Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 30th, 2009
Various individual overviews of the Texas Bigfoot Conference are coming in from people who were there, as well as via the media. The event built a bit of stream before it even happened.
I’m not sure if the final count is in, but I understand that the meeting was attended by nearly 360, about 100 more than last year. The TBRC seemed happy with these numbers in a new city, and plan to build on this scientifically successful gathering in the future.
A long Tyler, Texas Morning Telegraph article about parts of the Texas Bigfoot Conference was published on Sunday, and entitled, “Hundreds Gather In Tyler To Discuss Belief In Bigfoot.”
Here’s what the Tyler paper said about…
Bob Gimlin, the man who partnered with Roger Patterson to record the first sighting of Bigfoot, was at the conference. He signed autographs and took photos with admirers.
“I came down here because I feel people are interested in coming to these conferences and I want to enlighten thing about my experience,” he said.
Patterson recorded the infamous video of a supposed Bigfoot on Oct. 20, 1967. Gimlin said rights were sold to different companies in 1972 and since then, the famous image of an ape-like creature in mid-stride has surfaced around the world. He said he has made no money from it. Gimlin recounted that day at a creek in northern California.
“I was pretty much a skeptic at the time,” he said. “We were hoping to see one but didn’t think we’d see one. Some people claim it was fake, that it was a man wearing a suit. It’s been hashed out for 42 years.”
Gimlin said he was frightened by the creature that’s estimated to be about 7-4 and weighed between 500 and 800 pounds.
“My heart was jumping up and down inside my body,” he said. “When you see something that’s nearly 8 feet tall covered with hair and is not supposed to exist, it makes you pretty scared.”
He added, “I know it was real. This is America, where you can have whatever thought you want and say what you think.”
Meanwhile, Mike at the Texas Cryptid Hunter gives a sharply focussed summary of some of the lecture events.
For example, Mike observed:
Primate biologist Esteban Sarmiento gave a very informative talk on great ape anatomy. He discussed physical characteristics of chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, and orangutans and then compared what is known about these great apes versus physical characteristics and locomotion demonstrated by the Sasquatch filmed by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin at Bluff Creek in 1967.
(I’ll have more to say about Esteban and others I met there, in a future posting at Cryptomundo.)
Maybe the true high point of the conference was the banquet that evening featuring adventurer, wildlife author, and naturalist Peter Matthiessen as keynote speaker. Matthiessen is revered by wildlife experts the world over for his research on the snow leopard of the Himalayas. Matthiessen held the audience rapt with stories of his adventures. He discussed his own sighting of what may very well have been a Yeti in a remote and, at that time, previously unexplored Himalayan valley, his work with early Bigfoot researchers such as John Green and Rene Dahinden, and his plans for writing a book on the subject of the Sasquatch. It was truly a once in a lifetime chance to hear this man speak.
Peter Matthiessen, who is 82 (born May 22, 1927, in New York City) and quite healthy, did give an excellent talk, sharing Bigfoot material he apparently had not told of before, publicly. As you may be aware, he has not spoken too openly about his Bigfoot research since his 1983 book, In The Spirit of Crazy Horse, went into years and years of litigation.
The Oglala Sioux people are quoted (in his In the Spirit of Crazy Horse) about their relationship with their local variety of Bigfoot. The Lakota (western Sioux) call them chiye-tanka (chiha-tanka in Dakota or eastern Sioux) – chiye means “elder brother” and tanka means “great” or “big.” In English, though, the Sioux usually call him “the Big Man.”
“There is your Big man standing there, ever waiting, ever present, like the coming of a new day,” Oglala Lakota Medicine Man Pete Catches told Mathiessen. “He is both spirit and real being, but he can also glide through the forest, like a moose with big antlers, as though the trees weren’t there… I know him as my brother… I want him to touch me, just a touch, a blessing, something I could bring home to my sons and grandchildren, that I was there, that I approached him, and he touched me.”
Matthiessen talked of Bigfoot but not in as great detail as he has already written about those in the Dakotas. At the banquet, it truly was enlightening to watch his nuances and shift in focus from the Dakotas to reports to the West, which often occurred more in tone than content.
Mike has published a variety of images from the event too, here.
Sharonlee published her blog and photos here.
More photos were published here.
You only get one guess on this quick quiz: With whom do you think most people wished to have their pictures taken, throughout the weekend?
Meanwhile, back in Maine…
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