Last summer I was working in a local restaurant in Happy Camp when a man I didn’t know came in for lunch. After he finished eating he brought his business card to the counter and introduced himself as David Paulides of North America Bigfoot Search. He told me a bit about his Bigfoot research project in Hoopa. Since I live in Happy Camp I’m used to accidentally meeting up with Bigfoot researchers who are passing through town, so I told him who I was. I figure out-of-town Bigfoot researchers might know me by my website rather than by my name or face. He said he was in town to interview one of my acquaintances.
Months later I learned that David Paulides wrote a book about the Bigfoot research he was doing in Hoopa, a reservation about sixty miles south-west of here. I got a copy of the book, The Hoopa Project, a few weeks ago, and have been reading it – in fact, I finished it this morning. I’m here to tell you it is an amazing book – one that should be in every Bigfoot enthusiast’s library. I cannot recommend it highly enough, but I’ll give it a try.
David Paulides, formerly a law enforcement investigator with thirty years experience, brought his expert interviewing and analytical skills into the field of Bigfoot research. This may not be unique, but his skills along with dedication to the singular project in Hoopa, reflected in his consistent recording of his observations, combined to help him create what is destined to be a classic of Bigfoot research literature.
The Hoopa Project records, in minute detail, Paulides’ systematic analysis of the Hoopa Valley’s climate, plant life, and animal populations. He made many observant inquiries into the probability of Bigfoot habitation. He researched available Bigfoot databases online and charted known sightings on maps. All these preparatory considerations, he shares with us in the initial pages of his book. It could get a bit tedious to read, but it doesn’t because his writing style is easy-going though it does obviously bear the mark of someone trained to write detailed reports in his professional life.
Though the first section of the 333-page book kept my interest, the book didn’t really get going until page 93 when Paulides started sharing his incident reports. At that point, I didn’t want to put the book down. It should be noted that he divided his reports into two categories. The first category, found in chapter four, was for “Incidents Involving Bigfoot”. These include all evidence of Bigfoot except actual sightings. The second category, saved for chapter five, is “Bigfoot Sightings”. He gives us eleven incident reports and thirty-three sightings total, though some observers had more than one incident or sighting.
Each of these reports contained some clue or insight into Bigfoot life and behavior. Included in the incident reports are stories of large boulder-sized rocks being thrown, not to harm, but to frighten humans nearby. Other incidents include screaming and footsteps or footprints. The people who reported these events agreed to have their pictures taken and allowed their names to be used. They were all very believable and the ones who had sightings signed affidavits to validate their claims.
What enhanced these sighting reports was Paulides’ decision to hire an experienced forensic artist, Harvey Pratt, to make accurate drawings of what each sighting witness saw. Toward the end of the book Paulides shared his process in choosing Pratt, which started with an internet search and ended with a perfect match. Because Hoopa is a Native American reservation with members of the Yurok, Karuk, and Hoopa tribes revealing their Bigfoot encounters, it helped that Harvey Pratt is also Native American, a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes. He also has over 40 years law enforcement experience including FBI training and years of work with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations. Native American or not, Harvey Pratt was prepared for this job!
What came from the forensic drawings, in which Bigfoot sighting reporters shared their observations of the creature while he drew, is a series of astounding picture-perfect renditions of what these creatures actually look like. The images that came from this will open your eyes to the reality that Bigfoot is not all that different than we are. You will finally see why so many who have had Bigfoot encounters are saying, “It looked more like a human than like an animal.”
This book was created by professional law enforcement investigators, and the result is exactly what you would expect from people bringing that kind of experience to the table. If you’re looking for scientific details, you won’t get them, but you do get plenty of analysis, clearly stated reporting, and phenomenal forensic art.
Combine their skills with the location – a wide, fertile valley in the midst of heavily forested wilderness – and you have the possibility of great field work opportunities for Bigfoot researchers. Add to this the beautiful Native American people who live in the Hoopa Valley, who were open-hearted enough to consider trusting David Paulides with their surprising and peaceful encounters, and you’ve got access to some of the best Bigfoot incident and sighting stories ever told. And besides the Native Americans, there are several non-Natives represented who had Bigfoot encounters of their own to share.
On a personal note, I was thrilled to see faces I recognized and countryside I’ve traveled to and through many times. Some of the people photographed for the book are Karuks, and I live less than half a mile from the Karuk Tribe’s central office in Happy Camp. I’ve been to their annual Karuk Tribal Reunion, and to their Basketweavers’ Gathering, so I felt like I was seeing a new side to old friends. I’m very happy everyone who participated felt comfortable enough with David Paulides to reveal what happened to them.
I’d like to take this time and space to thank everyone who participated by sharing details about their Bigfoot incidents and encounters. I’m in deep gratitude as I’m sure many others who read these reports will be in years to come. Thank you for showing us that Sasquatches really do exist.
Part of David Paulides’ plan for the book is to present it to lawmakers in hopes of having Bigfoot protection legislation passed. I feel this is a noble cause, and support it. I also understand the feelings of Hoopa forestry employees that worried that Bigfoot protection legislation might destroy the Tribe’s forest industries projects. Therefore I hope that any forthcoming law making will be done on a local basis by the Tribal Councils and County Boards of Supervisors, not by State or Federal legislators who may be out of touch with the needs of Northern California counties, especially in rural areas.
Case in point: Environmentalists and the Endangered Species Act forced the closure of the sawmill in Happy Camp in the 1990s. What was once a thriving mid-forest town suddenly became a town of empty buildings and sad, wasted lives. It took many years for our town to start to recover and in the meantime many local families were devastated from income loss. Any Bigfoot protection legislation that does not share a focus with the needs of the people of this region, including but not limited to Hoopa residents, would not be welcome. I liked the examples of Bigfoot protection laws David Paulides included in this book; they are simple and to the point. Bigfoot is obviously very closely related to human beings, and should not be shot.
By the way, in case you don’t realize it, Hoopa is only a few miles south of the site of the famous Patterson-Gimlin film at Bluff Creek. There’s a lot of Bluff Creek Bigfoot information in the pages of this book.
For more information about the Hoopa Valley and the Tribe, please see their website, Hoopa Valley Tribe, where there’s a beautiful photo of the entire valley on the main page.
There’s a recent news article about David Paulides online: Tracking Bigfoot no small feat for local detective.
David Paulides’ website: North America Bigfoot Search.
There’s some wonderful Bigfoot art prints for sale on Harvey Pratt’s website. None of these drawings are the ones included in The Hoopa Project but I think any Bigfoot researcher would appreciate having this kind of art in his or her home. I especially like the one called “Researchers Last View”.
[Important Note: Explorations into the forested areas of the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation are not permissible without a permit unless you’re a member of the tribe. Do NOT leave paved roadways while you’re in the reservation area unless you’ve received your permit to do so.]