October 28, 2007

Part II - The GCBRO & Monster Central - My View

In roughly a little over 3 hours and 6 Starbucks Vanilla Frappuccino's, I had arrived in a town so small, had I blinked, I would have been hopelessly lost for the rest of my life.

I pulled into a small convenience store, which by the way was the only store for another 5-6 miles, and went inside to make sure I was in the right town.

Yep, this was it.

I milled about the small store, which reminded me of so many I have seen in my life around the little town where all my family lives in Iowa.

People passed in and out of the store, going about their daily lives. I wondered with every person who passed by me how many of them had stories to tell of an animal they heard or seen, and no one believes them. Thoughts like these fill my mind whenever I go into a new area where activity is reported. Do any of these people know they live right next to land where Bigfoot is said to hang around?

What would they do if they found out one day it was all true?

Would they pack up their families and leave? Would they simply go about their lives as if nothing has changed?

As I checked the time (I was early) to see how much longer I had to wait until I met with Mr. Lansdale, I wondered - how does someone continue to live on property where Bigfoot is reported to be so frequently? I don't think I could. As much as I want this animal documented and protected, I just don't think I could live this every second of my life. Some do out of necessity - but others do because they want to.

As I was driving this morning, I had the opportunity to watch one of the most incredible sunrises I've seen in a long time. The sun was high in the sky now and I was still waiting. What I didn't know is what I was waiting for. I have spent a lot of time in the field and not once have I seen this animal. Would I see it this weekend? What if all the stories I have heard about Monster Central were true? Was I really ready for an experience such as this?

Was I about to find out?

At 11:00 my cell phone rang. On the other end was the one and only Jim Lansdale. I have never spoken to him before and I find you can tell quite a bit about a person by their voice and demeanor over the phone. Mr. Lansdale has always struck me as a "I really don't care what you think of me" kind of man - but clearly he did care. He had just been at the store and left, and now he told me to hold on - he was coming back.

Chivalry is not dead, even in Bigfoot research.

I was also supposed to meet another GCBRO member, Scott, at the store as well. Scott was instrumental in my attendance after he decided I needed to see one of these animals for myself.

Mr. Lansdale arrived in his truck (dog in the bed of the truck) and his son in the passengers seat. He greeted me with a warm hello and said he was glad I decided to attend this weekend.

I soon became aware that many thought when I signed up I wouldn't actually show. Mr. Lansdale had to be wondering why I had an interest, and why I felt the need to meet people whom many think I dislike.

But, he never said it.

I find people often misconstrue my comments. They think because I disagree, and disagree strongly, that it translates into "I don't like you." I believe it's possible to disagree and still think the person is ok - heck even be friends. My father and I often disagree on politics - I love him no less (although he is wrong).

However, Mr. Lansdale and I agreed very strongly on one point - we have no time for game players, people who simply want to put out crap research, or hoaxers. It's my personal opinion that Mr. Lansdale takes the activity on his property very seriously. It even appears to me that he wants this over quickly, and organizing these hunts as a fast way to bring closure. So, I think while many out there see a tough - at times fairly harsh - individual posting on the GCBRO message board, in reality Mr. Lansdale is simply a man who has witnessed something more than once (this has been ongoing for him over the period of years) and just wants it over and done with.

Never judge someone before you meet them in person and really talk to them.

I can't imagine it's easy for any witness, regardless of how many times they have seen this animal, to hear the jokes and the nasty comments designed to make them sound insane. Eventually most witnesses just want it over. They want closure. They want the jokes and ridicule to stop. I find Mr. Lansdale is no different than the hundreds of other witnesses I have spoken to. In some ways, I can't say I blame him for how he feels.

Mr. Lansdale talked to me as if we had been discussing this research for years. He made me feel welcome, and said if I needed anything, to just let him know. This put my fears at ease - I could relax now.

About 10-15 minutes into our conversation, Scott arrived with hot cappuccinos! Some Bigfoot hunter. LOL.

Mr. Lansdale said his good-byes and drove off to Monster Central. Scott and I decided to stick around for any late comers. It was nice to meet Scott after all of our internet e-mail chats and phone conversations (and disagreements). He is just as straight forward in person as he is in all the other mediums. At about noon - I was in my car following Scott to the famed "Monster Central."

That was a drive my car won't soon forget.

To be continued.......

October 27, 2007

Part I - The GCBRO & Monster Central - My View

Months ago I first heard word of an annual event to take place at a piece of property called "Monster Central".

Stories out of this area range from the typical rock throwing incidents - all the way to the claim that one of these animals was shot. Yes, thats what I said - there is a claim and stories about how a Bigfoot was shot on the property known as "Monster Central". Is the story true? I have no way of knowing. I have heard it a few times, but as I was not there I can only relay gossip - so I wont re-tell that story yet again.

"Monster Central" is claimed to have Bigfoot activity almost constantly - a true hot bed of activity (if you listen to some). But, even Mr. Lansdale says the activity is intermittent. Why shouldn't there be activity at Monster Central?? If you follow the activities of the TBRC, you know we spend much of our time in East Texas - not all that far from this area. So, I would think its possible - but how much activity?? Thats a question I can not even venture a guess to. But, its not out of the realm of possibility.

The person in charge of "Monster Central" is none other than Mr. Jim Lansdale. This property is owned by Mr. Lansdale and his family. While I will not give an exact location, I will tell you it sits on the edge of West Central Louisiana. If you picked up a rock and threw it - it would most likely land in Texas.

Now, for those of you who keep up with this blog, you know over the last year there has been little love lost between myself and members of the GCBRO - a group in which Mr. Lansdale is a prominent member and Mr. Bobby Hamilton is the leader.

I am getting way ahead of myself. Lets go back a little for those of you who may be new to this research and are wondering what I am talking about.

Tension issue #1

There are two camps in this research: "Kill" and the "No-Kill". I am firmly in the "No Kill" camp while members of the GCBRO are firmly in the "Kill" camp. Mr. Lansdale organizes regular "hunts" on his property - which is named "Monster Central" - so that once a year members of the GCBRO can come to "Monster Central" in an attempt to kill one of these animals to, in their words, "end this mystery once and for all."

That will certainly do it.

Do I disagree with their opinion that killing one of these animals is the best and probably only way to document the animal - actually, no. I think it would end all discussion if a body were to be thrown on a gurney in front of Dr. Meldrum or any other member of the scientific community. I just can't be the one who pulls the trigger. It saddens my heart to think that this is most likely the only option, but I'm afraid that it is what science demands - hard, unshakable, in your face proof. A body would absolutely qualify.

So, while I don't disagree with members of the GCBRO - there chosen method is just not mine.

Tension issue #2

An article I wrote some months back on M.K. Davis and John Johnsen. Do I blame any of them for being angry with me? No. I half expected it, as M.K. is (or was) a member of this organization. John Johnsen has since left the group.

So, the question in my mind was, if I signed up for this barbecue at "Monster Central", what would the response be by the organization? Not telling them an article would be written was out of the question - I wouldn't go there under false pretenses. I would be honest and upfront and tell them right away I wanted to attend for a few simple reasons.

1. See Monster Central for myself. Was it as spooky as it is claimed?

2. Meet the members of the GCBRO and decide for myself.

3. Write about my experiences and what I observe.

I'm not one to just believe everything I hear and I wanted to give these people the opportunity to show me what this group is all about.

I was pleasantly surprised when not only was my registration graciously accepted, but it appeared they were happy about my attendance. I was, well to say the least, confused, stunned, shocked.... You can name the emotion. Not more than a couple days after I was registered, I received an email giving me a location to meet where I would be guided into the area known as "Monster Central"... now I was getting nervous. The members of the GCBRO have a reputation - they are tough and do not like to be messed with.

Was I being allowed to come so they could verbally take me apart for being so outspoken about their organization? That couldn't be it, as I really never said anything about the group as a whole, just individual members, and not because they were members of the GCBRO either.

I would have to wait to find out. As many of you know, when I say I will do something - I do it, so I was going no matter what (but I will say - I didn't think when I turned in my registration, it would be approved. Seems someone called my bluff)!

At 6:30 am on October 20th, 2007 I loaded up my field gear in my car and headed out to Louisiana - more specifically a small town in the middle of nowhere where I was to meet Jim Lansdale himself and another member of the GCBRO by the name of Scott. Somehow Scott and I had formed a friendship during our many internet disagreements. For 2 or more weeks prior to this event I had been corresponding via e-mail with Scott and speaking with him by phone. I grew to trust him and looked forward to our conversations. Scott's honesty was something I knew I could depend on. He is the kind of man that just tells it like it is, and that's something I appreciate and grew to respect.

I was excited and nervous. I had a couple of tense exchanges with Mr. Lansdale - what would happen when we met?

What would this weekend hold for me? Would it finally be my turn to see a large upright, bipedal North American Primate?????

Watch for Part II, with photos of the area known as "Monster Central".

Juvenile Bigfoot?? Bear?? Maybe those Pesky Rock Throwing Squirrels??

Ahhh, the "Jacobs" Photos....

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I first seen these photos after returning from an overnight at Monster Central with a friend (more on that in another blog), we sat here and looked at this photo a number of times. The photo above is actually one of 3, it is the last in the set (or so we have been told). We flipped through the 3 pictures, back and forth, checking time stamps and trying to get a good view of what this was.

Below is the actual sequence of the photos.

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Photo 1 is a bear. Nothing mysterious about that. But then in picture 2 you see something much thinner than a bear - what is this thing down on all 4's?? My first reaction to Picture 2 was "I can now see how people think they may have seen a werewolf. Then you have Picture 3 - it seems our mysterious animal is rubbing its head on the ground - maybe showing off for its millions of adoring fans it knows it may soon have.

Or not.

The front limbs of whatever this is, seem to be splayed forward and its bent over at the hips - I wish I had that kind of flexibility.. Pilattes anyone??

So, what is this thing?? I then hit many of the websites, I knew would be discussing this - and I soon realized my first instinct was right - Bear with mange. One person on the BFF who uses the screen name of Peregrine posted the best photos for comparison - and in my opinion (which is of far less knowledge than his) I think he is dead on in his conclusions. Below is a side by side comparison between a bear and whatever this is in this photo, posted by Peregrine:

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If this isn't a bear - I don't know what it could be. But I do feel very safe in the conclusion that it is a bear - and not a juvenile sasquatch. Lord, how I wish it were.

Now, comes this message from the BFRO message board:

"BFRO members are directed to ask around to find one or more skinny mangy bears in captivity, such those that are occasionally brought into wildlife rescue centers. We will direct the caregivers of those skinny mangy bear(s) to coax their bear into smelling the ground so it can be photographed at this same unflattering angle."

Someone is gonna get hurt trying this stunt. First of all, a bear with Mange is sick - and most likely malnourished. I find it laughable and extremely poor judgment for anyone to recommend finding a sickly bear and trying to force it to do something it doesn't feel the inclination to do on its own. Especially when we already have photos like the ones posted by Peregrine.

Maybe the BFRO doesn't discuss things outside its own organization? Seems to me this would be over if they really wanted the information and seen these photos.

I will be the first to admit, the "Jacobs" photos are intriguing.

And they did make me wonder at first. But, bottom line is this, if we as researchers have to sit and debate whether a picture is a Bigfoot or a bear for over a week, there is no way it will convince the scientific community. Its fun reading all the various comments "for and against", and I have truly enjoyed some of the "pro" arguments. But when there is a logical explanation and an explanation that has a conclusion that does not require a Bigfoot tag - that is what the conclusion should be. Plain and simple.

I want a photograph of a Bigfoot - just as much as anyone in this...

But, this isn't going to convince anyone - and I am in this to get the animal documented and protected, this wont cut it. I would encourage "Jacob" to continue - try and capture more images.. I will be the first to admit I'm wrong - but I need something better. Keep at it.

I would also encourage the BFRO to release the rest of the images,

There is a large gap of time missing that should have more photos, and the BFRO has admitted there are more photos. I would encourage them to release those photos and let the world decide with ALL the information, not just what they deem acceptable for the general public to view. I really don't appreciate it when something is shoved down my throat, and I am expected to go along with it - based on less than half of all AVAILABLE information. It's shady when people do that. When the BFRO released one image, ALL should have been released immediately.

Maybe those other photos will reveal something we are not meant to see? Like a bear with mange walking away?

A quick hit of the BFRO website reveals they plan to have an expedition in Pennsylvania (where these photos were taken) sometime in 2008. Coincidence? Humm, not sure.

You decide.

Happy Halloween !!!!

October 24, 2007

A New Series - MonsterQuest

If They're Out There
They Need to Be Found

Series Premier October 31