Posted by: Craig Woolheater on November 23rd, 2013
Cliff posted his behind the scenes views for the episode of Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot entitled “Surf’s Up, Sasquatch” on his website.
Santa Cruz is pretty familiar territory for me, having been there probably a few dozen times over the years to visit friends. I had been there two or three times in the past specifically for bigfoot reasons, particularly when I lived in San Francisco, CA back in the late 1990′s. The areas between Big Basin and Pescadero were my target areas, though I ventured as far south as Big Sur. Though I have never run across a bigfoot in the region, I am certain bigfoots are at least part-time residents of the local mountains, and possibly even full-time ones.
When I was visiting Santa Cruz frequently, I would often visit my friends who lived on the “Ranch,” a strange shanty-town style garage converted into a semi-legal living situation on the backside of a cartoony five acre junk yard on Soquel Creek. The Ranch was adjacent to a persimmons orchard on one side, Soquel creek on the other, and steep redwood-laden hills on the backside of the property. Weird things happened at the Ranch, which is to nobody’s surprise, as weird folks lived there. Some of these things fit very nicely into the possibility of having sasquatches around on some occasions over the years.
Jeff, one of the primary residents of the ranch, reported some strange things to me over the years. For instance, one time he heard what he though was a very acrobatic person climbing the junk piles next to his home and walking on the roof before jumping off and running away. Another time while washing dishes, he saw distinct red lights down the long driveway. He said it reminded him of an eye looking at him, and indeed he thought it was a mountain lion or some other creature. Strange animal sounds were fairly common, including goats down in the creek area (where there were no goats), and loud growling and garbled roaring at the backside of the property.
And then there was the “Tall Man.” The Tall Man was seen on several occasions looking into the windows under the eaves of the house, more than eight feet off the ground. He was described as being totally dark with no features visible. He was once seen coming out of the creek, crossing the driveway, and passing over the barbed wire fence into the persimmons orchard. He moved like he was floating, giving the impression to the witnesses that he was more spirit than physical. Another time, just before dark, he was seen walking down the driveway. His head and top of the shoulders could be seen above the Ford Van that was blocking their view. He was always seen at dark or dusk, and always described as uniformly dark from head to toe.
Knowing the background of possible bigfoot activity in Santa Cruz, I was excited to be coming back. Besides, I knew we would be putting in a visit to Mike Rugg, the owner and curator of the Bigfoot Discovery Museum in Felton, just outside Santa Cruz. Mike runs not only a museum, but a research center where he collects data and witness reports from all round the area, both from within the county and without. Mike has collected well over 150 reports in the time he has been open, and has other forms of evidence from the region. He is the one-stop-shop for bigfoot information in the area.
Before our visit to Mike, we had a fairly unsuccessful night investigation to the area just south of Big Basin. We ran into almost no animal life at all, so we concluded that we needed to drop down to lower elevations to increase our odds of running into a bigfoot.
My interview with Collette was most interesting. She ran into a medium-sized bigfoot on the banks of the San Lorenzo River, just outside of town at the edge of a green belt that runs deep into the Santa Cruz Mountains. The location of the sighting seems a bit too close to town for some to swallow, but I found no discrepancies in her story, nor did I detect any body language that indicates that she was lying. I believe her. Her bigfoot encounter is another example of bigfoots imitating the witness, just as we saw with Anthony’s encounter from Tennessee. When there is repeated observations of similar behaviors, I think that adds to the credibility of the witness’ account.
The last night investigation was held in Nicene Marks State Park, just two mountain ridges over from where the Ranch is located. Between the two are extensive avocado and persimmons orchards, and numerous rural homesteads. Before starting the day’s filming, I met a man who lives on the outskirts of the State Park, and he told me about his encounters with bigfoots over the thirty years he has been living there. The location has a long history of activity, and apparently it continues to this day.
While our night investigation yielded no bigfoot evidence, it was pretty great getting out in the woods with TinTin and John. They were obviously hilarious, and they certainly are experts in cooking pig over a fire. It was some of the yummiest, moistest pork I have ever had. The bigfoots missed out by not coming down to feast with us that night!
~ 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.