April 7, 2013

Remembering Warren Thompson

Warren was a quiet guy. Tall, lanky and laid back. Congenial to a fault. We made several Bigfooting trips together when I was living in Cupertino, just west of San Jose. He lived in Redwood City, halfway up the bay towards San Francisco, and he had an entire room dedicated to Bigfoot in his home, including a large collection of footprint casts which he allowed me to examine.

Warren was a Bigfooter long before me, and he knew all the old Bigfoot researchers from the 60’s and 70’s. He used to tell me how things had changed over the years. I recall on one trip as we passed through Davis, California, how he explained that to the north of the highway it used to all be orchards, and Bigfoot was frequently sighted in those orchards.

Our most memorable experience was up in the low Sierras, at a location he went to often, usually with a trailer to stay a month, but this time we simply road together in my car. We slept on the porch of a cabin in a valley containing many cabins. He told me he always missed out on the Bigfoot vocalizations–that he would sleep right through them when he really wanted to hear them–and he made me promise to wake him if there were any.

Well, second night we were up there one let loose around 4:30 AM. I didn’t hear the first scream, but it must have woken me up, because suddenly I was wide awake. As soon as I heard the first yell I was up on my feet, breathless. Others in the party said the scream that preceded it was one of those enormous rising calls from the lowest bass to the highest screech, and the yells that followed were tame in comparison.

But those yells were anything but tame. They were two part yells: aaaah-uh-aaaaaahhh, with this quick little dip in pitch in the middle, the first part lasting several seconds, and the last part many seconds, both parts at the same Tarzan-like pitch. The tone was amazing–low fundamentals plus overtones in the range of a man plus upper partials like a female voice. With a reverberation implying an enormous chest. And the volume was stunning. If the porch of the cabin was at 6 o’clock, the screams were coming from the direction of 11 o’clock on the ridge behind the cabin. They sounded like a siren next to the house, but they were clearly at least a quarter mile away. It raised the hair on my back. The only calls that I have heard that were of even comparable loudness were the Simiangs at the San Francisco zoo. Going from one side of the zoo to the other, I found that at the cage itself, the yells required hands over the ears to keep the ears from hurting.

After the 3rd or 4th yell, I noticed that Warren was somehow still asleep. Determined to keep my promise that he would not miss yet another set of calls, I shook his arm. He opened his eyes, glared angrily at me, told me to leave him alone and promptly went back to sleep! During one of the calls! In the morning he remembered nothing and it was clear he was never really awake. I wake up at the drop of the hat, nothing woke Warren up.

There were 8 calls in all following the initial scream. One every 10 to 20 seconds. It seemed every cabin in the area had a dog, and ever since we got there it was literally non stop barking day and night. But when these yells went off, the dogs fell silent. The birds fell silent. The insects went silent. For an entire half hour afterward, there wasn’t a sound in the forest. Except one.

Some minutes after the yells ended a rooster crowed from the direction of 8 o’clock off the porch. Around the third crow it trailed off into a very deep bass–lower than a man can go. Neither man nor rooster, what else could it be? Suddenly I knew that the reports of Bigfoot imitating birds and wild animal calls were true. Was the Bigfoot on the ridge keeping track of the one in the valley? Was he calling it a night?

On one of our trips, Warren broached a taboo subject in Bigfootdom. He started talking about witnesses he had talked to many years prior who had seen Bigfoot in the hills north and west of Davis. And also present, according to the witnesses, were two immense saucer shaped disks. UFOs. A lot of Bigfooters don’t like to talk about these kinds of accounts, and they get dismissed and under-reported. But the witnesses and their accounts exist, uncommon as they are, and I have talked to witnesses first hand as well who swear that a UFO or UFO’s were present at their sighting.

Maybe some researchers never hear reports like this for various reasons. Maybe some are more likely to have witnesses completely open up. Maybe some reports like this never get retold. It is understandable. As one famous Bigfooter once said, what good is it to conflate one mystery with another? Still, if Bigfoot is to be understood, shouldn’t all the data be considered?

Warren and I met in the late 1990’s when I ran a Bigfoot list, and he introduced himself to me off-list. He was a very private man. He never posted, but he read every post. He had stacks of old accounts going back decades. He didn’t know what Bigfoot was, he didn’t express theories or form some notion in his mind what Bigfoot must be. But like many of us Bigfooters, he had an undying curiosity that took him into the woods again and again.

Warren, I hope you know now what we still don’t.

About Michael Krein
Mike participated in Bigfoot field research for many years while his health permitted. He has never been privileged to see a Bigfoot, but he has heard them and found their footprints in the wildernesses of Northern California. He founded the Bigfoot list now on Yahoo in 1999. He is trained and educated in physics and astronomy and enjoyed a career in aerospace engineering. He is also a musician and composer and is still actively composing, here is his website: musicseria

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