I was curious about the possibility of stick signs being real evidence of interaction with Bigfoot, but I was also curious to know if Lisa A. Shiel, author of Backyard Bigfoot, had a new, logical, perspective on Bigfoot and how the plausible existence of hairy forest giants might relate to UFOs, "orbs" and other paranormal mysteries.
Her outlook on these subjects seems just as naive as many others who staunchly "believe" that photographed orbs are manifestations of spirits from beyond, and that UFO's are proof that extraterrestrials, or interdimensional beings, maneuver through our airspace in highly advanced craft.
The bottom line is that there is absolutely no proof to substantiate these phenomena, and it is illogical to speculate based on belief alone.
I mean no disrespect to the author. This is an interesting, well written book, and she certainly has done her fair share of research. Her theories are entertaining, and there is much anthropological and paleontological inforamtion included in the book, though not always in the best context.
In some cases I notice that her interpretations are a bit of a stretch from what one might ordinarily gather from the information at hand. For example, in the first chapter, "Ancient Evidence," Shiel presents an image of a pottery piece decorated with a representation of Bes, an Egyptian "hairy dwarf" god. Sheil tells us that Bes is often depicted with a feathered headdress, large feet, and sometimes as a bipedal lion-like creature. What she fails to mention are the obvious wing-like appendages seen protruding from the back of the creature in the image presented. This depiction of Bes is as much a representation of a hairy hominid as it is of Mothman, for those who believe in the existence of such a thing.
The stick sign phenomenon is intriguing, and may indeed be evidence of a possible attempt at communication, or mere playfulness, by creatures we know as Bigfoot or Sasquatch. Shiel has obviously done extensive experimentation with the stick sign phenomenon, but the fact that it continued at two very different locations, and on her property in both cases, may indicate that the phenomenon could have been generated through her own misperception of her environment.
I'm a skeptical person, but I try to keep an open mind when reading books like this. Backyard Bigfoot does contain some ineteresting information, and possible evidence that may or may not suggest the presence of hairy hominids on the author's property.
Much of what the author presents is assumption. She assumes a connection between hairy hominids and UFOs based on anecdotal evidence, stories. She assumes that orbs, and other most likely photographic and optical anomalies, represent paranormal activity and not common dust, moisture, insects, or other airborne debris. Shiel also assumes that these orbs have a connection to the alleged hairy hominids she believes frequent her property.
Shiel suggsts a connection between things like strange lights, mystery canids appearing on her motion-activated game camera, and her sighting of an out-of-place jaguar near her home when she lived in northern Texas. It seems that all of the world's paranormal mysteries found their way into her backyard. That is, if out of place jaguars, or wolf-like animals are paranormal phenomena.
Something I've noticed with many people who believe in these "mysteries" is that they tend to experience all kinds of strangeness in their lives, while skeptics like me seem to miss it all. And everything becomes part of some great mystery far beyond the comprehension of even the most educated scientists and thinkers.
On that note, one thing that Shiel doesn't hesitate to do, whenever she has the opportunity in this book, is to bash skeptics as a close minded group with an agenda to shut the door on all hope for the believers. I got the distinct impression that she views skeptics as the most illogical people, when in fact the opposite is true.
Skeptics ask questions, and point out facts which believers tend to conveniently ignore. I'm not bashing the author. She has written a fun book, and presents plenty of food for thought. There can be no belittling the author for the work she has done. She is an intelligent person, and the book is well researched. I must say, however, that much of what she offers and interprets seems liberally colored by her belief.
Are Bigfoot responsible for the stick signs she finds on her property? Maybe. Does Bigfoot exist? Maybe. But it seems that the author has convinced herself of their existence and assumes that they are communicating with her through the stick signs. Some of the stick sign formations do seem to be deliberate, while others could very well have just fallen out of a tree and landed that way.
There are many other creatures in the woods capable of shuffling some sticks around, during the course of gathering materials for a nest or den, even the wind can whip up a loose branch, twig or stick and have them land as they may. To say that the stick signs are evidence of a creature that has never been sufficiently proven to exist is a stretch.
Throughout the book are refereces to stick signs and rocks (some of which Shiel claims are evidence of hairy hominids' toolmaking skills), appearing where they were not the day before.
How is it possible that the author has such precise recollection of what is, or is not present on her property, and how can she be so certain as to how something got there? Are we to believe that Shiel strolls through her property on a daily basis making a detailed inventory of the contents of her land? Many of the passages in the book seem to indicate just that.
I will admit that my explanations above do not answer the riddle as to why Shiel seems to consistently get responses to her own placed stick signs. If an animal didn't just happen to shuffle over the sticks during the night, rearranging them a bit by mistake, then maybe there is something intelligent trying to communicate with her. But the evidence is sketchy. And it doesn't necessarily have to be a Bigfoot. Does it?
Sheil also discusses mystery braids that appear in the manes of her horses, seemingly overnight. She describes the detail, and intricacy of the braids, but at the same time refers to them as having a knotted appearance and being difficult to remove.
The photos Shiel presents of the braids show no real detail, and don't really help to support her claim. In some pictures it looks like she's showing nothing more than a tangle of hairs. Hard to say for sure. Also, she is again making an assumption that the braids are the work of playful, hairy hominids. Let's keep in mind that she never saw any Bigfoot lay down the stick signs or make the braids. Therefore we cannot establish for certain that they are responsible for these events.
There is no proof, despite the cute cover image, which seems more suited for a childrens' book than a serious examination of the Bigfoot phenomenon.
The book is interesting, however I must say that it is odd as well. It is a book about the paranormal and the author's belief, well suited for those who wish to continue to believe in these things.