Blog tour: ‘Bigfoot Island,’ by Roderick O’Grady, cover by Jess Mason.

Whether you’ve read ‘Bigfoot Mountain’ or not, you will definitely want to visit ‘Bigfoot Island,’ its sequel. But do Bigfoot’s really exist, you ask? Well, perhaps reading author Roderick O’Grady’s special piece on that very topic might help you make up your mind…

‘When Minnie spots a white boat bringing strangers to the cove below her cabin, she fears the hard-won peace of her tiny community at the foot of Bigfoot Mountain will be shattered. Kaayii too has to deal with an intruder on the mountain and, injured, needs to reach his family across the water. The two inhabit separate worlds but must find a way to work together to avoid disaster and protect the people and places they hold dear.’

Debate about the existence of Bigfoots has raged for decades. In this special blog piece, Roderick O’Grady explores the controversy around alleged sightings, physical evidence, and the wisdom of the indigenous people.

Do Bigfoots really exist?’ by Roderick O’Grady.

Little did I know when I decided to write books for children on the subject of Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch (Bigfoot Mountain/ Bigfoot Island) that would I tumble down the rabbit hole so comprehensively.

Three and a half years later and two books on the subject completed, I’ve read most of the books out there and watched all of the documentaries. I have read the independently tested DNA results, which confirm that ‘an unknown relic hominid’ is living in the remote regions of North America. 

Is there any believable film footage out there?

Well there is the fifty three seconds of footage shot on an old fashioned hand held cine camera in1967, known as the Patterson-Gimlin film of an unidentified subject many believe to be a Bigfoot or Sasquatch.  

Interestingly film footage is way harder to fake than modern digital video, which of course can be manipulated. The film was at the time largely regarded as a hoax, but thanks to specialist analysis by a professor of anatomy and anthropology, and a computer scientist and special effects expert, who stabilised the existing duplicates of the original footage, details can be seen that rule out a man wearing a monkey suit.

If fake, the person inside would have to be at least 700 pounds in order to fill the costume. That’s more than an adult male black bear weighs! And why would a faker decide to make the creature so obviously female?

So it is thought to be genuine footage of a clearly female, over seven foot tall, very hairy, bi-pedal Sasquatch walking away up a dry creek bed called Bluff Creek in Northern California.

In my books I base my descriptions of Sasquatches on this and other witness accounts. 

What details are visible in the footage?

Many. The calf muscle ripples as shewalks. There is a possible hernia in the thigh that pops out when the leg is flexed. When turning to look back at the camera the massive neck muscles, or trapezius, bunch naturally and there is no sign of a fur costume folding. Most importantly the skull appears to be shaped more like an extinct human species that lived in Africa three million years ago called Australopithecine. 

In my books the ‘clan’ of Sasquatches have young and old members. Young ones have been seen, and are completely hair-covered, and have large heads in relation to their body. And many older ones have been spotted with grey or even all white hair covering their body.

What signs can be found in the forests?

In remote areas thought to be ‘active’, tree structures are common. Usually fullygrown trees are uprooted and heaved together to form a giant tepee like construction.

Also an X formed of two uprooted trees lifted and formed in to a giant X shape is fairly common. Sometimes a tree is seemingly uprooted and hung upside down from another tree. Branches out of reach of humans have been wrenched down sometimes, appearing to point the way through the woods to the next broken branch on the trail.

More discreet are the ‘glyphs’ placed on the ground. They are made up of sticks arranged carefully in patterns, and are thought to be territorial markers or messages. Of course these can be faked but the heavy lifting of trees in high and remote mountain locations is harder to explain.

​I use these tree structures in my book and one of the main Sasquatch character’s jobs is to maintain them and add to them as he chooses. His other jobs are to look out for humans and to maintain balance in the forest.

What do the indigenous people say?

Native Americans have always professed to know of the forest people and to have lived along side them since time immemorial. They say that when the European settlers arrived bringing smallpox, measles, and flu, which contributed to a decline in the native population from an estimated fifty million to about ten million over a period of a hundred and fifty years, the Sasquatch learnt to keep well away from humans.

Are they dangerous?

Native Americans have reported that in times gone by Sasquatches would raid their settlements and sometimes take women and children, until guns meant that the people could arm and protect themselves.

So how do I write a story that has detailed descriptions of their habitations, their diet, hunting methods, communication techniques, and language without encouraging readers to venture in to the woods to look for them? 

I hope that in my books I make it clear that these hairy human-like beings are not cute and cuddly. They do not want anything to do with humans- curious and intrigued though they are to an extent in the local humans’ behaviour. The best thing to do is to leave them alone and give them a very wide berth.

These books are about loss, family, friendship and balance, the balance needed in life and the balance needed in nature, from both the humans’ and the Sasquatches’ point of view. 

I believe that the more children know of the natural world the more they’ll want to protect it, to keep it in balance. 

I hope Minnie and Billy’s adventures in the temperate rainforest of the Pacific North West will show children some of the natural mysteries that bind us all.

Bigfoot Mountain is available from Firefly Press. Bigfoot Island published April 2023.

So what do you think? Are Bigfoot’s real? The story’s main protagonist, Minnie, certainly thinks so.

Minnie is a headstrong lead who will fight tooth and nail for what she loves. It was interesting to revisit Minnie and her step-dad Dan as they rebuild their lives following the loss of Minnie’s mother and rebuild their cabins following the wildfires which devastated the mountain. Readers of the first instalment in this series will enjoy seeing how Minnie and Dan’s relationship has evolved into something more like father and daughter than step-dad and daughter.

A theme which runs strongly through both books is the need to protect the environment and respect all living creatures. Something that Minnie and Bigfoot, Kaayii, both hold dear and will do anything to protect.

Recommended for readers aged 8+


*Many thanks to Firefly Press for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour*

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