If a tree falls in the woods, and nobody is around, does Bigfoot hear it? If that tree is in the Mayacama Mountain Area of Santa Rosa, the answer might be yes.
We get a lot of press releases at the Bohemian, but when the email subject reads “Bigfoot in Santa Rosa?” it’s gonna get opened. And when as much work is put into it as the one we received yesterday, it’s gonna get read. And when there are blurry photos of what might be the elusive, mythical Sasquatch, you bet your ass I’m gonna post that online like it’s a cat playing piano with sunglasses.
As the story goes, a Windsor man walking his dog shot the grainy, shaky footage and stabilized the best shot he had. If you squint really hard, and forget that this is in a forest, and don’t realize that these guys sell Bigfoot hunting trips, it looks like it might be a thing. Not necessarily Bigfoot, but definitely a thing. And hey, Bigfoot is a thing, so the search is on!
The man contacted Tom Biscardi, a renowned Bigfoot hunter in Redwood City. After carefully reviewing the footage, and enhancing it through several filters, it was determined that this could be worthy of more investigation. Though the team is still trying to get permission to cascade upon the mountain, the Bohemian was invited to send someone on the news staff to tag along on the hunt. (We're just trying to find an issue with an open spot for a cover story, honest.)
This isn’t the first time Tom has reportedly been involved in a Santa Rosa Bigfoot sighting. Though his name was not used, it’s been reported he responded to a fake video made by Penn and Teller for their show, “Bullshit.” Biscardi also admitted to being hoaxed himself on the nationally-syndicated paranormal radio show Coast to Coast AM, which prompted the host to demand a refund to anyone who signed up for his live-cam Bigfoot watch after it was promised there would be Bigfoot, no matter how hard one watched.
I’m not in the Bigfoot biz, but I’m sure things like that happen all the time. There's no shame in getting fooled once, or twice, or a few times. Hey, everyone’s gotta make a buck somehow (one offer came to Penn and Teller for $5,000 just to use their fake Bigfoot footage). It can be tough to find the real thing, and you’ve gotta strike while the iron is hot. There’s no time to check the facts or ask the experts. Bigfoot is quick and elusive, and he might turn up one day at Matanzas Creek Winery sipping chardonnay and the next day having a picnic on a dormant volcano in Atlanta. It’s the luck of the draw. Just make sure to carry your worst video camera around at all times.
Jamie DeWolf is one of the most interesting people I've had the privilege to chat with. I barely got in any questions because it was so much better to listen to him speak than try to focus his energy. I rarely enjoy Q&A style articles, but even re-reading this one was enthralling. Enjoy.
Bohemian: How vocal are you now about Scientology?
Jamie DeWolf: I've always been willing to speak out against them. It's just that, well, one, they're just monstrous. It's like going against the mafia singlehandedly. I mean, when I first spoke against them publicly was in '99-2000. I performed a piece that I wrote that was super long, this crazy long thing that was like 15 minutes long. I was just trying to fit everything that I knew about the church and the cult into one piece and the history of my great-grandfather and my grandfather as well. I just tried to smash everything into it. Because at that point in particular not a lot of people knew about the inner workings of the cult, a lot of its notoriety and its actual internal beliefs.
A friend of mine put it online. I read it to about 50 to 75 people here in this cafe, I'd actually read it at a very early version of my show Tourettes without Regrets, and he recorded it and put it on mp3.com and immediately within a week Scientologists were after me. They were literally running me down. I had private investigators following me. They showed up at my house, they tracked down my address, they came up from San Francisco, they had this whole cover story that they were promotors putting on a show with me, that was like their running lie to anybody that they met to try and find out where I was. Then they ended up confronting my mom on the porch and she recognized them immediately just by their general demeanor and how they were asking questions about me and tried to identify who they were. She ended up kicking them off the porch.
I definitely felt hunted. Shortly thereafter, I think it might have even been the next two days, I got this anonymous phone call by this guy who only went by the alias of “Mr. Scary” and he was inviting me to come and host this anti-Scientology benefit concert in Clearwater, Florida, which is kind of their Mecca, it's like one of their strongholds—that and Los Angeles. When I flew out there I really saw the scope of the cult, a city they had completely devoured. They had their own bus lines, they had hundreds of security cameras downtown. And to meet people whose entire lives had been completely consumed by this cult, they'd been in the cult for 20 some years and it had destroyed their family or destroyed them and they just wanted to educate the world about how dangerous and criminal they were.
I met a guy who spent millions of dollars battling the church in every court, they fought him with every atom of their being and kind of eventually destroyed this guy. I just saw the sheer totality of how many lives had been utterly wrecked by this insane tentacled creature that my great grandfather created and I realized, Man, there's a lot more that I want to do with my life right now. I was like, This is some quicksand. I certainly would talk about it any time that anybody brought it up or asked me. I was more than up front about it and very direct, but I certainly didn't want it to affect my performances or shows or films or anything else that I wanted to do.
It was only in the last year when Snap Judgement asked me to do a story on families, they had this theme show that was basically stories about family tales. And I said, kind of half-jokingly, that the only thing I'd be interested in writing about would be the Scientology thing and they're like, Oh my god, you've got to do that. Please, please you've got to do that. He actually grew up in a cult himself, it was a Christian sect, nothing about Scientology, and he had done performances about that on his own show. I was like, I don't know man, are you serious? Do you have any idea what a big thing that is? They could come after you, you could get sued. You are poking a dragon with a toothpick. That's not just like a story, that's a seismic shift.
At first I was actually going to just film the show, I was just going to be in it. I was organizing a camera crew to shoot it and all that. I was actually working on another piece and it wasn't working, so I just decided, as an exercise, OK, what if I just try to write on this. Because the subject was so massive, it was like, how do I even approach this as an artist? Do I talk about what they believe? Do I talk about who L. Ron says he was versus who he is? Do I talk about all the criminal shit that they've engineered against people? Do I talk about them coming after me? What do I do? And then I really just focused on the family aspect of it, maybe that's what helped crack it for me, just focusing on a relationship between a father and a son. I just really tried to keep it focused on that because when I talked to my mom about it, I was like, I'm thinking about writing this piece, what do you think? My family's always been incredibly weary of anything I've said against the cult, because they've been trying to escape this cult for their entire life and the last thing they want to see is another one of their family members whose one degree of removal has managed to not be directly conflicted—how do I say, they felt that it had done enough damage that they didn't want to have anything more to do with it.
My mom says that that church is nothing but toxic, its poison. She's like, “Scientology consumed my grandfather and my father,” and that's how she viewed it. There's something that really stuck with me in terms of really focusing on how this cult, Scientology, ultimately consumed L. Ron and his son. Both of their lives are completely destroyed in a way, and that's the legacy that they're both sort of stuck with. MY grandfather, L. Ron Hubbard Jr. was obviously stuck with his same name and had to live in his shadow and fought with him and went to war with him and was eventually destroyed by him.
As is unfortunately the case, the “G” of grapefruit in this headline was cleverly substituted for a slice of the fruit, which was woefully inadequate. What you see was actually printed and distributed in today’s edition of that paper. The story’s gone viral, but there has yet to be an official response from the paper. Maybe it will come in an editorial in the next issue.
I know newspapers aren’t perfect—I’ve made my share of egregious typos and headline mistakes—but never have I had an idea this asinine translate to a printed page, let alone an actual printed newspaper. Aspiring layout designers and copyeditors are welcome to apply in Mankato, they’re probably hiring.
Our news story this week is about a local family that adopted two toddlers from the Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC.
It's a story with a hopeful ending for those two children set in the midst of a tragedy that many people know nothing about.
As we explain in the piece:
"Since 1998, the DRC has been the sight of massacre and sexual violence so overwhelming that the few writers covering it tend toward comparison rather than digits. Incited by the same militant refugee group responsible for the Rwandan genocide, the First Congo War—sometimes called the African World War—involved nine countries, twenty armed factions and has claimed the lives of roughly 5.4 million people. A 2006 report commissioned by the UN relief effort UNICEF puts it like this: “[E]very six months, the burden of death from conflict in the DRC is similar to the toll exacted by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.”
Though the exact number of rape victims in this bloody travesty is unknown, the report estimates them to be in the hundreds of thousands. “Sexual violence is consciously deployed as a weapon of war,” it states. Abortions are punishable by imprisonment, and yet women and girls who are raped and become pregnant often become social pariahs, rejected by even their families, according to the document."
The UNICEF report concludes that global news doesn't tend to follow this terrible epilogue to the Rwandan Genocide for some reason, perhaps its long history, the country's deep poverty and the aura of hopelessness that hangs over it all.
If you want to find out more about the situation in DRC, here are some resources.
See the BBC's coverage here.
The country's profile on Human Rights Watch.
The county'r profile on International Crisis Group.
The UNICEF report we quote from in the piece, written by BBC War Correspondent Martin Bell.