One of the things that makes David Paulides’ books so enjoyable to read is that he makes each segment a story in and of itself. Though the Trinity County chapter profiles more than ten Bigfoot sightings, each is related as its own story complete with lots of background information. For example, when he related Jeannie Lewis’ story (starting on page 162) he began with a description and history of Highway 299. From there he went on to explain how this highway figured into Jeannie’s life and her Bigfoot sighting story.
In the section about Shirley Forks, we get to learn a bit about her family’s history in Willow Creek before she takes off on the trip to Medford that resulted in a Bigfoot sighting next to the Trinity River. The time Paulides spends introducing the people involved makes them real to us by bringing forth the details of their lives.
Though in The Hoopa Project he focused on Bigfoot sightings only for most of the book, here he’s also included episodes that had only footprints or other phenomena, somewhat short of actual sightings. Nevertheless they are compelling accounts of highly unusual finds and experiences.
Doug Mortenson’s sighting account was remarkable because he was a logger. We hear few sighting reports from loggers though we know they’re likely to be in the right area at the right time. This particular sighting took place near Friday Ridge Road, a location name that jumped off the page for me as I recalled that just a few weeks ago I was there in Willow Creek where I went to the Friday Ridge Road vicinity, and later heard from Bigfoot Books blogger Steven Streufert that there have been recent sightings in that area. Later that evening after I left Willow Creek, Steven went squatching on that road with Craig Woolheater of Texas, Sharonlee of Ohio, and the Believe It Tour team members: Mike Esoridi, Diana Smith, and Brad Pennock.
There are a lot of Bigfoot reports in this chapter and I can’t write about them all, but will mention a few. In the segment about Mel Hester of Hyampom, a retired US Forest Service employee, he correlated UFO sightings with Bigfoot sightings in his area. Once he went to Big Bar Road to look for an unusual orb light phenomena and instead found Bigfoot tracks in the snow.
John Lewis of San Francisco shared a Bigfoot sighting event that took place in Trinity County in about 1915. His father was a line worker helping to build a railroad south of Eureka when another line worker disappeared. He was missing for about a month then was discovered naked and delirious in a pit. Before he died the man stated that a female ape had kidnapped him and held him captive. At the end of this segment Mr. Paulides shared a couple reports from Ray Crowe’s Track Record newsletter that mentioned rock-lined pits in relation to Bigfoot. One more thing to watch out for in the woods! This was a highly detailed section – you will have to read the book to learn more. If it were not for David Paulides’ research efforts this shocking and historic Bigfoot sighting and kidnapping report would probably never have been recorded!
On page 140 Paulides wrote about his arrival in Hayfork: “I didn’t have any specific names to contact when I arrived, so I knew I would have to canvass the area for locals willing to talk.” His efforts at finding connections in Hayfork and other towns have been very effective and fruitful!
One sad section of the chapter details Bigfoot killings. David Paulides got on this topic because of a report that a sixteen-year-old hunter claimed to have shot a Bigfoot on Knob Peak near Wildwood in Trinity County. Paulides brought forth other reports of Bigfoot killings near the end of this chapter. A very distressing topic! Not only is it distressing because possibly these creatures were killed, but also because now the other Bigfoot family members will be more cautious around humans, and may even harbor animosity toward us. That would make Bigfoot seeking in those areas more dangerous than it otherwise would have been.
Trinity County is a beautiful place to visit. I don’t know how David Paulides got through this entire chapter without mentioning Weaverville, the county seat and a favorite vacation destination of mine. I suppose there aren’t a lot of Bigfoot sightings right in town there but you can visit the Weaverville Joss House State Historic Park and learn about Taoism as practiced by Chinese miners who at one time populated the area. When I first visited the Joss House in the mid-1970s the temple was still being used. The Chinese settlers called this “The Temple of the Forest Beneath The Clouds.”
This spotted owl in the Shasta Trinity Forest probably knows more about Bigfoot than we do!
Photo courtesy of the US Forest Service
Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter One: “Historical Bigfoot”
Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter Two: “The Bigfoot Map Project”
Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter Three: “Associations”
Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter Four: “Extreme Sighting Locations”
Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter Five: “Santa Cruz County”
Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter Six: “Amador County”
Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter Seven: “Trinity County”
Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter Eight: “Siskiyou County”
Tribal Bigfoot – Comments on Chapter Nine: “Del Norte County”