Primal People, That is to Say, Bigfoot.

Primal People, That is to Say, Bigfoot.

I guess that is the new politically correct way of discussing Bigfoot/Sasquatch, etc. now.
Well, it is long past time that our hairy cousin got a makeover, a re-imaging and possibly his own reality TV show. I would include “Finding Bigfoot” but there are few things less real than that.

Anyway, here I am freshly home from the Pacific Northwest Primal People’s Conference this last weekend, May 4th-6th 2012, possibly the last one if the Mayans were more on the ball than some critics think so I am glad it was relatively close to home. There were many good presentations, and a few disappointments. Dr. Ketchum was unable to attend as promised, but still made her presentation over the phone. There was far less in that presentation about DNA results than there was about procedure. More on that in later articles.

I have thought a bit about how to approach my articles on the conference and it seems simplest and most economical to present my impressions in the order that presenters appeared. There will be cross referencing here and there as many, if not all of these people know each other and reference each other, even if they do not necessarily agree with each other.

Thom Cantrall, a retired road construction engineer, organized the conference and was one of the presenters, offering an analysis of the Patterson/Gimlin film. He opened the conference with what seemed to be a thought that, in one form or another, resounded throughout: Life being what it is, we cannot go forward without further learning. He went on to inquire rhetorically if finding Bigfoot would be a good thing. Well, “It is going to happen whether we like it or not.” In anticipation of getting an opportunity to interview one or another of the guests this same question had occurred to me to use. It was answered right off the bat, and many times and in many different ways throughout the weekend.

Thom introduced Arla Williams who offered a Native American drum prayer and then opened her presentation with the unapologetic statement, “I know I am different” while at the same time taking exception to being considered a kook. “I am a kookette.” I hadn’t the nerve to inquire if she meant couquette.

Arla began her presentation with an explanation of Direction Stones. Four stones placed at East, South, West, and North. Described in that pattern because that is the order in which they are significant. East for youth, South for faith, west for maturity, and North for ancestors. She told us about her prayer place, describing it as a place where “no one else goes.” There was no information offered as to how this has been determined, and even becomes questionable in later statements. But one recurrent theme among those who pursue Bigfoot through faith rather than science is that they feel no need to convince anyone, they themselves are convinced.

In the process of seeking answers to life’s problems, Arla meditated upon her stones, seeking advice from her grandmother, and departed her prayer place only to return at a later date and find a change The North, ancestor stone had been moved into the center of the pattern, an indication to he that she should keep her grandmother at heart of her being. Since no one knows where she goes, or ever goes there, clearly this change was made by the many Bigfoot that roam the area where she lives though there were no tracks or other evidence. They are very deeply spiritual and smart enough to hide their tracks when they want to.

On other occasions, the East stone was moved to the south, indicating that she should “begin again,” and the south stone was moved far to the north telling her to put faith in her ancestors. Arla is quite clear that she “does not just buy into anything… yet I see it time and again.”

Bigfoot do not limit themselves to stones when expressing the four directions. They also use sticks, tied with grass or pliable bark from trees, as we will see. Arla was told about a birthing area up in the mountains. She was brought there and found what was described as a birthing bed. a mossy area at the base of a tree with sides built up of sticks in what has become a familiar construction technique among Bigfoot followers.

There is certainly an element of construction to the image, but little reference to its size that might lend credence to its being an artifact of Bigfoot.

Again, this is a place where “no one goes” so it could not have been put there by humans. Yet someone told her about the site, she did not discover it for herself. Found placed at the head of the bed, a small cross of sticks tied with grass as described above. She did not tell us if it was oriented to the points of the compass. Nearby a tee pee, which has become a popular landmark of identifying Bigfoot sites.

Returning to Arla’s prayer clearing, she showed us a photograph of a grassy circle in which no tree has ever grown in her experience. This was a location in which she intended to construct a Medicine Wheel. Coming to her secret and undiscovered site on one occasion she found that two small trees had been bent to cross each other in an X. She thought little of it at the time. Later, in the process of laying out her Medicine Wheel, the first step of which is to locate “True North” which she indicated she performed with a compass (but made no mention of calculating for magnetic variation, true north cannot be found with a compass. My wife says I am too pedantic) she discovered that the crossed trees were due east of her medicine wheel.

As the year progressed, having constructed her wheel in the autumn, she made frequent use of her medicine wheel and throughout watched the progression of the sun as the seasons changed. As spring came into bloom and the Vernal Equinox approached she noticed that the position of the sun in the morning was approaching the crossed trees. Lo! On the very morning of the Equinox, the rising sun pierced the heart of the cross. (Here comes more pedantry) To my understanding, on the equinox the sun rises exactly due east, as she states the crossed trees are so positioned, but only at the Equator. Oklahoma is located 35.5608° N of the Equator and so either the Bigfoot are very much more sophisticated at astronomy than we think and her compass bearing was not as exact as she felt it might be, or there is a severe problem with the Earth’s rotation. That is all I can think of.

At the end of her presentation there was time for a few questions.

First among them Dr. Meldrum pointed out that recognition of the position of the sun is common among agricultural societies and no such activity has ever been evident in the current Bigfoot research.
Arla postulated that it is a behavior held over from a past time when perhaps they did cultivate. In any case she could only say for certain that “They did what they did.” I took the opportunity later to ask Dr. Meldrum if he were satisfied with that answer. Being one of the figures at the heart of scientific research of Bigfoot, Dr. Meldrum walks a very fine line between keeping true to scientific method and not wishing to discount any potential information, or source. However, he felt that subjective information such as given in the presentation is not the way to prove the existence of the creatures.

The next question offered was from a member of the audience. In ancient cultures, use of fire and development of level one, two and three tool use are precursors to ritual such as might be indicated by either the cross found at the birthing bed, or the crossed trees. Bigfoot show little evidence of tool use and none of fire.
Arla responded with more guesswork, that it is possible Bigfoot society abandoned these things, recognizing that they endanger their existence. Well, there is possibly no greater danger to the existence of Bigfoot than Humans. I raised my hand and asked “If they dispose of those things that endanger them, why do they leave behind structures that give evidence of their presence when they could as easily dismantle them and leave no identifiable trace?” She had no definite answer. I know, I was surprised too.
She told me that very few people would recognize the structures for what they are. She had seen a young man walk right past the “birthing bed” and not recognize it as anything other than a natural part of the landscape.

The presentation was over but I was left wondering, in my pedantic way, if no one recognizes these structures, who found and took her to the “birthing place” to begin with? Who realized what it was without recognizing the structure of the bed for what it was. Who was this young man who walked past a structure where no one goes without recognizing it? Was he part of the party took her there? How did he not know where he was going or what would be found there?

Belief is crucial to the pursuit of any endeavor. Unfortunately belief alone is not enough, but as Arla said, she is not trying to convince anyone, only tell her story. And a story she did tell. Rest assured, there is more to come, and more of it makes sense than even I anticipated. That being said I attended this event to hear all there was to hear, and now present it to you in the same fashion.

Side note: Honobia County, Oklahoma hosts an annual Bigfoot Festival and Conference, claiming itself as a hotspot for Bigfoot activity. The festival is considered of economic importance to the region. Sadly the Festival will not be held in 2012, but look for it in 2013, if we are all still here. Possibly it will be attended only by Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) as the lone homonin survivors of the Mayan Apocalypse. Apparently if other presenters are correct in their research, karaoke will be a big event at that one.