Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

I wanted to wish everyone out there a happy and prosperous new year. Here is to hoping that 2010 is the year that at least one major cryptozoological mystery is solved. I plan on enjoying the holiday and getting back to work this weekend.

Until then, my best to you all...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

I would just like to take a moment to wish everyone a merry and joyous Christmas. I pray it will be a blessed time for you and your family.

My very best to each of you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lions, Tigers, and Bears...In Texas?

It seems that a lot of large predators that formerly called Texas home are making a comeback here in the Lone Star State. There is also a recent report of a non-native predator making an appearance.

Sightings of big cats continue to roll in from areas of the state where such animals have long been thought extirpated. Cougars and the ever-elusive black panther top the list of big cats spotted. Cougars are known to inhabit and flourish in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas and deep South Texas along the Rio Grande River. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department continues to take the position that no wild breeding population of cougars exists outside these areas. The black panther is not even discussed as a possibility in any official capacity despite a growing number of reports.

Now an even scarier cat has been reported stalking Southeast Texas. Police in the Brazoria County town of Oyster Creek have received multiple reports of a tiger prowling the area. You can read the story about the sightings in the Houston Chronicle here. The article claims that Texas Parks & Wildlife game wardens have investigated the area but found no sign of a large cat of any kind. The TP&W must have taken the reports seriously as the article says they even broke out night vision gear trying to catch a glimpse of the tiger. If true, this would be an incredibly dangerous situation for the people of Brazoria County.

The black bear continues to make news as it seems to be finding its way back into the eastern portion of the state. Like the cougar, black bears are known to inhabit the rough and arid areas of far West Texas. Bears did formerly inhabit the piney woods and swamps of East and Southeast Texas but hunting wiped them out by the mid 1900s. Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana bear populations have exploded over the past decade and it has long been thought to be just a matter of time before they made their way into remote areas of Texas. That time seems to be now. Bear sightings, particularly in Southeast and extreme Northeast Texas, are on the rise. What is surprising is that sightings are beginning to be reported from areas in what would be considered Central Texas. There was a nice article recently published in the San Antonio Express News regarding the come back of the black bear in Texas. You can access that article here.

I would be greatly interested in hearing reports of any big cats or black bear sighted in Texas by readers.

So, keep your eyes peeled as you travel the rural roads of Texas this holiday season. You might catch a glimpse of a mountain lion, black panther, or bear. Of course, if you are really lucky, you might catch a glimpse of something even more unusual. I would like to hear about that as well.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Today marks the one year anniversary of the Texas Cryptid Hunter site. It has been a great year. I have enjoyed having an outlet to post my thoughts on various cryptozoological topics. My interests in undiscovered animals and weird creatures is not exactly mainstream. Typically, it isn't a topic you can bring up at the company Christmas party or at the office water cooler without being chastised or thought of as a bit, shall we say, "eccentric." The blog site has allowed me to open up and say what I think whenever something of interest pops up. I have enjoyed writing it immensely.

It also seems that I have acquired a few faithful readers. While only three folks have signed up as official "followers" of the site I have noticed, via sitemeter, many of the same IEP addresses showing up almost daily. I really appreciate those who drop by regularly. I would encourage you to sign up as a follower to the site. That way you will be alerted to updates quickly. The statistics for the year are as follows:

Total Visits : 9,962
Avg. Per Day : 61
Avg. Visit Length : 2:31
Total Page Views : 18,845

I have no idea how good these numbers really are but I am pleased to think nearly 10,000 people stopped by, even for a little while, to see what I had to say. I'm sure these numbers pale in comparison to other more established sites but from what I can tell the 2:31 average length of visit is actually a pretty healthy number.

So, thanks to all those who drop by and read my thoughts from time to time. It is appreciated. Now on to year two.

My best...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Final Thoughts (Maybe) on the San Antonio Sasquatch Sighting

Two nights ago, at about 10:45pm, my cell phone rang. I answered only to hear someone already in mid sentence talking about bigfoot. This gentleman continued to ramble on about bigfoot and didn't seem to take much notice of me at all. The speech was slurred and sometimes hard to understand. It took a few moments for me to realize this was the husband of the woman who made the 911 call to San Antonio police claiming a huge hair-covered creature had walked through their makeshift camp (If by some chance you have yet to hear about this incident just skip down and read my previous entry for details). This gentleman continued to go on about the incident. He said if I wanted to see bigfoot he could make that happen but only for my "own peace of mind." He adamantly stated that I should stay home if I wanted to "take pictures, write a book, put it on the internet, or get on television." I tried to interject here and there without success. After a few minutes he said his throat was hurting and handed the phone to his wife.

At this point the conversation became easier to follow. She seemed lucid, her speech was clear, and I had no trouble understanding her. However, it was what she said that was a bit disturbing. She said she had had someone "check me out" by doing an internet search on my name. She said she just wanted to make sure she knew who she was talking to. If true, I guess I passed this test as she was calling to invite me to her camp for a few days so I could see what was going on. She said the bigfoot family had moved on to "another forest" and she no longer felt safe without them near. More claims were made about government vehicles emitting high frequency waves and interlopers traipsing through the area they considered their home. It was about this time the phone went dead. It could be the battery on their cell phone died. It could also be that their prepaid minutes were exhausted. In any case, the conversation, one sided as it was, ended abruptly at that point. I stayed up another hour or so to see if they would call back. They did not. I have not heard from them since.

So, what is to be made from this? This witness was very convincing during the initial phone interview. She said some things that I found very interesting and compelling. Not so much about the creature she claims to have seen itself but more about the area where she was camping (a dumping ground by county workers for dead, probably road-killed, animals), the behavior of the creature (freezing until it realized it had been seen), the hearing of bangs and knocks and the alleged discovery of a stump that held a beehive, etc. (Again this is all detailed below). As I mentioned in the initial write-up, she went off on some strange tangents that raised some red flags for me. Strange government vehicles emitting high frequency waves, feeling that the bigfoot creatures were trying to communicate with her telepathically, and being able to "sense" a female bigfoot presence to name a few. I leaned toward believing her story regarding the sighting itself. Personally, I don't fall into the camp of those who believe there is some sort of government cover-up regarding these creatures. Nor do I believe sasquatches are shape shifters, have telepathic or psychic abilities, etc. However, having different opinions on these subjects has no bearing on whether or not a sasquatch was present in these folks camp that night. Things have changed a bit for me, however.

Obviously the odd phone call did not help the credibility of the witnesses in my eyes but there is more. Rick Tullos of the San Antonio Texas Bigfoot Research Group posted a comment below my original write-up with a link to what he had on the story to this point. He and a fellow researcher named Ken Gerhard made their way out to the sighting location. They did manage to find the campsite the witnesses had been using. According to Tullos and Gerhard the site had been bulldozed and a fire lane had been cut through the area. All that was left were residual ashes from a campfire. They located what they feel may be some tracks but nothing else unusual. You can read their full account here. According to Mr. Tullos' write-up, the date he and Mr. Gerhard visited the site of the alleged encounter was the day before my phone conversation with the couple. During our conversation the witness never mentioned having moved their camp voluntarily or involuntarily. While the witnesses never specifically said they were still in the same location it was certainly implied during our conversation. I would think the destruction of their campsite by a bulldozer would be something important enough to mention. This, if Tullos and Gerhart were in the correct spot, further hurts the credibility of the witnesses in my eyes.

It has been suggested that the witnesses may suffer from some sort of mental illness. Certainly it is no secret that many homeless people are suffering from one form of mental illness or another. Paranoid schizophrenia seems to be by far the most common disorder found in the homeless. Before anyone gets up in arms, I am not suggesting that every person who finds themselves homeless is mentally ill. That is certainly not the case. More people than ever are finding themselves in this sort of situation due to the hard economic times we are currently experiencing. However, it is a possibility that I feel must be considered at this point. It certainly would explain some of the odd behaviors and theories being put forth by the couple. I have a good friend who is a long time police officer. He has had many dealings with the homeless over the years and he says, "Many, if not most, of the homeless I've dealt with have suffered from some form of mental illness or substance abuse problem." He went on to add, " Being a paranoid schozophrenic seems to be the most common ailment they suffer. Some of them have the most elaborate thoughts and beliefs on the federal government. The most common delusion is that they have had a chip implanted in their brain and are under constant surveillance by the authorities. However, you could discuss almost any other commonplace subject with ease and intelligence despite this fact." Interestingly, he said, "Despite their delusions this does not preclude them from being solid witnesses to a crime. Based on your report (blog entry below) it sounds like a very common scenario where they saw something real, were open and honest about it, yet are completely delusional in other aspects of their lives." I have no idea if this couple suffers from any form of mental illness. Due to behaviors exhibited and their circumstances it must be considered, no matter how politically incorrect it may be, as a possibility.

So, what is my final conclusion on this one? Initially, as stated previously, I was leaning toward believing the sighting was real. The account was truly convincing and I did not detect any signs of deception. However, as stated in the original post , the odd theories the witness put forth during that first discussion gave me pause. My doubts have only grown stronger for the reasons stated above. Is it possible these folks saw a sasquatch on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas? I absolutely believe it to be possible. Do I have enough confidence in this report to suggest publishing it on the TBRC website or to come out on this blog as believing it to be a legitimate sighting? I do not. There are simply too many reasons to have reasonable doubts on this alleged encounter.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The San Antonio Sasquatch Investigation

Last night I spoke to the lady who made the 911 call to San Antonio police to report a sasquatch sighting. I will go into some detail regarding that conversation but feel it would be beneficial for readers to hear the actual 911 call first. You can hear that call here. The witness sounds sober and coherent on the phone. She talks lucidly to the dispatcher and her request to have someone come out to the location to check things out seems reasonable to me. The witness did not want to meet an officer at that point in time. Some have criticized the witness for this or pointed to this detail as a sign the whole thing is likely a hoax. I am not so sure. As is clearly stated on the 911 call to the dispatcher, it was dark , raining, and the witness was too scared to walk through the wooded area to the nearest road where an officer could be met. This seems like a predictable and perfectly logical reaction to seeing something frightening, in my opinion. I also feel she must have been really shaken up to call the police as she and her husband would likely be forced out of their make-shift camp if police became aware of their exact location.

I cold called the witness and once she warmed up to me she rattled off details in a rapid-fire fashion that was sometimes hard to keep up with. I learned she and her husband are currently homeless and living out of a tent in a wooded area on the West side of San Antonio. They have been staying in this particular area for several years. The husband was talking at the same time in the background during the conversation in the same rapid-fire fashion, which sometimes made the conversation even more difficult to follow. However, I was able to glean some additional details not published, that I have seen, anywhere else. She claims not to have talked to anyone else regarding this incident and that no one has visited the sighting location. This would seem to make some of claims of other investigators who say they have found tracks, hair, etc. dubious at best.

The witness has a clothes line strung up that at her campsite that is, according to her, about five feet off the ground. She was walking near this clothes line when she noticed a large hair-covered upright creature staring at her from the other side of the line. She stared at it for a few seconds and then it bolted away from her, scooped up a deer carcass lying on the ground, and made its way into the brush. As it retreated, it let out a loud scream the likes of which neither the witness or her husband had heard before. The witness estimates she was no more than 30 feet away from the creature initially. The point at which she lost sight of it was about 50 feet away. While it was dark, she had, in her words, "a pretty good fire going." This fire lit the area up enough to get a good look at the animal. She added that there had not been a deer carcass in that location earlier.

She describes the animal as dark and covered in hair or fur. She is estimating the creature's height to be between seven and eight feet tall. She estimates this based on how much taller the animal was than the five foot high clothes line. It walked away very quickly on two legs. At no time was the animal ever on four legs. The deer carcass was picked up easily. The witness said, " It picked up that deer like it was nothing and tucked it under its arm like a football." She added, "It didn't even slow it down any." The husband corroborated everything she said. albeit from the background while she was trying to tell her story. The pair was very frightened by the idea something so large and powerful was in the vicinity and thought it best to call the police.

The witness described some things that intrigued me. The first was how the creature stood as if frozen in place for several seconds. This reminded me a bit of a fellow TBRC members sighting account. This gentleman was out setting up a game camera in an area where there had been several recent sightings. He looked up to see a large dark animal looking at him from a brushy area. He felt the animal must have thought he had been spotted. This "being seen" is what prompted the creature to run away. The San Antonio witness similarly said, "It didn't move until it realized I had seen it." She seemed to feel if she had not "gawked at it" it would never have moved at all.

The second thing I found compelling was the deer carcass. Sasquatches carrying deer, hogs, etc. have been reported before. What is interesting about this situation is that the deer was already dead and the location of the couple's campsite. According to the witness, dead animals are dumped in the area by, as she described them, "government trucks." If true, my best guess is that county or city workers are scraping up road killed animals and, instead of disposing of them properly, dumping them in this area. Why they would do this I cannot say. If true, this could explain why a sasquatch was in this semi-developed area to begin with. If these dead animals were dumped reasonably soon after being killed the area would be a continuous source of food for a sasquatch. It could stay hidden in this wooded area and wait for "deliveries" several times a week. Stories circulating about how the witness saw a sasquatch take and devour a live deer are not true, according to the couple.

The third thing that was very interesting was the scream the witness claims the creature made as it strode away. She said it was not a howl like a wolf would make but a scream. She had a bit of trouble in trying to describe it and instead tried to duplicate it for me over the phone. It may sound funny, and, no doubt, totally unscientific, but her mimicked scream rang true to me. It dawned on me that I had heard that before. The scream she made was eerily similar to the scream described by TBRC members heard outside their tent in the Big Thicket National Preserve during Operation Thicket Probe several years ago. At least it was very similar to these members best efforts at recreating it.

One more thing really made me sit up and take notice during our conversation. She claims, and her husband again corroborated, hearing loud banging sounds from time to time. According to the witness, they always seemed to come from the same direction. One day in the last week or so she and her husband decided to go try to find the source of the banging. She says they came across an old stump that looked like it had, in her words, "been beat to hell." Upon closer inspection, the couple found a hollow cavity at the base of the stump contained a beehive. She theorized that the creature was beating on the stump to get the bees to leave the hive so the honey could be accessed. I'm not sure about the validity of her theory but do know that chimpanzees have been documented beating on beehives for hours at a time in order to break through and reach the honey inside.

At this point, the witness really got worked up and went off on some tangents that raise some red flags for me. She claims that "government vehicles" have been driving all around the area since she called 911 and that sometimes they park for hours at a time. She says she has heard a very high frequency sound come from the vehicles during these extended stays. She feels that the sound is intended to flush the creature out of hiding. She also feels that there is a whole family of creatures in the area and that they are trying to "communicate with her by thinking" or, in other words, telepathically. She says she now can "feel" when one or more of these animals is close by and senses a "female presence" at times.

The witness was very convincing when discussing the actual sighting and the accounts of the banging and knocks heard over the last few weeks. After digesting her account, I am leaning toward believing her story regarding the sighting itself. I admit to being troubled by some of the theories she extolled on telepathy, government involvement, and habituation. However, whether I agree with the witness' interpretations of the events or not is not relevant to whether or not this person actually saw a sasquatch. I feel that is an important point to stress here.

I feel the monkey-like creature that visited a dumpster at a not too distant auto body shop is an entirely different and unrelated incident. By all accounts this small creature appears to be a macaque or similar small primate. I have no idea where this little guy might have come from but the location of his appearance and the timing of the incident appear to be entirely coincidental.

So, there you have it. The whole thing could be one elaborate hoax, I suppose. An on site investigation is going to be necessary before I can go any deeper on this one. I hope to have the opportunity to visit the sighting location in the next week or two. I will update things when, and if, that happens.

Friday, December 4, 2009

More on the San Antonio Sasquatch Sighting

I am endeavoring to look into the alleged sighting of a "bigfoot-like" creature seen on the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas this past week. I have a friend in the area who is keeping me up on developments as they occur. I am also trying to get access to one of the witnesses who actually made one of the 911 calls. If I am successful in contacting this person I will likely be making a trip down south to visit the sighting location.

I will post updates here as I have them. In the meantime, Loren Coleman over at Cryptomundo has done a good job of documenting the events surrounding this sighting to this point.

More soon...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A San Antonio Sasquatch?

Here is a link to an article about several alleged sasquatch sightings in San Antonio, Texas.

If anyone has heard anything about this please contact me.