Thursday, November 17, 2016

Collectin' ... The Historical Print Publications Series

Kickin' back with the November 1961 issue of True, The Man's Magazine ...
     Howdy, y'all! While I'd much rather be out in them woods collectin' evidence or a type specimen, this post will be the first in a series of "Bigfoot", Sasquatch and Yeti related items that I have personally been collectin' over the past 40 some-odd years. Now, I'm not talkin' trinkets or souvenirs here. What I have collected the most are historical print-media related items. Some are hard-bound books, while others are paperbacks; however, quite a few of them are magazine publications which feature historical accounts of these still yet to be discovered mystery primates. I've safeguarded several classic paperbacks purchased over the past 45 years by the likes of John Green, Rene Dahinden and Peter Byrne. And, while I can still remember network broadcast news accounts from the late 1960's, what I remember most are readin' these accounts and stories in specific publications ... a number of which I still have. One of my most memorable reads is an article published in the January 1969 issue of Reader's Digest, which I have re-explored several times throughout the past four decades. Others I recall were articles from men's adventure magazines such as Argosy, Saga & True, which were culled from my late uncle's dental office. Well, I was much too young at the time to purchase these types of magazines for myself, but I have found quite a few of these issues over the past several years. I've decided to share some of these printed gems with y'all from time-to time, so let's start with an issue of True. Beforehand ... a backstory:

Dr. James Allen Jones ...
born January 15th, 1933
 in Mathis, Texas; proudly
 servin' his country as a
U.S. Army paratrooper.
     First of all, let me tell y'all about my uncle, Dr. James Jones. He was a true man's man, and the local dentist in the small northeastern Louisiana town of Jonesville. Uncle Jimmy was an avid angler, hunter, outdoorsman and an ardent reader as well. He probably had every book ever written by Louis L'Amour as well as most every issue of Field & Stream, Outdoor Life and Sports Afield ever published durin' his lifetime. What I remembered most were his amassed collections of Argosy, Saga and True that were brought home from his dental office. He had stacks of these at his home, which I visited frequently. I fondly remember readin' these cover-to-cover, time and time again. The only other publications that I had read more were my own collections of Famous Monsters of Filmland ... the first of which I purchased in about 1968. The difference between these types of pubs was that the FM's (Famous Monsters) were strictly Hollywood fantasy; while the MAM's (men's adventure magazines) seemed to publish "true" accounts of abominable snowmen, "Bigfoot" ... missing links, Sasquatch, wild-men and Yetis. Why, if national magazines such as these were publishin' articles about specific mystery animals ... they just had to be true, right? As an impressionable young boy at that time, at least that's what I had initially thought. I'd hafta say that lookin' through all these marvelous publications, accompanied by iconic photos and amazin' illustrations had left a mark on me, and I have my uncle to thank for that! R.I.P., Uncle Jimmy.

A great read; check it out!
     Secondly, it was just a couple of years ago while researchin' some of my personal MAM issues that I came across an excellent blog from Robert Deis at ... which featured a few of the magazines I had collected. Then, in June of 2015 I'd happened upon an entry on his blog which prompted me to purchase the most wonderful book, Cryptozoology Anthology ... edited by Robert Deis, Dave Coleman (The Bigfoot Filmography) and graphic designer Wyatt Doyle. Not only did this book contain the full articles from the select MAM's it featured, it also contained most of the dramatic, full-color artwork used in these publications as well. As both a novice collector and a graphic designer, I was so impressed by this publication that I bought the e-book version for my Kindle too. I highly recommend either or both of these for your readin' and viewin' pleasure! I do wanna caution y'all beforehand; as far as MAM's go, collectin' some of these older publications can become quite addictive, and if you're not patient ... quite expensive as well. Most all of what I have collected were found over the years in used bookstores, antique shops and a few more recently on the internet. I'll go into more detail about locatin' some of these treasures later ...

Was this a Yeti track-way?
The media reports as such,
but is that really accurate? 
     One of the mags in my collection, published before I was born ... is the November 1961 issue of True, The Man's Magazine which featured an article by biologist and author Ivan T. Sanderson, titled "Abominable Snowmen Are Here!". In the 1950's & 60's, Sanderson was frequently published in Argosy, Sports Afield and True, most of which I have copies of. Many of y'all will recognize Sanderson from his book, Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come To Life. This very lengthy article starts with a call-out above the 55 year-old headline that reads, "A large part of the earth is unexplored, uninhabited, unmapped, unknown, and a great many unbelievable creatures - long believed extinct or merely myths... have been found there. Now, after 30 years of scientific research and study, this famed zoologist makes the startling statement ..." which is then followed by the aforementioned header, makin' a claim still unproven to this day. I was immediately hooked; now, that's how to get a reader's attention ... and in my opinion, how to sell some dang magazines! I should mention that Sanderson obviously disfavors the appellation "abominable snowman" and further states, "Worse, it is usually prefixed with the article "the", just as if there was but one lone mate-less, childless and parent-less monster...". This really hit home for me, 'cause I cannot tell y'all how many times I run across folks that truly believe that "Bigfoot", Sasquatch or Yeti are some solitary entity. This in-turn makes me really just wanna ask 'em, "Hmmm, what's it like to be an idiot?" Lord, I apologize ...

A bear?  A monkey?  I'd say an ape ...
look at the width compared to the boot.
     Sanderson starts the True article discussin' the stories of these so-called "snowmen" in the Himalayas and how early track finds were compared to bear and even monkeys at a London exhibit. Sanderson immediately got my respect for statin', "If you will compare the tracks pictured with this article with a bear or a monkey you will see how ridiculous this is. How even a stay-at-home scientist in a museum could be so stupid, I fail to understand." Frustration felt, 'cause as we say here in the south, ya just cain't fix stupid. The picture accompanyin' this article was of a very clean, fresh track photographed by Eric Shipton, who was mountaineerin' with Sherpa Sen Tensing and Dr. Michael Ward. This track, in my personal opinion, shows somethin' not associated with a bear, monkey or even a human for that matter. Skeptics have tried for years to explain away this crucial piece of evidence as a distortion due to snow-melt or wind erosion. Well now, zoom-in by clickin' on this photo and y'all can see for yourselves how clean and fresh the track really is. I was happy to see that this particular photo was used for the article, showin' a boot for scale as opposed to the infamous photo showin' an ice axe. I don't reckon many of us common folk know much about the size of that particular tool! As far as the track-way photo goes, it was stated that the photo was taken earlier and those tracks were not made by the same animal. Supposedly, the negatives were filed together and the media just assumed and ran with it. I've also read unsubstantiated accounts over the years that claim Shipton either played a practical joke or possibly perpetrated a hoax ... but once the photos became worldwide news, he couldn't recant. I guess we'll never know. I do know that Shipton's original photographs were sold in an on-line Christie's auction back in 2014 for around $8,000!

     Sanderson postulates that there are hundreds if not thousands of unknown anthropoids (and, more importantly to me, anyways) of at least half-a-dozen kinds, runnin’ all over 5 continents! This may explain the diversity of size and appearance of these mystery animals which have been reported from different parts of the globe. But these track-ways found in the snow-covered Himalayas were not the only famous finds of the time. His article eventually moves the locale to northern California, where he tells of tracks that were left overnight at an isolated construction site ... some as large as 22" long with strides of up to 60"! These are the tracks that tractor operator Jerry Crew made plaster casts of back in 1958 (Sanderson wrote of this account in True, December 1959, which I'll post about next month). He adds that the media stir caused by both of these events had brought to light the fact that, track-ways such as these had actually been reported over the last century; from places like Idaho, Oregon and Washington ... all the way up into British Columbia. On a personal note, I once came across a large, barefoot humanoid-lookin' track in a place so random that I immediately knew that no one could have placed it there to punk me. The feelin' was quite disconcertin' to say the least. I wear a size 9 Cabela's snake-proof boot, and this track was almost twice as wide and 6" or so longer than my booted-foot. I cannot even fathom comin' across a track-way with multiple impressions, with some as large as 22" long with strides of up to 60".

Sir Edmund Hillary, with Kunyo Chumbi
posin' with their supposed Yeti scalp ... 
     Sanderson's article touches upon the fact that there are so many of these tracks/track-ways found in so many different places, that hoax and misidentification become so utterly ridiculous that they are not even worth discussion. He also makes the point that hoax and misidentification are the most common points of view that are most read in an explanation on this matter, as an attempt to disprove these animals entirely by debunkin' one small aspect of evidence for them. This brings him to the discussion of the Hillary debacle.  No, not that Hillary debacle ... the infamous Sir Edmond Hillary fiasco of the Himalayas where he claimed that his secondary objective was to capture a Yeti! While I am not tryin' to tarnish the accomplishments of this mountaineerin' pioneer, explorer and philanthropist, I will say this larger-than-life legend obviously had a bad case of "cabeza grande" (big head) as far as his fame was concerned! Sanderson was none too happy with him; he lambasted the mountaineer for his lame attempt at zoology and anthropology, aimlessly roamin' the barren mountain snowfields to look for somethin' he knew little about. Incidentally, no Yeti was ever seen or found by the members of this expedition. To obscure the fact that he had failed, Sanderson claims that Hillary actually tried to parade a questionable Yeti scalp around in attempt to debunk the animal's existence entirely! After his expedition, Hillary flew around the world to display this bogus trophy. He appeared on television shows with a Nepalese tribesman named Kunyo Chumbi (I'll assume for street-cred), said to have been sent along to guard this sacred artifact. Hillary even freely gave tissue and hair samples of this taxidermed noggin knowin' that scientists would identify it as some known animal. Once the scalp was debunked, this would disprove the existence of Yetis and again show Hillary in a triumphant manner. Brilliant! Not ...

Obviously, an uncomfortable moment
as Sir Edmond Hillary gets caught-up
awkwardly tryin' to answer questions
concernin' his "reports" of Yeti tracks.
Chumbi's look is priceless, as if askin'
"Dude! Did you really just say that?"
     His collusion soon began to backfire on one of his sensationalized broadcast media tours. Sanderson states that Hillary was asked, if debunkin' this scalp disproved the existence of Yetis ... then, what about the tracks that he himself had (several times) reported? Accordin' to Sanderson, Hillary replied that all of the tracks were made by foxes; get this ... walkin' in each others identical tracks ... which were then enlarged by snow-melt! Really? Sanderson notes at the time that he was unable to trace any reference of any species of fox ever bein' collected from that upper mountain region where the tracks were purported. When Hillary was asked why the tracks consistently showed clear toe prints in a specific arrangement with distinctive muscular impressions, as well as how the same tracks could be made in mud, he could not provide an answer. BOOM! I would love to be able to watch the footage from one of these old television interviews y'all, 'cause it sounds to me like ole Hillary let stardom take its toll! Further in this article, Sanderson claims that there was other physical evidence collected by various parties in the region, such as scalps, skins, a hand, hair, scat, blood and parasites; but sadly, gives no conclusion. Too bad nobody had the foresight to do any collectin'! The rest of this article details at length several historical accounts from the mid-1800's up to the late 1950's, too much for me to go into here. If you would like to read the article in its entirety, and do not have access to this legendary issue of True ... it can be found on the late Bobbie Short's Web site, Bigfoot EncountersLook on the sidebar menu under Newspaper and Magazine Articles. Bobbie's site remains a great repository of all things "Bigfoot", so if you haven't already gone there ... I suggest givin' it a look-see!

     I hope y'all have enjoyed this-here outré review of this venerable publication from yer old sloughstalker. If not, let me ask a question: Does the noise in my head bother y'all? Well, obviously not ... 'cause a bunch of y'all just keep comin' back for more! Thank y'all for that! Like I'd said earlier, due to my collectin' I have several other copies of vintage publications that I plan to share with y'all right here in the near future. The fabulous Cryptozoology Anthology was a contemporary bonus to my flourishin' cryptid collection, and hopefully will become a part of yours as well. There was a hint dropped on Bob's blog that a second volume is in the works, so I'm chompin' at the bit to add that one to my collection too! Hell, I'll prob'ly continue collectin' 'til someone finally collects a type-specimen ... ultimately puttin' to rest the "myth" of these mystery primates once and for all. Until next time, I hope that you and yours will have a great Thanksgivin' holiday and safe travels as well. If yer lucky enough to be doin' any huntin' ... keep yer eyes and ears peeled for anything outta the ordinary, and y'all be careful runnin' 'round out there in them woods!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Gatherin’ …

An awesome Oklahoma sunset as seen from behind The Bowman Lodge ...
     Howdy, y’all!  I've just had the privilege to attend a gatherin’ of investigators and associate members of the North American Wood Ape Conservancy in eastern Oklahoma this past weekend.  Yet again, I was humbled to be amongst some of this country’s cuttin’-edge field researchers to discuss our past & future efforts to provide science the definitive proof needed for the existence of this mystery primate.  Members from across the U.S. drove from as far north as Montana, Minnesota and Illinois to be there!  Others of us came from Tennessee, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas to attend our NAWAC Annual Retreat, which was held at The Bowman Lodge.  This venue was as magnificent as the attendees who met there, and we could not have been blessed enough ... not only by the gorgeous weather, but by the camaraderie experienced by all!

     I opted to camp along with a few other members, and we could not have picked a better weekend for our retreat.  Folks, I’m not tryin’ to sound derogatory, but this was not some sort-of “Bigfoot” conference; we don’t sell anything, play campy movies, ruminate historical sightings or share experiences in some town hall fashion.  What we had discussed this past weekend is what we have personally documented in our area of research over the past several years, and strategized on how we hope to bring it to the next level.  NAWAC members are a serious "boots on the ground" bunch doin’ some serious time in the grime ... and I mean serious enough to have had the foresight to have documented everythingWhat documentation, you may ask?  Again, if you have not already done so … I urge y’all to go to our Web site at and read the NAWAC’s Ouachita Project Monograph.  This free, downloadable PDF details several years of study performed by our members.  These folks have all volunteered serious time, effort and personal finances to try and provide definitive proof of the existence of this yet undiscovered mystery primate.  And after this goal is attained, we'll be gatherin' steam and goin' all-out to preserve the species and its habitat.

Dr. Angelo Capparella discusses future research opportunities with members of the North American Wood Ape Conservancy ...
     I cannot emphasize enough what a game-changer this will be; the discovery process of this species will be the scientific news of the century.  Period.  And you, too could become a part of this process as well!  It's a team effort, and the North American Wood Ape Conservancy welcomes volunteers who can bring their talent to the table for this epic quest.  Keep in mind this group does not participate in or plan any paid “Bigfoot” expeditions ... or random weekend campouts in the woods in the disguise of serious research.  The NAWAC is, however, a very seriously focused group of like-minded volunteers who are working for a non-profit conservation organization with a specific mission.  None of us are, or for that matter ... claim to be any kind of experts.  As a matter of fact, there are no experts in what we are doin’, and we find on a regular basis that we all learn somethin’ new quite often!  The fact of the matter is, we all have worked quite hard as a team to get where we are at this point, as far as our knowledge of these animals and our experiences with them goes.  Commitment and the ability to work as part of a team are the most critical traits for any applicant; so, if you have what it takes to contribute, please step-up to the plate!  I won’t guarantee you a wood ape sightin’ … but I’d be willin’ to bet that you will most probably experience things that most folks couldn’t even dream of!  There is a Membership tab at the top, right-hand corner of our Web site which tells how you can possibly help us with our efforts.

Alton Higgins (left) and Daryl Colyer (right) both presented to the group on our past accomplishments and future strategies.
     I genuinely wish that I could share with y’all what-all I have learned over the past weekend; however, those sorts of things are for our members, associates and investigators only.  The closest I can get is to tell y’all to keep-up with our Web site, our Facebook page, podcasts and again, to read the Ouachita Project Monograph.  After listenin’ to the presentations by the likes of Alton Higgins, Dr. Angelo Capparella & Daryl Colyer … I cannot wait for an opportunity to finally get back into the field in Oklahoma.  God willin’ … I hope to be available for whatever is asked, whether that task be site maintenance, documentation or any other type of support.  Until then, I have a few things planned for the next few months, such as gettin’ back into the Big Thicket, and then possibly another trip to the Ozarks that will be solely ape-related.  Also, I am just about finished gatherin’ all the pertinent info that I can share with y’all about my second week spent in Area X back in July of 2015.  But before I post anything, I’ll need my other two team members to substantiate my written interpretation of how it all went down prior to publication; so, y’all just hang tight!  Until then, take care, be careful out there and … y’all come back now, ya hear?