1. To accustom by frequent repetition or prolonged exposure.
Among the bigfoot/sasquatch research community, the concept of habituation (with regard to sasquatch/human interaction) has grown in popularity tremendously over the last decade. This concept has been perpetuated by the claims of witnesses and researchers across the continent, with several prominent (and a few infamous) examples.
Habituating sasquatches seems like a daunting and arduous endeavor. A researcher must first find a scenario that meets specific criteria, and cultivate many factors over a long period of time to have any hope of producing viable documentation of the presence of sasquatches.
But, what if habituation scenarios are already in place across North America, waiting for thorough and responsible researchers to document? What if sasquatches in certain areas have already been "habituated" to certain human behaviors in specific contexts, and have been exploiting these situations for years?
It is my opinion that they have.
My hypothesis is that sasquatches will exploit human resources in specific contexts, in specific areas, due to prolonged exposure to repeated and predictable human behaviors. These contexts are varied. Reports suggest that they occur most often at public-use sites in heavily forested areas, and at rural homesteads that are connected to food-producing agricultural lands.
For this blog entry, I will focus on public-use sites (campgrounds, parks, recreation areas).
-Setting The Stage-
Humans are certainly among the most predictable of species; especially with regard to the way we behave in certain forested environments that sasquatches inhabit. We drive our vehicles in and out on the same access roads, occupy the same campgrounds, walk the same trails, swim in the same holes, make fires in the same pits, leave trash in the same designated bins, etc. Just think of any given public-use campground in a National Forest or State Park near your favorite research area or "hotspot". During certain seasons, holidays, or times of favorable weather, dozens and dozens humans will flock to these specific sites year after year. Their arrival is announced by the sounds of dozens of vehicles on gravel or dirt roads, the slamming of car/truck doors, loud talking, laughing, and the sounds of celebrating. Multiple fires produce plumes of smoke that are carried through the surrounding forest. Each night, one-by-one, the humans retreat to their tents, campers, or vehicles, and the camps fall silent in darkness, for at least some time until sunrise. The sights, smells, and sounds will presumably seduce the curiosity (and stomachs) of the intelligent, and resourceful sasquatches who might inhabit the area.
After one or more nights of this activity, the humans (as if following some strange command) simultaneously begin to pack their belongings back into their vehicles, and departing the forest in droves. Many times, much of their precious high-calorie, sugar-rich, carbohydrate-rich food waste is left behind in designated bins, containers, receptacles, or even in firepits and make-shift dumps (some humans aren't very responsible with their trash).
This scenario has undoubtedly played out countless times in recreation areas across the continent; certainly enough times for resident sasquatches in many areas to have become habituated to this behavior. Their intelligence, combined with their cautiousness and stealth would enable them to exploit human food waste in these areas at night (after the humans are either all asleep, or have vacated the forest), rarely being detected (or even suspected) of such.
-Observations That Support The Hypothesis-
After several years of gathering data, and after re-examining many of the reports available to the public (using resources like the BFRO's public database, and John Green's database), I have found numerous observations of sasquatches exhibiting behavior that support this hypothesis. I will explore a few examples of what I believe represent "habituated" sasquatches here.
Monday, September 2, 1974
Blackburn State Park - Dahlonega, GA
Les Alexander, Bob Martin and Chris Stevens camped in Blackburn State Park, saw at 4.30 a.m. an 8-foot creature helping itself out of garbage cans. It made a high-pitched howl.
(Source: John Green Database)
Note that this incident occurs on the first Monday in September: Labor Day. This holiday is celebrated by millions of Americans each year, and in certain areas (like Northeast Georgia) many families spend the three-day weekend enjoying the outdoors, camping in public recreation areas. It's significant that this observation occurred during this holiday weekend.
I strongly suspect that the park was occupied by a high number of campers celebrating the holiday. Often, this three-day weekend represents the end of summer for many families, and is cause for an extended camp/cookout. Monday (the holiday) would have been the last day of the weekend, and most recreationists would be vacating the area to return home to prepare for work on Tuesday. A late night visit would hold the promise of human food waste in the designated receptacles, especially if the occupants of the park had been celebrating loudly, cooking food on makeshift grills over campfires, and attracting the attention of the local sasquatches. It is entirely possible that the sasquatch that was observed in this instance was indeed habituated to campers leaving food waste at the state park.
One of the most exhilarating and amazing encounters that I've ever had occurred in Northeast Georgia near the entrance of a heavily-used campground on the night after Labor Day... but that event will be the subject of a future blog post.
Uwharrie National Forest, North Carolina
During the 2008 North Carolina BFRO Expedition, participants occupied one of the most frequently used campgrounds in the Uwharrie National Forest. The previous year, I, along with Leigh Culver, JT McAvoy, Don Tart, and Tyler Stanley experienced a close approach incident in the vicinity of the large campground along a creek bottom. For two consecutive nights, the participants (including myself) ventured out on foot from the campground into the surrounding forest (via trail systems, old road beds, and game trails) in an effort to document the resident sasquatches. The activity was minimal, and so BFRO Director Matt Moneymaker devised a plan for the participants to drive away from the camp and spread out over distant logging roads in an effort to relay mimicked sasquatch vocalizations across a large area in hopes of eliciting a response.
While nearly all of the vehicles loaded up and left the campground, a small handful of expedition participants stayed behind. The participants began to hear something quietly and steadily approaching the camp in the darkness. Keith McLain watched (through a 3rd Gen Night Vision monocular) a large sasquatch walking bipedally at the periphery of the camp.
A little over one year later, Mike Greene would capture thermal images of what could possibly be the same habituated sasquatch making the same approach to the camp in total darkness.
Again, I speculate that the local sasquatch(es) in the vicinity of this camp have become habituated to dozens of humans occupying the campground for a few days at a time, and leaving food waste behind in the many trash cans and waste bins around the camp. It seems that when many of the vehicles depart, the sasquatches feel much bolder about approaching the site. Many of the initial reports that drew the BFRO to investigate (and conduct expeditions in) the area involved approaches at that very campground.
-The Usual Suspects-
Of the dozens of reports of sasquatches approaching camps when humans are asleep in tents or after most have vacated the area, there must certainly be countless others which have gone unnoticed. Either the campers slept through the entire event, or all of the humans left the area and the prowling sasquatches were completely alone during their inspection. On the other hand, there must also be many people who hear the intruders, or see the aftermath of their plundering, and blame the usual suspects: bears.
Indeed, bears are troublesome intruders in human encampments in the areas that they inhabit. Sasquatches are much more subtle camp visitors than bears are; but should a camper actually hear a sasquatch outside of his/her tent, with no knowledge or awareness that sasquatches actually exist, they would certainly blame the other large mammalian omnivore species which notoriously visits camps and takes food.
There are reports of purported sasquatches raiding camps, in which no sasquatch is seen, nor tracks found, that make one wonder if the culprit wasn't actually a bear. However, we must wonder about instances when people describe "bears" raiding camps in the dark when no bears are seen, and no bear tracks are found, and no obvious tooth or claw marks mark the coolers or containers from which food is taken. Could sasquatches be to blame for some of these incidents? I suggest that they could.
It seems that sasquatches have quite the scapegoat for their exploitation of human food waste.
-Potential for Documentation-
This combination of factors creates a unique potential for researchers to document the presence of sasquatches in a given location. Sasquatches may rely on these scenarios in certain places and certain times of the year for a reliable source of food; food that they don't have to hunt for. They may have become habituated to this routine over many years. The behaviors associated with these scenarios may be deeply ingrained in certain individuals or groups. This allows researchers some degree of predictability, should this hypothesis or strategy prove viable in specific areas.
Moreover, this scenario allows for the placement of documentation technology (cameras, thermal imagers, audio recorders, etc) among other man-made objects or structures. Sasquatches would presumably be much less suspicious of strange man-made objects in areas that are heavily frequented by humans, as opposed to placing the technology in remote forested areas far from the human presence.
I will be experimenting with different techniques and strategies related to this hypothesis in the hopes of obtaining audio/video/photographic documentation of sasquatches throughout the year. Please check back for updates, video blogs, etc.