Sasquatch of Pumpkintown
GLYNN WASHINGTON, HOST:
Welcome back to SNAP JUDGMENT, "The Guide" episode. Today, we're featuring stories from real people leading other people through the dark woods. Our next story features a real forest and a real guide, and at least that much is real.
JEFF IPMAN: Can you tell me what you ate for breakfast?
BEN BECKER: I had four raw eggs and five flap jacks, with some espresso with a shot of whiskey in it.
IPMAN: You're one of the most disgusting people I know.
BECKER: It's what I had for breakfast.
IPMAN: What's your name?
BECKER: Ben Becker.
IPMAN: Tell me just something about yourself.
BECKER: I am 29 and living in Boulder, Colo., for - going on my third year and trying to train to withstand anything. This is a weird story. Are you ready?
IPMAN: Yeah. How true is this, on a scale of one to 10?
BECKER: Scale of one to 10? Eight.
BECKER: All right? I was living in Pumpkintown, S.C. - a real place. And a fleamarket every Wednesday, that everybody called The Jockey Lot; you could buy assault rifles there. I was living in a cabin with the dirtiest hound dog you have ever seen. And I was running this guiding outfitter. And, well, a really good friend of mine, Brett(ph)...
BECKER: ...He lived in Pumpkintown, too. But he ran an outfitter store. You know, sold camping supplies, stuff like that. And it wasn't doing too good 'cause of the recession. One time, hanging out there in the store and I get this call from my lead guide. He says, hey, man, we're having trouble with this kid. Can you come out tonight and talk to him? I might have to kick this kid off the course. And I'd kicked kids off courses and, you know, always done, like, the right soft skills, talked to them. But I was just kind of burnt out. So Brett's like, let me come with you. And I'm like, all right. And he goes, I got an idea. We get in my work truck. And before we go, he goes into his trash can and throws this bag in the back of the truck. I go, what's that? And he goes, don't worry about it. We run over to his house, and we cut out the perfect replica of, you know, whatever - Bigfoot. We cut out a Sasquatch foot. It was big. It was about three feet. No, not three feet. Probably two and a half, two and a half feet long. It was big.
IPMAN: That's a big Sasquatch.
BECKER: It was big.
IPMAN: Even by Sasquatch standards.
BECKER: So we drive out to - up the mountain. And then we drive nine miles in the motor boat out to where they're camped. And we get out there. It's pretty late. And all the kids are asleep, but my staff's still up. And he's like, man, this kid's just been giving me a hard time. Goes on this story. And I go, don't worry about it. We got an idea. And so we take the feet, and we make these marks all around the kid's tent. And then Brett gets the bag he threw in the truck and it's filled with dog s***. And he pours it out right by where the kid's head is on the outside of the tent. And then, we camped out.
And in the morning, we wake up, and we're out there. And the kid is awake, and he's not freaking out. Like, I thought he'd be freaking out. Instead he has this look on his face of, like, sheer awe. He's telling us all these statistics about Sasquatch. He's like, oh, my God. Look at the size of this foot. I wish I had some plaster of Paris. I could make a mold because this is definitely an alpha species. This is definitely alpha. I've never seen it this big. Oh, my God. I'm freaking out. And he, like - for the rest of the trip, he's just geeking out on the Sasquatch. They've never been seen this far south. Oh, my God.
So for every trip, they take pictures, then, they do this big picture DVD. At the end of the trip, we're in our pavilion at the base camp. We're showing it. And then, the Sasquatch feet show up. The kid's freaking out. And the poop - everything. And I look at the kid's dad and he starts geeking out, too. And they're just, like, talking to each other like these little beings. They're just like (unintelligible). His dad goes, can you give me a topographical sighting of where this is? I don't need longitude, latitude. I just need GPS coordinates. And I also need a place to get gear.
And I get this call from Brett later that night. And he goes, did you send some guy here to me for the Bigfoot thing? I go, yeah, it's the kid's dad. The guy spent $1,200 on gear. He bought GPS systems. He bought the most powerful scope I have. And I was like, great sale. Awesome. Cool. I come over for dinner. He takes me back down into his shop. And he has all these pelts and skins out. His wife, Susanna's (ph), sewing machine with this huge needle on it. And he goes, we're making a Bigfoot costume. He goes, you, me, and Susanna know about this. No one else. So she helps us out 'cause she's actually quite the seamstress. And we make this thing, and it took us about eight hours - all night. Tons of coffee. It had cigar burns on it. It had tobacco juice on it. It was disgusting. And it was tailor-made to me. Up close, it was pretty bad.
IPMAN: Like, how so? Like, what? What was the...
BECKER: You just saw this seams and, like, the different colors - the different pelts, 'cause it was, like, four - made of four different animals. There's, like, black bear, dear, elk and something. Like, rodents. Like, rabbits and s***. And if you saw me from 30 yards away in the shadows, it was Bigfoot. And so the next morning, we get up real early, and, you know, we eat breakfast. And he's like, let's try it out. So we go to this place called Twin Falls. And it's a beautiful place, but the coolest thing about it is you can get - you can access the top. It's about 60 feet tall, 70 feet tall. You can access the top, and everybody else is down below. So I get up there early in the morning. And I get to the top of the falls. And I kind of stand up, and I look over. And it takes about two minutes. And then someone screams, and they go, oh, my God, it's Bigfoot. And I make this, like, surprise motion, and I go like this. I was like (growling). And then I vanish. And then Brett picks me up down the road on an access trail. Then, we do like two or three more that morning on, like, on different trails. Oh, my God. It's Bigfoot.
IPMAN: Can I interrupt you here?
IPMAN: Did you ever worry about getting shot?
BECKER: We'll get to that. So we know a couple other trails where people go early in the morning. And I do a Bigfoot, like, run by. Just like, you know, run by and I'm gone. And we put some tracks out. And then, we go hang out in his shop. And some people - there's some words going around. Like, people are talking. So Brett's like, yeah, yeah. I saw him last week here. He has this new map up with some dots. And he gets some blurry pictures of me from like his backyard and stuff like that, and we put them up. So a couple of weeks go by, and he's making some big sales. And he even takes a group - a family out to go for a Bigfoot sighting, and I do a thing.
IPMAN: You're a con artist.
BECKER: Totally. This whole thing is going down. And our friend, Curtis (ph), who lives on top of this mountain with the most untrained dog in the world, named Motley Crue Jon Bon Jovi. It dug holes everywhere. It peed inside. It was a disgusting dog. Curtis comes in once he hears about it, and he's freaking out. He's like, oh, my God, Bigfoot. And Curtis lived off of cigarettes, Red Bull, ice cream and homemade things he made. After about two weeks, he comes in one day with this big box of jars - Mason jars - with this liquid inside, and he goes, check it out. I'm going to make some money on this Sasquatch thing, too. And he puts it down on Brett's thing, and he goes, can I sell this here? And pulls out one of the jars. And it looks like a milky, orange paste with chunks in it. It tasted like if you boiled up milkweed and put chili pepper and mashed carrots - was pretty much how it tasted. It wasn't that good. It's quatch sauce. The Sasquatch split up and flipped. Quatch sauce. Sauce-quatch. It's hot sauce made from real Sasquatch juice.
BECKER: Quatch sauce. And no one bought this s***. Well, it started to get really crowded out there. And I thought, you know what? Maybe I'll do, like, just a couple more, and then it'll be over 'cause I was afraid that someone was going to put a bear trap out.
BECKER: So I go to the Twin Falls one last time - the, like, good place to see Bigfoot - early in the morning. And it's like misty, and it's beautiful. And the waterfall's going. And I'm at the top, and I splash in. And there's a bunch of people down there with scopes and lights. And I look over. And it's Bigoot. And I go (growling). And I start backing up. And I'm backing up, and then, I hear it behind me - the shotgun. And I turned and there's f****** Curtis, staring me down with a shotgun. I got Bigfoot. And it's early morning. Bad lighting. And he's, like, about 15 yards away. And he goes I'm going to kill you, you son of a b****.
And right before he fired, out of nowhere, Motley Crue John Bon Jovi comes out of the woods, in the air.
BECKER: Gets me by the head, like, full force. This 80-pound dog. And wrestles me to the ground and starts pulling on the top of the mask. And I'm like, damn it. Get this dog off me, Curtis. Motley Crue Jon Bon Jovi, like, rips off it off. It comes off. Curtis still has his gun pointed at me. And I see the look on his face, and it's just sheer disappointment.
BECKER: It's just really let down - is how he looks. And he goes, it was you all the time? F***. That's pretty smart. Brett's been making a lot of money. And then, he kind of helps me up. I look down. Motley Crue Jon Bon Jovi's tearing my mask to shreds. And we hear, like, all this hubbub down below. And he helps me out of my Bigfoot suit. And we wad it up and put it in my backpack. And we start getting out of the way before anyone can hike up there. And he's, like, got his arm over my shoulder. And he's just chuckling. He's like, I'm sorry I almost shot you, man. Damn, that was a good-looking suit.
There's no more Bigfoot sightings, but the maps are still there. And, you know, every once in a while, they get together after hours and drink beers and talk about the time they saw Sasquatch. And Curtis - he knows, but he has this - he tells this story about how he had me in his sights. Like he tells it, Motley Crue got me and I, like, kicked his dog real hard with my big foot and ran off. He's like, I had a shot, but then my damn dog got f****** in the way. And I would have been a millionaire.
WASHINGTON: Listen, I can absolutely verify that Pumpkinhead is a real place. Everything else - I wouldn't cite it in a term paper. That piece was brought to us by Jeff Ipman, the guy behind the amazing podcast There Be Monsters. I highly recommend it. Subscribe. Get it on iTunes tunes for free. Get it wherever else you can for free. Just get it. And understand this. When we return, we're going to pick our own mother. That's right. Pick a mom, when SNAP JUGDMENT, "The Guide" episode continues. Stay tuned. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.