|A screen capture from "Southern Fried Bigfoot"|
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.
Rip Lyttle, not in his Squatching garb.
Photo taken 2010.
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.
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
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.
|Datus Perry and Larry Lund|
Jim Hewkin is (hopefully still alive) a retired
[Editor: See the end of this interview for a classic quote by Hewkin.]
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 www.ibwsearches.com. Thanks for asking, Steven.
|Rip Lyttle on Television. Real and Chance: The Legend Hunters. Hilarious!|
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 WTOP.com, 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.
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. (www.ibwsearches.com)
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
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.|
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 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,
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
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|
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.
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
He writes on page 75,
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.
South Mountain, PA, Appalachian Trailhead "Stick Thing."
Photo by Rip Lyttle.
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.
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!
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
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!
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.|
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.
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
|A Hewkin Quote, as Promised. |
This is a screenshot from the Church of Bigfoot, Scientist web site.
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.
VIEW THE FULL EPISODE HERE.
Also... View Six BONUS CLIPS:
Big Fish, Small Pond
Pitching a Tent
I Feel Like a Squirrel
Bigfoot and Watermelon
Break It Down
(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!|
Steven Streufert, February 19 at 7:27pm:
|That's tobacco, friends! Roll-Your-Own.|
Yours Truly, Bluff Creek, 2010.
and a cameo appearance here:
ANGRY BIGFOOT SPEAKS!
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.