The Argosy Project is a field research effort to collect as much photographic, audio, and physical evidence of the Midwest hominid, generally referred to as Bigfoot.

A concurrent emphasis of the Argosy Project is to educate the public about the behavior and traits of Bigfoot. Bigfoot is a unique species, and there are many inaccurate myths perpetuated by the media, and some Bigfoot researchers..

The ultimate goal of the Argosy Project is to get local ordinances passed, and laws enacted at the state, and federal level to protect Bigfoot as a treasured species.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Book Review: The Language of God

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence For Belief
By Francis S. Collins
Published by Free Press, 2006
294 Pages

It's only befitting that the head geneticist who led the international Human Genome Project to success, dare to follow-up his accomplishment with an almost as daring task to tackle. Basically, that a "rigorous scientist" who believes in evolutionism- can also believe in a Creator.

In "The Language of God," Francis S. Collins argues, "that belief in God can be an entirely rational choice, and that the principles of faith are, in fact, complementary with the principles of science." The recent success of sequencing the human genome that consists of all the DNA of our species, unlocked "the instructions for building a human being." Yet Collins was humbled and happy to evoke his awe of God to the world for this milestone in biology.

The crux of Collins's book is his firm view that the scientific and spiritual world views do not have to be antithetical.

Collins spent his youth in "willful blindness," with a willy-nilly attitude about religion he inherited from his parents. By the time he reached Yale graduate school he had become a full-blown atheist.

As a young physician in training in North Carolina, Collins faced an awkward moment from an older woman suffering from severe untreatable angina. His patient asked him what he believed. "I'm not really sure." he replied.

The brief encounter with the older woman haunted Collins: "Was I answerable to someone else other than myself?"

Collins set out to "disprove faith on the basis of logical argument." However, Collins ran into a stumbling block early on when he read "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. More specifically, Lewis' Moral Law argument. Which became the basis, and later foundation, for Collins forgoing atheism, and becoming a Christian.

As should be expected, Collins never breaches the subject of Bigfoot. But he does briefly discuss our closest known living relative, the chimpanzee. "The chimpanzee genome sequence has now been unveiled, and it reveals that humans and chimps are 96 percent identical at the DNA level."

Collins does elaborate on the occasional genetic glitches between humans and chimps. Here's an insightful example:

"We can also now begin to explain the origins of a tiny fraction of the more mechanical differences between us and our closest relatives, some of which may play crucial roles in our humanness. In one example, a gene for a jaw muscle protein (MYH16) appears to have mutated into a pseudogene in humans. It continues to play a significant role in the development and strength of the jaw muscles in other primates. It is just conceivable that the inactivation of this gene led to a reduction in the mass of the human jaw muscle. Most apes have relatively larger and stronger jaws than we do. Human and ape skulls must, among other things, serve as an anchor for these jaw muscles. It is possible that the development of weaker jaws paradoxically allowed our skulls to expand upward, and accommodate our larger brains. This is clearly speculation, of course, and other genetic changes would be necessary to account for the much larger brain cortex that represents a major component of the difference between humans and chimpanzees."

The steep polarization of the evolutionists versus the creationists Collins fully acknowledges. Collins also realizes the vast majority of Americans, including scientists, are caught in between these two opposing world views.

The heart of "Language" is heady, and will read like a dissertation for many folks. Collins runs the gamut from St. Augustine to the modern-day atheist, Richard Dawkins, to demonstrate arguments from both sides the great divide.

Collins calls for "a truce in the escalating war between science and spirit." A war that "has been initiated and intensified by extremists on both sides."

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Supermarket Theory

It was startling self-evident I was completely wrong about my immediate impression of the locale after my first Bigfoot encounter. I remember so distinctly standing on a country lane bordered by corn eight feet tall on that first day. It looked like the typical Midwest countryside. I asked myself: "Why are they (Bigfoot) here?

As I studied the area more and more, it became obviously very clear why the Bigfoot were there- FOOD. I've had two other researchers visit the area with me. Both were deeply impressed by the overabundance of food sources readily available for the taking. Namely, the large variety of fish, fauna, wild flora, and the crops and fruit grown by man himself. This is the Midwest- the breadbasket for much of the world's population.

I'm a creature of habit like everyone else. I usually shop at the same supermarket, and so I envisioned this location is pretty much like a supermarket to the Bigfoot who frequent the locale. If you know someone who shopped at a certain supermarket that was open 24/7- and you wanted to see that person- all you'd have to really do is stand by the front door and wait for them. They may go to the store only once a week, maybe twice a week, or even everyday, but eventually they will show up. That's my supermarket theory.

I firmly don't believe the Bigfoot family are in the area all the time. That my MRB is only an area they like to frequent. How often they frequent it, I don't know. I do know they frequent the area all year-long.

Main Research Box

When I first came to the general location of what I now call my Main Research Box back on September 2, 2002 I was greatly disappointed. The area was surrounded by farms and croplands, with patches of woodlots interspersed. The terrain looked rather mundane to me- rolling countryside at best.

I had come on a second-hand rumor of possible Bigfoot activity in the area. I was a bit embarrassed for myself. Somehow I thought the location would have small mountains, deep river gorges, large crags, rocky bluffs, and numerous ravines. I had forgotten that this was the American Midwest- not the Pacific Northwest.

As I parked my car I thought to myself: "Bigfoot here? No way."

It had been a long drive, so I decided to take a look-see as long as I was there. Bigfoot wasn't even a blip on my radar screen at that time in my life. I had heard of Bigfoot being in Ohio, and I remembered the television reports of MOMO back in the 1970s. Otherwise I knew very little about Bigfoot, with only a passing interest on the subject.

Certainly I was no scientist, and knew very little about the outdoors and wildlife. I hadn't been camping or hiking for about a quarter-century. In other words, I was a complete novice and my mind was a blank slate in my knowledge on the subject of Bigfoot. To many folks that may have seemed to have been an initial disadvantage, but I think it gave me an edge in that I didn't have any preconceived notions of these bipedal creatures living in our midst. Basically I wasn't carrying the baggage of prejudiced ideas of what I should expect. Nor did I know any of the signs of Bigfoot's presence I should be looking for.

I managed to find a hiking trail, and little did I know that in about a half-hour's time my life would be changed forever. I stood in awe when a massive bulk thrust itself down a giant oak tree. There, only about 60 feet away from me, stood a Bigfoot. It paused for a few moments before it twirled itself through some bushes behind the tree, disappearing from my view.

In what was only intended to be a half-hearted mini-adventure that day, turned me from being just a believer in Bigfoot, into knowing Bigfoot did exist. I left those woods that day thinking: "That was easy. What's so hard about finding Bigfoot? The next time I come here, I'll have to get a photograph of a Bigfoot."

Never did I imagine I would become a Bigfoot researcher.

As the weeks, then months progressed after my initial encounter, I kept expanding my research area. Even before I had my second visual encounter with another Bigfoot 16 months later on January 7, 2004, I was realizing that it was futile for only one person to cover many square miles of territory. Gradually I came to concentrate on one small area where I had the two visual encounters. I drew a box on an aerial photograph of the location. The box was roughly a quarter of a square mile. This is what I now call my Main Research Box (MRB).

I know to most folks my MRB is an incredibly small area to research Bigfoot, but hear me out.

Besides the two visual encounters within my MRB, I've also had many sounds and signs of Bigfoot activity. I've seen numerous footprints, and have heard whistling, hand slapping, whooping, mumbling, grumbling growls, and very recently rock clacking. In the summer of 2003 I found a den with two apples inside it. The kind of apples I had been leaving out for the Bigfoot. Also at that time I discovered a shingle oak tree that had most of its limbs and branches ripped off its trunk, and placed in a large pile next to it. The pile measured about 20 x 12 feet, and was over three feet in depth. I simply refer to it as the Bed, although it never showed any signs of anyone ever sleeping on it.

I had established what I call my Food Drop between the Bed and the 2003 Summer Den quite by accident. Before I had been leaving food out for the Bigfoot at various locations. One day during that summer I couldn't hike any further because I was worried my stitches were going to break from a recent appendix operation, so I dumped the food and left hidden in the nearby brush a hammer and trowel. The hammer and trowel were intended for use in erecting a food stand in the area. When I came back several days later the hammer and trowel were gone, as was the food. So I decided to start leaving the food there ever since. About a week after I lost my hammer and trowel, I found a small, smooth stone at the Food Drop. I kept it as a gift.

It took me about a year after I started going to the location that I could never out fox the Bigfoot family, or troop, there. So instead of camouflaging my HI-8 cameras, I decided to leave them out in the open, mounted on tripods. My hope is that over time the Bigfoot there will become accustomed to my cameras and tripods, and realize that my equipment is non-threatening. At first I don't think the Bigfoot were too thrilled with the cameras. In September 2003 I had left a camera on a tripod near the 2003 Summer Den. Just before nightfall a large tree limb can be heard off-camera being snapped, followed by the sound of a couple loud thumps of someone(s) hitting the ground.

For the most part, I stay inside my MRB when I'm at the location. As small as it is, you get to learn which trees have recently fallen down, and what is out of place.

You don't have to deal with these Bigfoot too long, to learn a poignant perspective. It's not so much me observing them, as they are observing me.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Child's Play

As an active field researcher I must be careful not to attribute human characteristics to Bigfoot. Yet I believe there should be some room for being imaginative in trying to gain some insight on how the Bigfoot behave. It's like a bit of a juggling act being performed on a skinny tightrope- trying to be objective in collecting Bigfoot evidence- while not overlooking something that seems insignificant at first glance. So here I go...

Recently I found a small hole in a grassy clearing about 50 yards from the area I call my Food Drop, where I leave the Bigfoot food at my Main Research Box. It looked as if the freshly dug hole had been made by someone scooping the dirt out with their hand. The hole was about the size of a peanut butter jar. Inside the hole I found a small handful of ripe corn kernels.

A few more kernels on the ground led to an ear of corn about 25 feet away. The ear was less than five inches long, and its husk had been peeled away. And a small pile of kernels lay next to it. Rows of kernels were still uniformly intact on the ear of corn. Someone had very neatly started on one end, and was picking off the kernels and was working their way to the fat end of the cob. My immediate impression was that I had interrupted someone at work.

I was a bit baffled as I tried to reason out a possible scenario: Did a squirrel do this? A raccoon? A deer, or another critter? A person? Bigfoot?

The big why was why weren't the kernels eaten? Instead they had been plucked off.

If it was a Bigfoot, why would it be attempting to bury just the kernels? Why not the whole ear? Or a whole bunch of ears, like the Indians who used to inhabit this area did? Plus it was late September and the feed corn crop was fully mature, just waiting to be harvested, why bother going through with the tedious task of picking kernels off a single ear? Especially if arm loads of ripen ears could be easily grabbed just a few feet away?

The following Sunday I returned to the site and found the small hole still uncovered. All of the kernels of corn had been removed, and replaced with a handful of leaves. I recovered the small cob I found a week earlier. There were only a few kernels left on it.

During the week I had given some thought to what I had stumbled on the previous Sunday. It finally dawned on me that I was thinking too much like an adult. I realized what I found was the workings of a child at play. It made sense to me- I envisioned a child idling away its time as an adult(s) stood watch. I remembered my childhood when I would spend countless hours playing with Lego pieces or Lincoln Logs. There was no aim in my play- just having idle fun.

In 2003 I first noted a small Bigfoot print only about seven inches in length. The last time I had seen a similar print was in the late summer of 2004, and it was then eight and a half inches long. So I knew I was dealing with at least one juvenile inside my research box. On several occasions I've heard what sounded like kids playing inside the woods.

At the base of a nearby ridge I found a small pile of stones in September 2003. I was a bit bewildered how a pile of small stones happened to be placed there. They seemed out of place. Then in the springof 2005 I discovered another pile of small stones placed atop some leaves, further down the same ridge. I placed one stone in my back pocket, and moved on. Gradually I began to realize that the small stones I had seen reminded me of how I used to play with marbles as a kid. Even how on family trips my mom used to let me take some of my marbles with me, so I could idle away the time playing with them in the backseat of the car.

A few weeks later I returned to find the second pile of stones I had discovered. I looked very intensely for over an hour for the pile of stones, but couldn't find them. I still have that small stone I had put in my back pocket. It's roughly the size of a marble- but in no way is it perfectly round in shape. It is very smooth in texture when I rub it with my fingertips.

After I had found the small hole empty of corn kernels, I placed two cookies inside it and covered it back up with leaves. I was really hoping to make some type of personal connection with a juvenile Bigfoot by sharing the stash hole.

When I returned the next Saturday I found the two cookies still inside the hole, but crawling with insects. I was disappointed. But nearby at my Food Drop a small ear of corn was laying on the ground. Half of its kernels were neatly picked off by rows, and a pile of ripe kernels lay next to the ear.

I'm always telling people how the Bigfoot surprise me in the things they do. I have to remind myself that I think like a human. The Bigfoot do what they want to do, when they want to do it. Bigfoot is its own unique species.

Friday, October 20, 2006

A Matter of Trust

I know many people will question why I don't go charging into the woods when ever I hear a Bigfoot nearby. When I'm at my main research box I consider myself a mere visitor, and I respect the Bigfoot who frequent this locale.

After four years of studying them, I would say it's been only the past two years that the Bigfoot family has come to accept me enough to acknowledge my presence. The Bigfoot will often pound on wood, or let out a whoop to signal me. So there is a certain comfort level of familiarity where the Bigfoot will let their guard down when I'm around. I'd like to think of it as a matter of trust.

I strongly feel that if I get too heavy-handed with my research techniques, the Bigfoot will think I'm being too intrusive, and simply have nothing to do with me. Another researcher recently called my work there "slow and methodical." To me, that's a compliment.

Our society is geared for big results- done quickly. My belief is the Bigfoot have been around a very long time, most likely longer than us. So they don't really need us, but they are probably as curious about us, as we are about them. I'm dealing with three Bigfoot individuals, and two more possibly, and it's my obligation to respect them.

Two years ago another researcher asked me if we could ever study these creatures in a Jane Goodall-fashion. I flatly said, "No." I couldn't envision that possibility then, but my experiences with the Bigfoot there these past two years has altered my view. In the meantime, I will still feed the Bigfoot family cookies and leftover pizza. The Argosy Project continues.