Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Today in Bigfoot History | July 30 1995 | The New York Times Reviews "Where Bigfoot Walks"

(yes that is a blanket of moss.)
Dr. Robert Michael Pyle is one of my favorite Bigfooters. Over a few beers last year we talked Bigfoot, biology and butterflies. Yes butterflies, you see Dr. Pyle is world renowned etymologist and more specifically a lepidoptertist. Due to his background, he has a take on Bigfoot like no one else. In the back of the book he even maps out a protocol in case we ever do have the opportunity to come across one, live or dead.

Below is a review of his book, "Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide" from The New York Times. Not many Bigfoot books make it across the desk of a NYT book reviewer; an achievement in itself.

The title comes from a geographic area between Mt. St. Helens and Mt Adams, a dark valley made mostly of black basalt. It is the largest roadless area in Washington State. Although seemingly apt, the name actually comes from a gold prospector named John Dark. The Dark Divide is also the nest of Ape Caves and Ape Canyon. This book is highly recommended. You can get a copy from Powell's Portland's largest local bookstore, or of course at Amazon.com

Book Review by Robert Sullivan

The New York Times, July 30, 1995 Where Bigfoot Walks; Crossing the Dark Divide

By Dr. Robert Michael Pyle, PhD.

Illustrated. 338 pp. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. $21.95

While the description of Bigfoot generally remains consistent — very tall, very hairy and extremely elusive as it roams the forest of the Pacific Northwest — the styles of Bigfoot literature vary like the styles of the Bigfoot hunters themselves. Sasquatch, the British Columbian classic by Ren&ecute; Dahinden with Don Hunter, reads a little like Louis L'Amour with a cryptozoological ax to grind. The Search for Bigfoot: Monster, Myth, or Man?by Peter Byrne, a former African safari guide who currently heads the Bigfoot Research Project in Hood River, Ore., is like a story told over a campfire at the end of a trek across Nepal (especially the part where Mr. Byrne recounts smuggling what was thought to be the hand of a yeti in the lingerie of the wife of the actor Jimmy Stewart). And then there is the rigorously scientific air that characterizes the work of Grover Krantz. In his last book, Big Footprints: A Scientific Inquiry Into the Reality of Sasquatch, this anthropology professor at Washington State University executed a frame-by-frame analysis of the so-called Patterson film, a blurry eight-millimeter home movie that shows something hairy running across a bank of Bluff Creek in northern California. With Where Bigfoot Walks, Robert Michael Pyle has added yet another style to the genre: the Bigfoot book as natural history treatise, a kind of story of Sasquatch as told by John Muir.Mr. Pyle says he is not interested in whether Sasquatch is or is not real. Rather, he aims to examine the myth surrounding the controversial creature and the human characters who have concerned themselves with its fate. He describes his pursuit as "a chance to immerse myself in the putative habitat of Bigfoot. And perhaps a way into its mind, or at least into the part of my own mind where Bigfoot dwells." He recounts a year of studies in flashbacks woven into a narrative of a month long hike through territory in southwestern Washington, known as the Dark Divide, that is rich in Sasquatch sightings.

He also talks a lot about butterflies Bigfoot may or may not be familiar with. His Wintergreen won the John Burroughs Medal for the best natural history book in 1987, establishing his credentials as an ecology writer, but he seems to be a lepidopterist at heart. In addition to having written The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies, he is now editing a collection of butterfly writing by Vladimir Nabokov. The idea of a lepidopterist on the trail of a 1,000-pound giant hairy thing that is sometimes said to lift cows into trees contributes, for me, to an accidental comic effect.

Mr. Pyle is not a slight lepidopterist1, however: he describes his long-bearded self in full pack and custom-made hiking boots (he has a foot problem) as weighing 330 pounds. In fact, for the first few pages into the hike I thought I was going to have to call for help as he heaved and dehydrated his way up and down hills, once nearly falling to his death. Fortunately, he survives long enough to recall a few of the Northwest Indian tales of hairy creatures such as Dzonoqua, Bukwus,Bokbokwolli nooksiway, Stick Man and Se-at-tlh (Mr. Pyle suggests that the name of the capital of grunge might be an etymological relative of Sasquatch). Next, he lays out some of the key issues of Sasquatchology: Has Sasquatch embraced second-growth forest as a living area? Does it travel in tribes or alone? If found, should it be killed? The rest of the time he details the habitat. He over details it; this guy knows the name of absolutely everything that grows in the woods. Which turns out to be the problem with sending a lepidopterist out after Sasquatch: he might not be able to see Bigfoot's forest through the pipsissewa2, a batch of which he duly notes.

Not very far into the trip, Mr. Pyle begins to sound more like a believer than he cares to admit. "If a lagomorph3 most often identified with alpine granite can thrive in sea-level basalt and mid-elevation woodpiles, what does that say for a primate's chances of switching from forest to scrub?" he asks; I get the distinct feeling he thinks it says the primate's chances are very good. He also says, "In the absence of specimens, no one can prove that Bigfoot is not out there." And sure enough, more than once he has what might be called a limited encounter. He remains skeptical of even his own possible brushes with Sasquatch, but by the time you get to the appendix, entitled "A Protocol for Encounter," you're not surprised that he thinks Sasquatch killers, scientists or others, ought to be hit with the book: "If not manslaughter, the crime should at least be an imprisonable felony."

The school of Bigfoot thought that Mr. Pyle's book most neatly sides with is that usually associated with Peter Byrne, whom Mr. Pyle describes as "suave and handsome" in appearance, "enhanced by his Oxbridge accent, pressed khakis, sweat-stained safari hat and silk cravat." "I have yet to share a campfire" with Mr. Byrne, Mr. Pyle writes, "but we have sat around fireplaces in both our homes, sharing good ale, chenin blanc or single-malt whisky, trading tales from Nepal or New Guinea, comparing signatures of Tenzing Norgay." Mr. Byrne is a staunch advocate of the no-kill policy, and he often suggests that Bigfoot hunters cooperate in the search — something as unlikely as an imminent Sasquatch find. But what will Mr. Byrne make of the chapter in which Mr. Pyle runs around naked in the woods? ("I was Bigfoot," he claims.) I can't say.

For those unfamiliar with the Bigfoot legend, Where Bigfoot Walks is a good primer. For those up to speed, the story Mr. Pyle has recorded of a Sasquatch-like encounter as told around the campfire by a former Haisla Nation chief from coastal British Columbia may be worth all the rehashing; it is one of the best I've ever read. I found a lot of Where Bigfoot Walks to be a little annoying, mostly because Mr. Pyle does what he accuses various Bigfoot hunters of doing — using the creature for his own cause, in this case as a paean to the Northwest's evaporating nature. As a paean, it is O.K., but its point — that if Sasquatch is in jeopardy, then so are both the mythic and the no mythic qualities of the woods — seems obvious. In the end, I mostly savored the Bigfoot encounters and the crisp writing about butterflies. There is a description of ghost moths mating fluorescently in the moonlit sky that makes them seem fairylike, even haunting. After reading that, I hope to be out in the woods camping sometime and see a ghost moth light up the night.

1. lep·i·dop·ter·ist: n. An entomologist specializing in the study of butterflies and moths.

2. pip·sis·se·wa: n. Any of several evergreen plants of the genus Chimaphila, especially the Eurasian species C. umbellata, having white or pinkish flowers grouped in a terminal corymb. Also called prince's pine.

3.lag·o·morph: n. Any of various plant-eating mammals having fully furred feet and two pairs of upper incisors and belonging to the order Lagomorpha, which includes the rabbits, hares, and pikas. –lago·morphic, lago·morphous adj.

This book is highly recommended, I come back to many times and read certain passages just to feel the wonder of Bigfoot through the mind of a naturalist. You can support my local bookstore Powell's or get it at Amazon. Either way, both links are worth checking out for the reviews.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Art Bell Returns to Radio September 16th

This publicity image released by SiriusXM shows
Art Bell his home studio in Pahrump, Nev. The title art is ours.

For many of us, Art Bell is an icon that would keep us up at night with topics stranger than you could imagine. It wasn't the topics alone that made Art Bell's radio show so successful, it was his ability to be truly interested in his guests while still being honest about his own opinion. Without Art bell there would be no X-Files.

Although Art Bell covered UFO's, Aliens, Ghosts, Demons and everything else that went bump in the night. once in a while he would take on the topic of Bigfoot. One significant episode was with a man named "Bugs."  Bugs was an aging farmer who has repeatedly told of his account of shooting and burying two Bigfoot creatures back in the 1970s in the Texas Panhandle, initially thinking they were bears. Bugs has mailed a map of the location of this "burial" to Art Bell, to be released to the public upon Bugs' death. During his first appearance in 1996, Bugs said he had taken a dozen Polaroid photos of the creatures he would be willing to send to Bell. None of the alleged photos have yet been made available. You can listen to the 2006 rebroadcast at the end of this post. You can also read what eventually became of the 12-year running "Bugs" saga at Cryptomundo.

For many of us Bigfooters this is great news. We also did our homework, Art is returning to Sirius XM Satellite radio. You can get Sirius XM streamed on the internet or as an app for your smart phone. Here is the an excerpt from the AP report announcing Art Bell's return:

NEW YORK (AP) — Art Bell, radio's master of the paranormal and outward edges of science, will return to the microphone on Sept. 16 with a new nighttime show on Sirius XM Radio.

Bell was one of radio's top syndicated voices in the 1990s before walking away from his nightly show in 2002 due to family issues. He worked occasionally after that but hasn't been on the air since Halloween 2010.

"I missed it terribly," said Bell, 68, whose weeknight show will air live from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. ET. Sirius is building a studio at Bell's rural Nevada home where he will work.

A Sirius representative contacted Bell through social media a few months ago, leading to the formation of his show, "Art Bell's Dark Matter." He'll talk about things like UFOs, ghosts, near-death experiences and weird aspects of science. He'll do interviews and take calls from viewers.

Scott Greenstein, Sirius XM president and chief content officer, said the show will be "uncensored, unrestricted, uncluttered and utterly unique."

"There's probably more interest in the genre now than when I did it," Bell said. "When I did it, I was damned near alone."
Art Bell is also frank about his opinion of his successor George Noory.

There's also a potential rivalry with George Noory, who replaced Bell on the syndicated show. Bell isn't a fan, saying he considers Noory "not edgy enough." Noory's program is on later at night, so the two will not compete directly live.


The 2006 "Bugs" episode which includes a description of a map of a Bigfoot burial ground.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Results are in! Joe Rogan Questions Everything is an Initial Success

One segment of SyFy's Joe Rogan Questions Everything featured Thom Powell 

First, from a strictly ratings point of view the show was definitely a success. Here are the results from Ratings Watch:

Syfy's new unscripted series Joe Rogan Questions Everything became the channel's most watched reality premiere in more than five months, averaging 1.3 million total viewers, 720K Adults 25-54 and 693K Adults 18-49 during its debut on Wednesday, July 24 from 10-11PM (ET/PT).

The new series also delivered the best Wednesday unscripted series premiere in more than 15 months in Adults 18-49, Adults 25-54 and total viewers.

Powered by Joe Rogan and Paranormal Witness at 9PM, Syfy posted its highest-rated Wednesday prime time period (8-11PM) among Adults 18-34, Adults 18-49 and total viewers since October 2012.

In prime time, Syfy ranked #6 among Adults 25-54 and #8 among Adults 18-49.

Read more about Syfy's JOE ROGAN QUESTIONS EVERYTHING Draws 1.3 M Total Viewers -
Huffington Post was intrigued by the DNA segment with Dr. David Swensen

He came up with some pretty compelling evidence along the way. Our knowledge of DNA has advanced tremendously in recent decades, and putting that knowledge toward the myth of Bigfoot provided some interesting results. Dr. David Swenson, a biochemist, examined DNA that was allegedly from a Bigfoot.

“There is an unknown animal that appears to be some kind of a hybrid between a human and something else," Dr. Swenson said.

“You read this DNA sequencing and you’re like, this could be a real animal?” Rogan asked him. Swenson was fairly certain that DNA that complete and complex could not be faked. Read More... 
Poptimal says this about the show:

Rogan’s Bigfoot episode hopefully gave us a great slice of how the series will continue to flow, since it had equal measures of science and levity. Not only did we see a PhD-level scientist dissect what was purported to be Sasquatch dung, we also got to learn new terminology that we may never have encountered on the course of normal conversation. For example, we now can win a Jeopardy question about what a “blobsquatch” is (it’s a blurry image of Sasquatch) and know the intricacies of “wood knocking,” which means you hit a tree using a specific pattern that equates to Morse code for Bigfoots.

What was refreshing about the show was that when Rogan went out Sasquatch hunting for the evening with two Bigfoot experts, he was listening to them as if they were telling him where to find a restaurant and he was a starving man. It was clear that he truly wanted to learn what they had to offer, rather than some previous Bigfoot search shows where the cameraman is so obviously rolling his eyes and chuckling while chasing the Sasquatch hunters through the woods.

Exploring Onward and Upward

The series will include six episodes, with Bigfoot being the first, followed by next week’s show, which  delves into the question of whether humans can use technology to manipulate the weather. Rogan plans to continue exploring to pique his knowledge and that of the viewing audience. Read more...
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