Lair of the Beasts: Creatures and a Conference (Mania.com)
Date: Saturday, November 10, 2012
It’s true to say that I have pursued reports of Bigfoot, and other mysterious, hairy, man-like beasts just about here, there and everywhere. But, only once have I chased the creature while I was actually speaking at a conference! Yep, evidently, when you’re lecturing on him, Bigfoot apparently takes notice, as you’ll now see.
Midway through May 2011, I was asked to speak at a conference that would be held in McGee Creek State Park, Oklahoma, in September called the Cryptid Fest. The wilds of Oklahoma are, for those who may not be aware, prime Bigfoot territory, and sure enough the conference proved quite memorable, chiefly because there were those at the event who actually claimed to have seen several Bigfoot—right at the site of the outdoor event, at 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon, and hiding behind trees and spying upon the audience and speakers, no less!
Here is what happened. In attendance at the conference was a crew from the local Fox News channel, who were eager and anxious to put together a small segment on the Cryptid Fest for the Saturday night news and the good folk of Oklahoma.
It so transpires that while the TV team was running around, setting up cameras, and arranging interviews word started to quietly but quickly circulate that some of the people in attendance had found a curious area of flattened grass only a few hundred feet from where the gig was being held. Not only that, but near the very same site large, humanoid footprints were in evidence, too.
And, get this: There had been brief and tantalizing sightings of massive, dark figures using the trees as cover to spy on what was afoot, before finally retreating into the denser parts of the woods. The story got even more jaw-dropping: People had also seen what looked like an adult male and female, as well as a juvenile Bigfoot, and had even heard the beasts mimicking the cries of crows. How they knew the sounds weren’t of real crows was never really explained.
To top it all off, there was even a fleeting sighting of a large, tan-colored, four-legged creature racing through the woods in the very same locale where the Bigfoot family was seen. Exactly what the hell that latter critter might have been, I have no idea at all.
Clearly overjoyed by such great (or suspicious) timing on the part of Bigfoot and family, Fox News quickly shot footage of the area, launched into a hastily planned question and answer session with the witnesses, and also chatted with fellow monster-hunter Ken Gerhard and I as we made our way towards the action. Yes, there was a flattened area of ground. And there was also what did look like footprints with clearly defined toes in evidence.
As for the legendary monsters themselves, the camera crew recorded the witnesses as saying precisely what you would expect them to say under such circumstances: They saw something big, hairy, and manlike: Bigfoot. The claimed events not only provoked a fair degree of interest, they also inevitably ensured a considerable amount of eye rolling.
But this curious event, however, certainly set the scene for what was to come after the gig was over, and dinner and beer had been eagerly devoured, namely a late night trek around the forest in search of the beast, or beasts, in question.
There were 12 of us who chose to take part in the moonlit adventures, and we all paired-up, just in case any of us got separated and lost, which given the territory and the darkness, would not have been impossible and certainly not a good thing.
The plan was for Ken to lead the way into the dense woods and demonstrate to people the down-to-earth things to look out for, as well as the not so down-to-earth ones, while on a nighttime quest for Bigfoot. And Ken did a fantastic job.
One of the most significant things he did, as we made our careful way through the incredibly thick and near never ending trees, was to mimic a certain action of Bigfoot that has been recorded on countless occasions: tree-Knocking, as it has become known in Sasquatch-seeking circles.
For reasons not entirely understood, when people are out in the woods, Bigfoot very often displays an unsettling propensity for repeatedly banging hard on tree trunks, sometimes violently so. Maybe it’s to scare people away from what it perceives as its territory. Well, if that is the case, it has certainly worked on a number of occasions.
So Ken found a good sized branch and proceeded to whack a few trees as hard as he could, just to see if anything followed. This coincided with another of the team-members mimicking the high-pitched crying howl that has, at times, been attributed to Bigfoot. If something large and monstrous was around, right now was the time for it to tell us. And maybe it did exactly that.
Just around the time of the knocking and the mimicked howling, we all briefly heard what sounded like a strange, animalistic cry, very nearby. It even provoked what seemed to be a return knocking, too. And the call was definitely not of the type that one would attribute to a wild animal of a known variety.
I heard someone shout, nearby, in concerned fashion: “Did you hear that?” Yes, we did, all of us. Not surprisingly, everyone wanted to push further and deeper, which is precisely what happened for a while.
But if Bigfoot was around, it chose to bring the night’s proceedings to a close soon thereafter. After that tantalizing piece of terrorizing, we heard no more. It was, however, a fitting end to a day and night filled with outright beastly bizarreness.
Nick Redfern is the author of many books, including the forthcoming Monster Diary: In Search of Strange and Sinister Creatures.