When it comes to the paranormal and unexplained, the mystery of Bigfoot is pretty much at the top of my list of interests. Sure, I’m a paranormal investigator and am very much into ghosts and hauntings, but for me, if anything deemed “paranormal” has a chance of being scientifically proven in my lifetime, it’s probably Bigfoot. It takes fewer leaps of faith than believing in ghosts, and far fewer assumptions than believing in UFOs and alien visitors to Earth. So for me, Bigfoot is possibly the most “probable” of these kinds of phenomena. As I mentioned last week, I recently got into podcasts, starting with Talk Is Jericho by WWE superstar Chris Jericho, and I immediately saw that he had a lot of paranormally-themed episodes. One that caught my eye was his interview with Wes Germer, host of a podcast called Sasquatch Chronicles. On Talk Is Jericho, Wes detailed the encounter he and his brother Woody had with a group of Sasquatch one night on Yacolt Mountain, and I decided to check out his podcast, as he mentioned he had eyewitnesses on every week relating their own experiences. Wes seemed like a very nice, down to earth guy, and seemed sincere. So I subscribed and prepared to be dazzled by stories of Bigfoot, as told by everyday people.
I started with the 200th Episode celebration shows (it was in two parts), and I also downloaded some older ones. While I enjoyed the episodes, I immediately noticed some inconsistencies in the hosting. Sometimes it was just Wes by himself, other times his brother Woody joined him, and at other times it was a guy named Duke, or a guy named Mo, who were apparently part of a Bigfoot hunting group that ran tours and camp outs. Most of the older episodes were co-hosted by Will Jenving, who was trained by famed Bigfoot researcher René Dahinden. And if you didn’t know that little factoid, you’d definitely know it after listening to any show that Jenving co-hosted, as he mentions the fact that he knew René Dahinden what feels like 100 times per episode. All teasing aside, I will say that Jenving brought some expertise to the show, as Germer would be the first to tell you that he’s no expert on Bigfoot, because he doesn’t have one in his garage he can study (one of many phrases he likes to use once per episode, at minimum). Anyway, this shuffling of co-hosts was just one of many red flags I noticed about the show as time went on.
Hosting inconsistencies I can understand. Schedules get in the way, people can get sick, etc. I get that. But other things started to bother me about the show. A lot of the witnesses that were interviewed (and by a lot, I mean quite nearly every single one) would tell their stories in very similar ways. There was just a certain shared timbre and rhythm to their accounts, always giving the same kinds of details about the same specific things at the same points in their recollections. It didn’t come off as natural, and I started getting the impression that many of them had been coached beforehand. In fact, Germer acknowledges that he speaks to almost every guest off the air first. Hardly damning evidence of any prior coaching, but still odd. As someone who interviews people for a living, I know when someone has been coached and isn’t speaking naturally. Everyone has their own little idiosyncrasies, and I was finding a disturbing lack of uniqueness in most of his guests. Many of them just have this rote, almost robotic way of giving their testimonies. Again, I could almost get past it if it was about formatting for the show, but that wasn’t it, and it bothered me. And the oddities went deeper still.
Pretty much every guest on the show would toe the line that Wes and Woody had seemingly set up: that Bigfoot is EVIL and wants nothing more than to kill you and eat you. And I mean I get it – if Bigfoot exists, it’s probably akin to a great ape, and most likely will have the ability to kill you and eat you – if it wanted to. But apes are not inherently evil, and as Harambe just showed the world, they even sometimes have the ability to be protective. So while I believe some Bigfoot encounters can be aggressive, my years of reading about and researching the topic has shown me that this is usually the exception, not the rule. Most people who claim to see Bigfoot report a shy, docile creature who retreats once it realizes it has been spotted. So it started becoming hard for me to believe that every witness on these 200-plus shows had encountered an aggressive, violent, and EVIL Bigfoot.
There was more. Germer’s own account of his sighting didn’t make a lot of sense to me. He was describing creatures that had athletic builds more akin to cartoonish superheroes rather than an actual biological creature, and it just didn’t jive with what witnesses have been reporting for hundreds of years. Some of the details should have been hard to see from the inside of a car at 3:00am in the woods. Of course the fact that he didn’t see one Bigfoot, but rather a group of 3, or 4, or 5, or possibly more, and they were attacking the car, raised more suspicions. It sounded more like a bad SyFy movie (I know, that’s redundant) than a real-life encounter with a shy forest ape.
And I’m not the only one who noticed these red flags. Brad Lockwood, author of many books including On Giants: Mounds, Monsters, Myth & Man and a guest on Episode 66 of The Sasquatch Chronicles, noticed many of these things too. As Lockwood says:
In order to listen to “Sasquatch Chronicles,” you had to accept two things: Bigfoot exists and it will kill you! There’s no middle-ground. This monster is to be feared, avoided. Seasoned hunters ended their accounts with, “I don’t even hunt anymore, and I only go into the woods armed…” Oh, and anyone who tries to interact with Bigfoot, offering gifts of food and receiving bones or other small tokens as thanks, was a “flute-player.” In hindsight, its message was cowardly, yet “Sasquatch Chronicles” simply offered too many spine-tingling experiences to miss a single episode.
Those who see Bigfoot as a peaceful loner tolerating us trespassing in its forest were openly mocked in the “Sasquatch Chronicles” community, while those who fear and want to kill one— and bust the government that is supposedly covering-up its existence—are praised. Fear-mongering an animal that has never been scientifically proven to exist quickly became the hallmark of “Sasquatch Chronicles.” This started to really irk me.
As for the aforementioned hosting inconsistencies? Apparently Wes and his brother Woody had some disagreements, and they now have an on-again, off-again sort of relationship. The story of their encounter was being shown to have more and more holes in it. And Will Jenving left for these reasons as well. Lockwood explains:
Then, on March 16, 2015, Jevning abruptly resigned from “Sasquatch Chronicles.” He wrote on the site: “I am leaving for personal reasons. There has been a lot of controversy recently surrounding Wes and Woody’s situation and I have a reputation to protect as an author. Reputation is everything…”
Unbeknownst to me, the brothers’ story was being ripped apart. Their horrific experience with multiple Bigfoot in Washington State probably never happened. Shocked? Believe it or not, we all were at first.
Foremost, there wasn’t a full moon that night. There was actually no moon on November 15, 2012, a fact overlooked by those of us who wanted to believe, yet easily verifiable on the Internet. The brothers’ account mentioned many guns but no night vision, so it’s highly dubious they could have seen anything so clearly, and so far away, at 3 am. Assorted posts on Reddit and opposition communities on Facebook were parsing every detail of the brothers’ Bigfoot encounter, including weather reports from Portland, Oregon’s PDX (cloud cover at 1,000 feet, rainy), even a pitch-black account from a couple whose car broke-down near Yacolt Mountain that night. “Solar flares” is just one lame excuse offered on the show after the lunar issue arose.
Lockwood goes on even further, pointing out many of the things I detailed above, as well as some insider issues. It’s a good read, and just goes to show that just because someone has a good story doesn’t always mean it’s a true story. That doesn’t necessarily mean that all the guests are fabricating stories as well, but Sasquatch Chronicles has an agenda to push, and Germer (or whomever is backing him) is far from subtle about it. I’m sure there are many people who are coming to these same conclusions about the show. I listened to the episode where Brad Lockwood was interviewed, and while I didn’t agree with all of his theories, I applaud and respect him for taking a stance and distancing himself from the show, as did Jenving. Bigfoot research should not be about belief or faith or mob mentality. It’s about looking at all of the available information to form a conclusion, and recognizing when things don’t quite add up, no matter how badly you may want them to.
Like I mentioned earlier, I like hearing eyewitness testimony, and it’s the main reason why a show like Finding Bigfoot is such a guilty pleasure of mine. But the witnesses on that show never seem coached, and when something seems fishy, they are occasionally called out on it (yes, even by Matt Moneymaker!). But Wes Germer never really does that. In fact, every single interview contains a few instances of him saying “I tend to agree with you…” You can really make a drinking game out of this podcast, with how many specific phrases are repeated. I still subscribe, because every now and then, on those rarest of rare occasions, there is a witness on who didn’t have 3 separate sightings of Bigfoot, or who didn’t encounter a Bigfoot who wanted to eat them. But for the most part, this is not really a show for anyone who truly wants to hear a wide range of open-minded thoughts on the subject. And so my search for a good Bigfoot podcast continues…
Verdict: SUBSCRIBE (but with caution)