Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cancer.. how much does it suck ( let me count the ways )

I received some news, that took the wind right out of my sails. It turned my thoughts from home project goals, recording, camping and sasquatch investigations, into a more complex, agonizing, and puzzling mystery... called cancer. No, not me... but a recurrence in my son.
It is a heart breaker, to be declared cancer free, after almost 9 years of periodic scans and tests that showed... absolutely nothing. He was just 15 when diagnosed with synovial cell sarcoma (a rare, cancer of the soft tissue.. often on limbs and the body extremities), having a fist sized tumor grow on his right thy... while my ex wife and myself were at the threshold of a divorce, in 2002. The tumor had not matastasized (or did it ?) and it was successfully removed, after chemo and radiation treatments, and 10 hours of surgery.. that left his leg a mess, and put him out of commission for a year. After more chemo, much rehab, an outstandingly positive attitude, and the desire to get back to a normal teens seemed it was finally all behind him.
What exactly causes these left over cells, to lay dormant for 9 years, and then suddenly multiply and grow again ? Well... if you don't know, don't feel bad... because neither do the oncologists and treatment specialists. They thought they had gotten it all. That form of cancer, has a high probability of recurrence, but usually within the five years after the surgery and post chemo treatments.
A much smaller (but deep rooted) tumor is now growing next to his scar tissue, from the 2002 surgery. The choices for him, are not great. He can have the team of medical personnel, take the same approach to the problem, as was done in 2002 (chemo, radiation, surgery, more chemo, rehab) . It didn't end his problem then, and it is always possible, it could reoccur again. It could also end up spreading elsewhere, in the future (who knows ?...they sure don't). Fortunately, it looks to be contained to the leg again, from the results of his PET scan.. which is the only good news, so far. Amputation of the right leg, is another option. Even after this, it is not any guarantee, that the cursed growth could not reemerge elsewhere in his body. It would, lessen the needed radiation and horrificly strong chemo treatments required, if saving the leg was his choice. My son doesn't seem to shudder at all, at the thoughts of a prothstetic leg.. as long as the cancer is gone from his body and life. Still, no guarantees this would even do it. Better odds, but it's really all a gamble.
So, that is the choice a 24 year old has to make, and not a whole lot of time, to think it over. All I can do... is support his choice, and stand behind him, and help him in any way, that I can. I am no huge president Obama fan...but one thing I'll say, is that his health bill came at the right time for my son. He has already graduated from college. Like so many now in this current depressed economy, there are no decent job opportunities in his field of study, and his part time jobs do not offer any health insurance. Now... just imagine facing this personal crisis, without any health insurance. Fortunately, he is still covered on mine, until age 26. I thank God for this.
The hardest thing about this... is not knowing exactly what to do next, but also knowing that something has to be done, without delay. So Please, if you read this.. say a prayer for him.
Somehow I know he will get through this OK, like the last time. It won't be easy for him, or anyone involved that cares about him.. but he has.. an upbeat, "let's get it over with, so I can move on with my goals in life" ... attitude, that I am totally impressed and uplifted with. I can't say I would be the same, facing this kind of thing (for the second time) at his age, or even at my age. He is my hero, now. When I grow up... I want to be just like him.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A sighting in the forest

I wanted to post this entry, as I have (so far) kept this information, on a secure part of the home research forum, told only to trusted friends, expedition and forum members of NESRA, and some close family.

On October 23, 2010, during the Fall NESRA expedition, while out on what I refer to now as the "leafy knoll" , along with my two OP partners .. I had a brief, but electrifying sighting of a figure that I caught a glimpse of (that was on the move), with my Gen 2 night vision goggles.

We had made a plan in basecamp during dinner, for two other members, to call blast..on the hour, from their position near base, while two other investigators did some observing from various positions on the forest road, while the three of us I mentioned, took position on various observation points in the forest, on the selected knoll, where myself and another investigator had sat the night before. Our home basecamp man, would be coordinating and noting our events, back at our main camp.

Several of us, had heard a softer rapping (like wood on wood), coming from behind our position. The sounds were much like.. when one would test a hand held hardwood knocker, for the best tone, on a selected tree. This came from behind us, near the blazed trail that we had walked into this position, from.

The 3rd call blast from the basecamp, came at 10PM, and was an Orangutan vocalization. I was already panning the lower areas of the forest to the east and south with the goggles. I made sure that I was observing during all of the call blasts, and as much as possible in between times.

I'm not sure of the exact time of the sighting, but know that it came in the moments after the call blast.

The actual sighting facts :

I was panning with the goggles (facing south) slowly from left to right (east to west) near the edge of the heavier forest canopy, when a dark figure emerged (in an swath of open forest floor, that was very well illuminated by moonlight) from behind a lite barked, large mature (birch or beach) tree, and moved rapidly to the west, toward the direction one investigator had set out the bacon bate, hair trap, and game cam.
To describe the shape of the figure: It was thin and had a forward leaning gait. During this brief observation, I saw the top of the figure rear back and then go back forward again, before I lost sight of it. It never re - emerged from behind a set of two large trees, that were closer to my location. I noticed no eyeshine or arm swing, and could not define the head area (definitely was a rounded top) of the figure, very well.. from the rest of the body. I'm uncertain, if I viewed the entire length of the figure, or only saw it from the waste area...up. I say this, because I did not notice any leg movement. One thing for sure... the dark figure covered 20 plus yards, in less than 2 seconds. It seemed to me... to almost glide through, in a very rapid, smooth motion. The thin moving figure, was as dark in appearance, as the darkest objects (more distant trees) in my FOV, accept for the top head and rear upper body area, that was illuminated by moonlight. The observation lasted between 1 and 2 seconds, to my best estimate. Upon seeing this, I unleashed an emotional outburst, that caused me to fall forward and drop my goggles, and almost tumble down the hill in front of me. The fact that spotting this figure.. caught me by surprise, and the fact that it made no sound while on the move…did freak me out, and seemed almost unreal. It was however, very real. I was immediately joined at my position by the two others, asking me if I was alright, and what had happened, and about what I had seen. The view in the goggles, was as good as this night vision instrument gets, with some great assisted moonlight. Although there is some graininess with these Gen 2 goggles, the view was clear enough to see the details I have noted. The view was the typical green tube intensifier background. My on site estimate of the figure being 100 yds from me, turned out to be, not accurate at all, and an overestimate. This is due to the 40 deg view in the goggles, which gives somewhat of a tunnel vision, that can cause objects to be perceived as being further away, than they actually are. Here are the pair of goggles, I was using:

Shortly after the sighting, One of the investigators walked down to the spot where the moving figure first emerged, while I covered him with the NV. After doing some comparisons to him, in the same position… what I saw, was not any bulkier or wider (possibly less) than him, and not much taller (less than a foot). That evening, and the next day…we came up with no additional evidence that anything had passed through the sighting location. The leaf litter was heavy, and although we searched the area for signs of anything (hair, prints, breaks, skid marks on the forest floor)..we found nothing.
In addition to what I mention here, we heard the tapping knocks, some interesting howls or strange owl sounds from a distance, and a distinct (several second) growl sound, from the trail (near the creek) on our walk back to base. Here is a growl (# 3, and the first sound on the short Youtube spectrogram video), for comparison.. that sounded almost identical to what we heard. The following audio, was recorded by another investigator, on a solo outing.. several years before, in the same general area of the eastern Adirondacks:

The theory and speculation of this sighting:

The three of us had discussed this incident on site, both Saturday night, and the following day on the revisit. The exact route of the figure, was in question. We all saw where it probably came from, and the route it took, based on what I saw. It is on the question, whether this figure was responsible for the tapping knocks, that we all heard, earlier in the night OP session. It is also a theory, that the figure did a sharp turn, and headed back south into the deeper forest…possibly after hearing my outburst, from my location on the knoll. More theory could be, that the call blast (orangutan vocals) done by the investigators in the basecamp.. could have put it on the move. The timing was certainly right. Whether this call blast had a positive or negative reaction on the figure, would be impossible to even speculate. In my case, if this call blast did indeed put this figure on the move… it was certainly a positive thing.

Summary thoughts:

I refer to this sighting as a “figure”. This is what I saw, a dark figure. Nothing that I could see from this distance and brief sighting, could define this as a sasquatch. I did however, think about something I saw on a website report, that very much resembled the shape of this moving figure. This is what I was thinking about in the field, soon after the sighting, and it stuck in my mind:

Only the overall shape of the dark figure I saw, resembled the top sketch, in this BFRO report from 1990. I saw no face, arms, or even leg movements…which make me wonder, if the legs were in a depression, and out of my line of sight. The figure I saw was very thin, and when I compared it to my fellow OP investigator (from the same viewpoint)…was not any bulkier, and possibly less so.
In addition, the way the head sat on the body of the moving figure, resembled (very much), how the head sits on the body of the creature, from a sketch made by Whitehall, NY artist, Eric Miner (note the attached photo..with all credits to the artist mentioned). Also note, that I am only using this photo, to compare what is noted above, and the general posture of the figure, I saw. I did not see any face, or closer details, other than what I have described.
Any skeptical thoughts (including my own), that this could have been a man moving that fast... in that kind of terrian, out in the dark forest with no light, and making no laughable. Whether others chose to believe me, is totally up to them...and bothers me not, either way. Speaking of laughable.. I'm still snickering over the call blasts silencing the group of partying youths on the road, and hearing basecamp's radio transmission from the field. To silence the boom box, on a quiet night in the forest...was priceless .

This sighting offers no proof of anything to anyone, but confirms for me…that something is definitely out there, in this area. This was a team effort by all involved in the expedition, and the NESRA members that scouted this area, and have also had experiences (that did indeed, resemble my sighting) there, in the past.