The fourth annual Sasquatch Summit this weekend at Quinault Beach Resort &Casino is expected to bring several hundred enthusiasts from near and far and a baker’s dozen of “rock stars” from the seriously real world of Sasquatch research.
The event organizer is Johnny Manson, who lives “out in the woods” a few miles from Ocean Shores, and is known to many as the host of “Morning Madness,” broadcast 5-10 a.m. weekdays on KJET 105.7 FM in Aberdeen. He anticipates a big crowd for this year’s edition of the event he pioneered in 2013, partly because this region has seen an enormous number of various encounters and evidence attributed to the Bigfoot-type primates that many humans believe exist.
Actually, that’s a big part of how and why Manson developed the event.
“There are all these conferences out there, all over the country,” he explained. “Ohio is touted as the biggest, and I’m like, ‘We’re the Bigfoot headquarters of the world, right here!’ So I approached QBRC, and here we are!”
One of the keys to the event’s success, Manson believes, is to offer content for a broad spectrum of Sasquatch enthusiasts. With an interest since a family encounter from when he was too young to remember, and as the organizer of the Sasquatch Summit since 2013, he has seen a wide range of experiences and beliefs as well as backgrounds and perspectives among the attendees, the speakers and experts he brings in.
Many aficionados and authorities are loosely grouped as either “science-based” or “paranormal,” he said, adding that many who have had a Sasquatch experience have had “some kind of paranormal experience that they think is related to their encounter.
“Usually with these events, it’s one or the other, you have a bunch of scientists and researchers speaking, or you have a bunch of paranormals … they don’t intermix. This one does.” Despite some rivalries between research groups and factions of those interested, Manson has been able to bring in an array of speakers from across the Sasquatch community.
His formula, which includes witness testimony, merchandise vendors and plenty of opportunity for interaction with Sasquatch researchers, seems to be working. Attendance doubled from the first event in 2013, to more than 750 the next year. The event has attracted visitors from England and Australia, as well as across the U.S.
“We’ve exceeded Ohio,” Manson chuckled. He also thinks his ticket price helps. At $30, he said the Sasquatch Summit at QBRC is less than half the average ticket price of most other Bigfoot-themed events.
The event opens Friday at 6 p.m. with speakers in the venue’s Great Hall at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30. Then at 9:30, one of the event’s highlights takes place: the “Witness Townhall,” where people share their own Sasquatch experiences. This segment will be moderated by Derek Randles, who is the co-founder of the Olympic Project, a group of more than two dozen researchers.
Saturday offers speakers and seminars starting at 9 a.m., concluding with 10 of the experts and authorities in a question-and-answer panel session that begins at 5 p.m.
Among 13 scheduled speakers, Manson has booked several big names for the event.
Cliff Barackman has been seen on the History Channel television series, “Monsterquest,” on the A&E series, “Strange Days with Bob Saget” and currently stars in Animal Planet’s “Finding Bigfoot” series.
David Paulides is the founder of North America Bigfoot Search and has extensively researched and written a series of books, “Missing 411,” on unusual disappearances that have occurred in parks, forests and mountainous areas around the world.
Dr. Jeff Meldrum is a professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University and the author of “Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science.” His academic research centers on the evolution of hominin bipedalism. His interest in Bigfoot footprints sharpened when he examined a set of 15-inch tracks in the Blue Mountains of southeastern Washington. His lab now houses more than 300 footprint casts and he conducts collaborative laboratory and field research throughout the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain West.
Bob Gimlin is one half of the duo that captured the famous “Patterson/Gimlin Film,” almost 60 seconds of a purported Bigfoot shot in northwestern California in 1967 and footage has been widely viewed and analyzed.
A complete list of speakers, schedules and additional information for this weekend’s Sasquatch Summit event can be found online at www.sasquatchsummit.com.