Two Bigfoot conferences coming to Kennewick

Frame 352 from the Patterson-Gimlin film is alleged to depict a female bigfoot mid-stride.
Frame 352 from the Patterson-Gimlin film is alleged to depict a female bigfoot mid-stride. Wikipedia

Tri-City residents can take their pick of two Sasquatch conferences billed as international events, the first starting March 4, without leaving town.

The Tri-Cities may not seem like Bigfoot territory, with its lack of trees to hide the creatures. But Thom Cantrall of Kennewick says it’s ideally located between the Sasquatch stomping grounds of the Cascade and Blue mountains.

Cantrall, of the International Society for Primal People, has organized a conference March 4-6, at the Highland Grange Hall, 1500 S. Union St., Kennewick.

All speakers but one have had encounters with Sasquatch, just has Cantrall has, he said.

The second conference, set for Sept. 2-4 at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick, will feature speakers with backgrounds in anthropology, biology and cryptozoology, the study of creatures whose existence is disputed.

The keynote speaker for this weekend’s conference will analyze the well-known 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film showing a creature alleged to be a female Sasquatch walking near trees in northern California.

Bill Munns will use his long experience in Hollywood teaching artists how to create special effects creatures to shed light on the film.

These are not merely theorists and book-taught researcher(s). They have face-to-face personal experiences to relate.

Thom Cantrall, of Kennewick

But most of the conference will be devoted to talks from those who say they have seen Sasquatch in the wild and a field trip to the Blue Mountains.

“Although we recognize the importance of science in any research, there are many things in this field that defy the scientific method,” Cantrall said. “These are not merely theorists and book-taught researcher(s). They have face-to-face personal experiences to relate.”

Cantrall organized a similar conference in the Tri-Cities in 2012 and the field trip was the highlight for many, he said. They found footprints that were “confirmation of the hope and faith” that Sasquatch is more than myth, he said.

It was not an unusual sighting for the Blue Mountains. Cantrall said last weekend near the Tucannon River he saw 17-inch tracks up a steep embankment just below the snowline.

He’s been researching Sasquatch since his curiosity was piqued in 1958 by a news article about a heavy equipment operator in northern California returning one morning to where he had left his road-building equipment. He found it surrounded by large footprints. That was the first time the word “Bigfoot” was used, Cantrall said.

Cantrall said he’s seen Sasquatch, including one time with witnesses. At a gathering with other Bigfoot searchers in June 2014 in northern California, he and others were in a car that came upon two of them standing in the road, he said.

Many of the speakers at the conference this week have published books about Sasquatch.

He’ll talk about his search and encounters with Sasquatch in six states and Canada, according to publicity material for the conference.

Other speakers include Ron Morehead, of Sequim, Wash., who recorded audio files in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and Barb Shupe, who lives near Mt. Rainier and creates the Squatchin’ with Barb & Gabby video series. Bob Gimlin, one of the two makers of the Patterson-Gimlin film, also will speak.

The conference starts with a chance to meet presenters from 6 to 9 p.m. March 4. On March 5, speakers are scheduled from about 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by an evening session that starts at 7 p.m. and includes the keynote speaker and Gimlin. The field trip to the Blue Mountains is March 6.

Register at bit.ly/primalpeople. Cost is $30.

The September conference will feature Jeff Meldrum, a professor of the Department of Anthropology at Idaho State University, who is an expert on the gait and locomotion of primates. Other speakers include Shane Orson and Gunnar Monson, co-hosts of Monster X radio, and Ken Gerhard, co-star of the History channel’s Missing in Alaska.

Cost of the conference is $45 for adults and $25 for children until May 1. Vendor space is available. More information is posted at www.internationalbigfootconference.com.

Annette Cary: 509-582-1533, @HanfordNews

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