Honobia is a remote hamlet in the Kiamichi Mountains of southeastern Oklahoma. Some locals believe lurking in the dense forests surrounding Honobia are sasquatchs better known as Bigfoot. Bigfoot is described as an upright, hairy creature about seven feet tall with big feet surreptitiously roaming the backwoods. A few local people claimed to have seen the creature. A lot more have heard the creature.
Ten years ago some enterprising locals decided the legend was worth a festival. On the first weekend of October 2005 the Honobia Bigfoot Festival was born. I write that Bigfoot is a legend as it is yet unproved that the creatures exist. That has not deterred people from across the nation from converging on Honobia every first weekend of October. I attended the first festival in 2005. Parked on a field were many cars, one had New York plates. A vehicle in Honobia from New York state is almost like seeing a Bigfoot!
The festival had an open air stage. A local woman was singing, “Tell Me Why Haven’t I Heard from You,” by Oklahoma native Reba McEntire. A man was walking around in a Bigfoot suit. Given that it was about 80 degrees that day he eventually took the costume off before passing out. I brought my little King Charles Spaniel dog named Minor with me. I made a little sign for her back reading, “I’m here to catch Bigfoot.” Minor was somewhat of an added attraction at the festivities.
There was a “Bigfoot Hunt” with men on all terrain vehicles taking festival goers on a guided tour of the area where local people claimed to have seen Bigfoot. There was also a man down by the creek who told stories about seeing Bigfoot. I was hampered from partaking in either activity as I had Minor to think of. But we both had a good time. I returned four years later with a human friend. In 2009 the festival had expanded to a conference in one of the buildings on the grounds. The conference is the meat of the Bigfoot festival and unlike the festival itself, there is a charge to get inside. However, the conference is worth the cost of admission.
The first speaker was a retired sketch artist with the Oklahoma Department of Investigation (OSBI). On a screen he showed sketches he made of wanted suspects based on first hand descriptions and then showed the suspects photo once they were apprehended. He then showed sketches he made of Bigfoots people in the area had told him about. Sadly, he did not have photos of any Bigfoots as they are illusive. According to the sketch artist people in the area claimed to have seen male and female Bigfoots. They described these creatures knocking over trash cans outside their homes and even killing their animals.
After the talk by the OSBI sketch artist, I wondered where my friend had gone. I left the building where the conference was taking place and found my friend eating a funnel cake and listening to Gospel music. I said to him, “What are you doing?” He responded, “Eating this funnel cake and listening to Gospel music. The singer said the Lord cured him of cancer.” Unmoved by this testimony I responded, “We didn’t drive five hours to be here so you could eat a funnel cake and listen to Gospel music. There’s a great conference going on in that building and you are missing it!” Upon my insistence my friend, whose a Bigfoot enthusiast himself, decided to join me for the next speaker.
David Paulides is a retired California police investigator turned author who is a frequent guest on the nationally syndicated radio program Coast to Coast AM. He has written several books including Tribal Bigfoot which is about his interviews with Indians who have claimed to have seen Bigfoot. Mr. Paulides has written another book on people who have disappeared in the national parks titled Missing 411.
The next speaker was a strange man from eastern Oregon who claims that, while he’s never seen a Bigfoot, he has “telepathically” communicated with them. Later in the conference after he had spoken I spied a look at this fellow sitting down and starring straight forward while looking at nothing. I did not purchase his book.
But the main event of the conference was Idaho State University Professor Jeff Meldrum; he was fascinating! He sought to prove the authenticity of the 1967 film footage of a sasquatch walking across a dry creek bed in northern California. The professor showed the film, taken by Roger Patterson, frame by frame. He used the technical Latin words to describe the bones of the foot and the impression they make on the ground. At one point, as if to add some gravitas, he asked the audience if he was getting too technical with them. The crowd enthusiastically said, “NO!” Professor Meldrum concluded that the Patterson film was real. For it to be a fake, he said, it would require a man seven feet tall in a suit to walk across the creek bed. That talk by the professor was saving the best for last.
After the conclusion of the festival and conference my friend and I headed back to our lodgings near Broken Bow about 30 miles south and east of Honobia. I stopped at a convenience store to purchase a pack of cigarettes. The lady behind the counter saw my Bigfoot badge and asked me if I had been to the festival. I told her I had and she disdainfully informed me she didn’t believe in the creatures existence because no park ranger had ever claimed to have seen one and she had never seen one even though she had lived in the area her whole life. Personally, I don’t think any park ranger would risk his reputation or job security to say he had seen a Bigfoot. But then this woman told me something else. One evening she heard a scream in the woods near her house that she’d never heard before. It wasn’t a bobcat or any other animal. Her dogs were outside and petrified with fear until sometime after the creature responsible for the scream was long gone.
The Honobia Bigfoot Festival is this weekend Friday, October 2nd and Saturday October 3rd. There is a church service on Sunday, October 4th. Christ 40 Acres also known as Kiamichi Mountains Christian Mission is the location for event and host several christian camps throughout the year. The festival organizers have a website: www.honobiabigfoot.com and www.honobiaoklachito.blogspot.com/2015/06/updatehonobia-bigfoot-conference-and.html.
And I shall be there!