Woman of the Woods…A Q and A with Laura Krantz

The Bigfoot Community is a large one. Bigger than you would think. Researchers, enthusiasts, fans, writers, bloggers, artists and podcasters. How do you go about finding anything new and different in this genre with so many wonderful voices in it? Well, I’ll tell you, find and follow a skeptic out there that just happens to have Bigfoot royalty in their blood, and follow along as she learns about all things Bigfoot and see if her skepticism becomes belief. This week I give you another Woman of the Woods and learn about her journey through the history of Bigfoot…

Everyone, A Q&A with Laura Krantz

Q. Would you mind sharing a bit about your work at NPR? Maybe the most important and or favorite news story you were apart of there? Did you find it to be rewarding?

A. I spent about 7 years at NPR headquarters in DC, working as an editor and producer (so I was never on the air) and then 2 more years in Los Angeles working at one of the NPR stations there as an editor. I have to say that, of all the stories I worked on, my favorite was probably the series I produced from Russia. I traveled with Morning Edition host David Greene on the Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to Vladivostok. We spent about two weeks on that trip and it was unbelievably interesting and eye-opening (not to mention an adventure). Our goal was to report on Russia and the feelings of the Russian people 25 years after the fall of the Soviet Union. If people are interested they can find that series of stories here.

https://www.npr.org/news/specials/2012/russia-by-rail/

I’m interested so I’ll be reading that next.

Q. Pre Grover, what was your opinion on Bigfoot?

A. Pre-Grover, I hadn’t given much thought to Bigfoot. I’d always just regarded it as a myth or campfire tale. My only real exposure has been through tabloid headlines and the movie Harry and the Hendersons.

Q. When you realized you had a relative who was a Bigfoot Researcher, what is the first thing that popped in your head? And did those thoughts change when you realized how important he was to the Cryptozoology field?

A. First thing? “Holy sh*t- what a weirdo!” Although, to put that in context, the first I’d heard about Grover was in a Washington Post article about him that talked about how he’d donated his body to the Tennessee Body Farm and his bones (and his dogs’ bones) to the Smithsonian Institution. So the section about Bigfoot stuff that was in that same article was just one part of that “what a weirdo!” response I had. Once I knew we were related, he (and Bigfoot) became all that more interesting-my big thought was, “This guy’s a real scientist – tenured professor of Anthropology, made some important findings in his field – and he thinks Bigfoot is real. Maybe there’s more to it than I thought?”

Grover Krantz

Q. You mentioned you thought having Grover’s name definitely opened doors for you. Who did you reach out to first? And what was their reaction to hearing from you?

A. The first person I reached out to was Diane Horton, Grover’s fourth wife. I thought she would be a good place to start because she would have known Grover on a whole different level than just about anyone else, and she would be able to point me in the right direction of others who knew him well. Also, she lived nearby – about 30 minutes south of where I live in Denver, so that made her the most obvious starting point. As for others, I think sharing the last name helped tremendously but I also think I was very transparent with people that I talked to. I told them I was a journalist and what my background was. I made a point of conveying the fact that I wasn’t picking up the mantle from Grover, but that I wanted to understand his work and this community of people as a subsection of American society. The goal was to report honesty, not make fun of people or turn this into something silly. But yes, Grover’s name definitely got people to open up in a way that they might not have otherwise.

Q. When you put it all together, who Grover really was, his work, etc. was that what gave you the initial push to pursue this full time? And if not, what was? And what were your goals in the beginning?

A. It’s funny, I found out that I was related to Grover in 2006. I didn’t start working on this podcast until 2017. I knew his story was an interesting one but I didn’t quite know how I wanted to tell it, not to mention my day job at the time (I was full time at NPR and a news room schedule is pretty busy) didn’t really make me want to do more reporting in my downtime. I needed the space to really think about how I wanted to do it and that really didn’t happen until I became a freelancer. But Grover’s story percolated in the back of my brain for years.

Q. How did your opinion or respect differ after you began to meet encounter witnesses. How, if at all did your opinion of them change? Did you have that moment from “omg, these people are crazy” to “I think these people really saw something.”

A. A point of clarification- I spent most of my time talking to people that were following in Grover’s footsteps in terms of how they viewed Bigfoot- as an unidentified primate, beholden to the same law of physics and biology as the rest of us. Once I got to know these researchers, it became apparent to me that they were simply curious people with a question about the natural world and they wanted to find an answer to it. A lot of the witness accounts- especially from those people who’d spent lots of time in the woods and knew the ecosystem and environment well- really made my jaw drop. I think the one that really blew my mind was John Mionczynski’s – he’s just not someone who’s going to make something like this up.

Q. You mentioned spending two years researching before starting your podcast. What was that time like for you and did you have one particular moment or time that stands out from the rest?

A. Yes – it was about 18 months of research/writing/production before the first episode of the podcast came out. It was hard – this was a big project that I did almost entirely on my own. I did hire an outside editor and sound designer and my husband (who’s also a journalist), played a key role as a sounding board and it’s first editor. But overall, it was incredibly rewarding to be working on a project of my own making. I knew that if I was going to do well, it had to be good and that was entirely up to me. Both scary and great. It’s hard to pick a favorite – camping at Beachfoot In 2017 was a lot of fun ( bonus: I was awakened in the middle of the night because I’d pitched my tent over a mole hole and that beast was trying to come out right under my pillow). Also loved going out into the Mt. Hood National Forest with Cindy Caddell, Shane Corson and Gunner Monson. And I totally geeked out over my conversation with Todd Disotell about Just how advanced the technology for DNA analysis has become.

Mount Hood

Q. What was it like to see the Olympia project for yourself first hand? And did it directly change your mindset on anything?

A. Seeing the nests with Shane Corson of the Olympia project was another one of those jaw dropping moments that really made me think about what we know about the natural world. It definitely made me wonder and although the evidence didn’t end up showing the nests to be made by a Bigfoot, they certainly were weird and it would be fascinating to find out exactly what went on there.

Q. What made you start the podcast? Or was that always the end goal of the two years spent researching?

A. The podcast was always the end goal – once I decided to tell Grover’s story, I knew that a podcast was the format I wanted to do it in. My journalism career started in radio, and although I dabbled in print, I was happy about going back to audio. I just like it better.

Q. People love the first season of your podcast. When do you anticipate the second season coming out? And is there any little hint you can share about what may be coming?

A. The second season! This is still TBD – I’m a one woman shop and so it will take me a while to get the next one up and running. I’m working on ideas for several projects right now, none of which are fully fledged yet. But I promise I’ll let people know what’s going on via social media channels- @wildthingpod on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And people can also sign up for the email list on the website:

www.wildthingpodcast.com

I don’t spam people but if you want to know what I’m doing next (once I’m doing it), thats a good way to find out.

Q. How has your family been about you being the crazy Bigfoot girl lady now?

A. My family is totally into it, mainly because I think they love Grover’s story almost as much as I do. Everyone has had a lot of fun with it. They’re always sending me photos of Bigfoot, statues, stickers, etc. that they see out in the world.

Q. Do you see yourself continuing on with this for the foreseeable future?

A. I definitely plan to do more podcasts, although they won’t likely be about Bigfoot. I started this to scratch a personal itch and explore something new, but it’s not my passion the way it is for other people. I like to think of the first season of Wild Thing as an introduction to the world of Bigfoot and from there, people can go find all the other podcasts/books/films/shows/websites that are out there!

Q. Finally, I know when I first started hitting the woods regularly using what I call my “Bigfoot eyes” the whole way I thought of the environment and really all of nature shifted. Has that happened to you at all?

A. I’ve always been interested in nature and the environment, even before this, but I think this has just made me more aware of how important it is to preserve wild places – even if Bigfoot doesn’t exist, there is something to be said for having untamed landscapes in this world where something like Bigfoot *could* live…

There are so many great Women of the Woods out there that I’m hoping you can all help me to highlight them all. I would love to hear from you all about who you think I should highlight for future Woman of the Woods posts. I want to say, how I define Women of the Woods is everything from the ladies in the field to the bloggers, writers and podcasters that bring your adventures in the field to the masses. You can reach me with your suggestions here in the comments or by email at:

womanofthewoods2@gmail.com

sasysquatchgirl@gmail.com

or social media sites at @sasysquatchgirl

Hope to hear from you all soon!

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