TLDR - Listen to the trailer

If you'd asked me a year ago if I believed in Sasquatch, I'd have thought you were crazy. But now, after 18 months working on my podcast, Wild Thing, I'm not so sure. I'm Laura Krantz, a former editor at NPR's Morning Edition, a fellow at the Center for Environmental Journalism, and someone who cringes at being associated with something that spends so much time on the front page of the Weekly World News.

A few years ago I learned that my long-lost cousin Grover Krantz—a preeminent anthropologist at Washington State University—had spent much of his career looking for Sasquatch. And I reasoned that, if someone like him believed, then maybe there was more to this whole Bigfoot thing than I thought.

Grover died before I had the chance to meet him, but I spent a year and a half following in his footsteps, combing the Pacific Northwest on Bigfoot expeditions, talking to eyewitnesses, learning about the evidence, and interviewing scientists. Oh, and I got to see something really weird.

On a hike out on private timberland, one of my sources showed me and my producer these huge, woven ground nests—as large as ten feet across. More complex than any bear nest, they looked like they'd been woven by a (very big) bird. Several scientists remarked on the fact that these looked exactly like the kinds of nests that African gorillas make.

Wild Thing starts with the discovery of those nests, and the efforts to identify what made them with DNA analysis. But this is just one element of the series, in which I explore the world of Bigfoot fascination. Why do people want to believe in this improbable primate that haunts blurry photographs and leaves enormous footprints in the woods? What is it about Bigfoot that has people searching—for decades!—even though the rest of the world thinks they're crazy? And think about all the Sasquatch stuff out there—movies, erotica, festivals, TV shows, books, merchandise—even the non-believers love this stuff.

Science, society...and Sasquatch. I cover all this and more in my podcast, Wild Thing. It’s an entry point for Bigfoot newbies (although hopefully longtime ‘Squatchers will also find it interesting).

Links: Wild Thing website, my website, the podcast, the ad-free version on Audible, Wild Thing on Twitter and Facebook.

Here's my proof

Comments: 62 • Responses: 26  • Date: 

scotankhamen6 karma

Hi! Loved your podcast, are there plans to do more?

WildThingPod3 karma

Thank you for taking the time to listen! I am planning to do another podcast - it won't be Bigfoot, but it will hopefully be equally as interesting. I'm a one-woman show, so it will take me a little time but I hope to have something by early next year (fingers crossed). Thanks again for listening.

britewhitelight5 karma

Have you ever approached Robert W. Morgan for an interview?

WildThingPod2 karma

Hi there - I have not. I actually hadn't heard of him but looked him up and wish I had. The show was created as a limited-run series (it's a produced show, as opposed to an interview show), and I put it together by myself, so I didn't have the time to interview everyone before production finished.

BarcodeNinja4 karma

How do you explain the lack of evidence?

WildThingPod2 karma

Yep - that's the sticking point for me. It's not that there's a lack of evidence - there's all kinds of evidence like footprints and eyewitness accounts. I find the eyewitness accounts to be very compelling, especially from some of the people I talked to who are longtime outdoorsmen and women. But the lack of concrete proof in the form of a body or DNA evidence - the things that the scientific establishment requires - weakens the case for Bigfoot.

pizzabyAlfredo2 karma

I find the eyewitness accounts to be very compelling

Any specific detail(s) that make it compelling? All the stories and accounts Ive heard are interesting and personal. What is compelling? Also, what is the most common factor in theses accounts?

WildThingPod1 karma

I think it's partially the people who telling the stories. People who've worked in wildlife biology, forestry, land management - who've spent a lot of their lives outside and are familiar with the environment and the creatures living there. The fact that they've seen something that's so outside their lifetime of experience and are so puzzled by it - that's what really sticks out for me. The most common factor, I'd say, is that the encounters often seem to happen to people who aren't out looking - people who are just out, doing their job, or enjoying nature, and then this happens.

themeattrain4 karma

This was far and away my favorite podcast of all time. Do you have plans for a sequel or other podcasts in the near future? I need my fix!

WildThingPod1 karma

Thanks so much for listening! And yes, I've just started research for another podcast idea - it won't be Bigfoot - but I'm hoping it will be just as interesting and fun for listeners. It might take me a little bit to produce, but I hope to have something out by early next year. BUT - if there's some breaking Bigfoot news (like a body!), I'll drop everything to do another episode of Wild Thing.

mamameat4 karma

I'm sorry if this sounds like an obtuse question, but what's the point of all the time, money, and resources being spent on finding Bigfoot? I mean, either he/ they exist or they don't, and I can't think of any real way this effects anyone's life one way or the other. I understand curiosity and adventure, but is there anything more to it than that?

WildThingPod4 karma

Not obtuse at all and it's one of the questions I was also interested in finding an answer to. I think you're correct in saying that curiosity and adventure are a big part of it. I think, too, that a love of nature and conservation play a role as well. Several of the Bigfoot people I spoke with talked about how they want the landscape to be wild and protected enough so that something like Bigfoot could exist. I also found that there's a real sense of community - people who have bonded over shared experiences and passions - that's not all that different from other interest groups. And, of course, there are people who are 100% certain that Bigfoot is real - and they want to be the person or part of the team that proves it once and for all. For them, making the case for Bigfoot is definitely worth their time and money. In the end, it didn't seem all that different from other pastimes that people have - just maybe a little more eccentric.

CaptianMississippi3 karma

What are your thoughts on the “woo” part of the Bigfoot research field? Who was your favorite “expert” to talk to?

WildThingPod2 karma

The "woo" was really hard for me to get behind. Everyone I talked to was very nice but I just found the ideas kind of hard to accept. My feeling is that, if Bigfoot exists, it's a flesh-and-blood creature, which makes it beholden to the same laws of physics/biology/nature that we all are.

My favorite Bigfoot expert was probably Cliff Barackman. He was so generous with his time and just very approachable and down-to-earth. My favorite science expert was Todd Disotell, largely because the stuff he's working on is just so fascinating.

iaccidentallydrunk3 karma

Loved you on the meat eater podcast. Any plans to have Steve on your show or to have him take you out in the woods?

WildThingPod2 karma

So Meat Eater (the book) came out back when I worked for NPR. I'd been arranging to do a story where the Morning Edition host and I were going to go out with Steve to do a hunt - I think we wanted to do it for a Thanksgiving story. The whole thing fell apart when the host got the chance to fly to Iran to do reporting. That's a long way of saying that yes, if the opportunity comes up for me to go out with Steve in the woods, I'd love to do it (even though I'm simultaneously terrified by the idea - I read "American Buffalo"...).

bmoreor3 karma

So is the big guy out there or not?

WildThingPod4 karma

Depends on who you talk to! And some people think that - if it's a flesh-and-blood creature, that there could be as many as 2,000. Me? I'm not so sure.

TheGardiner7 karma

Amy kind of search, or SAR, usually comes down to finances. I believe there's enough money in the Bigfoot community that hi def motion cap cameras could have been installed all over the place. Was the 'nest' monitored for a few months after discovery? I think it's absurd that there isn't concrete, irrefutable evidence by now. Leads to believe that no such Bigfoot exists.

WildThingPod3 karma

I believe they had cameras in place and they spent quite a bit of time observing the area where the nests were found - a couple of years, I think - before they brought people in to take samples of the nest. And yes, I think this is where I have trouble saying that Bigfoot exists - you would think that, by now, there would be more concrete proof, especially given how many people are out in the woods, with a camera in their pocket.

mkautzm2 karma

You touch on this very directly, but it relates so much to one of my favorite xkcd comics.

WildThingPod1 karma

I hadn't seen that one - that's a good one!

chrome-spokes2 karma

brought people in to take samples of the nest. ... by now, there would be more concrete proof... .

Love the subject you chose! Having lived in a rural area where of one reported sighting of Sasch, (as I call 'em), it sorta gets personal, hah!

So question is, have reports come back in on the sample testings?

Maybe way off base, yet thinking if indeed are nesting structures, (bedding, shelter?), then DNA could show up. Which would be quite an anomaly of any living thing that records already exist of.

Edit: Oops, jumped the gun in asking, as you have mentioned here lack of DNA.

Yet, will let the question stand, with adding... When were these samples collected, and by whom? Any further communique with them?

WildThingPod2 karma

The samples were collected in fall of 2017 by Jeff Meldrum and a few members of the Olympic Project. At that point, the Olympic Project people had known about the nests for a couple of years and had been sitting on them (not literally) to see if whatever might have made them would come back again. When nothing showed up, they invited Meldrum to come take samples, which he then shipped to Todd Disotell, at NYU, for DNA analysis. The samples came back last summer—lots of DNA from various normal forest animals and human DNA, but nothing unusual. But, the nests were also quite degraded by the time the samples were taken, so now I believe the OP and Meldrum are looking for newer nests to see if they can get better samples. If you're interested in hearing more, I actually spent quite a bit of time talking about this in the podcast.

tommyball3 karma

Awesome podcast! I love how you covered all facets of the phenomenon and would love to see you cover other topics in a similar way. I’m a skeptical believer and often find the Bigfoot culture almost as fascinating as the possibility of the creature itself. Just as far as reports– on one hand you have eyewitness reports from hunters and experienced outdoorsmen; on the other, you have reports from people who seem absolutely convinced they have regular contact with the creatures, yet can never provide any other evidence. What do you find most frustrating or confusing about the phenomenon?

WildThingPod2 karma

Thanks for listening! For me, the most confusing part is just what you mentioned - the eyewitness accounts from experienced outdoorsmen. I find these accounts incredibly compelling and I believe the people telling them. And yet, the lack of hard evidence - the body, the piece of a body, the DNA evidence - makes it harder for me. It's part of the reason in the podcast, I keep going back and forth on whether I think the creature is real. I really want those eyewitness accounts to be right.

fartfacepooper3 karma

Have you read any of the sasquatch erotica?

WildThingPod7 karma

Ha - have I ever. My husband and I read the first book of the "Cum for Bigfoot" series to each other. For research, of course - I spoke to the author, Virginia Wade, as part of one of the bonus episodes:

[deleted]2 karma


WildThingPod3 karma

Ooo - the fossils question is a fascinating one. I spent some time talking to Ian Tattersall, who's a human evolution specialist and a curator at the American Museum of Natural History. I asked him this same question - he said that we only know a fraction of what is in the fossil record. Then he went on to describe just how hard it is to become a fossil. Imagine you’re an animals that dies. You have to avoid being scattered and crunched up. Your bones have to be covered by sediment pretty quickly to avoid weathering away. Those sediments have to be incorporated into rock record. Then there has to be erosion and then someone has to come along to find the fossils eroding out before they get destroyed by the elements again. Basically, his point was that the chances of becoming a discovered fossil are really pretty slim, which I found really interesting. So it could very well be that there was once a Bigfoot-esque creature - we might not have fossils for it because we don't have fossils for a lot of things.

CrazyDuck1232 karma

Do you believe in other mysteries?

WildThingPod1 karma

I like to believe in a world that we haven't completely discovered and that we don't entirely understand.

EmperorPopovich2 karma

How fascinating! Thanks for doing this.

What was your take on Bigfoot/Sasquatch before learning you were related to someone who spent so much of their career researching it? What was your family's reaction to you continuing your cousin's work?

WildThingPod1 karma

I honestly hadn't put much thought into Bigfoot - I thought of it as the stuff of tabloid headlines and cheesy movies (i.e. Harry and the Hendersons - which, for the record, is pretty cute). But when I learned about my cousin - well, he had this background in anthropology, he was respected in the field for other findings he'd had, and I started to wonder if someone who has such a scientific background thought Bigfoot might be legit that maybe there's more to it than I thought. I didn't want to continue his work, but, as a journalist, I was interested in finding out more. My family was really supportive of it - I think they were curious, too.

michael_chric2 karma

How does it feel on leaving a good job to dabble in consipiracy theories?

WildThingPod1 karma

Ha - it was a little scary. I definitely got some strange looks from people - some nodding and smiling and backing away. I still do. But ultimately, it was an opportunity to work on a long-term project (I'd been doing daily news for years at that point, and was feeling burned out) and I also saw this as a way to delve into some really interesting science and cultural topics.

Turbo_unicorn2 karma

Just finished the podcast! You kept my commutes sane the last few days haha. When you were spending time in Washington, did you get a chance to explore or do research in other parts of the state as well? The Olympic National Forest is obviously a huge hotspot but the wide open forested space of the North Cascades seem like a very compelling area for something like that to exist, although that could be a bias since it’s where I’ve spent the most time. Thanks for being as thorough as you were! Excited to hear about the next project!

WildThingPod1 karma

Thank you for listening - I'm glad I could make the drive to work a little more pleasant. In Washington, the only place I spent a longer amount of time was the Olympic National Forest, although I went hiking in a couple of other places, and also spent time in N. California and Oregon. If I'd had more time, I would have LOVED the excuse to spend more time in the forests of both WA and OR - it's such a beautiful and wild landscape.

kinyodas2 karma

Is The Honey Island Swamp Monster on your radar?

WildThingPod1 karma

No - googling right now... Edit: Is this the same as the rougarou?

Agua612 karma

No, it was a hoax by a fellow named Ford. Google around for M.K. Davis Honey Island Monster. He went with the motivation to produce something substantive and discovered the fake track making tools that Ford had left behind after he died.

WildThingPod2 karma

Oh that's really interesting - the track is crazy weird-looking. I'm surprised people didn't think it was a dinosaur.

joeherrera19592 karma

Just got your last bonus episode of wild thing , last time we spoke through Twitter you said you where moving on to new projects i’am curious is it going to be Sasquatch related?

WildThingPod1 karma

Thanks for taking the time to listen. I am moving on to new projects - just starting research now. It won't be Bigfoot-related but I'm hoping listeners will find it just as interesting. Goal (fingers crossed) is to have it out by early next year!

gekogekogeko1 karma

When you went out to see these bigfoot nests what did you expect to find? Had people seen similar nests in other parts of North America? Did you lay down in one?

WildThingPod1 karma

Honestly, I had no idea. I'd been told they looked like gorilla nests, so I spent some time online researching those, but I half expected to just see a pile of debris. What I saw was considerably more elaborate than that - the nests (and there were multiple) really looked like birds nests. It kind of caught me off guard and still has me scratching my head about what might have made them.

Not sure if there have been other nests around N. America - I've seen some stories that mention them but I don't have much more information than that.

Lasgar1 karma

Is it not most likely that they were built by a person?

WildThingPod1 karma

Totally a possibility and not one that has been ruled out. But this was on private timberland and pretty remote, so it seemed an odd place to build them.

Lasgar1 karma

Unless you know, someone was trying to make convincing evidence of bigfoot.

WildThingPod1 karma

Yep - and that could have very well been the case.

TMcFly0 karma

There is no big foot, and you know what is pointless and for money? Big Foot shows, they will spread it among episodes, but what happens at the last episode? Inconclusive, no Bigfoot found. People have different fetishes and I guess Bigfoot is one of them?

WildThingPod1 karma

I can't speak for others' projects but for me, at least, this project was less about finding Bigfoot and more about why people are so fascinated with the idea of it.