Posted by: Craig Woolheater on June 25th, 2011
Cliff posted his behind the scenes views for the latest episode of Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot entitled “Fishing for Bigfoot in Oregon” on his website.
The Oregon Episode of Finding Bigfoot, entitled, “Fishing for Bigfoot in Oregon,” was one of my favorites to not only shoot, but to watch. As far as shooting it, I loved working back in the state in which I reside. We were dealing with my metaphorical backyard, and in several cases, were investigating things that I had already looked into.
The evidential centerpiece of the episode was the McKenzie River Footage. This footage came to my attention last August, and upon first glimpse seemed pretty compelling. It showed a dark bipedal figure seemingly standing from a sitting position next to the McKenzie River in central Oregon. In September of 2010, I visited the film site and did a fairly extensive on-site investigation. I left that investigation with the inclination to believe it was a human figure. When going over the casts’ thoughts with Matt and Chris, the two witnesses, Bobo, Ranae, and I all came to that conclusion. Matt was less sure about that, and his opinion was mostly featured on the show, leaving the conclusions of the team ambiguous. You can read a previous North American Bigfoot blog post on my conclusions by clicking the previous link.
Mary Carrigg’s sighting was also a report that I had previously personally investigated. This report came to me last June, just three days after the encounter. I had just returned home from a footprint investigation on the Skokomish River in Washington when I got a call about a recent sighting in Molalla, OR. I called Mary and arranged to meet her. I wrote up my report on Mary’s encounter here. On the Finding Bigfoot episode, Mary was depicted as not having her story believed. Ranae has to find another explanation for Mary’s story because she doesn’t think bigfoots are real animals. Matt was unsure about Mary’s story, but conceded that she might have seen something. I will say that I am nearly positive she saw something. I personally witnessed 15 inch impressions made by something large barrelling down the hillside in the soft mud in the exact spot Mary said she saw a sasquatch. She had not been on the hillside before me, as was perfectly obvious by my tracking on the hillside. Several of the impressions went straight through thick brush and devil’s club. Mary saw something that left large impressions with long strides. I think it was a bigfoot.
I got wind of Rusty’s sighting when we were out in Georgia filming that episode for Finding Bigfoot. My field partner and friend of the ‘squatch, Will Robinson, called me to notify me of the nearby sighting. He and I went over casting techniques for loose soil, and he went to the site to obtain a cast of the impression. Will also found the place where the sasquatch sat and watched Rusty and his buddies fishing. Knowing Rusty as a friend, I absolutely believe his account. I find the circumstances interesting in that they were fishing with light stick bobbers. This supports my idea that sasquatches, being the smartest thing in the North American forests, come in close to humans to check out the fascinating things we do. I am a big proponent of light sticks, weird noises, disco balls, or anything else that might grab a curious primate’s attention. I think in the case of Rusty’s sighting, the curiosity factor played a huge role.
Putting a live rabbit in a cage to attract a bigfoot was a dream come true. Being an avid ocean angler, I know the power of using live bait, so I jumped at the chance to replicate Steve, Orey, and Mark’s encounter. A live rabbit was obtained from the Molalla pet store and brought out to the site. The original campsite where this occurred has now been blocked by large boulders, so we replicated it a short distance down the road, but in the same general area. Bobo quickly became very attached to the bunny and named it, “Bun Bun.” Not an hour would pass without Bobo checking in with Bun Bun to verify that everything was comfortable for it. It was a very Of Mice and Men moment for me to witness this. There was no conclusive activity around the rabbit, but we did, in fact, hear knocks that evening coming from the east of camp. An investigation into the nearby forest turned up nothing.
The highlight of the episode, and indeed the entire Oregon trip, was the night investigation above Horse Creek. This investigation, which included the motorcycles, took place on the night following our teaming up with Bun Bun. Matt and I were on the ridge above the Molalla River, and Bobo and Ranae went to the valley floor on the electric motorcycles. At one point in the night, Bobo heard a faint call back from up a tributary by using a parabolic microphone. The recording device did not pick up the call. An hour or so later, we struck gold.
The first vocalization came from a little east of north. I froze and listened as a second vocalization came from the same source, at approximately the same volume. A few moments later, a louder and clearer vocalization came from what appeared to me as slightly more east, and higher on the hillside on the other side of the valley. Bobo soon made a call, and another vocalization came from under Bobo’s call, resulting in the last call not being heard clearly. Ranae and Bobo verified that they heard the calls, but interestingly, they heard the first two loudly, and the third and fourth calls barely at all. The last call was not heard by them because Bobo was vocalizing.
Both teams quickly took compass bearings of the directions of the vocalization source. Using triangulation on a topo map, I found the likely location of the callers to be about a half mile east and a bit north of Bobo and Ranae’s location. Matt and I made our way to the valley floor, but as the episode showed, our efforts to film the creatures was not successful. I was elated, though. The producers and camera guy were both blown away, and the excitement in the air was tangible. There’s nothing quite like loud, clear vocalizations emanating from the dark!
The Oregon episode was indeed a success. At that point in my six-week filming adventure, I was more than pleased to be home, even though I could not yet sleep in my own bed for a few more weeks. I got a chance to drop by the meager little shack in which I live to pick up my own car and to drop off laundry to be done later, and I even took an hour nap on my couch. It was a welcome homecoming back to the Pacific Northwest from a grueling trip bigfooting in unfamiliar terrain.