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Survivorman & Bigfoot

Date Saturday - September 5, 2015
Host Connie Willis
Guests Les Stroud

Host Connie Willis (email) was joined, for the full program, by survival expert Les Stroud, who discussed his television program Survivorman as well as his research into Bigfoot. He theorized that the massive popularity of Survivorman, which spawned the genre of survival television, is rooted in the viewer's fascination with whether or not they could survive the harrowing conditions seen on the program. Additionally, he surmised that there is a morbid curiosity from some audience members who delight in seeing the lengths Stroud must go, such as eating insects for sustenance, in order to survive alone in the wilderness.

He traced his experience with Bigfoot back to a possible encounter with the creature when he had just started learning survival training in the mid-1980's. He recalled camping one night and hearing "the most incredible, god-awful screams" that sounded like women being tortured off in the distance. In a subsequent incident, which occurred during the making of Survivorman in Alaska, Stroud heard a strange rustling sound as he was shooting a segment for the program. This disturbance continued after the filming stopped, he said, when "all of a sudden, this thing started bellowing from a hundred feet away, in a tree, like a great ape." As soon as Stroud moved to get his camera, the creature suddenly fled through the forest "like a freight train." Although he wanted to investigate the situation further, Stroud chose to ignore it because he did not want to distract from the filming of the program.

Stroud later revealed his Bigfoot encounter on a radio program, which enthralled his interviewers and led to a tremendous amount of media interest in his experiences. This inspired him to create a spinoff of Survivorman where he would investigate locations that were believed to be Bigfoot hot spots. Originally, he said, the focus of the show was on Bigfoot as a flesh and blood creature, but it eventually grew to examine various other theories surrounding the origins of the cryptid. Stroud stressed that, unlike reality television programs focused on Bigfoot, his endeavor is a documentary series and does not have an agenda aimed at proving one specific theory about the creature. In essence, he said, the show revolves around meeting a Bigfoot researcher, being taken to a hot spot where they believe Bigfoot may be lurking, and then having Stroud spend the night there in hopes of encountering it.

During his appearance, Stroud shared a number of bizarre occurrences from the filming of Survivorman: Bigfoot. While camping at the top of a mountain purported to be a hotspot, his camera crew captured the apparent disappearance of apples left as food for the creature. The strangeness of that evening continued as Stroud was sitting around a campfire and saw "four massive lights in the sky" which simply vanished after he stepped away to tend to the fire. In another unsettling experience from a different expedition, Stroud was camping in the Smoky Mountains and felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up. After the feeling went away, Stroud suddenly heard a telepathic voice which said, "We're right over here. We're two hills away from you. If you want to see us, stay." Despite this fantastic invitation, Stroud conceded that he was not ready for such an encounter and opted not to investigate further.

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