Thursday, April 18, 2013

Can't We All Just Get Along?

If Yeti's and Sasquatch can get along, why can't we?
The BFRO has been notorious for “throwing out” any accounts of sasquatch activity that also feature things like UFO’s, aliens, other sorts of cryptids, or telepathic communication.  
I joined a BFRO web board several years ago and was summarily expelled from the site within days for mentioning the fact that my experience with sasquatch involved mild telepathic exposure (a phenomenon that I have never experienced in any other context).

I find it somewhat disheartening how sasquatch “researchers” (an appellation that many folks dislike) tend to follow a sort of polarity when it comes to the way they gather evidence.  There are two camps: the “paranormalists” and the “apers.”  

The first camp contains people who “go there” when it comes to supernatural encounters with sasquatches, while the second camp includes folks that believe human technology and scientific analysis will eventually reveal the existence of a heretofore uncatalogued species of primate.

Whenever I attend meetings, I feel a tug-of-war between these two extremes.  My problem is that I sympathize with many ideas in BOTH camps while simultaneously feeling alienated by BOTH camps.  I know that I am not alone.

Why is it that sasquatch researchers feel an almost religious need to have such adamant opinions about a great deal of experiences that defy explanation?  I, for one, always try to stop myself from “proselytizing” when it comes to judging the views of others or foisting my speculations upon others as if “I have the answers.” 

Let me give you an example of what I mean, and why I make a strong effort to “judge not, lest I be judged.” 

A few years ago, I attended the Bigfoot Bash and Bounty in Washington.  The weather was perfect, the beer was cold, and the conversations and mingling of enthusiasts started out civilly enough.  However, this changed by the end of the afternoon, as the beer taps had been flowing copiously.  One notorious field researcher actually threatened to shoot another (who, thank goodness, was not present). 

This same researcher also told a story of riding a bear down a steep hill.  Nobody present took the threat or the tall tale seriously, but the former was delivered with strong venom.

I didn’t take the threat seriously either, but the venom with which it was delivered did catch my attention.  The man’s eyes were swelling out of his sockets, spittle was leaping out of his mouth, and his face was pulled back into a shock of gorgon-like intensity. In all fairness, nothing violent ever happened as a result of what was said.  It was an empty threat made on a hot afternoon after a heroic number of beers had been consumed.  
  
Still, the incident is worth considering.  Why?  Because it typifies a type of behavior that seems to follow bigfoot meetings like an invisible crone who sprinkles a faery dust of vitriol & extremism over people.  It's also worth pointing out that, on the whole, bigfooters are normally quite gracious people.  In fact, a certain form of unselfish benevolence often pervades their countenances.   

It doesn't matter which camp you occupy--the "apers" or the "paranormalists"--the urge to caterwaul about sasquatch in group settings, or on the Internet, where opposing viewpoints are present, and then to gossip about "who said what" later, and "how ridiculous it was," seems to be the rule more than the exception. 

Virtually no one who has devoted more than a few measly hours to the "Sasquatch Question" seems immune to the potency of that faery dust.  Of course, this is not always the case, but when dogmatism rears its ugly snout, an otherwise cordial event has been known to degenerate rather quickly.

During more than a few meetings, I have been reminded of that classic scene in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, when the ring of great power causes everyone in its presence to begin arguing with each other, more and more vehemently, until a skirmish breaks out, which, thankfully, is halted before anyone is hurt.  I suspect this sort of zealotry in otherwise mild mannered folk is not merely an accident . . . but that's another story and another article altogether.  Sasquatches seem to bring out demons in those who witness them, or in those who dedicate a significant portion of their lives to uncovering the existence.  

One person whom I greatly admire that has wended his way free of such polemic and such imbroglios is the beloved Bob Gimlin.  Although I’m not a personal friend of Bob’s, I've had the pleasure of sharing beers with him at picnic tables on more than one occasion.  I admire his ability to hold his ground without pandering and without getting caught up in slanderous diatribe that turns fiercely personal.

Bob’s knack for steering clear of shit-throwing matches (which are quite common among howler monkeys, but usually not homo sapien sapiens) is worthy of praise.  It should stand out as an example of noble behavior that we all can strive to emulate.  Despite the fact that his position in the bigfoot community is front and central, since he was present when the famous footage of “Patty” was taken (although we might as well call the creature “Bobbie” or “Gimli”) Bob takes the high ground.  

In fact, things were so heated and weird back in the day, after the famous footage was captured on film, that Bob made the (wise) decision to keep out of the fray for decades before re-emerging as one of the most coveted speakers in the field, and for obvious reason: not only is he a charming elder statesman for cowboys everywhere, but he is also about as genuine and trustworthy as they come.  And not to mention the fact that Bob covered Roger Patterson with his rifle on an afternoon that changed the field of bigfooting forever! 

So what’s my point here?  Well, I can answer that reasonable question with another more famous one, which has at least some relevance to bigfooter meetings, events, and gatherings everywhere, particularly when both apers and paranormalists decide to quaff alcoholic beverages together: 

As Rodney King once stated, “Can’t we all just get along?”   

Kirk Out


Kirk Sigurdson is an acclaimed author whose works have included the novel Cowslip and have been featured in The Portland Review and Lovecraft Studies. Kirk holds a Master's degree in English literature from NYU and teaches writing in Portland, OR. His next project is a Bigfoot novel titled Kultus.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks, I think many agree. Those with vested power/position not so much. I recently discovered a well known researcher who has been taking reports for over twenty years actually edits the witness, or throws out, all those that say the bigfoot eyes seemed to glow, unless there was a light source also in the report. Tragedy.

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  2. Would like to see what people here think about 'mermaids' , new subject for me as of late thanks to Discovery.

    Just imagine-Bigfoot meets Mermaid: would their spawn be a 'fur-maid'?

    Damn Zeta Reticulans and their anal probes!

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