Bigfoot Encounters

Valley of the Skookum
Four Years of Encounters with Bigfoot

by Sali Sheppard-Wolford
A Review by Ray Crowe, former Director of the Western Bigfoot Society

Here's an interesting read for fans of the Supernatural.  As a matter of fact, the title could easily have been, The Haunted Valley.  After an introduction by Sali's famous Bigfoot investigator daughter, Autumn Williams, the story tells of a move to a primitive cabin located in pristine beauty along the Carbon River in Washington State.

The knowledgeable descriptions of the beautiful scenery place the reader almost at Sali's side while walking along the river or through the forest during all four seasons. 

Many of the scenes are told in an almost poetic manner; ”Maple leaves drifted on the breezes like large yellow butterflies;” or my favorite, “Watching streaks of (rain) water chase each other down the glass.” The main theme always remains on a Skookum family with two young mischievous Bigfootlets as Sali is led through a series of astonishing adventures. I was reminded of Lewis Carrol's, “Alice, Through the Looking Glass,” as Sali slips through time to a past life with guidance from an ancient Chinook Native American. Fortunately she kept a journal of her enigmatic events, so was able to put them together chronologically in this fun and easy reading book.

Sali makes good and fast friends with everyone she meets, including a “best friend,” or an obnoxious pesky Bigfoot investigator (who she eventually runs off).  She also finds her house invaded by spooky events like fluctuations in the electricity that turns lights or the stove on, or maybe the television off.  There are mysterious arm burns from strange electric “fireflies” that don't live in Washington, dreams of almond eyed aliens, or ghostly automatic writing. 

She meets people knowledgeable in Bigfooting divination and at home with paranormal phenomena. In Sali's personal investigations, besides Skookum, she seeks the story of a nearby meteor crater and the mysterious remains of a military airplane struck by a UFO.  For her troubles she gets a visit from barefoot “Men in Black” and decides maybe the investigation is better left alone. 

There is a whole catalog of other interesting happenings; an inexplicable “underground factory” tremor, a floating tombstone as an omen of death, a psychic murder solved, psychometrics, and mysterious glowing orbs, a strange portal to another world, ghost trains, and shape changers.  Along the river she explores ancient rock petroglyphs, a smelly Skookum cave, and helps residents survive a disastrous flood. There are lots of interesting photos (I counted 18 including the attractive Sali on the back cover) and a map to direct readers through events.

But I find there are familiar names also, like the story of Theodore Roosevelt's Bauman episode of murdered trappers, Jacko, the captured Sasquatch, and meetings with well known figures, like the late investigator and instructor Dr. Grover Krantz.  All offer opinions that Sali gradually learns from…until she meets an unscrupulous femme fatale which leads her to sadly leave her beloved Carbon River home.

I hope I wasn't a “spoiler” and gave away too much of the story…tried to only brief over the most important and interesting topics, only it was difficult to not “tell all.”  If you haven't read this book, you're missing a lot by not having it on your book shelf.

"Valley of the Skookum" is available at Idyll Arbor Books

Pine Winds Press, 2006, 286 pages, paper cover.
ISBN 0-937663-11-5, or 13 9780-937663-11-0

Review by Ray Crowe, July 15, 2011  

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