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Geographical Index > United States > Washington > Skamania County > Article # 149

Media Article # 149

Tuesday, March 6, 2001

On-Line Interview with Richard Noll - English Version

By Holger Potye

In the dictionary, the "Big-Foot" or "Sasquatch" is listed as a large hairy mountain creature. Merely a legend. This time we will be talking to Mr. Noll, who is a curator for the "BFRO" aka "Bigfoot Field Research Organization", an expert in the realms of the Sasquatch.

Mr. Noll, does the Big-Foot exist and is he/she an American?

If you go by the name Bigfoot… I would have to say yes, since the name was first applied in Northern California (1950's) and California is definitely American.

I have been interested in the subject since 1969, investigating since 1972 and until just recently, always questioned the pursuit. I prefer the name Sasquatch and I firmly believe the animal to be of flesh and blood and living in the Pacific Northwest.

When did the first story about Bigfoot come out?

There have always been stories about giants of some kind in mankind's history. The First Nation Peoples of North America have had many of their legends based on such an animal. Recently though, written information goes back as far as 1792 (Jose Mariano Mozino, a naturalist, wrote in Noticias de Nuta, about the local First Nations belief in such animals). First Nations people is the modern term for Indian peoples of North America and a term they prefer.

Who is Roger Patterson and what is "Bluff Creek Bigfoot"?

A 34-year-old man (now deceased) who, along with Bob Gimlin (still living), filmed a female Sasquatch walking up the Bluff Creek bed in northern California on Friday, Oct. 20th, 1967 with a 16mm camera. This film has been one of the cornerstones of Sasquatch research, second only to footprints and their castings. It should be noted that 16mm film is about the same size as 110 film… it is very small!!!

While making an exploration at Washington State you found something in the "Skookum Meadows Area"? What exactly was that?

My first find in the Skookum Meadows area was in May 2000. I found and photographed 87 10-12' tall firtrees that had there tops broken. These trees looked like they were in a pattern, but not from the local climate conditions (snow and wind damage), leading toward Skookum Meadows, out of Indian Heaven Wilderness. It was as if a trail had been made… but only visible if you were 8' or 9' tall.

In late Sept 2000, I was invited on a BFRO* expedition to the same area. We were to use some new luring techniques and material to try and bring in a Sasquatch close enough to photograph. We used pheromones, fruit baiting and amplified call broadcasting. We also were using state-of-art Thermal imaging cameras, Gen III Starlight scopes and Infrared video cameras with light sources.

We found 10-12 footprints (some indistinct), recorded return calls similar to what we were broadcasting, an body impression in mud, 86 hairs and the remains of some fruit left at a "bait n' track" station. The muddy impression is of what we believe to be the lower torso of a Sasquatch as it sat down, rolled to it's left side and reached/retrieved some of the fruit then sat back up and ate them, leaving the site shortly before our arrival onto the scene.

The muddy impression was casted at the find site and named the "Skookum Body Cast" after the general area and a First Nation landmark name (Skookum Meadows). The cast is made with special plaster (B-11 Hydrocal). I use it in my Aircraft Tooling profession. It is 4.5' x 3' and weights (with the steel frame, wooden box and wheels) 350lbs, sitting 12" above the ground.

To me, and the other members of the expedition, this cast confirms the existence of this animal within the Pacific Northwest region, even more so than the Patterson-Gimlin film. Most people think that footprints are more important evidence in support of this animal then the film… this cast is better than just a footprint… but it even has a footprint in it.

Is there a possibility to prove the animals' existence to science and people ever?

Most scientists require a type specimen for examination before declaring an animal to exist. This may change soon. NASA has released information they have found on other planets and real science is being done with photography and remote sensing equipment. Imagine photographs coming back from a planet circling Alpha Centuri that shows what could only be intelligent signs of life. Will scientist have to travel there and collect specimens before anyone here on Earth will believe they truly exist? Is that what all this UFO abductee stuff is about… other scientists from non-human civilisations (extraterrestrial) come to collect some of us to prove our existence?

Science may adopt a more humane way by conducting field studies and obtaining specimens through natural means when available. These are hold-outs I believe, since law makers have already passed laws and resolutions against harming these animals and the animal has been included in official government documents (US Army Core of Engineering Atlas, Endangered Species Act, etc). Of course for anyone who has seen, heard or found footprints of these creatures, they need no further proof. I am sure that right now there are forestry businesses that have standing rules concerning these animals. They really don't want more Spotted Owl problems cropping up.

Ask any scientists right now to name the scientific body that gives their official approval for the existence of a new animal, species, genus, order. There isn't one! Funny isn't it… science has to put their seal of approval on a new unclassified animal, but no one is willing to step up to the plate and say they are in charge of doing so. So who do you go to?

Why is Washington state the "Bigfoot-State" (having the most sightings)? How can you decide what really is a Bigfoot-trace and what is a hoax?

I have never heard this term used before. The Sasquatch could not possibly recognise imaginary boundaries such as state or country borders. It is more likely that the Pacific Northwest region contains a specific population of Sasquatch, separate from other areas. Natural boundaries like those used to distinguish different and distinct Watersheds (mountain ranges, rivers, deserts, etc.) are what separate the Pacific Northwest from the Midwest, the South and the Eastern regions.

The BFRO has developed a system of investigation that is probably 99% accurate in determining the true nature of received physical and anecdotal evidence (hoax or not). This system works and if it became common knowledge we would expect its effectiveness to be seriously impaired and a new system would then have to be developed. I can only say that we investigate behaviour and psychology rigorously and have discovered specific attributes that are common to Sasquatch related evidence. We use a computer database to catalogue, categorise, sort and search through Sasquatch related events.

Certainly Washington State has had its fair share of Sasquatch related events, more so than most any other State or Province. It also has more than its fair share of hoaxers. I have always wondered about this.

Is there an established "method-pattern" in the research of Bigfoot? What kind of method do you use?

The search for Sasquatch can be categorised into four types:

Active - This method has searchers going out into given areas and "beating the brush" so to say, trying to get the animal to move into view. It is also the method used when using lures, such as sight, sound and smell.

Re-active - Researchers chasing down recent sightings, unknown animal sounds, hair and footprint finds in hopes of catching up with the animal.

Passive - This is the "Still Hunt", where everyone has a place in the region being explored and no one leaves or moves around or through it. The area chosen for this method must be very well thought out.

Academic - This is how most scientists are involved in the search. This is the Internet, the library, books, magazines, etc. Patterns and behaviour attributes are trying to be seen while unencumbered with the problems of actual day to day field research.

Each of these methods has its place in the search. The exceptional researcher uses them all.

Are there private Bigfoot-Hunters who'd like to shoot the animal for a trophy? Is there a huge merchandise thing around it? If yes, is the hole hype useful in any way to the scientific-research-work?

Most definitely there are hunters who are trying to shoot and kill one of these animals. They even have customers that come in, for a fee, and participate in organised hunts (usually using tree stands).

There is some merchandising with Sasquatch, but certainly not to the extent of other phenomena research; UFO, Crop Circles, Loch Ness monster, etc.

Believe it or not, there are still people out there that have seen something and have not reported it for fear of their reputation or not really knowing who to contact to transfer the information. If "hype" is done with respect and intelligence then I believe these people will come forward and may have some key information that will help solve the problem.

What exactly does the Bigfoot look like? Is there anything strange about it? Is there anything paranormal linked to Bigfoot?

The Sasquatch (the term "Bigfoot" is not used by most serious researchers, even though it is part of the BFRO tittle, since it denotes only one attribute of the being and signifies a more modern origin then "Ses qec", a Coastal Salish term.) is a hair covered, large, bipedal primate. Its body proportions are more in tune with a scaled up human than with that of a gorilla; gorillas have very short leg lengths and large barrel chests. Sasquatch also have pronounced buttocks, longer limb lengths and in females, pendulous breasts. A Sagital crest has been mentioned in most reports as well.

Reports indicate that there can be a very unpleasant smell associated with the animal and the Sasquatch is most likely of nocturnal habit. This creatures ability to apparently operate with ease either during daylight or night time would indicate that it uses all of it's senses better than we do, but not in an unprecedented fashion within the animal kingdom.

There is no evidence that the BFRO has investigated that shows the Sasquatch has a paranormal side to it.

Is there any connection between the Bigfoot and the Yeti (whose existence Reinhold Messner failed to prove)?

I would have to say no. The physical descriptions of both animals do not match one another except that they are rare, hair covered, bipedal, live in remote forested terrain and apparently are of primate origin

What is it that attracts mankind to mystery and paranormal things?

Before science, there was magic. After science… people still want magic.

For me, yes there is the mystery, but what I find attractive in this search is that if, and I believe there is now, a creature we have come to call Sasquatch, then there is still some unknown wilderness left in this world and I for one want to be a part of it.

Who is your toughest opponent concerning the Bigfoot-existence?

Let's see… most media speak of it with tongue-in-cheek. Dogmatized science poo poos it all together.

I would have to say that it is other Sasquatch researchers… they want to be the first and if you come up with anything new or different or more important than them then they openly criticise everything about your work.

How many known investigators are there? Are there any problems between investigators? What exactly is your definition of the term "investigator"?

I would say that there are now more Sasquatch investigators then there are Sasquatch animals.

Yes there are problems between researchers… North and South, East and West, Flesh and Blood Vs Paranormal.

A Sasquatch investigator is a person who tries to collect what they feel is evidence supporting the existence of the animal. They try and see through many eyes besides their own. They then try and have science examine what they have collected. Each researcher usually has a speciality they are good at; writing, casting, photography, etc.

Thinking of the web and new media? Is it helping in the Bigfoot-Quest? At least it must be easier to publish sightings and theories about Sasquatch - at the same time it opens the door to manipulation and hoaxes…

The Internet is helping the BFRO greatly. Instead of waiting for a newspaper or magazine article, a book, radio or TV show… sightings and other related events get transmitted almost instantaneously to us. As I have been writing this tonight 1-24-00, the BFRO has received 10 Sasquatch related reports. I can not begin to tell you how improved this media is over the past.

What about sound-tapes and pics of the Bigfoot - are they accepted as tools of proof ?

No… In my mind I see that definite proof can be made only by one of two ways:

1. A body of a Sasquatch, either alive or dead.
2. Take scientists by the hand, bring them to a Sasquatch and say here… study this!

Is there a special reason why the pictures of Bigfoot remind us somehow of Chewbacca (from Star Wars)?

Maybe George Lucas has seen a Sasquatch and this is his way of saying so?

How do you think this will end?

I think that a Sasquatch will probably be found dead from natural causes or by motor vehicle accident as the most likely find of a body... but that is not the end is it. That would just be the beginning. Do we give them special rights; are laws enacted and large tracts of land set aside for them? Do we train them to become more social with humans? Integrate them into our society? Do they become extinct before science even recognises them as existing? I don't know but even in the end… when everyone believes they exist and the mystery has dissolved… I will still study them because I need the wilderness and that is what they are.

Thanx for the interview, Mr. Noll. And please keep us informed about your work.

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