2. Arieanna.


I have wanted to write for my entire life. I finally have something to say.

Meet Arieanna. She’s a 19 year-old Sasquatch who decided to leave this charming self-portrait on my car a year-ago February in coastal Oregon, following a weekend of Spey casting for steelhead on a mostly still-wild river. Apparently, she took a liking to me.

I hope we got her name correctly, as it was first given telepathically to a human woman (a “hairless one,” as they prefer to call us) that I knew only as “EarsToTheGround” from an online site for Bigfoot enthusiasts, The Bigfoot Forums. This forum caters mostly to “real” Bigfooters, those who’ve either had a Bigfoot experience or sighting (Knowers), or those that are determined to have one (Believers). The non-believers (or “Scofftics”) are also here in gleeful abundance.

These are the people who enjoy a good circular argument as much as the two actors in that famous scene in Monty Python’s Flying Circus, where one man pays another man to have an argument. “Is this the right room for an argument?” the first man starts. “I’ve told you once…” comes the reply. These people mistakenly believe that an expertly phrased slight can negate any hair sample, footprint or bit of DNA evidence simply by hitting Enter. They’re not trying to put the Genie back in the bottle. Their argument is that there IS no bottle.

Eyewitness accounts? Forget it. You were seeing shadows or, more likely, a bear. Tape-recorded howl? Mountain lion scream or screech owl. Photograph of a dark, mostly blurry (they’re seemingly always blurry) object in the woods? BlobSquatch. Not my term, but still one of my favorites in all of Bigfootdom. But the arguments are endless, and contradiction remains the Scofftic’s greatest tool. “Aha! If you’re arguing I must have just paid.” “Not necessarily. I could be arguing in my spare time…”

There’s a subset that’s particularly quick to the “no way-no-how-never-happened” argument, and I soon come to the opinion that some of these very articulate and well-reasoned obfuscators are paid government or corporate shills; there are a lot of mining, logging, and oil jobs that depend on Bigfoot never seeing the light of day. Bigfoot can’t be real. “They” can’t afford him to be.

This is the world of Bigfootery, in a nutshell. Pro vs. Con. Real vs. Hoax. Gentle Woodland Creature vs. Fanciful Hallucination. You have two choices: play the smug, all-knowing realist, or play the fool.

However, as annoying as the Scofftics are to those seeking to learn all they can about this phenomenon, they’re still viewed more favorably than the people found in the darkest corner of the site, the Paranormal section. This is where I first take note of “Ears,” the no-nonsense grandmother from Texas who apologies to no one for her paranormal abilities. She knows what she knows. And as I’m to learn over the next year and-a-half, it’s about one-hundredth of what she shares publicly.

I also learn that Ears keeps a 12 gauge loaded with buckshot behind her kitchen door. She lives out in the country, and has Bigfoot running around all over her place. She’s on a first-name basis with many (I’ve yet to hear of one having a last name) and feels perfectly safe and protected. But yeah, she has some stories that suggest that the Sasquatch people are more human than we know. There are good ones and bad ones, just like us. The rogues are either run off or killed, but she’s not putting her safety in anyone’s hands but her own. She may be nuts, but she’s far from crazy.

I find myself sneaking over to this little corner of Internet craziness more and more often, feeling like that misfit elf Hermey (the dentist in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer), voluntarily parachuting into the Land of Misfit Toys. Besides, the people here are kinder. Infinitely more welcoming and polite. It feels GOOD talking with these open-minded souls.

I also strike up a “private message” friendship with another woman from the Paranormal section, Stickbreak from Philadelphia. She and Ears have been friends for some time, and like her she’s drawn a line in the sand as if made by the toe of a huge Sasquatch. These are people. They are real. And they will be respected. Understand? Stickbreak writes with a sort of soft ferocity that makes any sensible Scofftic know he’s lost the argument before it’s hardly begun, though they usually blunder on out of false pride. Like a Sasquatch mother protecting her own, Stickbreak backs down to no one.

Sure, Forum rules dictate the Paranormal section is to be a sanctuary, free from the Scofftic’s persecution and ire. Still, the energy is just so genuine and invigorating—and no rule can decree that.

Many of the people here are “Knowers,” including some habituators who have family groups of Sasquatch visiting on a regular basis, partaking in food offerings occasionally left high in the crook of a tree or other safe place. Everyone’s only too happy to share his or her hard-won insights with anyone who really, really wants to know. Not coincidently, my screen moniker is Gotta Know. And I really, really, do.

Bigfooting is a fun family hobby. Unless you’re a Bigfoot.

 When not defending their every Bigfoot discovery online (you know, the real joy this phenomenon rightfully brings them in life), the Believers and Knowers like to talk about the best methods to cast and preserve footprints when miles out in the woods. They ask if Bigfoots (it’s never Bigfeet, so I learned, and easier still to call them Sasquatch, singular or plural) migrate south in the winter? How many are there, and what are their dietary/caloric needs compared to their most likely mammalian cousin, the black bear? And oh! The excitement around the FliR thermal cameras sure to revolutionize the “sport.” They are just flesh-and-blood animals, after all. They can’t hide from us in the dark, any longer.

It’s all well and good for people to get out in the woods, searching for their own glimpse of a mythical being. I suspect our hairy friends are actually flattered, to a point. However, the worst of this Flesh-and-Blood crowd are the so-called “researchers” who are so tired of the Real vs. Myth argument that they’re taking it upon themselves to put and end to the argument, once-and-for-all. With hot lead. Remember, photos, videos, hair, scat and even DNA are not “proof,” but merely evidence. Only placing a toe-tag on a 12-foot beast is proof of Bigfoot’s existence to these folks, and there are a number of members on the Forums desiring to do just that.

I’m only six years old. Why shouldn’t Bigfoot be real?

Patterson–Gimlin_film_frame_352

Arieanna’s portrait was not the beginning of my fascination with Sasquatch. That began on a day soon after October 27, 1967, when amateur filmmakers Roger Patterson and Robert “Bob” Gimlin captured a 59.5 second film clip of a female Bigfoot walking along a sandbar at Bluff Creek, California. “Patty” as she is affectionately known in Bigfooting circles, literally waltzed into our family’s living room on the evening news. My attorney-Father (ever reserved, analytical and decidedly cruel to anyone whose opinion he did not agree with) sprang from his deep, green-leather chair to get a closer look. Equal parts transfixed and unsettled, he fell back into his chair with a puzzled look. His analytical brain had just been served up a gigantic dose of “how can this be?”

I only understood that something had disturbed my Father’s sense of superiority in a way that I’d never seen before. He seemed rattled. Vulnerable, even. Two emotions I’d never witnessed in him before, and rarely would again. Ironically, Patty had somehow managed to make my Father feel instantly more human and approachable. If Bigfoot could do this to my unflappable Father, I was all in.

Bigfoot takes a cautious step into the limelight.

My interest in Bigfoot would mostly stay hidden in the deep, dark recesses of my psyche until May 29, 2011, when Discovery Channel’s “Finding Bigfoot” first aired. Here was a group of three intrepid “Squatchers” and one Scofftic, traveling around the country conducting Town Hall events to get the low-down from locals on the best areas to conduct their one or two-night searches. Or, as their leader and head showman Matt Moneymaker might say, “to find out where the Squatches are hangin’ out.” I’ll leave the show critiquing for others (and reserve the right to change my mind at a later date), but what the show did for me was to give Bigfoot instant credibility. And to ignite a smoldering fire of dread and apprehension, until it burst into an all-out obsession. I had to learn more.

Matt is the founder and President of the Bigfoot Research Organization (BFRO), and I’ll forever be thankful to him and the show for rekindling my Sasquatch interest. But that’s from a much calmer and loving place, over six years later. At the time, what the show did was to scare the pants off me. It was as if there was suddenly a Bigfoot behind every tree, and my fear of the unknown grew stronger with each broadcast. I never missed a show.

My Mom had fallen ill the year before, and I’d moved her from her three-acre ranch near Penn Valley, CA, to an assisted care facility up the hill in Grass Valley. I’d spend time with her during the day and early evening, returning to her house at night to sleep and do battle with the clever pack rats that had claimed her attic as their own. Trips made after dark from the truck to the house were more like controlled sprints. The fear of the unknown had a grip on me like a Sasquatch breaking the hind leg of a deer, presumably to immobilize it with shock, and then returning at its leisure to feast. This was the type of Class A sighting (actual witness sightings) that filled the reports section of the BFRO. What kind of creature DOES that?

In all fairness, I once took eight shots to down a caribou on a wilderness hunt in Alaska far above the Arctic Circle, using a borrowed 30.06 with a scope that I wasn’t sufficiently familiar with. That animal also suffered. What kind of creature does THAT?

With a Bigfoot now behind every stop sign on every freeway exit ramp, my long drives back-and-forth from Seattle began to take on the feel of Monster Week leading up to Halloween—fear was there every time I looked for it. What if I had a breakdown RIGHT HERE? Would I be attacked? Should I carry? Would I even see them coming and have time to flee? I could work myself into a Sas-sized lather pretty easily. And nights in Mom’s house or in my camper weren’t any easier. Abundant blacktail deer, Rio Grande turkey, striped skunks, red foxes and Black-tailed jackrabbits inhabited these rolling hills nestled just below California’s Gold Country. All what I imagined would be mere appetizers until their real quarry could be caught. I was doomed.

Tarzan? That you?

I was at my Mom’s little ranch the next August, preparing it for sale. Just as I was coming awake one morning—the temp already in the 80s at 6:00 a.m.—down from the ridge came an otherworldly wailing; a voluminous blast comprised of World War II air raid horn, howler monkey, and elephant trumpet. It built in volume and resonance until it had an intensity akin to a jet during takeoff. It was like Tarzan on steroids, and considering that it began the instant I became awake—and not a second before—I sensed intuitively that it was meant for me. Something with very large lungs had just sent a message.

What I’d heard was a classic “Ohio Howl,” like this one I’d heard during my online research. The silence that followed the wail in this tinder-dry scrubland consisting of Manzanita, deer brush, yellow pines and live oaks was just as pronounced. For a few brief moments, every nighttime creature that was headed toward their den to wait out the oppressive heat, and every bird contemplating their first twill to announce the dawn, cocked an ear to listen. And probably admire. It truly was an impressive showing of strength and lung capacity. Perhaps a dog or two awoke with a bark, but I was otherwise left alone in the stillness with my fears. Now what?

The Oregon coastal forest. Welcome to Squatch City.

Fast forward back to February 2016. I had joined a close friend and his wife for a weekend combo of steelhead fishing/late-winter getaway to the Oregon coast. My buddy and I fished hard for two days, but the low fish returns and high water put us at a disadvantage. This man is a veritable steelheading Hoover vacuum. If he could not entice a strike on the swung fly following a long and graceful cast from his 12’ Spey rod, no one could.

My mind was less on my casting, and it showed. Nothing-new there, but I was now right at Bigfoot’s front door and I found the dark closeness of the coastal woods claustrophobic, if not downright spooky. When my friend would head to the truck for his Thermos of life-giving coffee, or even be out of sight fishing around the next bend, my spidey-senses went into overdrive. I was being watched, I could feel it. It wasn’t a flight-or-fight feeling some describe when they realize a cougar has quietly stalked up behind them, but I knew I was not alone. And yeah, it was uncomfortable.

My mind at DEFCON level Yellow, after every cast my eyes would scan the opposite bank for a Sasquatch peeking out from behind a tree or log. At one point I thought I saw something like an arm wave (they are notorious pebble, rock and pine-cone throwers), but discounted it as just a bird flying into a tree. There was one very long and interesting whistle that didn’t sound like any bird I knew, but that didn’t necessarily mean anything; my knowledge of birdsong began and ended with the hen mallard hail call I used during duck season.

But Sasquatch are also great whistlers and voice-imitators. Even human voices. The Internet is full of stories where kids come running back into the house because their mom has just called them in, only to be told no such request was made. Well, at least the Internet sites I frequent…

At the outer edges of my fear was a growing sense of appreciation for these unseen people. On our second morning, we fished from a state park giving us wading access to the upper stretch of this enchanting river. The well-maintained park had a number of interpretive historical signage pieces, each depicting different time periods and the early peoples whose livelihoods depended on maximizing the region’s abundant natural resources. There were depictions of the First Nations people (Tillamook tribe), whose methods for survival meant living in harmony with the land, not at its expense. The same cannot be said of the trappers, loggers, miners and farmers who followed. Virgin stands of giant red cedar were turned into the homes and businesses of nearby Portland and other cities, its lush valleys turned to dairy lands and farms. And all the while, the VERY first people here watched in silence as their own habitat and lush green living quarters were put to the saw or plow.

There wasn’t a single word about them to be found, anywhere. And that made me sad.

Overnight, my world is changed forever.

My room was on the ground floor of our beach-town rental, featuring a large, horizontal window that was for some reason lacking drapes; a bit surprising considering how well it was otherwise appointed. In addition to a spacious kitchen, dining area and exquisite ocean views, the pre-requisite sand dollar, starfish and seashell artwork adorned every wall. I think it may be some sort of local code.

As the 11:00 checkout approached on that last morning of our trip (a Monday), we had all pitched in to leave the place cleaner than we’d found it, if that were even possible. A career bachelor, I’d have killed to live in a house this clean. As a light rain began to fall, I took a first load of my personal gear out to the car. Rounding the corner of the garage, I was brought to a full stop as if a large hand were placed square in my chest; someone had drawn an otherworldly face in the road grime on my black 2002 4Runner. I knew immediately that it hadn’t been either of my friends, nor a roving, mischievous third grade art student who’d left this ornamentation in the dark of the night, this gift. It was safe to say I did not know exactly who had drawn this face, but I certainly knew who had not. I had to leave. Now.

Doing my best to say my goodbyes inside the house, I somehow managed to depart without my friends following me to my rig, which would surely have elicited an awkward, “what’s that?” It was a question I was not ready to entertain even to myself, and I certainly was not ready to have this discussion with my dear friends who have a very close and beautiful relationship with Christ. I was certain they would frown on any talk of the supernatural/paranormal/mythical and I was not about to spoil neither a beautiful weekend, nor a cherished friendship spanning almost 50 years.

For all that we have in common, Christianity is not the list. Instead, their love for and devotion to Christ was in equal parts to my lack of interest. But I am no atheist. I’d just spent two days immersed—literally—in God’s waters and outdoor cathedrals. I have never felt the need for a middleman, but I was not raised to, either. My parents were both brought up in Christian families, and when it came their time to pass along that discipline, they took a pass. I suspect it was mostly my Dad not wanting to spend even one more Sunday morning in church. When asked why we weren’t religious, the explanation of, “we want you to decide for yourself” was the given refrain. You can guess what us kids decided.

The best thing for all of us was for me to hide my friends from my burgeoning truth. Bigfoot had just found me.

Who’s gonna believe this? I don’t believe this!

After a four-hour drive back to Seattle, I was relieved to see that the rain and freeway tire-wash hadn’t eroded the artwork. I snapped a few quick shots upon arriving home, and more the next day under a clear sky. I knew I had something very, very special, but I had no idea what to make of it. How to make sense of it?!

I needed help, but was not sure where to turn. With my loyalties at this time still equally divided between the earnest but technologically driven “Let’s Find Bigfoot” crowd, and the “Good Luck With That Approach” Paranormal crowd that was pulling ever harder at my heartstrings, I finally jumped off my perch. I chose the paranormal section where I posted Arieanna’s picture for the world to see. There was a lot of self-denial thrown about, like, “say guys, what do you think of this? Is this anything? I mean it seems like it couldn’t just be someone accidentally brushing against the car, right?” As-if.

I knew getting the real scoop was just a personal message away, and throwing all cautions aside, I reached out to Ears. I want you to know, I teetered there at the edge of the rabbit hole as long as I could, but I could no longer deny my interest in truly knowing, no matter where that lead me. So I sent her this message (edited for length), followed by her lovely and enlightening reply, in full.

Me:

“Hi Ears,

I thought I’d send a personal note, as I feel like I’ve already “over shared” enough on the open board.

Thanks for your response about my car drawing. If you are correct that this might indeed be BF artwork, can you tell me the implications of that? Do they now “see” me, as it were? This happened in a location four hours from my doorstep. Yet, I have the sense that they might be tuned into the fact that I am tuned into them! So, just a “hello” from a like being? A request? A message? Any thoughts welcomed!”

Ears:

“Well… it’s just a guess, but since you said that your friends aren’t open to paranormal, I assume they aren’t open to Bigfoot either (which means that they probably aren’t usually hanging around the house where you left your truck). And it’s unlikely that one just happened to be passing by & stopped to draw a picture that you’ve dreamed about, on your truck (I’d told her that the image was instantly familiar to me, as though I’d seen it in a dream). Therefore… it seems to me that it could have been a message to you.

It looks like it has “hair” over the face & unless you have long hair & a beard; I think it’s more likely that it’s a self-portrait than one of you. I just asked if anybody wanted to say anything about the drawing & heard “ME!, ME!, ME!” Turns out it IS her portrait. Her name is Arieanna. I don’t know if that is spelled right. Sounds like R E Ahnna. I consulted with my remote viewing friend & she agreed that that’s what the name sounds like. She said she’s tall, slim, & light reddish blond.

Arieanna says she’s 19 years old. I can’t determine why she chose to announce herself that way, but she keeps saying that she likes you. She wanted you to know about her. You have met her in dreams, so I guess that’s why she feels familiar to you.

Once you get used to the woo, you realize it IS as normal as breathing. We have all that stuff in us, but have been told that it isn’t real & we are insane if we think it is. Fortunately for some of us, some of it gets out where we can see it, & down the rabbit hole we go. I love knowing about it & am constantly wanting to know more & more.

Yep, you’re right about the sensitive thing. I’m that way too & it makes life hurt. I used to have a lot of fear, but once I survived about 5 years with them, I got over most of it.”

So, there you go. The image is a self-portrait of Arieanna looking in on me through that uncovered window as I slept. More accurately, bending down to do so. I’m guessing the top of that window was about six feet, and it clearly shows her peering in from above. I have a hunch she was about eight feet tall. In my rush to leave I forgot to check the flowerbeds for prints, but that’s okay. As it was, I was chastised by some in the “Let’s Find Bigfoot” crowd for not dusting for fingerprints. Oh, brother.

A priceless gift.

footsie copy

I consider Arieanna’s gift one of the greatest I’ve ever received, and my first true “encounter,” albeit one-sided. My understanding is that nothing is done without the Clan leaders approval. Arieanna stuck her ample neck out merely seeking permission. Thank you, Arieanna. From the bottom of my bursting heart.

I find brilliance in her artistry and sheer economy of strokes; I can just imagine her making less than a dozen finger-strokes to create the image, then turning her hand to use her fingernails to create the flowing tendrils of hair cascading about her face. I am still enchanted by this overture of friendship.

My dive down a bottomless rabbit hole.

Arieanna’s self-portrait was the beginning of easily the most exciting period of my life, right to this very key stoke. Her gift is literally a baton passed between worlds, species and cultures, and likely through dimensions. It’s time to show my full hand; in the last 18 months, I have discovered one very overarching truth that I tell myself everyday—that the world is not what we’ve been told. Not even close. It is infinitely more magical, spiritual, loving and ALIVE than we have been lead to believe. And that Sasquatch are not only real, they are unreal.

Here’s where I drop the other shoe. Size 24.

Yes, Sasquatch are 100% flesh-and-blood—when they choose to be. You see, I have come to the inescapable conclusion that the Sasquatch people are inter-dimensional. You heard me. Though a terrible image for such loving beings, think Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Predator, and you’ll have an idea what they do. I have no idea how they do it.

And it’s not just that they can turn complete chameleon and blend into any surroundings. That’s just so three-dimensional. Yawn. No, the pics I have suggest they can project their energy, their spirit, and their very consciousness into anything. And while I can never prove it by toe-tag standards, I have all the evidence any loving, feeling human should ever want or need. Photos of Sasquatch in my backyard. In my house. Even in the trees of the RV lot at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, as they recently traveled with me on my camping vacation to see family. Just wait until I share those stories. My Sasquatch family is with me everywhere, and they always have been.

Just the other night I was going through family pictures, and the framed picture of me here at three and a half includes the sweetest little faces watching over me that I could ever imagine. I’ve looked at that picture for the last 15 years, and I never even noticed until an online “woo” friend pointed them out to me.

midnightme

Hell, I’ve only just started looking at old pics to see how my hairy friends have manifested themselves, unknowingly to me, all my life. I’ve already found cloaked faces in the tree at one of last year’s tailgating parties for my beloved Cougs. Yup. Even there. Always watching, always protecting. From what, I don’t yet know. I laugh to myself that I bet Coach Leach would love to have these guys on his O-line.

In my next blog post I will show you how to discover your own wonder, when you’re ready. And if that time never comes, that’s okay, too. But they’re there waiting for you to realize that you have never been alone, not for one single moment of your life.

All they want to do is give, to love. And they ask nothing in return. And we never even knew they were there.

If you find yourself reaching for your latest family pic now, here’s a hint: first, enlarge it to a point that the image becomes a bit blurry and pixelated. Then, look with your heart. Oh, and if it looks like a face peeking out of your favorite flower bed, from the trees behind your family picnic, or even a tiny, tiny, face in your hair or on your skin, yep, it’s them. It’s worth repeating: they can project their energy into and onto anything. They are particularly good at working their magic on hearts and minds that had all but started to lose hope in this world.

My fear is completely, finally gone from my life, and I hope it never returns. In its place is only love, gratitude and wonder. I wish the same for you and yours.

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