Across the globe, locals have many names for the large, mysterious, human-like creatures which haunt the forest. In the 1920’s North American journalists first used the term ‘Sasquatch,’ with the more familiar ‘Bigfoot’ began soon after. In Australia they call him ‘Yowie,’ ‘Kakundakari’ in Africa, and ‘Ucumari’ in South America. But whatever the local name, witnesses through the ages live to explore, discover, track, and learn more about our mysterious, hairy cousin.
Washington State tops the country in sightings, with almost every county reporting Sasquatch activity. Because of this, Grays Harbor resident Johnny Manson started the Sasquatch Summit, held annually at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino in Ocean Shores.
Occurring this year on November 20-22, Manson offers up a weekend of lectures provided by some of the biggest names in Bigfoot research. Attendance more than doubled between years one and two and Manson hopes this year continues the trend.
The first night of the Summit is a meet-and-greet with the event’s speakers and open Witness Forum which “gives people an opportunity to tell what they saw. It’s very therapeutic for a witness because many feel that they cannot tell their families or friends for fear of ridicule. Since most witnesses don’t believe in Bigfoot, if you happen to actually see one, it’s a very daunting thing. They are supposed to be a myth yet they see one with their own eyes and to be able to talk to others who had a similar experience often helps them cope,” explains Manson.
Saturday is a mixture of lectures, Bigfoot music, giveaways, raffles, food, and Summit-themed vendors. On Sunday, interested parties can participate in a footprint casting class offered by the local Olympic Project, “an association of dedicated researchers, investigators, biologists and trackers committed to documenting the existence of Sasquatch through science and education.”
This year’s lecturers include Scott Nelson, a Naval Crypto-Linguist, Dr. John Bindernagel, wildlife biologist from British Columbia, Cliff Barackman of Animal Planet’s TV show ‘Finding Bigfoot,’ and local authors from across the Pacific Northwest.
Speaker and middle school science teacher Thom Powell finds events like these a great place to “share notes on recent findings.”
David Ellis, also one of this year’s presenters, enjoys the Summit’s variety and approachability. “The summit is great for both novice and researcher. It is a great collection of diverse opinion, giving people a chance to hear and have discourse with those researching the subject. Both scientific and paranormal aspects of research will be discussed,” shares Ellis. “The public benefits by hearing a cross section of enthusiasts that share their findings and the researcher benefits by hearing new encounters from witnesses that attend the summit.”
Labeled as the premier Bigfoot research conference, Manson’s own experience with Sasquatch began when he was a small child. A family sighting when he was two led to a lifelong pattern of research and study. His goal for the event is simple: “I hope that the Summit grows to its highest potential and to open the eyes of society that there is indeed an unknown species living deep in the woods that is avoiding us at all cost.”
The Summit costs $30 for all sessions and activities. Registration is available online here or at Quinault Beach the day of the event. Visitors wanting to stay on-site can find discounted hotel packages through this link or by calling 888-461-2214 and mentioning discount code SASQ.
Quinault Beach Resort and Casino is located at 78 State Route 115 in Ocean Shores, an easy 90 minute drive from Olympia.