISCOVERY PROJECT AND MUSEUM. And while your at that, or instead of it, watch Michael Rugg's THE BIGFOOT DISCOVERY MUSEUM SHOW online. These are short video blogs with good information and entertainment value. There are 141 shows archived so far. It's great!



Even for those of us who may have complained about its methods and hyperbolic and frustratingly inconclusive presentation over the years, the passing of The History Channel's MONSTERQUEST this last week has got to be a sad thing. If not this show, what will present the field of Cryptozoology on television? Are we going to be left with nothing but jokes, hoaxes and superficial debunkings? Or will they let the MQ team produce special, serious shows on the exploration of the Mysterious and Unknown? We hope the latter.

Well, they went out with a bang, or... a whimper. You decide. They covered the Gable Film and the subject of werewolves in their episode, "America's Wolfman." We haven't seen the episode yet (no TV out here in the Willow Creek boonies), but the Gable footage is kind of scary. What IS that creature? Damn, we wuold not want to have that thing loping toward us out in the woods! Go to the link below and start watching at about 3:00 in the timing. Watching the rest of the film might just horrify you about the human 1970s. Anyway, check out Sharon Lee's BIGFOOT FIELD REPORTER where she has posted the film under her entry, Final MonsterQuest Episode.

So far Season One and Season Two are out on DVD sets, but Season Three has only one two-disc set of an apparent three sets released so far. And... willl they include the special, extended Abominable Snowman episode?
CRYPTOMUNDO.COM just posted the show's producer, Doug Hajicek's, official goodbye statement. Read it here:

The MonsterQuest entry on Wikipedia has great information and a very helpful episode listing. So go there.

Watch MONSTERQUEST: THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN on YouTube. This is Part One, but look to the right column there to find the rest of the show.

Coming up next week:

A Fact and Logic Check and Close Reading of Section One. A Book Review.

"First, don't take this review the wrong way. The Hoopa Project is, despite certain flaws, a fascinating book. Say what you will about David Paulides and Harvey Pratt, they have done some interesting work, some of it unique."
Look for the rest soon!


Hu-man sick. Total sick. Me Bigfoot never cut up animal and put part, gut, head, body, into hu-man looking Halloween monster suit. Me never do that. Like animal, Bigfoot does. Knows Respect. May stink, but never hurt a fly unless me hungry. Me ever see Dyer, Whitton, Biscardi, me smash up their camera, thermal, van, trailer, ATV, RV and stupid human Humvee!!! Me dump hu-man into hu-man outhouse tank at campground, me run away before it splash out Searching for Bigfoot poop.

Rock Slide? Someone say Bigfoot happy road closed. Damn hu-mans! Me stand up on top mountain look at road below. Me push rocks, me howl, me stomp. Whole road cover up. No more hu-man. Ha ha! You bet me happy. Me make self that way. You should try it.

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