Friday, June 19, 2009

The China YEREN-BIGFOOT Writing Project

In 2009 at Xi'an International Studies University, China, American teacher Christa Harrison (see her BLOG, From the Redwoods to Red China) used Bigfoot as a writing project subject with her English language-learning Chinese students. In association with Bigfoot Books' BIGFOOT'S bLOG these papers are being posted here.

Students were encouraged to think of Bigfoot and their own native cryptid hominid-hominoid traditions such as the Yeti and Yeren. They were encouraged to write a Western-style research paper, but as you'll see, the perspectives are also uniquely Chinese. These students are preparing for study next term in the USA at Humboldt State University, Northern California.

Christa's full lesson outline and analytic aparatus:

"The original purpose of this assignment was, of course, to give the students a space to practice their developing writing skills. As a writing teacher, I am always trying to think of creative ways to give students an access point to their assignments, so that it’s not “just another paper.” The particular group of students I’m working with are Chinese University Freshmen headed to the US of A for at least two years of study. I teach in an intensive one year program designed to help students ease into their studies in the US as university life in China, as well as education in general, is quite different. Students in China are not taught how to research, and when they are taught how to write in English, they are not taught Western structure or format. They do not know how to use quotations or analysis. My job is to teach them these skills, necessary for survival (at bare minimum) and success at an American University where they will be competing with native speakers. We talk about culture a great deal in our class—Chinese culture, American culture, classroom culture, culture clash, counterculture—and thus I decided to introduce them to Humboldt County culture by using Bigfoot. It was also an opportunity for them to build a cultural bridge between China and the US. The students are always keen to talk about their own culture, but I wanted them to go beyond the usual topics of discussion: China's long history, Confucianism, chopsticks, Mao, food... Steve and I have often talked about Bigfoot, and my being in China led us to talk about Yeren and thus the project was born. I first asked the students what they knew about Yeren, and then explained that the US has a Bigfoot too. They watched the Patterson-Gimlin film, and a short film about searching for Yeren ( Once they had some ideas in their heads, I had them look at Bigfoot imagery and begin to brainstorm ideas for an academic essay about Yeren and Bigfoot. To practice their researching skills, and to further develop their ability to discern whether or not a source is reputable, I guided the students to a series of articles about the creatures. They were then asked to find their own sources. With all these ideas in mind, the next step was for them to put together some sort of thesis, and build an essay on said idea. Each essay went through a series of drafts, peer review, and revision. "

Class photo and most individual bio. images by Christa Harrison.Student works and text content on this blog remain copyrighted by their producers.Steven Streufert kind of claims credit for some of the other images and the general blogification of this. Other images are archival/historical or borrowed from friendly sources.

Donna: Thanks, Bigfoot

Donna, June 18, 2009

Thanks, Bigfoot

It was an unusual night. Quiet and dark from outside, the workshop is shiny with exhilaration and excitement because people are expecting something new that will shock the world. Clustered round by the roaring crowd, one middle-aged man came into the workshop. Then, seriously and cautiously, he took off the paper and sit down. One shutter. One confident pose. The next day, October 5, 1958, California and even the world exploded because of that man with one amazingly huge foot-shape plastic cast in hand. (Streufert)He is Jerry Crew, one of a forest road-building crew, along the northern border of Humboldt County, up on Bluff Creek. The crew some of whom are Hoopa Indians spotted shocking finding --- the evidence of Bigfoot, opening a new age of Bigfoot hunting.
Bigfoot is said to be a kind of animal who looks like human ancestors. People who have either searched the traces of Bigfoot for many years, or just “came across” the Bigfoot themselves, have a strong belief that Bigfoot does exist. Nowadays more people become interested in this unique mysterious species, and whether Bigfoot does exist or not is not fairly relevant because it has become an interesting topic that brings money and popularity. The fact is that thanks to Bigfoot, Many people from all over the world participate in the Bigfoot and other related industry, such as Bigfoot Products Company, and strengthen the connection of the world.
Having a long history and being a global culture, Bigfoot is not only a special phenomenon in North America. The earliest appearance of Bigfoot in literature can be traced back to 4000 years ago in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Native Americans call it Sasquatch, which means “the wild man of the woods”. In Nepal, there is Yeti, called the Snowman in the Himalayas. Whatever its different names, almost everywhere in the world “has” the trail of Bigfoot. Same to search for UFO and Crop Circles, people from all walks of life are engaged in revealing Bigfoot myth and exploring “truth” that rise people’s interests and attentions. Photos, videos, hoarse recording footprints of Bigfoot released from all over the world have been showed the track of Bigfoot is everywhere.
Looking at the reports that witness have offered to us, we have lively stories and vivid description of how the witness have encountered the Bigfoot, what the Bigfoot is like, and the surrounding where Bigfoot appeared. One witness said he met Bigfoot in person as he possibly hit him by car outside of Willits, Ca, on July 2008. It was only 25ft away from the witness to come across this unique creature. He also described that the animal, 7ft tall, 500 pounds and looked like giant human or ape, tried to climb the embankment. ( 2008)However, he saw it alone. What a pity! There are no other witnesses or proofs to testify his peculiar observation. One week later, the Field Investigator came to the original ground and said in public that according to the tracks, it shouldn’t be human behavior. ( 2008) such exciting news!
Bigfoot is also reported in China. The first government report dated back to 1976 in the forest in Shennongjia, Hubei Province. The appearance of Bigfoot may bring the humxan race research to a new era. Six government officials came across the mysterious creature which later was named Bigfoot on May, 14, 1976, but they had no equipment and instrument to catch that creature or record that scene. They specifically described the appearance of Bigfoot in a report to Chinese Science Institution which has a highest reputation in Chinese academic field. Later in November, 1976 110 scientists from all over the country came to Shennongjia to participate in this huge researching project. The government of Hubei Province even sent out one group of army, including 56 excellent scouts, to direct this action. After going to the forest three times groups by groups in twelve months, scientists concluded that the environment is good for Bigfoot living, though nobody have captured real Bigfoot and only found hair, footprints, shit and carves that supposed to be of Bigfoot. Scientists said that collecting information on the environment, including climate, landform, animals and plants formed the basis of subsequent researches. (
The amazingly same accounts of Bigfoot convinced many people; many investigators came to the place where witness have spotted the Bigfoot in person, justifying the situation of the locale is true of what the witness said. Though, with no bones, no DNA test and no scientific proofs, people believe things that any people made with whatever intention, neglecting the reliable scientific proof that need “live or dead bodies, or relatively complete skull or bones of limbs” (Zan44-45). Besides many of those compelling stories, we have no scientific proofs. Interestingly, money, fame and popularity come along.
Another two Georgians got more convincing proof on August 2008 --- they have Bigfoot’s Body! This time “science” was used to proof the existence of Bigfoot! As stories continued, they dragged the dead body of “Bigfoot” and they have video and photographs. Too sadly, it is said that the find is already kept in a secret place outside Atlanta. “But they promised even more proof, including video, a DNA test and, of course, a mission to capture one of the big guys.” (Mckinley) By far, no related news, no scientists declare anything and no open exhibition that showed the dead body of Bigfoot have been presented in front of the mass. Yes, not to our surprise, there is no even the so-called scientific proof thus that news is another hoax again. Despite the results, two Georgians are visited by reporters and advertisers for many times because of Bigfoot information. They published Bigfoot news, became spokesman of Bigfoot, make Bigfoot videos and certainly gain fame and money as they wish.
In China, since first report of Yeren in 1976, in the introduction part of Shennongjia we could see some changes --- added information of Shennongjia--- “it has also gained fame as the home of the mysterious Yeren, or Chinese Bigfoot. Rumors abound and stories of Yeren have only added to the appeal of this remote area.” (Zan44-45) Thanks to Bigfoot, thousands of hundreds of tourists came here; famous anthropologists, zoologists, botanists and geologists also came here to do research. More and more businessmen are serving these people who come here like waves.
In America and other places around the world, the Bigfoot industry is also thriving and expanding because Bigfoot came to be the global focus, driving more and more attention. Many people take Bigfoot hunting as their jobs, finding their meaning of life --- to look for a breakthrough. Witnesses or reporters, such as writers, businessmen who offers Bigfoot tours, and member of Bigfoot hunters became popular. One company even produced a set of oversized plastic bags on feet that you could use fooling your friends and family. In Willow Creek China Flat Museum there is also a $100, 000, 00 Reward for Bigfoot tracks! Whether there is Bigfoot or not, exploring this interesting topic rewards a lot.
Bigfoot is still a myth. Only two questions can be answered--- Who are the witnesses? What has really changed after those witnesses revealing Bigfoot reports? Till now the Bigfoot witnesses and believers provide no scientific evidence. Like a flash in the pan, more delicate proofs people create, more money and fame they will gain in a short time.

Work Cited

“$100,000.00 Reward for BIGFOOT TRACKS”,, April 19, 2009
Zan Jifang. “Hubei Bigfoot--Fact or Fiction?” Beijing Review, 50.51 (2007): p44-45
Jesse Mckinley, “Two Georgians Say They Have Bigfoot’s Body”, New York Times,
August 14, 2008, April 19, 2009
“Man Has Face to Face Encounter Outside of Willits”,, Thursday, July 10,
Stefan Lovgren, “Forensic Expert Says Bigfoot Is Real”, National Geographic News,
October 23, 2003, April 19, 2009
Streufert Steven, “Bigfoot in Humboldt County – fifty years or 50,000?”, Weblog
entry. Bigfoot’s Blog. Monday, December 29, 2008, April 19, 2009
“Chinese Bigfoot report” 17, September, 2004

[IMAGE above: courtesy of Duane Flatmo, preliminary sketch for the Willow Creek Ace Harware bigfoot mural.]

Donna. No biography yet submitted.