PRELIMINARY REPORT OF THE 1999
SIX RIVERS NATIONAL FOREST EXPEDITION
J. Richard Greenwell, Expedition Leader (1942 - 2005)
"On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I absolutely believe in Bigfoot after I evaluate all the data and read all the information. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays I think it’s a lot of nonsense…on Sundays I rest."
Dear Friends and Associates:
We have recently returned from the 1999 Six Rivers National Forest Expedition, our third annual field project to this area. The purpose of this project was to attempt to produce new evidence for the supposed Sasquatch or Bigfoot, a large, bipedal primate said to inhabit the forests of North America. This e-mail is intended to summarize the results of this year's project for many of our friends and colleagues, thus saving us the time and energy it would take to write or call each one of you individually. I will, of course, be in touch with many of you anyway in the course of time. Meanwhile, if you have any questions at all about our project, please do not hesitate to call or e-mail me. Ultimately, a Field Report will appear in a future issue of the journal Cryptozoology. Meanwhile, there is nothing confidential contained herein, so please feel free to share this information or this text with others, through e-mails, Internet postings, or whatever.
PROJECT PHILOSOPHY AND INTENT
First, for those who may not be aware of the philosophy and intent behind the Six Rivers National Forest Expeditions, let me preface this communication with an explanatory introduction. Our starting position is that, over time, interesting evidence has been produced that runs contrary to theory in anthropology and expectations in zoology -- that is, that a large bipedal primate occurs in North America. It would be easy to dismiss the occurrence of such a species as "impossible." In fact, this has been done -- in my presence. My position, instead, is that normal scientific procedure should be followed, and that involves testing the hypothesis that such a species exists. This is obviously best done in the field, despite the many financial, logistical, and physical difficulties involved. Only by testing the hypothesis in this way, however, can it be stated that the scientific method is being properly applied to the problem, and that true objectivity is involved.
Through this process, my opinion or anybody else's opinion concerning whether or not this species exists should be of no interest whatsoever to other scientists -- there already have been, in any case, far too many opinions and appeals to authority on this subject. What should be of interest to other scientists is new persuasive evidence produced by sustained fieldwork, provided that such evidence is collected under controlled conditions, following scientific protocols, and subsequently published in a format that permits adequate analysis, evaluation, and criticism by others. The question then is: Is the hypothesis validated by such new evidence? If it is not, it shall continue to be a viable hypothesis, one that still might be validated in the future. There is no need to reject or dismiss such a hypothesis, as do many unthinking scientists. The hypothesis simply remains invalidated, and that should be sufficient for everybody. Furthermore, it will remain invalidated unless definitive evidence -- i.e., proof -- is produced at some future time. Such a procedure is simply part of the objective methodology of science -- not necessarily of most scientists, relatively few of whom, unfortunately, have been trained in the fundamentals of the scientific process or the philosophy of science -- and that is what we are pursuing.
There is one final point I would like to make on this topic, and that is because one of my procedures could be misunderstood -- or even misrepresented -- at some future time. When in the field, I put aside all preconceived notions and theory, and proceed under the temporary assumption that the phenomenon is real -- that is, that the species in question does, in fact, exist. The rationale behind this procedure is fundamentally simple: if this species does exist, then the easiest method of collecting pertinent evidence in support of this is to treat it as if it exists. That is, to deal with it on its own supposed terms in its own supposed environment. What I am doing, then, is temporarily giving it the benefit of the doubt, bending over backwards in its own supposed habitat, being Mr. Nice Field Guy, and allowing the supposed species to manifest its biological existence as it sees fit -- and I'll be paying close attention, examining all evidence or factors that, under normal circumstances, might be overlooked or dismissed out of hand. This temporary field procedure in no way should be misunderstood or misinterpreted as an acceptance of the reality of such a species. It is simply a useful operational methodology in the field, and it has nothing whatever to do with my overall permanent objectivity when evaluating scientific problems of this kind. At the end of the fieldwork, I take off that Mr. Nice Field Guy hat and put on my Mr. Nasty Scientific Guy hat. That is when all the evidence that has been collected for an unknown species, if any, is objectively sifted, sorted, analyzed, and evaluated, with tough questions asked and critical criteria invoked. The final product, then, is evidence that has been collected in the field under conditions favoring the phenomenon -- in this case the Bigfoot -- but then evaluated in a scientific setting under conditions favoring strict and objective analysis. To my knowledge, nobody has ever questioned our procedures. I simply wanted to convey them clearly here, and thus avoid any ambiguities or doubts that could arise in the future concerning our intentions or procedures.
The one-month 1999 expedition included myself (J. Richard Greenwell), Secretary of the International Society of Cryptozoology (ISC), Angelo P. Capparella, a field biologist at Illinois State University, Darwin A. Greenwell (my eldest son), a college student affiliated with the School of Music at the University of Arizona, and Ronnie L. Roseman, a Florida businessman who helped fund the expedition.
We never conduct these field projects expecting to prove the existence of this unverified primate. Our basic working philosophy is that, if it were that easy to prove, it would already have been proven a long time ago. All we can hope to do, though a number of strategies over an extended period of time in a remote wilderness setting, is increase the probability of obtaining further evidence -- perhaps good evidence. However, we are unable to predict by how far we are increasing that probability, the reason being that practically nothing is known about the natural history of the supposed species under investigation.
The evidence that we were exposed to this year can be divided in to two categories: physical evidence and sound evidence. Sound evidence can then be divided into three categories: calls, footsteps, and manufactured sounds such as tree-knockings and "crashes."
Unlike at Bluff Creek last year, we encountered very few trees with their tops broken off. Only one of these had hairs, and these were collected for microscopic analysis. We encountered many, many fecal deposits from black bear, which we generally ignored. We did collect suspected coyote feces, and, twice, unidentified feces, one specimen of which was human-like. These will be submitted to a fecal analysis specialist.
On August 4, Darwin and I went on a nine-day recon to the north. I realized afterwards that, even including my six years in Peru, I had never before actually spent that many days with just one other human being, without seeing anybody else on the planet. And this was in California, the most populous state of the most industrialized country on Earth. The reason, of course, is that the Siskiyou Wilderness is very rugged and hard to negotiate. Even so, we were able to explore several canyons and river drainage systems. We went about nine miles north of the trailhead -- which itself is about an hour's drive from the closest rural habitation by humans. This may not sound like much, but in that country, backpacking 90 lbs. and descending and ascending 1,000-foot drops on heavily vegetated mountains with inclines of up to 60 degrees and no trails, it's actually quite a distance.
During these explorations, on August 9, we encountered two "beds." The first one was in a small, flat wood. A conifer tree about 6-7 feet tall had been forced down to ground level and had been hooked under the bark of a nearby large tree; the result was a nice "bed" to lie on. Would a bear do that? Perhaps. Could it have been the result of heavy snowpack from the previous winter forcing the tree downwards? Perhaps. We released the tree, and it sprang upwards right away, indicating that it had been forced down quite recently. In trying to hook it down again, it took both of us -- or one of us standing on it -- to do so. We searched for hair very carefully, but only found and preserved what we think are tree fibers. Photos and video were taken, and these will be shared with bear experts for professional opinions.
About 100 feet from this wood, in a small meadow, we found a large pile of broken conifer tree branches piled on top of one another -- another "bed." These limbs were between 1 and 1.5 inches thick, and they would have been impossible for a human to break when the branches were alive and green. A bear would have the strength to break such limbs, but bears break limbs to "mark" trees, and they certainly do not carry such branches the 30 or 40 feet that separated this area from nearby trees. We therefore consider the finding of this "bed" quite compelling, as we cannot provide a normal explanation for its existence.
On the first full day of the expedition, July 20, at our first camp in a box canyon, we broadcast our usual Bigfoot and primate calls -- gorillas and howler monkeys -- using our very powerful broadcast system. We didn't really expect anything to happen right away. However, at about 1 a.m. that night (now the early morning of July 21), I was awakened by footsteps. They were similar to the ones I had heard in this same box canyon two years before, on the first Six Rivers expedition, but slightly faster. I didn't try to observe the intruder, as I knew that one of our two remote video night-cameras was already operational. Our strategy this year was to let the night-cameras do their job, at least at first, without us alarming any intruders. Soon afterwards, however, I heard what I interpreted to be loud tree knocking a little north of camp. Such tree-knockings have sometimes been reported by witnesses, including Mark Slack and Jeff Meldrum on the first Six Rivers expedition; they are generally interpreted as warnings or intimidation. My perception at the time was that the sounds had a sort of hollowness to them, as if a bamboo tree were being hit with a bamboo stick.
I awoke Darwin, as we shared the large work-tent. Darwin is a student of music, both theory and practice, and he knows a lot about the characteristics and interpretation of sound in regards to pitch, timbre, as well as sound propagation. He immediately stated that the sound we were hearing was not tree knocking at all, but a strange call. In fact, probably the most bizarre call I have ever heard. We have both tried to recreate it, unsuccessfully. The best I can come up with is to start with a hollow-sounding tock -- the initial "tree- knocking" -- followed by a sort of guttural clicking as one may hear in the Quechua language of Peru, and ending in a curious upswinging oiiing. The call in its totality is thus something like tockkkoiiing. This is a poor representation indeed, but does anybody have any idea what kind of mammal or bird might make a call like this? It is the sort of call that, once heard, will certainly never be forgotten. In our later meeting with U.S. Forest Service personnel, the regional biologist had never heard anything like it.
The calls went on for over a minute, and it became apparent that two entities were involved, calling back and forth to each other. We both interpreted the calls as coming from ground level just north of our camp, and then moving away at a very rapid speed. The calls receded towards the Dillon drainage, until they ended. Darwin tried to get our digital disk recorder going, but, just having arrived in camp, much of our equipment was not yet operational, including this disk recorder -- and the seismic detectors. However, we knew that the digital remote video night-camera would have captured the sounds. When we checked the camera, we found that nothing had actually come into camp and been filmed. The calls had indeed been recorded, but, although the audio recording capability of the camera, being digital, is nearly as good as that of the digital disk recorder, the quality of the camera's speaker left much to be desired, and not much more than the initial tock was apparent to us in the recording. Ideally, to benefit from the quality of such a recording, one should play back digital videotape on a domestic or industrial machine back home, which, of course, we did not have in the field.
What we did have with us in the field, on digital disks, were the calls of all Western birds, and Angelo, a professional ornithologist, tried the next day to identify what it was that we had heard and had been recorded. This attempt was unsuccessful. However, a bird call heard a few times in our canyon that day convinced him that what we had heard was that particular bird. Although he was not able to see the bird at the time, he was confident that we would be hearing it again over the next few days, and that he would then be able to see it and identify it. Although at the time of the event we were certain that the calls were coming from ground level, not from the air or from trees, we finally and reluctantly conceded to Angelo's expertise, and his opinion that what we had heard had come from that still-unidentified bird -- or two of them. Thus, the digital videotape with the recording of the calls was taped over repeatedly when it was used for further nighttime surveillance. As it turned out, that proved to be a tragic mistake that we now regret having made.
On the morning of July 26, at our new camp to the north established the evening before, Darwin was awakened at 6:58 a.m. by the sound of heavy footsteps moving southwards on the trail behind the work-tent, and he assumed it was a hiker. The steps stopped abruptly, as if our tent had been spotted, and for a while he heard quiet steps to the north and south, as if the visitor were trying to peer into the camp. The steps then quietly receded to the south. After I awoke, Darwin told me about hearing this "hiker," but I was dubious. First, who in his right mind would hike alone through the Siskiyou Wilderness? Second, our camp area could not be reached from any water source in the north that early in the morning. Moving southwards from a water source, a hiker would not be able to reach our camp till mid-morning at the earliest. And third, when we radioed Angelo and Ronnie at the first camp, to our south, they stated that they had seen no hiker coming through. Yet, because of the topography, any hiker moving south through that area of the Siskiyous would necessarily have to have gone through their camp. Darwin stated that the footfall of this "hiker" had a strange double-strike sound; it had a consistent cadence, thus: du-dum, du-dum, du-dum, du-dum, as if his feet were hitting the ground with a fast double-impact footfall. He also said that the steps sounded extremely heavy. I think it is to Darwin's credit that he immediately thought these steps were being made by a heavy hiker, not jumping to any Bigfoot conclusions. It is I who questioned this, and have invoked the "Sasquatch hypothesis."
Later that day -- the 26th -- Angelo and Ronnie moved to our third camp, by an alpine lake still to the south of the new main camp manned by Darwin and I, and we installed remote night-cameras in each camp. That night, at about 1 a.m. (now the early morning of the 27th), Ronnie was awakened by calls from two entities on either side of the lake, which is less than 200 feet across. He stated that they were at ground level, and his description of the calls was identical to that heard by Darwin and I that night at out first camp -- the mysterious tockkkoiiing. Angelo awoke and also heard the calls, but later described them to us as more like a tock. The entities making the calls rapidly joined up and the calls then receded to the west and ended. The sequence of the movements involved was similar to that perceived by Darwin and I at the first camp; that is, two entities at ground level calling to each other from separate locations, then meeting up, and then rapidly leaving the area together. It is interesting, too, that these entities, whether mammals or birds, visited the vicinities of both camps in the middle of the night, and immediately after such camps had been established.
With other logistical tasks needing to be accomplished, there had still been no time to install the seismic detectors at the main camp manned by Darwin and I. This was unfortunate, as that night, July 27, at about 2:20 a.m. (now the early morning of the 28th), I was suddenly awakened by heavy and very rapidly-approaching footsteps similar to the ones Darwin had described. As in Darwin's case, the footsteps suddenly stopped. They then changed several times from a very slow step to a very rapid step -- essentially running -- but always with the same du-dum, du-dum, du-dum, du-dum fast double-strike sequence. Further, the second part, the -dum, had a strange "floppiness" about it during the slower walking, as one might hear when somebody walks by a swimming pool wearing flippers. My impression was that the steps were being made by a very heavy and powerful entity, but also a very fast one with a rapid step when necessary; this did not compute well in my mind, as one normally associates heavy animals as being slower than smaller or lighter animals in their ability to change speeds. I lay perfectly still, not wanting to alarm the intruder, hoping, again, that our video night-camera would catch it. Had we had time to install the seismic detectors, of course, I would have had some warning of a heavy entity approaching our camp, and I could then have better prepared myself to possibly observe or film it from the tent itself. After some minutes of silence, I quietly awoke Darwin, and slight retreating steps were then heard.
Several hours later, a little after 7 a.m., I was again awakened by steps, but this time they were soft. After a while, as it was now daylight, I carefully and quietly got up and moved to a northern zippered peephole -- we had had these custom-installed in the work-tent -- and peered out. I saw nothing unusual, but, at that very moment, I distinctly heard the old tockkkoiiing call some distance north of camp. The call was made only twice, but I think two entities were again involved, as the second call seemed much closer -- or at least loud -- than the first one. The calls lasted only a few seconds, far too fast to activate the digital recorder, followed immediately by a "crashing" sound. I heard nothing else. The "crashing" sound convinced me that a bird was certainly not involved, but, unfortunately, because of the five-hour time gap, I cannot directly link the entities making these calls to the very heavy and fast footsteps I had heard earlier that night. This was the first time, incidentally, that these entities, whatever their affinities, had visited a camp area and made the tockkkoiiing calls in daylight -- and it was the last time I was to ever hear such calls. Of note too is the fact that, as far as we know, they were the only unknown entities to have visited -- and vocalized at -- all of the three camps that we established in the area at different times. There was nothing unusual on the video night-camera. So, whatever entities had come by our camp, twice that night/morning, had not actually entered it.
That night, July 28, at about 10 p.m., while returning to their camp from ours, Angelo and Ronnie heard a call that they described as a kouk, repeated numerous items, and coming from a small, nearby wood. As with the tockkkoiiing calls, Angelo was unable to identify these kouk calls as that of a bird, either at that time or since -- based on the description, the regional U.S. Forest Service biologist could later not identify them either -- and I predict that, just as with the tockkkoiiing calls, he never will, the reason being what Darwin and I heard in association with such calls during our recon north (see below). This same wood happened to be the abode of a female mule deer, which we named Hazel. Last year, in Bluff Creek, we were essentially forced to adopt a camp pet, another doe, which visited our camp almost daily. We called her Chestnut, and she would often spend hours in our company -- in the last week she even brought her fawns with her. Hazel was no Chestnut, however, keeping very much to herself in that wood. Even so, we have no reason to suspect that it was she making the kouk calls.
The next night, July 29, time indeterminate, Ronnie heard what he believed to be two tockkkoiiing calls near their camp by the lake. If so, they were to be the last such calls ever heard -- and the only recording we had of them, from the first visitation on the night of July 20-21, had already been taped over and lost forever. In fact, no other strange or unidentified calls or sounds were heard until Darwin and I were up north. While on that nine-day northern recon, on August 7, in a small canyon and waiting for two days of drizzle to end, I first heard, in the early morning, a large "crash" in the forest above our tent. This was near the area where Jeff Meldrum and Mark Slack, a professional hunter/tracker, were "visited" in camp in 1997 on the first Six Rivers field project. The visitation involved rifling through a backpack, tree-knockings, and whistles. It should be noted that, as with other informants in the past, they interpreted such disturbances, especially a "crashing" quite close to them while they were resting on their return trip, as intimidation displays or signals, and a general desire for them to leave the area. While such interpretations are, of course, subjective, the presumed displays have a tendency to rapidly assume serious meaning when vulnerable individuals, alone in the wilderness and little concerned at the time with theoretical propositions, are suddenly exposed to them! I'm not sure how high up towards the ridgeline the "crash" I heard took place. An identical "crash" occurred in the late morning, and was heard by both of us. We do not think that these "crashes" were the result of falling trees -- and no wind was blowing anyway -- as trees, when they fall, create more than a single crashing sound due to all the branches smashing individually through thick vegetation.
The next day, August 8, at 4:30 p.m., five distinct and very loud kouk calls were heard coming from the very same area on the forested canyon hill. These calls were presumed to be the same as those heard and described by Angelo and Ronnie as having been made on the night of July 28, and whose origin remains unidentified. We heard five such kouk calls, followed by what sounded like the smashing of large rocks and then small rocks crumbling. Nothing else was heard, and, again, the calls occurred too fast to be recorded. As with the "crashing" sound following the last tockkkoiiing calls I heard on the morning of July 28, the rock smashing is certainly beyond the repertoire of known bird behavior. The next day, August 9, in the afternoon, Darwin heard tree-knockings twice in another canyon we were exploring -- where we found the "beds." Unfortunately, I did not hear these, as I was talking at the time. That is the extent of the sounds we heard on the recon north.
It may seem strange to some that we would pay so much attention to such simple sounds in the wilderness. This is because, after enough experience in such an environment, one becomes very attuned and aware of what sounds to expect and what sounds not to expect. At any given time, unless it is windy and/or rainy, the wilderness is absolutely silent, with the exception of birdcalls, which are, of course, identifiable by the knowledgeable percipient. Large mammals are rarely encountered, and the slightest sound should tell the experienced wilderness explorer that something is going on, and usually what it is that is going on. When this cannot be determined, even by highly experienced and professional hunters/trackers such as Mark Slack -- on the 1997 expedition -- then we can rightly suspect that something unusual is going on.
A good example is the rock-throwing episode in our first box canyon camp in 1997, where we were again this year. During the first days of the 1997 expedition, individual rocks were thrown down from the canyon about every half-hour or so in the early evening; the rocks did not tumble or roll down, but flew through the air until they hit other rocks. Mark was very puzzled by this phenomenon two years ago, but at first I paid little attention to it, assuming that there was a natural explanation. It was only later on that expedition, after other "things" happened, that I attached more importance to the rock throwing, but by then it was too late, as we had already moved on to the next camp. Incidentally, there was not a single instance, in this same canyon, of rock-throwing this year. If it was a "natural" occurrence in 1997, why not in 1999? All we heard in this canyon this year, twice, was small rocks rolling down a little -- probably dislodged accidentally by passing animals -- and a rockslide early one morning (see below.).
On August 15, after returning to our original camp in the first box canyon, following a three-week absence -- and the day before the final day of the expedition, when preparations were beginning to be made for leaving the Siskiyous -- several events occurred which may or may not be related. The first event was that, between 7 and 8 a.m., both Angelo and Ronnie were awakened by the sound of a rockslide in the canyon -- where the rock throwing occurred in 1997. This canyon had had many rockslides in the past, as evidenced by the multitude of rocks of all sizes at its base, but I am not sure how common these are. This slide may well have been a natural occurrence. The second event was that, in the afternoon, we hiked down the creek from this box canyon towards the Dillon drainage. Our trip was uneventful, although we found interesting, lush terrain, including flat ground with meadows and many edible plants. Curiously, this was the first time that we had ever descended down that hollow, although this was the fourth time that we had camped in the canyon above it -- and we had often wondered what was down there. It should be noted that the last "visitations" to our camp further north in 1997 actually began the night after we first hiked down a similar hollow towards the Dillon drainage. This may be coincidental, of course.
The third event was that, in the evening, we finally deployed the infamous orangutan urine. This urine was obtained from a menstruating female orang, courtesy of a major American zoo, to serve as an attractant to possible wild apes -- a wild idea, for sure! We deployed the urine on bushes and trees near an animal trail starting near a drop towards the Dillon drainage and heading towards our camp. So, on the same day, we had a rockslide, a penetration down towards the Dillon, the deployment of orang urine near a drop to the Dillon, and, finally, the last event, also related, I think, to the Dillon, which I will now relate. Again, it may all be coincidental.
That night, at about 11:30 p.m., we were still sitting around the campfire talking, having had a late dinner, with Darwin planning to soon broadcast calls all night and stay hidden behind a large rock on that same animal trail near were we had just deployed the orang urine. Suddenly, we heard a tremendous bellowing call. My own first impression was "How could we be broadcasting, when we were still sitting around the fire" -- a silly notion, of course. I myself cannot fully describe the call in technical terms. My interpretation, however, was that it came from a very powerful animal at some distance, possibly thousands of feet away, maybe even a mile, and from the southeast -- the direction of the Dillon drainage. The bellow turned into a long, drawn-out howl that lasted at least 10 or 12 seconds, and possibly 15 seconds. There was a curious pitch fibrillation towards the end of the call. After a very brief period, maybe just one or two seconds, the call was repeated. This second call was essentially identical to the first. Thus, the total duration of the two calls ranged from 20 to 30 seconds.
As Darwin is far more qualified than myself at evaluating these calls, I have asked him to provide his interpretations, which he has done as follows. He states that he heard two identical bellowing howls, each one lasting approximately 15 seconds, with a two- or three-second pause in between. Based on the volume of the calls, and the associated background distortion -- which increases rapidly as a function of both volume and distance -- he estimated that the calls originated from a point about half a mile to a mile distant, probably from near the top of a ridge to the southeast -- generally, the direction of the Dillon drainage. He states that the howls had both the volume and power of three or four opera singers, such as Pavoratti. He also states that, if a human listener had been standing directly in front of this entity when it made the howls, he or she subsequently would have had trouble hearing properly for quite some time. He estimated that the volume output of the howls at ground zero was probably in the range of 100 decibels.
He states there were five distinct components of the two calls. The first component was the initial bellow, which had a mid to low range, starting at about the second "G" below middle "C" on a piano. It then crescendoed both in volume and in pitch until, after about three seconds, it hit what he calls its peak volume and most consistent range, which represents the howl, the second and loudest component of the calls.
When we first heard the beginning of the first bellow, Angelo was about 50 feet south of where the rest of us were sitting, having gone to soak the pots and dishes in the pond. Darwin, Ronnie, and I first sat there a few seconds, speechless. I then tried to get Darwin's attention, but he ignored me, and I learnt later that he was concentrating intently on analyzing the call. At one point we all stood up, transfixed, staring up at the southern star-studded sky across which the howl was crossing. As the first howl ended, I recovered my senses a bit, and quickly told Darwin to start the digital recorder, which had sat by us every night by the campfire -- but this night, with preparations to leave, it was in the >work tent! He dashed to the tent, and ran out with it as he turned it on, but we missed recording the second call by just a few seconds.
Soon afterwards, Darwin set up the broadcast system on the large rock from which he had been planning to observe all night. We broadcast similar, purported Bigfoot calls in a southeasterly direction, but there was no response. Later, we all retired to our tents for the night, and Darwin stayed up till dawn. He then returned to the work-tent and told me he was so cold he could no longer feel his feet. He had broadcast all night, every half-hour or so, but nothing had responded. He had also manned one of the video night-cameras personally, hoping that something would come down the animal trail from the direction of the Dillon drainage towards our camp. However, to his knowledge, nothing approached the camp, and our second video night-camera, pointing to the open hill to the north of our camp, also did not film any intruder. I stayed awake all night too, but in the work-tent monitoring the seismic detectors. Detector number 3, not far from Darwin's position, did signal twice at one point, and I then heard small disturbances in the bushes in his direction. I assumed it was him, and thought nothing of it. However, he informed me at dawn that he had never left his position behind the large rock at all, and had not once stepped heavy enough to set off a detector. So, another unresolved mystery remains.
There is also an unresolved aspect to the calls we heard. After the calls ended, Angelo wondered what all the excitement was about, as he had simply interpreted them to be made by a pack of coyotes yelping and howling in unison very close to us on the hill to the north. We compared notes repeatedly over the next minutes, and days, and he was adamant that he had never heard what we described. Yet the three of us are adamant that we heard a tremendous bellowing/howling by a single entity at great distance. I have heard coyotes many times, both in Arizona and in Mexico, both singly and in packs, and I am absolutely certain that what I heard did not resemble a coyote or a pack of coyotes in the slightest. It is true that Angelo was in another part of the camp at the time, but I think that, even taking into account possible different acoustical effects, these are insufficient to explain how one percipient can report hearing something so different from three other percipients. I have no explanation for the disparity. All I can relate is what I interpreted as having heard -- which seems to correspond fully with what two other persons reported hearing. The tragedy is that we did not get a recording of the calls, despite our having with us a state-of-the- art digital recorder. Such a recording, of course, could then have been subjected to subsequent analysis by sound engineers.
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
As in 1997, most if not all of the above evidence and incidents could perhaps be conventionally explained individually, but, added together, a pattern begins to emerge. As an old British military maxim goes, "twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action." On the other hand, one has to be very careful that the "pattern" is not simply a misperception in the mind of the investigator, as with Percival Lowell when he was sure he saw -- and drew -- the non-existent canals on Mars. I personally think that it is very important not to make a Type I error -- a concept borrowed from statistical theory. That is, to assume that something special is going on when, in reality, it isn't. However, in our haste to be properly skeptical and avoid making a Type I error, it is easy to succumb to making a Type II error; a Type 2 error occurs when one assumes that nothing special is going on when, in fact, it is, even if the signal is hard to detect within the noise.
After carefully evaluating all of the evidence that we were exposed to, however, I am still unconvinced that the Sasquatch exists as a biological species, although I am closer to accepting it now than before this field project. The second "bed" we found and the howl we heard at the end of the expedition was particularly persuasive. I am frustrated though, that, in the first year, we deployed cameras outside of camp, and the visitations by entities unknown occurred inside of camp, whereas this year we deployed the cameras inside of camp, and the visitations by entities unknown occurred outside of camp. If we return in the future, I suppose we are simply going to have to deploy cameras both inside and outside of camp!
I don't remember who among you know of our specific strategies, but one of them, in order to stimulate visitations, is to avoid displays of "unnatural" colors or sounds, including gunfire. Unfortunately, that did not occur this year. On the third full day of the expedition, July 22, we had to deal with an aggressive bear that wanted all of our food -- and it was eating about a pound a minute. I tried everything to dissuade it, from throwing rocks and hitting it with a camp chair to shooting into the air and into the ground. It got only bolder and bolder, increasing its threats to harm us physically, and I think that it would have done so quite soon. We ended up having to shoot the bear. I am not a hunter, and I do not like killing animals, but I am always well prepared to defend my safety and that of those around me when necessary. I want to state, however, that shooting that poor bear was a very sad and upsetting experience for me, one I hope I never have to repeat.
Upon examination, I determined that the bear was an old male, with most of the incisors worn away. It was very skinny, weighing only 200 lbs. It almost certainly was having trouble eating enough food, and I doubt if it would have survived hibernation next winter. A full report has been made to the California Department of Fish and Game, as required by law concerning bear killings out of hunting season. In any case, the gunfire, which echoed around our box canyon and down towards the Dillon, may have conveyed a somewhat different message than the one we had intended. Is it possible that nighttime visitations into the camps themselves did not occur because of increased caution due to this gunfire -- and the obvious nearby physical evidence of the dead bear carcass? It is all speculation, of course.
There is one further point I would like to make before ending. The territory we covered in one month, including the nine linear miles, would barely cover the thin end of a pushpin on a map of the Siskiyous and its surrounding regions. It is a vast area of some 1,000 square miles. With its rugged terrain, it may as well be 10,000 square miles. Humans, who rarely enter it, will travel just a few linear miles. The large Dillon and Herrington drainages, just to mention two of them, are enormous. Darwin and I spent two days dropping into and coming out of one valley in the Herrington drainage. This valley had obviously not been visited by humans for many years, if at all, and we didn't even try to explore its creek as it descended down towards the drainage -- it simply got too rough for us. Such valleys and associated drainages, which contain lush, edible vegetation, are very difficult for humans to enter and leave safely, as many deadfalls, huge rocks, cliffs, and other obstacles are present.
One team of professional forest firefighters that took a "short-cut" through Dillon Creek a few years ago had to end up being extracted by helicopter by the Forest Service. I'm not saying that there are, but there could be dozens of Bigfoot subsisting in these Siskiyou drainages without anthropology or zoology having any notion of it at all.
The bottom line, then, is that all we came out of the Siskiyous with are more stories of things that go bump in the night -- and the day! -- some strange, unidentified calls, one of which we recorded and erased and one of which we failed to record at all, and some unidentified "beds." But we have also returned with continued confidence in the scientific method and how we have applied it to this particular problem. We have tested, through this field project, in an unbiased, objective way, the hypothesis that a large, unknown primate species exists in the forests of North America.
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