This article appeared in the Mt Shasta newspaper the week of 12/1. David Paulides was interviewed about NABS, The Hoopa Project and Tribal Bigfoot. The one misquote in the article deals with the population of bigfoot. Paulides stated that the general consensus among researchers is that there is a population of 2000 in North America but he feels it's probably 2000-10,000. Thanks to Charlie Unkefer for taking on a controversial topic and delivering it in a straightforward manner.
A sketch from the book depicting a trucker’s account of seeing a bigfoot alongside U.S. Hwy. 199 late one night in 2005. (From Tribal Bigfoot book)
There are those who believe there is something wild, but human-like, living in the forests of Del Norte County.
Many know it as bigfoot, but the legendary hair-covered biped has many names all over the world.
David Paulides, executive director of North America Bigfoot Search in Los Gatos, has chronicled the stories of those who claim to have seen bigfoot in his latest book, “Tribal Bigfoot.” Also included are sketches of each reported bigfoot by forensic artist Harvey Pratt.
The book includes sightings from hundreds of years ago and all over the country, but a portion of the stories come from right here in Del Norte and very close by in Humboldt, Siskiyou and Trinity counties.
One of those stories is about the most famous video footage supposedly taken of bigfoot. It was shot in October 1967 near Bluff Creek in the southeast corner of Del Norte near the border of Humboldt County.
A small wooden statue in a front yard provides evidence that Crescent City is bigfoot-conscious. (The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson)
Paulides’ previous book, “The Hoopa Project,” centered on his research into reported bigfoot encounters around the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation.
For his next book he thought “to take it one step further, out of the reservation and into the four surrounding counties and do the same thing we did in Hoopa,” he said.
He then took another step further and included stories of encounters with bigfoot all over the country.
Bigfoot sightings are not limited to Northern California. There have been reported sightings in every state except Hawaii, Paulides said.
“There have been 350 sightings in those four counties going back to the 1800s,” he said. “There have been over 2,000 sightings in the U.S. as a whole.”
He believes there are many more people out there that have seen bigfoot, but are too intimidated to say anything “on the record.” The people Paulides interviewed for “Tribal Bigfoot” signed affidavits stating that their accounts were true.
Cover of the book “Tribal Bigfoot” by David Paulides, below, the executive director of North America Bigfoot Search.
In our backyard
Paulides broke the book up into locations of reported bigfoot sightings, including a whole chapter on Del Norte. There have been more reported sightings per square mile here than in Humboldt, Siskiyou or Trinity counties, he said.
“They all tell a very compelling story,” Paulides said, adding the accounts contain “consistency in appearance.”
In one story, an Oregon trucker driving U.S. Hwy. 199 late at night reported seeing a bigfoot illuminated by the lights of the big rig on the side of the road. When the trucker turned on his brights, he said the bigfoot put its arm in front of its face and long hair flowed from it’s forearm (see sketch).
“For some reason they don’t like to have lights in their eyes,” Paulides said, noting there are other stories similar to the truck driver’s, even though being alongside a major roadway seems like a strange place for a bigfoot.
No one included in the book reported being attacked by a bigfoot in Del Norte. However, the book contains a story about 18 people who went missing in 1895 near Gasquet, but only one body was ever found. According to the book, many people attributed those deaths to bigfoot.
Bigfoot sightings have been reported in the Siskiyou Wilderness, all the forks of the Smith River and the forests around Gasquet and Bluff Creek, Paulides said.
A very hairy human
There are many fascinating stories in “Tribal Bigfoot.” Paulides found newspaper reports of a “wild man” or “hairy man” in the 1800s. This is interesting, he said, because it wasn’t referred to as an ape but as human.
What people described in the 1800s and in recent years, is a roughly 7- to 8-foot-tall upright biped covered in hair with a human-looking face.
People eventually developed names for these “hairy men,” which are typically regional, Paulides said. For example, in Canada they call it a sasquatch, in Nepal a yeti, in Russia an almasty.
“They all appear to be identical,” Paulides said about descriptions from all over the world.
Paulides believes that bigfoot is “very close to human, but a tick off” and can live in many environments.
“Something highly unusual”
Several people in “Tribal Bigfoot” said that what they saw wasn’t like what Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin captured on film near Bluff Creek in 1967 — the major difference being the amount of hair on bigfoot’s face.
In the footage, the bigfoot casually walks away from Patterson and Gimlin, who are on horseback, for about 30 seconds before disappearing into the forest and has much more hair on its face than most people have reported.
“Never has a bigfoot been caught on film for that amount of time,” Paulides said. “Never has there been a bigfoot with that much hair on its face.”
Paulides’ explanation for why, with today’s technology, a definitive bigfoot hasn’t been captured on film is that no bigfoot has stayed out in the open long enough. In the book, many people claim that after spotting the bigfoot, it seemingly disappears.
After the famous footage came out, Paulides said that executives at Disney — the premier costume makers of that time — viewed it and agreed they couldn’t make a costume that good. Looking at the film frame by frame, he said the bigfoot’s muscles are visible — even today that would be nearly impossible to create, he said.
“I think that something highly unusual happened at Bluff Creek that caused that biped to stay out in the open and leave itself in harm’s way,” Paulides said.
Many people are skeptical about bigfoot, Paulides said, because it’s easier to say it doesn’t exist than to look at evidence that he finds compelling: hair samples that come back from the lab as “unknown primate” and foot casts with fingerprint-like dermal ridges.
Proof means different things to different people, he said. It’s entirely possible that something bigger, faster and stronger, but genetically similar to humans, could survive in the woods.
Paulides has never seen bigfoot, yet believes that it exists and states in his book that the truth is out there, and very close by.
“I have always wanted to be dropped by helicopter into the middle of the Siskiyou Wilderness with three other researchers and a month’s supply of food,” he writes. “I truly believe that the right group with the right equipment, patience, and persistence could walk out of that wilderness area with enough evidence to startle the world.”
“Tribal Bigfoot” can be purchased at the Hiouchi Hamlet off U.S. Hwy. 199 or online at nabigfootsearch.com
Recently a member of "The Wave Magazine" (San Francisco Bay Area) staff read "The Hoopa Project" and asked if they could interview our executive Director. Simultaneous to the interview, the editor of the magazine was reading "Tribal Bigfoot" and decided that the magazine would not only make NABS an "Editors Pick" but they would also do a feature story because of the credibility of our organization and the story that was documented in "Tribal Bigfoot." The article is below.
For Bigfoot believers and skeptics alike, a new book about sightings in the Hoopa area raises a number of challenging questions.
"The Hoopa Project" by David Paulides is the first major research report of North American Bigfoot Search, an organization formed in 2004 by a group of Silicon Valley executives curious about prior experiences they'd had in Northern California forests.
"One significant difference between NABS and every other Bigfoot organization is our dedication to stay on a regional project until every possible angle of every sighting has been researched, witnesses interviewed, locations and food sources understood, and an extensive list of variables answered," the NABS Web site says.
Paulides is the public face of NABS, which he says has members of the academic community who don't want to be exposed to ridicule by publically supporting research into the controversial topic.
NABS' initial project was to gather every recorded report of a Bigfoot sighting in the four-county region of Del Norte, Humboldt, Trinity and Siskiyou counties (as well as southern portions of Jackson and Curry counties in Oregon).
"We plotted those locations on a map," Paulides told The Triplicate. "This was to give us a sense of the population, migratory process, etc. When we showed this to people, they said this has never been done before."
The map helped NABS choose a location to focus its research efforts — Hoopa Valley in northern Humboldt County.
But with investigative skills developed over 20 years in law enforcement, Paulides brought a new approach to Bigfoot research — good old-fashioned detective work.
For three years, Paulides made frequent trips to Hoopa to interview locals who experienced sightings or significant interactions.
"It wasn't an easy thing to do. I originally went into the city and met a couple of Hoopa police officers. I think that former alliance helped me get my foot in the door at that level. One of these guys knew someone prominent in the community and directed me to them, and from there it took off very, very slowly."
One by one, Paulides gained the trust of his interview subjects, and often they were able to introduce him to others with Bigfoot sightings and incidents. Paulides also found reports by canvassing rural neighborhoods where sightings were more common.
He interviewed them not unlike witnesses to a crime are interviewed, eliciting as many details as possible and trying to assess their reliability. On later trips, Paulides revisited his subjects with written reports of their interviews and asked them to sign
it as an affidavit affirming its accuracy.
Paulides brought in Harvey Pratt, an FBI-trained forensic sketch artist with years of law enforcement experience in Oklahoma. A member of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe tribes, Pratt's Native American background was helpful in gaining rapport with the primarily Hoopa tribal population in the valley.
The bulk of "The Hoopa Project" is detailed reports of 16 "incidents" and 33 sightings in the Hoopa area, as well as forensic sketches of most of the sightings.
The stories and pictures offer at least two important developments in Bigfoot research.
One, they demonstrate that probably the vast majority of potential sightings go unreported. Many reports in the book came from witnesses who do not make a habit of sharing their experiences. Often, these people were professionals in fields such as teaching and forest management and some were tribal leaders, including one former Hoopa tribal councilwoman. They did not approach Paulides — they were approached by others who had already come to trust him.
Paulides says he understands the hesitation to come forward.
"Coming from a police perspective, 50 percent of all rapes are not reported. Let's think about why that is," Paulides says.
"They're humiliated, embarrassed, intimidated by the legal process and don't want to come forward. A lot of the same issues apply to bigfoot. They don't want to be ridiculed or downtrodden by the community, so a lot of people shy away from anything that would draw ridicule. But the more you talk to people in the community, the more you see how prominent it is."
Paulides says he's discussed this issue with others members of NABS, and they estimate that as many as 80 percent of all sightings go unreported.
But for Paulides, the most interesting piece of information produced by the project was the overwhelming consensus about Bigfoot's appearance, which runs counter to popular modern depictions of the creature.
Crescent City newspaper articles in the late 1800s reported a 7 to 8-foot-tall biped with a hairy body and an almost human face, Paulides says.
But famous footage of a purported 1967 sighting on Bluff Creek showed something with a more ape- or gorilla-like face.
"If a witness was going to tell us a complete fabrication, they would tell it with a mindset to be accepted. It would be similar to something that has notoriety in the public," Paulides says.
But with only one exception, the forensic sketches showed hairless faces with more delicate, human-like features and large, seemingly intelligent eyes.
"That was a shocking revelation to all of us," Paulides says.
For their next project, NABS is using its investigative approach to survey sightings throughout Del Norte, Humboldt, Trinity and Siskiyou counties.
"In the last year and a half we spent probably 90 percent of our time in Crescent City, Gasquet, Patrick Creek and the North Fork of the Smith River, going up to northern edge of the Siskiyou wilderness. We've spent a lot of time talking to the people of the area, delving into the historical perspectives of the region. We're doing a second round of sketches in that area with a similar group of witnesses, and I'll say that we're still very interested in stories, old or new, from that region."
For more information about NABS or to buy "The Hoopa Project," go to www.nabigfootsearch.com. If you would like to report a sighting or experience to NABS, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.