Posted by: Craig Woolheater on January 14th, 2014
Cliff posted his behind the scenes views for the episode of Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot entitled “Lonestar Squatch” on his website.
Texas has long been recognized as great habitat for bigfoot, particularly in its eastern parts. Much of this acknowledgment is due to the combined efforts of local bigfooters and the groups they have formed in an effort to work collaboratively. There is still a thriving bigfoot community (the human kind) in the state, a very well-attended annual bigfoot conference, as well as a sizable bigfoot population to boot. I knew it would only be a matter of time before the Finding Bigfoot team visited the Lone Star State to look for our furry friends.
The evidence that brought us to Texas was an interesting piece of thermal footage obtained by Chris Noel. A number of years ago, Noel took an interest in so-called “habituation” cases, where people in rural areas claimed to have bigfoots living on or near their properties fairly often, and in some cases even claimed interactions with the creatures on a regular basis. Obviously, if these sorts of claims had any truth to them, bigfoot researchers would want to look closely at them to see what can be learned. (It should be noted that I have many more thoughts on these cases, but those are subjects for other times.) Through his investigations, Chris assembled enough information to publish a book and an accompanying DVD release.
At one location, he obtained a short piece of thermal video that purports to show a sasquatch behind a pile of wood. I had seen this clip before, but was always uncertain as to what it depicts. I can now see how it might be a sasquatch, but it is still far from certain what exactly is in the clip. The hand and arm position seems a bit awkward, even for a bigfoot. (Then again, who am I to say what is natural for a bigfoot?) The two bright spots on what is interpreted to be the face might be eyes, as they radiate more heat than the rest of the head, and would thus appear brighter. My main concern with the video is the fact that the “head” and “arm” appear to be different brightnesses, and therefore temperatures. However, this might be due to some partial obstruction, or even a hair covering insulating part of the head. When it comes down to it, I really don’t know what is in the clip, though it might very well be a bigfoot.
Our first night investigation was packed with animal activity. We heard sounds indicating the presence of coyotes, owls, raccoons, frogs, and deer. Additionally, I saw clouds of juvenile catfish in the shin-deep water we were trudging through, along with plenty of crayfish. The wildlife preserve is also home to alligators and snakes, though these were mostly inactive at the time of our visit. Unfortunately, no definitive bigfoot sounds were detected.
Our first witnesses were Wylie and Beverly Cody. They own a chunk of property near the Sabine River on which bigfoots have reportedly been seen on a number of occasions. Certainly their property has some features that are common on properties where bigfoots seem to like to hang out. First of all, there are a lot of animals there. Not only do Wylie and Beverly have dogs, horses, and other domesticated critters, they are the caretakers for scores of roosters, chickens, pheasants, turkeys, and other game birds, all of which live in outside cages. There are containers of animal food all throughout their property, which would make for easy pickings for anything with hands.
Most of the activity on Wylie’s property happens on the back half nearest the pond where the forest creeps up from the Sabine River to the east. While hunting in this area with his brother-in-law at dusk, he heard something large crashing through the brush. They spotlighted the area and saw a dark brown figure with a conical head peeking out from behind a tree just 66 feet from where they were standing. Repositioning onto the first rung of a tree stand’s ladder (thus giving me an exact position for his vantage point), he saw the figure’s shoulder below which a brown, hairy arm loosely hung. He described the build as “massive,” and “like a body builder.” The creature’s eyes were at the seven and a half foot level, thus making the creature a little over eight feet tall.
While the show only allowed us enough time to investigate one sighting, Wylie and Beverly have had other encounters. While on his neighbor’s property adjacent to his own, Wylie saw two hairy heads move through some brush and high grass, and he immediately wrote them off as bears. However, bears are not reported in this part of Texas, so he went back to the location the next day to have a look. What he found was that the two creatures were walking in a drainage ditch that runs from the neighbor’s pond down to the swamp. While standing in the ditch, Wylie’s head would not have been able to be seen, and he stands a little over six feet tall. He concluded that the two figures must have been at least seven to eight feet tall.
Beverly has not had a visual encounter yet, but she had many stories that indicated that bigfoots were around. She spends a good amount of time hunting in blinds near a pond on the back of the property. She has had knocking from several different directions on a number of occasions. Her blind has been slapped very hard (with her in it) as well. After hunting, she guts the deer right on the spot and these remains are often gone the next day (which could be any number of other animals as well).
Probably the strangest thing that has happened is the the disappearance of a hog’s head. After killing and cleaning a hog, Wylie and Beverly mounted the pig’s head on a fence post and then proceeded to wire it in place. The next day, the head was missing and they never found any trace of it. With the conspicuous absence of bears in the area, it’s hard to explain this mystery, unless there are some resident bigfoots with a taste for ham.
The next witness I was able to speak to was a teacher named Chris. He was out for an unsuccessful afternoon hunt, after which he started heading back to his vehicle near dark. When he got to the pipeline cut where his deer feeders were, he poked his head out of the woods to look up and down the cut, but saw nothing. Just then, two deer sprang out into the open area, panicked, and then took off back into the forest. One of these deer passed just ten feet or so from Chris, despite the fact that the deer must have seen him standing on the edge of the woods.
This is when Chris noticed a large figure standing next to one of these deer feeders just 87 yards away. Using his binoculars to get a better look in the failing light, he saw that the figure had a massive build, and that it was almost as tall as the deer feeder it was standing next to. The feeder is 93 inches (seve feet, nine inches), so we estimated that the figure was around 90 inches (seven foot, six inches, NOT the seven foot, eight inches I said in the episode. That was a mistake I made in my mental math. It happens, even to teachers.).
Of special note in Chris’ encounter was the prominence of the butt muscles. I focus on this anatomical feature because it is an easy way to eliminate the possibility of a misidentification. Only humans and bigfoot have pronounced gluteal muscles. These muscles (the largest in your body) are solely used to hold the torso upright, and to aid in bipedal walking. That is why bears don’t have big butts. Apes, such as gorillas and chimps, have small gluteal muscles for holding their torsos upright, but they are not well-developed because these creatures don’t walk bipedally. Sasquatches on the other hand, have very large butt muscles from holding their massive trunks habitually upright, and for propelling their great weight forward bipedally, often in precipitous terrain.
On our last night investigation, we were aided by our friends at Universal K9. These guys train dogs for a wide variety of police work, including cadaver dogs, arson dogs, drug dogs, and more. The trainers are supremely confident in their dogs and their abilities. We supplied them with two types of primate hair (chimpanzee and spider monkey) to train their dogs to scent, mixing them both to sort of “average” the smells. The dogs were trained to solely identify these scents against all others for over a month. We were told that the dogs could zero in on an animal’s passing, even if it walked through two weeks ago, despite the rain. Impressive, to say the least.
Unfortunately, for me, the dogs were also trained to defend their owners from criminals. Apparently, one of the dogs mistook the walkie-talkie for a gun or weapon, and it really wanted to both disarm me and to protect its trainer from me. It nearly bit the radio right out of my hand, but the ever-vigilant trainer saved me. Poor, misunderstood Cliff…
On the night investigation, the dogs got a whiff of something that made them signal to their trainers. Now, whatever this was smelled similar to the hairs we supplied, so it must have been a primate. The dogs never signaled a lead when passing over human tracks (both our own and others that were present in the area from hunters), so I can conclude that they weren’t going after humans. Could a sasquatch have walked through at some point over the previous two weeks? Quite possibly, as this area is excellent habitat, and is a very short distance away from where Chris saw his bigfoot at the deer feeder. To add to the possibility, we heard strange vocalizations over the wind that might have been a bigfoot. (It’s hard to tell from watching the episode, but there were strong winds all night blowing in a tropical storm, so it was difficult to hear and identify distant noises.)
Eastern Texas is prime bigfoot habitat. There is plenty of food, water, and cover for them to not only survive, but to thrive. Certainly our search technique of using dogs should be used again. Having dogs’ noses at our disposal is like having a super power, and one that bigfoots can’t hide from. Perhaps we can return to this area of Texas again to renew our search.
~ Cliff Barackman
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster.