April 24, 2015

Reminder: 2015 Arkansas Bigfoot Conference This Weekend

Postponed last year, due to a deadly tornado, the 2015 Arkansas Bigfoot Conference will be held this weekend, April 24 and 25 in Vilonia, AR.

Described as a family-friendly event, the conference will include two aspects. The first will be a Friday-night camp out in the “scary woods” of Vilonia with Bigfoot researchers sharing their techniques. Attendees will sit around a campfire on Friday night, with well-known researchers, and hear stories about Bigfoot encounters in Arkansas.

Each person is responsible for their own camping gear and food. The location is being kept secret with attendees only being in the know.

During that event, participants will have an opportunity to take part in a hands-on obstacle course through the woods to learn how to search for tree structures, footprints, hair and scat samples. They will learn to make photos, audio recordings and plaster casts, as well as receive instruction about the proper way to use call-blast equipment and perform tree knocks to attract a Sasquatch.

The second event will be held from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., Saturday morning at the city hall in Vilonia. Four Bigfoot groups will be represented at the conference. Speakers for the conference will include Michael Mayes of the North American Wood Ape Conservancy; D.W. Lee and Big Jim Whitehead of the Mid-America Bigfoot Research Center; and J. Robert Swain, who is involved with the Alliance of Independent Bigfoot Researchers and the Arkansas Primate Evidence Society. All four groups are active in Arkansas as well as in other states. The cost for the conference is $10 per person.

You may attend one event or both. For more information, contact Swain at swainstudio@hotmail.com. The deadline to register for the Bigfoot Bootcamp is April 1. Proceeds from the event will go to the Museum of Veterans and Military History in Vilonia.

A Bigfoot field researcher since 2007, Swain of Vilonia, is the coordinator. He is accustomed to skeptics on the subject. When he talks about Sasquatch, he has seen many roll their eyes in disbelief. It doesn’t bother him that much because, he said, he’s not trying to convince people that they exist.

“I haven’t heard one scream, but I would like to,” Swain said.

He hasn’t seen one either but he has heard whoops, gibberish and tree knocks that are associated with the creature. As well, he has seen castings of footprints, handprints and tree-limb structures he believes they built. Thousands of people have reported Sasquatch sightings, he said, and he doesn’t believe all of those people are lying.

“If only one report of a sighting is real, then Bigfoot is real,” Swain said. Contrary to some theories, Swain doesn’t believe the creature is the missing link or a primitive man.

“I think it is a flesh-and-blood animal, and God made it. There is fossil evidence of a giant ape from Asia, and that’s what I believe it is,” Swain concluded.

Swain began “squatching” when he was a teenager on a spring break in 1972 at Mercer Bayou in Fouke. However, he hasn’t always pursued it with gusto. For a few years, he said, he was an armchair sasquatcher just reading about other’s research. When his son, Jamie, turned 6 years old, in 2004, that changed. They began camping and it turned into a father-son activity.

Now, Swain travels around Arkansas and to many other states including California, Washington, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Tennessee to pursue his hobby.

He also speaks at conferences across the United States. He takes issue with anyone referring to him as an expert on the creatures though.

“Anyone who claims to be is lying,” he said. “Everything is guesswork and speculation. There are no experts.”

He maintains a database listing with 300 to 350 reports of Sasquatch sightings in Arkansas, as well as maps marking many locations of possible sightings. During the conference he will share his research.


See also:

2014 Arkansas Bigfoot Conference Postponed
2014 Arkansas Bigfoot Conference

About Craig Woolheater
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, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

Filed under Bigfoot, Bigfoot Report, Conferences, Cryptotourism, Cryptozoologists, Cryptozoology, Cryptozoology Conferences, Evidence, Expedition Reports, Eyewitness Accounts, Folklore, Footprint Evidence, Pop Culture, Sasquatch