Monday, June 13, 2016
The Wookie Whisperer: Tootsie Pops and Bacon
(This is installment #1 of a real-life Bigfoot habituation situation in the Midwest and the man who has learned to coexist in a most playful and remarkable way).
#1 Home (Not) Alone
There was no denying it for, Dave. He had accepted the reality: Bigfoot were on his property.
How close they were, what they knew about his homestead was still uncertain, but realizing he was sharing his space with something he knew next to nothing about was not his way. As a man of the woods and an avid hunter and fisherman all his life, he was used to knowing all the intricacies of wildlife.
And he wasn't certain just yet if they were living a wild-life or were themselves wildlife. But, he needed to know more.
Bigfoot information was not hard to find on the internet, but not a lot folks seem to concur about what they were, what the threat was, and how to handle living with them. So, figuring the best source was the original source that wasn't angling for a TV show or publicity, Dave began to study the native tribes of the area and their legends of the Tall Ones.
He called on a few Bigfoot groups and was led to a good source as a mentor. He had no one else to talk to about these things that were happening, so Dave was glad to have someone to talk to.
He noted other oddities, like many times his horses' manes were strangely braided. He had examined the coarse hairs, wondering how that was possible, then eyeing the undergrowth of the forest with a thought in mind. Another thing fell into place.
In fact, the animals showed some odd behaviors. His goats and horses would leave the barn that was in a pasture with a few acres of open field, yet they would mosey off the property, across the street to a field on the other side. He thought they were just being picky, but now he realized they must have scented something around.
The horses had to go, as he physically could not ride any longer and their care was just another constant to-do on his already long list. He got rid of the goats too, except one old one he let live out his days on the property.
Dave's dogs, his cat, and his goat were simple to care for and good companions, although in the back of his mind Dave entertained the idea of taking in a roommate. It would have to be someone not intimidated by the odd circumstances and rather open-minded about sharing the land. He was in no rush, so he just considered if the opportunity came up, he wouldn't scoff at the notion of sharing his peace and quiet with another.
He wanted to begin with a few simple and commonsense things when one was sharing a property; giving warning and feeding.
After listening to the types of fake owl calls the female Bigfoots were doing, he came to the decision to make his own four-two beat call that was along those lines, but his own so they would understand it was Dave calling. He would go out on the deck in the evening and call. The various owl sounds would go off, sometimes several in a row in the same area, sometimes various areas, but they were definitely calling back.
He used a hand-held spotlight a few times, happening to catch them, but their eye reflection was intense that he realized it probably hurt their eyes, so he stopped the practice. He really didn't want them to have traumatizing experiences in his presence. Developing a trust both ways was the priority.
When he was ready to feed them, Dave came up with something he would be comfortable with, feeding them further out on the property and not up near the house. He didn't want to give them a whole meal and make them dependent, but he wanted to give them a snack and let them know he was aware they were there and he was okay with that, as long as they were over there....
He began by going out to feed the goat. He would call out "Are you Hungry?" and then leave the food for the pet. He wanted any watching Bigfoot to know the routine for feeding.
Dave then began to pack up a bowl of dog food, bacon and maybe leftovers and take it in his pickup to the far end of the property near the burn barrel. He would set it on a log and then hit the burn barrel with a shovel, calling out, "Are you hungry?" And then he'd jump into the truck and drive off.
One investigator came out to check the situation and Dave demonstrating the back and forth calling from the females, only to have the guy get in his car and leave.
Another investigator came, skeptical about the situation. After a feeding, however, went back the next day and checked out the area to find lots of signs of them having been there.
Dave was on his own. Even investigators had to go home. Since he was curious about the "Wookies" on his property, he realized it was time to make a game plan for safe and nonthreatening interactions.
To test if other animals might be taking the food, he began to leave a whole raw egg in the container. If a critter ate it, the shell and goo would be everywhere, but only someone who could carry it off would leave it missing without a mess. And, it was missing without a mess!
Feeling pretty confident that the feeding was well received and getting calls back and forth, Dave was really wanting to call one to him. He made calls with the females one evening and then heard something step on an old car hood down the driveway and pivot on the gravel. He watched a dark shape emerge up the driveway to within 15 feet of him.
The shoulders were easily 3 feet wide, the hair raggedy, the height maybe just 6 feet. It seemed like a male, but definitely a youth.
Dave's heart pounded wildly in his chest, so hard he could hear it in his ears. He wanted to meet one, but didn't think past what to do when one actually accepted the invitation.
Dave grabbed up a bunch of Tootsie Roll pops he bought at the store in a sale bin. He figured they would be safe to feed to the Wookies, as he was afraid to buy chocolate, he'd probably just eat it before he ever gave them any.
His fingers sweating, he peeled the papers off the pops and tossed them toward the youth. The Bigfoot surprised him by digging around in the grasses near the driveway for the suckers. Two of the pops made a thud as they actually hit the boy. One, he forgot to unwrap when he tossed it.
He nervously dialed his mentor on his cell.
"H-he's here." Dave told him. "What do I do?"
"Sit down and let him come to you." The mentor suggested.
Dave collapsed on weak legs to the steps and waited. He wanted one to come to him, but never thought past what he'd do. His heart pounded in his ears. And then the phone connection went dead. His mentor probably thought he was in trouble, but there was no help for it.
The youth unfolded from his squat and pivoted, taking off into the dark night. Dave exhaled with relief and went back inside.
The next morning, he went out and looked around. The lollipop that Dave had nervously thrown without unwrapping was still in the driveway. He poked through the grasses to find wet sticky ones, perhaps tasted but thrown back.
Dave held the pops up and noted, all grape. The kid didn't like grape. He sure had no problems with cherry and orange. He snorted and walked back to the house, turning one last time.
He recalled a friend's name and decided to call this fellow "Little Andy" because the outlines and glimpses he'd gotten thus far were much taller ones than the youth.
"Hey, Little Andy, you're a brave kid!" He called out, wishing to get them used to him talking. He wasn't certain how much they understood, but he figured they would get lose to his chatter, at least.
** Next Monday will be another installment of the series **