Friday, July 18, 2014


Interview with Lyle Blackburn
by KBhunter 

1) Gigantor;
Hey Lyle, I was reading your excellent blog and was surprised by the number of bigfoot related movies I never knew were out there. It seems that most are in the horror category, which prompts my questions.
·         Do you think the on-screen bigfoot resembles the real animal (if it exists). 
Lyle: I think in terms of physical description, the creatures of the movies generally resemble what people describe in real life.  Of course they often exaggerate some aspects, but overall it’s basically a large, bipedal ape with varying degrees of human traits.
In terms of attitude and demeanor, however, the movies typically stray from typical eyewitness encounters by making the creatures far more aggressive and dangerous.  Whereas the majority of actual eyewitness accounts describe a more reclusive animal that is there one second and gone the next, the horror movies usually involve a pissed off Bigfoot ripping people to shreds.  There have been instances where real-life encounters suggest the creatures can be aggressive (a prime example being the “Ford attack” of 1971 which was made famous by The Legend of Boggy Creek movie – and documented in my book, The Beast of Boggy Creek), but these aggressive incidents are far less frequent than the typical brief sighting, as I’m sure you know.  It’s only natural that the horror movies play up this angle though, since entertainment and scares are their goal.
·       Do you think bigfoot in movies advances the quest for discovery or does it hinder it?
Lyle: That’s a good question.  I think there’s two ways we can look at it.  On one hand, we could say that movies which play up the sensational aspects of Bigfoot and make the creature into something of a pop-culture icon are hindering the possibility that mainstream science will embrace the subject.  (This would apply to beef jerky commercials as well.)  But on the other hand, if someone were to bring forth some piece of irrefutable evidence – an actual body, a finger, a chunk of hair, skin, etc. – then it doesn’t matter how many Bigfoot movies have been made.  At that point the reality would eclipse the entertainment version and scientists would be all over it (and eating their words, perhaps).
2) WVFooter; 
·       Have you had any type of encounter that makes you a knower that Bigfoot exists, and if so, could you share your experience? 
Lyle; I’ve never had a visual encounter.  It’s certainly not from lack of trying or from not being in areas that could potentially yield a sighting, so perhaps it’s just not been my lucky day yet.  My father is an avid hunter, so I grew up hunting with him all throughout Texas.  I also camped and visited many areas such as Arkansas and East Texas throughout my childhood, so I’ve definitely been in many areas over the years where sightings were reported.  And, of course, as an adult I’ve gone out in many states for the purpose of Bigfoot investigation.  I’ve heard a few weird things, but I’ve never seen anything that I would definitively claim to be sighting of an unknown creature.
·         In your travels, where is the most active and rewarding, (Regarding Actual visual or other evidence obtained), place that you have ever been?
Lyle; The most promising area I’ve experienced would probably be southern Arkansas.  Specifically in the Sulphur River Bottoms where I’ve gone many times, there’s been some excellent footprint finds, and I myself have heard a strange howl that I cannot explain (see more below).  As well, I’ve interviewed numerous witnesses over the years that I felt had legitimate sightings in the area.
3)  Kbhunter;
·         Exactly what made you decide to get involved in Cryptids and the paranormal?
Lyle; Ever since I was young, I was fascinated by the subject of unexplained creatures such as Bigfoot, Yeti, and Loch Ness Monster.  I think it was partly because I liked the subject of “monsters,” but also because I had a love for the outdoors.  Since these creatures were reportedly seen in the woods, mountains, or lakes, it sort of combined my fascination for the unknown and my passion for getting out into nature.  Of course seeing the PG-Film on television and seeing The Legend of Boggy Creek movie when I was a kid helped fuel my interest.  As an adult I have a much more scientific and rational approach to these creatures – which are obviously not “monsters” in the implied sense of the word – but there’s still plenty of that inner child-like wonder that rivets me to the subject.
·         What do you think that Bigfoot or Sasquatch really is?
Lyle; It’s a tough question to answer without having seen one myself or having examined a body.  So simply based my research and countless interviews I’ve done with people, I believe they are flesh and blood beings.  Perhaps a relic hominid or some species of ape with a higher level of intelligence than other animals.  However improbable, they have managed to elude capture for all these years due to their exceptional expertise at evasion and survival.

4)  Rockape;
·         I'm from North East Texas. Are there any locations here you would consider a hot spot?
Lyle; I’m certainly familiar with this area, since I live in Dallas-Fort Worth.  I would say that there’s several hot spots within a reasonable driving distance.  First would be the area of Fouke, Arkansas.  This is, of course, the famed location of The Legend of Boggy Creek, and one that I’ve spent years researching and writing about.  I’ve investigated many credible sightings in that area, one as recent as January 2014. 
Another area would be along the Sulphur River where it originates in Texas.  Areas near the town of Commerce have a long history of sightings in the area, and according to a few recent tips, activity is still going on there.
There’s Marion, Harrison, and Panola Counties in East Texas where there’s been some very interesting sightings in the last decade.  I’ve personally interviewed several witnesses that claim to have had close encounters in these counties.
Going north, there’s the Ouachita Mountains which span from eastern Oklahoma to western Arkansas.  Based on my research and travels there, I consider it a prime and likely spot for Southern Sasquatch habitat.
·         Do you associate Bigfoot with any paranormal activity, such as UFOs, teleporting, telekinesis, etc.?,
Lyle; There’s no doubt witnesses who claim, and fully believe, that the creatures possess some sort of “paranormal powers” such as the ability to “shimmer,” disappear, or to even communicate with humans using telepathy, but this, to me, is even harder to swallow than the notion of an undiscovered ape itself.  I’m not saying that it couldn’t be possible… just like Bigfoot itself, I can’t disprove it, but I just personally don’t think this is the case based on my knowledge at this point.  A good many witnesses have also reported seeing creatures fitting the description of Bigfoot in the vicinity of UFOs, so that’s another branch of the puzzle.  While I align with the theory that they’re flesh and blood animals, I still remain open minded about the mystery until more solid proof is available.
   5)  Doc Holiday;
·         what steps are necessary to become  a cryptozoology advisor ?
Lyle; If you mean “cryptozoology advisor” as in my role at Rue Morgue magazine, I was brought on board at the magazine since they cover many cryptids in film and I have both a vast knowledge of cryptozoology and horror film history.  In terms of being a “cryptozoologist” there’s no specific academic qualifications to that title.  I was reluctant to call myself any such thing at first, but after awhile it was something I was already being referred to as, and it certainly helps when classifying my research and books.  Personally, I consider myself something of an investigative journalist meets cryptid researcher, as I think my books reflect.
·         given the popularity of BF in TV  that  comes and goes ,  which has been a  more lucrative pursuit over the long term , BF or the paranormal /  horror topics?
Lyle; For me, they’ve both been about equal, although “lucrative” might not be the most accurate term.  My work at the horror magazine Rue Morgue has helped me make a living with writing and it’s been a fun way to combine my knowledge of cryptozoology and horror pop-culture.  But the subject of Bigfoot itself, in terms of the search for an actual creature, has been more rewarding since I’m passionate about that subject and my books seem to be popular.  I don’t make much money per se, but the great reviews and feedback I get from readers is rewarding unto itself.  So I don’t look at either “horror” or “Bigfoot” as one being more lucrative or trendy than the other, I just try to do what I enjoy in life and hopefully scratch up enough of a living to support my family along the way.  
6)  People Booger;
·         Who, or what group of researchers/enthusiasts/hunters do you feel has/have the best chance of finding/collecting/acquiring definitive proof of the species, if you believe it will be done at all?
Lyle; If we compare this to the successful field of archeology, then chances are it will be some unexpected person who finally brings in the proof.  A deer hunter, wildlife photographer, or field biologist, perhaps.  Oftentimes it seems like the person who goes in search of a specific thing comes up empty-handed.  But a person who happens to be in the right place at the right time will suddenly stumble onto the discovery of a lifetime.
7)  Bipedalist;
·         What scared you so bad you did not want to visit that cluster again?  
Not sure about the source of this question.  I can’t recall ever being scared so that I wouldn’t return to a place.  I like the thrill of the outdoors.
·         What about eyeglow and Samurai Chatter? What does it mean? Does it tell you more about Human perceptions or about EBE’s or Bigfoots?
Lyle; It’s certainly a good question to ponder as to whether human perception is involved in either of these reported phenomenon.  I’m not convinced that the eyeshine is purely bioluminescent, but no doubt a Bigfoot’s eyes could reflect a light source just as other animal’s eyes can.  The chatter that’s been alleged as Bigfoots communicating is extremely interesting.  If the sounds are indeed coming from these creatures, then it would strongly suggest they have some form of language.  But without observing a Bigfoot actually speaking, it’s hard to say for sure.
8)        The Parkie;
Hi Lyle,
·         Have you had a clear, unambiguous daylight sighting of a Bigfoot - if so can you describe your experience please?
I haven’t.  Please refer to the answer in question 2) above.
·         Can you also please describe the most compelling sighting by another you have come across and why?

Lyle; For me the most compelling sighting is one that a friend of mine had in East Texas back in 1989.  In this instance, he had a very close look at the creature, which offered him a good chance to study it.  The encounter is fully detailed in my book, The Beast of Boggy Creek, but to summarize he was walking down a dirt road one afternoon near his grandmother’s house when he heard something approaching through the leaves.  He stopped, figuring he was about to see a large buck run across the road.  But what emerged from the trees was not a deer, it was an ape-like creature approximately seven-to-eight-feet tall with dark, reddish-brown hair and weathered looking skin. At first it was running on all fours, but upon seeing my friend, it stopped and rose up on two legs. He could then see that it was, as he described it, “more human, than ape.”  The creature stood there, within 9 yard of him, for about 10 seconds before it turned and ran back into the woods.
It’s a significant encounter to me since I know they guy personally and I believe him to be telling the truth, and also because he got such a close look.
9)   WVFooter;
·         What is the best evidence that you have come across, which really made you think a particular creature existed?
Lyle; The best evidence I’ve personally investigated is a footprint cast taken in southern Arkansas near Mercer Bayou.  It’s a large, five-toed track with a good amount of detail that strongly suggests it was made by a Bigfoot.  I also give this piece of evidence a high credibility rating because of the way it was discovered and subsequently handled.  A local man and his son were out hog hunting when his son noticed the trackway.  When his father looked at the tracks, he knew they weren’t made by a normal animal.  They didn’t have any sort of casting material with them, but the father felt it would be a good idea to come back and make a cast.  I had heard about this cast from some locals in the area, but the guy had never sought publicity or showed it to very many people.  I was finally able to track down the guy and examine it.  Because he had the track in his possession for about six years without ever seeking publicity that told me he wasn’t trying to pull a hoax.  Plus, he was not out specifically looking for Bigfoot.  He is simply a local guy who found something strange in a place where it would be extremely unlikely that a hoaxer would plant a trackway.  His story was actually featured on the Fouke Monster episode of Monsters and Mysteries in America which I also appear on.  In this case they did a great job of recreating his account.
10)  See-Te-Cah NC;
·         What was the absolute weirdest experience you've ever had that you attribute to Bigfoot?
Lyle; I was once canoeing with a friend in a bayou around 2:00 am in the morning when we heard a series of very distinct and evenly spaced howls.  At first it was hard to tell just what it could be, but as it continued to howl at 45 second intervals, we concluded that it wasn’t a typical animal.  My partner is a former trapper from Mississippi, so between the two of us, we were confident it wasn’t a coyote, fox, cougar, bird, etc.  After it stopped howling, we canoed about one mile back to our camp.  Upon arriving at the camp, suddenly the animal howled again three successive times.  In this case it was right across the bayou channel from our camp!  Had it followed us??
·         Are you armed when you investigate in remote locations? If so, what do you carry?
Lyle; Yes.  This is not for the purpose of shooting a Bigfoot, of course, but for protection against other potentially dangerous animals.  In the areas we frequent, there are numerous wild hogs, gators, and even cougars.  In fact, just a few months ago about a dozen wild hogs came within 20 yards of our camp at night.  Luckily they were too busy fighting amongst themselves to be concerned with us.
I carry either my Smith & Wesson .357 magnum or Colt .45 1911.
11)   chelefoot;
Hey Lyle, Way back before my interest in Bigfoot was sparked, I read a blog you did where you discussed your opinion of Paranormal Reality TV (which was a great post, BTW.) In fact, it may have been your blog that lead me to start researching the Bigfoot phenomenon! Thanks! (I think lol)
·         What is your opinion of the Bigfoot reality shows and do you think they have helped or hindered efforts to obtain the truth about Bigfoot? (If you even watch them).
Lyle; In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think television can significantly hinder the discovery of the truth, if it is truly out there.  In other words, if the creature is real, then proof will surface one day regardless of how many of these shows air and what they cover.  That being said, I think they can have some influence on the subject of cryptids.  On one hand, by making the subject of Bigfoot more “socially acceptable” it might lead a witness or person with good evidence to come forward whereas in the past he/she would not.  But on the other hand, I’ve noticed that with the proliferation and popularity of these shows, suddenly everybody is running around saying they saw a Bigfoot.  This can muddy the waters of legitimate research because I have to wade through more witnesses to find the ones that are genuine.  But in the end, the truth is not about finding the right witness; it’s about finding tangible scientific evidence.  If I’m hiking in the Olympic Peninsula, for example, and I run across a huge bone that looks like it could belong to a Bigfoot, I pick it up and have it tested.  If it comes back unknown primate, it doesn’t matter if Finding Bigfoot had one season or ten seasons.  The bone is either from an unknown animal (Bigfoot) or not.
I myself have participated in some of the shows such as Monsters and Mysteries in America and Finding Bigfoot, which get their share of criticism, but in all cases I’ve tried to present good quality commentary and witness referrals which I think add to the subject.  I don’t always have much control with television productions, but I do my best.
But ultimately, I love the subject of Bigfoot and one reason I’m doing this today is because I used to watch a show called In Search of… when I was a kid.  The same way that program inspired me to dedicate time, money, and passion to cryptid research, is the same way something like Finding Bigfoot will inspire a new generation and that can’t be all bad.
·         Have you ever had an experience where you felt you could have been in danger?
Lyle; A fellow researcher and I were canoeing very late at night in a swamp when a huge gator came up and rolled over right next to our canoe.  The canoe was 14 feet long, and it appeared the gator was around the same length.  I’ve been around gators plenty and I don’t spook easily, but that’s one time I pulled in my elbows and paddled the other direction!


Thanks to everyone for the great questions and to Keith for compiling them.  If you want to find out more about me or my books, check out my site at  I often speak at events around the country, so check my site for dates and places.  If you can make it out, it would be great to meet in person and discuss more Bigfoot!

Also, if you want to know more about my work on the Fouke Monster / Legend of Boggy Creek case, please visit my Fouke Monster site at

- Lyle