Thursday, June 26, 2014

Looking for Mr. Goodape - The Sequel

While watching a film about hikers in the high Sierras, I was reminded of the time I went camping there with the late, great Cryptozoologist Erik Beckjord (1939-2008), perhaps best-known for his "paranormal Bigfoot" theories. Beckjord claimed to know the very spot where Bigfoot "lived" and was most likely to be seen, and that is where we camped. I wrote the story of this little adventure in my Psychic Vibrations column in The Skeptical Inquirer,  November/December, 1999. It is reprinted below. Some people might object that a posting about Bigfoot is out of place on a Blog called "Bad UFOs." I disagree. Bigfoot and UFOs have been linked together so many times that they seem to go together, like love and marriage, or a horse and carriage. (See, for example, the wild talk about Bigfoot and ETs given by Kewaunee Lapseritis at the 2014 International UFO Congress).

Beckjord never publicly revealed the location of his Bigfoot site, to protect Bigfoot from "evil people." Get your GPS ready, I'm going to show you where it is.

* * * * * * * * * * * * 

Looking for Mr. Goodape (Psychic Vibrations, Nov/Dec, 1999)

Erik Beckjord poses with Bigfoot (photo by author)
Over a period of more than twenty years, veteran Bigfoot chaser Erik Beckjord of the Sasquatch Research Project has camped with other researchers at a remote spot in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains between Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe, at an altitude of 6,400 feet. He describes it as a “window site” where, he says, evidence of Bigfoot is almost routinely seen. “At this site we have obtained photos of weird aliens, bigfoot, gargoyles, etc that we never saw when we clicked the camera. We hear bigfootsteps. FIND BF tracks. Hear roars, wails, screams, some as close as fifty ft. Hear heavy breathing outside tents. Have strange shape-shifting ‘humans’ come by camp,” he claims on his website .

If this doesn’t sound like the kind of encounter you’d expect to occur in Bigfoot country, it is because Beckjord, unlike many Bigfootologists, maintains that “Bigfoot is not as simple as you think it is. Yes, it looks like an erect ape. It smells, sometimes, and it leaves tracks - sometimes. But it never dies... Bigfoot then, seems to be an alien shape-shifting being that may possibly be able to slip into alternate dimensions or worlds. We think.”

Beckjord, who operated the short-lived UFO Museum in San Francisco, has been proclaiming for years that all skeptics were too timid and closed-minded to actually go out into the woods and confront the Bigfoot evidence for themselves. Because I got tired of hearing this, and because I hadn’t been out camping for a while, I agreed to join the search. “Bring your lady friend,” Beckjord urged me. “Bigfoot loves women!” She unfortunately was not able to join us, but she was kind enough to loan me her Jeep.

When the time came to depart, Beckjord was hours late for our initial rendezvous. Indeed, all his planning for the big Bigfoot expedition seemed at best haphazard. Driving up to the mountains, we had to make frequent stops for him to purchase items he didn’t bother to get in advance.  By the time we finally reached the entrance of the Bear River Reservoir area of the El Dorado National Forest, darkness had overtaken us. Beckjord - who claimed to have been to the Bigfoot “Window Area” so many times he could find it in his sleep - led us around dusty, unpaved Forest Service roads for an hour and a half before reaching a dead-end and admitting that we had made some wrong turns. We camped the first night right where we found ourselves. The sky was clear and dark, the Milky Way spectacular. We saw an extremely brilliant reflection from an Iridium satellite that looked as bright as a magnesium flare, appearing much more spectacular than any I’d seen before because of the very dark skies. Beckjord says that he had observed an event like this while researching Crop Circles in England in 1997 but considered it a UFO. Before we retired, he loudly played a tape of a human infant crying (which sounds eerie in the wilderness!), claiming that is sometimes successful in attracting Bigfoot. He then set up two “Bigfoot detectors”, infrared sensors that beep if the signature of a person or a large animal is seen. The detectors were silent until he went out to turn them off the next morning.
With the help of daylight, we easily located Bigfoot’s paranormal “Window Site” (Beckjord doesn’t want me to disclose the exact location, lest “evil people” go there and cause unspecified harm). Finding the road leading into the site in even worse shape this year than before, it would obviously be accessible only by four-wheel drive vehicles, which seemed to rule out taking in Beckjord’s 1978 Ford station wagon. While we are studying the obstacles between our vehicles and the site, we meet a friendly fellow with a four-wheel drive truck, who offered to carry Beckjord’s equipment past the impassable stretch of road. Afterward, Beckjord speculated in his email Bigfoot newsletter that perhaps the helpful stranger was not at all what he appeared to be:  “Sort of a Good Samaritan MIB but in jeans. Now, was he CIA, MIB, MIJeans, a shapeshifter, or a tulpa, complete with truck?” Apparently, these days shapeshifters have the capability to take on not only animate forms, but become motor vehicles as well. 
We set up camp right at the shore of Bigfoot’s pond, bypassing a more comfortable camping site a hundred yards away at the other pond because Bigfoot allegedly doesn’t show up at that one. Unfortunately, Bigfoot seems to have chosen to make his home in a low-lying area with nearby brackish water, probably one of the most heavily mosquitoed areas of the forest. This suggests the possibility that Bigfoot, if he exists, may be a lower form of life. We looked all around the site, but didn’t see or hear much except flies and mosquitoes. 
Even animal life is sparse around there because there is so little food in the high-altitude forest. Later, Beckjord decided not to allow the road obstacles to deter him from bringing his old station wagon to the site. He nearly made it over road holes, rocks, and streams until his car was solidly captured by a huge mudhole. I towed it out with the Jeep. 

Beckjord had arranged with a group of psychics to help us see Bigfoot by projecting their powers toward us one evening at 9:30 PM. We were instructed look for flashes of light on the horizon. The time came and went, but nothing happened.

Much of the supposed “Bigfoot evidence” at this site is photographic in nature. That is, even if you go there and don’t see anything, faint images of Bigfoot or other anomalous creatures allegedly turn up in the grain of photos you take. In previous years, a supposed Bigfoot had been glimpsed in photos, preferring to lurk under certain trees. I strolled around the pond to examine carefully the area under the Bigfoot trees. Alas, no evidence of anomalous apes was to be seen. We then climbed to the top of the ridge on the other side, where in previous years footprints and other “evidence” of Bigfoot activity had been seen. Alas, the proof still eluded us. 

During the whole four days I spent in the Bigfoot “window area,” nothing, alas, out of the ordinary was seen, heard, felt, detected, or smelled. This is not surprising: the presence of skeptics is known to have a serious dampening effect upon all manifestations of things paranormal. Another factor hindering Bigfoot activity was that fact that there was no woman in the party, at least during the time I was there. If we saw anything at all even a little bit unusual, it might have been several rocks that, by a stretch of the imagination (a big stretch), look like Bigfoot faces or skulls, when the viewing angle and the illumination was just right. Beckjord attributes this to shape-shifting tulpas that temporary inhabit the rocks and alter their appearance, in an attempt to communicate; I attribute it to the workings of an overzealous imagination.
 Beckjord relates how, years before, he persuaded a camera crew from CBS News to spend two days at the site. Absolutely nothing unusual was heard or seen during this time (the crew dutifully reported the search, nonetheless). But as soon as the crew had departed, “all hell broke loose” and Bigfoot was heard to scream, move about, break branches, etc. Therefore it was not surprising that it was only after I had left that Beckjord obtained what he claims is a photo of Bigfoot (or at least the shadow of one) on one of the Bigfoot trees across the pond. Not that it would have mattered even if I were there, since the “evidence” was not seen until later, when the film was developed. (My photos, on the other hand, show only bushes, trees, rocks, and leaves. Perhaps my imagination is insufficiently developed to discover the paranormal beings hiding within them.) 

Beckjord’s website now announces the return, “flushed with victory,” of “The Great Sierra Bigfoot Expedition 1999.” It proudly displays the photo of the shape of “Bigfoot” straddling a split tree trunk. He also announced the “preliminary finding” that the “half-Bigfoot” allegedly photographed at the site in 1978 (apparently its lower half never materialized) “was found to have been bridging a ten foot gap between two trees, resting on a dead 2 inch branch!” The significance of this finding is not explained. 
Beckjord's caption: "Note possible Bigfoot, with crossed arms and widespread legs, and a sort of
 Gumby-face, in center of photo.  BF not seen at the time, photo by Erik Beckjord.
  It is possible that this is of a spiritual Bigfoot being, rather than a flesh and blood model. "
As for me, I will do my best to contain my disappointment at not seeing anything paranormal. Maybe the best way to do so would be to get a T-shirt made up: I went on the Great Sierra Bigfoot Expedition of 1999, and all I found were mosquitoes.

* * * * * * * * * * * *  
Afterwards, Beckjord wrote,

 One skeptic, Robert Sheaffer, of CSICOP, did, to his his credit, spend five days there, but, as predicted, no activity was experienced, perhaps to due to the mind-set of skeptics, as broadcast mentally by the human brain. However, on that trip, 1999, a family group replaced Sheaffer onsite, and one of the children claims to have made a sighting of a Bigfoot type creature on top of a cliff, on the other side of a creek. Also, once the skeptic left, some photos were taken that produced a very tall humanoid image of marginal quality. 
 Skepticism repels Bigfoot every time! Beckjord mounted yet another 'expedition' to the site in 2004, in which he claims to have recorded more "paranormal" images of Bigfoot in the trees.
Beckjord claimed to have captured nine paranormal creatures in this photograph. Can you see them? I can't.
On July 22, 2008, Jon Erik Beckjord succumbed to cancer. He was sixty-nine. He was a "larger than life" figure, in a way that is difficult to explain if you didn't know him. He was the closest thing Cryptozoology has ever had to a Hunter S. Thompson. Physically imposing (some suggested that he was Bigfoot), there was his celebrated fistfight with the late conspiracy theorist Bill Cooper (and no, I don't know how it started, or who won). He was arrested and jailed at least once. There was the matter of the money he persuaded a rich girlfriend to give him to make a Bigfoot movie (but there never was a movie). His devotion to Bigfoot and the paranormal was nothing less than an obsession that drove his life. Yet he did not, so far as I'm aware, make stuff up. He could back up every claim he made with "proof," even if his "proof" was ridiculous.

It will do no harm if I now reveal the “secret Bigfoot site” to beat 38.538409 deg latitude, -120.193252 longitude. This is within the Bear River reservoir area of the El Dorado National Forest in northern California. The elevation is 6294 ft. The current photo on Google maps (presumably taken in the midst of the current California drought) looks much drier than when we were there. The campsite was at the edge of a shallow pond, but that area now looks dry.

Google Maps will even give you directions to get almost all the way to the campsite. You start out on CA route 88 going east from the Gold Rush town of Jackson, CA, heading up into the mountains, and turn into the Bear River Reservoir Area. Google can even tell you which little forest roads lead to it. Happy Bigfoot hunting! (And remember to bring mosquito repellent.)

* * * * *


  1. "no activity was experienced, perhaps to due to the mind-set of skeptics, as broadcast mentally by the human brain. "
    Robert, I think that from beyond the grave, Erik has provided a way for you to win a million dollars, and earn even more! All you have to do is remain in a monitored area for 48 hours and prevent any paranormal activity. Now, if you are able to consistently reproduce paranormal paranormal-dampening powers, then you are set for life, as I think the military would also have an interest and immediate applications for such energy fields. Work as a Presidential bodyguard seems of the utmost importance, but if that doesn't work out, you could hire out to casinos as a "cooler" to protect against psychics from using TK on dice or precogging the deck at card games.

    1. Ha! Excellent, Curt.

      If skeptics can subvert paranormal powers, why don't they get asked to perform exorcisms? To stop satanic rituals at daycare centres? To prevent alien abductions? Etc.

    2. Good question Terry !

      All the best,

    3. Terry may be on to something. Abduction groups should begin employing skeptics as "security" to prevent further abductions. Just their mere presence appears to be enough to ward off the aliens.

  2. Like Beckjord’s supposed “Window site” in the Sierra Nevadas, some paranormalists in the UK believe that dear ole Rendlesham Forest contains a gateway or portal to other dimensions, which is linked to regular UFO sightings there (not just the Very Famous One of December 1980). Groups visit the forest regularly in search of strange experiences. One of them, Derek Savory, reports on the ASSAP Rendlesham Overview Facebook page that he was there when a gateway opened in 2012 and he and others saw “shadow soldiers, a giant, monks and some little guys”. Another Rendlesham regular, Brenda Butler, who was one of the first to investigate the Rendlesham Forest UFO case of 1980, has even suggested there is a Yeti in the forest. Beckjord never knew what he was missing.

    1. Is a shadow soldier more military in aspect than, say, a regular, run-of-the-mill shadow? Are there shadow ranks, with commanding officer shadows, etc.?
      As for the giant, are they sure it wasn't Neil Fingleton?

    2. || Like Beckjord’s supposed “Window site” in the Sierra Nevadas, some paranormalists in the UK believe that dear ole Rendlesham Forest contains a gateway or portal to other dimensions....||

      We have one of those here in the Santa Monica Mtns above Malibu (of course). And all across America, long before they became "interdimensional UFO portals," there were such places known as "Wild Man Woods" where kids most often chased mysterious fleeting lights through the forest! (Sound familiar, Ian?)

      All of which shows that the earthly, subterranean, even elemental and cosmic origins of flying saucers and Bigfoot, the (little) Green Man and Wild Man of the Woods are very much in the same (mental) location and have been with us for a very long time. ;-)


    Bigfoot's eHarmony Online Profile:


    Hello. I'm Bigfoot. You probably heard of me because I'm kind of famous.
    You would figure being a legend I would get plenty of dates, but alas I don't :(.

    Problem is I AM being pursued, but not by women (I wish!), but
    by attention-seeking "Bigfoot Hunters" and nerdy cryptozoologists.
    What's a cryptozoologist you ask? I don't know, nobody does.
    I live in the mountains and somewhat of a recluse, but I'm working on being more accessible. So here's my first attempt at online dating (hairy fingers crossed!)

    I'm looking for nice gal to start a casual relationship, nothing serious.

    Only thing I ask for in women is not to be a SKEPTIC. It just wouldn't work.
    Like smoking, it's a deal killer.

    You probably had seen that famous "Bigfoot" film of me walking in the forest.
    That's not me. It's some idiot in a gorilla suit. I'm much, much more better looking than that.

    If you're interested in meeting me for coffee and pine nuts, here's my address:
    38.538409 deg latitude, -120.193252 longitude.
    (Note: A 4-wheel drive truck is recommended.)


    Photo: (Not Available, ever)
    Age: Unknown and no expiration date
    Height: 9ft
    Weight: 530lb (Working on losing weight, currently on the Jenny Craig diet).
    Ethnicity: Sasquatch
    Religion: UFOlogy
    Drinks: Sierra Nevada Ale
    Hobbies: Shaping-shaping, traveling to other dimensions, leaving footprints.
    Smokes: No

    Turn Ons:
    Women with overzealous imagination who also enjoys the outdoors,camping,etc.

    Turn Offs:
    Evil people, deodorants, reality "Bigfoot" TV shows, Bigfoot females, cameras.

  4. From Wikipedia, "Since 2000, at least 25 new species of primate have been described—16 lemurs and nine monkeys, including the golden palace monkey or Madidi titi, named by auction." So it's not impossible that another primate species could be found in North America. But I'm skeptical of all the reports so far.

    1. > So it's not impossible that another primate species could be found in North America.

      If you include the 2010s, it's actually 40 primate species. Of note:

      1) not one of these was found in North America (Brazil was the closest, I believe)
      2) most of these weighed only a few pounds, with the heaviest much less than 50 pounds

      Your argument gives us no warrant to hope a 500-pound biped primate is hiding in our woods.

    DNA Analysis Debunks Bigfoot Myth, Points to Unknown Bear Species

  6. "38.538409 deg latitude, -120.193252 longitude"

    Nope! Don't see a "face," just random gradations of light and dark.

  7. I've long thought that the "bigfoot" evidence really points to bears--obviously.

  8. Gday all! Yes, even the indigenous aborigines of Australia have a version of a big foot seen in remote,mountain forests. They call it a YOWIE!

    Though I am skeptical of a big hairy hominid creature still living in remote wilderness areas around the planet, it could be slightly possible.
    Right up to the late 70s, explorers found very remote jungle tribes that had never seen a white man! In Borneo, Papua New Guinea & the Amazon.

    The link between Neanderthals & Homo sapiens sapiens is a mystery too.Although the Neanderthals died out in Europe around 20 000 yrs ago,possibly by competition from humans, the origins all point to a same earlier homonid, a simultaneous split from homo heidelbergensis in Africa.
    In ANUNNAKI creation stories, Enki made a strong beast (Adapu), then perfected with better sexual reproduction , the (Adamu), or 1st man.

    Could Sasquatch,Yeti's & Yowie's been an earlier version?
    Maybe these are the giants of ancient stories & fossil finds?

  9. Is it a coincidence that there is a clear image of a Yeti, possibly dead, sunbathing, or communing with nature, in the creek just south of the camp site? I think not:

    1. My eyes must be bad. I can't see the Yeti.

      While we're looking at maps, let me clarify one thing: I turned on my old GPS, the one that actually made the trip, and I find a Waypoint labelled "Bigfoot," whose location is: 38d32.310' N, 120d 11.704' W. This is about a hundred yards west of the position I posted. However, I know it isn't the campsite, I'm pretty sure that it's where we unloaded our cars. In other words, this is where we had to leave our vehicles, we carried our stuff the rest of the way. The position I gave for the camp was estimated from that, so it may not be exact. But I'm sure it's within about 100 feet of the actual campsite.

  10. I remember reading the original article. I found it immensely enjoyable and I've used the 'go well in your purpose' line that a possible shape-shifter said to him a bit since then.

    It's weird that Bigfoot still has proponents given the scientific knowledge available now. The idea of a sustainable breeding population that completely evades discovery by actual researchers flies in the face of logic.I guess beings from other dimensions, etc. is the last gasp of the Sasquatch.


Keep your comments relevant, and keep them civil! That means no personal attacks will be allowed, by anyone, on anyone. Commenters are welcome to disagree with me, or with other comments, but state your arguments using logic, and with a civil tone. Comments in violation of these rules will be deleted, and offenders banned.

Comments should be in English, although quotes from foreign-language sources are fine as long as they're relevant, and you explain them. Anonymous postings are not permitted. If you don't want to use your real name, then make up a name for yourself, and use it consistently.