Bigfoot... or forest poltergeist?
Pictured: John Lithgow's furry fandom, post-Harry & the Hendersons.
Whilst perusing the Bigfoot Field Research Organization website for my next project, I was struck by the volume of "Class B" cases that have been reported. The BFRO describes Class B reports as "Incidents where a possible sasquatch was observed at a great distance or in poor lighting conditions and incidents in any other circumstance that did not afford a clear view of the subject are considered Class B reports." Well, then. That leaves us with a whole host of 'squatchy behavior that gets stuffed into the BFRO database: wood knocks, smells, vocalization, etc. But should it be included? Moreover, with the propensity of unexplained phenomena to cluster and overlap in geographic locations, can we in good conscience be certain that peripheral activity attributed a bigfoot is really linked to bigfoot? This line of thought naturally led me to look at the similarities between sasquatch and poltergeists. What if there are two separate types of activity at play: sasquatch and forest poltergeist? What if sasquatch—known for having a temper—are manifesting poltergeist phenomenon is a manner similar to teenagers in typical poltergeist cases?
Tossing rocks. If a rock comes flying at your head in the Sierras from out of nowhere, it was bigfoot, apparently. If it hits your roof or nails you between the eyes while you're in your living room, it's a poltergeist.
Disembodied voices. If you're out camping and a voice in the forest taunts you, it's Gef the Sasquatch. If you're at home, it's Gef the Mongoose.
Unaccountable raps and knocks. We all know that sasquatch use wood knocks to communicate and coordinate hunting parties. Poltergeist like to rap on walls and plumbing, possibly as part of a bargain-basement astral intercom system.
Sudden foul smells. Sasquatch smells like rotten eggs, likely because he likes Bush's Baked Beans. Poltergeist also like Bush's Bake Beans, but are afraid to go outdoors (don't ask me to write anymore about this today... I'm exhausted on the subject of Fortean smells!).
Moving of objects. If you leave an apple on a tree stump and it's gone when you look back, bigfoot took it. If you leave an apple on your table and it goes while you're looking, a poltergeist is trying to take it to bigfoot.
Feeling of being watched. Bigfoot is an outdoors perv. A poltergeist is a perv who prefers central A/C.
Apologies for the levity and snark. Just having a little fun! I like gut-checking myself and seeing where our intrinsic biases lay when discussing Forteana. I'm not sure how I feel about these connections I've made—perhaps I'm overthinking things.
Still, that's quite a list of similarities, if you ask me. Seems like the only thing not shared between the two phenomena is the poltergeist propensity for starting fires. Can anyone think of anything I've missed?
So, to borrow heavily from that post-9/11 adage, "If you see something, say something..." Unless you saw bigfoot do it, you can't say for certain that bigfoot did it. 'Nuff said.
UPDATE: 12-9-2015 Just came across this gem from Tony Healy, presented at the 2001 Australian "Myths & Monsters" conference:
"As if the yowie/black panther/bunyip/UFO connection was not weird enough, three cases in our files suggest our Furry Friends might also have something in common with poltergeists. For example, in 1946, when George Nott and his family moved into a long-abandoned property near Wilcannia, they heard thumping sounds in the ceiling. Doors swung open, objects flew, and so many pebbles fell on the roof that they “sounded like a heavy shower of rain.” At the same time as this classic poltergeist phenomena , huge human-like tracks appeared in the yard and a large, very irate hairy ape-man began to invade the house, once trying to drag Mrs Nott outside. Not surprisingly, the family soon moved to an out-station."