Cryptozoology, BioForteana, Zoological Oddities, Unusual Natural History

BioFortean Review Book Review

Written by James M. Smith:

Bigfoot Sightings of East Central Alabama (Chambers, Lee, Randolph & Tallapoosa Co.). 2000. (approx. 48 pp.) $6.00.
Sasquatch: Alabama Bigfoot Sightings. 2003. (approx. 66 pp.) $7.50.
Bigfoot and Other Mystery Animals of Alabama. 2004. (approx. 74 pp.) $7.50

Reviewed by Chad Arment

While browsing postings on Ebay, I came across these self-published booklets on Alabama Bigfoot sightings, and decided to check them out. More often than not, self-published regional works often include some of the more interesting sighting reports, and usually offer more specifics than a book that covers the entire country. These booklets have apparently been around a while, but may not be as well-known as books offered through online bookstore distribution channels. They are inexpensive, being printed from desktop publishing with stapled binding. Illustrations include photos and sketches by the author. The sketches come out much better than the photos, which are sometimes difficult to see. Basic editing is O.K., though spelling problems are noted throughout the booklets.

The author has spent some time interviewing witnesses, so the bulk of the booklets are stories of various encounters with hairy giants. Several of these are fairly interesting—a farm foreman who treed a red-haired giant with a pack of dogs, encounters with police officers, an animal hit by a car (claimed to look like Harry from Harry and the Hendersons), bipedal creatures fording a river, etc. The stories come from the 1970s to the early years of this decade. The third booklet includes stories of other strange creatures reported in Alabama: a giant snake in a local fish pond, a giant "coyote," several black panther sightings, and giant catfish in Lake Martin.

These are interesting booklets, and assuming the reports are not also found on a Bigfoot website anywhere, should be of some interest to Bigfoot specialists. The booklets' arrangements are somewhat haphazard. There are a few minor speculative sidetrails (Bigfoot in the Bible, UFOs, etc.), though the bulk appears to focus on a physical Bigfoot. (The author investigates a wide range of other phenomena.)

There is no real analysis of the stories; this makes them more interesting from a folkloric standpoint than a scientific one. As one example, the chapter in Sasquatch on a photograph of a "mystery" skeletal arm reflects a tendency for paranormal investigators to overlook uncommon, but natural, explanations. The arm, as noted by the author, has claws. But, beyond ruling out a human source, the author offers no real insight. It really is highly unlikely that a large unknown bipedal primate would have claws. And, we know that bear paws, after decomposition, have a very "human"-like appearance. (Skeletal anthropomorphism?) There is no indication in the chapter that this was considered as a possibility.

These booklets can be ordered from the author.

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