There was no plan to write Bigfoot book The Beginning. It just so happens it arrived in my lap from the vaults of my childhood. Memory and what one wants to remember are often two different things. Death can miraculously open doors that otherwise would remain forever shut.
As with all of my other writings, the entire contents of Bigfoot book The Beginning will be shared live, here on my website. You can follow along on my journey as I post each episode as it is written. I hope you enjoy the journey and maybe even learn a thing or two from the beings that live on the other side.
Bigfoot book, The Beginning by Richard Rensberry
Are all houses with any kind of history haunted? To the sensitive, I would have a tendency to answer yes. To those of us whom look to the sky and see spaceships or enter the forest and meet up with Sasquatch, I find it highly likely.
In my younger days, I remember moving into an old house in a town called Crockett, an old sugar refining, backwater village located at the mouth of the Sacramento delta in California. The house was an old Victorian era relic with small rooms both upstairs and down. One of the upstair's rooms had multiple windows facing south and west, ideal for growing plants which was a pastime I had carried over from my youthful days on the farm. I also took up tying macramé hangers and sold the hangers and plants at holiday craft shows to earn a few extra bucks. Why I bring this up is because that room was haunted by a ghost that apparently also loved plants.
The ghostly problems began when he (it was a man I found out) began getting possessive of the fruits of my green thumb and contrived ways of keeping me out of my hobby room. At the time I worked for the local school district, and when I'd come home from work, it was my habit to unwind by watering and pampering my greenery. This ghost or poltergeist started to slam and lock the door to the plant room the minute I set foot back into the house. The first couple of occasions I thought the door slamming was the wind upon my entering, even though my intuition told me otherwise.
After awhile, this phenomenon became a real hassle, so I removed the door lock. This action resulted in an escalated war whereby my ghost got inventive with foot shims he used to jam under the door to keep me from entering. Everything from magazines to screw drivers were devilishly employed for this task. I finally gave up and abandoned the room. On rare occasions when I was allowed to peek, I was blessed to see he took splendid care of the plants. My ghost also had a green thumb.
Out of curiosity about the ghost, I asked some of the Crockett old-timers down at the hardware store about the history of the old house. It didn't take long before I knew who the person was that was haunting my hobby room. He was a deceased veteran of World War II that had taken to heavy drinking upon his discharge from the marines. He had a bad case of PTSD and relied on his younger brother for financial and spiritual support. The drinking escalated, as did the PTSD, to the demise of both he and his brother who arrived home one day to find him exceptionally drunk and disorderly. After a brief but loud altercation, my unhinged ghost murdered his caretaker and then blew out his own brains with his retired service pistol. The guy at the hardware store informed me he had been the one the family had hired to fix the bullet holes in the wall and ceiling.
Not many houses have that kind of disturbed vibrations, but still, a lot of people die with unresolved issues and tend to hang around until those issues are dealt with one way or another. My newly acquired farm house resonates with those unresolved vibes. I do believe Cecil however, has reluctantly moved on. It is up to me to figure out the entanglements associated with 931 Reber Road.
(To be Continued)
Bigfoot book, The Beginning by Richard Rensberry
The moving van with my stuff from California will arrive in five days. In the meantime I have an air mattress, a sleeping bag, my camp stove, flashlight and toiletry bag to sustain my first few days and nights in the old house. I have decided to set up headquarters in the library with Cecil’s Sasquatch journals to keep me company. Its built-in wood shelves will help me get organized with my cleaning supplies and paperwork. I will need to get busy in order to change cell phone providers and get the local power company to check and turn on the electricity. Priming the well in order to use the bathroom is at the very top of the list, but for now the outhouse will serve. I wonder if I will be able to find a stone mason and a chimney sweep to get the old fireplace back to battery with a crackling fire in the living room before winter sets in. The challenges, though overwhelming are also invigorating and therapeutic.
The raucous swallows have reluctantly accepted the fact that they are no longer welcome guests inside my house. With the nesting season over, I have cleaned out their mud huts and encouraged them to take leave for their migration south. Their protests have all but ceased as dusk sets in.
As I take inventory of my progress, I am pleased that I have made good headway reclaiming my newly acquired home back from the claws and jaws of nature. I have successfully found and hired a well person and made an appointment for the power company to arrive in the morning.
Fulfilled, I take a seat on the back porch stoop and snack on a fresh apple I picked up at a fruit stand in Standish on my drive up I-75. The apple is crisp and tart, a Michigan winter staple called a Spy. There are actually one or two of these apple trees on the farm, of which I have high hopes for, once trimmed and cared for. They should still produce some wonderful fruit in the future.
As darkness settles in, I behold the night sky as it unfolds from a soft glow into a brilliant miasma of stars, a spectacular roof of universes and galaxies enough to humble even the most cynical of human minds. With no artificial light of any kind to interrupt, I can see with the naked eye the flight of a starship moving across the heavens to and from some distant planetary system. I find it amazing that probably a majority of the human population has never even witnessed an unmasked sky, let alone experienced the magnitude of our overwhelmingly minuscule imprint on the big scheme of things. I find this a sad commentary on our modern electronic society from which I have just bowed out. Street lights, cell phones, computers, and all manner of artificial light pollution block and desensitize our human view of the heavens, making it seem as if we were alone in the universe. It takes a brilliantly clear, backcountry night and a little observational power to realize otherwise.
(to Be Continued)
Bigfoot book, Conversations With Sasquatch, The Beginning Episode 10
The fall weather is unseasonably warm, but there is an acrid tang of woodsmoke heavy in the air as I am once again greeted by the darting swallows near the porch. I have a vivid recollection of burning piles of maple and oak leaves while hanging out with Cecil in the front yard when I was young.
Maybe it is my imagination, but I am certain I can discern the awakening of the stones in my pocket. There is a sound reminiscent of the excitement and chatter arising from a schoolyard playground. Mounting the steps, I pause after almost tripping over a single, small stone that I am certain has been placed in my path for me to find.
It is a beautiful heart shaped stone. As I pick it up, the hairs on my neck rise and tingle. I am flooded with a strong sense of profound gratitude. Not just my own thankfulness, but a gratitude that is emanating from the very essence of the farm itself, from everything both animate and inanimate. It is what I want to call a "Whoa!" moment, when the all-ness of all is revealed out of seemingly nowhere. It takes everything I have not to collapse on the stairs.
I am inescapably sucked into a time warp. There are many me's located in many different places all at once. There is a me at the age of seven, another me at twelve, another at fourteen, twenty, thirty and so on. My body is simply a vehicle from which all these me's arrive and depart in a random dance with chaos. As they come and go like the scenes in a movie, I concentrate, find and latch onto the old man I see standing on the porch, the me as I am today. As I do so, there are a series of loud thwacks like axes striking a birch tree in the woods behind the barn, loud percussions that act like anchors to present time and I am pulled from the chaos back into my body. The birds begin to sing, there is the high pitched whine of a yellow jacket somewhere near my right ear. Somewhere off in the distance I am aware of a buzzing chainsaw chewing at a log. The swan song to the whole event is three loud whoops and what can only be described as laughter rising from the meadow out near the creek.
My blurred vision clears and I wobble to the front door, weak in the knees.
(To be continued)
Bigfoot book, Conversations With Sasquatch, The Beginning Episode 9
Autumn is in her glory as I return to the reality of how to set myself up for spending a Michigan winter in a barely habitable old farm house. I wonder if any of my childhood friends have stayed the course. If so, what are their lives like after so many years? Is it possible to find any semblance of that magical connection we had as kids? I will look and ask.
I have such fond memories of Eugene, Terry, Glenn and I exploring the countryside on Cecil’s donkeys. All the gawking tourists that wanted to take our photo as we rode bareback down Weaver Road on a Saturday or Sunday when the scent of lilacs permeated the air with their intoxicating aroma.
The gravel snaps and pops off the underside of my Ford Ranger as I pull off Weaver and turn down Reber Road toward my new beginning. I am about to reenter that illusive dimension so aptly coined by Shel Silverstein, that place "Where the Sidewalk Ends".
(To Be Continued)
Bigfoot book, Conversations With Sasquatch, The Beginning Episode 8
As I set my feet on the asphalt and concrete of San Francisco, I am overwhelmed by the persistent bombardment of discordant noise. Just the TV's babbling heads of CNN, pitching their nasty narrative throughout the airport terminal is enough to give me acid reflux. I get buffoonish snippets of their self importance as I make my way into the dense fog that envelopes San Francisco Bay near Candlestick Point.
Riding BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) fills me with something near despair. There is a discernible sour smell inside the BART car, an underlying scent of sweat and chemical acridness that I now realize had been my beginning and ending inhalations of every working day of my life for the last thirty years. It reminds me of the terrible habit of smoking cigarettes that I had adopted as a teenager, that addictive sucking in of a poison that dulled my senses to the smoke's deadly attack on my body. Thankfully, I grew bigger than the smoke and quit, now I have to grow bigger than the job I have invested in my entire adult life.
As I enter the Trans America building on Montgomery Street, I resolutely have no problem turning in my resignation. Life in the matrix will move on with or without me. I have come to see it as nothing but a juggernaut of blind automaticity driven by egos, power and the mighty dollar, a rat race of soullessness. I cringe at what allowed myself to become and do in this building in the name of profit.
Even a couple of thousand miles from 931 Reber Road, I can feel the interplay between the rocks in my pocket and the forest beings who have put their undivided attention and intentions into setting me straight. The stones will save me, they are strong medicine as I extract myself like a rotten tooth from America's corporate delusions of grandeur.
I am liquidating everything.
(To be Continued)
Bigfoot book, Conversations With Sasquatch, The Beginning Episode 7
The source of the knocks is nowhere to be seen, but I find several black stones are scattered conspicuously on the ground near the back door. Upon inspection, the stones are ingrained with intricate patterns of white symbols or characters reminiscent of an eastern language. The stones themselves are not at all rough, but rubbed smooth and glistening in the sunlight.
They are not memory stones like the agate, though I do get a subtle vibration that permeates my body as I hold them in my hands. There are seven of them in total. Setting all but one of the stones on the back door stoop, I close my eyes and try to listen with my heart and soul. This is the domain of a dearly forgotten past, a rent into a universe where most adults are never able to venture or are too afraid to journey.
It is Cecil that materializes out of the radiance of a vibrant and happy time. He greets me with a beaming smile and a body glowing with the vibrance of his youth.
"This is my final gift to you," he says. "They were given to me by the past to help the future. I have done with them what I could. I think I have done a fair job. They are yours now, like the land and the house. They are called healing stones. They contain the pure and noble intentions from all the beings that reside here on the farm and in the Sasquatch Stream of Consciousness. These stones hold their healing visions for a new and better life."
He picks up the remaining stones from the stoop where I have set them down and puts them back into the palms of my hands. He reaches out and gently touches the sides of my head, leans in and kisses me on the third eye, then dissipates into the glowing sunlight.
I feel pained, confronted with looking at where I have been most of my life. It appears I have been chasing my tail like a dog, barking up the wrong tree. How could I have gotten so lost?
That is the reality slapping me in the face. I know without a doubt that the trajectory of my life has now been altered beyond the recognizable reach of anyone I currently associate with in California. 931 Reber Road is as far away from the city of San Francisco as the reality of me relocating to Venus or Mars. But that is what I must do, disentangle myself from the fool's matrix and replant my feet back into this mysterious, bountiful earth of the Sasquatch and my youth.
I thank Cecil, give him a final salute and tuck all the Sasquatch stones into my pocket. The energy they now emit is almost levitating.
I know what I must do in the days ahead.
A joyous whoop resounds from the forest.
(Bigfoot Book The Beginning to be Continued next week)
Bigfoot book, Conversations With Sasquatch, The Beginning Episode 6
I can intuitively feel Cecil's hand on my shoulder. It is soft and warm, friendly and encouraging, much different than my father's had been, with its dry, strict guidance. My own hand begins to tremble as I open the cover of the bottom-most journal. Cecil's handwriting is like a storm, the letters whirling across the page like the maple leaves skittering across the lawn outside. I am once again struck by the profound difference between Cecil's handwriting and my father's painstakingly small, squarish print. The two men of my youth were nothing alike.
I read a random selection from the journal.
July 11, 1961
With Suzanne off to visit her cousins in Mio, I have decide to do a few tree knocks to see if I can get a response from the Bigfoot clan. It has been an unusually quiet summer from the Forest People. They have become very shy and standoffish except for when my nephew brings himself around. There is something unusual about the boy and his presence in regards to the mood of the Sasquatch and even that of gnomes and fairies.
I failed to get any response from the clan until young Richard arrived on his bicycle with his baseball bat. He was happy to join in with a few knocks of his own from his Louisville Slugger. A resounding reply immediately echoed back.
I try to think back to 1961. I would have been nine years old and spending my summer days practicing and playing little league. I often stopped by Cecil's and Suzanne's place for a drink of cold well-water from their hand-pump behind the house.
I flip the pages and try another selection from near the back of these early writings.
May 17, 1962
Young Richard was here today and we worked in the yard. All the while there was an uneasy feeling of being watched. I didn't visually see any of the Forest People, it was more like all the trees had eyes, or the birds and all the other creatures were holding their breath. I kept expecting an encounter of some kind, but nothing happened but a loud knock on the opposite side of the house. When we went around to investigate its source, there was a lt of scurrying from the thorn-apple trees and brambles near the rock pile. That's when Richard discovered the beautiful agate, a supernatural gift thrown from the other side.
I once again pick up the agate and put my thumb in one of its rounded indentations. The memories flood back. The agate is a Sasquatch Memory Stone or what the Sasquatch call a Stone Without Time. It contains a record of the past, not only pictures of my own, but of all the persons and entities that have possessed it. Each of the many layers of the stone holds a life all its own. At ten years old, I remember that stone being much more alluring than any TV show.
I am jolted back from my reverie by a series of peppering knocks on the outside wall of the old house.
(Bigfoot book The Beginning to be Continued)
Bigfoot book, Conversations With Sasquatch, The Beginning Episode 5
Cecil’s journals are old spiral notebooks with lined, coarse paper designed to hold the bottled ink once prevalent in the fifties. Cecil’s prized pen is there as well, strapped to the journals by a once thick rubber band that has melted from old age. I lift the journals and the pen falls free as the brittle rubber disintegrates.
I sit back on my heels and gently lay the journals on the floor as my attention is distracted by the agate with its whorls and banded layers. Freed from the dark, it has begun to hum and speak to me, not to my ten year old self, but to the man I have become.
“I have been waiting for you like the rock that I am,” It says. “Cecil promised me that if I were patient, you would one day return to put my magic back in your pocket.”
“How could I forget?” I ask myself aloud.
“You grew out of yourself and got lost in the concrete maze of your hardened world,” It says.
“I thought you were just a childhood game,” I say. “I thought your magic was all play like marbles and mumbly-peg.”
“To most that is what I am, I am make believe.”
“You are a stone!” I answer in frustration.
“But I am your stone, your rock. I am your voice before you went off to be the one who forgot who he was.”
(Bigfoot book The Beginning to be continued)
Bigfoot book, Conversations With Sasquatch, The Beginning Episode 4
The library shelves are empty but for a heavy film of dust. All that remains are distant memories.
Suzanne, Cecil’s wife, had done a thorough job of cleaning out everything but house’s skeleton before moving Cecil and herself into the confines of an assisted living complex in Fairview.
Then, after a year spent in the old folk’s home, their faculties and health took a precipitous decline and the golden years slipped away. Cecil and Suzanne passed a short while back, only hours from each other.
Their funeral was one attended by our big family and people I never knew. Cecil and Suzanne were apparently much more connected to the community than I had known. Another reason for taking a look at maybe restoring the place instead of letting it slide into oblivion.
Cecil had bequeathed me not only the property upon which I was now contemplating, but he had also shown me a secret trigger he had mounted in a crevice in one of the uprights to the now empty library shelves. It was an actual pistol trigger taken from a service revolver he had salvaged from a dead Nazi during the great war. When pulled, it opened a baseboard portal to release a drawer where I was allowed to keep some of my treasures right alongside with Cecil’s secret Bigfoot journals.
I hesitantly cross the room, slip my index finger into the slot and pull, and like magic, the drawer in the baseboard portal pops and slides open on its guides.
I kneel. The journals are all there, as are many of my long forsaken keepsakes: an agate, a wizard’s wand, an assortment of bottle caps, baseball cards and comic books. Sitting on top of all these treasures is a worn pocket knife given to me by my father. Tears well in the corners of my eyes as I finger the deer antler encased blade. I am ten years old and seventy all at the same time.
(Bigfoot book The Beginning to be continued)
Bigfoot book, Conversations With Sasquatch, The Beginning Episode 3
As I climb the stairs, I am overwhelmed by the welcoming sense of family and the beckoning warmth of the comforts of a real country home.
At the balcony, I pause and look down. Once again the living room springs to life. My parents are standing there by the front door. They are dressed for church, my father with his bowler hat turning slowly in his nervous hands, my mother kneeling in her flowered dress to pet Beatrice, the Wicker family’s Maine Coon cat.
I am aware that my ten year old self is standing just outside the front door, reluctant to sit in the porch swing for fear of soiling his starched blue suit. I remember having to pee so bad that I had to shuffle to the end of the porch and send a hot stream into the ever blooming Brown Eyed Susan’s that were prized by Suzanne, Cecil’s cherubic wife.
As if the past were actually now, I once again have to pee like a Russian race horse.
I hear Cecil heartily greet my parents and crack a Sunday go to meet’n joke. He was a witty little man, no more than five feet, two inches tall with a round red face like a leprechaun. I remember envisioning gears inside his head, always turning like the intricate works of my dads pocket watch.
When I get there, there is no water in the toilet, but like the kid I once was, I pee in it anyway.
I am suddenly struck by the weird thought, what if I were to meet my ten year old self in this wacky warp in space and time?
The narrow hall outside the bathroom leads to the house’s single bedroom and a library. Here is the lingering scent of books and pipe tobacco. Their heavy aromas are ingrained in the molecules of the wall papered walls. I remember as a kid trying to count all the vibrant, little red roses that are now faded to a yellowed pink. It makes me dizzy just thinking about it.
I take a deep breath, caught up in the anticipation of opening the door into the library where I spent endless childhood hours lost in the sensations of Grand Prix racing, sledding the Iditarod, and searching for gold in the far reaches of the Yukon. And the Sasquatch, the gnomes and the sprites, they were always ever present here, recorded in my uncles journals.
“Big foot,” Cecil had said, “and the contents of these journals are our special secret, just between you and me.”
(Bigfoot book The Beginning to be continued)
Bigfoot book Conversations With Sasquatch The Beginning Episode 2
I immediately sense that a disembodied Cecil has been waiting for this day, excited and giddy to see me. He has invited all his Sasquatch friends and a myriad of supernatural little people that he once introduced me to when I was a kid. I am blasted by their ethereal scrutiny and eerie frequencies as I step out of the car to take inventory of my inheritance. My whole body feels their eyes and begins to throb like a bee sting. My forehead prickles with a cold sweat.
I walk gingerly and take pause on the cobbled path, overwhelmed by nostalgia. Several barn swallows shatter the spell as they suddenly dart from beneath the house's eaves and swoop at me in angry defiance. I have disturbed their peace. They cackle and shriek, making an all out effort to drive me away. I wave my arms at their bomb runs and duck under the sanctuary of the porch, there I turn and momentarily chuckle at their antics of persuasion.
The porch boards have separated and have been rubbed raw, but easily take my weight without a moan. There is a padlock on the door to which the court has granted me Cecil's ownership key.
Inside, though a thick patina of dust has accumulated on the floors, the place looks mostly at peace and undisturbed. Their are patches of swallow and pigeon poop on some areas of the walls directly beneath their nests, but all in all, I feel a wave of gratitude that it has not been ransacked by transients or teenagers with a lust for breaking and entering. I think its condition speaks highly of the areas populace, the old country morals and respect for private property on which I had been nurtured and raised.
The hardwood floors, though marred by age, are perfectly sound, as are the built in maple cabinets and wainscoting adorning the spacious living room. It smells more empty than musty or dirty.
Before heading through the archway into the kitchen, I am drawn by the stairs with its spindled railing leading up to the second floor balcony. The living room ceiling is handsomely beamed with an elaborate chandelier of brass and leaded glass at the apex. As I look on, I am caught in a flicker of festivities, a scene unfolding from the past, a party of formally dressed patrons raising their stemmed glasses of champagne in a celebratory toast to Cecil and his beaming bride as they stand arm in arm at the balcony rail. For a moment there is music, then the scene fades like a wavering mirage and I am once again alone in an old empty house.
The kitchen is small but practical, modernized sometime in the era of the fifties by a large and ornate baked enamel stove. There is a cook's island of colorful field stone with a well-worn birch slab on which to prepare home grown vegetables and wild game from the fields and forest beyond the back door. There's an ancient enameled refrigerator that looks like an upright coffin standing forlornly in the corner that leads into breakfast nook that guards the back porch like an after thought.
Taking it all in is like drinking a steaming mug of brewing possibilities. I inexplicably get the bizarre thought I could live here.
I have to shake my head to dislodge the roots of such a crazy idea. I am certain it is probably Cecil whispering in my ear.
How could I even entertain such foolhardiness?
(Bigfoot book The Beginning to be continued)
Bigfoot book Conversations With Sasquatch The Beginning Episode 1
The last house on the left is where the pigeons roost, huddled in a perfect row atop the grey-green roof peak next to the iron lightning rods that point to the heavens like weary crosses. There are still intact panes of glass in some of the dark windows, but mostly the interior is naked to the wind that makes a wheeze and a sigh as it climbs the creaking stairs into the attic.
The old homestead is mine, now. Handed down with a substantial tax lien and a weathered No Trespassing sign tacked to the front door.
I had surmised I would probably want nothing to do with the old place when I received notice from the court. I had planned my trip to Comins in order to do what ever was necessary to help the county auction it off in order to satisfy the delinquent tax revenue needs. That was my intention before I arrived on a blustery, sunny day in September.
The two lone sugar maples shading the front yard weed patch are ablaze in a patina of glorious reds, oranges and golds. The leaves are picked up by the wind and twirl in the air like a migrating swarm of butterflies. I am immediately struck by the forlorn beauty of the weather beaten house sitting serenely in its quaint setting beside a small creek, the golden rod and Black-eyed Susans, the cobbled path that leads poetically to the stick railing and columned front porch that is now beginning to sag beneath the weight of time. The red brick chimney on the north side facing is listing outward toward a gnarled orchard of apple and pear, in what looks like a desperate attempt to flee the gray, mottled skin of alligatored paint.
Any sane person would turn around and run. But, I am not always the sane one, you would soon find that out if (continued at: )you were to ask the remaining members of my family. I have never been one to toe the conventional line of thinking or believe that I had to follow the dictates of self-inaugurated authorities. I have often rejected the status quo in order to forge a life of my own making. I am now beginning to understand the process of how and why Uncle Cecil came to the conclusion of leaving to me, and me alone, 931 Reber Road.
The rest of my siblings can simply wish their wipe their hands of the place without even a sideways glance, though there are a couple of my brothers that I am sure are bitching about their lost claim to the land, 295 acres all told.
Cecil must have known that I would see beauty where no one else in the family would appreciate it. And then there is my penchant for conversing with Sasquatch, Gnomes and even the dearly departed. These entities have always existed in abundance here. Maybe Uncle Cecil saw turning the house over to me as a opportunity to hang around and haunt the place, or even sit down on the front porch with a bootle of Schnapps and me, for a seance on the merits of growing hemp instead of corn. Whatever the reason, here I am, enamored with what I am sure is considered by the community, an eyesore.
(Bigfoot book The Beginning to be continued)