9 February 2011



Mark A. Hall and Loren Coleman. True Giants: Is Gigantopithecus Still Alive? Anomalist Books, 2010.

Julie Scott and the Scott Family. Visits From the Forest People: An Eyewitness Account of Extended Encounters with Bigfoot. Pine Winds Press, 2010.

Robert W Morgan. Bigfoot Observer's Field Manual: A Practical and Easy to Follow Step by Step Guide to Your Own Face to Face Encounter with a Legend. Pine Winds, Press, 2008

Robert W Morgan. Soul Snatchers: A Quest for True Human Beings. Pine Winds Press, 2008
    This collection of Bigfoot and related cryptids books covers a wide field. Hall and Coleman try to accumulate evidence for giant hominids even bigger than Bigfoot, and clearly want to present them as paws-and-pelts animals, related to gigantopithecus.
    Had they contented themselves with modern 'eyewitness' accounts, then whether one agreed with their conclusions or not, we could at least at have seen it as an exercise in folklore which may at times refer to real uncatalogued animals.

    However they do not do this, perhaps because there is not enough material to fill a book, even as it is they have to include quite an amount of padding. Instead they include lots of folklore about giants, which they somehow try to twist into 'evidence' for the continued existence of gigantopitchecus.

    Folklore and mythology of giants is indeed global, which pretty much proves it does not represent any real animal. Rather it functions on many levels, as an explanation of landscape features, as a means of distinguishing what makes us truly human beings, as metaphors for the titanic forces of wild nature and so on. Like many creatures of the human imagination the giants inhabit the liminal zone between the human habitat and the world of wild animals. Belief in giants was no doubt stimulated by the discovery of the fossilised remains of large prehistoric animals.

    Furthermore these giants of folklore are always regarded as giant human beings, albeit often presented as overgrown babies, all instinct and appetite, contrasted with the ordered, rational world of adults. What they are most definitely not are giant bamboo eating apes, and the authors' attempts to reduce them to such as status represents euhemism on speed and acid combined. When he have the 'Big Grey of Ben MacDhui' presented as a paws-and-pelts cryptid you know some sort of boundary is being reached, when he have giganto learning human ways and taking up smithing, we are way way beyond it.

    What can one make of this, is it meant as some sort of satire on cryptozoology, an April Fool joke or what.

    Pine Winds Press seems to specialise in books on Bigfoot, and we have already reviewed one of their offerings in a joint review HERE. Their latest offering is, like, Sali Sheppard-Wolford's an account of one family's interactions (real or imagined) with Bigfoot. As the Scott's are anti-evolutionary Christian fundamentalists, gigantopithecus doesn't feature very much at all. Their Bigfoots are portrayed as being in liminal zones between human and animal and animal and spirit, and partake as much as guardian spirits of the forest as any paws-and-pelts animal.

    What struck me about this account was how similar it is to tales of haunted houses. A family move into a new house and neighbourhood, but something is indefinably wrong (The Scotts do not like the environment, the surrounding people etc.), and all sorts of strange noises and bumps in the night are interpreted as being due to the activities of 'the other', in this case Bigfoot. The family makes a game of communicating with 'the other' (compare with the Fox girls and 'Mr Splitfoot'). Their Bigfoots have something of the poltergeist about them, as when the family move they start encountering Bigfoots around their new home.

    Filmmaker and author Robert W. Morgan's Soul Snatchers, is a personal account of quests for the 'forest people' back in the period 1972/3, and his involvement with members of various native American communities, including an alleged grandson of the famous Apache leader Cochise who adopts Morgan as a son. There is much on the local folklore, and even encounters with mysterious lights in the sky. However I had the nagging suspicion that much of the conversation, allegedly put down 30 or more years later, was manufactured, and the characters often become little more than mouthpieces for the author's own religious and philosophical opinions.

    Robert W Morgan's Bigfoot Observer's Field Manual does just what the subtitle says, and should be of interest to cryptozoologists in or planning expeditions in North America. Whether Morgan will ever have Louis Theroux or Jon Ronson in tow is another matter, but a nice thought.

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