You may have heard that an Oklahoma lawmaker wants to create a Bigfoot hunting season in his state. Justin Humphrey is the state representative for a district in Southeastern Oklahoma, an area where many people have seen the mysterious hairy hominid.
Southeastern Oklahoma is already home to Gasquatch, a giant Sasquatch that stands outside a gas station/convenience store in the town of Idabel. In fact, the business is actually called Gasquatch. And the small town of Honobia has an annual Bigfoot festival every year which features music, food, and lectures by cryptozoologists. Honobia is surrounded by dense forests (logging is the main industry) and a local family reportedly encountered a group of Sasquatch in January of 2000. The Sasquatch stole deer carcasses from an outdoor refrigerator in an encounter called the Siege of Honobia.
|Photo of Gasquatch from this site.|
Humphrey's office was flooded with angry calls and emails after he announced his intention to create a hunting season. Bigfoot fans were outraged and assumed he was encouraging people to kill the creature. He was quick to clarify the bill's intent:
"Our goal is not to kill Bigfoot. We will make that everyone understands what we want to do is trap Bigfoot," he said.
The bill would also create a $25,000 reward for anyone who captures the creature.
"I have been in the woods all my life and I have not ever seen any sign of Bigfoot," Humphrey said. "I have never heard Bigfoot, but I have some people that I know that are good, solid people who I will guarantee you 100 percent have said they have had experience with Bigfoot. So, I know there are people out there that you will not convince that Bigfoot doesn't exist." (from TheHill.com)
Humphrey's main goal is to promote tourism in his part of the state. There's nothing wrong with that, but I don't think anyone is going to capture or kill Bigfoot, because Bigfoot probably isn't a physical creature. It's quite possible he's just a creature of legend or folklore, like the Easter Bunny. It's also possible he's something more ontologically tricky.
Maybe he's a spirit of some kind, or an extradimensional being. Maybe those are just two ways of saying the same thing? The ancient Greeks might have said he was a daimon, an intermediary being between gods and men. The ancient Romans might have called him a genius loci, a spirit of a particular place like a forest. Whatever they called him, they wouldn't have tried to trap and kill him. If anything, they would have made an altar and left offerings for him.
Bigfoot stories have always contained hints this hairy monster is more than just an animal. Witnesses report Sasquatches disappearing into thin air, tracks stopping in the middle of nowhere, and even receiving telepathic communications from the creatures. Bigfoot sightings are also associated with strange lights in the sky or UFOs, as this story from New Gloucester, Maine shows:
The main witness along with two other individuals was exploring a 60 acre sand pit when they saw an extremely bright light. They were terrified at first but decided that they would investigate. They continued walking toward the light until it led them to a section of the pit enclosed by thick trees with a small opening in the middle. At this point they saw a large upright being approximately 8 feet tall, covered with hair and piercing ice blue eyes. Frozen with fear they stood as still as possible until the creature noticed them and bolted into the trees. The witnesses then left the area. (Albert Rosales, Humanoid Encounters: 2008 - 2009: The Others Amongst Us)
This sighting supposedly occurred on October 25, 2008 at 1:27 a.m. A few take aways from this story. First, I do not recommend wandering around sand pits after dark. Monsters or not, that's a recipe for trouble. Second, normal animals are not accompanied by mysterious bright lights! I see lots of animals in my neighborhood - rabbits, raccoons, turkeys, and even coyotes. Their appearance is not heralded by unexplained lights. But here are some things whose appearance is accompanied by bright lights: ghosts, demons, divine beings, extraterrestrials, and even angels.
|Image from Amazon.|
The witness and their friends were terrified when they saw the bright light, and I was reminded that angels in the Bible often say "Fear not" when they appear. I'm not saying Bigfoot is an angel, just that radiant supernatural incursions into the human world are often frightening. We've all seen bright lights before and not been afraid. But most of us haven't seen a bright light in a sandpit after midnight that leads us to a huge hairy creature. Oh, and it all happened the week before Halloween.
If this story's true, I don't think any hunters would be able to capture that Bigfoot. Even if it's not true, it still reflects what a lot of people think about Bigfoot. He's not an animal, and can't be shot or trapped. It's fine that Justin Humphrey wants to create a Bigfoot hunting season but I think there might be some disappointed hunters out there.
One last note. The day I started writing this post I got an email about some UFO sightings in Maine. One of them - a UFO abduction - supposedly happened in New Gloucester in 1973. The abduction occurred just north of the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village. This is very close to New Gloucester's sand pit, the Shaker Pit on Route 26, which presumably is where Bigfoot was seen in 2008. This might all be a coincidence, but I'm definitely not visiting that sandpit after midnight.