By Jesse Marx
By Chris Parker
By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
"This is a real departure for me," says Kris Johnson. Now in her mid-50s, Johnson is the mother of two college-aged daughters and does part-time clerical work. As one of Matt Moneymaker's Twin Cities-area contacts, she's also a part-time Bigfoot investigator. "I'm probably one of their least likely volunteers," she says with a laugh.
Until last year, she professes, she would never have imagined herself looking for Bigfoot. "I was hiking in northern Minnesota up along the North Shore, and I found a footprint and what I believe to be a scat," she says. "I wasn't out looking for Bigfoot by any means."
"It stays with you for a long time," she says, recalling her own discovery of the footprint. "There still is not a day that goes by that I don't see my hand in that footprint." She says she has been open with her family about her new passion. Her daughters, she says, are "quite entertained--in a positive way."
She started reading and found a reference to Moneymaker's site. Next thing Johnson knew, she had become a volunteer investigator, following up on reports of sightings in Minnesota. "I don't know if I'd call it work," she says. "I'd call it an interest or a passion. I'm a middle-aged woman with no real scientific background for this."
Business hasn't been brisk during the year since Johnson became an investigator. "I've probably made about a half-dozen phone calls and been on site twice." She traveled to northwestern Minnesota in March, and the north-central part of the state in August, she says without offering more specifics. "Quite often the report will say that they don't want it to be made public," Johnson explains. "They just seem so relieved that someone is going to listen. People tend to not talk about it because society in general tells you that you're crazy."
Last year Minneapolis-based independent filmmaker Jimmy Wilson made a documentary under the title of "Jimmy Wilson's Snowman," billed, like all of his other films (available via www.jimmyfilms.com), as "entertainment for the whole family." Wilson's 23-minute film features interviews voiced over an array of nature scenes against a backdrop of vaguely dreamy new-age music. The film includes Wilson's dramatizations of the occasional shadowy creature moving among the woods. By the end of the film, narrator Wilson has reached no definitive conclusion, but says, "Let's keep on learning. And let's keep on looking." Ron Schara's Minnesota Bound television program did a short feature on Wilson's film last year.
Why Bigfoot in 1999? Why not, replies Wilson, who quickly concedes he's no Bigfoot hunter. "I try to do very interesting subject matter. I did one of the wolf prior to this," he explains. "It seems the subject is quite magnetic and polarizing all at the same time."