California's Bigfoot Sasquatch

by Tom Morris
Bigfoot Investigations, Pleasant Hill, CA, 1994; 192 pp.; photographs; tape-bound; $19.95.

Reviewed by Bufo Calvin

In the Seventies, life was simpler. This was especially true for Forteans. Back then, a UFO was piloted by a humanoid from another planet here on a mission of observation—not some mystical etherial being that passed through walls to help us to the next level of evolution by engaging in transformative sufi-sex. A ghost was the spirit of a dead person—not the result of tectonic strain producing an intelligent electromagnetic entity that causes temporal lobe lability. And a Bigfoot was just an unknown two-legged hairy animal—not an interdimensional telepathic nature spirit which vanishes before our eyes in a poof of “eco-plasm.”

Tom Morris, who began his search for Bigfoot as a teenager in the mid-seventies, is firmly rooted in that period’s outlook. If you grew up in California in the Sixties and Seventies, you may have dreamed as I did of going up to the high country and looking for the elusive beast. As I recall, I even planned to ride my bike the several hundred miles to the top of the state where the big fella was sure to be found. I’m sorry to say, I never did it. Along came John Keel and Janet and Colin Bord and others to convince me that we weren’t dealing with a flesh-and-blood beastie who could be trapped with used tampons and a tranquiliser gun. No, this wasn’t a creature of DNA but of Dimension X.

Tom Morris and people like him (such as Peter Byrne) have held onto the naturalist viewpoint, plugging away doing the field work while the rest of us have been swapping theories and cataloguing the impossible. In fact, we may have wanted to prolong the mystery by taking it out of the realm of simple hard work and into the intellectual world of paradigm-busting. We may have played to our personal strengths by taking it out of the woods and into the words.

Who has produced more results? Well, while we have been waiting for the day that science can prove it doesn’t exist, other folks have been finding tracks, having encounters, and sometimes literally answering the question, “Does a Bigfoot…in the woods?”

This book is a wonderful sampler of the work of several of these people and groups. Much of the book consists of reproductions of rare materials, including: pages from John Green’s books; the old Manimal News by Jim McClarin; the Bigfoot News from the aforementioned Byrne; and newspaper clippings and magazine articles. The casual reader will find much of interest here and the seasoned collector is likely to run into a number of pieces that they don’t have.

The book continues into the ’90s with sections such as: Ray Crowe’s Western Bigfoot Society News Bulletin; Todd Neiss’s story; and Tom Morris’ own efforts (in all, there are something like ten pages of original text along with about fourteen pages of photographs documenting Morris’s search).

Despite the choppy nature of the book (sometimes articles even end in mid-sentence), it is well worth having as a sort of coffee-table book for browsing or for expanding one’s Bigfoot files.

Who knows? Maybe these guys are right. Maybe some day I’ll pull out those old white Adidas with the three black stripes, get on my Gitane bike, and ride up to the National Bigfoot Preserve where Tom Morris will caution me to stay on the trail while I see the Gigantopithecus Americanus in their natural habitat. On the other hand, there’s this book on Holodimensional Reality I’ve been meaning to read….

Review originally published in Strange Magazine 14, Fall 1994.

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