Primates of the paranormal ?
Posted on Friday, 17 October, 2014 | 1 comment
Columnist: Edward Crabtree
This year, at last, the first severed arm of a Sasquatch was found! From the unlikely setting of Liberty County, near Tallahassee in Florida came photos of a furry, half decomposed hand. This had to be it. Not long after, however, the keyboards of dozens of living rooms began to rattle: even spirited Bigfoot stalwarts were unanimous. This was nothing more than a bear paw.
The question of evidence that points to reality of unclassified anthropoids and hominids such as the yeti, Bigfoot and the almas gets a trifle vexed. The believer can cite a roll call of footprint casts. Some of these have been found in out-of-the-way places and show convincing detail. They may tell of recordings of whistles and growls. They might produce a strand of hair, or proffer Bigfoot `nests` which hikers stumbled upon. To the naturalist, waiting with itchy rubber gloved hands, however, this is all just so much Scotch mist.
Then, finally there are the snapshots and films. Most of these – the hot potato of the Gimlin-Patterson shot aside –were taken at some distance and often blurry and ambiguous as a result.
For our man-like ape to step out of the world of make believe and into where he can be spoken of in polite society, an enthusiast needs to present the world with a big hairy corpse. Or at least a skeleton.
Attending a Yeti conference in Kemerovo, Siberia, the chief archaeologist of the State University there said: `The yeti is not an alien and his lifespan is hardly longer than a human being, maybe a 100 years, but that is debatable. There must be skeletal remains`.
The ubiquitous Loren Coleman, meanwhile, insists that such a treasure is `ready and waiting to be sort of found if people have patience`. (Both cited in Bainton, p-360).
How much patience will they need though? Bigfoot advocates are prone to make comparisons between it and previous once contested creatures. The West, for example, first heard tell of the giant panda from Chinese folklore in 1869.It would be 37 years later before a westerner first clapped eyes on a real one. Then the West had to wait until 1936 for Ruth Harkness to bring the first panda to the western world.
Although we need to allow for the fact that communication channels were more primitive then, there was a seventy year hiatus between hearsay about, and confirmation of, the panda. Now if we are to take interest in the yeti and Bigfoot to have begun with the Himalayan expeditions of the early Fifties, the clock is ticking for confirmation of our hairy biped.
Many enthusiasts sustain themselves with hope for the imminent finding of just such remains. These needs must be out there for they are convinced that the sightings are of a zoological specimen. This must entail a corresponding habitat, be a part of the food chain, and boast enough of a population to breed. A still living survivor of a previous evolutionary branch could fit the bill. The large Bigfoot is often tallied with Gigantopithecus and the smaller yeti and almas with a Neanderthal. So, all that remains is to hunt these down.
An example of this approach can be seen in Peter Byrne. A former big game hunter, he has stalked the Sasquatch in the northwest Pacific for many a year. Another would be Yoshiteru Takahashi, a 65 year old Tokyo resident, who has made a few trips to the Himalayas armed with such gadgets as multiple infra-red sensors.
Neither man believes in killing the creature to obtain proof. Nevertheless, they use patience, stealth and technology to stalk their prey. They hope to add to mankind’s fund of scientific knowledge in so doing.
That they continue to be empty handed will be put down to a host of factors: the creatures are nocturnal and shy, they migrate, their remains get eaten by other animals, maybe they bury their dead, they live in underground labyrinths...and a dog ate my homework. It seems always to be a case of: `better luck next time`.
Enter the shamans.
From this impasse a new generation of Bigfoot advocates has been born in North America. They take a fresh approach. They take their cue from naturalist such as Dian Fossey – who is portrayed in the film Gorillas in the Mist (1988). They advocate meeting Bigfoot on its own terms, in its own environment. If Mahomet will not come to the mountain, then the mountain must go to Mahomet. Such investigators have become bound up with an alternative view of what sort of entity Bigfoot comprises. As the UFO journalist Bret Lueder puts it:
`These researchers have found that bigfoot is a different kind of human being that possesses advanced intelligence and psychic ability, and exists in multiple dimensions` (Lueder, p-121).
Two telling exemplars of this trend include Thom Cantrall of Oregon, whose folksy style can be deduced from the title of his semi-fictional book `The Ghosts of Ruby Ridge` (2008) and White Song Eagle who has told of his own Bigfoot pow-wows in `Teluke: A Personal Account`, from the same year.
The most established representative is Kewaunee (AKA John) Lapseritis – the `holistic Health consultant and Master Herbalist`. He offers his own take on why Bigfoot has yet to be collared. As he told Lueder: `Don’t forget, they can read your mind, so you will never get proof` (Lueder, p-122).
This is all a bit hyper-New Age for some (including the author). The schism had reached critical mass twenty five years ago. The Washington Department of Anthropology joined with the International society of Cryptozoology to hold a Sasquatch Symposium. On the roll call of speakers was one Lapseritis, and his presence called forth boos, including from Rene Dahinden, the Bigfoot hunting veteran.
If such writers can be seen as akin to UFO contactees – with all the automatic disbelief that this carries with it – then we can be more generous. We might see them as modern shamans: special people who go out to the wilderness to consort with deities in an altered state of consciousness, and then report back to the tribe. That, at any rate, is how they like to be seen. They do have a point, too, about the nature of Bigfoot not being straightforward.
More than an animal?
To take an objective survey of the Bigfoot phenomenon, we need to acknowledge some `High Strangeness` cases. The Bigfoot which manifested in the eastern states of the USA in the early seventies was a different proposition than the shambling gentle giant of the Pacific Northwest. It had just as many witnesses though.
Glowing eyes are an improbable, but often mentioned, detail of the eastern Bigfoot, as is menacing behaviour. (The 1972 horror flick `The Legend of boggy Creek` was inspired by these reports.)
It is not only in sensationalist America that man-like apes show eye-brow raising powers, however. The St Petersburg based magazine Twentieth Century Secrets (Issue 17, April 2012) tells of a bus driver en- route from Novosibirsk to Kemerovo. He had to brake to avoid hitting a large ape like figure on the road. This vanished all of a sudden, as witnessed by other passengers on the bus.
Then there is their ability to mess with our minds. Another Russian magazine- Unbelievable Legendary Evidence (March 12th, 2012)- reports on how the yeti advocate Valentin Sapunov did a field study of Malaya Vishera in the Novgorod region following a spate of sightings there. Camping, he never caught sight of a yeti but became overcome by trepidation as a result of the yeti’s proximity.
This paranormal part of the phenomena brings us back to the role that the creature played in the mythologies of times past: In Bhutan the Migoi (their yeti) was associated with phenomenal strength and the power of invisibility. Myra Shackley noted that the Leski, the Bigfoot of the Khanti-Mansisk peoples of Western Siberia, had eyes which `glowed like lanterns` and whose arrival brought bad luck (Shackley, p-130-131). It gets worse.
Off world Bigfoot.
Jacques Vallee, the French UFO expert, felt it necessary to develop a new classification of UFO sighting which he called AE3. This was to encompass encounters which involved other anomalous things, such as Bigfoot. Even Loren Coleman (with Jerome Clarke) has written a book – `Creatures of the Outer edge` (1978) –which considered Bigfoot alongside other `High strangeness` events.
In the eastern states of the USA a UFO flap appeared and with it came Bigfoot sightings. One of the people writing about it at the time was Stan Gordon. Gordon has since become the pre-eminent exponent of a UFO-Bigfoot marriage.
On October 25th 1975 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, a farmer and his ten year old son observed a red sphere descending onto a field. Then man-like apes began to advance on them until the sphere departed and the creatures took to some nearby woods (Matthews, p-111).
Such difficult cases do not only occur in Pennsylvania though. In the summer of 1981 a family in Ohio were puzzled by a twenty inch long footprint in a forest. Following this they underwent a series of both UFO and Bigfoot incidents, with other witnesses. (Kahuna in paranormal-portals.com).
Even in Britain, Rendlesham forest in Suffolk, better known for an alleged close encounter with a UFO by the military, has its own hairy biped legend known as the `shug-monkey` (see www.newenglandghosts.com).
Are these dual sightings just a coincidence? Three years before Chewbacca, a dairy farmer called William Bosak beheld a Bigfoot piloting a UFO! On the way back from a co-op meeting at about 10:30pm on December 9th 1974 he was buzzed by a globular UFO with a transparent dome on top. In this was a brown furry ape-like figure which looked as though it was operating a control panel (Huffington Post,6th July 2012).
Charles Bowen’s classic book (of which he is the editor) `The Humanoids` (1974) lists hairy bipeds in amongst the other type of alleged UFO occupants. Little wonder then, that investigators from both camps are seeing fit to do joint gigs: last July there was a Bigfoot conference in Kecksburg, USA. In Russia, the UFO organisation Kosmopoisk (`space-search`) devotes some time to seeking evidence for the snowman.
Some UFO commentators, Bud Hopkins being the most seminal, began to give talks and write papers in the Eighties which claimed that space aliens were conducting gene splicing experiments. If abduction testimonies are to be taken as literal experiences, then these seem to be procedures done to take samples of human tissue, so these commentators argued. Furthermore, Nick Redfern says that `abductees report that they have seen what appear to be half-human/half-alien creatures` (Redfern, p297).
Then there are cattle mutilations. The respected Linda Moulton Howe has catalogued these in the New Mexico area between 1973 and 1983. These look like the work of biological scavengers to some.
Leading figures in the Hominology community have now reached the conclusion that the man-like ape question is not one of left over primates, but more one of a human hybrid – and it may even be the handiwork of extraterrestrial intervention.
Igor Burtsev, the pre-eminent Russian spokesman in this field no longer believes the showman to be a surviving Neanderthal, which was the hypothesis of choice for him and many of his colleagues. Whilst fighting shy of talk invoking UFOs, he calls the snowman a `parallel human` and hold that it displays some special abilities. (From a personal interview.)
Is the relict hominid theory finished? There might be one intriguing theory, albeit from fiction, which combines both possibilities. In 1955 the Nobel Prize winning author William Golding (best known for `Lord of the Flies`) published a novel called `The Inheritors`. This features a Neanderthal race that, despite their telepathic and clairvoyant capacities, are being squeezed out by the new arrivals, the competitive and technological Homo sapiens.
To get out of the province of science-fiction: from all that I have researched I do believe that there may well have been a small population of surviving Neanderthals in Central Asia at least until the Twentieth Century. These would have been flesh and blood animals with no occult powers. There do, nevertheless exist a substantial number of experiences which attest to something stranger still. Are these parts of a whole, or is the apparent connection a misleading one?
The growth of the willingness of Yeti/Bigfoot researchers to ask this question, and to club together with UFO theorists, gives me some hope that someday we might be able to join the dots.
Bainton, Roy The Mammoth Book of Unexplained Phenomena: Astonishing Anomalies, Unknown Dimensions, Panic and Paranoia (London: constable & Robinson Ltd, 2013)
Lueder, Bret A UFO Hunter’s guide: Sightings, Abductions, hotspots, conspiracies, Cover-ups, the Identified and Unidentified and More ( London: Watkins Publishing, 2013)
Matthews, Rupert Bigfoot: True Life Encounters with Legendary Ape-Men (London: Arcutus Publishing Limited, 2008)
Redfern, Nicholas A Covert Agenda: the British Governments UFO top Secrets Exposed (London: Simon & Schuster, 1997)
Shackley, Myra Wild men: Yeti, Sasquatch and the Neanderthal Enigma (London: Thames and Hudson, 1983)
Ruehl -`Is Bigfoot Possibly an Alien Entity? ` Huffington Post.com 7/6/2012
Article Copyright© Edward Crabtree - reproduced with permission.