February 21, 2021

Bigfoot Stole My Laundry: High Strangeness in Connecticut

Here's an interesting and very brief story that appears in Phillip Imbrogno's 2010 book Files from the Edge: A Paranormal Investigator's Explorations into High Strangeness. Imbrogno writes:

Although most Bigfoot sightings come from credible sources, some seem really questionable. For example, in 1992 I received a call from a Connecticut woman who said that a black helicopter landed in her yard and a Bigfoot jumped out, messed up the yard, and stole her clothes hanging on the line too dry. The creature then quickly climbed back into the helicopter and took off. As strange as it sounds, I've heard even weirder reports. Such tales are not this book's focus, but they do exist!

First of all, I have to say this story is amazing. I love the idea of Bigfoot jumping out of a mysterious black helicopter just to act like a bad teenager, messing up someone's yard and stealing their laundry. Amazing! Was Bigfoot piloting the helicopter, or was someone else? Maybe there were two Bigfoots on board, one acting as pilot and one as laundry thief. I want more details.

Getty Images.

I'm not really familiar with Phillip Imbrogno, but some people in the paranormal community claim he has faked his academic credentials. You can look up the details online if you're curious. You may want to take his writings with a grain of salt, and even he says the story about Bigfoot and the helicopter is pretty questionable. 

There is a certain "mix and match" aspect to some contemporary paranormal stories that make them seem even stranger than they normally would. A Bigfoot or UFO story is anomalous by its very nature, but some of these stories are strange hybrids of multiple paranormal ideas. For example, last week's story about ZoZo was "reptoid entity + Ouija board = demon," or possibly "reptoid entity + Ouija board = alien being," depending on when it was told. 

This week's story is the same. Black helicopters have been a feature of UFO and paranormal accounts for decades, and they are often implied to be part of some unnamed government conspiracy. And of course, Bigfoot has been a staple of paranormal stories for decades. When they're mashed together they provide surprisingly entertaining results: "Bigfoot + black helicopter = missing laundry." 

I like old folklore as well as new paranormal stories, but the older folklore was much more standardized. For example, classic witch tales from across New England were all pretty similar, reflecting the shared belief system of our cultural ancestors. Ghost stories were pretty much the same as well. People are much more creative now with their stories of strange encounters. I think there's just a wider range of beliefs these days. Some people think Bigfoot is a reclusive animal, some think he's an alien, others that he's from another dimension. Apparently someone thinks he flies around in a black helicopter pulling pranks. There's a lot of variety. 

A cynic might say this is all caused by capitalism and our ever-expanding range of media outlets. Readers and viewers crave novelty, so authors and TV producers always need to find new stories to tell (and sell). People online need to post weirder and wilder stories in order to get views and likes. You saw a UFO last night or a mysterious large footprint in the snow? Old news! Tell me about black-eyed children who came out of a UFO after you bought a haunted house. Then maybe I'll read your post. Maybe. 

That's the skeptical perspective. On the other hand, humans have been experiencing strange phenomena for thousands of years, and probably will for thousands more. These experiences have always been filtered through our cultural perspectives. The ancient Greeks saw nymphs and satyrs, the Puritans saw witches and ghosts, people in the late 20th century saw UFOs and Bigfoot. As we move into the 21st century American culture is comprised of more viewpoints, and more diverse viewpoints, than ever before. We just have a larger set of cultural filters than people had in the past, so let's enjoy the weirdness that results. And of course, keep an eye on your laundry.


Brooks Payne said...

Love your write-up and humor!

strieb_griebling said...

I wonder if a big difference nowadays compared to older folklore is that we're more likely to get the accounts straight from the witness in their own words? In older sources things may appear more standardised because they were more likely to go through the filter of someone else writing them down who could edit out more idiosyncratic elements they felt didn't fit.

strieb_griebling said...

A similar thing has been noted with many paranormal accounts. Ufologists won't be interested in poltergeist activity the witness also experienced or cryptozoologists will play down supernatural aspects because they want to make their case for an unknown species more plausible.

Peter Muise said...

Hi Strieb Griebling! Thanks for the comments. I think you're right that people try to shape paranormal accounts to fit their expectations. Poltergeists don't go with UFOs, so they don't include that part.

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