At the beginning of the 21st Century monsters still roam the remote, and sometimes not so remote, corners of our planet. It is our job to search for them. The Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] is - we believe - the largest professional, scientific and full-time organisation in the world dedicated to cryptozoology - the study of unknown animals. Since 1992 the CFZ has carried out an unparalleled programme of research and investigation all over the world. Since 2009 we have been running the increasingly popular CFZ Blog Network, and although there has been an American branch of the CFZ for over ten years now, it is only now that it has a dedicated blog.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Pennsylvania Bigfoot Camping Weekend-- A Soggy Wrap-Up

The Pennsylvania Bigfoot Camping Weekend ended on Sunday and  have just now gotten over the chills and have regained some semblance of regulating my body temperature. But I must say, despite the continuous deluge and the maelstrom of wind and even occasional hail that accompanied the near freezing conditions, devoted fans sat through it all in their quest to uncover the truth behind the subject of Bigfoot. Longtime bigfoot researcher Eric Altman was the organizer of this impressive event and, although he could not control the weather, he was able to provide a forum that people readily gathered around to hear the latest theories in regard to the Wildman known as bigfoot.

The conference commenced on Friday with the showing of the Legend of Boggy Creek, projected onto a screen under a wooden structure in the middle of a muddy and windswept field. The ambience was appropriate, but of course this B movie airing was only the precursor to Saturday and Sunday's events.

The next day's festivities began with the rather boisterous arrival of the Mountain Monster cast. Two of the "character" couldn't attend, but the others were every bit keeping with the "script." While I view this television show in the same vein as studio wrestling, I must admit this show has undeniable appeal and over 309 people braved the elements to be there for the Saturday talks. Saturday featured guests like Stan Gordon, a longtime cryptid researcher in Western Pennsylvania, who spoke on various sightings around the Keystone State. He pointed out the more mundane sightings and alluded to those that coincided with "high strangeness," such as witnesses seeing these hairy homonids dematerializing and sightings accompanied by UFOs. You see, any good conference o the subject of cryptids will include various theories on the nature of Bigfoot, and the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Camping Weekend was no exception. Rosemary Ellen Guilley even spoke about the possibility of the interdimensional bigfoot, but the talk had a rather odd, New Age slant to it. To Rosemary, the bigfoot creature is a celestial brother made up of peace and goodwill. Again, a rather unique perspective but one that is garnering a bit of acceptance. To offset this, the self-proclaimed "Squatch Detective" Steve Kulls spoke convincingly about habituation of the researcher when entering the territory of  a suspected bigfoot. Kulls was genuine, engaging, and convincing from a Fortean standpoint concerning the undertaking of proper bigfoot investigations. As the daylight events wrapped up, Walter Shrum, a musician that writes and sings about cryptids, made a live music video with the Mountain Monsters team and various other famous researchers, of whom I was honored to be included. The damn song is still stuck in my head. "Searching for Bigfoot" is quite the toe-tapper.

Interestingly, that evening, although torrential, still featured an impromptu bigfoot investigation. Some impressions were found in the mud and a wood knock was reported as well as one vocalization. Of course, bigfoot fever was in the air, but from what I gathered something nonhuman did seem to be interested in the events of that Saturday.

On Sunday the crowds were quite thin, possibly because I was speaking, Sun did poke out through the clouds, but the rains still came and it was needed hat and glove weather. Jay Bachochin, a Wisconsin researcher of the paranormal, shared a number of bigfoot reports, as well as ghost sightings and UFO encounters. Brian Parsons gave an excellent overview of what it means to be a researcher. The lecture was focused and scientifically based. I spoke on the Wildman through the ages, hoping to connect the dots of the cultural similarities of these creatures. No one walked out, which was quite good for my ego.

This event served its purpose. It brought together an array of researchers and investigators, providing an open forum for the exchange of ideas. The audience was obviously intelligent, and the questions the asked the speakers denoted a well-informed opinion. Although the weather was not conducive for camping, any time is a good time to pontificate on the subject of cryptids!

So, as a CFZ blogger, I rather like commenting on events and conferences. I do about one a week in the summer, and my blog next week will be a run-down of another conference, the first ever Laurel Highlands Paranormal and Horror Festival. I can't wait to tell you all about it! See you next time...

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