Sunday, January 11, 2009

The HOOPA Project....A Book Review

Over the years, I have managed to read most of the "Standard" Bigfoot books written by all of the usual "experts" in this field of endeavor. All of the movies, TV shows, documentaries, etc......Yes, I've seen them all, more than a few times.

Last week, I asked myself if there was really a reason that I should purchase yet another Bigfoot book and one which is being touted as one of the best books on this topic written in 2008. I went to the NABS website and started reading. I had a question about one of the articles and sent an email to the organization. I received a very polite and direct response back in less than 20 minutes. Needless to say I bought the book immediately, simply based on this type of "customer service".

I must admit that I had serious credibility issues when I discovered that most of the sightings and incident reports were made by members of the local Native American Indian Tribes in the target area. I thought of all the mythological and spiritual rituals that I have come to believe, not without the help of television, about Native American Tribes in general. HOWEVER, the author reportedly has 30+ years of Law Enforcement and Investigation experience--That is a FIRST!

The book arrived three days ago and I spent every spare moment I could find reading through it.

The author, David Paulides, begins with a brief introduction explaining his endoctrination into the Bigfoot mystery from a young age. Then he moves into the topic of Government acknowledgement, whereby he is intent on locating official government documentation about Bigfoot, and he finds it. There is a protracted section on climate conditions, elevation and charts including previous sightings information from various sources, etc...
(NOTE: Those of you without the patience for this type of technical information may find this section, which spans approx. 16 pages, mind numbing. DO NOT SKIP OVER IT because you will miss valuable information that will put you on the road to understanding the preferred habitat of these creatures in Northern California.)
After extensive research and planning, Paulides finally settles on the location in the Hoopa Valley region of Northern California(The Hoopa Indian Reservation).

After a few introductions and initial queries into local sightings and incidents, the "meat and potatoes" of the reports are presented. The reader is guided through the various investigations, interviews, narration on the landscape and locations of the incidents, which you soon see are concentrated in key areas.
As I began to read the reports, a strange thing happened. All of my misconceptions about Native American mysticism and "Hocus Pocus" disappeared and I mean COMPLETELY! The interviews were logically documented in classic "Police report" format--very straightforward and factual. No opinions interjected, just the facts as they were provided by the witnesses to Paulides. There are photos of most of the witnesses and the incident/sighting locations and we see that these are normal folks that have had incredible encounters and weren't looking to promote or even mention them to "outsiders".
Paulides has even added the accountability factor by requiring the witnesses to sign an affidavit attesting that there sightings/incident reports are factual. How enforceable this type of document would be under Indian law is beyond my scope of expertise and is not really relevant when your are confronted with the quality and quantity of information in this book.

Paulides enlisted the assistance of forensic sketch artist Harvey Pratt, who met with a majority of the witnesses and sketched the creature that each reports to have
seen. The sketches were close-hold information and no witnesses were allowed to see the other's sketches. I found this to be an excellent way to maintain the integrity of the project. If your are like me and have been force-fed all of the banter and theories about Bigfoot being some sort of giant primate, you are in for a surprise when you see the sketches and read the reports.

My issues with the book are few:
I would like to have seen larger charts, full page preferrably.
Same with some of the B/W photos. I think they would have reproduced better.
Due to the remote location of alot of the witnesses, I felt that Paulides could have briefly addressed how each witness communicates with others in general, i.e. telephones, CBs, shortwave radios, during emergencies.

As I said in the beginning, this book is touted as one of the best Bigfoot books to come out in 2008. I'll see that and raise you one. It is, without a doubt, one of the best books EVER written on the subject of Bigfoot! If you don't have it--GET IT!
It will change the way you view this creature and challenge everything you thought you knew.

After I posted this review, I sent an email to NABS letting them know how much I enjoyed the
book and that I was posting a review on my blog. I received the following response:

A sincere thank you for thoroughly reading the book. I understand that everyone has different tastes in writing style and have never objected to critique as long as the book is thoroughly read, thanks.
Your comments about the size of various graphs and charts is fair and something that I've spoken to the editor about.
Our next book will be out 6/1 (hopefully), it's at the editor now.
Thanks for posting the review, much appreciated.
David Paulides
North America Bigfoot Search
Executive Director
"Belief is not an excuse for critical thinking."
This level of professionalism and sincerety appears to be indicative of the organization, from top to bottom and Folks let me tell, they've set the bar pretty high!


Anonymous said...

It really sounds like a great book.
Thanks for the review. I'm gonna buy today.

Richard D.

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Anonymous said...

Are you saying native american's lie alot?

Southern Bigfooter said...

Thanks for the great comments.

As for the Native Americans, I'm saying that I don't subscribe to some of the mysticism and mythology that some of them believe. Bottom line is that once I started reading, It was no longer an issue.

Anonymous said...

nice of him to send you an email back. I think i'm gonna check that book out to.

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