This weekend my hubby left me alone. In the moments between annoying my parents and writing, I watched a lot of rubbish television. By the end of Saturday night I had run out of bad American comedies that my husband doesn’t like and I turned to a documentary series that I had been meaning to watch for ages.
This is research for a book that won’t be written for a while, which is probably why I’ve been putting off watching the series. I am, of course, interested in the subject, otherwise I wouldn’t want to write a book about it. A while ago I found an article about Bigfoot. I clipped it out, added it to my files and made a note to myself that my beloved werewolf hunter would have something to do with this. Somehow.
So this weekend I watched all three episodes of the Bigfoot Files, still available on 4OD.
Of course, there were no huge discoveries. If there had been, it would have been all over the news before the documentary made it to air. Still, it was fascinating, horrific and intriguing.
Each episode focuses on the Bigfoot myth in different parts of the world.
First, we’re taken to the Himalayans where someone once shot the supposed Yeti. A witness was given a sample of the hair which was given the Oxford based scientist (Professor Brian Sykes) who was running the project on which this series was based. The first thing that occurred to me was where is the corpse? If it was so strange, why didn’t the hunter bring it to the attention of the authorities (maybe he did, maybe they’ve hidden it, Area 51 anyone?).
The results of the hair analysis was the fascinating thing; it was polar bear. Which, for me, is just as fascinating as an undiscovered hominid creature. Actually, a polar bear crossed with a grizzly, which explains the strange fur colouring, appearance, size and how the supposed polar bears are surviving away from the ocean. These bears often cross breed in the Arctic and Alaska and the fact that these bears are in the Himalayans suggests that these are from an ancient lineage of bears that cross bred before migrating.
Hilariously, old Himalayan texts state that the Yeti is a bear.
The second episode was about the American Bigfoot. In such a vast landscape of forest and mountains, it’s easy to believe that an undiscovered creature or hominid lives there. After all, new species are being discovered every day, even in the back gardens of England. So the idea isn’t that farfetched. Two Bigfoot enthusiasts were interviewed in the forest, banging on tree trunks with a branch. This, they say, is how Bigfoots communicate with one another, and as they are being interviewed there is the unmistakable booming of an answering knock. It certainly stopped me in my tracks (of feeding my guinea pigs). I hate to think what I would have done if I’d actually been in that forest. The boom was repeated as they continued, and it started to get louder.
Prof Sykes suggested that it was the sound of other Bigfoot enthusiasts thinking that they, too, were communicating with Bigfoots. It’s a charming and likely theory, but still that booming sound resonates with me. It was so much louder than the knocking our enthusiasts were doing and it got louder quite quickly.
We learnt that Bigfoot has had a huge effect on the eyewitnesses. It has changed their lives, some for the good, a man who had lost his path in life after the loss of his mother and was reminded of his culture by the howling of a ‘Bigfoot’, and some for the bad, the man who panicked, and shot and killed an infant Bigfoot at close range, effectively ruining his life.
I loved the eyewitness story of the man who was hiking in the mountains. He rested in a clearing and from the edge of the forest, large rocks were thrown at him and his friends. As he ran, he turned back and glimpsed the creature.
The final episode was just as fascinating. I wasn’t aware of a Bigfoot in Russia. Russia is different in that they don’t believe that their Bigfoots are necessarily a separate species, but a forgotten tribe of Neanderthal people. This episode was also the most horrific story, one of ignorance and abuse as the truth behind the folklore of the wild woman Zana came to light. Again, the results were also fascinating.
I strongly recommend watching these three episodes. While there is no strong evidence of a real Bigfoot, the findings are still spellbinding and remarkable. And as far as I’m concerned, no evidence does not mean that something doesn’t exist, just that we haven’t been able to prove it. While sightings can be explained as the irrational human mind, there is nothing to say that those witnesses didn’t see what they think they saw.
All of the Bigfoot stories, the theories, the eye witness statements, the evidence and the stories of the people behind these things are inspiration for writers. Some might consider it strange that a series like this can make me excited.
This world still has plenty more to discover, and until they become real or are proved to be pure fiction, they can play on the imagination and be the playthings of writers.