Monday, June 21, 2010

Synopsis and Photos from the Oregon Sasquatch Symposium

First of all, deep appreciation goes out to Darin Richardson and Erika Kronenberg for their wonderful hospitality and showing me around the city of Eugene. Second of all, BIG thumbs up to Toby Johnson for organizing the OSS which went off without a hitch and was very professional without being too stringent and rigid. Now, for the full synopsis of the event:

Friday night started with the Meet and Greet at the Red Lion Inn near Lane Community College, which was well-attended by OSS attendees as well as the speakers (most of them, except for Esther Stutzman) and a terrific time was had by all. There was karaoke in the bar downstairs afterwards, where Autumn Williams tore the house down with renditions of two Prince songs. Then, Saturday morning, after an introduction from LCC staff member Sandy Jensen, Mistress of Ceremonies, the event kicked off with Autumn taking the lectern discussing her theories and feelings on the state of Bigfoot research and her change in direction, which was inspired by a Florida native named Mike who claims constant contact with a group of Skunk Apes, one of which is named Enoch and is the title subject of Autumn's book which was debuted at the Symposium. She discussed Mike's interactions with Enoch and his clan of 'Squatches as well as why some of the old ways of researching are not working and that we who have witnessed Sasquatch do not need proof nor do we as witnesses have to prove it to the skeptics or the world in general. When the book cover was shown on the screen, there was a collective gasp from the audience. Autumn was asked several questions by the audience, including from myself who said that I had a recent rock-throwing incident and I asked her if she knew what that meant and she explained it was like a bratty juvenile who is just mischevious and rebellious and that may explain the reason for rock throwing. Then from Autumn the attention went next to her mother, Sali Sheppard Wolford, author of the book Valley of the Skookum where she read passages from the book and gave background into the events described therein. After a delicious lunch it was time to hear from Lenny Green, a Johnny Cash soundalike who had worked as a songwriter in Nashville, who sang some really good Bigfoot songs. Then, once again, as in Ohio, Bob Gimlin brought the house down with his retelling of the events of October 20, 1967. Then, David Rodriguez, a longtime witness and researcher who has had four encounters within a 34-year period, as well as finding evidence in the forests. He also showed why not every tree twist or break is automatically caused by Sasquatch, but rather by weather conditions and heavy snowfall which can cause warping and breaking in even thick trees at higher elevations. I felt it was an excellent explanation for at least some tree twists and breaks, but not all of them. After Dave, Cliff Barackman took the stage to discuss the Silver Star Mountain photos which were taken in 2005 and his investigations into the photos, such as going to the actual location and getting measurements and comparing human subjects to the subject in the photos to see if there was a possibility that perhaps the photographer had shot pictures of a human at that elevation or if it was something else (Cliff thinks it is a Sasquatch). After Cliff came Thom Powell (The Locals)
who gave a talk on his thoughts of the current state of research as well as the things he does to attract a Sasquatch to himself (he believes that one does not have to go out to find Sasquatch; Sasquatch finds us). He also gave some tips of how best to have an encounter and some pitfalls to avoid when in the field. Kathy Strain next took the microphone for an interesting talk on the Hairy Man which included some background into the Hairy Man legends from various Indian tribes as well as interesting artifacts and landmarks associated with various tribes. She also played a rare video clip of a dance of the Kwakiutl tribe which shows their version of Hairy Man represented in an interesting dance. She closed with a Hairy Man song sung by a tribal elder which was filmed by Cliff Barackman, Bob Strain, Tom Yamarone and James "Bobo" Fay. Then after dinner, a short casting class was conducted by Jaime Avalos, who cast Jeff Meldrum's foot, which was later raffled off. After that, Esther Stutzman, a local Kalapuya elder who gave an interesting perspective on what is known as an older brother of man, a being her people call (and I know this spelling will be wrong, so bear with me) Ti'ppe'chi'ppi, her tribe's name for a great and kind person who passed on into the next world and returned as a Sasquatch. Her people believe this being should be left alone and treated with respect. Then a short Q & A session followed, with Jeff and Autumn getting the lion's share of the questions. Sunday started off with Jeff Meldrum, discussing the various anthropological candidates for Sasquatch, not just Gigantopithecus, but Homo Erectus, Paranthropus and others, and how he interprets the fuss over what Sasquatch might be. After Jeff, Ron Morehead took the stage and gave a presentation on the circumstances of how the recordings of what are now known as the Sierra Sounds came about, including his work with Al Berry, as well as the hunters in the camp at the time, Bill Macdowell, Warren and Lewis Johnson. He also talked of his daughter seeing one in the same area many years later, and of attempting to take Scott Nelson to the same area for possible research into it. Nelson was next and revealed what seemed to be interesting cognants (words) which seem to be spoken by the beings in the Sierra Sounds recordings as English language-words such as "I", "me", "you" and "food." The recordings seemed to reflect that the beings in them seemed to have a rudimentary understanding of English words and phrases. Scott stopped short of declaring the beings could speak fluent English, but obviously they do appear to be using some form of English and possibly other languages such as Chinese. After lunch Green came up and performed an original song referring to beer and also Cash's "Ring of Fire." Jaime Avalos was next and he gave some interesting tips on how he goes about research in the field as well as tips that he uses in the field. He also showed video clips of interesting things he found in the Sierras, such as a disabled snake in the winter and other interesting trackways he has found and casted of individuals moving about in the high mountains. Finally, Jeff came back with essentially the same talk he gave in Ohio last month on the Nguoi Rung. Another brief Q & A, then it wrapped up. All in all, a GREAT weekend, and I look forward to next year.

Speakers' ratings:

Williams-***** out of *****
Wolford-****1/2 out of *****
Gimlin-****3/4 out of *****
Rodriguez-***1/2 out of *****
Barackman-****1/2 out of *****
Powell-****3/4 out of *****
Strain-**** out of *****
Stutzman-****1/2 out of *****
Meldrum (1st talk)-**** out of *****
Morehead-****1/2 out of *****
Nelson-****3/4 out of *****
Avalos-**** out of *****
Meldrum (2nd talk)-**** out of *****

1 comment:

Foos-squatch said...

Henry! You the man. Thanks for the well written synopsis of the symposium. I feel like I was there, thanks to you. I'm looking forward to you're show this Wednesday night to here you talk about it.