Sunday, April 28, 2024

Estes Park Bigfoot Fest, Day 3

 So, that was Estes Park.

I had some side quests, as always. I spotted a used bookstore behind the theater, called Cliffhanger, and of course had to stop in and buy a book of essays by Barry Lopez. I loved the place and promised to say so, so here it is:

 I’d stopped on the way up at The Crossword in Boulder, a place I’d found on my last visit, picking up books on Alaskan wildlife and Colorado legends.

My writer friend from Colorado Springs, Melissa Marie Rolli, was in town for something else and brought her husband and oldest boy over. She and I talked zoology and writing with Ranae Holland while the men did guy stuff. I reconnected with Lija Fisher, who had a booth for her well-written fiction for younger readers, which I call “Jonny Quest does cryptozoology.” She works with Sasquatch Outpost in Bailey, from whose booth I bought some fuzzy gifts.

Obviously, the highlight for me was talking with Ranae Holland, who accepted gifts of my books and looks forward to future chats. She also did a kindness for someone I love: I’ll leave out the details, but I don’t forget such things. So, I’m definitely a fan. She said a lot of things that surprised me and improved my understanding of the Bigfoot world. We didn’t go into it, but her faith and interest in spiritual phenomena must make her a bit of an outsider among skeptics, too. As a Christian, I think, as she does, that there are some things outside science. I tend to tiptoe around that in my science writing, so she gets an extra point for courage in describing how it’s a key part of her worldview.

To expand on that just a little, me, being Christian means I agree some things are nonphysical in nature.  It doesn't mean any particular things: that is, believing in the Divine does not require me to believe in ghosts or mediums or shapeshifting Sasquatches. It is logical that I accept the possibility, but I need evidence for any particular nonphysical thing, and I've not seen it. Wherever Ranae's answers lie, I hope she finds them: if she tells us what she's found, I'll listen.

And Bigfoot? I didn’t see or hear any new evidence of its existence. I’ve put up my own reward of $5,000 to whoever gets the Bigfoot specimen that results in naming the species in a top journal, and I doubt I will pay out – even though I’d be thrilled to do so. Thankfully, the Estes Park gathering had no hint of the sometimes acrimonious and even dangerous conflicts within the Bigfoot community. It was about trading information, buying stuff, hanging out, and having fun, and by those standards it certainly succeeded.

See you next year.

Matt Bille is a writer, historian, and naturalist living in Colorado Springs. He can be reached at Website:

Read Matt's Latest book, Of Books and Beasts: A Cryptozoologist's Library. This unique reference offers a friendly skeptic's 400 reviews of books on cryptozoology, zoology, related sciences, and cryptozoological fiction. Your search for the world's new and undiscovered animals begins here!


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