Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mary Green, the "Tennessee Bigfoot Lady"

[Preface: Beyond detailing my interactions with Mary Green, this is a story about the rewarding experiences one can have when they make the decision to get to know someone personally, rather than make ignorant assumptions based on internet gossip. Mary doesn't have the most stellar reputation on many of the more frequented forums and websites, so this will undoubtedly be an unpopular post. My hope is that people will read about my experiences and rethink their opinions, especially for those people who haven't met Mary.] 

When I first began spending time in the field trying to encounter a sasquatch, I was utterly alone (in every sense of the word). I had already reconciled my own experiences, and had been gathering information from various sources and witnesses for nearly two years, when I realized that it was indeed possible to encounter a sasquatch in the field. So, in 2004, I began visiting locations in Northeast Georgia where sightings had occurred. I was armed with a cheap first-generation night vision monocular and an even cheaper camcorder (with no night-shot capabilities to speak of). Most of the time, I would wait patiently and listen. After a full year of spending time in the field with no direction or success, I decided to try and make contact with other enthusiasts and researchers on the internet. I really wanted guidance; the assistance and experience of someone who knew more about these things than I did.

In January of 2005, I submitted a rather lengthy report to the BFRO, detailing the experiences that had become the impetus of my own research. At that time, there were really no BFRO investigators in the state of Georgia. My report sat in the internal database untouched, and I was never contacted.

I reached out to other bigfoot websites as well; including one that focused solely on Georgia. I never received any responses from those websites, either.

Finally, I reached out to Mary Green via her "Tennessee Bigfoot Lady" website. I was familiar with her research, and had been reading everything I could about the Janice Carter-Coy habituation case that Mary was associated with. I had ordered and received her book 50 Years With Bigfoot.

Cover image of 50 Years With Bigfoot
I emailed her to introduce myself, and to ask about habituation research. She promptly responded to my email, and gave me some direction with regard to making contact with sasquatches. Moreover, she sent me the name of an independent bigfoot researcher in Georgia (John) who was also trying to foster and cultivate ongoing interactions in the central portion of the state.

Mary Green, State Park Ranger, and Igor Burtsev
Her message was simple: Sasquatches were elusive, but curious. The key to initiating interactions required patience, consistency, and a gentle approach. They are especially responsive to people who feed them routinely. I was encouraged to utilize curious and non-threatening sounds when entering an area and leaving food; children's toys, whistles, etc. Keeping a playful attitude would ensure that the sasquatches wouldn't perceive me as a threat. She told me that their intelligence level was comparable to that of aboriginal humans, and that most researchers greatly underestimated their cognitive abilities. Mary also said that I didn't have to go very far to locate these things. Oftentimes, they occur just at the edge of rural populations, and in rural agricultural communities. Above all else, she told me that if I could just be patient, consistent, and compassionate, I could potentially cultivate interactions with these creatures.

It seemed far too easy from my perspective. I was a 23 year old guy who was enamored with the concept of seeing and documenting a sasquatch in a remote area. I envisioned myself as an intrepid explorer, who was something akin to a modern-day Indiana Jones; I would enter the heart of a dark forest at night with cutting-edge technology and come face to face with a legendary beast, barely escaping alive; ya know, that kind of thing. Now I was being told that I didn't need to be well-equipped, well-camouflaged, or in the interior of some remote wilderness area to see a bigfoot. I only needed patience, some sweet food items, perhaps a toy whistle, and a good attitude. It certainly wasn't the adventure I had imagined, but her kindness and willingness to share her experiences and insight was invaluable to me.

In the field in 2006.
Upon Mary's advice, I made contact with John, and in May of 2006, he and his wife Amy drove up to my favorite location in the Northeast Georgia mountains to camp. That was the first of many nights we would spend in pursuit of an encounter. That camping trip was the first time that I had ever spent any time with another "bigfoot researcher", and it was great. As most bigfooters know, it's hard to find others who share your passion and interest. It was especially hard back then, as there were fewer websites and forums, and the social media network was in it's infancy. It was like a floodgate had opened inside me. We spent the whole night staying up by the fire and sharing stories. I listened intently as John told me more about Mary's research, and the concept of habituating sasquatches.

On August 12th of that year, I traveled with John and Amy to meet Mary at her home in Tennessee. I found her to be very caring and friendly, with a warm, motherly quality. She is a mother and a grandmother, and that certainly showed in her disposition and interactions with me. I was given a copy of her other book, Night Shadows, and brought up to speed on the current status of the Carter case. She also told us about an ongoing study being conducted a wealthy Canadian researcher. She had been contacted by that particular project and was shown some pieces of footage that they had obtained in a neighboring state. Mary openly spoke with me about her research locations, and the methods that she used to establish a trust with the resident sasquatches. She told us what foods to use, what sounds they would respond to, and what to expect if we tried those techniques in her locations. Finally, she showed us a bit of video that she and another female researcher had recently obtained in one of her sites that was very impressive. To this day, I do believe that the clip of video I was shown was a legitimate documentation of sasquatches in northern Tennessee.    

That night, John, Amy, and I followed Mary's instructions in one of her research locations. I won't go in to great detail about that night in this post, but it was a very significant night for me, as we had a close encounter that really impressed and unnerved me.

I made several subsequent trips up to see Mary that year. Most of the time, I went with John and Amy. We usually stayed in or near her primary research location, and I spent many nights trying to elicit an encounter in those woods. I eventually met Janice Carter during one of our visits, and was able to spend a few nights in the field with her as well. 

John, Amy, and I also made the drive up during the Thanksgiving holiday, and had Thanksgiving dinner with Mary, her husband John (who's since passed away), and her son. Late that night, we had another impressive encounter while putting out food for a particularly bold sasquatch in the area. That was the last time that I saw Mary, although I spoke with her via telephone several times after that.

Mary had a great deal of disdain for most of the online bigfoot community. After writing her book about the Carter habituation, she became a lightening rod for the doubt, disbelief, and anger of bigfoot enthusiasts on the internet. People attacked her credibility, integrity, intelligence, financial well-being, health, etc. She told me more than once that she was certain that her association with the Carter case had taken a huge toll on her health, due to the stress it involved. It seemed a fairly heavy price to pay.

She also harbored a grudge against most organized bigfoot research groups, including the BFRO. I think she felt that they represented something that was harmful to the sasquatches in some way. Mary never liked the idea of groups of people pursuing sasquatches. I know that she felt betrayed by other loosely-knit groups of researchers who had broken promises to her and exploited many of the locations that she had shared with others. It seemed to hurt her feelings when I joined the BFRO in May of 2007. I have thoroughly loved every minute of being involved with the organization, but even still, I am frustrated by the fact that it upset Mary. I felt that she had given me a lot of invaluable insight, and had allowed me to have unforgettable experiences that I wouldn't have had if it weren't for her diligence and devoted consistency at those locations for years prior. I am forever grateful for that.  

I have spoken about my experiences with her to other researchers who have asked about them, or who have brought her name up. I will admit, at times I have been reticent about my early involvement with her, as my own selfish fears about being associated with her reputation crept in time and time again. I haven't spoken with Mary in a few years, and I regret that. Having been fortunate enough to work closely with several habituators and long-term witnesses in the past two years, I can confidently say that Mary's approach to sasquatch research (patience, consistency, and compassion) is valid. I have seen confirmation of many of the things she shared with me time and time again in the last few years. I hope that one day she will be remembered as one of the first investigators to really research habituation claims, and to have the courage to write about them. 

I recently heard that Mary was admitted to a hospital for reasons unknown to me. When I first met her in 2006 she was in poor health, and often spoke openly about it. I decided to write this post this morning in hopes that she will read this and understand how thankful I am for the kindness and generosity she extended to me. In writing this post, I am reminded of a famous quote from Dr. Martin Luther King:  

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." 

 I apologize for my silence, and I hope that my words will help to give readers a slightly different perspective of Mary.

I also sincerely hope that any bigfoot enthusiast or researcher who reads this post will realize that the only way to really understand someone is to truly spend time with them. Please don't become complacent with merely reading the often ignorant and negative things that people say about each other online. If you're interested in learning more about a person, or an incident, do your due diligence and research it yourself. Never be satisfied with other people's perceptions; always forge your own. I have met many amazing people associated with this subject. Most of them are much different than their online reputations would have you believe. I am so very glad that I didn't settle for those opinions. I was lucky enough to learn that lesson early on, and I have Mary Green to thank for that.

15 comments:

  1. Hello, Matt.
    Wow, thank you so much for this blog. Finally I read something about the bigfoot/sasquatch phenomena that is refreshing, and new...Mary must be a wonderful human being; my thoughts and prayers are with her, an I hope she recovers from whatever is troubbing her. FYI, I live in Washington state. My 2 year study of bigfoot/sasquatch has convinced me. Th PG film, meeting Bob Gimlin, Jeff Meldrum, John Green and others was the game changer for me. Now I am spending an inordinate amount of time on the net trying to find out as much as possible about this being. I would very much like to talk with you about your encounters and you research. Regardless, best of luck to you! Tom Naff

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tommy! Feel free to contact me anytime. My email address is mattpruittonline [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks for reading!

      Delete
    2. I have been looking for this book now i understand why Mary never got back with the emails How can i get the Book??

      Delete
  2. Excellent post, Matt. It brought tears to my eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. fantastic post. Mary sounds like a lovely person. I would of loved to meet Mary. I enjoy having loving special people in my life. Thank u for the post.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Honorable & refreshing words Mr. Pruitt. The bigfoot field does have hope after all.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Matt,
    Great post, through out history people who have been on the cutting edge of science or any field for that matter, are subject to the extreme's of praise or scorn,ridicule,or excommunication. I read a 20 yr.old habituation book( Nature's Secret Agents) by a guy in NC who has been subjected to much of the same, and his book was one of the best I've read. He still live's in same place and still has encounter's and I would like him to write a follow up. Thanks, Phil W.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Fantastic post Matt Pruitt. You never cease to amaze me. The field of sasquatch study is greatly elevated by your involvement. Thank you for rekindling my own compassion for others.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I very much appreciate what you've had to say about Mary Green. Although my own contacts with her have been much more limited, I've had the same opinion of her, and I've not been able to understand why she's been subjected to so much heat. I've only been involved in 'bigfootery' for about three years during which I've met some great folks. The attitudes and behavior of several others have been very disappointing to me. I would judge you to be in the class of the former type. I've enjoyed your site and will check back.

    ReplyDelete
  8. In my experence in this life the most interesting people I'v met are those who society as a whole ignore. They seem to be the quiet ones, the not so beautiful, or young. I'v been happly suprised to learn that they have been living in places, seen things, heard things, they never get to share with others. This to me is a valuable resource to be tapped and learned from. Most of these people are delited to tell you their story's, and what storeys they are. I feel my life has been enriched by these people I'v met and befrended. So just because she, he, is old, ugly,unkempt, or just downright arnrey doesn't mean they didn't live and love and have adventures beyond your emagination. Talk to them, get to know them,and you will come away with a new outlook, and maybe just maybe you may learn something OMG. Thanks Matt for taking the time to listen to Marry Green. I wish I could have met her myself. Thank you for your insight and perserverence, You learned something valuable; Friendship, knowledge, and Kinship. Frank (jlseagull2004)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Matt, it is so refreshing, especially at this time in BF history, to hear kind words towards a fellow BF lover. There are so many unkind words, rumors, lies, and downright hatred floating around the internet right now amongst believers that it just makes me sick. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly folks are to believe (and spread) the worst. Thanks for sharing your warm memories of Mary. I know others who know her and have said much the same...she is a kind and loving soul. From what I understand, Mary's health is still not good. I urge you to try contacting her and telling HER how you feel about her. It will do you both good.
    Happy Squatching!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Matt ....I do hope your words somehow get to Mary . She probably could use such encouraging thoughts and opinions at this time . If she's reading this , and all the comments after wards , I hope she sees all the respect many people have for her . Thanks.
    Also.....very big of you to publicly regret your silence .

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Matt,

    I think last week I met the John and Amy that you refer to. We were on a BFRO expedition in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Amy has the book you are talking about. I am trying to get a copy also. Any hints?

    Roger

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roger,

      The John and Amy that I was referring to didn't attend the recent MI Expedition. They're based in Georgia and typically stay locally for field research. Feel free to email me for further discussion. Thanks!

      Delete