From the Bigfoot roadkill thread...
Originally Posted by JcR
I've addressed many of the things Kathy has written and said over the years, particularly in this thread. I think Kathy is a pleasant and intelligent lady, but when it comes to Bigfoot in native myths and traditions, we have complete opposite views. I will transcribe and address some of her statements in the interview with George Noory in a post following this one.
First I would like to start with the Hairy Man thing that is central in Kathy Strain's Bigfoot/native myth universe. Kathy has told many people in many interviews that she saw Legend of Boggy Creek
as a child and was impacted so much by the film that she went to her teacher and asked how she could study Bigfoot as a living. The teacher told her to pursue anthropology. Kathy received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology in 1990 and a Master of Arts in Behavioral Science (emphasis in Anthropology) in 1994. Her main field of study involved prehistoric human ecology. Kathy Strain is the Forest Program Manager for Heritage Resource and Tribal Relations for the Stanislaus National Forest in Sonora, California.
Kathy has long argued that the petroglyphs of Painted Rock represent a family of Bigfoots. Painted Rock is located on the Tule River Indian Reservation, above Porterville, in the Sierra Nevada foothills of central California. I don't think they show Bigfoots. I think they show lots of things; many animals including bears, spiritual figures, centipedes, and various shapes and figures seen in a vision trance (read flying high). I think the images are a part of a shamanistic tradition and show a number of things that are not real and come from hallucination states. So let's have a really good look at Painted Rock. This link is easily the best look I can provide people on the internet...
Painted Rock, Tule Indian Reservation
That's almost as good as being there. You can look left/right in full 360° as well as up/down and zoom in and out in high definition. So what do we have here? Are we actually looking at native art of Bigfoot? The first challenge in critically investigating this question is going to be overcoming the mountain of Bigfoot schlock we get when trying to research the question. Invariably you are going to be looking at page after page of Bigfoot site relating to Kathy's writing on the subject. It is very hard to wade through it all and find something that hasn't been touched by the hand of footer. It goes without saying that we should take a good hard look at what Kathy has written about the subject. The best start will be...
Mayak datat: An Archaeological Viewpoint of the Hairy Man Pictographs
Originally Posted by Kathy Strain
One of my first problems with labeling the figures depicted at Painted Rock as Bigfoot is their ambiguity. The main image I think could be interpretted as a number of things anywhere from bear to ghost. But wait a minute, not at any single other place anywhere in Bigfoot land are their pictographs of Bigfoot? This is rather unexpected considering the impact you'd think a race of gargantuan upright apes across across the continent would have on native peoples of North America. You would think you'd see a lot more pictographs. In fact, I would think that native tribes from Alaska to Florida would have all sorts of artifacts related to Bigfoot, not the least of which would be some bones, skin, or teeth.
I always get this foo foo from Bigfoot enthusiasts about how that expectation is unreasonable and uninformed because natives would have seen them as fellow humans, as brothers. You know, like bears. Natives of North America would never harm a bear
, right? They would never hurt their human brothers
, would they? So right across the continent every single tribe and culture that encounters screaming, rock throwing, baby stealing, forest leveling Bigfoots would uniformally respond with "That is the Boss of The Woods. He is our brother," and turn away as another rock bounces of their head? Somehow I think that at least at some point in the entire history of contact between Europeans and natives of North America, a significant part of a Bigfoot body would turn up.
Getting back to Hairy Man, Painted Rock is attributed to Yokuts. The Yokuts are an ethnic group of Native Americans native to inland central California. You can learn more about the Yokuts here
. Painted Rock on the Tule River Indian Reservation is not to be confused with the site Painted Rock in San Luis Obispo County, California
. BTW, I think that Painted Rock clearly shows California natives coexisted with mighty minotaurs
. Today the area is inhabited by the Tule River Indian Tribe of the Tule River Reservation. The tribe is made of up Yokut, Western Mono, and Tubatulabal people. There can be no denying that the Tule River tribe of today have associated Painted Rock with Bigfoot. It's right smack there on their website
. From the link...
Originally Posted by Tule River Indian Tribe website
Now check this out from the tribe's website section on Painted Rock...
Originally Posted by Tule River Indian Tribe website
You know, it's weird when I read the Tule River tribe's description of Painted Rock because I get the distinct feeling that... hey! WTF? The Tule River tribe's website description of Painted Rock was fricking written by Kathy Strain and is taken verbatim from the link and excerpt of hers I provided above! So wait a minute, Kathy Strain is dictating to the public what the tribe is supposed to be saying about Painted Rock. You know, I find that pretty queer. It's almost like you have a Bigfoot enthusiast sitting down with modern day natives and deciding to call something Bigfoot. It seems to me what is really important is to find out what the person/s who made the petroglyphs think they were painting. We need to find out about these Hairy Man myths and what the Yokuts were saying before anybody talking about Bigfoot was around. Remember, the Yokuts having a Hairy Man figure in no way automatically equates Bigfoot any more than woodwoses or other wild men figures across human cultures of the world do. The first problem I mentioned earlier is that just by googling "Yokuts Hairy Man myth", you get a great big dump of Kathy Strain and Bigfoot sites. I really had dig hard to come up with anything that wasn't footer. One thing that was footer I did find interesting was this excerpt from a January 2004 Paranormal News newsletter on the subject of Painted Rock written by Chris Maier...
There are two points of interest I take from that. First is that it would seem we have some pre-Bigfoot era references to Tule River tribe people referring to the pictographs as showing Hairy Man. Second is the fact that Kathy grew up close to the Tule River reservation with many of its members and got to know the elders. Remember Kathy telling about Legend of Boggy Creek
and how she got into her profession because of the huge impact Bigfoot had on her? That makes quite a long time for Kathy to be going around fishing for Bigfoot stories. When I looked for the sources for the Hairy Man tales in Kathy's piece on Painted Rock, she was the source except for one tale sourced to a "Johnstone, Elizabeth Bayless, Bigfoot and Other Stories. Tulare: Tulare Board of Education."...
That is a boogeyman tale if I've ever seen one, but that is also the same tale I quoted form the earlier Tule River Indian Tribe website. Where did that come from? I was able to track it to a piece written by a BFRO curator/investigator, Robert Leiterman...
Leiterman prefaced the tale with the following note...
Originally Posted by Robert Leiterman
So the Bigfoot boogeyman tale is sourced to a Ruby/Rudy Bays and Jennie Franco. That is as far as that will take us so now we're going to have to look into Yokuts Hairy Man tales for ourselves. One thing that will aid researching Yokuts mythology is the following...
One book referenced in that link should be of some help to us. That would be Indian Myths of South Central California
by A. L. Kroeber. (1907 - University of California Publications)...
In Kathy's paper on Painted Rock we were told tha the Yokuts had the only creation myth of Native Americans that featured Bigfoot. She is the only source for that tale of How People Were Made
and When People Took Over
that featured Hairy Man. I do not mean to imply she invented the tales, only that I can not find those stories anywhere else. Not a single tale of Hairy Man could be found in any of the texts I reviewed. Many variants of Yokut creation myths were collected from different Yokut tribes and none of them featured Hairy man, either.
At this point I think it would be prudent to examine an opposing viewpoint to the idea that Painted Rock depicts a family of Bigfoots. For this we can look to David S. Whitely, author of A Guide To Rock Art Sites: Southern California And Southern Nevada (1996)
and The Art of the Shaman: Rock Art of California (2000)
. Whitely refutes the notion that Bigfoot is shown and states rather that the anthropomorph figure shows a grizzly bear. Here is an excerpt from CALUMET - Newsletter of the Indian Peaks Chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society - July, 2006 regarding the Painted Rock site...
Whitely's appraisal of the paintings at Painted Rock being 100 -150 years old by a historically known shaman directly contradicts Kathy Strain putting the site between 700 - 2000 years old. Something I find quite noteworthy was written in James K. Agee's Steward's Fork: A Sustainable Future for the Klamath Mountains
. Agee notes in the chapter Modern Myths and Monsters
Originally Posted by Jame K. Agee
Why is this? If Bigfoot was a real species of very human-like animal, why is it so absent from native traditions in Northern California? It's as absent from native myth there as it is absent from the game cameras all over Northern California that keep finding no Bigfoots. Surely these peoples were not missing the creatures if they were there, and surely such animals would have been highly significant to them. Really, the best we can do is a completely ambiguous anthropomorph image on a rock by the Tule River? What I suggest is this - look carefully at Painted Rock. There are all sorts of images of anthropomorph figures on Painted Rock. There are figures with elongated heads, elongated necks, horns, all types of fanciful things that have no basis in reality. What we do see are stylistic depictions of real animals as well as artistic expression of visions seen while being completely blitzed on shaman drugs. The main contentious figure could be Hairy Man, it could be a grizzly bear, or it could be something completely unreal seen while being as high as a kite.
I think it is completely absurd and unrealistic to take a few ambiguous images such as these and declare to the world that we are looking at a family of Bigfoots. So what if there are real animals in there with fanciful creatures? And so what if the Yokuts have a Hairy Man figure in their oral history? Do they? It is conspicuously absent when you review ethnographic collections of their traditions from the last 150 years. Really, so what if Kathy Strain hellbent on finding Bigfoot since childhood talks to some modern Yokuts who relate Hairy Man to Bigfoot. Why not? I can relate British woodwoses to Bigfoot, but that does not mean the United Kingdom was home to sasquatches.
In the end what we have here is an ambiguous anthropomorpic image on a rock of undetermined age almost certainly made by a tribal shaman that lifelong Bigfoot enthusiasts such as Kathy Strain will insist is Bigfoot. The relation may be made by some modern Yokut people, but that in no way confirms that image was made of a real animal encountered by those people. It can not possibly have any real significance when weighed against the fact that no reliable evidence has ever been submitted for Bigfoot and that the creature is nowhere to be found in myth and reality right where we're told it is supposed to be.
In my next post I will get into the things Kathy spoke about in her interview with George Noory.