Columbia Falls, MT resident Misty Allabaugh has been researching Bigfoot for over twenty years. She was recently interviewed on the Monster X Radio podcast and will be a featured presenter later this year at both the International Bigfoot Conference and the Big Sky Bigfoot Conference. Her Bigfoot horror novel, Flesh and Fury: Bigfoot Rogue (first of a trilogy), is available on Amazon.
S & F: When and how did you get interested in the subject of Sasquatch? When did you decide to pursue your research more or less full-time?
MA: I became interested in 1993, after my first experience. I became obsessed. However, in those days you couldn’t just order a book or movies off of Amazon. It was a lot harder and people weren’t feeling the Bigfoot vibe. Even though I’ve done it for years, I still worked full-time. I was able about four years ago to do nothing but write, follow up on reports, and do research. It wasn’t pleasant how I came to have so much free time, but I channeled it into something I am proud of and I love the subject matter. I’m blessed to be able to do this.
S & F: I’ve only been into this subject for maybe five years, so in your opinion, what has changed about researching today as opposed to say, 20 years ago? Do you think average peoples’ attitudes toward Bigfoot are more open now, about the same, and why?
MA: (Back then) I felt like I had this great thing in my life. I was out there living it, loving it. But I felt I had to stay private. The work I did made it so you walked a very straight and narrow path. You kept your head down and didn’t mention your personal life, let alone your obsession with Bigfoot!
One day everything changed. There were more books, both fiction and non. Movies, documentaries, things like Nat Geo and Monster Quest. Finding Bigfoot aired and people were like, hmm…
This is still a great mystery, but now I know I’m not alone and can put a voice to my experience. People like me kind of threw open the door and said “Here’s my book, here I am, here’s what I have collected.” I personally just quit being afraid of what people thought. I was simply going to be me and that included Bigfoot.
S & F: What other Bigfoot researchers have had an impact on your work?
MA: Of course there are many. I came from a background in Psychology and Science. I was living this crazy life when it wasn’t cool to even talk about it. When Dr. Meldrum came out and supported this, put his reputation on the line I was like… I’m all in!! He did an interview and was asked if he truly thought these creatures existed. He smiled, looked right at the guy, and said YES. I love Loren Coleman, Dr. Bindernagel. They are all geniuses. Anyone who puts their name out there and hits the woods is worthy of my respect and that’s a lot of people!
S & F: I love eyewitness accounts. What is your interview process when talking to eyewitnesses? Do you ever get the sense that witnesses have misidentified something else in the woods, or even that you’ve been deliberately hoaxed?
MA: There are many accounts that are simple misidentifications. Usually those are told to me in honesty. They saw something and I don’t classify those as hoaxes, just a mistake. I’ve interviewed people who have a legit experience but they’ve amped it up, made it better. I believe those people are so worried what I’m going to say, they exaggerate the instance to impress me. I’ve only had what I believe are a couple reports that are total lies. They’re easy to spot.
I listen to every story and I try to validate their time and the experience. I have a report log I use for everyone. It has the normal who, what, when, where, time, date, location, weather, etc. On top of that I just start asking questions.
S & F: We both live in western Montana. What sorts of reports, if any, are you getting specifically from this area? Do you have a go-to research area near your home?
MA: I do have a favorite go-to area; that will never change. I am however branching out to North Idaho and parts of Washington.
I find that everywhere I go someone knows me and and has a story to tell! I listen because those impromptu interviews are so candid. People are less restricted when it’s their idea to share.
I take many and varied reports, from your average lady reporting one crossed the road in front of her to hunters being 50 miles out in the Bob Marshall (Wilderness).
S & F: What motivates you in your research, or keeps you on the trail, so to speak?
MA: I have my days where I’m like, “Ugh, enough already.” My body aches, I’ve fallen down huge hills, I’ve stepped through rotten ice. Last year the bank of a creek I was crossing gave away and I sprained my wrist and cracked my elbow. I’ve gotten my foot stuck in mud and while working my way out fallen and become a human mud popsicle. It’s not without trials and tribulations but I attempt to shake it off and persevere. Does this always work? NO, I’ve gone home hurt, bloody, and bent; covered in who knows what, missing gear and swearing like a sailor. These days happen a lot… but you have to keep on keeping on!!
Then there are times I find something… and all those gripes just fade! The weather is perfect and you know this is what you’re meant to do. I also combine things like hunting, fishing, camping, etc. into my routine. I frequent one area enough I believe the more natural/normal I act the more I experience.
I do this not to prove Bigfoot exists, I don’t do it because I have hidden emotions from my own experience at 17. I do it because it fascinates me, it feels like home to speak to people and be in the forests… I do it for me.
S & F: I read and enjoyed your debut novel, “Flesh and Fury: Bigfoot Rogue.” How did you come up with the story and what influenced you as you were writing?
MA: For years I’ve been gathering reports. When I put them together, I didn’t feel I had enough. When I thought about using my own life, I found that that part of me was still secret and special. I had been reading and collecting a huge pile of Bigfoot-related stuff and it was actually my brother who encouraged me. He told me ‘So what, you don’t want to write the same book everyone else is reading, write something new. I’ve seen what you can write.’ So I sat down and let it flow, it was different and unique. But then again that’s exactly how I would describe myself!
S & F: The Sasquatch characters in your novel are particularly interesting to me because you depict them as having defined traditions and a sense of history — an actual culture. Does that represent any particular theory you have about these animals?
MA: I definitely believe they have family units, cultures, perhaps even tradition. The fact is it’s all supposition but these animals have a language, they interact with each other, and with some humans. They’re smart, maybe smarter than we give them credit for!
S & F: You’ve told me you’re currently working on some other books — can you tell us a little about those?
MA: I am in book three of the trilogy. I’m also working on the true accounts book, doing interviews and organizing it into something I like. It’s been years in the making. Finally, and most complicated, I’m working on a children’s chapter book. I’m finding it hard going from horror to PG!
S & F: Thanks, Misty. I know you are busy and I appreciate you taking the time
to answer my questions. I look forward to your future work!