Bigfoot In the Sierras?

Amy Rolph at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a blog post about some evidence that some California paranormal researchers think they’ve found in the form of some snuffle-shaped  smudges on a windshield that don’t quite match the shape you’d expect from a big cat or bear.

Apparently there’s “DNA” involved. Presumably from snot, not to put too fine a point on it.

Rolph links to an earlier post of hers, from yesterday, that mentions the fact that these researchers think they’ve found a substance (did I mention snot?) that might contain the DNA of the creature in question, and are seeking private donations to have DNA testing done. There’s a video of the smudges on the windows here — though, sadly, not of Bigfoot putting them there.

Since this stuff is in my neck of the woods — you know, central California and all — my interest was piqued. One of the researchers is Mickey Burrow, who’s based in Fresno (about 2 hours south of me on I-5). Also involved are the Sanger Paranormal Society, which covers “Central California and Coastal Area,” but which focuses, from the notes on its Bigfoot page, on the eastern half of the state — that’d be the Sierras, not the coast, and certainly not the north coast.

That further grabbed my interest by the cojones, because that’s not where I’d personally go looking for Bigfoot.

The famous 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film that is reputedly of a big hairy hominid was, of course, shot on the whole other side of northern California (for the uninitiated, this is a big frickin’ state), in the Six Rivers National Forest in Del Norte County. That part of the state is where the Bigfoot Trail is, and the world’s only Bigfoot Trap is also over in that neck of the woods, in Jackson County in the extreme south of Oregon — Jackson County, that is.

The short version is that the majority of the interest and the bulk of the encounters with supposed outsized non-human hominids are in the Pacific Northwest, of which the Sierras are topographically part only in sort of a stretching-the-globe sort of way. Sure, it’s the general region, but I don’t think of the wilds of the Lake Tahoe region as being even remotely Bigfoot-infested.

I even felt sufficiently confident that there are no significant (real or legendary) human-sized ape-type things running wild in the Sierras (other than the occasional Pabst-addled feral hunter, of course) that when setting one of my many unpublished paranormal novels south of Lake Tahoe, I invented a hominid wholesale, rather than risk Scullying my reputation by locating the Bigfoot species someplace it ain’t. I called it Sierra Slim and implied that, with occasional disastrous consequences for hippies, Slim aggressively sought out carnal relations with ’60s vintage Volkswagens, with occasional disastrous consequences for hippies. This interest of Slim’s was owed to a brief but oh-so-satisfying amorous encounter deep in its racial memory with robotic visitors from Theta Alpha Epsilon that really knew the meaning of “air-cooled engine,” if you catch my drift.

Shows you how much I know! Not much, it turns out. In addition to the audacious team over at Sanger, there’s actually a Sierra Sasquatch Research Group, a Sierra Tahoe Bigfoot Research blog — and, of course, Sierra Nevada breweries’ barleywine-style Bigfoot Ale. As if to prove that I’m a dipshit, you can even find reports of the Sierra “DNA evidence” in that newspaper-of-record for pissing-me-off, the Daily Mail. Apparently the got the “Bigfoot in the Sierras” memo in London Town before we got it here in Sac.

Speaking of memos that people didn’t get, the folks at North America Bigfoot Search didn’t get the memo about open-sourcing that shit when it comes to the looking-for-Bigfoot project. On the contrary; when they decided put together an oh-so-helpful Bigfoot encounter map, not only was it limited to California’s Trinity, Humboldt, Sikyou and Del Norte counties (all contiguous, in the extreme Northwest of the state) but rather than thinking, “Let’s further human knowledge and make it interactive on the web, with GPS coordinates,” the NABS folks decided, “let’s charge $6.95 for it, plus 9.25% sales tax for California residents.”

My attempts to find anything approaching official Bigfoot maps that consolidate reports of all encounters went to interesting but slightly sketchy free sites and half-assed Wikipedia maps that only break ‘er down by state (and, speaking of which, when it comes to Bigfoot sightings, California is the sassiest, may I observe? Eat your heart out, Oregon.) If you want a county-by-county Bigfoot encounter map for the Sierras, your guess is as good as mine.

Mind you, I don’t actually approve of an army of people driving around attempting to spot and photograph Bigfoot any more than I would approve of them trying to bag-and-tag Bigfoot with a tranquilizer gun. I respect the work of wildlife researchers whether or not the species they’re looking for seems to be represented by, you know, like, consensus reality and stuff. But I worry what will happen if there’s ever a seriously credible video of the big hairy thing. Will there be an avalanche of thrill-seekers? While today’s Bigfoot researchers seem respectful and even a little bit wacky-spiritual about it, what happens if they find something? When Bigfoot Fever catches, will jackasses be selling $6.95 maps so that all y’all can drive into the forest and piss on Bigfoot’s campfire?

I think driving out into the wilderness with the specific purpose of bugging the hell out of some hairy thing that never bugged you is sort of a sketchy way to get hour ya-yas. I’d sooner suggest that hippies drive up to the Sierras and plant their VW’s tires on sacred ground with the rear-end jacked up, if you know what I mean.

This is B’s home, homies. Don’t put your feet on the coffee table.

Luckily for all who value the sanctity of the wild environment, the magnificent crush of humanity that descends on the wilds of California during camping-friendly times of the year is so extreme that Bigfoot hunters are really nothing more than a drop in the bucket.

I also repeat my earlier comment that in my experience genuine Bigfoot researchers, while they may seem wacky to many, have always struck me as far more likely to be clued in with the environment and wildlife habitats — and to encourage responsible use of our natural resources — than your garden-variety espresso zombie like yours truly. At least, that’s the theory.

Anyway, there are reported Bigfoot encounters in the Sierras. Now I know.

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