Sunday, April 1, 2007

Wild Women and Shape Shifters

Lisa Shiel, author of the Bigfoot Quest Blog and Backyard Bigfoot: The True Story of Stick Signs, UFOs, & the Sasquatch encourages woman to get involved in Bigfoot research. As Shiel points out, there are very few women in Bigfoot research. There’s herself, and Autumn Williams, and that’s about it.

Both women are active researchers: they’re field researchers, actually going out there and doing all the physical “nuts and bolts” research things one does in search of Bigfoot.

But, there’s a difference as well. Both of these women have had no problem at all with making public their views that Bigfoot is more than just a flesh and blood creature.

Shiel believes that Bigfoot is much more than just basically a “giant ape” or some other animal. There’s much more to Bigfoot than the simple idea it’s another animal. It’s a shape shifter, it’s paranormal, it’s no mere big dumb missing link.

Williams has a different take on this, but both agree that it’s vital to include all the data when investigating reports, and that includes the stories of UFOs, floating lights, telepathy, dematerialization, and all the other weirdness often associated with Bigfoot encounters.

I’ve found that the few women who are involved in Bigfoot research in some way very naturally include the high strangeness data. They are more open to the possibilities, more open with their own experiences that many consider far too weird to discuss seriously.

(With all due respect, take a look at what Loren Coleman has said about Mary Green. Not pretty. Mary Green is a Bigfoot experiencer/researcher of the “high strangeness” kind.)

Shiel says that being a woman in a predominantly male field has its share of expected nonsense:

Now I like men. But as a woman—even worse, a single woman—engaged in a testosterone-ridden field of research, I can testify to the fact that most male Bigfoot researchers haven't heard about equal rights or women in the workplace. One man told me women don't want to get involved in Bigfoot research because they're afraid of the woods. Come on!

I remember watching a program on the Sci-Fi channel with Bigfoot researcher Autumn Williams. There were others on the team; I forget who, but she was the leader of the field research team and the only female. She was the bigfoot expert, not them. None of the men were in any way overtly asses, but one guy just had to up and mock her, and do stupid things like make ape calls as loud as he could. and this from an adult, who seemed to be in his fifties. I had to laugh at the way Williams really ripped him a new one.

This is the elephant in the room; I’ve spoken to a lot of female UFO and bigfoot writers, experiencers and researchers, and the things said -- and done -- to them at times is frustratingly astounding. We don’t talk about it for a lot of reasons. Females in any male dominated field experience this, this is not news. It’s so typical, it’s boring to even comment on. Still, it does get to one at times. It’s just a matter of fact aspect of being in this field. I’ve been sent ugly e-mails, and ugly things have been written about me openly on-line, by men. I’ve been called a lesbian (not that’s there anything wrong with that) (but I’m not,) a Jew-bitch, a man-hater. I’ve been “accused” of “wanting to write like a man” and, that I “write like a man.” (that’s either a backhanded compliment or so surreal it’s not worth trying to figure out.) I’ve been told I have a “castration problem” and my husband has been called names (he doesn’t even go on line!) simply because he’s married to me; the implication being he’s a wimp. (Listen, the man’s a double Scorpio, believe me, he’s not afraid of nuttin’, see?!) I’ve maintained for decades that the real last threat to some men from females exists on an intellectual level. (I experienced this in philosophy classes in college.) Men are no exception, we’re all called names and insulted. Take a look around and you’ll find insult fests going on between various male writers and researchers that make you wonder how we’re supposed to take anyone seriously, if they behave so badly? Anyway, this somewhat beside the point; I don’t intend to go off an a tangent here. It's a given, and you move on.

Shiel encourages women who are researching Bigfoot to contact her. Please do:

If you are a women involved in Bigfoot research, please e-mail me at If you have a blog or website, we can exchange links. Women researches need to help and support each other as much as possible—start our own groups, exchange knowledge and wisdom, provide moral support.

I don’t consider myself a true Bigfoot researcher, since I've never once gone out in the woods to look for Bigfoot. (And it’s not because I’m afraid of the woods.) If anything, I’m an “armchair” scholar on Bigfoot, and that includes all the high strangeness stories concerning Bigfoot, the focus being on the anomalous aspects of encounters.

I don’t know if I personally will ever go out to look for Bigfoot on an expedition, because I’m convinced it’s pretty much pointless. Bigfoot will show itself if and when it wants to, not because you’re out there. Following up on stories would be interesting, however, and clues could be found; but it’s all in the approach. Banging around out there making lots of noise and thinking Bigfoot’s going to appear on cue is ridiculous.

Right now there is a possible Bigfoot case in my area that I’ve been keeping track of. The case includes paranormal activity. If I get involved in this further, I will do physical research as well. This isn’t in hopes of seeing a Bigfoot, but rather to gather any possible evidence of something anomalous.

So if you’re a female researcher of the anomalous, including Bigfoot, know that there are women out there like Lisa Shiel, like myself, and others, who are supportive of your efforts.

Valley of the Skookum
I received my copy of In the Valley of the Skookum: Four Years of Encounters With Bigfoot, by Sali Sheppard-Wolford. (Sheppard-Wolford is Autumn Williams’ mother.) I stayed up until 3:30 am reading it. I couldn't put it down. I didn’t finish it, not for lack of trying, but I’m about a chapter away from the end. There’s much to say about this book, including the orange lights seen by many of the witnesses and my own orange orb sighting. But that’ll have to wait for another day.

Linda Martin
By way of Lisa Shiel’s blog, I discovered another female Bigfoot researcher; Linda Martin. I’m not familiar with Martin, and followed the link from Lisa’s blog to Martin’s Bigfoot sightings, where I found she had picked up on my little WTF blurb on Technorati, on accepting anomalous Bigfoot data in Bigfoot research. Martin is open to the possibility of a shape shifting BF, but remains skeptical as well. Can’t ask for more than that.

Lisa Shiel:
Linda Martin:
Regan Lee, WTF Technorati blurb:
Sali Sheppard-Wolford: Valley of the Skookum