Wood Knocking For Bigfoot Dates From At Least 1974

Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 1st, 2011

Guest blogger, Don Frew writes:

At the beginning of the preview episode of “Finding Bigfoot,” Matt Moneymaker states that he has been hunting Bigfoot for 25 years. Since this is now 2011, that means that he got into the field some time around 1986. Midway through the episode, after hearing a couple of loud knocks on wood in response to calls, he says: “Just so you know, one of my claims to fame in the Bigfoot world is that I was the one who discovered that Bigfoots do wood knocks, and that figured out that if you make sounds that they’ll respond. No other Bigfoot researcher had ever figured that out or knew that before, because they didn’t really go into the field that often.”

Bigfoot, by B. Ann Slate and Alan Berry, Bantam Books, 1976, describing Berry’s experiences in the Sierras:

“Warren at one point stepped out of the shelter and whistled to them, and was answered in whistles in an exchange that lasted several minutes. My impression, with the vocalizing that accompanied the whistles, it was not mere mimicry but an attempt at communication.” (page 29)

“They were still working uphill from the shelter when one of the creatures announced its arrival, or presence, on the scene. It made itself known with a sharp rap of wood against wood, a double rap echoing from a ridge line above camp. “Guess who,” was Larry’s remark. As they continued their task, sharp, periodic raps continued, sometimes punctuated by a more rapid, insistent-sounding rap-rap-rap.” (page 30)

The use of a double-rap on wood and the use of call and response is described several times in this book, published in 1976 and describing work done in 1972-74. When Alan went on KGO radio in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1976 and played recordings of the sounds he had heard, I called in to say that I’d heard the same sounds at my own field site. This led to many years of working together and many opportunities to use the call and response and use the sound of rapping on wood to call the creatures closer to our campsite. (I have personally used the wood knocks and whistles to coax a Bigfoot close enough to be seen in daylight.)

I spoke with anthropologist Jane Goodall about this double-rap phenomenon in 1977. She confirmed that chimpanzees often do something similar when entering a valley as a way of announcing their presence and listening for a response.

Before Moneymaker says that these statements were only published in one obscure book, I hasten to add that Alan’s recordings were the subject of an academic paper presented at the “Sasquatch and Similar Phenomena” conference held by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in 1978 — an event which most of the leading Bigfoot researchers attended and the papers of which were collected in the volume Manlike Monsters on Trial (ed. by Marjorie Halpin & Michael M. Ames, University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, 1980). The recordings have been available to the public – first on LP and then digitally – for almost 35 years. You can hear a sample of them here.

Moneymaker should know this [info] since his own BFRO website links to the recordings here.

I am NOT saying that Alan Berry (or I) was the first to “discover” the wood knocks and/or call and response phenomenon with Bigfoot… there were probably other folks who noticed this before us. I AM saying that there were researchers talking about this in the Bigfoot community a full 10 years before Moneymaker says he first got involved, and that he should know that and not claim otherwise.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

17 Responses to “Wood Knocking For Bigfoot Dates From At Least 1974”

  1. matt_moneymaker responds:

    You’re right, Don. They did mention hearing that in their book. I think John Green’s book mentions a witness describing “thumping” sounds also. I never said I was the first person to hear those sounds. I said I was the first person to describe how bigfoots use those sounds to locate each other and warn each other of human intruders, and the first to actually put them to use … with lots of participant researchers in tow. That’s a whole different thing than merely hearing them.

    Also, Don, did you document using wood knocks in the 1970’s … or did you have many other people with you ?? to confirm you were actually doing them back then? and that you elicited a daylight encounter that way? I’m not asking for film or video to prove you did that, but were there others involved who could confirm your field work back then? Just wondering.

  2. matt_moneymaker responds:

    If Alan Berry confirms that he and you did that in the 70’s, then I’ll believe it. I know Alan myself but I don’t recall him mentioning that. He had seen other things though that only bigfoot field researchers have seen and know about, but don’t feel comfortable talking about. It took a lot of drinks to get Alan to talk openly about the very weird things that happened in that camp in the Sierras 1970’s — things we’ve seen in other bigfoot areas.

    Anyway, if you and Alan did that together, then Alan surely wrote about it, or at least remembers it clearly. I’d like to hear from Alan directly on that though.

  3. TimmyRyan65 responds:

    A 100 years from now when Bigfoot still hasn’t been proven to exist (because it doesn’t), what will it all matter who did what first in an empty forest setting? 😉

    Keep on thumping and a whistling! 😉

  4. j stewart responds:

    matt you cant stand it can you. just admit you got caught in a stretch of the truth and leave it at that. I was using deer antlers to sound like deer fighting and draw them in the early 80’s . didnt know of anyone else doing it until the late 80’s doesnt mean i discovered it. I even demonstrated it for everyone at our deer camp doesnt mean i discovered it. i read about it in a book about native american hunting methods…just because you repeat what you learned doesnt make you the discoverer.

  5. matt_moneymaker responds:

    J Stewart writes:

    “matt you cant stand it can you. just admit you got caught in a stretch of the truth and leave it at that.”

    Um, Jay … Guess what? I’m still right. I’m not stretching the truth. That book says those guys heard “wrapping sound made by wood against wood” at a camp in the 1970’s. Did it say that BF’s do that everywhere? Did it say why? They described an observation in one place. I described a behavior of a species. Yep, I’m still the person who figured it out. I’m the person who put it to use first. That is what history will show … and you just can’t stand it.

    “I was using deer antlers to sound like deer fighting and draw them in the early 80’s .”

    Prove it. Did you write about it back then? Any dweeb can say that now, and that’s what you appear to be … just a dweeb making that claim. You can kiss my ass you wannabe.

    “didnt know of anyone else doing it until the late 80’s doesnt mean i discovered it. I even demonstrated it for everyone at our deer camp doesnt mean i discovered it.”

    In your dreams. You did nothing of the sort, liar.

    “i read about it in a book about native american hunting methods…just because you repeat what you learned doesnt make you the discoverer.”

    Listen up Gomer, I was the one who discovered it. I’m the one who can prove it. Nobody else heard it more than one state before I did and nobody gave a presentation about their use of those sounds. I’m afraid you’ll just have to get used to it, and don’t bother lying about it anymore. You have no proof, but I do. Get used to it, and start kissing my ass today, you wannabe.

  6. TimmyRyan65 responds:

    “Gomer”? “start kissing my ass today, you wannabe.”? WOW! That’s all I can say is “Wow”! That will get you more viewers. Class act. Like I said it’s no wonder people out side of cryptozoology don’t take the search for this creature that seriously.

    Let’s just assume for a moment that Bigfoot does exist, the only first that will matter is who is the first to come up with the definitive proof. Then perhaps the one who was the first to get one to respond to thumping a tree may make an interesting footnote. But we won’t have to worry about that because there aren’t any such creatures out there.

  7. lordoftheonionrings responds:

    To Matt Moneymaker, wow sir you a consumate professional! I was very excited about this show but after reading your comments, not so much.

  8. wutzisface responds:

    Is this how a mature adult researcher really converses in a public forum? Name calling is a logical fallacy… a distraction method that in reality only weakens your argument/defense and makes you look bad. I appreciate what you had to say in your defense… but don’t weaken it with name calling.

  9. Don Frew responds:

    As to the use of rapping on wood – or “wood knocks” – back and forth with the creatures… this is described in Alan’s book, as is calling to the creatures and them calling back.

    As to my relationship with Alan… I confess I haven’t been in touch with him for many years. The last time we spoke was at my wedding in 1983. If you are in touch with him, you can ask him about all of this.

    However, the TV program “In Search of…” did an episode called “In Search of… the Monster Hunters”, which first aired on November 9, 1978. Half of the program was on the Bay Area Group, including Alan Berry, Arch Buckley, Warren Thompson, Steve Sanders, and me. This episode can be seen in three parts on YouTube.

    I can be seen standing & talking with the rest of the Bay Area Group at the UBC conference in Vancouver (in Part 2), and at the end of the episode (in Part 3) talking with Arch. In the voice over, Leonard Nimoy unfortunately identifies me as “Donald Roo” instead of “Donald Frew”

  10. mikfoss responds:

    People are not all the same, and I think since everyone here is used to Craig and Loren and the way they interact with the public we tend to think most researchers are like this, and sorry, but this isn’t always the case. Look at Gordon Ramsey, he’s rude to lots of people, and still he is great at what he does. It’s the passion for what you do that makes many people respond as Matt has done in these thread, in my opinion, and I have to say a lot of the comments have seemed a bit like attacks on Matt and the “Finding Bigfoot” show that recently aired. I for one want to thank Matt for taking time to respond to these questions that have been raised rather than just ignoring the whole situation (which many would have done). Passion is what keeps people heading out to the woods searching, and passion is needed in this field to keep it alive and thriving. Just saying…

  11. lordoftheonionrings responds:

    Sorry, but in order to call yourself a professional, you must first conduct yourself like an adult. Just because you are good at what you do, does not mean you are not just a larger version of a child. This is one of the problems with society today, too many larger versions of children running around (and being rewarded for it, mind you).

  12. j stewart responds:

    It’s so funny that Matt Moneymaker proves every comment against him every time he opens his mouth. He can’t prove any points unless he belittles those around him. Matt I’m so glad you think so much of yourself because your the only one who does..lol

  13. j stewart responds:

    By the things you wrote responding to me it shows you read about as well as you search for bigfoot….I said i didnt rattle first and that i wasnt the first to do so..When i said I wasnt the first you called me a liar….so your saying i was the first..thanks..lol …..I hope you call me a few more names and curse me more so it only proves my point more……..Glad You are doing what you are doing keep it up and i wish you the best.

  14. sasquatch responds:

    Woah, anyway…I’ve heard that Rene Dahinden could be grumpy, but he was still a very dedicated searcher for BF. And contributed much to the field.
    I think Matt is also dedicated and I’d be fine with him getting the “definitive proof”…At that point he wouldn’t care about splitting hairs over who wood knocked in more than one state…nutty argument going on here, and I do see that Matt has stuck his neck out quite a bit, which can be dangerous-especially when lots of folks here wouldn’t mind having this much attention and a TV show! It puts one in a tight spot when they start feeling attacked and then feel the need to respond. I hope bad feelings can be put aside and we can all act better and help each other find the answer to this mystery without so many hard feelings.

  15. respectsnothing responds:

    Matt may not be aware that Roger Patterson used to call blast as well. He even created a bigfoot howl by yelling into a church bell. He then used it out in the field. Since Roger died in 1972, he clearly predated Matt by many years. David Murphy, the guy writing Roger’s bio, posted the information on a bigfoot forums many years ago.

  16. Cernovog responds:

    Are we certain that this is actually Matt Moneymaker of BFRO making these comments and not some internet troll? Anyone can create a username. If I’m not mistaken, the actual Matt Moneymaker is a practicing lawyer. I find it hard to believe that a person with his education and professional background would make such a big PR blunder and sling mud like a schoolyard bully in a public forum like this, especially on a matter so trivial and inconsequential. It’s more likely that this is someone impersonating Moneymaker to give him a bad name and have fun at our expense.

  17. flame821 responds:

    You make a good point although I do truly hope no one would go to that sort of trouble to defame MM. I know on Twitter, celebrity accounts must be ‘verified’ perhaps the moderators or Mr. Woolheater or Mr. Coleman could verify that the commenter posting under Matt Moneymaker is, truly, Matt Moneymaker. (Although that is a hilarious name for a lawyer, I imagine he has a list of jokes as long as his arm)

    I don’t know MM either in real life or on-line, however I will state that the person posting under Matt Moneymaker is not coming across as pleasant, educated or rational. He is coming across as a bully and someone who cannot stand to be questioned in even the slightest manner. Rather similar to a cult leader if my recollections of Psych courses are still intact (it has been a few decades). Although to be charitable I suppose stress and constant defending of oneself could be making an otherwise calm and mature person a bit punchy.

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