After collaborating on my latest book, Bigfoot in the Bronx, Sasquatch and I celebrated by taking a four day bender fueled by cheap whisky and expensive cigars. Truth be told, I vaguely remember where we went during that trippy odyssey. It was all about celebrating the success of an interspecies project and just plain having fun after a year in lockdown and the mental assault of pandemic mania brought on by way too much media consumption. We were done and we were free to roam about the cabin.
Now the book was out, the party ended and we parted ways for a few weeks, Sassy disappearing into the wilds of the Catskills (where I hoped he wouldn’t come across the Wraith!) and I back to my belfry of broken dreams. He’d told me he had matters to attend to, while I had another book to start. We agreed to meet after a spell at the Little Red Lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge. There, we’d fish the Hudson, take in some sun and crack a few imperial IPAs.
Not one to waste a special moment, I asked Sassy if he would agree to an interview that I could share with my readers. It’s one thing to enjoy the fictional madness we had concocted, but another to get some insight into what it’s like to be a cryptid in a world of crushing, idiotic humanity. He clipped off the end of a Nat Sherman cigar, ate a raw fish he’d snagged a few moments before, and said, “Sure. Why the fuck not?”
What follows is all real, and so very, very true.
HUNTER – We humans have given you and your kind a load of monikers over the decades. What do you prefer to be called, other than Sassy?
SASQUATCH – Let’s get this out there now. You are the ONLY person who can call me Sassy. I mean, you get me, man, so we’re cool. But if someone came to my neck of the woods and tried that, things probably wouldn’t end well for them. For me, personally, I dig Bigfoot because look at these U-boats! That’s an undeniably big foot. In a formal setting, I’ll take Mr. Foot, too, I guess. And hey, we all know what it means when you have big feet.
HUNTER – I’m well aware, since you don’t wear pants. When you’re not hanging with this mid-list horror writer, where do you spend your time?
MR. FOOT (because it sounds funnny) – Let’s just say the Catskills. I have family and friends up there, and the last thing we need is Matt Moneymaker and Bobo coming up and invading our space. Nice guys and all, but after they leave, a gaggle of idiots come swarming in. You humans are loud and messy and annoying as hell with all that wood knocking. It’s like trying to sleep next to a demented woodpecker.
HUNTER – So, wood knocking is a myth?
MR. FOOT – Total. I don’t know who made that up, but it didn’t come from us. We’re not Neanderthals. We know how to speak. Do you just randomly pound on a tree when you want to talk to someone?
HUNTER – Never have.
MR. FOOT – Exactly. It’s dumb. Plus, it hurts the trees. I’m not saying I’m a tree hugger, but I do respect nature.
HUNTER – If you could have voted in the last presidential election, who would you have voted for?
MR. FOOT – Seriously? I would have voted both candidates off the quote, un-quote island. There are many reasons we keep to the shadows, and that’s just a glaring example. Shit, I’d rather see a Chupacabra in office than anyone you’d selected. And Chupacabras are jerks. But at least they have a lick of common sense and a moral compass.
HUNTER – Wait, Chupacabras are real?
MR. FOOT – If you don’t believe, ask any random goat.
HUNTER – Okay, let me switch gears. When we were working on Bigfoot in the Bronx, we took a little trip through my old stomping grounds one night.
MR. FOOT – Brilliant idea to do it during Halloween.
HUNTER – And that’s when you told me we had to set the book during Halloween, too. Remember how I wanted to set it during Groundhog Day?
MR. FOOT – Yeah, that still doesn’t make sense.
HUNTER – Considering how much we argued about it last time, I’m going to just let it go. Anyway, what were your impressions of the Bronx.
MR. FOOT – First, I dig how you people call it the Bronx. It’s like that with my kind. We live in the woods, not just woods. I have to say, I liked the tiny street your grew up on. Kinda quaint, which I wasn’t expecting. And that cemetery! There’s a world of history under that dirt. I could have explored that place for weeks.
HUNTER – Pardon the interruption, but you mentioned the cemetery. A lot of people claim that since they never find a Sasquatch body, you can’t exist. Some say that like us, you bury your dead. Is that true?
MR. FOOT – Different tribes handle it their own way. I once ran across this extended family down near Fouke who ate their dead. (Visibly shivers). Not cool, man. For us, we’re all about the cyclical nature of life and death. We know how difficult it can be to find a good meal when you’re a large mammal. We’re very in tune with others like us, say, like bears and big cats. When we die, we’re brought to where those guys hang out and fill their bellies.
HUNTER – Sounds pretty gruesome.
MR. FOOT – I mean, we’re dead at that point, so it’s not like we give an antelope’s asshole what happens to our body. Anyway, back to the Bronx, it was a cool place. That is, until you took me to where the subway runs. Look, I mark my territory, too, but the smell of urine there is bat crap crazy. What is with you people? And speaking of people, how can you live on top of each other like that? There’s a big, beautiful world out there. Why resign yourself to living like canned sardines? I have to say, when we were done, I kinda felt sorry for you as a species.
HUNTER – That’s funny, because my readers felt sorry for your character in the book.
MR. FOOT – Well, it was about time you didn’t just go all hog wild on killing cryptids. You’ve always been a stand up guy to me, but there are some cryptids out there who have dart boards with your face on them.
HUNTER – Jesus, really?
MR. FOOT – Oh yeah. What if I wrote twenty books about killing humans? You think I would be on any human Christmas card lists? No way. If you ever plan to go searching for a cryptid, come to me first. I’ll let you know if you’ll be treading on friendly ground or not.
HUNTER – Like the Jersey Pine Barrens?
MR. FOOT – That is now a no-go. JD is pretty pissed at you.
HUNTER – Telling a New Yorker to stay out of Jersey isn’t a bad thing. Now, speaking of whisky.
MR. FOOT – We weren’t talking about whisky.
HUNTER – Hey, I’m the interviewer here. What’s your favorite adult beverage of choice?
MR. FOOT – Honestly? I know you and I have poured a lot of that brown fire water down our necks, but if I had my way, I’d be just as happy with one of those Skinny Girl margaritas. Or their peach vodka. Good stuff, and I don’t have to worry about counting calories.
HUNTER – Are you messing with me?
MR. FOOT – Hell no. My wife loves it, too. Saturday afternoons, after a day of wrangling the kids, we like to split a bottle and just chill as we watch the sun set.
HUNTER – How many kids do you have?
MR. FOOT – Three with my current wife. I have seven in total from a mix of exes and a hookup here and there.
HUNTER – Sasquatches have hookups?
MR. FOOT – Unlike you, we don’t fight against our nature. It’s all about survival of the species, man. Don’t look at me funny. I’ve noticed quite a few of your kind excelling at spreading their seed. Like the world needs more humans. Sheesh.
HUNTER – This is not going where I had expected.
MR. FOOT – I’ve read your books. Neither is your career. (laughs his fool head off) I’m just kidding. You know I love you.
HUNTER – As much as the Jersey Devil hates me?
MR. FOOT – I wouldn’t go that far. The wife might get jealous.
HUNTER – Are there any other things you’d like people to know about you that they wouldn’t have guessed in a thousand years?
MR. FOOT – I like to retain some mystery. But let me see. You know those shirts that all say we’re the hide and seek champions? As a general rule, we HATE that game. Give me Stratego or poker any day. We’re much deeper thinkers than you give us credit for. I’ve binge watched the entire series of Homeland about four times.
HUNTER – Wait, you live in the middle of nowhere. How can you watch television?
MR. FOOT – (with a smile) That’s for me to know. I’m huge into Tex-Mex. Got a taste for it when I lived down in south Texas. Oh, and my favorite color is puce.
HUNTER – Puce? I don’t even know what that would look like.
MR. FOOT – Google it, buddy. Puce with a p-u. (laughs)
HUNTER – We need more cigars. How about we end this and go grab some?
MR. FOOT – Can we get some Skinny Girl?
HUNTER – Really? That’s how you want to end this? My readers will think you’re a wimp.
MR. FOOT – Yeah, well, the day they can call me that to my face is the day a T-Rex will march in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
HUNTER – Good point.
As the great Bugs Bunny said, That’s All Folks! At least for now. Want to make Sassy a happy Squatch? Grab a copy of BIGFOOT IN THE BRONX. And next time you’re deep in the woods, leave a bottle of Skinny Girl margarita behind. Oh, and stop knocking on trees!
It’s been a while since I posted a list of Bigfoot movies. Amazingly, there are quite a few out there, most of them beyond bad, but some gems in the bunch. Here are the ones that had floated my boat recently that are definitely worth a watch. Remember Hellions, don’t go in the woods alone.
If you ever wanted to see a Squatch hunt humans with a bow and arrow, all your wishes come true with Primal Rage!
If a Bigfoot movie with Dee Wallace, Jeffrey Combs, Lance Henriksen, and Tiffany Shepis doesn’t make your motor hum, I don’t know what will. I loved the face on this squatch.
Hoax takes a few wild twists and turns, with a third act so bat crap crazy, it’s a must watch for squatchers.
BOGGY CREEK 2 – THE LEGEND CONTINUES
I’m not a huge fan of the first Boggy Creek movie, but damn, if you want to have some adult beverages and have fun with friends, Boggy Creek 2 is all you need. I watched it with my Hellions on Patreon and that was one fine afternoon.
NIGHT OF THE DEMON
The title doesn’t sound like a Bigfoot movie. This one is for the gore lovers. Feast on!
Believe it or not, it’s pure coincidence that the release of Bigfoot in the Bronx happens to fall on the same day as King Kong vs. Godzilla. I could never have planned it so well. Trust me.
So, who wants to squatch this place up?
It’s hunting season for best friends Shay and Vito. This year, with a bad economy and Shay out of work, it’s more important than ever to bag a deer so they can feed their families. Tucking their truck in their secret spot outside a state park in the Catskills, they settle down, waiting for a deer to come to them.
What they get is a giant creature that outruns a speeding deer and savages it with its bare hands and jagged teeth. Someone hidden in the woods shoots it with a tranquilizer dart. Shay knows what the beast at their feet is, and how its discovery can change their lives forever. They load it into their truck and head home for…
The drugged Bigfoot awakens in a cramped shed in Shay’s backyard. Confused, terrified, angry, it breaks loose in the middle of the night, seeking refuge in a nearby cemetery. When the bagpipes of a morning funeral drive it into a killing rage, the carnage has just begun.
From playgrounds to golf courses, apartment buildings to subway cars, the bigfoot is on the move – and it’s not happy. Can Shay and Vito find and recapture the beast before it burns the Bronx to the ground?
With the re-release of Ghost Mine this week, I thought I’d give you Hellions a little primer on what to expect and some of the real history and lore behind the story. I literally put everything but the kitchen sink into Ghost Mine, so like a good Boy or Girl Scout, you need to be prepared.
When it originally came out as Hell Hole, I got a ton of letters asking me about the eerie black-eyed kids (not the Black Eyed Peas) that pop up in the book. There are numerous tales about these strange children in paranormal history. Here’s a great article by UFOlogist Ryan Sprague about the big, bad BEC’s – CAN WE COME IN?
Now, you know how much I love Bigfoot. In the era that Ghost Mine takes place, there were tales in the west about hairy Wild Men, but it was decades before they were given the terrible nickname, Bigfoot. Here’s a great article about the Wild Men of yesteryear I found in Cowboys & Indians Magazine called TALL TALES.
Aside from being cowboys, our heroes, Nat Blackburn and Teta Delacruz, are war veterans, having ridden with Teddy Roosevelt as part of his Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War in Cuba. Check out this nice and short video on the tough as nails Rough Riders.
Ghost Mine is set in the abandoned mining town of Hecla, Wyoming, which is an actual mining ghost town! Reading about it is what inspired me to write the book. A couple of years ago, some dude made a video of his trip to Hecla. I kept waiting for something to snatch this guy up and drag him into a mine. If he even was in Hecla. Either way, it amused me for a spell.
Of course, the book is also chocked full of stories of ghosts, Djinn and so much more. I invite you all to mosey on down to your bookstore or laptop to rustle up a copy of Ghost Mine and tell me what you think of my yarn. I’ll be tipping back a bottle of whiskey and waitin’ for you to come a calling.
Bigfoot battling Chupacabras to the death! The Jersey Devil squaring off in an aerial fight with Thunderbirds! Mongolian Death Worms rising from the earth to swallow up Mothman! Dover Demons running rampant! Loch Ness Monsters bursting from the Loch to devour villages! The world is overrun with monsters, and only a select few can stop the madness.
Imagine all of that and so much more. Welcome to my Patreon exclusive choose your adventure monthly serial, CLASH OF THE CRYPTIDS!
Starting in September, we’re going to make history together with the first ever choose your adventure horror novel. CLASH OF THE CRYPTIDS will feature returning characters from my past books, including :
Rooster Murphy (Swamp Monster Massacre)
Nick Brogna (The Dover Demon)
Natalie & Austin McQueen, and Henrik Kooper (Loch Ness Revenge, Savage Jungle)
The Willet clan and Norm Cranston (The Jersey Devil)
Dalton Gray (The Montauk Monster)
And a few more surprise guests.
For just $1 a month, you not only get to read each monthly installment, but vote on where the next chapter will take us. A poll will be posted after each chapter and YOU DECIDE the next chapter. For $3 a month, you’ll also be a character that will eventually become cryptid chow. Monsters gotta eat! For $5 a month, you’ll receive a print edition of the book when it’s complete. And all pledge levels get other exclusive access and behind the scenes peeks into my insane life.
So, if you want to be part of cryptid history, visit Patreon today and become a true blue Hellion. We’re taking the cryptid mania right to 11.
Special shout out goes to Jerry Mulcahy for designing some of the best damn artwork for this beast of a book!
Strap in folks. The world’s about to get a whole lot more interesting.
Oh baby, do I love this cover! Severed Press nailed it. This is exactly the kind of cover I had hoped for when this nasty skunk ape novella first came out with Samhain. Word on the grapevine is the book will be available, in ebook and for the first time PRINT, in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
As for my other Samhain titles, I’m in talks with an esteemed publisher about getting them all back out in the world. Can’t wait to be able to tell you about it.
So, what do you all think?
At some point while I was watching the premier of THE VOID (meh), my latest Severed Press book, SAVAGE JUNGLE (LAIR OF THE ORANG PENDEK), came screaming into this world like a demented squatch baby.
They are called the Orang Pendek, masters of the steamy Sumatran rain forest.
Henrik Kooper watched his father die at the brutal hands of the orange-haired ape men. Having barely survived helping twins Natalie and Austin McQueen discover and destroy the beasts lurking in Loch Ness, it’s now his turn for vengeance. Within the treacherous jungles of Sumatra lies the fabled lost city of Gadang Ur. Its secrets are guarded by a savage band of Orang Pendek who lord over the strange and deadly creatures of the hidden land. Utter madness is the lifeblood of Gadang Ur. Henrik’s journey into darkness will take them to the ragged edge of hell on Earth.
Some places were never meant to be discovered.
As an added bonus, here’s a sample chapter to get you in the mood for some Orang Pendek fury…
Austin handed Natalie a gun. She couldn’t remember what kind it was, but it was heavy and looked deadly. He said to Oscar, “Do we just stay here and mow them down?”
“Heavens no,” Henrik said, calmly slamming a cartridge home in his assault weapon of choice. “We’d never survive. The hope is that our guns frighten them enough to veer them away from our position.”
Natalie shrugged her shoulders. “Of course. Why didn’t I think of that?”
The ground shook as they came crashing closer. Their terrified bellows echoed throughout the jungle. Hearing them, feeling them, but not being able to see where they were coming from was absolutely terrifying.
Oscar said, “Just be ready to run. If we get split up, we meet back here.”
“Easy for you to say,” Austin said, the muscles in his neck bulging like ropes. “I have no freaking clue where here is.”
Henrik coolly added, “Just follow the path the elephants are sure to make. They’re better and faster than bulldozers.”
Natalie’s knees nearly buckled. She wasn’t sure if it was from exhaustion, fear, or the rumbling of the earth, which was making it hard to keep her footing.
Please take a detour. Please take a detour. Nothing to see here. No need to trample the Orang Pendek hunters.
She hadn’t noticed the porters taking their machetes to the brush behind them, clearing a bit of a path for their escape. At least it gave them some room to step back and see which way the elephants were going. Bambang handed his machete over to her.
“No, you keep it,” she said.
He shook his head, refusing to let her give it back to him.
“They’re definitely headed straight for us,” Oscar said, taking a blind shot with the elephant gun. The report was deafening. Henrik fired off a few rounds as well. Then Austin joined in.
“Is it doing anything?”
The look Oscar flashed didn’t ease her fears.
They all stepped back as far as they could go, until their backs were against the endless wall of vegetation. Natalie almost tripped over an exposed root as thick as her calf. Austin reached out and grabbed her by her shirt.
“I’m shitting myself. Is anyone else shitting themselves?” she asked.
“I think it’s safe to say we’re all going to need a change of pants,” her brother said, eyes locked dead ahead.
There came a great crashing of branches and trees, centuries-old oaks snapping like dry toothpicks. The jungle tableau swayed back and forth in anticipation of the runaway freight train of excited pachyderms.
Now, even Natalie joined in their desperate attempt to scare them off with firepower. The gun’s kickback smashed the stock into her ribs. She didn’t feel a thing. Abject fear had made her numb.
When the first elephant broke through, rearing its trunk with an ear-splitting roar, she could only stare with mute horror. Everyone had stopped firing their weapons.
She felt a hand at her collar, someone tugging her backwards.
Natalie couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
A second, third, fourth and so many more elephants came crashing into view, their eyes wild not with terror but unadulterated menace.
Because they weren’t alone.
Riding atop each wild elephant was a small, orange-haired being that looked like a cross between an orangutan and a man.
The Orang Pendek rode the elephant herd right at them, crying out with beastly wails that turned her bowels to water.
I know, Hellions, that’s one strange ass title for a blog post, but that’s exactly what it’s all about.
Thanks goes out to an old friend, Brenda B., for sharing this photo and story with me. Somehow, during my research into the Jersey Devil, I missed this! Back in the 60’s in New Jersey, a cow and a deer carcass somehow made it to the top of a telephone pole. Locals attributed it to their friendly neighborhood monster.
Cryptozoologists say the Jersey Devil has kept a very low profile since the early 1900s, but if you go out and talk to the people who live there, you’ll get a completely different opinion. And here’s another shocker – I can’t believe how many folks have first hand Bigfoot encounters in the Pine Barrens. I’ve spoken to quite a few, some of them still visibly upset, even if it happened years ago.
I wonder if this was the Jersey Devil’s idea of a pinata? Maybe she just wanted to throw a party for her horrid offspring.
And speaking of horrid offspring, Pinnacle has discounted all of my books for the month of February. You can snag an ebook of The Montauk Monster for $1.99, The Jersey Devil for 99 cents or Tortures of the Damned for 99 cents. Time to load up those e-readers on the cheap!
What’s the strangest thing ever found on a telephone pole? For me, we threw a Batman figure that had a parachute attached to our phone line. It stayed there for about 10 years, poor Batsy’s color fading with each year.
We recently interviewed Lyle Blackburn on the Monster Men to discuss his new movie, Boggy Creek Monster, and book, Monstro Bizzaro. If you’re obsessed with cryptids like I am, Lyle is one of the best investigators in the field today. His previous books, The Beast of Boggy Creek and Lizard Man have prominent positions on my bookshelf.
When all was said and done, I realized I still had a few more questions I’d wanted to ask. So, here is the original video interview along with the bonus questions Lyle was kind enough to answer. Now let’s go squatchin!
We’re very much alike in that we grew up fascinated by tales of Bigfoot and other creatures (as well as a fondness for The Creature from the Black Lagoon!). How did you take the leap from being a rocker in Ghoultown to cryptid reporter?
LB : In addition to being a musician, I’ve always worked as a writer. Among other things, I wrote for a rock magazine and then for Rue Morgue (www.rue-morgue.com) as their cryptozoology-meets-horror columnist. I’ve always wanted to write a book, so I decided to take some time off from the band to pursue that. I ended up choosing one of my favorite subjects, The Legend of Boggy Creek. Once I started investigating these sort of cryptid cases and writing the books, I really enjoyed it so I continued. I always thought the job of a professional writer sounded boring, but this brought me to interesting places and I met interesting people as part of the writing process – not to mention it involved my fascination with cryptids. My band Ghoultown still plays and records, but we don’t tour like we used to.
One of the best things you bring to the field of cryptozoology is your straightforward, journalistic approach to researching and educating people about creatures like the Boggy Creek Monster and the Lizard Man of Bishopville. You report the stories and the facts as they are without dramatization for the sake of titillating your readers. What made you decide to go in this direction and do you think the field needs more level headed reporting so it can be taken more seriously by the mainstream media and public?
LB: I think these stories are fascinating unto themselves without trying to sway people toward a certain point of view. I just tell the story, report the facts, and let whatever evidence speak for itself. I like to take the reader along as I investigate and give them credit to make up their own mind.
Who are some of your biggest influences and why?
LB: As far as writing and cryptozoology, I would say John Green and Loren Coleman. Green always had a level-headed approach to Sasquatch research and presented the stories in an engaging way. He also paid attention to details and getting the facts correct as best he could. Coleman, of course, paved the way for the modern cryptozoology researcher and has investigated so many of the seminal cases. Many times as I’m doing research, when I trace an investigation back to its original source, Coleman was there first. I’m honored that he wrote the Foreword for my first book, The Beast of Boggy Creek. It’s like having one of your heroes endorse your efforts. So cool.
Out of all the photographic and video evidence for Bigfoot, which to you is the most compelling evidence that it is real? And with just about everyone having a camera/videocam in their pockets, why aren’t we getting more solid evidence? Could it be we are but because it’s so easy to fake now, the real deal might be hiding in plain sight?
LB: To me, the footprints represent the most compelling evidence. Examples such as the Elkins Creek cast from Georgia stand out, especially when I’ve been able to interview the police officer who originally discovered the track.
As far as all the photos and videos, it’s really hard to discern between what might be real and what is a possible case of pareidolia or just outright fake. All the blurry shots don’t do us any good. We need something much clearer in this day and age, and even that is suspect since modern technology allows for such amazing CGI. Most people do carry a smart phone camera these days, but the lack of a clear photo shouldn’t be used as a basis to completely rule out the possibility of these creatures. Chance encounters typically last only a few moments, making it hard to pull out a phone, open the camera app, aim, and take a photo.
I’m sure you’ve heard the Sierra Bigfoot recordings taken back in the 70s. What are your thoughts on it and other similar recordings? Most of them are downright chilling.
LB: They’re definitely creepy and very compelling. In my opinion the Sierra Sounds are legit. And if it’s not a hoax, then that leaves very few possibilities beyond an undiscovered creature such as Bigfoot. I’ve heard recordings from other places which sound very similar; sent to me by credible individuals. They just don’t sound like any known animal.
Do you have any plans to investigate the Skunk Ape in Florida? I have the Fate Magazine with the famous Skunk Ape picture on the cover and keep waiting for someone to hunker down and do some serious research in that corner of the country.
LB: Earlier this year I visited the Ocala National Forest in Florida where there’s been a good amount of Skunk Ape sightings over the years. This was part of the research for my upcoming book, “Beyond Boggy Creek: In Search of the Southern Sasquatch” in which I document the history of Bigfoot sightings all over the Southern U.S. I dedicate an entire chapter of the book to the Skunk Ape, although there’s so much to this cryptid’s history and so many sightings, that I could write an entire book on it. Perhaps in the future.
Follow Lyle Blackburn at http://www.lyleblackburn.com
In the mood for a good cryptid book? Check these out…