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.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Frozen in Time

Long before the Internet or cable television, there were very few champions in the media seeking the truth about the world around us. Magazines like Saga, Argosy, and True were virtually the only sources available for anyone to learn about UFOs, the Bermuda Triangle, or Bigfoot.

I thought a lot of people would find this May 1969 cover of Argosy magazine very interesting. This is the face of the Minnesota Iceman, at least the first one. Normally I don't delve into past accounts of Bigfoot lore, but the artist's rendition of the face really popped out at me.

Cryptozoologists Ivan Sanderson and Bernard Heuvelmans viewed the block of ice encasing the creature dubbed, the Minnesota Iceman. They nicknamed him "Bozo." Sanderson had authored the book," Abominable Snowman: Legend Comes to Life."

This is what Sanderson wrote in the issue bearing this cover:

"Bozo's face is his most startling feature, both to anthropologists and anyone else- and for several reasons. Unfortunately, both eyeballs have been 'blown out' of their sockets. One appears to be missing, but the other seems (to some, at least) to be just visible under the ice. This gives Bozo a gruesome appearance, which is enhanced by a considerable amount of blood diffused from the sockets through the ice. The most arresting feature of the face is the nose. This is large but only fairly wide, and is distinctly 'pugged,' rather like that of a Pekinese dog- but not like that of a gorilla, which actually doesn't have a nose, per se. The nostrils are large, circular and point straight forward, which is very odd. The mouth is only fairly wide and there is no eversion of the lips; in fact, the average person would say he had no lips at all. His 'muzzle' is no more bulging, prominent, or pushed forward than is our own; not at all prognathous like that of a chimp. One side of the mouth is slightly agape and two small teeth can be seen. These should be the right upper canine and the first premolar. The canine or eye-tooth is very small and in no way exaggerated into a tusk, or similar to that of a gorilla or a chimp. But- to me, at least- the most interesting features of all are some folds and wrinkle lines around the mouth just below the cheeks. These are absolutely human, and are like those seen in a heavy-jowled, older white man."

In their heyday, Argosy, True, and Saga were not considered fringe magazines. Their circulations together reached well over two million readers each month. Sadly Argosy reached its demise in 1979. The name Argosy came from Greek mythology's tale of Jason and his search for the Golden Fleece. The vessel he sailed on was called the Argo. His men were called the Argonauts.

In 2002, even though Argosy was a now-defunct magazine, I still remembered it from when I was just a boy growing up in the 1960s. After I got done playing on my baseball team early in the summer, my parents would cart me off to Ohio to stay with my grandmother. She lived out in the country and didn't like to drive her Buick Electra, so my parents would stock us up on food before they went back home. It was also one of the rare occasions when my parents would give me money so I could buy comic books and magazines. I loved Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica, but I also bought the latest issues of Saga and Argosy. I was a bit more sheepish about buying True, because to me it seemed a little more racier. It always seemed to feature a girl in a swimsuit.

Reading those magazines gave my young mind my first knowledge of a creature called Bigfoot. In high school, I would sometimes listen late at night to Larry the Legend on WIND radio in Chicago. He was sort of the local version of Art Bell, long before there was an Art Bell. By the time I reached college my mind had no room for ETs, UFOs, or Bigfoot anymore. I had slipped into mainstream society.

Then in 2002 I heard that rumor of Bigfoot being out in the woods again. Maybe it was that little boy still inside me that wanted to get back out again? So I followed that rumor into the woods on that Labor Day. When I walked back out of those woods that day I knew Bigfoot was no longer a rumor. A month after my first Bigfoot encounter I found myself scribbling the name Argosy Project on a piece of scrap paper. I had given very little thought as to naming what I was just getting involved in. I don't know what sparked me in writing the name down, but I liked the way it sounded. It was like: "Okay- I've got a name for this thing- but what do I do? And just what is this thing?" I was rudderless.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Bigfoot and Rock Clacking

If I'm wrong, then I'm sure someone will correct me, but I think I have recorded the first recording of Bigfoot clacking rocks together.

When on September 3, 2006 I recorded a Bigfoot clacking rocks, I was startled. I had heard that Bigfoot will clack rocks, but I had never experienced it personally myself.

In fact, I had never bothered to inquire what it sounds like when Bigfoot clacks rocks. Over the past four years I have periodically clacked rocks together in order to get the attention of the Bigfoot at my Main Research Box. It would be incorrect for me to state positively that my banging rocks together ever gave me any type of success. The last time I could remember clacking rocks was probably sometime in August at my Spotter's Station.

Banging rocks together is rather monotonous. When I do it, it is only for a minute or so. I always figure if the the Bigfoot were around, they would probably hear me banging rocks right away. It always seems inevitable when I clack rocks, I seem to resort to pounding out the beat used by the Kansas University Jayhawk fans at their home basketball games. You've probably heard the chant before: "Rock chalk- jay hawk."

You can go here to listen to the initial rock clacking back on September 3, 2006:

Rock Clacking - 09.03.2006

I hadn't listened to the sounds the two Bigfoot were making that day for over three months, until several weeks ago. It suddenly occurred to me that I could not recall hearing any other recordings of Bigfoot clacking rocks from any other sources. I asked two of the researchers I work most closely with if they had ever heard any recordings of Bigfoot clacking rocks. They both checked out my request, and both came back empty-handed.

No Big Bucks- No Bigfoot

"Nothing happens, until something moves."
-Albert Einstein

In one of the many memorable scenes in the movie, The Right Stuff, two of the test pilots who would later become Mercury Seven astronauts are in a bar conversing about joining NASA's manned space program. Gordon Cooper plants the suggestion in Gus Grissom's head that he could be the next Buck Rogers. Grissom takes a liking to the idea. But Cooper adds that it will take a lot of money to put a man in outer space. "No big bucks- no Buck Rogers."

After over four years of fieldwork pursuing the creatures commonly called Bigfoot, the line from that movie resonates in my head oftentimes. However, I've altered the words to reflect the current status of Bigfoot research in general: No big bucks- no Bigfoot.

Even though I've seen a Bigfoot twice, people always want proof from me of their existence. I show them the evidence I have uncovered, but they always want more solid, unequivocal proof. Despite all the time and effort I've put into my research, the biggest obstacle to overcome has been the question of money. Of having enough money to properly conduct an ongoing research program. And I think I don't speak for only myself, but for other researchers spread across North America who are also caught in this quandary.

All of the money I have put into the Argosy Project has come out of my pocket. I often describe my budget for the project as being like a rubber band- it stretches and contracts depending on my income. I'm not ashamed to admit that it has been for the most part in the shrink mode. So it is very frustrating to realize a lot of field research is being hampered bythe lack of funds. Especially since I'm very aware I'm on the cusp of discovering something very extraordinary. If you ask many other Bigfoot researchers why these living bipeds still elude realization as being accepted as fact by our mainstream media, they will often point out the lack of any type of funding from any group, association, organization, or governmental agency. Without the inertia of money supporting field research, these large, hairy primates will probably remain in the gray shadows of being improbable at best, to most folks. It's a Catch-22. No big bucks- no Bigfoot.

We've all heard stories of how hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent on wasteful research inquiries. Some very recent items come to mind, such as a study on why that big cat bit Roy, and dragged him off that Las Vegas stage. Or how a lot of money went into researching the different dialects of cow moos. Yet to get anyone to release funds for Bigfoot research is not even a near possibility, as of today.

Perhaps no one is willing to shake up the latest model of the primate tree? Too afraid of what will fall out of it?

Maybe to some it sounds like I'm harping a bitterness against the inaction of modern-day science. I'm more perplexed by how primatologists remain idle on the subject. And there is a tone of frustration I'm revealing here. Yes, there are some academics who take a negative reactive role when the topic of Bigfoot is breached, but there are very few in the academic wilderness who are willingly on the active trail of Bigfoot.

Everyone wants a Patterson film, part two. But the1967 film footage shot by Roger Patterson has been like an albatross hanging around the neck of Bigfoot research for the past four decades. The film has fueled many amateurs to venture out into the field. Yet at the same time, the film has also impeded any serious research into the study of of these large primates. That short clip has been a focal point of an ongoing debate. It has been a major distraction as people argue over- for and against- its authenticity. Meanwhile the fieldwork of small groups of serious-minded folks, and individuals like myself, goes mostly unnoticed.

Researchers face the hammer of ridicule from the general public, and the "tee-hee" factor from the media. Most scientists dismiss and scoff at the repeated eyewitness sightings of these shy bipeds from the tenured safety of their armchairs. To most anthropologists the mere suggestion of a great ape inhabiting North America rues the indoctrination they've invested in. Only a handful of scientists (Most notably Dr. Jeffery Meldrum and Dr.John Bindernagel.) have defied the gauntlet of peer pressure from their academic brethren, and bothered to follow-up reports from laymen. The few who have gone out in the field and taken a look, tend to come back and admit there is enough evidence to suggest the phenomenon generally called Bigfoot is a very real possibility.

However even with their academic credentials, these scientists are met with scorn from their colleagues across the hallway. And their hands are tied because no institution is willing to support a request for grant funds from any government branch to do serious research. Instead, they depend almost solely on evidence from a handful of selected amateur researchers, or people who have encountered Bigfoot accidentally.

As I've already stated: No big bucks- no Bigfoot.

The academic science world was a little slow in reacting back in 1938 when Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer discovered a living fossil. It took about two months of constant urging until the scientist JLB Smith finally arrived on the scene. The South African woman presented Smith the remains of a coelacanth, a fish that was supposed to have been extinct for 65 million years. Back in 1960, humans were thought to be the only species capable of making tools, until an Englishwoman studying chimpanzees in East Africa killed that theory. Jane Goodall is now revered without question today for her commitment to wildlife research. Several years later an American woman began her fieldwork studying the behavior of mountain gorillas in Central Africa. Dian Fossey's research ended at the ultimate price two decades later when she was murdered by her own species in the field.

Perhaps it is not a coincidence all three of these women made big contributions in the their dedicated fields of study. Being women, they were kind of shunned aside by many of the gents of the day, and had to take a more challenging road where no men were willing to go.

To any scientist who might stumble upon this article, and belittle the suggestion that Bigfoot research is something a credible scientist should contemplate, you should be informed that a precedent was set a long time ago by one of your former colleagues. Over thirty years ago Dr. John Russell Napier did journey into the Bigfoot phenomena, crisscrossing the country following up reports of Bigfoot activity. Napier was busy as the Director of the Primate Biology Program at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC at the time, yet went out into the field on the possibility the reports of pongids in our midst were true. He later authored a book on the subject, "Bigfoot: The Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality." Napier's conclusions are open to interpretation, but his superb credentials shouldn't be shunt aside.

In this piece I'm not attempting to attack the scientific community, in as much as I'm challenging it. Isn't one of the tenets of science the attempt at discovering the truth?

Unfortunately, no amount of photographic or field evidence will ever convince scientific skeptics of the existence of the elusive Bigfoot. And despite the thousands of reported sightings- not to mention the thousands of sightings that remain unreported- the profound truth of this species will stay hidden in the parallel shadows of our contemporary world, unless a more disciplined effort is applied to the field.

Sadly, I fear, it will not be until the day a hunter pulls into town with the carcass of a Bigfoot sprawled out in the back of his Chevy pickup truck, will our smug society accept the species as a larger reality to life.