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Bigfoot on the Paranormal Highway (2022)

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Bigfoot on the <i>Paranormal Highway</i> (2022)

Home / The SFF Bestiary / Bigfoot on the Paranormal Highway (2022)
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Bigfoot on the Paranormal Highway (2022)

Paranormal investigators explore the spookier side of Bigfoot (along with UFOs, haunted mines, and the mysteries of Cheyenne, WY).

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Published on April 8, 2024

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Show Logo of Paranormal Highway, showing Bigfoot and a UFO

There’s nothing like scrolling through the streaming options and, totally randomly, coming across a different take on our favorite giant hairy primate. 2022’s Paranormal Highway (not to be confused with Haunted Highwaytwo seasons, 2012-2013, starring Jack Osbourne), devotes five episodes to a grand tour of paranormal hot spots in the United States. Episodes 1 and 5 and, to a lesser extent, 3 feature variations on Bigfoot, while the rest tackle UFOs (or UAPs as the show and other more recent aficionados prefer to call them), haunted mines, ghosts and apparitions, and Cheyenne, Wyoming, which I would not have nominated as the most haunted city in the US—um, New Orleans? Savannah? Good old Salem, Massachusetts?—but apparently I am imperfectly informed.

The series explores the theory that paranormal phenomena cluster in certain geographical areas, and tests the hypothesis that humans are, to some extent, creating these hot spots. All the Bigfoot hunters and ghost hunters and paranormal investigators, not to mention the psychics and the energy workers, are feeding the phenomena.

They are not, be it noted, creating the phenomena. Those are presumed to be real. They’re drawn to the places where humans have opened portals and effectively invited the phenomena in.

Bigfoot is a frequent visitor to these hot spots. We’ve seen the details before: giant footprints, pounding sounds in the woods, howls that listeners insist are not quite right for wolves or coyotes, and rocks thrown apparently out of nowhere. One investigator claims to have seen visual evidence, but it amounts to a blurry shadow, or so he says; he doesn’t show it on screen. The other visual we do see: the shine of eyes at night among the trees.

Eye-shine at night is proof of Bigfoot’s existence, we’re told. Nobody points out that pretty much any animal could be behind the eyes. Deer are a frequent culprit. Coyotes and wolves could be spying on the humans, too.

All of that, including the sincere desire to believe, is standard operating procedure in the paranormal and cryptozoological world. What’s different here is the nature of the cryptid.

Bigfooters and giant-hairy-cryptid hunters around the world for the most part are looking for a living creature as yet unknown to science. It’s a real animal, living in a real habitat. The establishment just hasn’t found it yet.

The Paranormal Highway team has a different theory. They’re searching for—and, they claim, finding—evidence of paranormal Bigfoot. Paraphysical, they call it.

This Bigfoot can manipulate cameras so that they don’t show it passing by. It may leave footprints (which kind of shakes the logic here), or more often it leaves none that are recognizable as such. No evidence, in that case, is evidence.

It appears to be quite intelligent. It can cloud a person’s mind, make him turn his camera off, wipe his memory of an interaction that happens to have been witnessed by others on the team, and recorded by another cameraman. (Paranormal forces are always messing with cameras, but there’s almost always a camera recording the incident.)

This team uses psychics and sensitives as well as hunters and tech guys. The psychics try to communicate with Bigfoot. One self-described sensitive has a show-and-tell with what he claims are alien tracking and communications devices in the form of oddly marked river rocks, though he doesn’t explain what they have to do with Bigfoot.

Bigfoot’s role in the combination of ghosts, aliens, UFOs, and weird manifestations (levitating rocks, inexplicably magnetized fenceposts, bizarre light phenomena) isn’t exactly understood, but the team speculate that he’s some kind of paraphysical being. He may be able to travel a hundred miles instantly, or else communicate with fellow Bigfoots in a distant location in order to mess with an investigator’s head. He’s aware that he’s being hunted, but he’s not aggressive, nor does he seem to be afraid—but he doesn’t want to be seen or captured.

His not-quite-physical existence explains why no one has found authentic physical evidence. He’s basically in Mothman territory, though the series doesn’t say anything about that. This Bigfoot reminds me of John Keel’s “ultraterrestrials”: a being from another dimension who slips into and out of ours for purposes unknown and incomprehensible to humans.

He is much less terrifying than Mothman, and considerably more benign. If he cares about humans at all, he may mess with their heads, but he doesn’t do them any harm. The worst he’s likely to do is throw rocks at a hunter.

We don’t know what Bigfoot looks like, except that he has huge feet—twenty inches long, according to a pair of casts from a creek in the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas—and his eyes reflect light at night. He likes to pound on wood, and he may make arches out of tree branches—as a portal, as an invitation, investigators can only guess.

One point that investigator Thom Powell makes is almost convincing. He claims to have come to the paranormal as a skeptic, a science teacher. He’s been convinced of Bigfoot’s existence by a number of factors, notably the consistency of witnesses’ stories. They all tell the same ones, have similar experiences, describe similar phenomena.

I would argue that people talk. They read. They share stories online and in real life. They want to believe, and they will interpret what they see or hear according to what they’ve heard and read. That howl, that rock falling in the distance, that thud of wood on wood, must be Bigfoot. Those eyes shining in the woods, staring steadily at the camera—Bigfoot. “An animal wouldn’t stand there for that long,” the investigator declares. Not acknowledging that a predator will do that; and the country it’s happening in has wolves and bears and even, though rarely, mountain lions.

Frankly, I would rather it be Bigfoot than a mountain lion. Bigfoot is much less likely to want to eat me. He just wants to be left alone, unless he’s in the mood to play tricks on the clueless human. Then maybe I’ll hear him cackling, away in the woods, and I’ll know I’ve been pranked by a semi-solid cryptid with a weird sense of humor. icon-paragraph-end

About the Author

Judith Tarr

Author

Judith Tarr has written over forty novels, many of which have been published as ebooks, as well as numerous shorter works of fiction and nonfiction, including a primer for writers who want to write about horses: Writing Horses: The Fine Art of Getting It Right. She has a Patreon, in which she shares nonfiction, fiction, and horse and cat stories. She lives near Tucson, Arizona, with a herd of Lipizzans, a clowder of cats, and a pair of Very Good Dogs.
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