Well, here I go. Nearly seven years later, I am finally writing about The Big One – the weirdest, most disturbing event that I have ever experienced in a lifetime of bizarre and unsettling experiences. This story has been circulating for almost six years now, and I have told it several times in podcasts, but I think it is time to put it down in writing. The downside? Pretty much everything that I write after this will be anticlimactic. That’s perfectly fine with me, though. I have no desire to top this experience.
To tell this entire story and all that led up to it will likely require a book (which might be forthcoming soon). Still, in the interest of keeping this post to a reasonable length, I’ll try to keep the backstory to a minimum and describe the events as they occurred. I am also going to break this story up into two or maybe three parts. It is simply too long to explain these strange events in a single blog post.
My friendship with Adam Davies
This story begins with my friendship with Adam Davies, a well-known explorer and a researcher of cryptids (cryptids being animal species not currently scientifically classified or whose existence is not entirely accepted as fact) who has been featured on many television shows and authored several books, his latest non-fiction book being Extreme Expeditions 3: Bigfoot versus The Yeti.
I met Adam through a podcast that I co-hosted between 2007 to 2008 called The Paranomalists (not “Paranormalists” – only one “r”). The podcast was on the subjects of the paranormal, cryptozoological, and metaphysical. Ever in the search for new guests for our podcast, I had read about one of Adams’s recent adventures in some remote area of the world and decided that I would try to book him as a guest on our Paranomalists podcast.
I contacted the original publisher of Adam’s first book Extreme Expeditions, Patrick Huyghe of Anomalist Books, and the popular Fortean news website Anomalist.com. Patrick was so kind as to forward me Adam’s contact information, and shortly after reaching out to him, he accepted my request for an interview.
Adam proved to be an excellent guest, and we had him back on the podcast several times afterward. Eventually, I parted ways with the podcast and my co-hosts, but having struck up a friendship, Adam and I regularly kept in touch by email and Skype chats.
In late August of 2012, he and several of his friends flew over to the USA for a Bigfoot expedition in Washington State’s Cascade Mountains. Adam’s companions included British researchers Andrew “Sandy” Sanderson, Dave Archer, Simon Lee Mellor, Jackie Tonks, and Dutch researcher Tim de Frel. The lone American in the group was Jessica Cobert, who lives in southern New Jersey. Adam contacted me to let me know that they would be stopping in New York City for a few days before leaving for home and asked if I would be available to join them. I was grateful for the invitation and eager to meet my friend in person for the first time.
From where I live in northeastern New Jersey, the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan is only 20 miles away, so I traveled in by bus and met Adam and his friends, all of whom I instantly liked and got on with very well. I stayed in New York City with them for a fun-filled three days before parting company. During that time, Adam had suggested that I join them on their next Bigfoot research expedition. I was intrigued at the prospect, never having done anything of the sort. I was curious to see firsthand how Adam conducts his research, and I told him I was very interested in going.
We discussed this possibility off and on over the ensuing months when Adam told me that he was considering another expedition to the USA in June of 2014. and asked if I was available to join him. He planned to go on a nine-day Bigfoot research expedition to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington and Oregon.
Firstly, we were scheduled to attend an event known as “The Olympic Project,” a three-day gathering of Bigfoot researchers. This took place in the gorgeous Olympic Peninsula in Washington and was hosted by respected Sasquatch Investigator Derek Randles and his wife Torrie on their property in Port Angeles, WA. After that, we were to travel south to meet up with another researcher who would take us to an area in southern Oregon where he claimed to have been in communication with a family or group of Bigfoot, or “Forest People” as he preferred to call them.
The Olympic Project Weekend
My flight and Adam’s arrived fairly close to each other at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Unfortunately, my luggage arrived several hours later, and as it had gotten rather late, we decided to stay the night in Seattle and leave the following morning. It was a few hours drive northwest in our rental car from the Sea-Tac airport to our destination in Port Angeles, WA. The weather was beautiful, as it remained for our entire trip, and we enjoyed the leisurely drive through Washington’s beautiful countryside and over their waterways.
Eventually, we arrived at the Randles’s property and met up with the other Bigfoot enthusiasts at the Olympic Project. There were quite a few prominent researchers in the field present that weekend, my friend Adam included. Among the many excellent lectures that were given that weekend was Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum’s fascinating talk in which he analyzed the famous Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film.
Another lecture was given by Mr. David Ellis in which he discussed his work in the acoustic analysis of possible Bigfoot vocalizations. I found this quite interesting because of an experience that my wife had in Stokes State Forest in northwestern New Jersey in which she described horrifying shrieks and wails coming from the forest that the local state trooper and forest ranger attributed to Bigfoot, or Big Red Eye, as he is called in that area.
A couple of interesting experiences right at the start
After supper the evening before, we split into two groups for a bit of nighttime Bigfooting, Adam leading the group I had joined. There were actually some interesting happenings, including movement on the ridge to our left and a pair of very strange vocalizations, one from our left and another that seemed to be an answering call from further up the road. I have spent some time in the woods and have never heard anything quite like this sound, which I thought had both a human- and an animal-like quality. Primate-sounding, I thought. It was a fascinating experience, if a bit unsettling.
I recall noticing the answering vocalization was somewhat higher-pitched and thinking that it might have been a female Bigfoot. Being a newbie, I kept this opinion to myself, but I felt validated when a moment later, one of our group, Shelley Covington-Montana, exclaimed, “That sounds like a female!” Shelly is a very experienced and respected Bigfoot researcher, so it was nice to know that she agreed with what I had felt. That was the extent of our experiences that first night, but I thought it was some pretty exciting stuff for my very first Bigfoot expedition.
The following day I found myself on my own for a while in the late morning and early afternoon. I was jet-lagged and tired, and I might have had a little too much whiskey on that first night after our Bigfoot outing (thanks to Adam and Shane Corson for the assistance), so by the time I crawled out of my tent, everyone had already gotten up, breakfasted, and moved on with their day. As I was sleeping off my jet-lag-hangover, Adam and our group went off to the area where we had heard those vocalizations to search for any physical evidence of Bigfoot that they could find.
Directly behind the Randles’s property runs the Olympic Discovery Trail, a 130-mile (209 km) path that winds through Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Being that I was on my own, I decided to explore a bit and walk off some of the cobwebs. Not wanting to get lost, I stayed on the trail, wide and paved and smooth. It was a beautiful day, and I marveled at the lush forest on either side of me as I continued onward, thinking that everything seemed so much bigger out here than back east. I thought the towering trees and giant ferns made the forest look almost prehistoric.
Hit the road, Jack! An example of mind-speak?
At the outset, I saw a jogger and a couple of cyclists, but I was alone for the rest of the hike after that. After walking for maybe an hour, I considered going onward for another twenty or thirty minutes and then turning around to head back to the Randles’s, thinking that I did not want to miss too much of the day with Adam and the others. As I was thinking this, I was struck by a compelling urge to stop and turn around. It was like hitting a brick wall, and I do not think I could have made my feet move forward another inch if I wanted to. The thought that I heard/felt communicate to me was, “turn around and go back, now.” And so I did. It was much too powerful to ignore.
I love the forest and the outdoors, and I am quite comfortable being on my own and do not spook easily. Up to this point, I had been enjoying my walk thoroughly, but I knew that I needed to obey this feeling. This was a new experience for me, and I found it very odd and disturbing. I am glad that I followed my instinct and turned around.
Some people believe Sasquatches have specific metaphysical abilities and can communicate telepathically, something that in Bigfoot circles is known as “mind-speak.” Was this an example of mind-speak? It was indeed a very distinct impression, if not quite a “voice” that I heard. I can’t say that I enjoyed the experience. I found it quite disconcerting.
I am sure that no one at the Olympic Project weekend believed in a paranormal Bigfoot concept, or if any of them did, they kept that opinion to themselves. That Bigfoot holds any kind of otherworldly powers was derisively referred to as being woo-woo or just “woo.” “Woo” refers to those Bigfooters in the Woo-woo camp who entertain the notion that Bigfoot is more than just a flesh-and-blood relict hominoid or species of upright ape and that they possess supernormal abilities.
Some of the abilities ascribed to Bigfoot by the Woo crowd include:
- Telepathy (mind-speak) — the ability to communicate directly through thought
- Invisibility (cloaking) — the ability to render themselves visible or invisible at will.
- Infrasound (zapping) — the ability to project high-frequency infrasound at their pursuers or prey to confuse or momentarily debilitate them.
From what I observed, the Olympic Project folks were vehemently opposed to these woo-woo ideas and found them ludicrous, feeling that Bigfoot are nothing other than an undiscovered species, incapable of any extraordinary preternatural abilities. In fairness, those I spoke with who had firsthand, eyewitness Bigfoot encounters were insistent that there was nothing to suggest these creatures were anything more than a tangible, physical species of humanoid animal.
Moving on to the next adventure
Regardless of the bizarre feeling that overcame me out on the trail and my attempt to understand it, we had an enjoyable and fruitful couple of days in Port Angeles. In keeping with Adam’s arrangements, he and I left the Olympic Project a day early to travel south again to the Seattle area to meet the other researcher at his home in Puyallup, Washington. We were to stay there for the evening and then travel with him eight hours south the next morning to his southern Oregon research site.