Here’s a strange beast – a comprehensive report of a research study intended to document the apparent presence of native “wood apes” (popularly known as Bigfoot) in the Ouachita mountains of Oklahoma. The North American Wood Ape Conservancy consists of serious researchers who carefully plan their approach and document their findings. They have published a detailed report of a four year research project.
The investigations, conducted over the course of four years, ranged from sixty to one hundred twenty days in duration, and produced experiences, evidence, and information thought to be significant, though not definitive to the point of validating the existence of a native North American anthropoid species. Some of the more notable thoughts and impressions recorded by scores of NAWAC team members are described and discussed in the Ouachita Project monograph
Read the entire report here: Ouachita Project Monograph (And you better read it before attempting to disparage it in the comments.) You’ll find that it’s well-written, intelligent and at times dramatic.
What was NAWAC able to document? Well, not a specimen, unfortunately, though they were prepared to take one down, and did shoot and apparently hit one. Photographs? No. They had problems with trail cameras ruined by bears and, when secured, the devices were noticeable on the trails and conspicuous around the cabins. You will find documented in the report accounts of the following:
- Rock throwing incidents (over 1000)
- Wood knocking (sometimes rhythmic, responsive or mimicking)
- Metallic noise (use of rocks or hard objects on metallic objects)
- Sounds of movement through vegetation and bipedal footfalls
- Banging on the structure walls during the night
- Strong smell (musky, wet horse scent)
- Damaged trees (felled dead trees, broken dead or green limbs beyond natural breakage)
- Vocalizations (huffs, grunts, whistles, growls, screams and chattering)
- Indeterminate hair and blood sample
- Signatures from thermal cameras and reports of eyeshine
- Brief sightings of reddish brown to black various sized animals
- One occasion of physical intrusion into a window
The group suggests in their hypothesis that an undocumented anthropoid is native to this remote area they call “Area X” in order to not reveal its location (on private land). They surmise that the creature primarily is bipedal and exists in social groups. They have adapted to be stealthy and avoid being in a direct line of sight.
I strongly urge you to read the report and notice that there is no hoaxing evident. This project is the result of considerable time and effort (12,000 hours of investigation) by the dozens of participants. They did not appeared to fake or exaggerate the evidence, they admit where they made mistakes and where things did not work, and they understand that the evidence presented is not definitive. But, they hope that the documentation of their observations spurs a closer look by scientists.
What threw the rocks? What made a ruckus outside the cabins at night? Where was the wood knocking coming from? Why could they not SEE what causing the commotion? Regardless of your attitude about the idea of Bigfoot, these are questions that deserve an answer. I’m intrigued.
News of the release of this report was provided to DN by Brian Brown of the Bigfoot Show podcast and a member of the NAWAC. I contacted Brian for more on this project so watch for an update on this story coming soon. Bookmark it!
UPDATE (05-March 2015)
Brian Brown has filled in some details on the report. I asked him about the main issues in the report. Many who are dismissing the report out of hand assume that other people are doing the rock throwing. Brian responds: “As the reports states, the rocks are flying essentially *at all times* we’re there. We’ve been there for months on end over four years. If it’s people doing it, their commitment to hoaxing us is remarkable (and unrealistic). Also, though you can only take my word for it, the location makes other people being the source practically impossible. It is rugged and remote in the extreme.”
Regarding the blood samples, they are certain it is blood but unsure why the test results were not conclusive. There could be many reasons including degradation from the environment or that the lab didn’t take it seriously enough. “The last two rocks are being stored properly in the event we have another pass at someone willing to test them and/or advances in DNA tech.”
Brian states that this report was not written for the “Bigfoot community” – a name that carries a ton of baggage as is obvious in the reaction of several skeptics who automatically assume “hoax” (with good historical reasons). They use the term “wood ape” instead of Bigfoot because it is in line with their hypothesis. NAWAC will continue to conduct observations at the site and try new techniques. “We believe we’re close and come close several times. We will continue until we succeed.”
One technique I noticed they DIDN’T use was food baiting. Why? He says people always try that but it doesn’t work in an area that’s already full of abundant food sources. The bait gets stolen by opportunistic scavengers instead.
Finally, I noted that the stone throwing and banging sound very much like traditional poltergeist activity. It’s not the first time they’ve heard that. But it is curious, isn’t it.
Again, I encourage people to read the report before commenting. I’ve seen hundreds of hoaxed Bigfoot reports but this deserves a higher level of attention due to the duration and number of participants as well as the location and degree of careful record keeping. Could it be a hoax or are the NAWAC being hoaxed? Possible but not probable. We ask for careful research into a phenomenon so we when get it, it is only right to not assume fraud for no good reason but to take a measured look at what is presented. There are questions here to be answered. To dismiss it is to be a denialist. Practical skepticism is warranted. Pathological dismissal is not. I, for one, would like to know what is going on.
UPDATE (12-Mar-2015): You can read more on what shook out of this report here: Neutrality and the Wood Ape Report.