BOGGY DEPOT STATE PARK, Okla. – The search continues for the world’s largest feet; and the being that’s attached to them.
“I think Sasquatches are nice,” 11-year-old Tryston Ingram, Chickasaw/Comanche, said. “He’s about twice as fast as humans.”
Ingram and other curious or dedicated Sasquatch enthusiasts scurried through fits of rain to attend the 2010 Boggy Depot Bigfoot Conference Oct. 22-23 at Boggy Depot State Park near Atoka, Okla. A few campers and vendors dotted the park, and the intimate group began their weekend by watching “The Legend of Boggy Creek” and “The Creature from Black Lake” on that Friday evening after the sun disappeared. The movies were shown outside, underneath a pavilion, while students from the Wapanuka High School senior class made popcorn and sold movie treats.
“I was very happy with the turnout for the movies in the park,” Mike Hall, coordinator of the event, said. “We just want to make it fun for the entire family.”
The conference, which was sponsored by the Children’s Miracle Network, Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Oklahoma Blood Institute, also featured lectures and presentations from paranormal researchers, cryptozoologists, and Bigfoot investigators/authors. Speakers included Randy Harrington, D.W. Lee, Nick Redfern, Ken Gerhard, Scott Nelson, Robert Swain, Daniel Falconer, Cullen Hudson, and PIN Texas Paranormal.
Nelson, a retired Navy cryptolinguist, introduced the Sasquatch Phonetic Alphabet formally called the Unclassified Hominid Phonetic Alphabet. He said he’s not a Bigfoot hunter, but has been asked to go on expeditions, and believes there is a Bigfoot language.
As Nelson played audio recordings of alleged Bigfoot hollers from the northern California area, Ingram inched up closer and closer to the front of the pavilion by changing seats so he could hear the sounds. Ingram said the recordings sounded like a howl. Nelson mimicked the Bigfoot sounds and at times translated the sounds into what English words he thinks they are. He said the attempt to spell out words in English is of little value to a language researcher, “since English is notoriously non-phonetic and is subject to widely-varied local dialects.”
“To me, it’s proof that Bigfoot exists. I’ve heard him speak his own language and you have too,” Nelson said. “The creatures on these tapes have and use language (by the human definition). That alone does not make them human, but it separates them from the humans.”
Also invited to the conference were the Choctaw Youth Dancers, who performed traditional dances. A few Choctaw Nation tribal members had a booth set up for basket making demonstrations, and a handful of tribal members sang songs in Choctaw. Among the attendees was Choctaw Tribal Council member Mike Amos and his family. Amos represents District 2, in northern McCurtain County, where Bigfoot stories aren’t so farfetched.
“In Eagletown a couple of years ago a lady there said ‘we have one in our backyard,’” Amos said. “She was telling me I need to come and get it out because I’m her councilman and I need to get rid of it.”
Amos said he’s open to the idea that Bigfoot exists, and so are his daughters.
Miss Indian Oklahoma Dayla Ranae Amos, 20, said she didn’t learn about Bigfoot until she was in middle school, but her grandmother told stories about wood dwellers; little people that live in the woods. Overall she said she enjoyed the conference.
“I thought it was really interesting and I’m kind of fascinated by the whole thing. I hope I learn something about him (Bigfoot) today,” Amos said. “I watched something on the travel channel once about him and I think it’s real interesting.”
Junior Miss Choctaw Nation Nikki Amos, 14, said she thinks Bigfoot is real and stories of him are abundant around Talihina and Honobia, Okla.
Hall said he was impressed with the Choctaw Youth Dancers and hopes they can continue to work together for next year’s conference. He realizes the rain may have swept away some potential guests, but thinks the conference went very well.
“What I enjoyed the most was that the people that came; stayed. They sat and listened to all the presenters … they were very attentive. It made me feel good,” Hall said.
Star Boy (SB) Hons-sa, Choctaw, was a little late getting to the conference from Tahlequah but was interested in hearing about Bigfoot. He said when he was growing up his grandpa and uncle told him about the “Hairy Man,” and he has had four sightings of him.
According to British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club Web site, “The name “sasquatch” was coined by J.W. Burns, an American schoolteacher living in British Columbia, and is derived from a Chehalis word meaning wild man.”
The Chehalis language is Salish, and their tribal headquarters is located in Oakville, Wash.
Hall said he hopes to build on to the conference every year, and will host the movies in the park again next year with some different films. Some attendees also participated in a 5K Bigfoot run/walk that benefited the Children’s Miracle Network and the Children’s Hospital Foundation.
“This year we’re on a learning curve and I hope next year, of course, will be bigger and better … then we can absolutely do things for Children’s Miracle Network and the Children’s Hospital Foundation in Oklahoma City,” Hall said. “I can’t say that it went as well as I expected because I’m a perfectionist, but I can walk away and say I’m happy. I accomplished something and some children are going to benefit from that; kids I’m never going to meet and that’s OK, that doesn’t matter, as long as I can help them in some way, that’s all I care about.”
An overview of this year’s conference can be viewed at www.boggydepotbigfoot.com.
Attendees like Ingram, who walked away with two Bigfoot t-shirts and an intensified curiosity, were able to visit with the presenters one-on-one and look at some of their research findings; such as books, articles and footprint castings.
For Ingram the answer on whether he plans to attend the Bigfoot conference next year is simple. “Yep,” he said. “It was fun.”