*Photo of Bob Strain and his wife Kathy courtesy of Chris Buntenbah Wildlife Photographer*
What can I say about Bob Strain. My first encounter with Bob happened at the 2005 Bigfoot Conference in Jefferson Texas.
While I had read some of his comments on the Bigfootforums, I had no idea he was so much fun. I must admit, anytime Bob Strain a/k/a RB posts anything on the bigfootforums you will learn something, and laugh at the same time. Bob has an enormous sense of humor, and is not afraid to show it. Once again, Bob proves he is not just able to take on sensitive issues but he can laugh about it too.
When Bob discusses the research he proudly shares with his new bride Kathy, you will have no doubt, he is someone who is truly doing whatever he can to help document this animal. The Strains are a team, and approach this research as such. I can only imagine how wonderful it would be to get out into the field and share my experiences with someone I loved. This is definitely a match made in heaven, and as always I wish them all the best and happy Bigfooting.
I hope as time goes by I have the chance to spend some field time with both Bob and Kathy. Field work is hard at times, but it's so much easier when your around people who you can have fun with.
Get to know Bob Strain, he is one hell of a man, and an excellent researcher. It's always good to learn from each other, and I am proud to share Bobs thoughts with the readers of this blog.
Men in Bigfoot Research, Bob Strain
Bob Strain Call Blasting from his Truck*Special Thank you to Tom Yamarone for the remainder of Photo's*
Melissa: Please tell the readers about yourself.
Bob Strain: I was born and raised in Texas and attended the University of Texas . I moved to California with aspirations of attending medical school there, but got sidetracked with the glitz and glamor of becoming a firefighter/paramedic. It turned out the fire service was my true calling. After a long career of dousing fires, delivering babies and pulling broken bodies from twisted autos, I retired from one of the finest fire departments in the state. I presently, along with my lovely wife Kathy, reside and conduct Bigfoot research in beautiful Northern California.
Melissa: Are you a member of any Organized Group(s) or are you an Independent Researcher? Or both?
Bob Strain: Both. I was once a curator of the BFRO for Northern California, but I no longer hold any affiliations with that organization. I am however currently on the Board of Directors of the AIBR - Alliance of Independent Bigfoot Researchers.
Melissa: How long have you been active in the field of Bigfoot Research?
Bob Strain: I have been active in field research for about four years now, but my interest in Bigfoot predates that somewhat. It was many years earlier that I had several experiences which have convinced me of this magnificent animal's existence.
Melissa: Have you noticed any changes in this field of research over the years?
Bob Strain: The biggest change I’ve noticed is the evolution of technology and its integration into the field of Bigfoot research. I believe the improvements in audio and video digitalization, mapping, communications and the advancements in computer technology have made the biggest impact.
The advent and proliferation of the Internet has brought about many changes, some good... some not so good. While the Internet has opened the field of Bigfoot research to the masses and has made available information from many notable resources, it has also unfortunately given the mentally unstable an avenue to express what is on their troubled minds. And while this is indeed America , with all its rights... some of the lunatic ravings regarding Bigfoot, or those who follow it, observed on the Internet are in no way helping to document, preserve or protect this amazing animal. While the knowledge base on Bigfoot is growing, it seems the crazies are also getting crazier.
Follow up question: Are you referring to those who believe this animal has "Paranormal" capabilities?
Bob Strain: Partly... while I think some who believe Bigfoot has paranormal capabilities could be considered crazy, I don't think that would be the only criteria for me considering them to have at least one wheel in the sand. I feel everyone has the right to believe whatever they wish.
In fact, I would defend their individual right to do so. I think it's more how they conduct themselves, not only face to face, but when they are behind a keyboard.
Regarding Bigfoot... I have seen folks who see, hear and smell what is not there, do things which endanger themselves and others, and proclaim things as their own which are clearly stolen.... like no one else will notice. Now, that's just plain crazy. I could also call these people crooks, liars and morons, but I like the term "crazy".
As a paramedic, I thought I had seen it all... until I got into Bigfooting. Since that time, I have witnessed grown men profess to be ready to creep about the woods at night with no flashlight in an effort to capture a Bigfoot... yet are unwilling to relieve themselves after dark without a "pee partner"... crazy. I have heard claims of being able to call a Bigfoot out of another dimension in order to have them perform card tricks, or something equally as insane... again, crazy. I have witnessed plagiarism and outright theft of work and property and then have it denied... yep, you guessed it... crazy.
While witnessing it first hand is painful enough, but to also be inundated with the lunatic rantings on the Internet is sometimes too much to bear. Like the sense of anonymity some get from sitting in their grandmother's basement in their tighty-whities not only makes them invisible, but also gives them immortality. I could go on, but suffice it to say I've noticed a serious increase of the terminally goofy.
Follow up question: This is a subject I have not really tackled on this blog, and it is an issue that does create a great deal of problems for the Researchers. Can you tell us why you believe this animal is flesh and blood, and is there any reason whatsoever to think this animal has any "paranormal" capabilities.
Bob Strain: Bigfoot is indeed flesh and blood. The reason I know this is because this is the planet Earth. Earth is inhabited only by flesh and blood creatures. I have seen Bigfoot, so I know it is indeed real. Since Bigfoot is real, and it lives on Earth, it is flesh and blood.
Aside from that logic, nothing I have seen has even come close to convincing me Bigfoot is anything other than flesh and blood. The only ones I've seen that believe otherwise are the same ones sitting in grandma's basement... and the day I start to listen to them is the same day I line my hat with tin foil. And if that ever happens... then for the love of God, someone please put a bullet behind my ear. I'll even loan you the gun, and sell you the bullet. Hey, business is business.
And aside from all that... my sighting included Bigfoot evading my dad, as not to be seen by him. This creature went to great lengths to avoid detection. If Bigfoot had paranormal capabilities, then why did he not use them to aid his endeavors at escaping detection? The answer is simple, as it usually is, Bigfoot is flesh and blood.
Melissa: What has been your primary focus, in this field of study? Please explain.
Bob Strain: My primary field of focus is potential habitat, food resources, behavior and seasonal ranges of Bigfoot. It is through these endeavors I hope to help prove the existence of Bigfoot.
Melissa: What keeps you asking questions?
Bob Strain: The mystery of the animal keeps me asking questions. If I hear a good report, my first inclination is to ask questions regarding the witnesses actions prior to and following the event, as well as the effect of the event on the witness. I believe to understand Bigfoot's actions and behavior, we must also understand our own actions and behavior.
Melissa: What do you think about the growing numbers of women becoming active in this field?
Bob Strain: I think it is long overdue, and I applaud it.
Melissa: Have you had a sighting? If so please explain.
Bob Strain: Yes, I had what I believe to be a sighting many years ago. We were on a hunting trip with about 10 people near Challis, Idaho, south of the Salmon River Wilderness, in October 1975. We had stopped our trucks on a dirt road on our way back to camp following our morning hunt to “work” these hillsides that converged at a stream near the road. To our knowledge, there were no other hunters in that area. Four of us went up into the hills to make a giant circle to try to scare up some game and drive them back down towards the stream where the others were waiting.
Being young, I volunteered to be a hiker. As we split up, I thought three of them went up the backside of one hill while I circled the other. As I came over the ridge, I found myself on a very steep, shale-covered slope about 500 feet above the stream. As I was scared of sliding all the way to the bottom on my butt, I sat down to watch the opposite slope while my dad and the other 2 worked that hill. As I sat there, I saw what I thought was one of our hunting party walk across the slope, about 100 feet below the ridge line. He crossed the hillside, near the ridge line, on the hill across a large ravine from me. That hill was taller than the one I was on. I remember thinking, “boy, he is going to get shot, dressed in dark clothing like that!” It kind of made me mad because he was walking a rather brisk pace, not even stopping to look around for game. I watched him through my rifle scope, and for the life of me, I couldn't see any rifle in his hands.
My dad had brought along one of our neighbors who had very little experience hunting, and I figured it was that guy. After about 30 minutes, I saw my dad and his other buddy come into view. They were much lower on the slope and I estimated their range to be about 400 yards, but seemed to be smaller in comparison to the other figure I had seen earlier. We waved at each other to work our way back towards the others.
When we got back to the trucks, the neighbor, of course, was late in arriving. While waiting for him, dad was joking about seeing him walking along the ridge with his rifle still in its zippered case, as it was raining lightly. I told him that I thought I had seen him, but saw no rifle and almost shot at him as he was dressed in dark clothing. Dad said “He had an orange vest and orange cap on, and how did you see him when he was above and behind you?” I said, “No, he was above and behind you.” When the neighbor with the clean and dry rifle returned, he confirmed my dad's report. So I said, “Well then, who was that I saw?” Everyone was too tired and wet to care. We went back to camp and forgot all about it, until one day several years ago. That's when I started to wonder all over again.
Since whoever/whatever I saw was probably 500 yards or so from me, I had trouble making out much detail. I had a variable 3 X 9 power scope. After I saw him I cranked the power all the way to 9 and watched him cross the open hillside without obstruction for probably a full minute or so until he disappeared behind the trees. I was watching his entire left profile. He walked rather quickly and did not turn to look at me, as far as I could tell. He did not appear to have much difficulty traversing the terrain, but when my dad walked across, it looked like he was having the same problem as I was with the steep slope and rocks that slide when you step on them. It took dad forever to cross the same amount of space as this other guy, and dad appeared to be much smaller, even though he was obviously somewhat closer to me. Dad was probably 50 feet or so lower in elevation than I was.
As far as estimating height, my dad is 6ft tall, and this thing was much taller and broader...but not fat...kind of “lanky”. A really rough estimate would be at least 8ft. tall, with really long arms that he/she swung like a cross-country skier as he walked along while taking rather long strides.
Two mornings after my sighting, we had started out in 2 trucks for our day hunt; it was way dark and cold...snowing slightly. It was still very dark, and as we slowly drove up this old logging road, we saw something “crawl” across the road about 100-150ft ahead of us. At first I thought it looked like a tree sloth, or a wounded bear. It was hard to tell in the darkness, but you could see a dark figure moving slowly across the snow-covered road. Everyone in the truck saw it, and we stopped where we saw it enter the heavy growth to the left of the road. This was a steep embankment heavily overgrown with trees, etc. Well, after we stopped, no one had the guts to get out and see what it was. One guy got out with a .45 auto and a flashlight and slid down over the embankment. He scampers back about 3 minutes later in a big hurry. No shots were fired, and his eyes big and his face white. He said that we should get out of there because the thing he saw could be dangerous. He said it was big and covered with hair. It looked like it was trying to hide under some branches. He said he saw a face glance at him as it was walking away and he said he thought it was a hunter wearing a brown fur coat and was on horseback, because “he was much too tall to be walking”… yet he saw no horse.
Follow up question: How old were you when this sighting occurred?
Bob Strain: I was 18 years old at the time.
Follow up question: After you turned up the magnification of your scope, did you get any details at all, could you see hair or anything that would have indicated to you that this was not a person?
Bob Strain: Unfortunately, no. Nothing other than the fact he was completely black, head to toe. No other color or any discernible features of clothing were apparent. I had the impression whomever I was looking at, was wearing bulky clothing. I did have the impression he was wearing a black sweatshirt with the hood pulled over his head, as the top of the head appeared to be more pointed than rounded.
Follow up question: Did you note any blood on the ground, that may have indicated the animal in question had been wounded?
Bob Strain: No blood was visible on the snow covered road.
Follow up Question: What made you decide to come forward with your sighting?
Bob Strain: I just wanted to share my experience with my friends at the Bigfoot Forums in an attempt to better understand what I had experienced.
Melissa: One piece of equipment you think is the most important?
Bob Strain: A camera is essential to Bigfoot research, and probably the most important tool at our disposal.
Melissa: Most researchers have one Report that "Stands Out" in their minds, is there a report that still "stands out" for you?
Bob Strain: The single most compelling report pertains to two women who encountered a creature during an afternoon hike in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 1984. After interviewing this witness, listening to her recall the happenings of that day more than twenty years ago and seeing the drawing she made following her encounter, BFRO Report # 5909 definitely stands out in my mind. In particular, the events she experienced included a very close encounter with a creature she not only smelled, but observed for quite some time. Her observations included the creature pursing its lips while it “huffed” at her (she stated she was close enough to observe the creases in its lips), running uphill at an incredible rate while using its hands to aid in locomotion and the creature’s seeming interest in her as it followed her as she ran all the way back down a long trail to her car.
Follow up question: Was this a report you had taken?
Bob Strain: Yes, I took the report and spoke with the witness at great length over the telephone.
Melissa: Do reports like this ever make you wonder about whether this animal could be more aggressive (depending on the situation) than some think?
Bob Strain: Absolutely. I think this animal can be as aggressive or passive as it pleases. Luckily for us, it seems to be mostly passive. But, if Bigfoot wants to take you out... your family will be left wondering what happened to you.
Melissa: What questions would you like researchers to ask witnesses?
Bob Strain: Besides all the particulars surrounding the event (i.e. place, date, time, weather conditions, what was seen/heard/witnessed/found, etc...) I would also like to see Bigfoot researchers attempt to find out a little about the witness themselves (i.e. why did they report this, how did the experience make them feel and what are their impressions regarding Bigfoot since their experience?).
These aspects are very interesting to me, as I feel Bigfoot research leads you to learn as much about human behavior as about Bigfoot behavior.
Melissa: What you would like people to know about you.
Bob Strain: I am an avid outdoorsman with many years experience hunting, fishing and hiking in the mountains. While I am well-educated, I consider myself to be a perpetual student of our world. I am an animal lover, and believe animals are much more intelligent and sensitive than many give them credit for. And regardless of any humor I may display regarding the world of bigfooting, I think you would be hard pressed to find someone more serious about the subject than myself.
Melissa: Do you have any advice for a new researcher?
Bob Strain: Trust no one in this business except your wife, your close friends... and your own gut.