A Conversation with Mitchel Townsend
Mitchel Townsend is a pioneer in the Sasquatch research field. In 2017, he published his book Bigfoot is Solved, Hybrid Hominin: Scientifically Proving the Existance of Bigfoot with Forensic Dental Impression Research, where he documented the research undertaken on the recovered forensic dental impression evidence of Sasquatch.
Mitchel isn’t someone you would typically think of as a scientific researcher, his background is a combination of study in the areas of education, leadership and psychology. He’s got a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and was completing a doctoral degree.
His interest in Sasquatch started out as a kid when he had an overwhelming feeling of fear while out in the woods. Since adulthood, he’s had what he describes as “unexplained occurrences” around a place called Deadman’s Lake and became interested in seeing what he could contribute to the community.
Sasquatch as a ScienceSasquatch is a controversial scientific field (touted as non-scientific by many) but when Mitchel starts to conduct research, he thinks it’s important to take yourself out of the science to create an objective landscape.
Writing a scientific paper on a subject related to Sasquatch is quite the feat, but Mitchel was determined to publish the studies of his findings in a way that the scientific community would understand. So, he set out to do just that.
Coming from a background in institutional research, Mitchel designed a framework to analyze the existence of Sasquatch in a scientific way. After familiarizing himself with what already existed in the field—though admittedly, scientific forensic dental impression research is a new field—then build off that.
Mitchel believes that one of the big reasons that the study into Sasquatch has not gone that far is because there’s a discord between the researchers and the mainstream scientific community. He says that the only real way to get the scientific community to take research into the existence of Sasquatch seriously is by “going to their house, using their rules and their language.”
At the time of his interview with Chuck, Mitchel’s paper was still going through the peer review process—a process that each new scientific paper has to go through before it’s published.
Hearing More About Mitchel’s ResearchMitchel’s academic journey into the world of Sasquatch goes beyond simply what he wrote his paper, he’s actually taught three different college-level classes on the cryptid. With titles like CSI: Sasquatch and Bigfoot Solved, it’s a wonder why more college graduates are not more well-versed in Sasquatch.
Mitchel joined Chuck on the Sasquatch Syndicate podcast to share tales of his academic pursuits and research. Grab yourself something to drink (you can use our Sasquatch bottle opener to assist you) and tune in to Chuck’s conversation with Mitchel in the Holiday Special 2017 - Mitchel Townsend episode.
Take a listen to the episode and let us know what you think in the comments below!
By Tae Haahr
Research Writer, Sasquatch Syndicate Inc.
A Monster of a Tale: The Legend of Boggy Creek
The recently remastered 1972 tale, The Legend of Boggy Creek hit the ‘net last year and I thought I’d take a little look-see and what the buzz was all about. One-part creature feature, one-part docudrama, this film tells the story of the Fouke Monster, a creature of Arkansas folklore that largely resembles Sasquatch. But this is not a horror film, it’s a retelling of a local legend.
What is a docudrama?
Before you rush out to watch The Legend of Boggy Creek, I think it’s important to fully grasp what a docudrama is. This film is quick to point out that it’s a true story, and as with all docudramas, an element of that holds up. But that’s not the case entirely.
By definition, docudrama films are a “dramatic reconstruction of a real event or person” (HuffPost). Their goal is to retell the story of a character place or event as close to the real thing as possible. But there's a catch.
Docudramas are fictionalized reconstructions of real events. That means that there is still a cast and crew, a script and, most importantly, creative license taken by the filmmakers.
The Fouke Monster of Arkansas
Fouke, located in Miller County in the southwest corner of Arkansas, is a town of almost 900 people today, but in the 1970s it would have been closer to a population of less than 600. A quintessential county-looking town, Fouke features forested bogs and a fairly flat landscape.
This quaint little town was thrust into the spotlight in the 1970s when The Legend of Boggy Creek was originally released. Detailing the existence of the hairy, ape-like creature called the Fouke Monster, a true local legend.
The Fouke Arkansas Monster was a local legend before the film was released in 1972. Similar to Sasquatch, sightings of this creature date back to the 1940s and it’s said to be seven feet tall with three-toed feet, smelly and covered in reddish-brown hair. At one point there was even a $10,000 reward for Fouke Monster photos.
But with the filming of The Legend of Boggy Creek movie in full swing in the early ‘70s, sightings of the local creature increased. It started when a local farmer found footprints that were too large to be from a human on the edge of his soybean farm in June of 1971.
Then there was a car full of residents that saw the elusive creature run across the highway in front of them. A hunter that spotted it while she was out looking for deer. And a local resident even said he moved his family into the safety of town after a particularly terrifying encounter.
The Legend of Boggy Creek features staged interviews and reenactments of some of the older residents of the Fouke area and their encounters with the Sasquatch-like creature. Including the story of the monster picking up a local farmer’s 200 lbs hog and carting him off.
But in 1986, years after the ‘70s hype of the Fouke Monster was at its height, a story by AP was printed that surmised the whole thing was a hoax. Sightings have been down in years, with the local police sharing that they no longer keep a file on the creature.
Even Former Fouke Mayor James D. Larey said that he didn’t think anyone actually believed the creature ever existed. And while he suspected that the tracks were faked, he thought it was neat that the story brought so much interest to the small town.
Checking out the Film
Before you kick your heels up and turn on the film, you might want to crack a beer because you’re going to be in for a long run (did I mention you can use our super fashionable bottle opener to do so).
While the story behind the picture is interesting, the film itself features long, drawn-out landscape scenes (there’s over five minutes of music and nature shots before the story even begins). And, if I’m being completely honest, it’s kind of like watching 90 minutes of Unsolved Mysteries reenactments.
I can say safely that I’m not putting The Legend of Boggy Creek in my top 10 favorite films, but I would definitely watch a full-blown creature-feature horror on the Fouke Arkansas Boggy Creek Monster.
Visit Boggy Creek
America Unearthed - Tracking Bigfoot
As a forensic geologist, Scott Wolter has the unique opportunity to explore unexplained archeological mysteries and unearth some of the Earth’s forgotten treasures. His adventures and investigations around the globe are covered by History Channel’s (H2) America Unearthed. While he’s been a geologist for his entire career, his expertise in unearthing mysteries really started when he was asked to determine the date of the inscription on the Kensington Runestone—originally discovered in Minnesota in 1898.
This discovery allowed him to champion the new science of Archaeo Petrography which is a process that dates man-made inscriptions on stones. Today he uses that science to explore ancient artifacts and objects to see if we can learn new things about the past.
Like a high-tech version of Indiana Jones, Scott's adventures have taken him all around the world in search of answers for some of the most captivating mysteries. He’s searched for history’s heavy-hitters such as the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail, and even our good friend Sasquatch.
Scott considers himself a Sasquatch skeptic. When he started working on America Unearthed, he told his producers that there were two things he wasn’t interested in searching for: Aliens and Sasquatch. And while he hasn’t searched for aliens yet, Sasquatch is a different story.
American Unearthed aired “Global Bigfoot Hunt” during their third season, episode four if you’re interested, which included exploring Sasquatch sighting stories in Minnesota and California before making the trek across the ocean to Nepal.
He wasn’t impressed when his producers dropped the topic in his lap, but there was a trip to Nepal included—and really, who could pass that up. So, he packed his bag and started out in search of Sasquatch.
Scott still can’t confirm the existence of the creature. But he was one of the first people lucky enough to experience the Yeti Scalp of Khumjung in Nepal. He also had a chance to speak with witnesses who shared their encounters with him.
On this months episode, Chuck and Scott speak to their college football days, and share some interesting conversation about Giants, Sasquatch and Scott's journey to the Himalayan Mountains.
Scott joined the Sasquatch Syndicate podcast for the America Unearthed H2 episode to share some of his travel stories, experiences and what the global hunt for Sasquatch is really like. So, grab your favorite cup of coffee (we’re betting it’s got a Sasquatch on it) and tune in to live vicariously through this modern day Indianan Jones.
By Tae Haahr,
Research Writer, Sasquatch Syndicate Inc.
Quantum Bigfoot: An Interview with Ron Morehead
Ron Morehead is the author of not one, but two different books that talk about his Sasquatch experiences and research. The first, Voices in the Wilderness: A True Story, shares the story of initial encounter with mysterious creatures in a remote part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. His latest, The Quantum Bigfoot, was released in 2017 and talks about the interaction between science and spirituality when it comes to studying these creatures.
Ron’s experience isn’t limited to his books though. He’s been researching Sasquatch, and more specifically the sounds he heard in the Sierra Nevada Mountains that are attributed to Sasquatch, for over 40 years. It all started in 1971, when he and five other hunters started recording the Sierra Tapes.
Sierra Nevada Mountains, 1971
Ron was part of a hunting group that would trek into a remote spot in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. When two hunters were up at their cabin alone, they heard what they described as aggressive sounds by the stove inside their remote and very inaccessible shelter. Then, they came across a huge five-toed footprint that was certainly not from a bear.
After hearing of the story five of the six hunters in Ron’s group, including him, started to head back to the spot on a regular basis with tape recorders. They were hoping to catch the sounds on tape or maybe even get lucky enough to spot the creatures and capture them on camera.
For years the group went up there just to record them, hoping to lay eyes on the noisey troublemakers in the wood. “We really underestimated what they were at the time,” Ron shared. They thought they were simply just animals making a racket.
Evaluating the Sierra Tapes
When an investigative journalist was brought up the the Sierra Nevada Mountains with Ron and his team of hunters to experience the sounds for himself, he shared with the group how important the recordings were. Something utterly unreal was happening and the tapes needed some credibility.
So, the sounds on the tapes were studied by a professor at the University of Wyoming who ensured that they hadn’t been altered or manipulated in any way and confirmed that they hadn’t. But even that bit of street cred didn’t mean that the tapes weren’t a hotly debated topic.
Ron has tried to get more people with official clout to listen to the tapes and share their opinion, but the academic fish aren’t biting much. But in 2008, a crypto linguist got their hands on the tapes and determined that there was a complex language being spoken by the creatures. Which, while it doesn’t “prove” anything satisfactorily to the general population, does confirm suspicions of what’s on the tapes in Ron’s mind.
Hearing Ron's Story
There is a lot more to Ron’s story than simply the capture or authentication of the Sierra Tapes. And while you can read about it in his books, you can also check out the Ron Morehead episode of the Sasquatch Syndicate podcast.
Ron joins Chuck and shares his experiences capturing the sounds of Sasquatch in the remote mountains, the journey and experience of getting official ears on the tapes and researching the mysterious wood-lurking creature.
It’s a pretty enthralling episode that you won’t want to miss. So grab yourself a coffee (obviously in your favorite Sasquatch mug), kick back and listen to Ron share his story.
So what is your opinion of the Sierra Sounds and Tapes?
Please let us know in the comments below, or email us. We'd love to hear from you.
By Tae Haahr
Research Writer, Sasquatch Syndicate Inc.
Where to begin in the Rocky Mountains
Colorado is no stranger to Sasquatch sightings. There have been 100+ recorded sightings over the years—and the list just keeps on growing.
This many sightings shouldn’t surprise anyone considering the state has 24.4-million acres of forest, much of that untravelled by humans, for Sasquatch to lurk unseen. Not only that but there are the famous Rocky Mountains and more than 4,000 bodies of water, it’s practically a paradise.
Elevations range from high mountain peaks to low river bottoms, and that range contributes to the diversity of habitats found here: coniferous forests, subalpine meadows, grasslands, sagebrush and thousands of miles of streams and rivers. ... The headwaters for the continent's major river systems are also found here.
The ecology of the Rocky Mountains is diverse due to the effects of a variety of environmental factors. The Rocky Mountains are the major mountain range in western North America, running from the far north of British Columbia in Canada to New Mexico in the southwestern United States, climbing from the Great Plains at or below 1,800 feet (550 m) to peaks of over 14,000 feet (4,300 m).
Temperature and rainfall varies greatly also and thus the Rockies are home to a mixture of habitats including the alpine, subalpine and boreal habitats of the Northern Rocky Mountains in British Columbia and Alberta, the coniferous forests of Montana and Idaho, the wetlands and prairie where the Rockies meet the plains, a different mix of conifers on the Yellowstone Plateau in Wyoming and in the high Rockies of Colorado and New Mexico, and finally the alpine tundra of the highest elevations
The Rocky Mountain habitats are home to a great deal of wildlife from herbivores, such as elk, moose, mule deer, mountain goat and bighorn sheep, to predators like cougar, Canada lynx, bobcat, black bear, grizzly bear, gray wolf, coyote, fox, and wolverine, along with a great variety of small mammals, fish, reptiles and amphibians, numerous bird species, and tens of thousands of species of terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates and soil organisms.
As the saying goes, if you can support a Moose, or a Bear you can support a Sasquatch.
For the longest time, theories abound of Sasquatch navigating thousands of miles each winter but in recent years evidence suggests a more elevational migration such as a grizzly bear. That being said if you believe that Sasquatch migrated from Asia to North America and traversed the Rocky Mountains from Canada to Colorado, you may be onto something. How do you think Sasquatch arrived in Colorado undetected?
Please let us know in the thoughts below, or email us. We'd love to hear from you?
By Tae Haahr
Research Writer, Sasquatch Syndicate Inc.
It seems like every state has their own Sasquatch-esque folklore and Florida is no exception. Legends of the Florida Skunk Ape have been around for hundreds of years, dating back to the area's indigenous groups description of the “esti capcaki” which roughly describes the tall man and protector of the forest.
The Florida Skunk Ape goes by a number of different names, including particularly charming monikers such as the swamp ape, stink ape and swamp cabbage man. As well as a few more on-point descriptors like Florida's Sasquatch, swamp Squatch and Myakka Skunk Ape.
This creature is described as being somewhere around seven feet tall and weighing over 300 lbs (some accounts clock them at as much as 450 lbs). It’s said that these creatures roam in packs, though notably all eye witness accounts I found were single-being sightings. And despite their rank smell—described as something between a skunk and roadkill—they’re mostly described as being peaceful.
Skunk Ape Sightings
The Florida Skunk Ape is touted as a relative of Sasquatch that resides most likely in the Everglades. Sightings of this creature are comparably more frequent to some of the other areas Sasquatch is known to roam, and it even managed to make a cameo on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
Many sightings over the year have been reported. Local area resident and the man behind the skunk ape research center, Dave Shealy, has spent most of his life searching for these mysterious beings and has reportedly come across them on several occasions, including when he was just 10 years old hunting deer with his brother.
They have been spotted by tourists and locals alike, including when tour operator John Vickers and five of his passengers saw what looked to be a Florida Sasquatch-like creature run across the road. Local real estate agent Jan Brock and fire chief Vince Doerr even saw one of these creatures scurrying across the same road a mere few hours apart.
In fact, the scariest photos that I’ve ever seen of any Sasquatch-like creature are allegedly Skunk Ape pictures that were taken in 2000 by an area resident who reported that the creature was swiping apples from her back deck over the period of three nights. While she called the police, the mystery thief was gone when they arrived every time. So she caught him red-handed (or red-eyed?) in a terrifying photo.
But criminal behavior isn’t the only thing that’s gotten this creature caught on camera. In fact, the Florida Skunk Ape seems to be more photogenic than some of the other Sasquatch-like creatures, having been caught on camera several times including by Vince Doerr in 1997 and Dave Shealy in 1998.
Tracker and surveyor TL Riggs also managed to get his hands on what he said is evidence of the Skunk Ape which includes both a footprint that estimates the creatures weight is 300lbs or more. As well as a possible hair sample that DNA testing came back as inconclusive—though it is important to note that analysis with a microscope confirmed that the hair was not synthetic like would be a costume nor is it from a bear, gorilla, chimpanzee, skink, dog or cat.
Then finally, and perhaps most convincing of all, there’s also Dave Shealy’s famous Florida Skunk Ape video filmed in 2000.
Are Skunk Apes Real?
It is important to note that as with most Sasquatch investigations, evidence related to the Skunk Ape is based most predominantly on eyewitness testimony. Because of that the National Park Service says the testimony is too weak to take seriously at this point. But, as someone much smarter than me said some years ago “the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” and something appears to be lurking out in the Florida Everglades. The real question is, what is it?
If you decided to take up the torch on your own Skunk Ape hunt, make sure to swing by the Skunk Ape Headquarters located at the Trails Campground where you might just be able to hear the legend of the swamp ape by Dave Shealy himself.
By Tae Haahr,
Research Writer - Sasquatch Syndicate Inc.
The Largest Ape that ever Lived
The discovery of the world’s largest ape ever, the Gigantopithecus, was an accident. In 1935, Ralph von Koenigswald, a young German paleontologist, was scouring apothecaries in Hong Kong looking for “Dragon’s teeth” when he ended up coming across an ape molar. But he knew this wasn’t any ordinary ape molar.
By 1939, von Koenigswald had only found three more teeth, despite the fact that he’d sifted through thousands. He was still severely lacking in evidence. But in the 1950s, fragments of three giant jawbones along with thousands of teeth matching von Koeniswald’s discovery were found in Liucheng cave in China. Then 30 years later in the ‘80s a Chinese team found over a dozen more teeth in a Langgupo cave.
What was Gigantopithecus?
While we know they existed because we’ve found Gigantopithecus fossils and teeth, we don’t know much about the creature beyond that. It’s believed that the closest living relative of the Gigantopithecus Blacki is the orangutan.
These creatures are said to have lived between 2-million and 100,000 years ago in the early-to-middle Pleistocene age, mostly in southern China. Fossils indicate that the Gigantopithecus height was somewhere around 10 feet or 3 meters tall. and, as a massive ape, its weight was 1,100 lbs or 270 kg which fits the physical nature of what we know as Sasquatch and paints a pretty good hypothesis.
What did Gigantopithecus eat?
There is some discrepancy regarding what they ate or even how much they ate?. Some speculate that they could have been carnivorous while others say grass-fed. The isotopic composition of the enamel on some of the teeth suggests that they were forest dwellers that stuck to a mostly vegetarian diet—but locations that fossils have been found suggest that it could largely depend on where they lived.
The Gigantopithecus that lived in southern China would have most certainly been on forest-covered ground. But those roaming the areas of present-day Thailand would have had access to some forest but found themselves mostly in open desert in the Savanna lending to the hypothesis that it had no choice but to migrate to the temperate rain forests of Northern Asia and across the Pacific Northwest for rich vegetation.
Regardless of what they ate, we do know that they had unusually bad teeth and overall poor dental health. A fourth jawbone was found that suggested that the Gigantopithecus would lose a few teeth throughout their lifetime and some speculate it was due to brittleness of the hardened vegetation as a result of a drought that occurred hundreds of thousands of years ago. If true, then it only makes sense that the creature would need to find lush vegetation, and travel north to Russia and Siberia, and further across the land bridge to the Rainforests of North America. But perhaps Gigantopithecus didn't make it that far after all?
Extinct or Alive?
Is Gigantopithecus Extinct or Alive?, and what do we know? Over 50% of the world's land mass is completely untouched by human feet, and new discoveries are made all the time? Look no further than the show Extinct or Alive hosted by Forest Galante. While researchers like Forest are NOT Cryptozoologists, that doesn't mean that they lack the interest, it just hasn't been concrete enough to investigate, but perhaps that can change in the future.
Homo Erectus Hunted?
If Gigantopithecus is extinct, some scientists believe that homo erectus could possibly have had something to do with it. Had they been competing for resources or hunting them, they could have contributed with the large creature’s demise.
That said, Russel Ciochan a paleo-anthropologist from the University of Iowa said that while the two species would have been on the Earth at the same time—some 1.7-million years ago—early humans were much more likely to live and hunt in grasslands than the desert or forest, therefore its most likely that they never lived together, simply at the same time.
It’s curious that despite the Gigantopithecus size, we’ve been unable to find so little evidence of these creatures. But because they occupied subtropical Asia, any viable DNA is typically too degraded from the warm, humid weather to be of any use. Not to mention that most viable DNA that scientists work with come from remains that are fewer than 10,000 years old.
For those in the Scientific, and Flesh and Blood Camp, perhaps Sasquatch is North America's great ape like the late Dr. Krantz hypothesized. But, if Gigantopithecus could have crossed the land bridge from Asia to North America on it's quest for food, and if it still persists in the rain forests of the Pacific Northwest primarily undiscovered. Then the next question is how many specimens would need to have made it to continue to persist. This is a great discussion that the guys had with Dr. Todd Disotell on our Building the Citizen Scientist series.
So perhaps Gigantopithecus is really the “original Sasquatch” due to its presumed shaggy hair, 3-metre tall stature with a weight of almost 600 lbs and bipedal movements. It certainly fits the bill....
But the lack of DNA evidence for Gigantopithecus and Sasquatch means that we aren’t able to confirm or deny their relationship to each other. However, over time we're slowly but surely getting to know Gigantopithecus, but without further evidence or more advanced scientific evidence, we’ll just have to wait and see.
So what is your theory on Gigantopithecus? Do you believe its Extinct or Alive?
Let me know in the comments section below.
By Tae Haahr,
Research Writer, Sasquatch Syndicate Inc.
The Colors of Sasquatch
We currently lack widely-accepted scientific evidence of Sasquatch’s existence and our information regarding the colors of Sasquatch including hair, skin, and eye are backed by eyewitness accounts only. Which means that we aren’t 100% sure what the colors of Sasquatch skin, hair and eyes really are.
If you’re a true crime podcast aficionado like yours truly, you probably know that eyewitness evidence is the most unreliable type you can get your hands on. But since most reports of Sasquatch sightings tell of a similar appearance, we have gathered a decent amount of information about what we suspect they look like.
When it comes to determining Sasquatch skin color, reports vary. Considering the massive amounts of hair that witnesses describe, it should be no surprise that gaging the color of the skin underneath can be a bit of a challenge. Especially if you’re viewing it from a distance as most sightings are reported.
That said, based on what witnesses have said Sasquatch skin is most likely a shade of deep brown or black, grey, or, in some cases, even a sunburned red. The palms and soles of their feet tend to be a lighter shade than the rest of the body, and some have also reported an oily-looking black nose.
While this describes the majority of the Sasquatch sightings that have been reported, some witnesses have also seen albino Sasquatches. Instead of a dark tone, they are said to have pink colored skin.
When you’re not hearing about Sasquatch's horrendous odor, one of the most popular topics up for discussion is the massive amounts of hair that they are seen with. And we mean hair.
While scientifically speaking the components that make up hair and fur are said to be virtually indistinguishable, the major difference between the two is the growth speed. Hair grows at a much slower rate than fur, which likely explains why your dog sheds at a much higher volume than you. Most sightings report that Sasquatch hair is dark brown, black or has a reddish tinge. But, like most humans, you’ll find variations of different tones and patches in Sasquatch hair. There have also been reports of white or grey-haired creatures.
Much like human adults, it’s suspected that elder members of the Sasquatch species can have graying hair. But it’s not believed that Sasquatch hair changes from child to adulthood. Sasquatch hair is also often described as being dirty, matted and unkempt but some have reported that it appears glossy, clean and shiny hair. Some even share that females tend to have cleaner more cared-for locks than males do.
We should mention that sometime in 1976, the FBI did conduct a suspected Sasquatch hair analysis that was found by searcher Peter Byrne.
However, the FBI concluded that the Sasquatch hair DNA sent in actually came from the deer family.
While this is always frustrating to researchers, you have to ask yourself, without a baseline sample of a species yet to be known and potentially NOT a variant of any other known species, what are the possibilities that a sample could be correctly identified in the first place.?
But just like any other creature we know they come in various colors, and of course various skin tones.
However, one thing that is unique to many reports is a commonality not known to many species in Glowing Eyes.
The other big topic of discussion on their appearance is their supposedly glowing Sasquatch eyes. Often reported as shining amber, blue, green, but most often red, which could leave witnesses with an uneasy feeling. While we have no confirmations on whether or not Sasquatch eyes do, in fact, glow, we shouldn’t be surprised if they do. Many animals have what is called a tapetum lucidum behind their retinas. Tapetum lucidum is essentially a mirror-like membrane that helps them to see in the dark, which as we all know humans cannot—though we do have components in our eyes that allow us to see in low light. These mirror-like structures reflect lights like camera flashes, which is why your cat has creepy soul-penetrating eyes in every photo.
From the sightings that have been reported we can most likely conclude that the colors of Sasquatch, like so many other species out there, vary. You might encounter a black-haired, reddish-skinned Sasquatch in Colorado, a brown-haired, black skinned Sasquatch in Ohio and grey-haired, black-skinned in Louisiana.
So how many variations are there? Well like us humans perhaps quite a few, take a peak at our FACES compilation and you'll get the picture - literally.....
By Tae Haahr
Research Writer, Sasquatch Syndicate Inc.