So, if you’ve been following this blog over the last week, you may be wondering why all the Bigfoot articles. I’ve unofficially dubbed the month of May to be Bigfoot Month! All throughout the month, I’ve been reading books on Sasquatch, watching documentaries, and listening to podcasts. Most importantly, on May 8th, I took part in the West Virginia High Strangeness Collective’s Hands-On Bigfoot Workshop and Cook-Out, hosted by Wild and Weird West Virginia!!
A group of Bigfoot and paranormal enthusiasts met on a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon at Kanawha State Forest for an afternoon full of excellent information, hands-on demonstrations, great food, giveaways, and of course, some really fun conversations, all culminating in an actual after-dusk Bigfoot investigation.
After introductions, Wild and Weird member Wayne Barnes, gave a talk about the history of Bigfoot. I filled several pages of notes on interesting facts and tidbits. It seems like cultures all over the world have been telling stories of hairy man-like creatures since their earliest records were kept. After Wayne’s presentation, Ron Lanham gave some really helpful tips on what sort of information to collect and what types of questions to ask witnesses when compiling a report on potential monster activity. I learned that Bigfoot encounters were classed under an ABC classification system, based on how clear the sighting/evidence is, much like EVPs are.
Later on, Joe Perdue went over his recommendations of tools and equipment that every Bigfoot researcher should have in their pack. It was interesting seeing this broad range of items needed for safety and evidence collection. I was also pleasantly surprised that most of the recommended items were quite affordable and easy to acquire—you don’t really need to spend a TON of money on equipment, especially starting out. Joe also took the group out on the trail, and showed us some things to look for that might indicate potential Bigfoot movement in the area. It was a great introduction on how to differentiate between man-made, natural, and ‘unknown’ disturbances, such as broken tree branches. We also got to observe some bear tracks! Each person got to pour their own ‘bigfoot footprint’ cast and take it home, which was a really cool bonus. The best way to learn something is to just try it out yourself, so it was nice to get the opportunity to practice casting a print without having to worry about messing up a REAL print out in the wild.
Dave Roberts and Ron Lanham wrapped up the educational lectures with an absolutely groundbreaking talk on the use of sound in Bigfoot research. With input from Joe, they discussed how they were using multiple recorders to record and triangulate sounds over a wide expanse. Apparently, there’s only about one other researcher doing something similar, despite the overwhelming potential that this system affords! I’m definitely interested in seeing more about this technique and its results.
Unfortunately, I had to leave before the Bigfoot hunt, but I totally feel like I got my $20 worth! Dinner included grilled hot dogs and BBQ, with Joe’s own awesome recipes. Some really cool prizes, such as a ‘Squatch Stick’ and a giant collapsible bucket for plaster mixing, were given out, and EVERYONE received a signed Bigfoot art print and buttons featuring iconic Bigfoot researchers/images.
Overall, it was an awesome experience. I love being around and talking with other paranormal enthusiasts, and I love having the opportunity to learn from such dedicated and experienced researchers, right in the field. Kanawha State Forest actually has reported Bigfoot activity, so it was neat to be right there in the area while examining footprint casts and hearing data that was collected there. The guys at Wild and Weird did a wonderful job. It was a well-organized event, full of top-notch information. I think that anyone, from beginning to experienced Squatcher, could have come away from this event with some new perspective and some valuable information. All viewpoints on the Bigfoot phenomenon were discussed tactfully and with an open mind, and I felt totally comfortable asking questions or expressing an opinion.
If you missed this hands-on workshop, you’re not completely out of luck. From my understanding, Wild and Weird West Virginia will be hosting similar events in the future! Feel free to follow them at any of the links below for more information. As always, stay spooky, ya’ll.
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