By Eric Wilson-Edge
Bigfoot is real. The elusive bipedal creature is alive and loping. Johnny Manson saw one on a family camping trip when he was two although he doesn’t remember the encounter. Manson is a DJ for a radio station in Aberdeen. He’s the father of three. He’s also the organizer of the inaugural Sasquatch Summit in Ocean Shores.
Manson is an amateur Bigfoot enthusiast. He attributes his interest in the legendary beast to his mother. “My mom has always had a passion for it,” says Manson. “I grew up around that passion.”
Some scoff at the idea. There is no hard evidence. There are several theories – some rather convincing. The fossil record shows an animal matching Bigfoot’s description did exist. Gigantopithecus roamed the earth between 1 to 9 million years ago. Some believe the modern day Sasquatch is a descendant of Gigantopithecus. Manson isn’t one of them. “They’re a different kind of human,” he says.
Scott Taylor is an avid outdoorsmen. His first encounter with Bigfoot came in 2005. Taylor and his girlfriend at the time were deer hunting in the Wynoochee Valley. “As we’re walking out, I noticed, on the side of the road, a pile of stones stacked on top of each other,” says Taylor. “Then we ran into this horrible stink. It smelled like burning baby diapers full of poop, wet dog and BO.” Taylor remembers seeing a “hulking figure” in the near distance. “It started to vocalize a melodious ‘woo-hoo.’”
The experience changed Taylor’s perspective. He didn’t have much of an opinion about Sasquatch before that day. Afterwards, he threw himself into finding out as much as possible. Taylor now works as an investigator for the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO), a loose collection of researchers whose primary mission is to advance our understanding of Sasquatch.
The BFRO lists 560 Bigfoot sightings in Washington. Sixteen of those have been in Thurston County. The oldest report in Thurston County is from 1967. The Bigfoot legend goes back much further.
Sasquatch has been a part of Native American lore for hundreds of years. “Every state has had a sighting. Every continent has had a sighting,” Manson points out.
And yet no indisputable proof.
It’s hard to imagine in this age of camera phones and selfies that no one has snapped a clear picture. No one has gone out in the woods with a tranquilizer gun and waited. “They’ve mastered their environment,” says Manson.
According to Manson, Sasquatch can blend seamlessly into its environment. They may also possess infrasound, a low-frequency sound that is inaudible to the human ear. There are competing theories as to how Bigfoot uses this ability. Some believe it can be used to make people afraid while others believe it can interfere with electronics.
Ridiculous? Maybe. Nature is full of surprises. The Wood Frog can freeze its blood. It can live without a beating heart or brain activity for long stretches of time. Then there’s the Coelacanth. This viscous looking fish was thought to have gone extinct 65 million years ago until it was “rediscovered” in 1938.
Of course there are hucksters. There’s the gentlemen who claimed to have a dead Bigfoot stored in his freezer. Turns out it was a rubber ape suit.
So what is a person supposed to think? I’m not sure it matters. The truth isn’t always necessary. In this case confirmation of either reality would likely spoil the intrigue.
We need a little mystery.