Monday, July 26, 2010

Things That make You Go Hmmmmmm

By all accounts, I am a newbie to this field.  I'll admit it!  I have been reading up on for about 7 years and researching for 3 years, reporting for 2.

I have heard all kinds of theories and beliefs and assumptions and "scientific" explanations.  Kathy Strain has written a book about the ancient ones, the Native American Indians who tell their tales and pass their history down from generation to generation.  Their history includes lore of the "spirits of the forest".  Kathy is a scientist.  An Anthropologist and an Archaeologist.  I love hearing the stories she retells that have been told to her, and who am I to argue or dis-believe what the Native Americans have believed for thousands of years???  I am only in my 40's, they've got baskets older than me.

There are Bigfoot enthusiasts out there who also dabble in Ufology and the paranormal.  Are they so gullible that they will believe anything?  Do they try to imagine that all 3 mysteries can be combined in some way?  There are drawings and cave etchings also depicting the evidence of aliens, UFOs etc. in the Native American Indian's culture.  Who are we to argue with them?

You are probably wondering why I am babbling on here...well, I just received another email from a reader.  It baffles me, yet it also reminded me of something that happened to me over 2 years ago.  I only told Bob about it, and I attributed it to my eyes playing tricks on me, but now I am wondering if there was something to it!

Here is the email with the person's name omitted:

Hi Sharon, great to hear from you. I've had at least three experiences where I've encountered Bigfoot in a non-physical sense. In truth, there really is no other way to explain it, and I am still mystified & puzzled beyond my comprehension of what, exactly, did occur.

The first experience was at Salt Fork State Park in May, 2008, when I saw, with my own eyes, something cross the trail in front of me, less than 20 yards away. What I saw was very big, and very large, and walked upright. What I did not see, however, was any physical shape, but the merest, transparent glimmer of an outline. For several years I was extremely uneasy about even telling people what I had seen; I had no words to describe it. Then, I heard a radio programme where a former Marine described the exact same thing, and compared it to the film "Predator" where the alien creature is first seen only as a shimmering outline of sorts. That is exactly what I saw. To this day it terrifies me.

Not until this happened did I realise that bigfoot might actually be able to leave this dimension at will, or that bigfoot was, truly, a spiritual being. The indigenous peoples were right all along, as usual; I daresay I was so caught up in the physical evidence that I really downplayed the spiritual.

Sometime later (possibly even that summer), I was out at a bar with friends. I left the bar, and, walking to my truck, noticed what appeared to be a very large, dark figure standing next to my vehicle, on the passenger side. I did not really pay very much attention; the night was foggy, and I was very tired (I had not been drinking, as I had a long drive home). As I approached my truck, I became more & more uneasy, and felt extremely uncomfortable. I quickly unlocked the door, hopped in and drove away.

I was not alone, however.

The bigfoot-spirit was in the car with me, sitting in the passenger seat. He was enormous, filling up the space with his presence. I was terrified out of my wits, and kept asking him what he wanted. His only answer was "You know why I'm here."

He remained with me the entire ride home. Not until I entered the town where I live did he drift away, suddenly & quietly.

It is my firm belief that the bigfoot-spirit escorted me home through a very dark, very foggy night, over very dark roads, to ensure that I reached home safely. It is, actually, because of this that I began to explore shamanic meditation as a means of contacting bigfoot as one of my guardian spirits.

The third incident, and possibly the most terrifying, was at Grand Mere Dunes State Park in southwest Michigan, in November 2008. While hiking with my good friend John W Castle, I became aware of...a the woods behind us, about 150 yards away. It was moving closer to us. I asked John if he heard/smelled anything, and he did not.

As we climbed to the top of a dune, I looked back down the path behind me. The presence was now at the base of the dune, and clearly following us. To create a diversion, John walked down the other side of the dune with his dogs, and I remained at the crest. Within only a few seconds, I suddenly realised it was standing right behind me.

I turned around.

It was...enormous, towering well over my head (I am 6'2"). It was very big, and very shaggy, and very...curious. I really think it wanted to know more about me than I did about him...! It stood there for some time, just looking at me. I did not know how to address it, or to even explain it to John. How do you tell someone that you see something that no one else can?

I am reminded of my old third-floor walkup in Chicago, when I lived there. Often, I would feel the presence of bigfoot, on my back porch! He would simply be standing at the back door, looking in over the transom. Other times, he would be standing in the alleyway, looking up at my apartment.

Was he trying to communicate with me?

I have always been able to "feel" a presence when I am out in the woods. Always. I know when they are nearby.

Recently, a collection of grasses, leaves & twigs was placed in my deckchair, on the back porch, within a two-hour time span. This is not the first time this has happened.

Sharon, I greatly appreciate your willingness to let me share my experiences. For so long I've wondered if I were the only one who had these encounters. Thank you, again.

As I read this, I could not help but this guy pulling my leg?  Is he mocking me or others?  Who am I to judge?  As my readers know, I do not put people down or laugh at their beliefs.

Who am I to say what is out there?  I am no expert!  Are there people in this world who can communicate with another dimension?  50% of you will say no, 50% of you will say yes.  Who is right?  Who has irrefutable proof one way or the other?  Can it be both ways?

Could Bigfoot be flesh and blood AND a spirit?  Perhaps not at the same time, but perhaps when their physical presence ends, their spiritual presence begins?  I have no idea.

I don't want ANYONE quoting me as saying that I believe one way or the other.  I am simply putting this out there so you, the reader, the independent thinker, the one who doesn't KNOW all the answers can hear other sides to this mystery.

Now, I will tell you what happened to me 2 years ago.

It was a summer day and my husband and I had gone running at Hogback Ridge.  This is the area where Bob and I have been doing our backyard research.  We know that our "Bigfoot" activity dies down in the warmer months when the area is swamped with people. 

My husband runs faster than I do, he used to run cross-country in college.  My husband is big.  6'3" and about 300 lbs.  He has an athletic build with a bit of a gut, but, he is not out of shape by any means.

Anyway, we had done one loop on the trail and I had to use the facilities.  We had seperated a ways back because I can't really keep up with him.  The trail continues past the outhouse which is located at the front of the parking lot then back down into the woods.  I was leaving the facilities when I noticed "my husband" going past our car and ducking down.  About 75 feet away.  I laughed and yelled out, "I can see you! "  I figured he was going to jump out and try to scare I ran towards the car, there was no one there.  I walked around the car, looked behind the trees and even looked at the leaf litter on the ground.  I was astounded.  I then assumed that I had been seeing things.  At that point my husband came running out of the woods about 100 yards behind me.  Then I realized I was just seeing things and he joined me for the last part of the run.

I told Bob about it and he just said hmmm.  Now these stories about vanishing Bigfoots are coming to light and I am thinking, "wow, did that happen to me too?"

I am not saying one way or another that I believe in the spirits or other dimensions, but I'll be damned if I close my mind to those possibilities.

If someone told me that their dead grandma was standing in their kitchen, who am I to call them a liar?  Their grandma was once alive with a physical presence...that is documented and proven.  But how do we prove that this person is now experiencing her grandmother's spirit? 

There is just too much that we don't know.  How can we?

Does Anyone Know the Story on This Video?

To me it appears that the "eyes" do not line up and the mouth is in a frozen stable position.  To me it appears fake, but I am no video expert.  A reader has sent this in and would like to know a professional's opinion..a professional on video images, not Bigfoot...we won't go there today

Champ Camp

I left my home with my 18 year old daughter at 3 a.m. to make the 10 hour drive to Button Bay State Park in Vergennes, Vermont.

It was raining the entire time we drove and by the time we arrived at the camp, the rain had dissipated to a drizzle.

The camp was already set up and Craig, Mike and Diana were waiting for the others to arrive.  I decided to entertain my daughter since it was raining and we took a drive towards Burlington to visit the Vermont Teddy Bear Company AND the Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory.

By the time we returned to camp, Bill Dranginis and Dave McCollough had set up camp, and Mike and Diana had the grill going with some good eats!

The camp activities began at 7 a.m. on Saturday with a yoga class on a grassy plateau overlooking the beautiful Lake Champlain.  Diana Smith of the Believe it Tour is a certified yoga instructor and she took the time to guide us through the poses.  It was amazing!  The weather had cleared and the view was breathtaking!

We then changed into our hiking clothes and headed off to the Nature Center.  We were joined by a family of 5 who were very interested in the Champ Camp activities and asked many questions of Diana who was leading the nature hike. 

We headed down to the shore and Diana helped us identify fossils in the rocks.  I loved this part personally.  Lake Champlain used to be a body of salt water that was cut off from the rest of the ocean by glaciers millions of years ago, and just knowing that the rocks contained fossils of creatures and plant life from that time is simply fascinating!

We then returned to the camp and watched a video about the bottled water industry.  It was eye-opening and informative.  Craig Wooheater spoke about water ecology and what we need to do to preserve water as a natural resource on this planet.

The next presentation was on casting techniques presented by Mike Esordi and Bill Dranginis.  My daughter was a participant, sticking her tiny hand into the dirt, to be cast in plaster of Paris. 

While the plaster was drying, Diana Smith, who is also a micro-biologist as well as a certified yoga instructor, gave an enlightening presentation on evidence gathering.  She showed us the proper way to retrieve hair and blood samples.  She stressed the importance of documenting every step of your research. 

It is important for Cryptozoologists to utilize scientific approaches to research in order for scientists to begin to consider our research as credible.  At the onset of every outing, start making notes in your journal.  What time you begin your hike, at what point you find evidence.  Photograph the evidence.  Write down the condition of the evidence and the circumstance in which you made the discovery.  Indicate time of day, weather conditions, if there are other people in the area.

One startling revelation was that when you collect a hair or blood sample, not only do you mark and seal your evidence, but you should be storing it in the proper container.

For all of these years, we have been taking hair or blood samples and placing them in a plastic baggie.  It was revealed that the hair or blood sample will be come charged by the static electricity created by the plastic and the static will eventually pull apart and destroy your sample!

The best envelope used for evidence collecting, from a forensic standpoint, is the glassine envelope.  "Not only can you see through them, they are made of paper so they will also breathe. Ideal for trace evidence."

We then had a little bit of a break and Rachel and I went to a local restaurant and grabbed some lunch, when we returned it was time for arts and crafts!  Bruce had returned and had set up his Taj Mahal of tents, much to the chagrin of our neighbor across the lot.  'Nuff said.

We painted our Champ Camp plaques, then donned our sailing gear to head off to Burlington to board the Spirit of Ethan Allen to embark on our voyage of Lake Champlain and to hopefully catch our glimpse of the elusive one! (No, not Abe Del Rio)

We raced through the city, tires squealing, pedestrians flying, just in time to board the SOEA.  A large wedding party was boarding so we had to wait.  Did I mention it was 4000 degrees outside?  We finally made our way to the Lido deck, and prepared for our journey.  The captain let loose of his horn without warning and we were off.  The cool lake breeze whisked away the heat of the sun and we toasted each other, the Believe it Tour pirates.

Mike was fortunate enough to get an on camera interview of one of the ship's crew members, and he told tales of his sighting of the creature.  Mike plans on including him in the activities next year for Champ Camp II, to be continued indeedy.

Unfortunately, we did not see the creature, but we did have about a dozen teenagers "moon" us as we passed by the Acapulco-like diving cliffs off the port side.  The ship then headed back to dock and we then headed downtown for some dinner.

As luck would have it, the rain returned and put a halt to the radio show and the night canoe trip we had planned to plant Bill's underwater "eye-gotcha" system in the lake.  We stayed up for a bit, huddled under the canopy tent, then retired one by one, drained from the activity filled day.

I awoke the next morning and cleaned up the camp while others slept; I am antsy like that.  By 8 am the sun was burning off the morning dew and I could just tell it was going to be a scorcher.

Bill had canoed out and set his camera in the water, and I look forward to see what he captured on film!

The others arose and were heading out to the overlook to participate in Diana's yoga class and I said my goodbyes to them all.  I had a long drive ahead of me and had to return to work on Monday morning.

I encourage all of you to attend next year's camp.  There was talk of chartering a boat for Bill's underwater camera system and for our own Champ hunt.

Congratulations to Mike and Diana for the production of the event.  It was well thought out and highly informative and entertaining.  I can only imagine that Champ Camp II will be even more fun and I expect there will be more participants!