Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bigfooter RIP LYTTLE, Interview and Discussion with Bigfoot Books

BIGFOOT'S BLOG Early April, 2011 Edition
A screen capture from "Southern Fried Bigfoot"
An Interview with Long-Time Bigfooter and Cryptozoologist, RICHARD "RIP" LYTTLE

Richard "Rip" Lyttle is a long-time Bigfoot field researcher who has recently moved to Humboldt County. Since moving he has been a frequent visitor at Bigfoot Books in Willow Creek; he's assisted our work on the Bluff Creek Film Site Project; he's gone squatching on the coast with James "Bobo" Fay, Robert Leiterman, and Bart Cutino; and he has also assisted with game camera implementation and investigations of potential Bigfoot activity back in the woods behind our own hillside cabin above Willow Creek. Rip is a funny guy, with a very serious and unique perspective on the mysteries out there in the woods. Since childhood in Maryland, he has had many mysterious encounters of his own. A devoted wildlife investigator and photographer, he has a massive array of experiences and images of the animals he has sought to document and interact with. He once organized and taught a university-level course on Bigfoot/Sasquatch and Cryptozoology, which featured many noted researches such as Jim Hewkin, Peter Byrne and many others. Though he has never published his findings, save for brief write-ups in Ray Crowe's TRACK RECORD, and he isn't prone to intellectualizing and schmoozing at BF conferences, Rip has been a dedicated and intense Bigfoot researcher since long before it became trendy and popular on the internet. Hence, he is an important transitional figure between the first generation guys and the modern, post BFRO/internet age of Bigfooting. The following interview was conducted via email over the last couple of months, and is now finally ready for your enjoyment. SO, enjoy! Take a rip of Rip.

"NorCal Bigfoot Shoe," with Rip Lyttle foot beside it, for
comparison. Apparently used long ago in in the Sierra
Nevada for Bigfoot footprint hoaxing... or worn by one
Big-footed hu-man dude. Photo by Rip Lyttle.
Richard Lyttle Biography, written by Rip Lyttle:

Born and raised in Annapolis, MD next to the Chesapeake Bay during the mid-fifties. Spent a lot of time as a youth on the water with buddies, crabbing, fishing, skiing, sailing. In 1973, on my 18th birthday I registered with the Selective Service for the Vietnam War Draft Lottery but then the draft was canceled a few months later. Mom said we were Canadian-bound but ended up not needing to go.

Graduated Annapolis High School same year. Attended Washington College, University of Maryland and graduated from Oregon State University, 1978, with a B.A. in American Studies. Played lacrosse for Washington College and Oregon State University.

Married and divorced a few times, poor ladies! Spent most of my career in outside sales selling office furniture, advertising, foreign language services, software in Washington DC., Portland, OR, Phoenix, AZ, Long Beach, CA.

In my mid-fifties, now I live now in Humboldt County, California, taking lazy nature photographs and watching out for Ring-tailed Cats, Martins, Fishers, Cougars, weather events, orbs, things of beauty.

You could definitely say I'm bi-coastal and someone told me once I reminded him of Forest Gump, the places I've been and national events I have been around during my life.


BIGFOOT BOOKS: Rip, you've been into this cryptozoology thing for quite a while now. Can you tell us how you got into it, both originally and as a more serious adult pursuit? Besides an interest in Bigfoot, what other "mysterious creatures" have you pursued? Just to get started, do please tell us a bit about yourself, as the readers of this blog may never have heard of you before, even though many of the "big names" in Bigfooting, like Ray Crowe, Peter Byrne, Rene Dahinden, etc. have known you pretty well.

Rip Lyttle, not in his Squatching garb.
Photo taken 2010.
RIP LYTTLE: It didn't start out as cryptozoology, Steven but it eventually got there after much field experience. At this point, at 55 years old, I've camped over 200 nights alone waiting for the bigboys (Bigfeet).

My interest in Bigfoot peaked in the mid '90's  by moving to Portland Oregon, reading The Klamath Knot by David Rains Wallace and becoming Ray Crowe's very first member of the Western Bigfoot Society in 1991. I met Ray Crowe at Datus Perry's sprawling pig ranch in Carson, Washington. in 1991. While at work in Portland, OR, I discovered my boss's sister was the Dean of Curriculum Development for Portland Community College, Sylvania Campus. I pitched the Pacific Northwest Bigfoot studies idea for a class to her and she said turn in a syllabus and we'll make it a night-time college class.

And like many bigfooters my interest waned after years of chasing Bigfoot in the field in the dark to little documentation success when girlfriends leave you and work is hard to come by. Plus over 20 years of looking I got to the point like the Northwest Indians believe, Bigfoot don't need your help, concentrate on your own thing, dude. We don't bother them, they don't bother us. All primates discoverd are on the endangered list and FedGov doesn't want to acknowledge 7' Bigfoots in peoples' backyards--bad for Bidness. Where's the win unless its stone cold, up close daytime video or a body?

A fine book, and a major
influence on Rip Lyttle.
As a kid, we had a lot of diverse nature around our family on the Chesapeake Bay rivers, creeks, and marshes near Annapolis, MD in the '50's / '60's, where I was born and raised on a creek off the Severn River. And I really dug nature, watching wildlife and seeing as a Boy Scout things like orchids, pitcher plants, cicada killer wasps, king snakes, rattlers, water rats, mink, otter, ring-tailed cats, bobcat, coyote, skunks, big deer, great horned owls, huge sturgeon, carp, turtles, toads. Uh, we also saw moving lights a few times in the marshes and reservoirs.

I think I saw either Marten or Fisher in Anne Arundel county, MD pine woods in the '60's, and ring-tailed cats in the swamps. I saw them more than once there before the county really developed. We had amazing watersheds that came down from the mountains of western Maryland. We even seemed to have Bigfeet there in the bay marshes and jungely river watersheds. I think I encountered one or more Bigfoots there while walking through the marshes and had several other night-time interactions on the semi-rural peninsula where we lived off South River later.

John Green's book [Sasquatch: Apes Among Us] has a whole chapter on Maryland sightings over hundreds of years. Several were reported on television, newspapers, involving multiple sighters, police officers, documented events. In 2001, I was interviewed by several Washington / Baltimore television stations about the famous Arundel Mills Mall Bigfoot incident.

On the BFRO website there is a possible Bigfoot encounter listed by Annapolis kids I never met on the same creek I lived, Weems Creek. I met an Annapolis police officer who gave me his incredible 1950's boyhood Bigfoot story of one tearing up their treehouse in the marsh in Eastport two miles from where I lived.

Then the Patterson Gimlin fim came out in '67 when I was 12 and studying "the missing link" in school. But my childhood BF encounters were so overwhelming and freaky I put them out of my mind and only vaguely knew something wasn't all kosher about some of my deep woods adventures. In Junior High school art class I found myself unconsciously drawing silhouettes of a very large, dark, big, no-necked, long-bowed armed hairy man staring at me. My Mom threw all my artwork out while I was away in college, bless her heart.
Rip Lyttle (center) at Louse Camp, with Bluff Creek Film Site Project
members Robert Leiterman and Ian, 2010. Photo by S. Streufert.
My intention with the Bigfoot class was to bring the experts to one place, publicize the creatures' existence, and engage the local Portland area community to come forward with their sightings and tell about their harrowing encounters directly to the class.

I briefly worked, was compensated, by Peter Byrne in 1992 following up two Oregon Bigfoot sightings by real tough woodsmen in the Three Sisters Bend area of the Cascades. That bear hunter badass taught me how to "play the game" the Cultus Lake/Mtn. Bigfeet like to play in the field with knowing humans. It requires too much sacrifice for me to do it, but I'd gladly teach it to others.

Ray Crowe
Ray Crowe was a good friend and a very interesting, engaging Cryptozoology researcher. I met most of the early Bigfoot icons like Bob Titmus, Grover Krantz, John Green, Peter Byrne, Rene Dahinden, Datus Perry, Larry Lund, Henry Franzoni, George Earley, Robert Pyle, Henner Fahrenbach, Steve Williams, Cliff Crook and Jim Hewkin, my favorite Bigfooter. Larry Lund was a big help with my Bigfoot class and he and Henner Fahrenbach took it over after I ducked out and started spending all my time in the Columbia River Gorge windsurfing during the day and bigfooting at night in Prindle Washington. Datus Perry taught me alot and I spent time with him in the volcanic lava flumes in the Dark Divide, Gifford Pinchot National Forest, between Mount St. Helens and Mt. Adams. Datus Perry trekked alone often with his poodles, was 100% fearless, and did not carry a firearm when Bigfooting. A real man.
Datus Perry and Larry Lund

Jim Hewkin is (hopefully still alive) a retired Oregon state wildlife biologist and was the best Bigfooter I ever met by far. The state police had him handle all the Bigfoot sightings, reports in the coast range outside of Portland. Jim is/was a sharer, a big-hearted man who really knew his wildlife.

[Editor: See the end of this interview for a classic quote by Hewkin.]

Henry Franzoni taught me a lot, too, with his insight into Native American legends of Bigfoot. I've Bigfooted with Matt Moneymaker, Bill Dranginis, Bob Chance, Michael Greene, Bart Cutino, Robert Leiterman, many others.

The trouble with researching Bigfoot is the more time you spend in the field you start seeing anomalous moving lights or UFO's more than you see Bigfoot and that has me a little perplexed at this point as to what the correlation is, if any.  My retirement goal is to have a lawn chair at a fire ring so I can watch for UFOs in the night sky while listening for Bigfoot with my audio recording headphones on. Or go get the ivory-billed woodpecker videoed if possible.

See Thanks for asking, Steven.
Rip Lyttle on Television. Real and Chance: The Legend Hunters. Hilarious!
BIGFOOT BOOKS: Rip, that is a good, wide-ranging introduction. Let's start from the beginning. You sound like you were a normal kind of kid, like me, growing up and exploring nature, fascinated with animals, always out looking for adventures. Can you explain how you became fascinated with the cryptozoological aspects? Most kids grow up, stop roaming the woods so much, become concerned with "adult" types of things. Those in whom the wilds still linger often become fishermen, hunters, campers, or perhaps wildlife biologists or foresters. How is it that we and those like us kept this mysterious dimension of things alive, and kept on looking for the odd and unusual things long after we knew that unicorns and elves do not exist. What is it that keeps the Bigfooter going? How does this relate to your pursuit of a scientifically-accepted species like that once-"extinct" but now "living-again" woodpecker you were after? Can you tell us of your own encounters with Bigfoot, those in your younger days, what happened, what made you think they were Bigfoot, and how did this affect your development as a person and as a researcher of "unusual" phenomena?

RIP LYTTLE: Well right off, Steven, when I'm the last kid in a line of small children to walk right by an 8-foot hairy monster standing right in the trail of the neighborhood creek marsh, and all the kids walk by the thing like it wasn't even there or did not see it.... That was the start of Bigfoot weirdness for me and shook my boundaries of standard reality at an early age.

That initial BF incident is one I've rarely talked with others, but vaguely remembered knowing it did happen and would have to think that event is why I drew a large hulking dark, glowing-eyed staring man in art class all the time. And in school I was studying intently "the missing link", the fossil link that would prove humans evolved from apes. At home I was watching Tarzan movies, Sea Hunt with Lloyd Bridges, Johnny Quest and Star Trek stoking my imagination.

There were several incidents in Annapolis that happened to me, others like yelling, cattails shaking, log and oyster throwing from the marsh, tree throw-downs, the eerily quiet, skanky smell bedroom window look-ins stuff. Later, as a teenager I had two BF-type incidents on Pignut Mountain in central Virginia where my older sister lived as a hippie in the late '70's.

And now down the road after all my experiences and claiming two Bigfoot sightings in the Columbia River Gorge, 1993, 1994, I'm the Forest Gump of U. S. Bigfoot reseachers. I am either pretty knowledgeable or completely deluded, i think, one of the two. I'm hoping for the former. In the early days of my Bigfoot search I was calling it Illusions of Grandeur or Delusions of Grandeur. You know every year, the DC area radio station, reports one or two cougar and Bigfoot sightings in the counties around Washington, DC to this day.
Rip's Amazing Stereo-Ambient Audio
Squatching Set-up, with Dummy Head,
in use in Willow Creek, CA.
Your question of staying interested, not turning to more adult hobbies and society?  "Searcher" seems to be my job title and my personality. I was even an independent patent searcher for 2 years at the USPTO, Arlington, 2000-2001. I search for anomalous phenomena, beautiful wild areas, music that makes me dance, relic species and for the future ex-Mrs. Lyttle!

I definitely think I had a Peter Pan or Feral thing going there quite awhile, always going deepwoods for Bigfoot but it's fading some now. I've gotten older and wish to engage intelligent people more than in the past. It can get old fast having incredible wildlife experiences all by yourself and no one there to share them with. Plus people get bored of video fast. I find I relate to wild creatures pretty well up close through my joy of interacting and photographing them. (

Have your ever heard of the "Wild Woman" myths of South America and BC coastal tribes? So when the young Indian hunter glimpses in the deep forest a literally glowing Wild Woman maiden so beautiful he pursues her through the wilderness forsaking everything for her, his family, wife, tribe to see this alluring Wild Woman again? Sounds similar to Bigfooting to me a little bit. We catch a glimpse of this most powerful undefinable thing and we want to see it again, often forsaking civilization's clutches to be in the wilderness seeking this bigger power to commune with.  At this point I want to see if I can drink a beer or smoke with Bigfoot, otherwise I just don't seem to be into food baiting them.

 Wild Woman of the Woods
Another thing I have never mentioned it but here goes. Chasing Bigfoot or Bigfoot chasing me is paradoxical because my scary, Marine-tough Dad would chase me in the dark through the neighborhood and the look on his puffing face when he burst into the light trying to find me was pretty terrifying, and frankly really similar  to being close to Bigfoot. So am I recreating that familiar familial terror? Or am I proving to dismissive Pop, Hey look, I discovered Bigfoot. Now do I know how to do something worthy in your eyes?

I developed my audio recording skills while chasing Bigfoot, same with my video efforts. The wood knocker I used to attract Bigfoot is the same tree knocker I used to lure in the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (IBWO) during my search for it in South Carolina, 2006-2009. The Ornithologists and bureaucrats finding out about my Bigfoot background did not go well, so I was booted out of the official search and went on my own searching for those three years. And, yes, to complete my personal inanity, I think possibly I might have seen an Ivory-billed woodpecker in my youth but didn't see one clearly while searching in South Carolina.

South Carolina Pileated Woodpecker. Photo Rip Lyttle.
By the way Bigfoot is way easier to find than the Lord God Bird and we did have some BF encounters in Francis Marion Forest, coastal South Carolina, one involving beer. I nicknamed the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, "the flythef*ckawaybird" for its ability to fly the "f" away really fast. The bird is nomadic and moves around to disaster tree-die-off areas chasing large beetle larvae in dying trees. There are very few left and their remaining habitat in all southern states is being plowed at this moment. We may still get the bird documented there--long story.

And IBWO is a Lazarus species not a Phoenix species, technically, meaning IBWO was never officially listed extinct but was presumed extinct by leading IBWO ornitholgists vs. being officially extinct and coming back. Getting IBWO would have changed forestry policy in the U.S. overnight, and I would have accomplished my life's goal--Sticking it to the U.S. Forest Service and southern states!!

Now Mermaid sightings on the Klamath River here in NorCal to me are way more interesting than pedestrian Bigfoot stuff, so that's where I'm concentrating for the next few years; plus photographing bears, cougars, martins, fishers, ring-tailed cats are on my list. Plus hanging with a lady (human) wild woman would very nice if it happens.

Track, Carbaugh Reservoir, South Mountain, PA, circa
late June 2004. Found by and photo by Rip Lyttle.
BIGFOOT BOOKS: Fascinating. On one level you are contrasting Nature with ordinary human civilization, but on the other you are suggesting that Bigfoot represent something more, something mysterious and powerful, something more than a mere animal. In talking about the Wild Woman it is clear there is a mythic element that has led you into the pursuit of both a deeper reality and another form of mind and consciousness. What is it about the Bigfoot, either in our minds or in the woods, that drives this fascination? Surely this is something more than seeing, say, a bear, however powerful and mysterious bears can be. Combining those early drawings with the processing of those early bad experiences with your father indicates that this is a deep process you are going through. What IS Bigfoot, then? How is it that the whole group of kids could walk right past one, but only you saw it? How is it that the Bigfoot has come to embody seemingly the whole mystery of the natural and psychological world, and has seemingly colored your whole approach to nature, life, women, dancing, and all else? What does Bigfoot MEAN to you, then?

RIP LYTTLE: The fascination? Why, its us, human's strongness personified, Steven. I mean, is that my older wild brother out there in the night marsh? I've got three sisters, including a twin sister, could use a tough brother. What's he coming around bending down, looking in my window for at night? Does it need anything, want to play? I'm closing my curtains.

Bigfoot is us as the baddest of the bad, strongest of the strong. What a gang leader. Hmm, thinking about it, I've never belonged to a troop, a group, much ever, mostly a loner. Maybe I'm looking for the Feral Woods Gang. I know how to play in the woods and hide, stay quiet, play predator. Am I looking to join? Maybe Bigboy will protect me from Dad. All it's done to me is stare at me a few times. Yep, I think I wanted into that gang.

Bigboy, look what I call Bigfoot. Bigboy. Like a Woods buddy, a bad bro. He's Pan, God of Small Animals, Guardian of Mountain tops. Scary Night Watchman. He's thrown some stuff at me, shook cattails, yelled some, stinked me up once, made me immobile, but never charged. I'm talking about when I was young here.

Regarding the other kids not seeing Bigfoot that time when we walked through the marsh that clear day, turns out, through Facebook I asked Jay Sie**rt   (one of my Annapolis, MD, childhood neighbors) if he remembered Bigfoot watching us as we hiked through the marsh, and yesterday he responded back to me with this message,
"Yea I think you did see him lurking where he usually stands. I didn't say anything cause I didn't want to alarm anyone or further prove my nuttiness (some folk dont take to that sort a thing). ...Sometimes in the evening when I am out on the water I think I see large hairy figures moving about the swamp and woodlines of the Severn River...."

In an earlier post to me, Jay reminded me of other Bigfoot sightings nearby at the time and the BFRO website has 6 reports from Annapolis and Weems creek area too. John Green's Bigfoot book has a whole chapter on Maryland sightings.

Back to Bigfoot, I am confused about about their light, sound and mindf**k abilities and their ultra-fast speed, seemingly invisible movements. And I've seen all of these more than once. I'm not sure all Bigfeet can do this but I know some can. Makes them kinda hard to study, and that's for someone else with more patience. Ain't my gig no more. FedGov ain't going to bless seven footers in people's backyards. Bad for commerce.

I do want to see a Bigboy moving during the daytime and I would love to watch and record one as it vocalized (from a nice distance and elevation away!). But I want to see Mermaids maybe even more. Klamath Indians talked about seeing them on the rocks in the river during the summer and described them as real creatures, not demons.

Not a Real Mer-man
Bigboys don't seem to need help and if there is a big Polar slip-and-slide coming up [Polar Shift], I'd put my money on them, not us. At this point, I just want to smoke a big spliff in front of Bigfoot with a beer in my hand. I know they like beer from experience. So let's party with the Bigboys-I just want to feed their head not their stomachs.

I wonder if I am a blood relative of Bigfoot, Do I have Bigfoot blood in me? I take it that far. Got my reasons. They certainly interbreed with humans. I wonder if Bobo has Neanderthal or Bigfoot blood in him (and it looks like Charlie Sheen has "tiger blood" in him).  I used to want to hang with Bigfoot, be a feral boy, and got pretty good at it. That time and wish has passed. Now I want to live life and let the Bigboy/Girls live theirs. I'm back to working on my social skills which are between nil and none. Hang with Bigfoot long enough, you get gruff like they are. I need to soften.

Mysterious Print Rear Window, East TN, 2004.
Photo by Rip Lyttle.
BIGFOOT BOOKS: So, it seems you view Bigfoot/Sasquatch as having a number of superhuman abilities. This seems to exceed those of bears and other animals. What ARE Bigfoot, in your experience and opinion? You seem to be saying they are more human than ape, and yet somehow bigger than human not just in size. They are a fully "earthly" creature/being, right? How is it that Bigfoot can take on such a high level of meaning and symbolism for you?

Many of the things you've described above come from when you were young. How have things changed in your experience and research since you've been an adult and pursued it more seriously? What kind of encounters have you had, and can you describe one or two?

Also, do you think we'll ever "catch" one and prove it, or else grow to understand them so well that we can interact and learn from them? What, in other words, is the future of BF research as a field, and what are the prospects for human-Bigfoot interactions?

RIP LYTTLE: What are Bigfeet? I really don't know. I've read and heard several interesting theories. I think maybe they are older than we are, been around longer, maybe a dead-end root human branch or advanced Gibbon Man. The Arnhem Aborigines of northeastern Australia have a creation myth from Dreamtime that humans were taught emotions by half-man, half animal-Manimal. Another aborigine legend is "Jimbra" or "Pankalanka"-- they are huge hairy animal-men who inhabited that area area since the Dreamtime.

I'd ask people more knowledgeable than me like one of my personal heros, David Rains Wallace, author of The Klamath Knot, where he discusses what the Snow Giants of the Klamath Mountain range might be.

He writes on page 75,
"Such wild animals couldn't be too much like humans. If they were, they would betray their presence by competing for the same habitat. Could an animal be enough like us to escape our endless snooping, yet enough unlike us to escape our endless competitiveness? It seems a riddle for the sphinx." 
He then goes on to muse modern humans may be more neotenic in nature than the Snow Giants which appear more comfortable in their environs than we are in ours.

Next I like the Pan legend and how many aspects of Pan's behavior mimic Bigfoot. Pan, "God of fields, groves and wooded glens, god of shepherds and flocks, of mountain wilds, hunting and rustic music." If you read many of the Pan legends you get the feeling of Bigfoot, goat feet not withstanding. Pan creates Panic in men, plays a pan flute that sound like Bigfoot whistles. The Yurok tribe of Northern California consider them the "Big People or Forest People". If they are Giganto how come they are so interested in boinking human women?

South Mountain, PA, Appalachian Trailhead  "Stick Thing."
Photo by Rip Lyttle.
The guys who recorded the Sierra Sounds in California, Warren Johnson, Ron Moorehead, that group probably knows much better than me what Bigfeet possibly are because of that amazing encounter. That definitely sounded like language going back and forth between male and female creatures. I hear Matt Moneymaker leans to ape lineage for Bigfeet. Who sees more Bigfoot video footage than him and his crew? And they're towards ape, I hear.

Maybe I am looking through too much my personal anthropomorphic lens? Is it a cold-adapted primate? But wandering away from Occam's Razor, I still wonder about Bigfoot being an ape-human hybrid. I guess that doesn't make much sense. More likely a dead-end hominid branch right between ape and human. Manimal is a species, not a cross.

At this point in my study, I would defer to people like Adrian Erickson and his talented crew, who studied Bigfeet at length at a remote household in Kentucky. They likely have a good feel for what Bigfoot might be because of all the sightings, recordings, and DNA they got in that endeavor.

Are Bigfeet fully earthly or do they have more supernatural powers? Well, when you chase them around the woods, they're going for food, they go in and out of caves, grabbing deer, seen swimming in reservoirs. They sure act earthly in that regard. But the moving small glowing lights that have been seen around Bigfoot areas confuses me greatly. The Yakima Indians talk a lot about moving lights coming down mountains on their reservation near Mt. Adams. I do not know what the correlation or relationship between Bigfeet and moving lights is, but I believe there is one. I've seen moving lights/glowing orbs that seem far stranger than Bigfoot. (Again, not Occam's Razor, I understand that, but it's not my nature to be a "groupthinker.") Even David Rains Wallace describes seeing glowing lights in the Kalmiopsis more than once.

"The Scary Night Watchman" concept was delivered to me the first time I went to meet Cliff Crook in Maple Falls, Washington, 1991, at the Bigfoot Daze festival. A man walked up to me in the crowd when I first got there, and had not yet met Cliff Crook, and started talking to me about searching for Bigfoot and how that wasn't such a good idea. He said to be careful, that the Bigfeet/Sasquatch knew your thoughts and motives when you were out in the Washington forest, and if you were up to no good, or had bad intentions the Sasquatch would make you uncomfortable and physically escort you out of their woods to the town or place where you lived so you can work on your problems there!
The full  Bluff Creek Film Site Project, with Leiterman, Lyttle (in back),
Steven Streufert and "Crazy Ian." Louse Camp, Bluff Creek, 2010.
Photo by S. Streufert.
He (this guy) suggested the search would be fruitless, Bigfeet were dangerous, and I should be wary about my intentions looking for Bigfoot. He did say they live on the Lummi Peninsula, and leave stick structures to mark their dens. Anyway, it was a little startling, this guy being the first person I met. I actually believe Cliff Crook directed the guy to me to warn me off Bigfooting for various, sundry reasons.

Funny now after 20 plus years studying Bigfoot, I feel (almost) the exact way as the unknown guy who advised that very first day. Bigfoot don't need no help, concentrate on your on human's personal and environmental boondoggles, leave 'em alone. All discovered primates are on the endangered species list anyhow.

And thinking about it, how is even one Bigfoot body prove a species exist? We all know we likely will need several Bigfoot bodies to prove them a discovered species. And to me there are hundreds of more pressing problems than proving Bigfoot exists. Hey, in good economic, happy times, sure, let's try for Bigfoot. Otherwise, let's figure out where our future food and water is going to come from. FedGov just announced all eastern cougars are actually west coast stragglers, no resident population. I'm sure they're (FedGov) going to embrace Bigfoot's range and population densities!
What's the future of Bigfoot research? Maybe Reality TV (Wink). Again, I have no clue, not up to date on it enough. I'd ask Matt Moneymaker, Adrian Erickson, BoBo Fay, maybe Dr. Jeff Meldrum or even John Green. I wish I could talk to the old Ray Crowe. That guy could make you laugh, get your eyes to crinkle up faster than anyone I knew. Ray is/was a gem and always with a smirk on his face..

I know you would need at least two bodies, maybe more to prove their existence. Getting killer videos of Bigfoot won’t prove they exist. Unhuh. But I do know now after years of chasing the Ivory-billed woodpecker what often doesn’t work... In a word: stealth.

What would Jason Statham do?
What would action-hero Jason Statham do if he had to bring in a Sasquatch in 3 days to save the girl and prevent the city from being blown up? Think of the movies he's done.

Single most important thing I’ve learned with Bigfoot and then Ivory-billed woodpecker searching is this: CAMO KILLS/STEALTH LOSES! Sure, try sneaking up on an Ivory-billed woodpecker or Bigfoot. ‘Pernt near impossible in both cases in my experience.

Now know this. Almost all IBWO sightings I discovered were accidental sightings by locals being loud, unconcerned with wildlife, and wearing regular clothing, fishing, logging or just cruising. Same with Bigfoot. Most sightings are accidental with people going about their normal lives or doing normal things in the woods like fishing, hunting, working, farming, hiking, necking but not stalking.

When I stalked IBWO in the SC swamps wearing camoflauge and carrying a black camera gun in my hand, head swiveling towards the treetops for digital prey, I’m sure I quieted the birds and critters quicker than locals “showing their ass” (a local expression for acting stupid or loud). Birds and animals after their initial freeze up, let their guard down and go about their business when the locals acted loud and unconcerned as opposed to human’s other deadly mode-hunting.

Rip Lyttle, with Larry Lund and Friend, 2010.
Photo by Steven Streufert
Yes, for both IBWO and BF you can do the wood-knocking with some limited success. The wood knocker I used for BF attracting was the same wood knocker I used in South Carolina to hammer snags to lure in IBWO! Never told the scientists that though.

So if I learned anything about searching, do the Zen thing, un-search. Calm the local wood denizens by not being interested in them at all.

Picture this: Jason Staham and his team of good ole boy Bubba take-out team hit the remote forest and lakes in the morning as mushroom hunters or go in as fishermen or weekend partiers. After a while the BF shows itself to the relaxed fisherman, and then, Jason, out of the tacklebox lifts a black Nikon with honkin' 700 millimeter auto-loadah lens and shoots that surprised Bigboy right in the gut with digital ones and zeros or 600 lines of smokin' documentin' resolution. The Bigboy reels back, knows he's been hit by something way more deadly than a weapon, a frickin' videocamera. Enraged the Bigfoot leans to move forward and snatch Jason by the neck but his Bubba team has closed and showing superior firepower to the Bigfoot so he starts-backpedaling, turns, flees, knows he's messed up the neighborhood. Jason calmly zips the Nikon back up in the tacklebox, a Bubba paddles in to pick him up, the team meets back at the RV, and WHOOSH, they're outta there that night, heading to save the girl and city!

BIGFOOT BOOKS:  OK, Rip. That's great, and thanks!

You were there back in the earlier days of Bigfooting, at least before the BFRO and the rise of the internet. Can you talk any further about how things have changed in the world of Bigfoot, and perhaps tell a few stories about all the old-timers (like Ray Crowe, Rene Dahinden, Cliff Crook, Jim Hewkin, or whomever) you knew personally?

Any "last words" you'd like to add to conclude the interview?
Rip out Looking for the Elusive Woodpecker. Courtesy of Rip Lyttle.
RIP LYTTLE: Maybe I could rank my favorite Bigfooters I have gotten to know and who contributed unique aspects to my knowledge.

1 ) Jim Hewkin
2 ) Henry Franzoni
3 ) Datus Perry
4 ) Larry Lund
5 ) Ray Crowe
6 ) Bob Titmus
7 ) Bobo Fay
8 ) John Green
9 ) Matt Moneymaker
10 ) Bob Chance

I've hung with many Bigfooters other than these who have done very interesting work, and, of course, I'm partial to 'Fieldmen' versus Academics. Thinking about it, I didn't get much done in the field with Bigfoot, other than close quarters nighttime encounters with Bigfoot. All I could do was audio record them, failed at getting video.

An Encounter Description:
When I first started looking for Bigfoot in the Northwest it took me two years to "see" one, but just two weeks to get near one, I believe, up in North Cascades National Park, June, 1992. Late one early June afternoon, I backpacked in alone along long Ross Lake with no gun into past dark, and set up my tent on a designated sleep platform 7 miles in, and immediately went to sleep. 

On the long walk in along the lake trail I was confronted with several sets of bobbing glowing yellow eyes directly ahead of me as I made my way to the campsite area in pitch black. It took me several minutes to realize they were deer, and I walked past them. Right after that a huge toad or bullfrog jumped past me. 

Slept fine, no disturbances, and next day I hiked 14 miles on a trail out past the lake to the northwest and got back to Ross lake around 3pm exhausted. So I laid down on top of the picnic bench at the side of the lake in one of its many coves in the sunlight and promptly fell asleep.... To be awoken later by a guy yelling/hollering at me from across the cove in the forest and shaking two large bushes/small trees at the same time. I'm so sleepy from the 14 mile hike I barely understand what's going on, thinking in my fog, that's just some weird guy trying to disturb my sleep by playing a funny prank on me seeing me there konked out, sprawled on the picnic table top comfy. It went on for at least two minutes. Now I just lift my head off the picnic tabletop, and look over at the dark forest across the cove 400' away, and see these big bushes/small trees vigorously shaking vertically, parting and unparting while a guy behind them is yelling loudly at me, "Hey, hey, Hey," no other words. I was so tired from my longest day hike ever I laid my head back down on that sunny table and went back to sleep, not bothered. He'd have to up the ante for sure. 

Only after waking later did I realize there was no trail over on that peninsula at all, and why was a single guy goading me so long, for what? The next day on the way out I hiked an hour to that area and it's not a spot anyone would normally try to get to or could easily have. There were no other campers on the whole lake at that time, no motor boats. I was 7 miles in along the west side of the lake completely alone. I thought, I don't think that was a human hassling me. 

But my most fun (besides Molalla River Campground) was when I camped 30 weekends ('94 - '95) in a Prindle, Washington rock quarry in the granite highlands above the Columbia River across from Multnomah falls and Skamania Island after windsurfing all day farther upstream. I don't see how you can beat the beauty and vistas of that part of the Columbia River Gorge all while being able to visually inspect the land and water for long distances laying before you for Bigfoot. I used to swim out to Skamania Island in my drysuit and found amazing items, tracks. 

I've heard Skamania Island is a magnetic vortex or something. An old story told of a woman who used to live on the island during the turn of the last century and made her living by bundling firewood and selling it to passing ships. My 6' blond girlfriend and I camped on that island early April, 1994, after canoeing over one afternoon. Mid-dusk, we're in the tent tired and she just kind of passes out and I start to fall asleep around 6:30 p.m.; but all of sudden I hear these quick faint sharp jumps or hops as something hops to right above the tent and I'm petrified, speechlees, no body control whatsoever, facing upwards, can't see through the opaque tent but know something large is right there within 3 feet. 

I'm unable to speak, move, say a word to my girl to warn her. It wasn't terror as much as forced immobilization. Shit, it was terror. A minute later a few sounds sounds like it jumped/sneaked away, and the fear washes off of me and I start up the Sony DAT recorder. 

One minute later farther down the beach in the dark comes a human American Indian like yell, "Hey, hey, HEY!, that I audio recorded and still have. I think I found the large athlete I'd been tracking on that island or it found me, more like. The last HEY sounded like he turned my direction and gave it much more emphasis. Hey back, I think now. So, I got all the way out there to have an encounter, and could do nothing to get a photo or video.
Leafy Lean-to; Patapsco State Park, Piney Run Reservoir, Sykesville,
MD 2005. "Likely a hermit homeless lean-to but the long logs to build the
thing were real heavy, took lots of work to create. Rumors BF was living
right there but there was a coke can near entrance." Photo by Rip Lyttle
But I developed a good pair of stones over the years doing this and know Bigboy has to lean on my [Subaru] Forester pretty hard to get my attention these days. C'mon Bigboy, let's play. Make my day, punk! (Just kiddin' BF man, You're the Man, or Wooman!)
Bigfooting makes you thick-skinned and my Bigfoot researcher buddies know I'm direct, chest-poking but fast to have a good laugh, time. Can't worry what people think of me--that's a fool's game. Used to worry quite a bit, but learned to shake it off, and I have been much happier ever since.

I guess over the years I've turned into a caricature like the Coen Brothers, "Dude of Bigfoot Researchers," and that's perfectly okay with me. Just track me down at the local bowling lanes with Walter, or chugging milk late at night in the aisle at Safeway in my robe and Jellies. Or way down a moonlit mountain forest trail handing a joint to a Bigboy. And as Charlie Sheen says, "Winning!" --- Rip Lyttle

BIGFOOT BOOKS: Rip, that is hilarious, man! Great stories, too. I hope we get to hear more of these around the campfire at Bluff Creek/Louse Camp this summer. Thanks for the interview!

A Hewkin Quote, as Promised.
This is a screenshot from the Church of Bigfoot, Scientist web site.
Rip LINKS: Rip Lyttle on Flickr
Rip Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Photos
Rip's Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Site
Rip on Facebook

Rip Lyttle recently appeared on the VH1 TV show, REAL AND CHANCE, THE LEGEND HUNTERS.
Episode Six of the series dealt with Bigfoot, with Rip as the guide for two urban Hip-Hop hipsters, with hilarious results.
Also... View Six BONUS CLIPS:
Big Fish, Small Pond
Pitching a Tent
I Feel Like a Squirrel
Bigfoot and Watermelon
Break It Down

And... A Little Note on What LEROY BLEVINS Said... (LOL!!!)
Leroy Blevins
(Commenting on Facebook, on references to using beer and marijuana in Bigfoot research, as attractants, as seen in one of our Bluff Creek Film Site Project videos on YouTube.)
February 19, 2011 at 7:44pm;
Re: A VIDEO [Blevins spelling and grammar stand uncorrected.]

A Perfect Replica? Not!
You know I like to ask you something. As a matter of fact two things. You keep telling me about Longs book when his book talks about the PG film as a hoax. But you keep talking about his book why? Then as I watch you last video on the film site of the PG film. When you can these guys talking about beer and weed. With that in mind can we really go on what you guys are trying to do or say when that video makes me fell like you guy are in the wood just drinking and getting high. Even that one guy said he likes doing that in the wood. Come on man I never talk about drinking and I have never took a drink in my life and as for weed or any other drug I have never done that as well. Now when you ask me a question I think to myself is this dude drunk or high. My point if you like people to believe in what you do then don't even joke about things like that because when you make claims like that is why people today are not believeing in Bigfoot and it's really hard for real men out there every day trying to prove they are out there. But, when you make comments in your vides like you do make people think of one thing and that is are these guy drunk or high. Think about it. I am trying to help you but, you just look at things your way and that is it. However I did like the videos you guys did on your search for the film site but, now I have to think when you guys point out this location or that location and with you guys talking about beer and weed I sorry but, now I can not believ a word you say.

Steven Streufert, February 19 at 7:27pm:
That's tobacco, friends! Roll-Your-Own.
Yours Truly, Bluff Creek, 2010.
I don't smoke pot, Leroy. And none of us primaries in the project did while up there. Rip is different, and he has a legal permit to smoke it. Robert is law enforcement (ranger) and anti-drug. Ian and I drank a few beers at night in camp, so what? It is harmless if not abused. It is clear we are stone cold sober and justified in our reasoning in those videos. I know things about that place and the history you will never know, and I really could care less what pointless judgments you have. I challenge any one into the world to compete with my knowledge on the ground in Bluff Creek, whether or not I had one beer with lunch. Give me a break you Puritan. Geez. On to better things....

Here are a couple of the BLUFF CREEK FILM SITE PROJECT videos featuring our friend, Mr. Richard "Rip" Lyttle. Have fun. Don't get all uptight and wound like Mr. Blevins.

and a cameo appearance here:


Me feel big one coming. Gettin ready go boom boom! It come at you, hu-man!

*Angry Bigfoot channeled this time by Rip Lyttle

This blog is copyright and all that jazz, save for occasional small elements borrowed for "research" and information or satirical purposes only, 2011, Bigfoot Books and Steven Streufert. Borrowings for non-commercial purposes will be tolerated without the revenge of Angry Bigfoot, if notification, credit, citation and a kindly web-link are given, preferably after contacting us and saying, Hello, like a normal person would before taking a cup of salt. No serious rip-offs of our material for vulgar commercial gain will be tolerated without major BF stomping action coming down on you, hu-man.


  1. Good interview Steve, also good to see the occasional bigfooter who has learned an important lesson or two about Sasquatch.

    'Intent' is indeed a major contributing factor in having an encounter. Good intentions however doesn't mean one will have an encounter either. And those who might choose to 'pretend' that their intent is altruistic, are probably only fooling themselves on the matter. Sounds like Mr. Lyttle got closer than most to understanding some of the inroads.

    David Rodriguez

  2. Hello,

    Just wanted to let you know that Jim Hewkin is still alive. He turned 90 in July of this year.

  3. There are some who know who this fellow is. There are many hoaxes but I can assure you this fellow is very real and very much human. He has a name.He can speak but prefers to hide and for a very good reason. I would too if I did what he did. Good luck to you.


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