Review: In The Big Thicket On the Trail of the Wild Man: Exploring Nature’s Mysterious Dimension, by Rob Riggs. (New York, Paraview Press, 2001, 185 pp. $13.95. ISBN #-1-931044-26-0)
Rob Riggs is a good old boy. You’d get that impression if you met him, and you’d get that impression if you started his book, In The Big Thicket On the Trail of the Wild Man.
He reels you in initially with tales of the strange things he and others have seen in the Big Thicket, tales told with the friendly ease of a beer joint raconteur. Then he completely ambushes you and knocks you off your guard with other stories, speculations, and musings that call into question the ways industrialized man perceives reality. In short, this is no mere collection of spook stories.
Riggs’s background as a journalist is made obvious in various aspects of this book. Not only has he collected stories of anomalous activities in the Big Thicket and elsewhere, but he also has gone out to personally investigate sites where these happenings have been reported. His investigations have been much aided by the fact that he grew up in the Big Thicket area and is a dedicated outdoorsman.
He has also done his homework. The book is filled with references to other paranormal researchers and cryptozoologists, and the bibliography is four pages long. If you accept Mr. Riggs’s conclusions, you will almost certainly want to pay a visit to these sites yourself, and dig deeper in the books he lists.
Riggs starts with a brief overview of the Big Thicket, the mysterious area of woods and swamp where most of the paranormal happenings and investigations in this book take place.
He discusses the Bragg Road Lights, strange manifestations of energy that regularly appear on and around a certain road in the Big Thicket. The spherical “ghost lights” are said by some observers to behave unlike any energy source in nature, and some even believe the lights to either possess consciousness or to respond to the consciousness of human observers.
Riggs cites examples of other strange energy manifestations throughout the country, and compares and contrasts the Bragg Road Lights with those in Marfa, Texas. He analyzes such geophysical forces as MPD (mountain peak discharge) and seismic activity, as well as ball lightning and solar magnetic storms.
He has discovered that ghost lights and other anomalous happenings seem to occur all over the world within 15 to 20 miles north of the 30th degree line of North Latitude. He believes these paranormal hot spots to be “window areas” (to borrow a phrase from paranormal writer John Keel) that lead into other dimensions, and that the ghost lights herald the manifestation of beings from other dimensions into our own.
Riggs offers various accounts of the appearance and frightening behavior of strange creatures that in the Big Thicket are called “wild men,” but that elsewhere in the world are referred to as “Bigfoot,” “Sasquatch,” “wooly boogers,” “raggedy men,” “route monsters,” “skunk apes,” “Yeti,” and “roogaroos.” Sightings of these creatures have been reported in parts of the American South as far back as the 1860s, and in Southeast Texas as far back as the days of the earliest white settlers. There seems no general agreement, however, as to whether these creatures are closer in form to apes or to men.
Not surprisingly, the Native Americans play a part in these mysteries. Supposedly the Indians knew for centuries about the connection between ghost lights and the appearance of these strange man-beasts, but didn’t like to talk to the white man about it. Riggs presents the theory that the wild men may in fact be remnants of the Karankawa tribe, whose members were known, like the wild men, to be ugly, foul-smelling, hairy, physically powerful, and prone to going around naked. Indeed, Riggs supplies anecdotes from people who claim to have seen Karankawas appearing in modern times near Galveston and Trinity Bays.
Riggs also discusses Hopi Indian beliefs about ghost lights and the travels of nature spirits between various dimensions in and around the Earth.
Riggs analyzes different theories of consciousness and perception as put forth by such paranormal experts as Robert Anton Wilson, John Keel, and Douchan Gersi. He argues that these paranormal manifestations in anomalous areas are a call, so to speak, for modern man to embrace again the unusual powers he may have had prior to the advent of industrialization and “civilization,” powers that the so-called “primitive” peoples of the Earth seem, to some degree, to still possess.
He agrees, along with Wilson, that a person’s cultural background and training dictates what sort of phenomena he is capable of perceiving and what sort of abilities he is capable of exercising. He takes this idea further, though, and says modern models of reality, those based on materialism and the scientific method, are limiting us, blinding us to human potentialities we once had and could have again, were we only open to thinking beyond those models of perception.
What he calls for, then, is not so much a “back to Nature” movement, a return to living as aboriginal peoples did and do, as it is a more open attitude towards the strange and unusual, a willingness to reject modern notions of reality and perception, and an unwillingness to rush to judgment in condemning paranormal and anomalous happenings as so much tabloid fodder.
AN INTERVIEW WITH ROB RIGGS
It is difficult to maintain an interest in one specific and lone field of the paranormal or parapolitical and not develop an interest in other, often seemingly unrelated fields. Your specialty may be UFOs, say, but you will also have great curiosity about ghosts, automatic writing, and the Trilateral Commission. What is most interesting is when a person can combine varying paranormal and parapolitical interests into one unified cosmology. Such a person is Rob Riggs.
Rob Riggs is a journalist, cryptozoologist, paranormal investigator, and author of In The Big Thicket On the Trail of the Wild Man: Exploring Nature’s Mysterious Dimension (New York, Paraview Press, 2001, 185 pp. $13.95. ISBN #-1-931044-26-0). A child of the Big Thicket and an avid outdoorsman, Riggs came to the field of paranormal investigation quite naturally—there were strange occurrences in the area where he had grown up that he just could not explain. The closer he looked into these happenings, the more questions he had.
Interestingly enough, though, he discovered possible connections between phenomena that he had previously thought unrelated. His conclusions required nothing less than that he suspend conventional Western notions of reality, perception, and consciousness, and that he become more open to a different, less linear, less materialistic, and more ancient way of seeing.
Rob Riggs was interviewed in September 2002, by APT contributing writer J___ S___ B____ and APT Editor S. M___ L___, at L___’s South Austin home.
I. LIGHTS AND ENERGIES
Mr. Riggs’s book, and indeed his paranormal investigations, were inspired initially by strange lights and energies found in the Big Thicket, that have been seen since the earliest days of white settlement in that area. Riggs has encountered these anomalies in other parts of the world, and he has concluded that they form the first act, as it were, of a sequence of strange phenomena. An understanding of them is fundamental to understanding Riggs’s work and findings.
J___ S___ B____–A lot of the witnesses on Bragg Road described the [Bragg Lights] as “having a mind of its own.” Could you explain that more — the idea that the light had a consciousness of some sort, that it was somehow sensitive to the minds of the recipients?
ROB RIGGS- It’s important for people to know that the Bragg Light is not just an isolated phenomenon. We’re not just talking about people in East Texas who are seeing this light. These lights are seen in various places around the world. There are two famous lights in Texas that everybody knows—the Marfa Lights in West Texas and this one.
A very important thing to understand about these ghost lights—they can’t be explained away with facile scientific explanations attributing them to weather conditions or swamp gas, headlight reflections, or even any kind of discharge phenomenon. People trot out sophisticated theories dealing with electromagnetic qualities of the lights, which they do have, and try to explain them away as some discharge phenomenon.
If you have an energy field and there’s the possibility of having some kind of a discharge from that field. The problem is the behavior of the lights and the form of the lights seen by literally thousands of people around the world in these various locations doesn’t fit neatly into any theory of electrodynamics.
The main reason is because they maintain this form for up to five minutes or more at a time, and I’ve seen them myself. I personally haven’t seen them for that long, but I’ve interviewed many witnesses who have, and we don’t know of any theory of electrodynamics that would allow for that, that would allow for a mere discharge phenomenon to maintain a discrete form of a sphere for five minutes. We don’t know how that would happen.
I’ve participated in a research project by a physicist from Japan, Dr. [Yoshithiko] Ohtsuki, and they take this very seriously, the Japanese do. I find it very interesting that American scientists are so prone to write this whole thing off as swamp gas or just to kind of dismiss it, whereas the Japanese take it very seriously.
They sent a whole team of physicists over here about 12 years ago, 14 years ago, and I actually consulted with them, and he’s still looking for a natural explanation, but he’s convinced that these lights do maintain this form, and he doesn’t know how they do that. He thinks there may be some kind of electromagnetic “bottle” formed. But in terms of what we know that’s as far-fetched as saying there’s some kind of life form that has this luminous energy body.
Now I’ve interviewed many witnesses who say that the thing seems to interact with them, as if it was conscious of their presence. The lights can have different form, the most typical is one about the size of a basketball, but they can also have a smaller form.
I was with a friend one night on Ghost Road and we saw this light above us and at first we thought it was a firefly, although I did think it was kind of unusual that it was a firefly since it was like January or February and it was still cold. And it was only one of them, which I thought was curious.
It was even more curious that this light seemed to be responding to us. It would come down like it was looking at us, and then it would go back up in the trees, and unlike the firefly, the thing would blink on and it wasn’t like a little bitty firefly, it was, I’d say, two or three inches in diameter, and it would stay on for like four or five seconds. And I’m beginning to think this is not acting like a firefly.
Then the thing went down about 20 yards directly in front of us, and hovered directly in the middle of the road, and stayed there for probably 20 minutes or so, and it’d come on, and then it would go off. It was like it was playing a game with us. And this is typical of reports around the world.
The British researchers of [Paul] Devereux and [David] Clarke have done some of the best work. Devereux has written several books on the ghost light phenomenon and he talks about how they seem to have intelligence, how they seem to be playful, they seem to interact with the observers, and he also has observed what he calls the “firefly lights.” And he was the first corroboration that I got of that associated with the standing ghost light location.
JSB—You mentioned pinpoint lights also.
RR—Pinpoint lights and firefly lights—they seem to issue from a very intense center. I’ve been back out there with multiple witnesses where these lights have appeared in the treetops. Sometimes they’ll blink on and stay for awhile, sometimes they won’t. I even have some video of that. Of course, it’s really hard to see. You really can’t prove anything with it, except that everybody that was there can testify to the fact that they all saw it.
JSB—The different witnesses that you talked to—are there any common threads in the reports?
RR—There’s actually a wide range of behaviors that thing has. There’s two really strong reactions that people have. One is just a sense of wonder at it, and the other is just abject terror.
JSB—Like the one fellow that you talked to that kept quiet about it for about 30 years.
RR–Yeah. Now this thing in this case—the light just came right up on the car, and shut down the electrical system on the car. Are you guys familiar with John Keel’s The Eighth Tower, a classic of paranormal investigative literature? He talks about unusual lights—he doesn’t specifically talk about ghost lights or standing ghost light locations, but it’s not uncommon in close-up encounters with UFO lights that that happens—that they’ll cut out the electricity system of a car.
And in that case, you can imagine if somebody is out there—the kid goes out there, he doesn’t really know—he just kinda goes out there for the fun of it and they think it’s just people telling stories, and they get out there and this thing just shows up right in front of them, and it scared them, because it seemed to them like it was aware of them. Even he mentioned that it was like a kind of animal that was stalking his prey. It had a kind of sinister quality to him, and it terrified these guys.
JSB—But whereas you thought it was having fun with you.
JSB—So people seem to run the spectrum of, from like you say, fear to awe.
RR—You can imagine, though, if the thing shut out your car…. He said it was like a big eyeball looking right in the car. You can imagine that would be terrifying. So I guess it depends on what a person’s expectations are, but also, who knows, the lights may….
JSB—…if the lights indeed have a consciousness, what the intentions of the lights are?
RR—Right. They could vary also. At times they may be more playful, at times they could be more threatening. Now there are some other effects of the lights that are more subtle and are really interesting. One of the things that has been really interesting about my book is that after having written the book, many people in Southeast Texas who have had these experiences have contacted me, and in some cases they had experiences that just freaked them out. I mean, they didn’t just see an interesting little light—no. They had things happen that just really shook their reality map.
One lady said she was on the Ghost Road and saw the light coming from a distance and it was a carload of people, and she said they got the sense that it was a long ways off and it was approaching them rapidly, and then everybody in the car had the sensation that they were moving backwards at a great rate of speed as the light was approaching them. And then the light literally went right through the vehicle they were in, and after it passed the sensation of movement ended.
Well, I had that same sensation one night. I was parked at the end of the road with one of my colleagues. We never saw the light but had that same sensation of movement. It felt like we were being pulled or being moved. Since that time, I’ve had a few stories, but that was the most spectacular. This indicates something really strange going on.
We don’t know how the mind responds to certain energy fields and the environment. This could have something to do with the very basic mechanisms of perception being affected by some sort of energy that we really don’t know much about.
There’s been a lot of research about the temporal lobes of the brain, and how they are associated with the mind’s organizing a sense of external reality from stimuli, and how they can be affected by magnetic energy. And Dr. [M.A.] Persinger in Canada has done a lot of laboratory work on that and has shown how you can put somebody in laboratory conditions and stimulate the temporal lobes of the brain and they can have weird hallucinations and sensations.
But there may be energies in our environment that can do the same thing, and these energies, in the places where the ghost lights appear, may be concentrated for some reason. This is all stuff that we’re just speculating on, but it does seem like the lights and the energy pertaining to the lights has very definite effects on the mechanisms of perception.
II. BLACKOUTS AND BLOW-DOWNS
Riggs believes that anomalous energy occurrences are not always limited to ghost light areas, and that sometimes they can extend over vast areas, with disturbing effects and consequences.
RR–You see, when you’re dealing with the energies that occur in these areas—sometimes these energies can reach immense proportions. It’s not just a little light somewhere out in the woods. The magnetic anomalies of Southeast Texas have caused a blackout of the utility grid for the entire region for unknown reasons. And during that time, a reporter for the “Beaumont Enterprise,” who now is with the “Austin American-Statesman,” he told me that the paper had reports of all kinds of weird lights flying through the sky. Of course, that never got in the newspaper.
I call it the “Beaumont Blackout of 1985.” Actually the region went from about the Cleveland, Huntsville, and Conroe area, all the way up, kind of in a northeasterly direction, to the Louisiana border, affected well over about 300,000 customers. There was no lightning anywhere around.
JSB—The version passed around Huntsville was that a squirrel had gotten in the generator in the middle of the night.
RR—It was interesting. The idea was that a generator blew out somewhere and had caused a domino effect, and it wiped out the whole region. Kevin Carmody was the reporter’s name. The reason he didn’t buy is because he happened to be up and about at that time when it happened, and his car blacked out. It wasn’t hooked to the grid. [laughs] And whatever blacked out all the public utility blacked out his car. And he had heard what I had been writing about the ghost light blacking out cars on the Ghost Road. And this is an example of how the energy can…. I think the ghost light locations themselves may be close to the focal point of where these things occur. When they really intensify they can have immense consequences.
Now another incident, and I think this happened in 1998—that I didn’t report on in this book because I wanted to save it for further discussion, is there was an incident that was reported on in the “American-Statesman” in 1998, of what they called the “Texas Blow-Down Incident.” What happened is that there was a straight line wind that blew over about 3 million trees, they estimate, from about the area around Conroe and Huntsville in a line northeasterly over 150 miles long to the Louisiana border. It actually made the news in Austin, which was surprising. It blew over about 3 million trees in a straight line, 150 miles long.
What was interesting to me is that that line would’ve roughly corresponded to the northern extent of the Beaumont blackout, 13 years before.
Now here’s what was interesting about it: the trees all blew over in the same direction. It blew through Sam Houston National Forest, Crockett National Forest, Sabine National Forest, and Angelina. It went through four national forests. But nobody could understand what, first of all, could cause a straight line, wind, of that length.
SML—Now I’ve heard of down-blasts. They’re really powerful, but they don’t extend….
RR—You might have an extent of a few miles. But this thing was 150 miles long. It was from about Montgomery County, Walker County, maybe Liberty County right across East Texas. Now the point where that thing started would’ve been no more than about 50 miles from the Ghost Road, probably not even that far. And the reporter—it was really funny, because he had kind of a smart-ass attitude, in talking about the witnesses, because all the witnesses were a bunch of rednecks living out in the woods. You know, of course, we can’t take their testimony for anything, because they’re all suspicious and ignorant, you know.
But he talked about how people saw lights. And of course he immediately says, “Well, anytime anything weird happens people wanna attribute it to UFOs.” Well, maybe it was UFOs [laughs], in the broader sense of the word, you know.
But yeah—150 miles long, roughly corresponding to the northern extent of the big Beaumont Blackout, and the point where the whole thing started was within 30 miles of the Ghost Road, where you have these periodic, and essentially magnetic, anomalies associated with these ghost lights that have gone on for as long as anybody knows.
Are you familiar with any of the planetary grid theories? Well, there are several versions of planetary grids that are extant, and I’m not convinced that any of them, from what I’ve studied, are more than speculative. I mean, where do you start, you know? In some cases they’ve tried to line them up with ancient sites and so on, and that may have some bearing, but one of these planetary grid models has a convergence of 12 points of the grid that occurs right at the point where this blackout—I mean it’s gotta be within 5 or 10 miles of where the blow-down incident occurred.
And one of the lines from this particular model goes from that point in almost the exact direction that the blow-down did. So I suspect that this may actually be an indication of something that happened on the grid. Now what little speculation was done on the blow-down incident was that somehow the jet stream had temporarily dipped to the surface of the Earth and that’s what caused the trees to blow down in the straight line. But the thing is, what would cause that? What would cause the jet stream to dip down and why would it dip down in that particular place?
JSB—It would be interesting to check those other points around the world and corroborate and see if there was anything else that happened elsewhere in the world at that time.
RR—Exactly. It sure would. And that’s one of the things that I wanna do with my research is I want to go to the areas where these ghost light locations are, because I think that they may correspond to some of the points of some of these locators.
III. SILENCES AND NOISES
Riggs and other researchers have discovered that in areas where anomalous happenings occur utter silence, or conversely, strange noises, pervade the area prior to and during those happenings. This, of course, gives rise to some very basic questions about human and non-human perception.
RR–Now I mentioned one place in the book that we were on Bragg Road one night, me and a friend of mine, and suddenly everything went dead quiet. This was a very eerie feeling. It was in the springtime, we were in the middle of the swamplands, and all of a sudden, everything went dead quiet.
JSB—No crickets, no bullfrogs….
RR—No crickets, no bullfrogs—nothing. And it was really spooky. Now we had gone there that night because it was the Spring Equinox and we wanted to test to see if we could get any indication of anything going on during the equinox.
See the Bragg Road is a straight line. It’s 8 miles long, and ya’ll are probably familiar with the line builders of some of these ancient cultures, the Celts and so on, that built these straight tracks. Some of the American Indian cultures did it as well. Supposedly these straight lines were related to their awareness of Earth energies. So we thought that Bragg Road might be some kind of inadvertent ley line, just accidentally.
JSB—Some county engineers or whatever laid it out without knowing what they were doing.
RR—[Laughs] Yeah, they didn’t realize what they were doing. So we thought it would be interesting to go there during an equinox, and sure enough, we got there and we experienced this. And we looked at our compasses and the compasses were spinning. Now I had heard, I had been told by a Big Thicket guide, and also by the park rangers, that there were places in the Big Thicket where a compass is useless because of the magnetic fluctuation. Well, there are places like this all over the country, and many of these places are also where the ghost lights appear and where a lotta people see UFOs. So that was interesting.
Some time later I met some researchers with the Texas Bigfoot Research Group, they came to my book signing in Sour Lake, and I offered to take them out to the Ghost Road. And there were about five or six of these guys. We get out there and we saw the firefly lights, and this freaked these guys out completely. They just weren’t expecting anything to happen [laughs], and we get out there and sure enough, man, here these lights show up. They didn’t stay long, but enough to let them know that something was going on.
But it was real interesting because I got to talking about this experience with the silence, and the guy said, “Well, I’ll tell you something interesting. We do a lot of research on Caddo Lake.” Well, you know Caddo Lake. This is basically just a cypress swamp.
So he says that they go at night and they would do recordings and looking for vocalizations, and occasionally they get a recording of a howling, which they suspected of being a Bigfoot vocalization.
He says one night they were there, and knows, frogs and everything were making their chorus, and suddenly everything went dead quiet. And then they heard the thing howling. And I said, “Ah, that’s very interesting. You know, I think that when they manifest in this reality it causes some kind of energy displacement, and who knows what causes. I mean, do we know of anything that would make tree frogs and things like that go quiet? [laughs] I don’t know of anything short of killing them, you know.
SML—The British UFOlogist Jenny Randles…[coined] the phrase “the Oz Factor” to describe that zone of silence that often descends upon people who are having strange encounters. Of course she was usually commenting on UFOs, but I think she’d be the first to suggest that there was a correlation between…strange phenomena like this.
JSB–Towards the end of your book you talk about a trip where you brought a bunch of friends form Austin, and some of them had to leave before you really got….
RR—Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
JSB—And you were talking about just the strange effects that happened. You struck off on your own. You kept hearing the sounds of a laughing crowd of people, but you never could find them, and then after that trip you started having all these depressive….
RR—I started going insane? [laughs]
JSB—[Laughs] Tell me more about that trip.
RR—Well, you know it’s interesting you brought that trip up, because, you see, that’s the exact opposite. See? We have everything going dead quiet, and then we have like there’s a party going on right around the next bend in the bayou and there’s nobody there. It’s like a garbled conversation that you’re barely overhearing. I’ve had that happen there, I’ve had that happen in another location in the Big Thicket, I’ve had it happen out near Enchanted Rock before.
If you’ve ever read Ted Holiday—he talks about that in fairy lore. And the idea is that the fairies live in these places, and you’re overhearing the revelry of the fairies.
But in some ways you can see that’s just the opposite of the sudden silence. You have the sudden noise. But I was reading Keel the other day, and he made a point that I think may have a bearing on this. He says that he thinks that all these energies are part of a super spectrum of electro-magnetic energy, and he thinks that psychic energies of the mind are part of the super spectrum, and he thinks that one of the things that might be going on in these window areas is that the psychic frequency is somehow heightened in those places.
So it may be that when these areas have these sounds, that kind of sound, it may be that what’s happening is that you’re tuning in to the psychic frequency of the super spectrum and you’re literally hearing the thoughts of millions of people. Well, that in itself could probably drive you nuts. And that also is a very peculiar sensation.
SML—This gets to something else that I’ve always heard, that in reading about Bigfoot encounters and also in your connections to UFO sightings and such, I consistently came across from different sources, from Keel to Greg Long—Greg Long wrote the book about the Yakima Indian reservations and stuff that he was seeing with the rangers…talking about strange sounds, sounds that ranged from actually like sounds of big trucks or what’s…almost like a dynamo sound, to a crunching—this is the thing that really got me—the crunch like footsteps on gravel. And like when people, they don’t have a gravel driveway, but they would hear, like, as if somebody was approaching.
RR—Right. Well, now we’ve heard during the course of our researches in various places, we’ve heard that truck sound—I’ve heard that out in the Llano Basin, out in those granite mountains out there around Enchanted Rock.
We get out there [to the Llano Basin] and it’s about [evening] and we heard that sound—the trucks. And we’ve heard those kinda sounds out in the Thicket before, too. And sometimes they’re more like an electronic sound, and sometimes they’re like a motor running. Those sounds typically occur in places where there’s a lot of psychic phenomena and Bigfoot activity.
IV. DIMENSIONS AND SEQUENCES
Riggs believes that anomalous activities in ghost light areas follow specific sequences, that one happening heralds, so to speak, the advent of the next. These sequences result in the materialization of creatures and other beings from other dimensions, creatures which may have the ability to manipulate time and space.
RR—[The Riemann Surfaces are] just [the] idea that three-dimensional space is more complex than we normally consider it to be, and that there are layers of three-dimensional space. I guess the best analogy is what we used to call parallel worlds.
You know, people ask me all the time, “Are you talking about something that’s interdimensional?” And I say that depends on how you define dimension, because technically we live in a three-dimensional world—well, what would a four-dimensional world look like? See, a four-dimensional reality would be a fourth dimension of space. So when people talk about dimensional, they’re usually talking about parallel realities somehow intersecting.
Well, the Riemann Surfaces [were named for] a German mathematician who developed this concept that three-dimensional space is not as simple as we think it is, and that there could be what you might call, more or less, parallel realities, but they have points of intersection. One of my speculations is that the ghost light locations around the world may represent the points of multiple connectivity between layers in three-dimensional space, and that’s where these things come from.
JSB—One of the things I took away [from the book] was there seems to be a pretty standard sequence at least in the Big Thicket and maybe different in some of those other areas, that first you’d see light manifestations, and then maybe mist or something like that, and that they would then combine and produce the wild man or some creature like that. The black cat and so forth would appear in certain stages of it.
RR—In my book I acknowledge my indebtedness to Mr. Keel and his research and his writings actually helped me understand a lot about what was going on out in the Big Thicket because I grew up hearing all these stories about this stuff, and then I began to really that the sequence…. Well, you know you have the UFOs or unidentified strange lights, aerial lights—the ghost lights, the black panthers and wild men—these are elements of paranormal phenomena, all of which occurred in that place.
Now he talks about what he calls “window areas.” He says there are certain places in the world where the full range of paranormal phenomena have occurred for hundreds of years. So I began to realize that the Big Thicket is probably one of these window areas, because the stories about these things go back as far as European civilization has ever been in the Big Thicket.
JSB—That was another thing I was curious about. You cited, as well as [Professor Francis] Abernethy cited…some of those sightings went back, way back. What the earliest settlers saw, what they thought they were seeing.
RR—I have some photographs of some lights that I took in another location in the Big Thicket Preserve. People’s frames of reference change as our culture changes, specifically as our technology develops. Of course, the old-timers wouldn’t have been seeing spaceships from other planets—they couldn’t even conceive of that. But there were stories of people seeing what they called “haints,” which is what we would call “haunts.” And they were basically mystery lights, except they attributed consciousness and a certain kind of trickster kind of element to them.
I heard a story of an old Cajun family that lived way back in the Neches River bottom. This was in recent times, but these stories and these abilities went way back in his family, and one of these stories is that these haints would give you the ability to predict the future, and this man claimed that he could predict the very day that a woman was gonna have her child or the very day that a cow would have her calf. And the way he did this is he would look in the sky, and the haint would appear, and it would look kinda like a luminous cloud and it would tell him what was gonna happen.
So there’s a tradition, a kind of different world-view, a different perspective, a kind of a magical relation with nature. And many, many sightings of mystery lights. But back in the old days, they didn’t call them UFOs because they didn’t have any concept of what that was, but I can tell you this, there is historical evidence that the Indians wouldn’t even live in the Big Thicket. They avoided it because of the presence of these lights and monsters.
V. BIGFOOT AND THE WILDMEN
Many people have concluded that Bigfoot, if it exists, is an unclassified type of ape or ape-like human. Rob Riggs feels the explanation is not that simple, and has weighed various possibilities as to what Bigfoot, and his Big Thicket counterpart, the wild man, may actually be, as well as where it lives, what powers it possesses, and what its intentions are in regards to man.
JSB—You said a lot about the idea that there may be like regionally different hominids, different types.
RR—I think this is probably true, but the Bigfoot in the South seems to be a lot more aggressive and hostile and territorial than the ones in the Northwest. There are a lot more reports of it attacking people and trying to scare people.
You know, I got an e-mail from a kid recently and he wanted to know if I thought Bigfoot was a portal guardian or a guardian demon. And I said I have no idea, but if they are, what are they guarding and why and who’s telling them to do it? That’s what really interests me.
You know, Devereux talks about how these anthropomorphic forms seem to come from these luminous mists and clouds. And who knows what we’re dealing with here, but it seems evident that the Bigfoot appearances are associated with some kind of…they have some energy dimension to them.
And as I speculated in the book, there’s several possible ways of looking at this: 1) They’re literally shape-shifting creatures, and this is basically what Keel says. He calls them “ultra-terrestrials” and he talks about how they transmogrify from energy forms to physical forms, and he talks about how the Bigfoot leaves these tantalizing physical traces, but that when you really try to find one they just disappear into thin air.
Now of course the flesh-and-blooders don’t wanna hear that at all. But I think he’s right about that. But what he’s saying basically is that the phenomenon is this whole range and that these things are just sorta quasi-physical. Well, that’s one way of looking at it.
Another way of looking at it is that we’ve seen that the energy has some sort of relationships to the consciousness of human beings, and one theory is that the energy sensitizes one’s psychic capabilities if you’re subjected to these energies, that you’re able to tune them in more. It’s not just that that they’re tuning it in, it’s like we’re tuning them in. It works both ways.
JSB—That to some extent what you perceive is going to depend on, for lack of a better way of putting it, what you’re willing to perceive?
RR—Yeah, and that or just the fact that it heightens our perception. It’s like these things are there, but we can’t normally see them in our perception. You can use the analogy of radios. The reception of a radio in a magnetic storm can be vastly expanded—the reception range of a radio. It may be that our perceptive mechanism is the same way.
But there’s another possibility, and this is what I’m starting to lean more toward, that is, going back to these Riemann surfaces, that these beings live in a reality slightly out of phase with this one or like on a different frequency, but that they’re able to make some kind of a frequency shift, and when they do and enter into this reality it has a electromagnetic signature.
JSB—There was another story you told of one of your trips where I think you were sitting in a truck and one of your buddies had gone down a little ways and ya’ll heard something taking off into the bush and it had obviously been real close but you hadn’t seen any evidence of it. You knew it wasn’t an armadillo or anything like that. Could you talk a little about that?
RR—Yeah, well, I was telling that story—the American Indian, the shamans, say, in the Pacific Northwest, where they’ve had contact with these creatures for millennia, they say that Sasquatch has the ability to make itself invisible, and of course, what would that be? Well, they say that it’s capable of exercising some kind of mind control or maybe hypnotic quality.
Well, my friend Bill and I were on Bragg Road one night filming, and it’s typical, these kids come by, and you can’t go there on a weekend night without high school kids, college kids from the area, coming out looking for the lights. Well, we set up in this one spot and we were talking to people as they came by.
We went for a period of about close to an hour where we were there by ourselves, and we had talked to these two different carloads of kids who were actually one group of kids. They went off in opposite directions. We were sitting there. It was no more than six or eight feet from the edge of the woods, which is like a curtain of trees, and it happened that they both—both truckloads—came back at the exact same time. There were about four or five kids in each pickup. And they arrived at exactly the same time.
When they arrived, something that apparently had been between us and the edge of the woods, and it couldn’t have been more than eight or ten feet from us, took off into the woods. And it was massive. It was a large animal or something, and we’re not talking a little armadillo or something. This thing was big, and it hauled into the woods.
And so it was puzzling to us that something that large could’ve been that close to us and we never saw it, and that we never heard it. Either it had been there the whole time or had come there during that time, and we never saw or heard it until it took off.
And you know, hypnosis is a powerful thing, it’s something we don’t understand a lot about or by what means one can be hypnotized. You know, Keel points out that you can be driving down a highway and be hypnotized by the rhythmic rhythm of the stripe in the road on a straight road. And he also thinks that when you see these lights that there’s some effect to the lights that puts some people into a hypnotic state. And his belief is that all the things that occur, other than being subjected to the light, are hallucinatory, and that we’re experiencing some kind of a hypnotic hallucination.
I don’t buy that for the reasons we’ve talked about and why I think that there might be something else going on—things actually entering into this reality and there being a energy shift, but I do think it’s possible that there is a hypnotic effect involved.
But it may be that there is some kind of limit on the number of people involved that could be hypnotized. In other words, the thing could’ve been there, it could’ve had me and Bill basically in some kind of mild hypnosis so we couldn’t see it while it was observing us, but when these other people showed up they wouldn’t have been under that influence, so it had to high-tail it. That’s kinda the feeling we got from it, that it was exposed, that it was suddenly exposed and just took off into the woods.
SML—Well, there has been a lot of research, mostly by the military, about how to induce altered states of consciousness through electro-magnetic fields. It could be acting through that sort of way. I’ve often thought also—pulse light can trigger seizures in people, but it could probably also influence brain wave states.
RR—If you had an animal or being or whatever that is shifting frequencies or however we want to describe it, then that thing may be able to tune in to your mind, to a certain extent. In other words, if these energies represent some kind of ambient field of consciousness–see there’s some researchers that think that these lights and energies represent some kind of a field of consciousness, that consciousness itself has a field effect, an energetic effect, and is what they call the “non-local field.” We experience consciousness locally through our brains and our bodies and so on, but that consciousness itself has the aspect of a non-local field.
Now if you had a being that was more attuned to that level of reality, it could not only shift frequencies within that ambient field, it could also affect you from a non-local field.
One of the problems, I think, that Western science has in dealing with all of this is that we have very, very naïve concepts about the nature of consciousness, the relation of the brain to consciousness. We always want to reduce consciousness to a material model, that’s it’s just a product of biochemical forces and so on, and that may just not be adequate, it may just not be true.
If you look at quantum physics, the quantum physicists will tell you that time and space have no existence apart from the consciousness of the observer, and yet in our psychology and all of our social sciences, we want to reduce consciousness to a material model. It just doesn’t work. It’s like it’s outdated, and I think that’s part of the value of paranormal research is that we’re becoming more conscious of this aspect of consciousness that’s not limited to our concepts of space/time and causality.
JSB—You mentioned something about this earlier. So your guess is that the Big Thicket wild man is maybe a cousin of the Northwestern Bigfoot? Because it seems that they’ve found different types of footprints, varied kinds. Makes you wonder if there are different species of it.
RR—Yeah, I think there may be. You know, I had a guy call in on a radio show one time, and said, “This is ridiculous. You’re saying that there are Bigfoot in the South and in California, and then they’re saying that there’s Bigfoot over in Russia and Laos and China. This is ridiculous. They couldn’t be in all those places.” I said, “Why not? Have you ever been to any of those places? [laughs] I tell you what, you come down and spend a couple nights with me in the Big Thicket and you tell me there’s nothing weird out there.”
You know, the thing is, so many people, their reality is totally defined by urban culture. It’s like they’ve got no clue how weird it can be out there. We know. Those of us who grew up in East Texas know it can be weird.
Another possibility is that there may be these points of multiple connectivity that connect places in a different space than linear space that we perceive. You know, you take the old illustration—you take a piece of paper [demonstrates]—you put a point here and a point here, and if you go on linear space it’s this distance, but if you curve it [curves the paper so the two points touch], you see? The curvature of space.
I think it’s possible that the energies that occur, these massive energies, actually curve space and connect distant parts, maybe from other realities, other time-space continuums, that the space can be curved and momentarily they can have this point of connectivity. Or there could be distant places in the Earth that could be connected in the same way, and you might have a Bigfoot that could go from Seattle to Beaumont [laughs]….
JSB–…[Laughs] with no stops in between.
RR—No stops in between. Bam! Like that. But there does seem to be some differences, but there’s more similarities than there are differences, in their appearance and the fact that the descriptions of the vocalizations, the smell, and all that.
John Green, who was one of the patriarchs of Bigfoot research, one of his original books—this was written back in the Fifties—he talked about the psychic element of Bigfoot. Yet you don’t ever hear any of these Bigfoot guys ever refer to that. John Green talked about the Indian legends of the psychic powers of Bigfoot, and he talked about how, on some of their outings, they had experiences where they could hear these things and couldn’t see them. And he says nobody wanted to talk about it, and they would just try to sit around the campfire and…but he brought it up. And so this is one of the forerunners of Bigfoot research, and he had that experience up there.
Now I don’t know anybody up there who has directly related Bigfoot to ghost light locations, but I have read articles where they have talked about unusual energy conditions and lights and so appearing right before the Bigfoot appearances, so that association is there. Now the last time I was on the Art Bell show, we were talking about the connection to the ghost lights and I was talking about some of the other ghost light locations in the country that I knew of. One in a little town–Gurdon, Arkansas, and then one near Joplin, Missouri.
The next day I had e-mails—one from Joplin, one from Gurdon, confirming that. One guy said, “Yeah, I saw a Bigfoot,” and he said his family actually lived on the road where the Ozark Spook Lights showed up. He said they’d give people directions to the road. And he said he saw a Bigfoot when he was a kid and he hadn’t put the two together.
Now another guy—this was really interesting—this was a good Southern boy from Arkansas—and he e-mailed me and he told me a story and said, “I haven’t told anybody outside the family this story, but I heard you talking about the ghost lights on Bragg Road, the Ghost Road, and I grew up not two miles from the Gurdon Lights in Arkansas.” And these lights have been “Unsolved Mysteries” and some of these other shows. And his family had a hunting lease no more than two miles from where the Gurdon Lights appear.
One time he was gonna go hunting and going to his lease before sun-up to prepare for the day’s hunt. And he gets out on this lease, it’s an hour before sun-up, and he hears a hog howling as if it were in pain, as if it were being attacked. And he hears some muffled sounds, as if something were attacking. And so he had a big flashlight with him. Of course, this guy, he’s got a gun, he’s not afraid of anything.
He goes to investigate, thinking maybe a panther or something and he wanted to see it. And he said, “Mr. Riggs, I saw what I can only assume was an offspring of a Bigfoot.” He said it was an ape-like-looking monkey, about two to three feet tall. And he said, “Now here’s why I assume it was an offspring.”
He said when the sun came up he went to investigate further and he found the remains of the hog, and it had been gutted. It’s throat had been split, and it had been gutted, and it had been stuck in a tree, eight foot off the ground. And he said, “So I assume Daddy Bigfoot did that and I saw the baby.”
And then this same guy—this was interesting also—I was talking earlier about the silence and stuff—he e-mails me later and says that he and his aunt and uncles and his dad had been camped out at night in these woods, and had been hunting and they’d had that same experience, about suddenly the woods go quiet and then they hear the thing howling in the woods.
So I really think that in terms of research, that this gives us a real signature or phenomenon to look at, because if this Bigfoot thing has a magnetic quality to it, then that’s gonna respond to instrumentation. And so we have some areas in the Big Thicket that we want to investigate, and I guarantee you, that if I go out there at night and everything goes dead quiet [laughs]…I’m going to snap to attention.
But not long after that I did a radio show in Beaumont. A guy calls in, and he hadn’t heard any of this discussion. None of it. We hadn’t even discussed it on the show and he said he had been squirrel hunting up in Jasper County or somewhere in the Big Thicket, and said he run in there all the time. And he was an experienced woodsman.
He said one time he was coming out of the woods, and it was like late in the day, and he said all of a sudden—the same thing–everybody always says it the same way—all of a sudden everything went dead quiet, and he said, “It scared me so bad the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up, and I could hear something follow me through the woods. And mister, I’m a hunter, and I’ve spent my life in the woods, but I will never go back to that part of the woods again.”
SML—Maybe the hair was standing up not because he was scared but from the static electricity.
RR—Well, that’s another possibility, yeah. You know the thing is, if this thing shows up—we’re talking about the hypnotic effect, that may be where the hypnotic effect comes from as well. It’s like it manifested into this reality. It somehow creates this energy displacement, but it may have a psychic component as well, and affect the mind. And it may be able to direct that.
But I think if we’re really gonna find out what’s going on with this, we’re gonna have to get somehow psychically attuned to that reality that these things are. And you know this brings up some interesting dilemmas, you might say. If these things are physically real, which I think they are or are certainly capable of being physically real, one of the possibilities is that there may be some ancient form of human life, culture, and that they have these powers—then that all human beings potentially have that power—we’ve lost it, but that they may have refined the psychic side of the mind, whereas we’ve refined the material side.
But I think that if that is the case, and we’re not just talking about not just individual episodes and weird animals—if there is a culture—let’s say that there is a Bigfoot culture, that they’re like some kind of human life form and they actually have a culture that is so alien from ours that we don’t understand it—if we’re gonna deal with that it’s almost gonna be like rather than discovering an animal it’s gonna be like making contact with a different culture, and I’ve read some anthropologists….
JSB–…something like evolution went off in two different [branches]….
RR—Yeah. I’ve read some anthropologists who’ve studied primitive cultures and many of these cultures—those cultures develop that highly developed psychic side of the mind, but it’s like if you’re gonna deal with a culture like that you have to be able to confront it in ways that don’t alienate them. Like he was talking about a culture, I think it was in New Guinea, that he wanted to study as an anthropologist. And of course these are shamanic cultures and they’re warrior cultures and so on.
One of the things that he dealt with is called the “ritual” or “false attack.” And so what he’d go out and place himself in the jungle on the edge where he knew these things were. And that he knew that they would know that he was there.
And he would sit there. For days sometimes, and he says eventually they would be curious about what he was doing, but that one of the things they would do is they would stage a false attack, with spears and bows, as if they were gonna kill him. And the deal was is that if he showed fear, they would kill him. And if he didn’t show fear, they might not kill him. Maybe.
So he says if you’re really serious about studying that kind of culture, you’ve got to be willing to take that chance. If you can stand up to this false attack, then they’ll be curious about you and wanna know about you, because they’ll be wondering about what reality you’re coming from.
So I’ve thought about that many times. I’m in the Big Thicket and these things show up and they come after me—what do I do? Do I take out my shotgun and shoot them? Well, then we’re not gonna—there won’t be any contact. And I think that may be what’s happening with these attacks, with these things showing up. I’ve got several stories, some of them right on Bragg Road itself, where they would show up.
And I’m thinking maybe these things are saying, “There’s this weird place in the woods where these creatures show up in these weird things,” and they may be as curious of us as we are of them, but from that standpoint they do this ritual attack. Of course, that terrifies everybody. They run off, they try to shoot them.
JSB—It’s obviously like a survival tactic.
RR—It could be a survival tactic. It could also be this ritual attack thing. And also I think these things are nocturnal. I think most of their activity is at night. So my feeling is that if I ever get in a position where we could do a long-term study, we’re gonna have to become nocturnal. We’re gonna have to live in the woods, we’re gonna have to be nocturnal, and we’re gonna have to be prepared to deal with the contact on that level.
V. NATIVE AMERICAN WISDOM
It is only logical that, when contemplating and studying anomalous occurrences in the natural world that we look to the indigenous people in the region of the anomaly, to see if their ancient wisdom and traditions offer any insight into the problem. Rob Riggs found out that the Native Americans had definite opinions and beliefs about ghost lights and anomalous creatures, only they weren’t too eager to share them.
JSB—There’s a point in your book where you discuss how they [the Native Americans] knew of the connection with these unusual beings and unusual energy manifestations, and they did not want to talk to the white man about it. And that they understood it and generally [felt], “Respect it and leave it alone.”
RR—Since my book came out, I have been contacted by about half a dozen Native Americans and one Native Canadian. One was a Choctaw Indian from Mississippi and he basically said to the effect that, “We know about these lights, we know about these big hairy creatures. We’ve thought about these things for thousands of years, and the white man is just beginning to recognize that this is real.
The only Indian reservation in Texas is in the Big Thicket, the Alabama-Coushatta Reservation. They were forced to live there. They actually came from Alabama. They were driven out by the British centuries ago, came to Louisiana. At one time they were kind of in league with the French, then they moved further west.
I didn’t know of any reference to the wild man within their folklore, however, right before my book was published, I got word a Big Thicket Preserve ranger that people on the Reservation have been reporting the ape-like creature sightings to the ranger, who is an Indian. They were telling him about it.
I get asked a lot of times, like on radio interviews, “Well, if this stuff is really happening, then the people in the Preserve should be hearing about this,” as if they’re gonna catch me, like the official park rangers are gonna deny that any of these things happen. Well, it’s just the opposite.
I’ve become fairly good friends with one of the rangers who runs the public information access to the Big Thicket educational aspect, and then another fellow who has become involved with conservation efforts in the relationships with lumber companies and so on. And both of these guys have had weird experiences in the woods. So they’re very sympathetic to my research, and the fact that they’re getting these reports, and that the big hairy creatures are showing up on the Reservation—this isn’t just stuff I made up. I’ve been accused of that. [laughs]
JSB—One part I found especially interesting was the theory that these wild men are Karankawa Indians or maybe manifestations of them—some of the reports of them—like the guy on the power line and the people that saw them in canoes.
RR—One of the reasons I put those stories in there is that I wanted to present the entire picture of the stuff that goes on down there. It would be easy just to dismiss the Karankawa sightings. I talk to a lot of Bigfoot researchers around the country, many of which don’t wanna think there’s any paranormal aspect to the Bigfoot sightings. They think somehow it cheapens the Bigfoot research efforts if you bring up anything weird or pertaining to the paranormal. And the same way with UFO investigators. They don’t wanna to think it has anything to do with Bigfoot. And by the same token I could have ignored these stories about the Karankawa Indians.
VI. PERCEPTION, SCIENTIFIC MATERIALISM, AND THE OLD WAYS
One of the most over-used phrases in recent years has been “thinking outside the box.” Initially it referred to formulating business strategies in new and unusual ways. Rob Riggs, however, feels that our chief impediment, as “civilized” Westerners, in understanding anomalous, paranormal phenomena, has been our dogged adherence to scientific materialism, Western logic, and rigid systems of classification.
He says we should instead adopt a looser, more open-minded view of the world, a view more in keeping with the traditional beliefs and old ways of less developed peoples. In doing so, Riggs feels we might better be able to re-acquire the mysterious abilities we once possibly possessed, and that the more primitive peoples still seem to retain.
JSB—Well, this is something you touched on several times—you were talking about how your grandfather’s generation– of the people with certain powers, and they were, for lack of a better way of putting it, from a less technologically advanced era than our era is, and that going back to so-called “primitive” peoples, Native Americans and the other aboriginal groups that are still around today. They apparently have powers that we might have had at one time, but have no longer, and that our best explanation is that the result civilization and technology advancing…. Maybe human perception changes with the external developments in society.
RR—Well, I think the more dependent we are on technology the more these other powers atrophy. I think that we may be cutting ourselves off from an entire hemisphere of our brains by the advancement of scientific, materialistic, and technological society.
JSB—But do you think it’s possible to get it back?
RR—Yeah, certainly. It’s part of reality. I think it is possible to get it back, and I think to some extent all this paranormal phenomena is like—it’s what I call the “cultural sleep deprivation.” If you’re a human being, if you’re sleep-deprived, you go nuts. If your mind has no access to the deep subconscious like in the dream state, what happens is you become neurotic, and that starts coming into your conscious experience and you have hallucinations and you go nuts. Well, I think the same thing can happen on a cultural level. We have a culture that is basically trained to cut us off from this deep unconscious level of the psyche, of the spirit, and as a result, our culture has gone mad.
The world has gone mad because we’ve cut ourselves off from this, and that’s why these phenomena occur—to remind us that there’s this other side of ourselves. And we’ve tried to base a culture, and we’ve got a culture that’s trying to dominate the world basically that cuts us off from that deep psychic element, and it’s resulted in all kinds of imbalances. It’s resulted in the psychological imbalance of the culture and of individuals within the culture, not to mention the detrimental effects on the environment and so on. So that’s why I think we have to get back to this. Whether Bigfoot exists or not—yeah, that’s interesting, but it’s a deeper issue.
JSB—[The problem is] a getting away from Nature essentially?
RR—From Nature, yes, but from….
JSB–…the old wisdom derived from Nature?
RR—Yeah, and it’s the idea that there are two sides to the brain: one side of the brain is intuitive, the other side is rational. One side deals with the psyche, the other side deals with the practicality of living in the mature world. What I think is we’ve become unbalanced. We’ve emphasized too much the material side, to the detriment of the other. We live in a culture that basically denies the existence of the reality of the psychic, the intuitive side. It’s like it doesn’t fit into a model that produces good consumers that are under control and that can be influenced to buy all these products. It’s like it doesn’t fit that so it’s not real.
I’m not sure any one particular model [of explanation] can be exhaustive, that’s why I said when you’re talking about the Bigfoot creature what’s actually going on there is a projection of our minds, is our consciousness expanded? Are we seeing things that we wouldn’t normally see because our psychic ability has been…? See, I don’t know. But I do know that there is an element, there is a dimension here that’s not, cannot be accounted for within the materialistic explanation. And I think these things require….
JSB—…it’s not just sunspots making all this happen….
RR—Yeah, and I’m also reluctant to try to advocate a system that explains it all, because I think that’s one of the failures of scientific materialism. It wants to reduce everything to formulas. It wants to explain everything in terms of a system. And part of what’s happening with the intuitive side is that you don’t explain it—it just is. You don’t reduce it to a system. You don’t control it.
People ask me, “Well, what are you gonna do with this stuff?” “Well, whadya mean?” “Well, what are you do if you find Bigfoot? What are you gonna do with him?” “Well, maybe we’re not gonna do anything with it. Maybe it just is. Maybe it’s just part of the mystery of who we are.”
It’s like the idea is if you can’t put it in a bottle it’s not real. Well, I think our urge to reduce everything to explanations and formulas is part of that; it’s part of the influence of that. We don’t know how to deal with the mystery. We don’t know how to deal with the mystery of our own being.
JSB—Once you commit to one position, if something else comes up that contradicts that you either have to alter the facts to suit yourself or just deny it exists.
RR—I think this qualitative reality—you could say that the psychic part is like a qualitative reality that’s not reducible to a quantitative system, and that’s part of the value of it, that’s part of what makes us human beings is that we can’t be reduced to a system, to a definition, to a formula. And that’s exactly why our culture doesn’t like this stuff, because we want everything reduced and controlled. And we want Nature reduced to something as consumable, and there’s more to it than that. I know that sounds vague, but I don’t really know what to say about it.
SML—It’s not vague. I think people who have the best handle on all this right now are the ones that have a high tolerance for ambiguity, because that’s really what you need to….
SML–…appreciate these things and not get frustrated at the lack of answers to begin with.
RR—Well, we always want answers in terms of something we can nail down, something we can identify or relate to our concepts of ourselves. But what we are may be much more profound than what we imagine it to be. And I think that’s definitely the case. I think that the reason that I’m interested in the parapolitical aspect—if we can have a culture that’s based on scientific materialism, well, what if we had a culture that was based on weird shit?
[Riggs then discusses a documentary on ancient Egypt that had aired the previous night on television.]
It’s amusing to me to watch those shows because these guys had no concept of what those people were doing, they had no concept. Because they had a culture that wasn’t based on scientific materialism. [The filmmakers are] examining all this stuff from the scientific materialistic standpoint—the Egyptians had a reality that was more attuned with the psychic element. The whole purpose of the culture for them was cosmological. And this is typical of many of the ancient cultures.
And many of the ancient cultures that had a knowledge of the energies that we’re talking about in relation to consciousness—among them you could number the Egyptians and the Celts and many of the American Indian cultures, the ancient Chinese—they incorporated that energy and that consciousness into their culture. And many times, their concept of what a culture was totally different from what has developed in the West. I mean, what is the purpose of this culture, can you tell me? [laughs]
RR—It’s like if it’s not consumable, it’s got no value, whereas I think a culture based on the other aspect is more in tune, has a more cosmological world view. You know, many of these cultures would actually build their cities to reflect their concept of what the cosmos was, like the alignment of the pyramids with Orion’s Belt and so on. And they didn’t mention any of that in that show, did they?
And it was interesting to me that they kept talking about how, “This proves that the Egyptians built the Great Pyramid. It wasn’t some lost culture, it wasn’t UFOs, it wasn’t any of this ridiculous stuff,” yet they never explained how they built them. They just assured us that they were dragging these huge rocks up this incline with ropes and it’s ridiculous. It’s obvious that they were doing something that we don’t understand from our present world-view. And it had a technological application. They were able to build pyramids, probably using forces in connection with mind and gravity that we can’t even comprehend.
You know, Keel pointed that out in one of his books—he’s talking about gravity. We don’t even know what gravity is. You can’t even define gravity, even in terms of electro-magnetic parameters. And he says the only thing that counteracts gravity is the human mind. He gave account of his own witnessing of levitations. And it’s real obvious that probably some of these ancient cultures were able to utilize that in their monument building, some kind of levitational, anti-gravitational force, using their minds.
Well, see, we can’t comprehend that because we’ve put this limit on what the mind is. In this culture we’ve put a limitation on what the mind is. We don’t understand what the mind is. And I think these paranormal phenomena are kind of like reminders from our subconscious that the mind is not just this thing that you’ve been taught in the universities and so on.
The mind is of the essence of reality. And I was subjected to that when I was a kid and saw my grandfather removing warts [laughs] off of people. People say, “You know, it’s just mind over matter.” I say, Yeah, and? That’s pretty weird. Mind over matter? That’s pretty weird to me.” The point is, there was a case where the scientific materialistic medicine didn’t work, and yet the mind did.
VII. CONSERVATION AND THE FUTURE
What, then, is to be done? Riggs feels it is not enough for Bigfoot and other anomalies to remain as curious little diversions and oddities. Steps must be taken to not only research anomalous phenomena in more detail, but also to preserve the areas where such phenomena occur. In doing so, he says, we might acquire a deeper knowledge of ourselves as human beings and of the nature of reality itself.
RR–I’ve been researching this stuff for about 25 years, but it’s always been weekend trips. Occasionally I’ve been able to live down there for a while and been able to do a little bit more, but the next step is to try to get some support, some funding support. I have one lead that’s promising. If we can do it, we’d love to set up a foundation to research these phenomena in not just the Big Thicket but areas where this whole range of phenomena occur, the window areas.
I think if we ever got the funding support, people would be blown out by what we would find. And I have another possibility—now this is something—I don’t know exactly quite how to play this, but I have some connections with the media for possibly doing some documentaries on it. There’s some strong interest.
Of course, the thing is, they all wanna have Ph.D.’s. The Ph.D.’s, they have reasons why they don’t wanna research this stuff, you know? One reason is that they didn’t grow up in East Texas. [laughs]
I had a guy call me one night and say, “Well, what are your credentials?” I said, “Well, I’ve been there. You know, I’ve listened to people, I’ve done investigations and I’ve found stuff that I can’t explain—that’s my credentials.” They wanna think that if you don’t have a Ph.D. in biology that you can’t investigate Bigfoot. As a matter of fact, there are some wildlife biologists who are starting to come out, and one in Canada that I know of, John Bindernagel, and he’s a professor of wildlife biology, and he’s basically come out and said, “This is real.” And, you know, jeopardizing his career doing so. There’s a few of them that are starting to come out.
And of course, we wanna avail ourselves of their expertise as well, if we can. But I’m looking to set up a foundation, and we can bring in these people. We can bring in Loren Coleman and John Keel and Bindernagel and these guys. [laughs] Let’s just set ‘em up out there in the woods and we’ll just see how much…[laughs], how bad they wanna know about this. Well, let’s let ‘em have one of them damn things howling at them from 20 foot away and see how bad they wanna know about it!
If we can prove that this stuff is going on in the woods, it’s gonna put a huge, huge pressure on conservation and preserving these places. Any my guys at the Big Thicket Preserve feel the same way. There’s a million acres of land that has recently gone up for sale in the Big Thicket that’s owned by the lumber companies, and the Preserve is all concerned because they don’t know how it’s gonna be developed. The lumber companies were, to some extent, less of a threat than developers, and so they’re real concerned about trying to expand the Preserve, and so they said, “Rob, if you can bring any kind of light on this and show that this is in any way real, it’s gonna put a lotta pressure on preserving these places…
[Bigfoot] would an incredible endangered species, and one that could maybe teach us about our potential. I think that they basically are human, human-like, but I think that it’s just…that they may have just evolved differently in terms of their psychic capacities.
J___ S____ B_____ is a freelance writer who has lived in Austin off and on since 1989.
S. M___ L___ is Editor of Austin Para Times.