The Search Continues
For every one Sasquatch believer, you can find a dozen non-believers who roll their eyes at the idea but even then - half of the non-believers, watch the occasional show on TV about the subject. There is some intrinsic value in the search for Sasquatch, and the Pacific Northwest is a hotspot for sightings. Which also means that it’s a hotspot for those itching to catch a glimpse of one. But besides being a silly old story that we pass down from generation to generation, what does Sasquatch really bring to the table? How do we benefit from it?
So what does belief in Sasquatch mean stories of Sasquatch have been around long before any of us have been alive and they’ll be there well after we’re all gone. However, since we’ve never proved the existence of Sasquatch, what value does a maybe-existent creature have?
It seems like there wouldn’t be much, correct? Wrong.
There’s an immense value to stories of cryptids such as Sasquatch. Potential Sasquatch discoveries help to spark a sense of wonder, excitement and exploration. Provides a sense of hope and adventure. It helps instill the idea that even after everything we’ve done on this planet (or to it) there are still things that remain untouched. Places that remain wild in a sense. And it’s not just us.
North America isn’t the only place with a Sasquatch-esque creature to keep our curious minds enthralled with legends. Brazil has the Mapinguari, a Sasquatch-esque creature from the Amazon Rainforest. Australia has the Yowie, an outback-dwelling bipedal cryptid. And the Serjarang, the Malasyian version.
The Business of Sasquatch
It’s not just wonder and adventure that Sasquatch gives to the Pacific Northwest (and other Sasquatch search jurisdictions). Ghost tourism is alive and well, and many places around the continent benefit from it.
What is ghost tourism you ask? It encompasses everything from UFO attractions like visits to Roswell, exploring the mysteries of Mothman in Point Pleasant, West Virginia or even visiting sites of the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts. And ghost tourism includes searching for Sasquatch, and everyone who benefits from that.
The Pacific Northwest is huge for Sasquatch sightings, which means that it’s also ripe for businesses that serve the Sasquatch-seeking crowd. And those businesses are making real cryptid-related cash. For those itching to search for Sasquatch, The Bigfoot Adventure out of Bellingham, Washington—a place that branded itself as a “Sasquatch Protection and Refugee Area”—offers daytime, nocturnal and multi-day excursions. Which means you won’t have to search alone!
But beyond hiring some help to find Sasquatch, you can also visit a collection of other businesses that cater to the crowd. You can visit the North American Bigfoot Center in Boring, Oregon, a museum curated by Cliff Barackman all about these cryptids. Or head to The Bigfoot Trap in Ashland. Or the Sasquatch Museum And Visitor Centre Operations in Harris, British Columbia.
Beyond educational centers and museums, there are other businesses bearing the name. Everything from car rentals and burger joints to trinket shops that sell t-shirts, stickers, hats and sweaters (did I mention here at the Syndicate we have some awesome bottle openers). At the end of the day, Sasquatch-related tourism is big money, especially in places known for cryptid sightings like the Pacific Northwest. While there’s yet to be any official studies about how much money there is in the cryptid game, you can bet it’s no small chunk.
What do you think about Sasquatch’s contribution to the economy of the Pacific Northwest?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
By Tae Haahr
Research Writer, Sasquatch Syndicate Inc.
Wyoming Forests Bigfoot
If you’re looking for a great place to head out and search for Sasquatch, Wyoming is probably not your top pick for where to go. But there have been 28 sightings posted by the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization which is not nothing.
Considering Wyoming has access to both national parks and forests—including a portion of Yellowstone National Park—it actually doesn’t seem that far off that you’d see a Sasquatch wandering in the forests.
If you’re looking to catch sight of one in Wyoming, these are the best four counties to take a look:
Park County Wyoming SightingsIf you’re itching to track down Sasquatch in Wyoming, then your best bet is to explore Park County which has the largest number of sightings to-date reported by the BFRO.
Park County is at the top northwest corner of the state and features parts of both Yellowstone National Park and Shoshone National Forest. There have been nine different sightings logged by the BFRO since the 1970s.
The earliest sightings they have on record take place between 1970 and 1980. While it’s all logged as one sighting, it’s actually a collection of incidents reported by a Yellowstone backcountry ranger. They range from animal reactions to an actual Sasquatch sighting.
The most recent Sasquatch sighting in Park County was in July 2002, when a family of four saw a Sasqtch around noon near Mount Washburn in Yellowstone National Park.
While Park County isn’t the only place in Wyoming where you can find treed and mountainous areas, perfect for Sasquatch to hideout and live, it does feature significant sections of two large areas of prime Sasquatch habitat.
Lincoln County SightingsLincoln County comes in at number two for Sasquatch incidents in the state. This county can be found on the west side of the state, bordering Utah and encompassing the most southern section of the forest area that starts at Yellowstone National Park and features Wyoming Peak.
The earliest sighting in this area logged by the BFRO took place in August of 1986. Hikers reported seeing “three upright animals” hanging around as they approached their vehicle. More recently in 2003, a local bear hunter reported seeing a Sasquatch while he was approaching his bait site.
Carbon County SightingsThere is a tie for the third most popular place to find Sasquatch in the state, and one of the spots goes to Carbon County where there are three sightings listed on the BFRO. Located on the south edge of the state bordering Colorado that includes a section of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest.
The oldest of the three sightings took place in June 1987 when a group of young squirrel hunters saw a juvenile Sasquatch. The latest was in September 2008, when another creature was seen lurking around an elk hunting camp in the Medicine Bow National Forest.
Teton County SightingsThe final Sasquatch hot-spot is in a tie for third place with Carbon County. Teton County also has three logged sightings from the BFRO. This area of the state features Grand Teton National Park—another great Sasquatch habitat.
The oldest sighting they have listed is actually from an article printed in the June 11, 1980, in the Idaho Falls. The article talks about two men who spot a Sasquatch-esque creature in the area. But the most recent sighting comes from June 2000 when campers observe a seven-foot being outside of their RV.
Finding Sasquatch in WyomingWhile we mostly associate Sasquatch with the Pacific Northwest states, you seem to have a pretty fair chance spotting one in Wyoming especially if you hangout in Park County.
If you’re itching to head out to Wyoming and see if you can get your hands on some Sasquatch evidence or a half-decent image, make sure you bring your Sasquatch Syndicate hoodie to get you through those colder nights by the fire.
Have you had a strange encounter in Wyoming? Let us know in the comments below or email us.
By Tae Haahr
Research Writer, Sasquatch Syndicate Inc.
Is it possible the two are related?
Louise lives in Arizona now, but in the early ‘70s she was living in Florida and had a terrifying encounter with both a UFO and a Sasquatch-like creature.
It was 1973 and the Pine Ridge Island area around Alligator Alley (now more commonly referred to as Road 441) was sparsely populated. There were new developments going up, but Louise and her husband managed to snag the coveted corner townhome with a view of a ridge and close to the canal.
Her husband was off on a business trip one day when Louise decided she was going to take her two children—five and one—to the park at the top of the ridge. She packed up their bikes, some food, toys and grabbed her purse and carted the children out of the house.
A Creature at the ParkThey were playing merrily in the park a while later when they started to hear a pounding and the distinct snap of branches coming up along the other-side of the ridge. Then she was overtaken by an awful smell.
Whatever it was, it was coming closer. That became immediately evident when a guttural scream broke out. Louise and her three children froze, hearts pounding. She wasn’t about to wait around and find out what was coming after them. She gathered the children and ran down the hill, leaving all of their things behind. With her children in her arms, Louise ran through the underbrush, down the side of the hill and into her unlocked house. Safely inside, she locked the door behind her.
It was later that night, with her husband still on a business trip, when Louise was startled awake. It was 2 am and there was a banging and guttural sound coming from outside the front door. She was alone with two children in the home, her only protection, her husband’s military rifle that she could kind of use.
Louise waited in the dark. Eventually, the banging stopped and the screams were quieted. She checked the house to make sure the doors were all locked and went back to bed.
The Creature ReturnsIt turns out that Louise wasn’t the only one who saw the creature around that time. Her friend’s husband, a firefighter, told her that there had been a recent incident. And the police had seen the creature the week before. But nothing happened until three months later.
Louise was now pregnant with her third child. Her husband was out of town again on a business trip when she was suddenly awoken in the middle of the night. She could hear something calling her, and she felt a pull taking her down the stairs to the living room window where she opened the curtains and found herself staring at a hovering craft, beaming with light, at the top of the ridge. She could hear herself being called but managed to stop herself and forcefully make her way back to the bedroom where she shut herself in and the calling went away.
After the baby was born, Louise would notice that every morning a “black thing” she thought was a man would scale up the metal frame of the condo that was being built in the development. The first time she called security to report it—the called back to let her know that they’d be responding to no further calls about the creature. It was not a man, it was something else, and the guard on duty quit. They couldn’t afford to lose any more employees.
Louise was outside watching the neighbourhood kids play one day when she looked up and locked eyes with a gray-haired creature standing on top of the ridge. It was the first time she laid eyes on one of these things. She said he was conservatively 9-feet tall with an oval, almost cone-shaped head, and dark, black oval eyes. He was telepathically calling her over. She refused to go and, defeated, the creature turned away, took a few steps and disappeared.
We know that the Pine Ridge Island Incident wasn’t Louise’s first encounter with something unexplainable and she’s here to tell you that it wasn’t her last either.
While her Sasquatch was of quite epic proportions, if you will, she’s had strange encounters with UFOs in Florida. Today she lives by a collection of pyramid-esque mountains and she’s got the feeling that she’s just waiting for something to happen there too.
Interested in hearing more about her stories? Join Louise and Chuck on the Pine Ridge Island episode of the podcast. We’d recommend pulling out your favorite bottle opener, grabbing a cold one and kicking back to hear some truly terrifying encounters.
Have a UFO or Sasquatch Encounter you wish to share let us know in the comment below or email us.
By Tae Haahr
Research Writer, Sasquatch Syndicate Inc.
If you’re looking for adventure, head north off the volcanic Snake River Plain on Highway 75 in central Idaho and you’ll enter the lower reaches of the Wood River Valley. For those in the know, the area is a bucket-list spot for fly fishing, hunting, skiing, and all things outdoors.
As you travel up the valley at night, the stars will shine bright both literally and figuratively. The historic mining-turned-resort towns of Hailey, Ketchum, and Sun Valley have long been called home to some of the Hollywood elite including; Demi Moore, Bruce Willis, Ernest Hemmingway, and Tom Hanks to name a few.
It was this concentration of wealth that brought George back to the valley time and again throughout the 1970’s-1990’s. George had made a name for himself early on with the rich and famous as a master of “cementuous materials”. No matter the size of the job, if you needed something constructed out of concrete, brick, mortar or stone, George was your guy. In the 1990’s he was offered a multiyear job for renowned local photographer, Alfredo Rego. Little did he know when he accepted the job, that this would begin a hair-raising journey into the unknown with a local Sasquatch.
With the pricey local real estate costs, George and his wife, Jean, decided to live on the cheap and hitched up their aluminum Avion trailer, setting up camp at the mouth of the North Fork Valley for the duration of the job. The North Fork Valley is a narrow, confined canyon surrounded by steep mountains within the Sawtooth National Forest. Being an avid outdoorsman, George would take evening walks up the logging road that accessed` the North Fork.
The first time he walked up the valley he experienced something strange. He had the feeling that something was watching him. George was an experienced hunter and very comfortable being alone in the woods. He was used to being in the presence of bears and mountain lions. This was different. The hair on his arms and back of his neck stood at attention. Whatever was watching him was something big and strangely intelligent. George realized that day after day, he could never get very far up the valley road before he would have to turn around out of fear and head back to the Avion, often at a dead sprint.
These sensations caused George to poke around with the locals. Had they, too, experienced the same thing while in the North Fork? To his surprise and relief, most of the locals agreed and refused to enter the valley on foot because of these exact same feelings. He found that even dogs refused to walk up the road, insisting to their owners on turning back for home.
None of the local residents had ever seen anything, but the presence of something watching them was impossible to ignore. George would continue trying to push past his uneasiness, trying to find the cause. Over the entire three-year duration of the job, there was no shining light. The mysterious being would not reveal itself. That would all change when he accepted his next job in the nearby town of Fairfield Idaho.
Fairfield lies to the south, approximately 55 miles on pavement outside of the Wood River Valley. As the crow flies, however, this small rural farm town is only 25 miles from where George was camped on his last job at North Fork outside of Sun Valley. George’s new job once again called upon for construction expertise, this time in stucco.
In typical fashion, George and Jean pulled their trusty Avion trailer down to the current jobsite. It was late August, just before fall hunting season and the couple decided to set up camp above town in the familiar, remote surroundings of the Sawtooth National Forest. During the day George would go down the mountain to the jobsite and Jean would stay up at the Avion. The wild apple trees, creeks, and hot springs in the high country offered the serenity the couple were looking for.
Before long, however, Jean raised some of the same concerns George and the locals had previously brought up at the North Fork Valley several years prior. She felt every time she was outside the Avion by herself, she was being watched. The hair stood on the back of her neck. She told George she wasn’t staying up there during the day anymore and started going down to his jobsite and helping anyway she could, just to avoid being alone in the presence up at camp.
A short time later, George and Jean were both at their wits end. This was the first time that both he and his wife felt the same familiar sense that something was watching them together. It got to the point that they regularly started covering each other with handguns as they went outside, even for nature calls. As George would say later, “I knew I was no longer in charge”.
Then it finally happened. One night in that shiny, metal Avion trailer, after the years of disbelief and uncertainty, the presence revealed itself to George and his wife. Guns were dropped. Night eyes met. Worlds collided and peace was finalized.
Listen to the amazing details and story finale on the Sasquatch Syndicate Podcast episode “Avion” from September 2018.
Do you live in the forested areas of Idaho? Have you had your own unexplained encounter? Let us know in the comments below or email us. We'd love to hear from you.
Research Writer - Sasquatch Syndicate Inc.
PASADENA, Calif. — It was barely two hours into Day 1 of AlienCon and 500 years of accepted history and science were already being tossed out. Three thousand people had gathered inside the Civic Auditorium here for a panel discussion featuring presenters from “Ancient Aliens,” a History Channel documentary series.
Everyone had questions: about whether we were alone in the universe; about what our government really knows; about humanity’s very origins.
One of the network’s most popular and longest-running shows (Season 13 resumed on July 20), “Ancient Aliens” is itself a series of questions. Many are posed rhetorically by an unseen narrator intoning over a wide shot of a rubbly archaeological site. According to the show’s talking heads, extraterrestrials may have had a role not only in the extermination of the dinosaurs, but also in the construction of the Egyptian pyramids.
Carl Sagan, the popular scientist who captivated television audiences of the 1970s and ’80s, once said: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
But Mr. Sagan has been dead for years, and many Americans of the internet age have been in a mood to challenge established ideas. There has been a resurgence of the flat-earth theory. More than a few believe that global warming is a hoax, that survivors of mass shootings are crisis actors.
Yet for many at the conference, and elsewhere, this is not simply a political divide. We now know that the history that had been taught for years excluded the experiences of so many (African-Americans, women, the working poor). What else had been left out? Trust in the government and leaders who could set it all straight is historically low.
Earlier that morning, a woman had risen from the crowd and told the “Ancient Aliens” producers: “I’m indoctrinating my children in your show so they’ll ask questions and not believe everything they’re told.”
During the question-and-answer period, a wheelchair-bound man of about 60 was handed a microphone. He asked, “Do you believe we are indigenous to this planet?”
It was Giorgio who answered him, naturally: Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, 44, the show’s breakout star, the one they’d most come to see and get their picture with. He was dressed as he would be all weekend, in the khaki shirt and pants and sturdy leather boots of a field archaeologist, though in the strict academic sense, he has no such accreditation.
Before appearing on TV, he worked as a bodybuilding promoter while publishing “Legendary Times,” a newsletter about extraterrestrials. He is one of the show’s so-called Ancient Astronaut Theorists.
It is not fancy credentials but the way he expresses gut beliefs that makes him compelling to viewers; that, and his hair. Perhaps no other figure in current American life besides the president is so vividly linked to a hairstyle. The do was as epic in person: a brown bushy bird’s nest sprayed up on all sides to achieve absurd height. It gave him a look of perpetual amazement, or of someone who had been electrocuted.
The man in the wheelchair waited along with the crowd to hear if Earth was in fact our ancestral home. Behind the speakers’ table, Mr. Tsoukalos leaned in and, as he so often does on TV, made an incredible claim with total confidence and a goofy grin. “No.” “Exactly,” the man said, and practically dropped the mic.
Make aliens great again: One conference attendee clapped a baseball cap atop his face mask.
The primary pathway into “Ancient Aliens” and the ancient astronaut theory is a book called “Chariots of the Gods?” Rivaling “Led Zeppelin IV” as a mystical hippie-era artifact passed through the generations, it suggests that extraterrestrials gave technology and culture to the Egyptians, Mayans and other ancient civilizations — which sounds fringy, except it has sold more than seven million copies, with a 50th anniversary edition out from Berkley Books this summer. The 1970 documentary film of “Chariots” was nominated for an Academy Award.
The book’s Swiss author, Erich von Däniken, flew 12 hours from Zurich with his ponytailed young assistant, Ramon, to speak at AlienCon. Eighty-three and slightly stooped, he still works every day, he told me backstage on Day 1, crisscrossing the globe “like a missionary.”
With his severe Swiss-German accented English and tetchy impatience with critics, Mr. von Däniken is now, with the visibly amped Mr. Tsoukalos, one of the familiar personalities of “Ancient Aliens.”
There is also George Noory, the genial mustachioed host of the late-night radio show “Coast to Coast AM;” Linda Moulton Howe, who once made a documentary suggesting that flesh wounds on some Alabama cattle were alien markings; Nick Pope, an ex-British Ministry of Defense official; and William Henry, a groovy “investigative mythologist.”
David Hatcher Childress, who gets nearly as much screen time as Mr. Tsoukalos, is a real-life Indiana Jones who climbs megalithic ruins in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley equipped with a brown felt hat and a notebook. Since 1984, he has operated Adventures Unlimited Press, whose hundreds of paperback titles, several of which he has written, roughly chart the conspiracy du jour: Atlantis, Nikola Tesla, the Mayan calendar, recently Bigfoot.
Before “Ancient Aliens,” these believers had been scattered on the margins, hawking their ideas at small gatherings in the Nevada desert. Now they’d been unified under one tent and given a podium by a network with the sheen of educational TV. Did that awesome responsibility temper them?
Here’s Mr. Childress, in an episode from Season 10 called “The Alien Architects”: “So here we have an ancient grid structure, probably built by extraterrestrials, possibly to power their craft, that’s now being reconstructed today by the military.”
Such broad, unverified claims are why “Ancient Aliens” is taken by some to be carnival entertainment (see the Viceland stoner spinoff “Traveling the Stars: Action Bronson and Friends Watch ‘Ancient Aliens’”) — and by others as something darker, a show that traffics in intellectual hucksterism and challenges facts.
“The Idiocy, Fabrications and Lies of ‘Ancient Aliens,’” reads one headline from Smithsonian.com. Another critique, posted to Medium by Barry Vacker, a professor at Temple University, argued that since the Apollo 11 mission, Americans have lacked a popular narrative to explain the vast cosmos and our origins and destiny within it.
“In ‘Ancient Aliens,’ we can see philosophy’s mediated corpse,” writes Mr. Vacker, who called the show “an attack on logic, rationality, and the nature of evidence.”
For Kevin Burns, naysayers like Mr. Vacker add little to the discussion. A veteran TV producer who is often confused with the highbrow filmmaker Ken Burns (“I do the ones in color,” he likes to say), he was old enough to remember “Chariots of the Gods?” and to notice similarities with the 2008 movie “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which Lucasfilm hired him to promote with a TV special.
Envisioning an updated “Chariots,” he approached the History Channel with the “Ancient Aliens” concept, which grew from a two-hour special into a series.
Initially, Mr. Burns included skeptics on the show. But, he said, “we found that they had nothing to say, other than, ‘There’s no proof, there’s no proof.’ If we were going to do a show about the birth of Jesus, would we have people who say, ‘This is ridiculous?’ No.”
The invocation of religion is deliberate. In Mr. Burns’s view, “Ancient Aliens” succeeds because it explores spirituality and the mystery of life in an increasingly secular, data-driven culture. Like religion, it offers seekers an origin story.
“It’s not about little green men in outer space. That’s the three-headed snake lady that gets you into the tent,” Mr. Burns said. “It’s really a show about looking for God. Science would have you believe we are the result of nothing more than a chance assemblage of matter. The real truth is we don’t know.”
The questions posed by the ancient astronaut theorists, however far-fetched, serve a rare purpose, according to Mr. Burns: “It allows the audience to wonder. And very few things on television do that.”
Selling the StardustIn the “Marketplace” — the gymnasium-size room at AlienCon with the merch booths — the cast members existed comfortably with crystal jewelry sellers; practitioners of iridology and divine muscle testing; the author of a science-fiction series called “Gray Guardians”; the producers of the U.F.O. government cover-up thriller “The Phoenix Incident”; Sasquatch Syndicate, one of the nations leading podcasts and internet collective, which sold Bigfoot action figures; a man and woman into cosplay who were both dressed like Giorgio; and the promoters of the Sedona Orgone Vortex, which promised to produce positive energy and block electromagnetic fields.
On Day 1, a disheveled-looking Jack Nicholson was spotted checking out the offerings. Or was it an impostor? Another mystery.
In the long line of fans who had paid $25 to get Giorgio’s autograph was Fabian Garcia, who had come with his daughter, Amanda, and young grandsons, Ashton and Cruz. Mr. Garcia said he wanted to get the full story from the “Ancient Aliens” producers and cast. “I want to go, ‘What else can’t you show?’”
That a TV show that devoted an entire episode to how alien technology might have helped Hitler was in any way being censored was surprising to hear. But Mr. Garcia insisted, “I want to know more.”
His grandsons just wanted to meet Giorgio, a cartoon explorer come to life. When Mr. Garcia babysits the boys, he watches “Ancient Aliens.” Now, he said, when he turns on the TV, Cruz, 6, tells him, “Go to the show with the guy with the crazy hair.”
Mr. Burns went on stage and told the fans how he’d met Giorgio, then living near San Diego, and put him on TV. Believing the author of “Chariots” was dead, Mr. Burns had asked a staffer to find the modern-day version.
This was for the “Indiana Jones” TV special in 2008. “I see this strange, tanned, young gentleman with poufy hair,” Mr. Burns recalled. “I said, ‘Who’s that?’ They said, ‘You wanted me to find the new von Däniken. That’s the guy.’ I said, ‘Bring him in.’”
Over dinner at a Greek cafe in Old Pasadena on the eve of the convention, Mr. Tsoukalos insisted he never intended to become a media personality.
“I never sought out to be on TV,” he said. He was wearing what for him passed as a celebrity disguise: a hat. “It’s a totally weird experience.”
As if to illustrate the point, a woman approached us on the patio and said, “Excuse me. I love the show,” then tried to palm him a $100 bill to buy his dinner. He politely declined.
The next day, I watched him pose for photos for more than an hour with fans, including a feeble old woman who waited until the very end to speak to him. What she whispered to him wasn’t audible to me (and no one would tell me after), but the old woman began weeping. He bent down and comforted her.
What did they see in him?
“That’s one of the greatest mysteries I have yet to solve,” he said lightly.
Mr. Burns told me that his star presenter was initially thrown by his sudden fame, and hurt and embarrassed by a widely circulated meme that sends up his enthusiasm for attributing seemingly any unexplained mystery, and some explained ones, to aliens (“I’m not saying it was aliens … but it was aliens”; “I don’t know. Therefore aliens.”).
He felt, accurately, he was being mocked. A frequent criticism had it that he wasn’t qualified to appear on “Ancient Aliens.” Unfair, really, since M.I.T. isn’t giving out Ph.D.s in ancient astronaut theory.
Mr. Tsoukalos discovered Mr. von Däniken’s books as a boy growing up in Switzerland, at 14 — the ideal indoctrination age, judging by the many convention-goers who said they’d also latched onto “Chariots” in junior high school. Later, he courted Mr. von Däniken as a mentor, and earned a degree in communications from Ithaca College. What was he if not a communicator?
These days, he takes the jokes in stride (“It goes to show the appreciation for the show”) and views his celebrity as “a complete adventure.” A few years ago, he spoofed himself in a Taco Bell ad that aired during the Super Bowl. He will soon appear in a McDonald’s commercial.
One sensed he was making decent bank in this field. He has become a co-executive producer of “Ancient Aliens” and travels far and wide filming the show.
While he was doing the AlienCon panels, his wife, Krix Beeble, was doing a brisk business selling T-shirts bearing his face ($25), autographed photos ($25), the little gold spaceship pins that believers wear on their lapel as a Catholic might don a rosary. She designs the glass-bead necklaces ($275) her husband wears on TV, a nifty bit of cross-promotion.
But does he really believe this stuff? “I don’t believe,” he said. “I know.”
You couldn’t fake the fire in his eyes. Even before our moussaka arrived, he was lecturing me on prehistoric man’s contact with aliens: “They came down from the sky and said, ‘Oh, you don’t know how to make fire? Let us show you.’”
But, he wanted New York Times readers to know, “I’m a skeptic. I don’t buy everything hook, line and sinker. There’s a lot of weird stuff out there, man.”
He mentioned the flat-earth believers. “And then for people to argue, ‘Well, you believe in ancient astronauts so the flat earth isn’t too far-off.’ That’s what I have to deal with. It’s, like, the two are not even related! They’re not even in the same category!”
He sipped his wine and with all seriousness said, “I’m a forensics guy. I need to touch, measure, feel and see things.”
A few weeks before AlienCon, I drove to rural Connecticut to see Kenneth Feder, who has a Ph.D. in anthropology. We sat along the Farmington River, across the road from his modest house. In addition to teaching archaeology at Central Connecticut State University, he has a reputation as a debunker of what he called “pseudo-archaeology,” appearing on TV and has written a book, “Frauds, Myths and Mysteries,” which devotes a chapter to ancient astronaut theory.
When I’d arrived, Mr. Feder, 65, had shown me his worn paperback of “Chariots of the Gods?” which he had read as a child of the ’60s along with occultist books on witchcraft and reincarnation. But in college, he said, he took classes with Pedro Armillas, a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican scholar, and moved away from mythology into the science camp.
“A lot of the ancient alien stuff relies on willful ignorance and temporal chauvinism” — a disbelief that ancient people were capable of complex feats of engineering, Mr. Feder said. “I’d read that the building of the Mayan temples was a mystery and think, ‘Why don’t you ask Professor Armillas? He knows exactly how it was done.”
Many of his colleagues in the academy thought it “better not to engage,” Mr. Feder said. “My feeling was it’s a big mistake to ignore this stuff.” The way Mr. von Däniken gathered evidence — “I look worldwide for facts and indications that prove my theory,” he told a Swiss newspaper — was the opposite of the scientific method.
Mr. Feder wasn’t rooting against the ancient astronaut theorists finding hard proof. “If there was a crashed U.F.O. under the pyramids, I’d go, ‘Damn, that’s awesome.’”
But, he added, “Science is all about evidence. The bar has to be higher than Giorgio walking around going, ‘How did they do that? The rocks are so heavy.’”
The ancient astronaut theory was immune to facts, though. It couldn’t be stamped out with reasoning. You laid out the fallacies and people didn’t care.
As far back as 1977, a joint BBC and PBS documentary discredited Mr. von Däniken’s thesis, with help from Mr. Sagan, showing how it “rests on inaccuracies, on unrelated facts and false similarities.”
Confronted by the filmmakers, Mr. von Däniken admitted that a piece of evidence in “Chariots” — a photo purported to be a spaceship parking bay on the Nazca Plain in Peru — was “ridiculous.” As a writer, he said, sometimes he was “simply stimulating the reader, and one is allowed to do this.”
Forty years on, the photo was still there in new printings of “Chariots,” uncorrected. At the same time, Ramon, the assistant, told me that there was more demand than ever for his boss to speak, that he was no longer ridiculed. “It’s getting better for him,” Ramon said.
“Ancient Aliens” had its own vigorous rebuttals, including the documentary “Ancient Aliens Debunked,” a three-hour tour de force of critical reasoning undermined somewhat when people discovered the filmmaker was a Christian who believed in the truth of the story of Noah’s Ark.
But in presenting an alternate view of history (“Our past is way different than what we’re being taught in school,” Mr. Tsoukalos told viewers in Season 1, Episode 1), “Ancient Aliens” had come to mean something for a population who felt duped by the so-called experts.
Chris Bayley, the lawyer from Arizona, told me that although he’d been a good sheep in childhood, the truth was, even back then he had doubted the version of the world he was taught. “The show helped validate for me that suspicion,” he said.
And so “Ancient Aliens” was filming new episodes; and Giorgio was starring in fast-food commercials; and amazingly, Mr. Burns said, reruns of old episodes did just as well in the ratings. During AlienCon, he and the organizers announced the conference would expand to the East Coast, to Baltimore this fall.
The show had long ago run out of pyramids. It was getting further out in what it covered, mirroring modern life itself. Astronomers were discovering weekly new planets in the habitable zone, emboldening the ancient astronaut theorists.
Last year, The New York Times ran a front-page story on a secret Pentagon U.F.O. program, which inspired a two-hour episode. The presenters were let loose to debate transhumanism, wormholes, God’s presence in sound waves, our brains connecting to a universal intelligence the way a smartphone links to Wi-Fi, our moon maybe a giant spacecraft for extraterrestrials to monitor us.
All these creatively connected dots, these ever-expanding cottage theories discussed by the cast members, it was affecting them. “I’ve always been open-minded, clearly,” Mr. Tsoukalos said. But lately, he had become even more so; he had been considering “the nonphysical realm” — aliens as “something completely ethereal, beings of light.”
Audiences were being radically opened, too. Something had come unanchored. It was inevitable where things were headed. The moment came at one of the “Ancient Aliens” cast panels, during questions from the audience. Everyone listened uncomfortably to a man who spoke at length, in an agitated voice, about certain flaws he’d discovered in the hard sciences.
“Sir, sir, sir. Do you have a question?” Mr. Burns interrupted.
The man exclaimed, “Why don’t you challenge physics and math?”
I left the crowds and walked into Pasadena to get lunch. On the way back, I came upon a low-slung, ’70s-style office building made of tan-brown stucco, with a sign that read, intriguingly, “The Planetary Society,” in a swooshy font.
I knocked on the glass door and a young volunteer, Sean, let me in. The nongovernmental, nonprofit organization was dedicated to exploring space and our place within the cosmos, Sean said. One of the founders was Mr. Sagan, who himself had a lifelong fascination with the question of extraterrestrial life. He lent a beautiful quote to the plaque outside, saying of humans on Earth, “We float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.”
The Planetary Society was one block from AlienCon. But it was empty of visitors. Sean gave me a tour of the current exhibit, on solar sailing. A reflective sail is hoisted and the pressure from sunlight is harnessed to propel a small craft around the solar system, as wind moves a sailboat. One of the silvery Mylar LightSails hung from the ceiling.
It was a wondrous, ingenious idea. It made me think of something Mr. Feder said during our conversation. I’d remarked that “Ancient Aliens” presented exciting ideas about our past. That’s why the show was popular.
To which he had replied: “Isn’t it so much more exciting to believe that humans, through their ingenuity and creativity, built these great structures?”
By Steven Kurutz -
Credit - NY Times
LINK TO FULL ARTICLE WITH IMAGES
St. Louis County, nestled in the north-east portion of Minnesota, stretching from the edge of Lake Superior to the Canadian border, has a whopping 20 sightings reported by the Bigfoot Research Organization. That’s 27 percent of the state’s sightings.
Compared to St. Louis County, the next largest collection of sightings in any Minnesota County can be found in Cass County. They’ve seen a total of four that have been recorded by the BRO since June of 2006 when workers found possible Sasquatch footprints near Bena.
So, what makes the Minnesota Bigfoot Forests such an attractive place for Sasquatch to hangout? Is it the forest, food or even water access? Let’s dig in, shall we?
Sasquatch is one of the most geographically diverse cryptids. There’s a version of one of these creatures on every continent on Earth, but the North American creature is said to be a forest dweller that loves dense wooded areas.
The woods in Minnesota, particularly those in the St. Louis County’s Superior National Forest, are perfect for these creatures. Considering we haven’t seen much of them by way of physical proof, we assume that they’re shy and a large forest is perfect for them to hide out in.
Not to mention, there is plenty of material to create tree structures that are said by some to be signs of Sasquatch life in certain wooded areas. Whether they’re boundary distinctions, a way to get food or a mating ritual—the tree-rich forests in Minnesota are the perfect environment.
While the habitat of the Minnesota Bigfoot Forests are great for Sasquatch, there is also food abound for these creatures. Truthfully, we don’t know what they eat but we suspect them to have an omnivorous diet of raw meat and fish like it’s Florida cousin the Skunk Ape.
The Superior National Forest is home to a number of creatures that could make up the perfect Sasquatch diet. There are the big guys—moose, wolves, lynx and black bear, though we’re not sure they eat all of those. You can also find birds including 155 nesting species.
The forests in Minnesota also contain 455,000 acres of surface water plus 1,300 cold water streams and 950 miles of warm water streams. The water is not only necessary to drink, but it also includes a collection of fish like walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass and a whole collection of trout.
Searching for Sasquatch in St. Louis County
If you’re looking for Sasquatch in Minnesota, St. Louis County is also your best bet. You can head out to search all on your own if you want to, with 20 different sightings reported through the BFO you might have a decent chance to see one. Sightings in this area date back to 1973 when a couple were chased by “howling screams” through the forest. And are as recent as April 2018, when someone saw one crossing the MN-73 in the middle of the day near the town of Cook.
There have been sightings all around St. Louis County. So, if you’re looking to catch sight of Sasquatch this summer, Minnesota is a pretty good bet. Don’t forget to bring your Sasquatch Syndicate trucker hat because that sun can get crazy!
If you head out to Minnesota, make sure you let us know what you saw in the comments below!
By Tae Haahr
Research Writer, Sasquatch Syndicate Inc.
For the believers and skeptics alike, hearing the name Sasquatch Island will make you stop and scratch your head, asking, “Where is that? Why haven’t I heard of this place?” Chances are, you have already been there. You probably even live there.
Sasquatch Island is the name given by the Kwakwaka’ wakh First Nations tribe to North America. The Kwakwaka’ wakh people’s home territory spans from Campbell River, B.C. to the northern tip of Vancouver Island and encompasses the more than two hundred islands comprising the Broughton Archipelago between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland.
The glacially carved islands and fjords contain some of the most pristine wilderness in North America. The area has become a bucket list destination for kayaking, sailing, whale watching, wildlife viewing and experiencing native cultural traditions.
To get there, the easiest way is to arrive by boat. You can take a cruise up to Alaska and you will pass through the area, but you will only get a glimpse of the scenery and it will likely leave you wanting for more. For the traveler on a budget, try the Alaska Marine Highway ferry system out of Bellingham Washington or the numerous B.C. Ferry routes. When you get to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, just before entering the open waters of the Queen Charlotte Strait, you will pass by a small island and the town of Alert Bay. The ferry captain will announce, “To your left is the largest Totem Pole in the world.”
You will want to stop in Alert Bay, but unfortunately the small island community is not on the tourist stop list. To reach Alert Bay, your best chance is to reach out to local native, Thomas Sewid. Tom will be happy to take you whale watching or fishing. He’ll be happy to set you up on a kayaking trip to some of the most desolate islands in in North America. But what he’s most renowned for is his Sasquatch sighting adventures.
To hear a fascinating history of the Kwakwaka’ wakh Nation’s traditions, check out the recent podcast on the Sasquatch Syndicate During the episode, Tom emphasizes several things to watch out for if you dare to venture into the Broughton Archipelago.
The most important thing to know is that the island chain is well known for its ripping tidal currents. If you’re not careful, your vessel will be left either high and dry, or swept out to sea. The fluctuations between low and high tide regularly vary by 15 feet. This tidal swing is what also provides for one of the most abundant amounts of protein in the world in the form of shellfish. Any native of the Pacific Northwest coast will have fond memories of walking out on the beach at low tide with bucket and shovel in hand and learning the art of clam digging from their elders.
It’s all fun and games, however if you aren’t aware of the Dzunukwa, Dzunuḵ̓wa (possibly pronounced "doo-zoo-noo-kwah") also known as the wild woman of the woods, things can turn tragic in a heartbeat. When landing on an island beach at low tide, local tribal members recommend walking up to the high tide line and investigating. Thomas Sewid remembers his elders looking for footprints. If they saw large footprints in the sand, it meant that the Dzunukwa was harvesting that particular beach. It was best if the family migrated down the coast a mile or two and get out of the way.
All children of the coastal northwest tribes have a similar version of the Dzunukwa. Every night parents and elders warned you as you were lying in bed. If you misbehaved, chances are the Dzunukwa would come take you in her basket at night and eat you in the woods.
Do you have experiences with the Dzunukwa? Have you been to the Broughton Archipelago and spent nights on the islands? Did you hear the “whoop whoops” at night in the woods? Let us know in the comments below or email us.
Research Writer, Sasquatch Syndicate Inc.