Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Jason Offutt, author of the new Chasing American Monsters.
The beast Bigfoot has fascinated me since childhood. However, when I became a journalist and started researching this legendary creature, I realized what I knew growing up was wrong. Bigfoot isn’t solely a North American monster—it’s worldwide, and, more importantly, it might not be a beast.
Native Americans traded with it, Australian aboriginals warred with it, and some lonely Russian villagers once mated with it. As I discovered researching my book, Chasing American Monsters, in the United States, encounters with these hairy giants have been reported in every state except Hawaii. Some are the stereotypical towering, bipedal, gorilla-like creatures with feet bigger than an NBA player’s. Others, such as the Florida Skunk Ape, more resemble an orangutan; Missouri’s Momo and Louisiana’s Honey Island Swamp Monster have footprints with only three toes.
However, the reports that intrigue me the most involve something that doesn’t sound like an animal.
Native American legends considered Sasquatch as from another tribe. The Russian villagers who captured a female Alma (the Russian Bigfoot) named her Zana and produced offspring with her. Mormon apostle David Patten encountered a huge man covered in hair in Tennessee in 1835. The furry giant told Patten he was Cain of Genesis, cursed to wander the earth for his sin. Hunters who’ve had Sasquatch in their sights said they didn’t shoot because the entity looked too human.
James “Bobo” Fay from Finding Bigfoot on Animal Planet said in the Sun-Herald of Venice, Florida, “I wouldn’t capture or kill one, that would be murder….Ninety-nine percent of their DNA is the same as a human.”
In 2012, Dr. Melba Ketchum of the Sasquatch Genome Project revealed Bigfoot DNA her team collected was discovered to be human, although “novel,” according to the Los Angeles Times. Bigfoot researcher Todd Standing of Alberta, Canada, had what he claimed to be Bigfoot hair analyzed in 2014. It was also human, per the Calgary Herald. When Professor Bryan Sykes of the University of Oxford conducted DNA tests on saliva taken from Zana’s descendants in 2013, the samples were human, just odd, according to the UK’s Daily Mail.
Let’s take a step in a different, but similar direction. In 1999, the now-late author Lloyd Pye acquired the malformed skull of a child discovered in a cave south of Chihuahua, Mexico. From the shape, he believed the skull to be from an extraterrestrial/human hybrid; DNA testing revealed it to be human.
DNA is tricky. Organics carried on a researcher’s clothing can contaminate a sample; so can hair, skin, or a sneeze. Did someone pick up possible Bigfoot scat with bare fingers? Doubtful, but the human results could still be because of contamination.
Or something else.
Consider this: descriptions of Sasquatch and extraterrestrials (in some camps they’re thought to be the same) are human enough in description, and if DNA samples keep coming up human, maybe that’s what they are. Not us, but close relatives from a universal genetic pool.
Our thanks to Jason for her guest post! For more from Jason Offutt, read his article, “Six Monsters That May Exist.”