Tracking down Sasquatch: Man monster or myth?
Old bear tracker Ivan Marx dropped into a sagging chair and stared at the mountains through a streaked window “I really do believe there’s something out there” he said pensively “Something of a superior intelligence” Meanwhile a dozen cats bumpied against the front door begging for supper. Out back American wilderness dogs — domesticated wolves actually — restlessly awaited their feedings. So too did the various hounds chickens and geese that live on Marx’s Bear Ranch near this little logging town But Marx wasn’t anxious to tend to his stock He was pondering another creature one he’s certain is every bit as real. He swears he’s seen it And photographed it And once even lost a fight to it. It is Bigfoot sometimes called Sasquatch Skunkman and Stickman “It’s a thing that looks darned near like a man” Marx explained his forehead wrinkling “only it has a lot of hair and a high pointed head” Sightings have been reported overseas in China, Russia and Australia. And In the United States in Alaska, Florida, Louisiana, Arizona,Vermont, Washington and frequently in Northern California. A Redding beautician told the local sheriff 10 years ago that a Bigfoot kidnapped and raped her. The lawman doubted the story because the woman returned to town smelling nice (Bigfoot reportedly reeks) and wearing clean clothes A few years later a Eureka woman claimed a Bigfoot raped her too. Neither incident was ever proven. Campers have told of their tents being destroyed by Bigfoot and hikers have said they’ve spotted the creature in the Sierra high country. During the summer of 1986 a construction crew working in the Inyo National Forest in the southern Sierra Nevada reported glimpsing the shadowy outline of something 8 feet tall “I’m just about pretty sure I saw Bigfoot” said one crewman.
Not everyone of course believes in Bigfoot Most people don’t But this story is about some folks who do — and its existence is about all they agree on. Marx, who mostly wears plaid flannel shirts and denims has tracked animals since his Depression-era childhood when he sold racoons for a whopping $14 apiece. He’s since made a living hunting bear and cougar and selling the photographs and films he’s taken of wildlife Although only slightly more profitable than killing raccoons in the ’30s Marx also claims to be the one and only Bigfoot tracker “There are a lot of Bigfoot experts” he said “because you can be one instantly Nobody really knows about Bigfoot To be a Bigfoot tracker though that’s gonna take you a lifetime” Marx is acquainted with the self-proclaimed Bigfoot experts he says because they’ve hunted the creature with him A couple of those “experts” are involved in this minor Bigfoot feud. Warren Cook an East Coast anthropologist believes Marx has seen photographed and battled Bigfoot However Grover Krantz a West Coast anthropologist argues that every woolly creature picture Marx has taken actually was Marx’s wife in a monkey suit.
Marx’s part of this story began in the late 1940s when he heard Shasta County locals whispering about a huge hairy animal that walked like a man In fact they called it “Wild Man of Little Valley”. Marx disregarded the stories until 1951 when he spotted 18-inch footprints near Mount Shasta “Whatever it was I didn’t know” he said “But I knew it was something that was alive “Before that” Marx continued “I would no more have believed it than the man in the moon. People would try to get me to chase it, I never would. But that (seeing tracks) made a believer of me” Although he says he’s seen 15 of the Bigfoot his first sighting was in 1959 in the White Mountains near Bishop in east-central California He shot film of that Bigfoot but misplaced it “It just didn’t seem important at the time” Marx carries cameras on tracking trips and says he’s sold wildlife films to Disney Studios and Warner Brothers for movies and television His footage was the basis of World Picture’s The Legend of Bigfoot which played in movie theaters 11 years ago.
It’s basically the story of Ivan Marx and Bigfoot “I wanted people to see the god darn thing” he said “I didn’t realize there would be such a big controversy”. Amazing Horizons a production company in Sunnyvale a few months ago released a videotape documentary titled, “In the Shadow of Bigfoot”, which is mostly Marx’s footage. Marx claims never to have made money on either project Maybe he got $800 for The Legend of Bigfoot, he says but the producers of Shadow haven’t even given him a copy He says he doesn’t care about the money, “Who the hell else could live to be 65 years old don’t owe one cent in this world don’t have any money in the bank and don’t want any?” Just as easily Marx discards both the public ridicule — not unlike that endured by people who believe in flying saucers — and Grover Krantz’s criticisms? Krantz is an associate professor of anthropology at Washington State University, had he not been so outspoken during his 18-year tenure about the existence of Bigfoot Krantz says he’d probably be a full professor now. ‘‘I’m curious about anything weird and out-of-the-ordinary” Krantz said recently “I don’t put much stock in them but I’m always curious Bigfoot — I like the name Sasquatch — is pertinent to my work in human evolution. To ignore something like that even if the odds for it to exist are slim, would be the height of folly”. However he doesn’t think Marx has even photographed Bigfoot “In the two (films) I’ve seen I not only know they’re faked, I know who was in the monkey suit: He was in one and his wife was in the other” Krantz said “He’s an extraordinary outdoors man and expert photographer . He thought he would be the one to get this (Bigfoot images) But after trying so many years I think he gave up and said ’If I can’t get the real thing I’ll fake it’ ”. Marx knows of Krantz’s complaints and grins when he remembers his old friend. They used to hunt Bigfoot together “Some of the pictures we’ve taken are funny-looking as hell” Marx conceded “but the damn thing looks phony He’s not well-groomed and the more spooked he gets the higher that dome on his head gets” The Bigfoot’s normally pointed skull also becomes more pronounced or undergoes what Marx calls a “cranial erection” when it’s courting another Bigfoot For all the squabbling though Krantz considers himself one of perhaps only two — the other being Warren Cook — academicians in this country who admits there’s a Bigfoot Neither however has ever seen one. Krantz’s belief is based on talks with 40 people who told him they’d seen Bigfoot “I can’t find a flaw in the stories of a little over half of them’’ he said “If those creatures don’t exist every one of those people was mistaken. And if just one was right then Bigfoot does exist” Cook an ethno-historian and professor of history and anthropology at Castleton State College in Vermont is as adamant as Krantz about the creature’s existence He also has queried witnesses and considers their stories credible “I may not be right about some of my impressions” Cook recently said by phone “but I know the phenomenon I’m studying exists It’s not a figment of people’s imaginations” Neither does he believe Ivan Marx concocted any Bigfoot photos In fact Cook has traveled across the country with Marx talking with him about Bigfoot on television and radio shows and promoting the, In the Shadow of Bigfoot movie for which Cook was the scientific consultant Cook and Marx are aligned in their estimates that a few hundred Bigfoot creatures exist in this country and Cook is convinced the Bigfoot is dying out On the other hand Grover Krantz suggests that some 2000 live in the Pacific Northwest and adjacent Canada Krantz hopes someone will kill a Bigfoot and allow scientists to autopsy it Cook and Marx disagree Leave it alone they say Meanwhile Cook is trying to muster funds to send a Castleton State anthropology student into a Bigfoot “hot spot” in Columbia County NY to observe the creatures much as the late Dian Fossey did mountain gorillas of Africa Said Krantz “The only way to establish that Bigfoot exists is to have a body or a significant piece of one” Retorted Cook “The death of any creature might endanger the ability of that breeding pool (to reproduce) it might push Bigfoot beyond the level of survival” Then Krantz countered “While I don’t think these things are endangered if we’re to do something to help them — maybe alter logging procedures or avoid making roads in a few places — nobody will unless we prove they exist It becomes all the more important to shoot one as soon as possible”.
Although Krantz isn’t planning to kill Bigfoot himself he says a few Bigfoot hunters are trying to get one for him In the meantime he’s looking for a Bigfoot that’s already dead He’s building a lightweight helicopter and plans to fly with an infrared heat detector over known Bigfoot country in the spring “If I could locate an area where they die during winter” he explained “in the spring when they thaw they would rot So the entire year’s supply of dud Sasquatches would be rotting and a rotting body generates heat I could pick up an Image of the rotting body on the detector’s screen” Until they’re able to actually study a Bigfoot corpse. Krantz and the other believers can only guess at what the creature is Krantz thinks it’s a descendant of Giantopithecus an apelike creature that lived a million years ago in what is now China “It’s more ape than human” Krantz said of Bigfoot “and intellectually it’s like an ape. But the locomotion the walking on the hind legs is more human There’s no indication it can reason but I think it’s a closer relative to us than to the apes”. Cook suggests that Bigfoot is a cold weather-adapted swamp-adapted genus that preceded Homo Erectus (the scientific name for Peking Man). Cook also believes Bigfoot is more intelligent than an ape but less so than Peking Man. He also contends that Bigfoot’s intelligence keeps it safe from man. That and the fact that Bigfoot is nocturnal, Marx is not a scientist but a bear tracker And he shrugs his shoulders about Bigfoot’s identity “I guess it’s just whatever it is” He tried two years ago to capture a baby Bigfoot Marx told that story as he headed up a bumpy abandoned logging road to two alpine lakes high above Burney. PlayThere he will circle the watering holes looking for Bigfoot tracks The altimeter on the dash showed Marx was nearing 7000 feet prime elevation for Bigfoot “You know” he said directing tobacco juice into a can and squeezing the jerking steering wheel “they get so darned used to us being around us that they’ve come to tolerate Peggy and me That’s the reason when that one tossed me around I didn’t feel like it was going to try to break an arm or anything I really felt for the thing because of the look in his gol-darned eyes ” Marx and his wife had been camped he said when they heard pitiful whimpers of a – sick female Bigfoot carrying a white-furred baby “First she came into our camp and we heard her crying like a baby. We spent one hell of a night there, so we moved camp and she followed us.
Then we saw a big young male. Then we saw her laying down with the baby and the baby was trying to get up We could hear the male talking Finally she got up and went into the brush” So Marx set out after the female thinking he’d snatch the infant, call Cook to fly out and see it then put it back the next day. The 400-pound male intercepted him however “He made a couple of runs at me” Marx said “but I wouldn’t get away. Finally he just come in and bowled me over three times He didn’t hurt me But he’d have had a helluva time getting that baby away from me if I could have gotten a hold of it” Marx never saw the white baby Bigfoot again and thinks it died soon after What he wants to do his legacy to the Bigfoot legend would be to find the remains of that infant to prove once and for all that the creatures exist Otherwise he wants the Bigfoot left alone. “There’s a lot of animals in this country that people don’t even know is there” Marx said “We caught one animal and called the game warden and told him we had a mountain boomer (a nocturnal rodent) He said ‘You couldn’t that’s a myth’ But then we showed him We’re out in the woods all the time We see a lot of things we don’t even -know can’t explain” Marx says most people won’t admit to things they don’t understand things that are odd And that’s why many Bigfoot sightings go unreported. But if folks want to talk they’re likely to seek out the Bigfoot Man of Burney He’s heard firsthand about kidnappings and rapes He’s met a hairy-faced woman in Alaska who says she’s one-quarter Bigfoot her grandmother allegedly was carried off by a Bigfoot and returned to the village pregnant “Then there’s this ol’ boy from over bn the coast a hippie type” Marx said chuckling “He was camping one time and this female Bigfoot wouldn’t leave him alone She kept coming around and coming around He told me he was going back to that same place this last summer and I haven’t heard from him yet Maybe they got married”
Article FROM the News Tribune Tacoma Washington, Dec, 30th, 1986