Sunday, April 8, 2007
Orange Orbs and Bigfoot: Valley of the Skookum
I’ve just finished Sali Sheppard-Wolford’s Valley of the Skookum, and I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. reading it, almost getting to the end but not quite, finishing it the next day.
Sali Sheppard-Wolford is mother to Bigfoot researcher Autumn Williams (who lives here in Eugene, Oregon. Must be the trees.)
I expected to find the book interesting, but had no idea I would be so drawn to it. And I’m not sure why; I felt a connection, a familiarity, as I was reading the book. It’s not a badly written book, but it isn’t great literature either. Of course, it isn't supposed to be, or even should be, since it isn’t fiction; it’s a personal narrative of one woman’s very strange encounters.
Sali writes about her years living in a remote place in Washington, with her young children, including Autumn, who was the youngest, staying at home with her mother during the day. Sali (and eventually the entire family) encounter Bigfoot, along with many other high strangeness events, including UFOs and orbs of light.
There’s a beauty to this story and I can’t put my finger on it. As I said, there was an echo of something that kept tugging at me. That aside, her experiences, while unique, do parallel other ‘LTW” (long term witnesses, as Autumn Williams calls them) of ‘paranormal” Bigfoot encounters.
I said that the story isn’t fiction, and it isn’t. This could be seen as a bold statement, a rash, brash, and outrageous statement; after all, all this supernatural bigfoot stuff causes so many researchers to gnash their teeth at the very thought of such things. But there are only two possibilities: one, she’s lying. Or two, she’s not. I don’t think she’s lying, so she’s telling the truth. Still sounds pretty bold, doesn't’ it?
The point isn't whether or not “it’s true” as in, literally true. That’s a hard one for the majority of people to get, but that’s where I am these days with just about all of it: Bigfoot, UFOs, ghosts, all the psychic, Fortean, high strangeness goings on around us.
I’m not going to analyze that any further; not today anyway. It’s sort of like a Great Cosmic Joke: if you didn’t get it the first time, or the first couple of times, explaining it more slowly and breaking it down won’t help. And since the Trickster is everywhere in all this stuff, it is a Great Cosmic Joke. And that’s okay.
One of the things Sali writes about are orange orbs seen by herself and witnesses in the area. At times they’re described as “basket ball sized” and when I read that, I almost fell off the bed. I’ve been collecting sighting reports of orange orbs for some time, and often they’re orange “orbs” that are really pinpoints, or star sized, orange lights. The orange orb I saw so many years ago here in Oregon can be described as “basket ball sized.”
Impossible to know if these were the same kind of lights, or if the orbs in Sali Shepherd-Woolford’s book have anything to do with Bigfoot. It’s possible they do, it’s possible the area is full of energy that caused these things to occur. Keep in mind that when I say “UFO” it doesn’t mean flying saucer (necessarily.) In this context, I don’t think they were. Of course, I wasn’t there.
It is a fantastic story. And it may all seem a little much; psychic traits, psychic vampirism or energy drains, UFOs, MIBS, and Bigfoot. Sounds like a cheesy sci fi movie. As impossible as it may sound to some, there are people who’ve experienced these things. They’re not just saying they have: they do. I know, because I know some of these people myself, and I’ve experienced a lot of these things myself. It’s a hard thing to get, I realize, and I still have a hard time myself with some things. It’s a fine, thin, invisible line to walk, between telling your truth and being a complete dip who believes anything and everything. (Then again, remember what I said about “true.”)
And finally, why would someone put themselves out there with stories like this? (Yes, we can all picture the snarly skeptoids at the ready with their sneers, I mean the rest of us good people.) Why do writers, bloggers and witnesses come right out with their stories, using their own names? Statistically, we can’t all be nuts.
While research swirls all around us with arguments and dissections there are the folk, the witnesses, the experiencers, who continue to tell their stories. They are what they are.
Autumn Williams has written an interesting piece on what she thinks of this “paranormal bigfoot” relationship:
Sali Sheppard-Wolford has written other books, including a children’s book about Bigfoot. She currently lives in central Oregon.
Image: oil pastel drawing by Regan Lee.