1 YEAR AGO FROM THE CAMERA MAN’S PERSPECTIVE

Posted: June 5, 2012 in Uncategorized
HERE’S THE BLOG FROM ONE OF THE FILM CREW FROM A YEAR AGO WITH FACEBOOK FIND BIGFOOT MOVIE SHOOT IN WHICH I ‘GUIDED‘ TO 2 LEGITIMATE THERMAL SHOTS… MINNESOTA & MY NEIGHBORHOOD! THE LAD WHO WRITES THIS GOES THROUGH A BIT OF A CRISIS AND HAS AN EPIPHANY…MANY THANKS TO MATT SHARP FOR HIS ELOQUENT DOCUMENTATION AND CANDID RECOUNTS…CHEERS MATE!

 

It still feels a lot like a dream, this incredible journey we went on; or perhaps a nightmare in some proportions. Sam and I have been working on this film over the last year, with limited time and resources to spend on it. Moving into June, the final funding for the project has been acquired and the next 3 months will see us go full steam ahead to a finished product. As we get to the business end of editing; sorting through the hours (about 90 to be precise) of footage we shot a year ago, we reform our memories and experiences through conversation and begin to build a picture of the story of this film. I now remember so clearly what I was feeling this time last year. It was rather a shock to the system in a lot of ways. 

The greatest part about this film is the lack of rearranging necessary to make the story exciting and engaging. The film you will see is going to be quite accurate to how the trip was. The events that unfolded in the journey did so in a way that forms a somewhat flawless plot line.

We hope to wrap the Australian end of production in early September, before returning to the USA for several weeks to tie up some loose ends and declare the final wrap.

Film release details will be made known shortly after.

Stay with us as we get this incredible story ready for you. I know you’re going to be challenged and entertained, intrigued and even inspired to get out there do some of your own research. 

Thanks for following the journey.

Matt

SO THE ABOVE WAS HIS CURRENT persepective lets go back a year and begin at just before the tipping point for Matt…
24TH MAY 2011 | 1 NOTE

We spent Monday in Ashland, southern Oregon. After dropping by the location of Freeman’s first Bigfoot sighting, we continued through the farmlands and then up into the hills. As we climbed higher, the views became more spectacular. The low afternoon sun drenched the hills and distant mountains, setting the perfect backdrop for the tall pines.

The deployment on this night was the best and most organised yet. We arrived at base camp way before dark, albeit after a disturbingly bumpy ride up the dirt road (even the TV fell off its bracket!). We are really pushing the limits of the RV, but that’s exactly what this trip is about – pushing limits.

The chosen location was very special to Freeman, as it is a Native American Ceremonial site. He has spent a lot of time there over the last few years, and reports a lot of Sasquatch activity. After hiding the infrared cameras in the trees, Freeman showed me up to the highest point of the mountain. I didn’t see it coming – one moment I was in a forest, the next moment I was standing on top of an enormous rock at the peak of a mountain. It was breathtaking – in fact, quite literally, as the air was very thin at this altitude. We were surrounded by mountain ranges and valleys, the clouds golden in the sunset. I’ve scarcely seen such an amazing vista.

That night, the optimum deployment continued. We played music by the fire, made hot dogs on the embers and played glow-in-the-dark frisbee. Freeman made staggered appearances amongst a series of mini-treks into the woods. We sang and played didgeridoo, even us Aussies got the hang of it!

Being out there in the middle of nowhere is a welcome break from busy city living in Sydney. No traffic, no schedules, no meetings, no phone calls, no emails, just the fresh cold air and the smell of pines and camp fire. What a dream.

I appear to be drifting from the subject of Sasquatch. This was actually the essence and the theory of the night. It was the perfect deployment because the less concerned we are about luring in a Sasquatch, the more curious it would be to come and check us out. However, I still haven’t seen anything controversial on infrared since the Minnesota footage.

The morning came, and I went for a walk with Freeman to see the sacred Native American sites. We came down to the main ceremonial area, the place where he had danced and prayed in the years prior. It was so full of richness and culture. Everything remained intact from the previous years ceremony; the drum areas, the sweat-lodges and the towering tree as the centrepiece. It was covered in colour from the ground up, by the hundreds of tied pieces of coloured fabric, symbolising the prayers of the Native Americans. Freeman explained to me how the ceremonies are carried out. The Native American culture is completely new to me, so it was a great honour to be in a very restricted and sacred area. We talked about our faith; the differences, the similarities. What makes us human. It was great to hear about Freeman’s experiences.

It was time to leave Ashland and cross the border into California. This part of the journey was my favourite yet. The narrow winding road weaved in and out of rivers and valleys. Blue skies, red cliffs and steep mountains swept by and just kept coming.

We didn’t have a final plan for our next location, but Freeman knew the area. We stopped off at a mini market and picked up some water. We had used our last water supply to make coffee, as coffee is a much higher priority than water.

Jack and Jonny came back from the shop, and they had spoken to Gary; a local man, about the area. They explained to him what we were doing here, Bigfoot movie and all. To Jonny’s surprise, nobody in the shop backed an eyelid when Bigfoot was mentioned. They all agreed with Gary’s knowledge, ‘I know exactly where you need to go to find him’. Gary agreed to lead us up to the remote location where he allegedly had a terrifying Sasquatch encounter with his wife.

I was excited when I found out where we were going. The left indicator on Gary’s Jeep clicked on. Just ahead, a sign read ‘Bluff Creek Road’. We had no idea that we had stumbled upon the most significant location for Bigfoot research – in the world.

Every one of you who are reading this, whether you remember or not, would have seen the famous Patterson Gimlin film at some stage in your life. In 1967, Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin captured the first credible footage of a Sasquatch. Despite accusations of hoaxing, the film has never been debunked, and it has never been successfully replicated. It’s one of the main reasons I remain unable to deny the existence of the Sasquatch, and it is considered the most important piece of video evidence in Sasquatch research. We were there, within a couple of miles of the exact location of the film.

We turned into the road and were greeted by a locked gate. Nobody, except the one resident, is allowed to enter without permission. Fortunately, Gary had connections with the rangers, and we were able to get the gate opened promptly. As we entered the road we saw a grizzly bear running ahead of us. An amazing sight, but a reminder of the dangers out here. We followed Gary up the forest road for quite a while. We were already in the middle of nowhere in CA, then this road led us into the middle of nowhere, in the middle of nowhere, CA. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a more remote place.

We climbed so high that we hit the clouds. Blotches of snow lined the roads. It was entirely surreal being in this forest, it felt like I was back in time thousands of years. This forest has never been logged, so all the trees were gargantuan. Nature at its best!

Then we came to another gate, one that we couldn’t open. So we set up base camp. I caught Gary as he was about to leave and had him tell his story on camera.

“I was camping down here one day with my wife and kids, and my wife, she gets up early sometimes… 6 o’clock, 5 o’clock. Next thing she knows, she looks up, and the tent, we had the tarp off of it because it was summertime. And you could look in it. And she looked up and she’s seen this head – almost 2 feet wide! BIG eyes! It was just hairy… She thought it was a bear but it didn’t have no snout, it had a flat face like us. I said ‘what did it do?’ She said: ‘It just looked down on me!’ and my tent was maybe 8 foot tall; the thing that looked into her must have been 9 foot. Atleast. And she just couldn’t holler, couldn’t scream. She tried to wake me but I didn’t wake up. But then it took off. Boom, it was gone. When I got up in the morning, she told me and I didn’t believe her; but I got out of the tent, and there were massive footprints, with strange toes not like ours”.

Gary warned us; “you can’t F*** with these things man. I dunno why you guys are up here, why are you up here? You gotta leave them alone”.

This made me wonder. We stayed on for the night. I went with Freeman to a site just lower down the mountain, and we started a small fire and left out food. We deployed 4 infrared cameras, then rejoined the RV. After some chicken wings, Freeman returned to the site with Jonny for the night. We watched the infrared cameras around the RV for a while, and then left them running as we went to bed.

What happened next terrified me more than anything else has. Let me set the scene. My bed on the RV is at the front, near the door. We had the front curtains closed on the windscreen, but the side windows were slightly open to make room for 2 infrared cameras facing out (they don’t work through glass). As I was just getting to sleep, I began to hear slight tapping sounds around the door. Maybe a few footsteps outside. Everyone else in the RV was asleep, snoring. After a few moments, I heard a few more noises around the front of the RV. Then, to my horror, the RV began to shake. I woke Sam up. A few moments later, there were more noises and 2 more shakes of the RV. Then nothing for a while. A bear? A Sasquatch? I went to the back of the RV and woke up Max. I told him that they were out there, and the RV was being pushed. “Oh good, hopefully they’ll do it again. They’re just playing with us. The infrareds should catch a great shot”. Max rolled over to sleep, and I was left with an unsatisfactory situation.

Sam went back to sleep, but I was still aware of the sounds around the front of the van, so I couldn’t relax. The RV door was unlocked, as Jack was camping outside and may have needed to get in incase of emergency.

Irrational thinking began to prevail. You know the feeling, it’s dark, something goes bump in the night; this was just a slightly more extreme version of that. Especially considering the fact that I was told the local Sasquatch could pop your head like a grape. Great.

I heard a long, deep grunt…Almost bovine in sound. Then another shake of the RV. I woke Sam up again. One more shake. Next, I heard the sound that I didn’t want to hear. The sound of the door opening. I don’t think I’ve ever reacted so fast in my life. At this stage, I was sleeping on the floor away from the door (I can’t believe I’m even admitting to this. I hope you’re having a good laugh).

Like lightning, I jump to my feet (still in my sleeping bag), throw open the sliding door to the back of the RV, and almost run straight into Bob. He had just jumped out of his bunk, and opened the bathroom door. The RV door remained closed, to my utter relief.

Well, Bob forgave me for the panic reaction, and waited in the front of the RV to listen for sounds with Sam and I. Of course, nothing happened, so I went to sleep – feeling just a little embarrassed.

In my defence, it’s still inconclusive as to what caused the incident. We’re still reviewing the footage from the night.

Right now, we’re crashing in a hotel in Eureka, CA. It feels unbelievably good to be showered and lying in a really comfortable bed.

We’re heading to the Giant Redwoods tomorrow, which I look forward to.

27TH MAY 2011 | 4 NOTES

It’s been a little while since my last post, you may have noticed. It’s been quite the psychological journey over the past few days. I wrote the following post a couple of days ago and hesitated to publish it. But I decided I will. It’s a bit of a staggered read, but here it is (it continues the journey from my last post, ‘Ashland and Bluff Creek’):


I’m in the SUV traveling from the unusual little town of Kelseyville to northern San Francisco. It’s 9pm; I want to write this entry in present, as I’m quite far from my comfort zone right now. First, here’s the last day’s story.

Last night we took the night off in Eureka, on our way to San Fran. We were close to the end of our tether. Day after day on the road really begins to take it’s toll; physically, psychologically and emotionally. The morning after Bluff Creek, it took until 3pm to get out of the national forest, after we discovered the gate to be locked at the exit. It had been three days since our last shower. Call me a wuss, but as a self confessed city boy I could hardly bear it… No running water in the RV. The smell of smoke from fires drenched us. Layer upon layer of deodorant and sweat – I’ll spare further details. The straw broke the camel’s back. Personalities in the bus continued to emerge and strengthen. A clash was imminent.

We checked into our hotel rooms, went off for dinner separately and tried to regain some sanity.

Dawn came and so did the road. We drove through the Redwoods, which was an unbelievable privilege. The original skyscrapers – trees towering like monuments, majestically proclaiming the power of creation. Completely untouched by the cancer of civilization; protected by orders of poison oak guards.

Yet more Bigfoot paraphernalia arose, entire shops and museums dedicated to the legend, and the research. I’m beginning to realize they are more widely accepted than I ever thought.

Schedule pressures guided our next move. Jack and I separated from the RV, and drove the SUV to the next interview, while the rest of the team deployed in the forests near San Francisco. We drove on a seemingly endless road, over dry hills and through vineyards. Finally we arrived in Kelseyville. A town on a beautiful lake that you would never expect to exist, due the long, desolate road leading to it. We interviewed Bill. It was the most uncomfortable interview I’ve ever conducted. He is what he described as a ‘right’ researcher, unlike the conventional ‘left’. With all due respect, I would describe it as left left wing research. He’s just very, very different. Though, even if he does come across a little bonkers; “All the best people are”… Right? I was uncomfortable because I thought I was interviewing a severely delusional person. I even felt a little emotional out of concern. Please forgive this use of words, it may be a little hard to understand the situation. Here is a man that claims to have an ongoing relationship with a group of Sasquatch and has many crazy paranormal theories. Unlike most researchers, they have ‘let him in’.

But.

But then, he began to show me photos. They weren’t entirely clear, but they are very different from any other photos I’ve seen. “All I’ve wanted is an expert cameraman with a high quality camera, and I can get you the best footage of a Sasquatch”, he explained. He has only had access to a lower quality camera to date. Then the real bombshell came…

Jack opened his laptop and showed me some of the most shocking photos I’ve ever seen, from a lady in Arizona. I was confused… Almost a little frustrated; “why haven’t you shown me THESE pictures until now!?” I asked. It could have been the worst time to show me unmistakably real, clear images of an unidentified primate, taken by a young lady who also claims to have a relationship with a group since she was a young girl. After hearing her story, which left no room for hoaxing or lies, my mind almost completely shifted from “do Sasquatch exist?” to “there is almost certainly some sort of ape living in the USA”. It was a bad time for this realisation, because we were about to leave for an expedition to a place where Bill claims to know exactly how to lead us to them – very close to them, with the guarantee of at least seeing footprints.

Currently, I’m on my way to this expedition, and we’re arriving in about 15 minutes. I now have to think somewhat in the mindset that they are real, which is highly uncomfortable. You don’t realize the power of belief until it hits you. It was easy to go along with this trip knowing that, at most, they COULD be real. It was just a joke. Now, it’s a lot more serious. There are large apes out there, and I may be meeting them tonight.

Well that was where I stopped writing. I was tired and over it.

We drove up a mountain in a secret location near San Francisco. We drove above the clouds towards Bill’s regular research spot. I wasn’t really in the mood to spend a whole night in the mist and rain, so it was to my delight that we were met by a closed park gate. The walk to the location from this point would’ve been about 45 minutes, so we passed on it. We checked into a hotel back in town, ate some smores and went to bed. We would return the next morning.

7am. We drive back up the mountain, which was amazing during the day. You could see all of San Francisco, and the ocean in the distance. Deer were plentiful in the rolling meadows. We drove up the gate in the heavy mist and it emerged into view, locked – again. We had come this far, so we parked the car and began the walk through the rugged bush. I was carrying a camera, but Jack was carrying an extremely heavy and sharp piece of obsidian. ‘Obsidian?’ you ask? Bill had brought along this massive piece of black shiny rock as a gift for the Sasquatch group, as well as a large bag of walnuts.

We slowly staggered up and down the hills, through thick growth, in streams, over logs. All the way Bill was ‘feeling’ for their presence, and telling me where to point my camera; “you won’t always see them with your eyes. But when you replay the footage you will find them, peaking out of trees”.

We arrived at the alleged nest of the Sasquatch group. It was quite an unusual thing to stumble upon a 6 foot tall stone tower; larger stones at the bottom, smaller stones at the top. Bill hadn’t been at this site in months, due to his disability and long distancefrom home. Why would someone build this structure in the middle of thick bush? Bill broke off a small piece of obsidian and placed it on top of the totem. The slightest touch made it fall to the ground! It was made recently. We left the bush, wet through and freezing cold, and returned to the hotel for a shower and breakfast. Then we got back on the road to rejoin with the RV.

At this point I was in a mentally exhausted state. There’s a threshold that exists in our minds; there’s only so much participation and agreement you can deliver on a subject, while not believing it is real. Once you reach that threshold, and you’ve gone along with the belief, you start to crack. It hasn’t been a healthy psychological environment. Every day for 2 1/2 weeks, I have been completely immersed in BigfootResearch culture. Now, having something that strange as your reality for that long, with no escape, drives you insane – atleast, while you don’t accept the existence of it.

The drive through the edge of San Francisco to the RV was the breaking point for me. The car was filled with Sasquatch conversation, as usual. I snapped at Jack; “Stop it! I just can’t accept it. Now don’t talk to me about Sasquatch for the next 12 hours!”

We returned to the RV, and I went for a walk to let off some steam. I decided, even if they are real (which was turning out to be true), I didn’t want anything to do with them. It was just too weird, too overwhelming. Just plain creepy. That was the impression the photos and all the evidence had given me. I just wanted to go back to Australia and live my normal life, away from this alternate reality. In this state of mind, I didn’t care one bit that the RV crew had captured thermal footage of aSasquatch peeking from behind a tree the night before.

That night, I was meant to go back up the mountain with Jack and Bill. Instead, I decided to drop them off and take a 14 hour break from this strange nightmare. I went back to a hotel in San Fran, kicked my feet up, and attempted to live a normal existence. I called my best mate back home, and talked it all through. I don’t know why I was being so affected by it, but I needed a conclusion.

We figured out, they are just another animal. The only reason they are taboo is because society has made them taboo, by not accepting their existence. It’s not reallythat strange, when you think about it. I kept thinking about the photos. Sasquatchdon’t even really look like you would expect, like pop culture has made them out to be. They’re as normal as a gorilla. Quite serene.

Well I still needed to sleep on it, maybe I’d feel different in the morning. I went for an Italian meal in Sausalito, ate more smores and went to bed. I felt a lot better in the morning. Enough time to get away from Sasquatch mania, and relax.

I picked up Jack and Bill at 7am. The gate was closed, so I 4WDrove around it. Such a great moment… My first off road experience, driving up a steep rocky hill then around the gate and back down. Only to be greeted by a park ranger. After being issued a ticket, I drove on and picked the guys up.

From here, we returned to Kelseyville to drop Bill off back home. However, not before a good breakfast and some wine tasting in Mendocino. There seemed to bit a little bit less talk of Sasquatch that day. Things almost seemed like they were winding up; Freeman had stayed in San Francisco while we set off for Lake Tahoe. Jack had decided that we should have a little down time. He had understood my being overwhelmed, and seen similar symptoms in all of us Aussies. We had a beer at the lake, which was an incredible sight, then we hit the road for…RENO!

A Teppenyaki meal and a mega win from Sam ($2k!) and we were back on the road for the night, on our way to Pocatello, Idaho to interview Dr Jeff Meldrum.

I was really excited about this interview. He is the kind of researcher that appeals to me…Very level headed, an extremely accomplished and credible lecturer at Idaho State University and the curator of thousands of Bigfoot evidence exhibits. He is a Primatologist that studies physical evidence objectively.

We arrived at the University and spent 3 hours interviewing him. It was absolutely fascinating (I can’t wait for you to see the interview on the movie).

He showed us an array of 200 foot casts, hand casts and various other body part casts from Sasquatches. He has a wealth of biological knowledge, and over 15 years of research under his belt. If you’ve seen a doco on Bigfoot, this guy would have been on it. He is an expert in primate locomotion and movement, so he knows what a real footprint looks like. He had confirmed all of the casts, and even cast some himself. His views were very conservative and very sober. It’s would be hard, if not impossible for anybody to contend with his findings.

My conlusion? It is certain that an unclassified primate lives in the USA. What it is exactly? That remains unknown to me and to anybody else, stray of opinions. Now I just hope that more scientists will pay attention to the evidence and do some study, because we have an amazing animal waiting to be acknowledged by modern science.

I was hesitant to admit what I just did, but then there’s absolutely no shame in it. Of course there’s animals out there we don’t know about. They’re being discovered all the time. It’s just another part of creation and biology, it’s an amazing thing.

As humans we are so determined to know everything. We set mystery and ambiguity as our enemy. We have to push the button that says ‘don’t push’. Our curiosity gets the better of us.

But what happens when our pursuit for knowledge skews the reality in front of us? Now I’m all for ‘knowing something because I just know’. I think that can be more valid than most people think. We are intuitive beings… We can read between the lines quite well.

The problem comes when speculation is built over the foundation of concrete knowledge, and the line is blurred. Theory is not fact.

This was the reason it was hard for me to accept the existence of Sasquatch. There are so many opinions and lofty theories that I’ve heard on this trip and in my research, and they’ve all been presented to me as the facts. Once I had spoken to Dr Jeff Meldrum, it was clear that these were indeed not founded in evidence, just theories built from ‘encounters’, cases of mistaken identity in photographic evidence and amplified psychological states and processes.

At the moment, the only thing I can accept as fact is that there is a species of bipedal primate – possibly quite large – living in the USA. It has large feet, long arms, big eyes and they build nests like Gorillas. Hiding is their instinct. They are possibly very curious and feel the need to cautiously inspect human activity when it is out of place. They may throw rocks, gain proximity or exhibit other similar behaviours in order to intimidate and defend their territory.

From what I have seen, those are the only things I can conclude. These simplistic conclusions are founded in hard evidence.

And for the record, I personally hate the names Sasquatch and Bigfoot. They’ve been tainted as ridiculous fictional creatures with no evidential basis.

Here I am back in Australia. It’s a cold winter morning and the sun hasn’t made it’s way through the clouds and rain. This tall black coffee, most unlike my normal choice, is a liquid memoir of the past month.

Actually, I’ve been home in the Northern Beaches of Sydney for 6 days now. Jetlag beaten, I decide to address the question that I’ve merely being answering with “just read my blog, I’ll post a conclusion soon.” I see a lot of people in my day to day life, sometimes hundreds in a day. So you’ll probably forgive me for not wanting to personally account the experiences I’ve had.

“Did you find him?” You said to me. I answered with hesitation; “…N…Yes”, and probably changed the subject or walked away. I despise the fact that if I choose to answer the truth, it requires an in depth explanation to preserve my psychological reputation. Besides, with all due respect, you asked the wrong question in the first place. Please ask, “Did you find the cryptozoological species that has so long been dismissed as a myth and cast waves of taboo over pop culture for the past century but may very well exist?

Well, the answer to that question is

“Yes”

“Did you see it!?”

“Technically, No”

“Oh..”

At least that’s how the short response goes. Then occasionally I’ll find myself lured into a full explanation of my stance; usually to someone who is showing traces of doubt or skepticism.

That begins a little like this;

We captured footage of them. Twice. On thermal cameras. Both times we know it wasn’t one of us, or any other humans. Further analysis revealed anatomical and behavioural differences from humans, consistent with every other valid sighting.

I saw mind-shocking photographs unreleased to the public eye, displaying these primates in candid everyday behaviours.

They’re not a mythological being. They’re a normal species of animal. They’re just another primate.

I saw hundreds of perfectly consistent foot, butt, knuckle and body plaster casts of these primates. Again, unavailable to the public eye.

These points, supported by the detailed stories I deliver, has left almost every skeptical friend of mine convinced of their existence. This has made me realise how important personal trust is when it comes to this subject. Because my friends and colleagues know me, they know I’m telling the truth and trust me. They know how skeptical/objective I was before I left and they know I wouldn’t have easily budged – I’m quite stubborn. I won’t have this luxury when the film is presented.

We are entering the post production phase of the film, apart from a few minor pickup shoots we expect to come up. So far we have shot over 90 hours of footage, so this project is going to be a mammoth to complete. We expect to release the film in early 2012.

I haven’t gone into too much detail in this entry, but hopefully this will answer most of your questions. Any further information you want from my trip can be found in my previous blog posts which cover the entire trip, if you can be bothered. Oh, and to answer another question:

It was unbelievable.

I had a lot of fun.

I would do it again – I think.

It was a surreal experience.

I saw a lot of incredible country.

Bigfoot is real

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