Sunday, December 17, 2006

Peers scoff at professor's quest for Bigfoot

(12-17) 04:00 PST Pocatello, Idaho -- At a glance, Professor D. Jeffrey Meldrum would seem to be a star on the Idaho State University campus here.

A popular instructor, Meldrum has written or edited five books, written dozens of articles in academic journals, and ranged across the American West and Canada for his field research. Famed primatologist Jane Goodall wrote a blurb for his latest book, which she said "brings a much-needed level of scientific analysis" to a raging debate.

The problem is the debate: Is Bigfoot real?

Meldrum, a tenured associate professor of anatomy, is in pursuit of the legendary ape-man also known as Sasquatch.

Some of his colleagues are not amused. They liken Meldrum's research to a hunt for Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, and 20 of them signed a letter earlier this year expressing worry that Idaho State "may be perceived as a university that endorses fringe science over fundamental scientific perspectives that have withstood critical inquiry."

Or, as Douglas P. Wells, a physics professor here, puts it: "One could do deep-ocean research for SpongeBob SquarePants. That doesn't make it science."

The affable Meldrum, 48, who has a mop of brown hair and a bushy gray mustache and is the father of six sons, declines to say whether he believes Sasquatch exists, but adds that based on the evidence he's gathered over the last decade, he thinks the likely answer is yes.

"I believe it would be more incredible to dismiss all the assertions about Bigfoot as a series of hoaxes and ruses," he says with academic precision, "than it would be to at least entertain the possibility that an unrecognized large primate exists in North America."

Even as they defend the concept of academic freedom, some who teach here worry that Meldrum's new book, "Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science," is "pseudo-science," in the words of Steven Lawyer, a clinical psychology professor.

"It's the kind of thing that will make Idaho State the butt of jokes," Martin Hackworth, a senior lecturer in the physics department, says of the book, born out of a 2003 program on the Discovery Channel and published by an offshoot of a science-fiction house.

The controversy over Meldrum's work is testimony to the enduring fascination with Sasquatch, as the Salish Indians called the ape man; or Bigfoot, the term the Humboldt Times in Eureka coined in an August 1958 article about a local logging crew's purported discovery of giant footprints.

But while there have been plenty of books on the subject over the years, Meldrum's is one of the few that could put its author in the middle of an academic fracas.

Twice passed over for elevation from associate to full professor, Meldrum says he would proudly present his Sasquatch research as part of future consideration. As the book's overleaf puts it, he is "willing to stake his reputation on an objective look at the facts." (None of his other books deals with Sasquatch, and he covers the topic in just one lecture of a survey class he teaches, on living and fossil primates.)

Skeptics say it is absurd to think that a huge ape roams the American wilderness.
No carcass has ever turned up, and many footprint "discoveries" over the years have been correctly dismissed as hoaxes, Meldrum concedes in his book.

Ray Wallace, a force behind the 1958 footprint discovery and a source of Bigfoot photographs over the years, famously confessed on his deathbed four years ago that the hulking creature once captured on film was really his wife dressed in a gorilla suit.

On the other hand, no one has ever proved that Bigfoot doesn't exist.

Into this void comes the 297-page book, published by Forge. It's an entertaining compendium of Bigfootology.

A chart compares estimated physical dimensions of one purported Sasquatch with Arnold Schwarzenegger "at the peak of his bodybuilding career." The California governor comes off as a pipsqueak next to the 7-foot-4, 700-pound creature.

Meldrum's small office in Pocatello is crammed with plaster casts he has collected in the wilds of strange footprints and handprints, even a print of buttocks that he firmly says do not belong to any known mammal.

The professor says he has heard the strange wailings that some attribute to Bigfoot, and once he was in a cabin in Ontario when a big rock got thrown against an outside wall.
Bigfoot, he presumes.

It is unclear at this point how his new book will affect Meldrum's review when he comes up again for full professor, perhaps in a year or two.

"Jeff is a great teacher, and he does real good things for his department," says John Kijinski, dean of arts and sciences at Idaho State. "He runs the cadaver lab and it's excellent."

Kijinski says he had not read the Bigfoot book and could not comment on how it would fit into Meldrum's job review, although he suggests that work in a "nonpeer-reviewed press" would probably count less than that in a university press or other academic forum.

"Venue where publication occurs is extremely important," he says. "As is the case with all the scientists here, our basic standard is peer review."

Meldrum's agent for the book, Michael Hsu, president of Minneapolis-based BooBam Ventures Inc., says it involves "too edgy a topic" for academic presses and was intended for a "general audience."

Meldrum says most of his research has been financed with private donations -- about $80,000 so far, the bulk of it from a Texas oilman who believes he may have encountered Bigfoot on a hunting trip to east Texas.

The professor's supporters point out that his Bigfoot work doesn't interfere with what he does all day, which is teach human anatomy.

"I had heard he was way into Sasquatch, but he hasn't even mentioned it in our course," says Heather Lien, a 29-year-old graduate student in physical therapy, pausing in her laboratory dissection of the cadaver of a woman in her 70s. "I gather it's just a sideline interest of his. I think it's fascinating."

"Unless I ask, he doesn't even bring it up," says Steven Johnson, 25, another graduate student involved in the dissection.

The Idaho Museum of Natural History, on the campus, has a popular "Bigfoot: How Do We Know?" exhibit, which details the scientific quest for the great hairy man and discusses the roles of knowledge, belief, faith and folklore in keeping the Bigfoot story alive.

"Faith is believing what you know ain't so," says a quote from Mark Twain in the display.
Meldrum's interest in the topic dates to an itinerant childhood in the prime Bigfoot-sighting terrain of Utah, Oregon, Idaho and eastern Washington, where his father was a produce merchandiser with the Albertson's supermarket chain.

"I spent a lot of time in the woods," Meldrum recalls. He was fascinated by animals of all kinds.
When he was 13, his parents gave him a book called "Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life," which he keeps in his office. His interest in the creature -- and the mystery and romance of the search for it -- grew so profound that one friend wrote in his 1976 Idaho high school yearbook: "Good luck hunting for Bigfoot."

Meldrum received bachelor's and master's degrees in zoology from Brigham Young University, and a doctorate in anatomical sciences from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
His specialty is the evolutionary adaptation of bipedalism, or walking on two legs. (One of the books he edited is called "From Biped to Strider: The Emergence of Human Walking, Running and Resource Transport") Over the years, Meldrum says, he and others have come across large prints that cannot be attributed to known animals.

"The subject begs for investigation," he says, rummaging through the large metal file drawers where he keeps the plaster footprint casts.

Meldrum says many of the prints would be extremely difficult to forge. The "flat flexible feet" -- up to about a size 28, quintuple-E-wide shoe -- are less rigid and arched than a human foot.
"All in all," he argues in the book, "this would be an efficient strategy for a giant terrestrial bipedal ape."

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Welcome To Another New Member, Sean Forker !

The Directors of Sasquatch Watch of Virginia would like to take this opportunity to introduce another new member. We are pround to have him aboard. Below is a short biography. Welcome aboard Sean!!!

Sean Forker
Director, American Bigfoot Society
Host and Producer, “The Sasquatch Experience”
1015 ½ Park Avenue
Williamsport, PA 17701
Home: (570)-326-4686

Sean Forker was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania on August 29, 1985. His interest in
Bigfoot began when he was ten years old, when his father let him read his book “Sasquatch:
The Apes among Us”. It was then he fell in love with this mystery. Sean soon began to
assimilate everything he could on Bigfoot. At twelve years old, he began what would
anecdotally be considered field research. This led him to find others interested in this field.
He joined the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society in February 2005. This has been a major
experience for him, as he alone is the researcher for seven counties. Sean investigated his first
two reports in the fall of 2005, one of which is available upon request. He is also currently on
the planning committee for the 2008 East Coast Bigfoot Conference.

Currently, Sean is the director; also Founder, of the American Bigfoot Society. The ABS
was founded in January 2006. We are an information exchange and research organization, with
members in various states. Sean was accepted into the Alliance of Independent Bigfoot
Researchers in May 2006, an achievement he is most proud of.

“The Sasquatch Experience” is a new show hosted and produced by Sean. This is a
weekly series that discusses current events, sightings, and interviews researchers from the US
and Canada. In December of 2006, Sean fulfilled his biggest dream by interviewing John Green,
the father of Sasquatchery.

Sean resides in Pennsylvania, with his wife of four years Laura. They have two children,
Alyssa (3) and Gabriel (8 months). Oh yeah… the also have a cat named “Patty”.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006



(Written by Tom Lancaster)

Prior to the outing, a U.S. Geological Survey topographic quadrangle map (dated 1981) and Google Earth aerial photographs (dated 2006) were obtained for the region of the expedition. Based on these documents, areas of interest for Bf reconnaissance included cranberry bog areas, potential sandy areas, and wide sections of creeks located in the wilderness of Wharton State Park. These areas of interest are seen in the following links to the topographic map and two aerial photographs (TOPOGRAPHIC MAP, AERIAL PHOTO #1, and AERIAL PHOTO #2). Referring to the topographic map, the cranberry bogs are located northwest and southeast of the NESRA base camp (i.e., Hawkins Bridge Campground). Looking at the aerial photo #2, the potential sandy areas (apparent cleared areas) are located near Mt. Sandy Ridge Road. These potential sandy areas were anticipated to be good potential locations to do "Bf footprint reconnaissance" during the daytime.Since deer may visit the cranberry bogs, these cranberry bogs were thought to be good potential locations for night surveillance for Bf hunting deer and/or possibly picking cranberries. Based on information about the CRANBERRY HARVEST season, the harvest period extends from mid-September to a few weeks before Thanksgiving, which includes the dates of the NESRA expedition. These relatively open cranberry bog orchards were anticipated to be good for extending a person's line of sight with night vision equipment and during the anticipated QUARTER-MOON PHASE, which rose during the a.m. hours. Additionally, the perimeters of these orchards were anticipated to be good potential locations to do "Bf footprint reconnaissance" during the daytime.DAYLIGHT INVESTIGATION ON FRIDAY 10/13/06 Friday afternoon, Billy and Tom got into their vehicle and headed west from the base camp on some dirt roads or jeep trails. Sections of these roads were partially obstructed by an overgrowth of bushes on the edges of the roads. Additionally, other sections of these roads had some pools of relatively deep standing water (some of these pools could be considered small ponds). Approximately three quarters of a mile west of the base camp, Billy and Tom arrived at a wide section of the creek that runs through the region. The daytime investigation of this creek area did not reveal any trace evidence of Bf. The location of this of daytime investigation area is labeled in the above-referenced links to the topographic map and the aerial photo #1. A PICTURE OF THE CREEK area is provides some hints why this area is commonly called the Pine Barrens. Later in the afternoon, Billy and Tom went to investigate the cranberry bogs located northwest of the base camp. They found that the roads leading to the cranberry bogs were partially obstructed by an overgrowth of bushes. As they drove further into the bog areas they discovered that most of the roads around the cranberry bogs were not accessible to vehicles and all of the cranberry bogs had been abandoned for many years. The daytime investigation location of one of these abandoned cranberry bogs is shown in the above-linked topographic map and aerial photo #2. A PICTURE OF ABANDONED CRANBERRY BOG shows an area of good visibility for night surveillance. The bog picture was taken from a “vehicle sand bridge” that extends across the cranberry bog. DEER PRINTS were found along this vehicle sand bridge. NIGHT SURVEILLANCE ON FRIDAY 10/13/06A couple hours before dusk, Billy and Tom walked about a quarter mile from their vehicle to the night surveillance location shown in above-linked topographic map and aerial photo #2. A SMALLER SCALED TOPOGRAPHIC MAP and SMALLER SCALED AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH of the night surveillance area shows the abandoned cranberry bog and lake on either side of a “vehicle sand bridge.” Pictures taken at the night surveillance location included the adjacent ABANDONED CRANBERRY BOG, the LAKE, and a NORTH VIEW and SOUTH VIEW of the sand bridge from the surveillance post. Billy and Tom’s night surveillance equipment included third generation night vision with headgear, digital video equipment, an eight-hour digital recorder linked to an omni-directional microphone capsule, two Garmin Rhino 530 GPS radios, and a 15-million candlelight powered light. An hour before nightfall, Billy and Tom were set up for stationary night surveillance. During this time, fog was not observed over the lake or surrounding land. It was a clear evening sky with a slight air movement (=< href=";amp;amp;amp;day=13&year=2006" target="_blank">HERE) were as follows:_______________5:05 p.m.____________11:05 p.m.___________HUMIDITY-----------40% ---------------------91% TEMPERATURE------54.9 degrees F.-----------37.7 degrees F.DUE POINT TEMPERATURE------31.00 degrees F.---------35.30 degrees F.During the night of October 13, 2006, the localized humidity conditions over the swamp lands/water bodies surrounding the night surveillance post is anticipated to be higher than the humidity recorded in Hammonton, NJ. As referenced previously, the quarter moon was not anticipated to come out until a.m. hours.At 8:00 p.m., Billy and Tom heard what sounded like a log being rolled back and forth against other logs. This sound lasted about 10 seconds and re-occurred several minutes later. This sound appeared to be coming from the wooded area located approximately 200 to 300 yards from their surveillance location, which is just beyond the northwest corner of the subject abandoned cranberry bog. At 8:30 p.m., Billy and Tom heard a low frequency moan from the same location of the log noises. The moan lasted about 10 seconds. At approximately 10:00 p.m., Billy, heard several bipedal footsteps in the wooded area immediately outside of the southern bog perimeter. Billy, felt these footstep sounds were within 200 feet of him. At approximately 10:30 p.m., Billy heard a water disturbance approximately 50 feet south of him along the edge of the lake where a PATH TO THE LAKE was observed at the water’s edge. Billy said the water disturbance sounded similar to what you would hear when a man takes several quiet steps while entering relatively shallow water. As later measured, the water depth at one and three feet from the edge of the lake was one and three feet deep, respectively. Between 10:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., both Billy and Tom were dosing off occasionally. At 11:00 p.m., a crashing, thunderous splash occurred directly behind Billy and Tom. This extremely loud splash occurred within 10 feet of the edge of the lake, which is within 20 feet of Billy and Tom. Tom said the splash sounded like a 300-pound man doing a belly flop. Tom said it didn’t make a “Cur-Plunk” sound that a boulder would make when thrown in the water. When this splash occurred, Billy said he initially froze in his chair from the shock of the incident. Tom, on the other hand, reacted by jumping up and trying to get out of his chair only to fall with his chair still around him. When he tried to get up again, he said that he fell again. In an instinctual mode of self-defense, the 15-million candlelight powered light was immediately shined in the direction of the splash. Unexpectedly, an eight-feet high fog bank was observed in the direction of the splash at the water’s edge. This fog bank or steam was slowly moving toward Billy and Tom from the Lake (west-southwest) as it dissipated. Billy and Tom’s visibility over the lake extended no more than 10 feet with the 15-million candlelight powered light. However, approximately 20 feet north of their surveillance post, Tom saw that there wasn’t any fog or steam over the rest of the lake. Immediately before the the splash incident, there had not been any fog observed over the lake. Tom, said the steam or fog bank that occurred all of a sudden reminded him of a hot tub party in the middle of winter when everyone got out at once.Approximately 20 seconds after the first splash, a second thunderous splash (again, not a “Cur-Plunk” sound) occurred near the edge of the lake at approximately 50 feet south of the surveillance post, which is just south of the above-referenced path to the lake at the water’s edge. Immediately after the splash, Billy got a glimpse of something reddish brown standing in the water approximately 70 feet south of the surveillance post. Billy said it was close to the waters edge and partially covered by a tree limb that was hanging out over the lake. Most importantly, Billy said it was “moving” toward the water’s edge, which was interpreted to mean that he saw some sort of a creature or living animal. After this observation, no stationary or moving reddish brown object(s) or creature(s) was seen in that direction. Assuming the water is approximately two to three feet deep where the creature was seen, the height of the reddish brown creature was conservatively estimated to be 9 to 10 feet tall. After the second splash, both Billy and Tom were scared that whatever was out there was stalking them. They immediately packed up and quickly hiked the quarter mile back to their truck while being in a constant state of fear they are being stalked. After some discussions about the event with other NESRA officials, both Billy and Tom indicated that they did not see any logs that may have been thrown into water in the vicinity of the splash areas.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Breaking News!!!

There has been some Breaking News concerning the Patterson-Gimlin film. Please follow this link to see the latest information. We will try to keep this blog up to date on the latest developments.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Welcome Aboard New Members!!!

I would like to take this opportunity to announce some new members to the Sasquatch Watch of Virginia group. I am very proud to have these folks aboard.

Tom Lancaster - M.B.A., P.G., Principal Researcher and Co-Chairman
Tom Lancaster is the owner and president of an environmental consulting company. He has completed master's studies in geophysics in 1986 and business administration in 1999. He is a Virginia Licensed Certified Professional Geologist. Tom became interested in Sasquatch research as a hobby in 2005 after reading Bill Dranginis' Sasquatch sighting report (link), meeting him personally, and seeing his huge investment into Sasquatch research equipment (link). Through his love of the outdoors, Tom has grown to enjoy this hobby with his Sasquatch research partner, Billy Willard, and research association with Bill Dranginis. Recently, Tom has stepped up his efforts to include cutting edge scientific research strategies in Virginia and West Virginia.

Henry May - Member
Mr. Henry May is a Jacksonville, Florida native whose birthday is March 26th. He was born in 1970 and is 36 years old. His interest in Bigfoot began at age 5 when he saw his father with a book called Bigfoot: The Mysterious Monster, and also seeing pro-wrestler Andre the Giant as Bigfoot on The Six Million Dollar Man TV series. Two years later, he saw the movie based on the book his father had on TV at his grandmother's house. He began researching Bigfoot, reading every book he could find and watching every documentary he could see. Henry and his family moved from Tennessee to Pennsylvania to Georgia, where in each state he searched for Bigfoot in wooded areas. In Georgia, he had several "Not Sure" sightings and a possible vocalization encounter as well. He saw a possible Bigfoot in January 1984, but can't really confirm that because he was told 8 months previous that someone had a gorilla suit and was hoaxing Bigfoot in that area, so that sighting was a bit tainted. Henry and his mother and sister moved to Mississippi in February '84, where he had several "Not Sure" encounters until 1998, January 13th to be exact. Henry saw a large dirty-white creature cross the highway in front of him at 1:15 in the morning. It was a huge and massive creature. Henry continued reading as much as he could on the subject, even collecting the signatures of all four of the "Four Horsemen of Sasquatchery" (Green, Dahinden, Byrne and Krantz", along with Bob Gimlin's. Henry has over 80 books devoted to the subject of mysterious, unknown primates, along with a sample of shale sand from Bluff Creek, California, close to the P/G film site and a second-generation copy of a Bigfoot cast found by timber cruiser Pat Graves October 20, 1963 and cast by Roger Patterson the next day. He has had some vocalization encounters, including one 2 months ago. Henry started the Southeast Sasquatch Association in 1994 as a clearinghouse for sightings and information. Henry expanded this one-man organization to cyberspace in September 2004, on a website which can be found HERE. He expanded even further with his first blog found HERE in late-2005. In early-2006, he opened another blog based on his membership in a group of independent researchers called The American Bigfoot Society. His second blog can be found HERE. Henry is the President and CEO of the Southeast Sasquatch Association, a member of the International Bigfoot Society, the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society and the American Bigfoot Society, where he is deputy director. He believes in a no-kill policy when it comes to Bigfoot.

I am very proud to have these guys joining us in our endeavors to research this creature that has been very successful in eluding humankind for a very long time. Welcome aboard guys and welcome!!!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Sasquatch Watch of Virginia - New to Blogging

Well, I guess it is time to try to learn new things. My name is Billy Willard and I am with Sasquatch Watch of Virginia. This is my first time using blog, so please bear with me through this learning process. I will try to update this blog often but it will all depend on my very busy schedule.

First of all, I would like to thank Sean and Melissa for turning me on to this blog. It looks like it will be very enjoyable.

I guess I will start my first blog by telling everyone a little about myself. I am 37 years old and live in Manassas, Virginia. I have three children (Frank, Josh and Tim) that keep me busy. I am currently an executive vice-president for an environmental consulting firm in Northern Virginia and have been employed there since 1999. I deal with leaking underground and aboveground storage tanks that leak petroleum into the environment.

I have had an interest in the Bigfoot/Sasquatch mystery since I was young. I remember watching the Creature from Black Lake and Leggend of Boggy Creek as a child. I started my active research and investigation into this mystery only a couple of years ago. I didn't realize how many independent researchers were out there until I got started with my research. Two of my son's (Josh and Tim) have had a sighting of this creature. I have not had this opportunity as of yet, but I have been close. Their sighting actually occurred at a site that we were actively researching. They were at the right place at the right time. Their sighting occurred in an area near Richmond, Virginia. I believe Tim will always have the image of what he saw in his mind. I say this because to this day, he has a true fear of being in the woods in the dark. I learned this most recently by taking him on an all night research project that had to be cut short due to his fear.

In summary, I look forward to sharing information on this blog from time to time. I may expand this blog in the near future to include comments on movies, books and investigations on Bigfoot/Sasquatch. I will also likely find others who would like to contribute reviews and other information.

Happy Squatching!!!