May 24, 2013

The passing of Bobbie Short ~ A Sad Day for the Bigfoot Community..

What do you say when someone who is held in such high regard passes away? That is the question I am struggling with today. I could talk about her website, "Bigfoot Encounters", but I am going to talk about my own thoughts and interactions with Bobbie. 

I waited until I had word from people close to her before saying anything. I hoped it was a very sick joke - maybe some hacker (we are all aware of them) broke into her site and did this.... But, sadly word came to me this morning from a close friend - and the passing of Bobbie Short is very true.  

I respected Bobbie on so many levels, that the thought of her not being with us anymore is a tough pill to swallow. 

Bobbie and I disagreed on many things, but all of our disagreements were research related. I never received an email from Bobbie telling me, "Melissa, you're too opinionated," probably because that is the one thing we had very much in common and we even discussed. In fact the word "opinionated" was the topic of many very funny conversations between Bobbie and myself.  

Bobbie had strong opinions herself and was not afraid to express them, 

Whether the recipient liked her opinion or not. 

Bobbie was not trying to be "popular" by always saying the right thing to appease those she did not agree with. She said what she meant, and meant what she said. A quality about her I greatly admired. I admire anyone who holds an opinion, be it popular or not, and is not afraid to express that opinion. But, as a close friend of hers said last night on MNBRT Radio - her opinions came from her own encounters and her own field work not the drama we deal with on a regular basis in this community. 

Back in 2006 I wrote an email asking Bobbie if I could interview her for this blog. 

I held my breath, and clicked the send button, knowing she did not give interviews all that often. I was afraid she would say, "No way." But, to my great surprise she happily agreed in her first reply to me. Being so new to this myself, 

I was ecstatic. 

Not because Bobbie had been around this community for so long, and had done so much, 

But because she was a woman, who had been around this community for so long and had done so much. Sure, I could have gone to the many men in this community - but I am a woman, and I wanted to hear from the women, who had been there, and done that. 

I had an opportunity to have a one on one conversation with Bobbie and share her insights and thoughts with the world. I will always be grateful to Bobbie for that opportunity. 

Once this article was finished and posted, Bobbie then contacted me about another Female Researcher - who she thought was doing good work and who she thought would be a great inspiration for me and other women in this community. 

Bobbie Short will be greatly missed by many in this community and I am sure her family - who I send my deepest condolences to. While she was a force to be reckoned with - she was also a good friend to many and a woman who had a great love for this research. 

I don't like the word goodbye. So I will say, 

Until we meet again, Bobbie. 


May 2, 2013

2013 Chautauqua Lake Bigfoot Expo ~ And some thoughts.

The 2013 Chautauqua Lake Bigfoot Expo was success again this year ! 

This year the organizer of the event, Peter Wiemer, added 2 days of activities designed to specifically reach out to witnesses and those that are interested in what we do within the general public. Friday and Saturday the doors of the Local YMCA camp (which was beautiful log cabin style building) were opened up and the people poured in. 

I enjoy the children and their questions more than anything. 

They have such a need for information, and their minds are open to anything, and work like a sponge. They are excited and want to hear all about the animal we call Bigfoot. The kids (no disrespect to the adults out there) are why I enjoy conferences. They will ask you anything and say whatever is on their mind. These kids are the future of this community. 

Which brings me to my next point. 

Bob Gimlin. For a man in his 80's - he has a lot of energy. Bob was available to attendees of all the events, which spanned 3 days. It was great watching him talk to the adults and kids about his experience that day at Bluff Creek. When Bob wasn't speaking he was talking to anyone and everyone that wanted to ask him questions or to just get to know the man. I was amazed at how friendly and available he was. No question was off limits, he simply answered what he could. 

Personally, I was honored to share a stage with Bob. I was also the most junior researcher who spoke at this conference. Let's be honest, I was honored - but scared to death. How do you follow a man like Bob Gimlin? Of course Bob will tell you, "I put my pants on one leg at a time like everyone else." While he is right, he is one of the last of what I think is the greatest era of Bigfoot Researchers, John Green, Bob Titmus, Peter Byrne, Grover Krantz, Rene Dahinden, Bob Gimlin and Roger Patterson. God willing, the names that are still with us, will continue to be with us for a very long time. 

But, let's face it, Bob Gimlin, John Green, and Peter Byrne won't be around forever - and if you have never had a chance to meet or talk to these men - put it at the top of your list of things to do. 

Why do I think it's important? 

Every person has a story to tell. I could sit here for days and type out my thoughts and impressions of Bob Gimlin. But to ask him the questions yourself and hear his responses, see the look on his face and observe his body language is a whole other thing. Watching him interact with others and answering questions will tell you a lot about Bob Gimlin. A friend of mine said recently, "Bob is the salt of the earth." I can't think of a better way to describe him. 

Did I ask him some tough questions? Yes, as a matter of fact I did. His direct answers and his immediate responses without the slightest hint of anger or attitude - only increased my level of respect for this man.

I personally enjoy seeking answers myself. I could simply read various stories on the internet, but I prefer to meet these people myself, hear their stories and make up my own mind. There are those out there who would say, "Meeting Bob Gimlin is not that special." I would say - "Oh really?" Many researchers today say their interest began with the first time they saw the Patterson Gimlin film. I would say that encompasses half the current community. So, it's not important to meet one of the only 2 people who watched Patty walk across that sandbar at Bluff Creek? Why wouldn't anyone want to talk to the person they say produced the information that sparked their interest? Why wouldn't you want to talk to him yourself? If for no other reason than to get your own questions answered and not have to rely on the opinions of others? 


Conferences are good way to meet the people in the community, share ideas, and yes - socialize. In this community we spend so much time being critical of others, maybe once or twice a year it's okay to not be so critical and just meet people, discuss what we do, and share information. That isn't a bad thing. I often wonder what this community could be like if we all spent more time, listening and asking questions, rather than being critical right out of the gate. How much further along would we be in this search if we spent more time discussing and less time calling each other names? 

In a perfect world I guess. 

Conferences also provide us the opportunity to meet people like Bob Gimlin, John Green, Dr. Meldrum, Kathy Strain and many, many others and get to know them as people. I don't know about you, but I can't afford to fly around the country to meet these people myself. I am not a "trust fund baby". So, I look forward to conferences so I can meet those who have been at this longer and those that are new. 

I even hope I met a future researcher. Maybe in that sea of faces, there is a kid who left the conference after listening to Bob Gimlin, Billy Willard, Larry Battson, Tom Yamarone, Steve Kulls, or myself and said;

"When I grow up, I am going to look for Bigfoot too." 

I don't think that is a bad thing either. 

Opinions will vary of course.