The Valley

The Shenandoah Valley is at the northern end of the Great Appalachian Valley, which extends southward from Harpers Ferry, West Virginia about 550 miles to Cartersville, GA . . . where Etowah Mounds is located.  The North and South Forks of the Shenandoah flow northward for about 80 miles, before they join near Front Royal, VA.  The much broader river then flows northward for about 40 miles until it joins the Potomac River in Harpers Ferry, WV. 

The Valley is defined on the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains and on the west by Allegheny Mountains.  However, the climate of the northern Shenandoah Valley is quite different than that of the southern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The annual precipitation in the Shenandoah Valley is about 55% of that in the Georgia Mountains, and unfortunately most of that precipitation comes in the winter months, not the growing season. Most of the precipitation between early November and mid-April is in the form of snow or sleet.  During the summer, the Shenandoah Valley has a climate like Western Kansas or Oklahoma, so crops like wheat, barley and alfalfa do well there.  Traditional Native American crops such as corn, beans, squash and sunflowers only grow well in the damp, black soil of the river and creek bottomlands.

When Dutch, Swiss and German settlers first arrived in the Shenandoah Valley in the mid-18th century, the uplands of the valley were dominated by Southern Long Leaf Pines!   This tree today only grows in the Southeastern Coastal Plain and is extinct in the Shenandoah Valley.   This species is somewhat dependent on fires to sprout its seeds.  It is possible that Native Americans regularly burned out the undergrowth, allowing a sub-tropical pine to adapt to a much colder climate.   The lower elevations of the mountainsides were then dominated by Eastern Hemlocks.  These trees are rare in the valley floor, but do still grow in shaded, damp areas at the feet of mountains.

The first floor joists of my mid-18th century farmhouse in the Shenandoah Valley were virgin Long Leaf pine logs that still had the bark on them.  Although over 240 years old, they were in perfect condition and showed no evidence of termite infestation.


Our beloved Colonial Period farm in the Shenandoah Valley . . . surveyed by George Washington

The official history of the Shenandoah Valley

For many generations, Virginia’s students have been taught that the beautiful Shenandoah Valley was uninhabited when the white man arrived on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.  It had been used in the past as hunting lands by several Indian tribes, but no one was living there, except for a small, recently arrived, band of Shawnee living where Winchester now is located. So the white settlers didn’t steal the valley from the Indians.

In 1927, local historian John Walter Wayland wrote A History of Shenandoah County.  He said that since ancient times, the valley had been the hunting lands of the Iroquois Confederacy.  It contained a few small villages of the Shanantoa or Senandoa Indians, who were either Tuscarora Indians or allies of the Iroquois. The Senandoa Indians were very alarmed by the Tuscarora War between 1711 and 1715.

Wayland stated that probably in 1715 the Iroquois attacked the Catawba in South Carolina and the Cherokees in northeastern Tennessee, because they had assisted the British colonists against the Tuscarora.  He postulated that in revenge, the Catawba massacred most of the Senandoa.  The Shenandoah Valley remained Iroquois hunting lands until 1744, when Governor  William Gooch of Virginia purchased Iroquois claims to the valley for £200. 

The Shawnee, living in the vicinity of Winchester, VA, vacated the Valley in 1754, when the French and Indian War began.  Most Shawnee became allies of the French. However, the former chief of the Winchester band, Cornstalk, tried to keep his people neutral.  Hostile Shawnee warriors launched hundreds of raids into the Shenandoah Valley between 1654 and 1667, which virtually depopulated the region.  The Valley today is dotted with historical makers that memorialize the massacres committed by the hostile bands of Shawnees.  Many of the settlers were tied to pine trees and burned alive.


The forgotten history of the Shenandoah Valley

In 1649, 11 years prior to his Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, King Charles II of England gave 5.2 million acres in Northern Virginia to the Culpepper Family in return for their financial and political support. Thomas Lord Fairfax, would eventually inherent this grand estate through his mother, who was a Culpepper.  This is ironic since his grandfather was Thomas Fairfax, Lord General of the New Model Army, which overthrew King Charles I in the English Civil War.  This Fairfax avoided being hanged, drawn and quartered by Charles II because he refused to sign Charles the First’s execution warrant.

In 1665, Governor William Berkeley of Virginia signed a contract with the Rickohocken Indians in the southwestern part of that colony, in which the provincial government would furnish the tribe with large amounts of firearms and munitions, if the Rickohockens would provide the colony with large numbers of Native American slaves. Within a year, the Manahoac Indians, living on the new Culpepper estate were devastated by a series of slave raids.  By 1669, there were only about 50 Manahoac men still alive.

Historian Samuel Kercheval wrote A History of the Valley of Virginia in 1833. He was born in the Valley in 1767, when many of the earliest settlers were still alive.  Kercheval, who was a French Huguenot, became a decorated US Army officer, a highly respected attorney and historian, plus a friend of Thomas Jefferson.  It was Kercheval, who suggested that the US Constitution be kept flexible by allowing future amendments to be passed by a majority of states.  

Kercheval studied the evidence of when Shanandoa Indians were almost exterminated.  Without even knowing of the Rickohocken Indians existence, he estimated that the holocaust occurred between the time of King Charles II’s restoration (1660) and Bacon’s Rebellion (1676.)  That is exactly when the Rickohockens were most active in the Native American slave trade.  However, it is not known how long the Shanantoa had lived in the Shenandoah Valley before being massacred.  It is quite possible that they arrived in the valley from somewhere else in the 1600s.

Despite the statements made in Virginia history text books and local tourist brochures today, there WERE Native Americans living in the Shenandoah Valley when white men arrived in Virginia and even after British explorers and traders began visiting the valley.  It was never an uninhabited grassland, shared by many different tribes for hunting only.


Petún or Tobacco Indians

At the time when Europeans were first exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and the lands beyond, the northern tip of the valley was occupied by the Petún People.  They were known to local settlers as the “Tobacco Indians” because they grew large quantities a tropical type of tobacco that was vastly superior to the nicotina rustica, grown by most Native American tribes in North America.  Their tobacco was so superior that the Petún didn’t bother with cultivating other crops or spending much time hunting.  They obtained most of their food by trading their valuable tobacco.   Their leaves were exported to all parts of Eastern North America, even into the semi-boreal parts of Quebec. 

The name of Petún Indians is quite significant.   It was one of the forms for the name of Lake Petén Itzá in Guatemala – the heartland of the Mayas, where tobacco was first domesticated.   It is also one of the forms of the name of the Putún or Potún . . . the Maya merchant class, who originated at Lake Petén.  The Potano of Northern Florida are another indigenous people in the Southeast, whose name seems to be derived from generic name of Maya transient merchants.

Postscript:  One of POOF’s readers have just written us with an article that states Petún is the Tupi word for tobacco in Brazil!  It may be derived from the name of Petún or Potun merchants, but the fact that it means tobacco in a major South American language is 100% evidence of a South American connection.

Current archeological orthodoxy states that the Tobacco Indians in the Shenandoah Valley were one and the same as the Wendat in the Kanawha Valley and the Tionontate in the Great Lakes Basin. The reason is that all three groups were sometimes known to the English as the Tobacco Indians. The Wendat and the Tionontate were definitely related linguistically and were almost simultaneously attacked by the Iroquois Confederacy during the Beaver Wars of the late 1600s.The Shenandoah Tobacco Indians were not attacked then. They supplied the Iroquois with premium quality tobacco.

During the Beaver Wars of the late 1600s, the Canadian Tionontate merged with the survivors of the Hurons to create one Wyandot tribe in Canada. The Wendat of West Virginia moved westward in stages to become two federally recognized “Wyandot” tribes in Kansas and Oklahoma.

It is unlikely that the Tobacco Indians in the northern Shenandoah Valley were the same ethnic group as the other two peoples. If one delves into the background of this assumption, it is pure speculation by anthropologists, based on ignorance of linguistics, plus the cultural traits of indigenous peoples in the lower Southeast. There is no colonial archive that provides an eyewitness account that the Shenandoah natives joined with the Wendat Indians, after they took refuge from the Iroquois near the West Virginia-Kentucky border. One day, the Shenandoah Petún were there . . . the next explorer found them gone.



Paleo-American settlements

Beginning in the 1970s, some Virginia archaeologists, who thought “outside the box,” began excavating jasper and flint quarries along the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, southwest of Front Royal. These sites were called Flint Run, Fifty Site, Fifty Bog and Thunderbird. Radio-carbon dating revealed that these sites dated from the warming period of the last Ice Age and extended into the Early Archaic Period or about 11,000 BC to 6,500 BC.  Most of the weapons and tools found on site were typical of the Clovis and Dalton Cultures.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, highly respected archaeologist William M. Gardner of Thunderbird Associates in Woodstock, VA discovered something phenomenal that should have “turned the history books upside down,” but has been largely ignored by mainstream academicians and school textbooks. His team identified several LARGE, PERMANENT villages near shoals on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River and downstream from where the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah River join together.  Some of these villages might have had as many as 1,000 residents!

All high school and university students are taught that Native Americans lived in small, family bands that migrated across the landscape in search of food until around 1000 BC.  Obviously, at least in the Shenandoah Valley, mankind began living in permanent settlements around 9,000 BC. This is about the same time that the first permanent settlements appeared in Middle East.

Stone Cairns and Circles

During the past two decades, archaeologists have identified numerous stone cairn cemeteries in the northern tip of the Shenandoah Valley and in northeastern West Virginia. The also can be found along the eastern foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Northern Virginia. There are also some ceremonial rings built out of stones in this region.  They are not nearly as numerous as those in the northern Piedmont of Georgia, but conversely have been studied much more scientifically.  The cairns have been determined to be cremation biers that date from the Middle Woodland Period up to the early Mississippian Period . . . except that officially Virginia does not have a Woodland Period mound-building culture or Mississippian Mound-builder Period in its archaeological lexicon.  Therefore, Mid-Atlantic archaeologists have given this culture the name, Stone Cairn Burial Culture.

In contrast, Georgia’s archaeologists fought so bitterly about the interpretation of its many more Pre-European stone structures during the late 20th century that very few were seriously studied. Nowadays, its anthropology professors refuse to even look at them or have their names associated with publicity about them.  In many locations, local elected officials in Georgia have unilaterally taken actions to preserve stone cairn cemeteries or stone walled terrace complexes, because Georgia’s archaeologists have refused to declare them “historic structures.”  

Virginia Terrace Complexes

Perhaps the most intriguing connection between the northern and southern ends of the Southern Appalachians are the stone walled terrace complexes. In 2012, at the same time that some Georgia archaeologists were trying to create a controversy over the long time claim by Creek Indians that they were part Maya, a curious archaeologist in Virginia obtained radiocarbon dates for a terrace complex overlooking the portion of the Shenandoah Valley, where the Petún lived.   

Only one agricultural terrace has been radiocarbon dated in Georgia.  It was begun around 1018 AD.  The oldest radiocarbon date for the terrace complex near Front Royal and Winchester, VA was around 1120 AD.  That is evidence that the terrace builders in Georgia, for unknown reasons, sent bands of colonists northward to the other end of the Southern Appalachians.

The archaeologists, involved in this project were concerned that they might become sucked into the then virulent “Mayas in Georgia” controversy and so did not publicize their work nationally.  As it turned out, however, scientists at the University of Minnesota later that year proved without a shadow of a doubt that Maya traders came to Georgia for many centuries to mine attapulgite, the main ingredient in Maya Blue pigment.

While hiking along the mountain ridges at the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I noticed old stone walls, but gave them scant attention.  My presumption, like everyone else at that time, was that they were the ruins of 18th century vineyards or orchards.

A Lost Civilization

Despite their complete absence from the professional literature, it is clear that Virginia’s densest indigenous population and most advanced indigenous cultures were located in the Shenandoah Valley. Captain John Smith noted the fact in his journals, but there is no evidence that he ever crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains into the region.  It is odd that Virginia historians and anthropologists did not note that statement long in the past and start looking for those towns.

The Native American population was concentrated in the northern and central portions of the valley, which had lower elevations, and a longer growing season than the southern valley and highlands of southwestern Virginia and North Carolina. Shenandoah County, VA has an average of 182 frost free days. The French Broad River Valley, north of Asheville, NC, averages 156 frost free days. Etowah Mounds in Georgia averages 215 frost free days.

Kercheval stated that when settlers arrived in what is now Shenandoah County, VA, virtually every farm in the bottomlands of the river and creeks, contained pyramidal ceremonial mounds, dome-shaped burial mounds, low, cobblestone covered mounds, the ruins of large villages or stone box crypt cemeteries.

Even today, the Highland Maya often bury their dead in stone box crypts, near their houses.  Stone box crypts are endemic in Georgia’s Nacoochee Valley, where the Native town of Itsate (Itza Maya’s name for themselves) was located. The same Itsate, who first settled in Northeast Georgia and built many of its stone-walled terrace complexes apparently spread northward to the Shenandoah Valley.

As late as 1865 there was a massive 25 feet high, 250 ft. by 250 ft. pyramidal mound near the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and the town of Mount Jackson. .Some mounds survived to be field fortifications during the Civil War, but soon afterward were leveled. There was a small dome shaped Hopewell Culture mound in the rear section of my farm that had been altered to be an artillery redan during the Battle of Toms Brook on October 9, 1864.  The remnants of burials and ceremonial mound survive today on the fringes of the valley and in Fort Valley, which is located between the Massanutten and Blue Ridge Mountains. The surviving mounds probably were burial mounds from the Woodland Period, since they are not located in the prime farming areas of the river bottomlands.

Many of the stone box graves contained extremely tall skeletons, up to seven feet in length. Colonel George Washington found an entire stone box grave cemetery with seven feet tall skeletons while directing the construction of Fort Loudon in Winchester. In almost all cases, the skeletons found in the Shenandoah Valley were burned, while the slate sarcophagi were used to veneer fireplaces. Seven foot tall skeletons are also found in royal burials in Georgia.  George Washington was not exaggerating.

Today, virtually nobody living in the Shenandoah Valley is aware that it once was filled with Native American mounds, earthworks, stone structures and large village sites.  When I became the first chairman of the Woodstock Historic Preservation Commission, absolutely no one locally or in state agencies mentioned the region’s Native American heritage.  State bureaucrats were only interested in Civil War battlefields and large houses where famous Civil War generals spent the night.

Muskogean (Creek) tribes in Virginia

Maps prepared in the late 20th century showed the ancestors of the Muskogean tribes occupying a region in the lower Southeast no farther north than North Metro Atlanta. Virtually all of Georgia was Creek until 1785, so these maps merely reflect the delusions of Cherokee-files.  These same maps show the Cherokees occupying a vast area, most of which never contained Cherokee villages.  Most of the traditional Chickasaw and Creek territories in Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina are labeled Cherokee.

At least as late as the 1500s, proto-Creek tribes definitely occupied the river bottomlands of northeastern Tennessee. In fact, all town names and political titles listed by the De Soto Chronicles in Georgia, the Carolinas and Tennessee are either Creek or Mesoamerican words, with the exception of Chiska, which is a Panoan ethnic name from eastern Peru.  Cherokee histories list some of these towns as Cherokee, merely because they were in North Carolina or Tennessee, but the Creek names have no meaning in the Cherokee language and their leaders clearly had Creek political titles.

Virginia ethnologists and historians have labeled two Virginia tribes as being Algonquian or Siouan because like their peers farther south, they never bothered to learn the Creek languages.  Their ethnic labeling were speculations based on the tribe’s Anglicized names. They were the Tvmvhiti and Okvonesi.

Tamahiti (Tvmvahiti): In the late 1600s, the Tamahiti (Tomahitan in Anglicized Algonquin) was a powerful tribe in Southwest Virginia. Their name is pronounced Täu : mäu : hē : tē. It is an Itza Maya word from Mesoamerica and means “Merchant People.”   The Tamahiti spoke a dialect that mixed Itza Maya words with Muskogean words/grammar from NE Mexico and Panoan from eastern Peru.

The pyramidal, platform mounds of the Tamahti can still be seen in Buchannan, Dickenson, Wise and Lee Counties in extreme southwest Virginia. It is highly likely that the Tamahiti once lived in river bottomlands as far north as the Potomac River.  There is a large platform mound on the Potomac River near Leesburg in Loudon County, VA.  In Georgia, the Tamahiti and Tamati usually constructed multiple mounds that were of modest size.  They are not associated with the largest mounds in the Southeast.

After the Creek-Cherokee War erupted in 1715, the Tamahiti skedaddled to southeast Georgia, where their close kin, the Tamati lived.  They soon joined the Creek Confederacy and ultimately moved to villages on the Chattahoochee River. Further evidence is that the word for corn among the Shawnee Indians living in the Allegheny Mountains was “Tama.”

Occoneechee or Okaneechi (Okvnesi):  Okvnesi is pronounced  Ō : käu : nē : jzhē.  Both English and Spanish explorers consistently wrote down a Muskogean si or se sound as “chee”.  The word means, “Descendants of the Oconee People.”  The Oconee are a major branch of the Creek Confederacy, with major concentrations of population formerly being around Okefenokee Swamp in SE Georgia; along the Oconee River in NE Georgia and along the Oconaluftee River in the Great Smoky Mountains, where the Cherokee Reservation is now.  Oconaluftee means “Okonee People – massacred” in Creek. The Okonee spoke a dialect that mixed Itza Maya words with Muskogean words/grammar from NE Mexico and Panoan from eastern Peru.  Okonee towns typically had one large pyramidal mound and several modest-sized mounds.

The Occoneechee tribe was located immediately to the south of the Shenandoah Valley in the 1700s.  Many of its remnant villages joined with the Saponi.   All references state that the Occoneechee Tribe was Siouan.  This is based on their later merging with the Siouan-speaking Saponi because very few Occoneechee words survive. 

Archaeological discoveries made while preserving historic architecture

tomsbrook-battleIn 1988, shortly after we were restoring our colonial farmhouse on Toms Brook in Shenandoah County, VA, representatives of the National Park Service showed up at the door to tell us that our farm was one of the key properties in the proposed Shenandoah Battlefields National Park.  The troopers of two former roommates at West Point, Brig. General George Armstrong Custer, USA and Brig. General Tom Lafayette Rosser, CSA had dueled around our house and in our pastures!  It was the only battle during the Civil War that Rosser lost.  In the process, Custer’s men captured Rosser’s dress uniform . . . but Custer had it shipped to Rosser’s wife.  

 I showed the NPS historians, the 1753 plat by George Washington and the original deed to Colonel John Tipton, later the co-founder of the State of Tennessee . . . but they called it the Thornton Farm.   That name will thoroughly perplex historians in the 22nd century.

You can read about the Battle of Toms Brook at this URL:  

Battle of Toms Brook at the Thornton Farm

Yes, the Thornton Farm was my farm.  The stone fence where Confederate cavalrymen took shelter was the stone wall next to my house and Spikers Hill was my front pasture.

The National Park Service requested permission to send archaeologists to our farm. It was granted.  The ground was saturated with the debris of the third largest cavalry battle of the Civil War.  However, the chief archaeologist shocked me when he came to the door one day and announced, “Richard, we have found an Adena Village AND a Hopewell Village on your farm.”  

That afternoon, I raced to the Shenandoah County Library to check out books on Virginia’s Native Americans.  There was no mention of either the Adena or Hopewell People being in Virginia.  I then drove over to the University of Virginia’s Anthropology Department.  The professor, who met with me, looked over the NPS report and grinned.  He said, “This couldn’t be possible. They must have mistakenly examined artifacts from Ohio.  There are no Adena or Hopewell sites in Virginia!”

While practicing in Virginia, I was the architect for the restoration of 47 Colonial and Federal Period houses and farms along the Shenandoah River.  It amounted to the only comprehensive archaeological survey in the valley, since I seemed to have been the first and last person, who ever looked for Native American artifacts coming out of Shenandoah Valley construction excavations. When the clients would pay for their services, I brought in the neighbors to my office, Thunderbird Associates, as consulting archaeologists.

One client, who would pay for an archaeologist, owned an entire horseshoe bend of the Shenandoah River near Woodstock.  Still visible, were earthen ramps that went up to a level plaza, the remnants of mounds and a stone enclosure around the entire bend.  Archaeologist Bill Gardner examined the site and dug several test pits.  He reported back that this was a large Late Hopewell village site.  My client could not afford to pay for a full-blown archeological study and Gardner got nowhere trying to convince his peers that the Hopewell Culture had moved eastward to the Shenandoah Valley, as it was dying out in Ohio. 

Totally inexplicable artifacts came out of the soil, when we were excavating the septic tank field for what would become James Carville’s and Mary Matalin’s Early Federal Period farm.  I began seeing polychrome potsherds, similar to the artifacts in Central America and northern South America. Then large stone artifacts began jamming up the ditch-digger attached to a Bobcat tractor. I was astounded to see that they were quadruped (four pedestal) metates for grinding corn and flat, rectangular sheets of slate and flagstone that in Mesoamerica and the Caribbean are used for tortilla or cassava cake griddles. 

The owner of the mechanical contracting company cussed and said that these things used be like weeds in the Seven Bends of the Shenandoah.  His family had a bunch of them around the house and yard that are used as potted plant stands. He warned me that if he ran into one of them damn Injun stone burials, he wouldn’t tell me, because if you find skeletons in Virginia, you have to call the County Coroner and stop all work.

I called up the University of Virginia’s Department of Anthropology.  I couldn’t get past the secretary. I heard a professor in the background laughing as he said, “These crazy people think every rock is an artifact.”   I blurted, “M’am I’ve studied in Mexico and taught Pre-Columbian architecture at Georgia Tech!”  She repeated my words, but the professor just laughed and said, “Mexico?”   That was the end of that.

Jay Monahan let me walk the old garden of his and Katie’s 1790 house, while it was under construction.  It was about 1/8th mile from the Carville house.  There again, I found polychrome and fancy Hopewell potsherds, but Jay was not particularly interested.  By then, Jay and I were on the Advisory Council of the NPS’s National Battlefield Protection Program.  He and I had a lot of fun walking Virginia’s Civil War battlefields, but like everybody else, it seemed, in Virginia, Native American history was just not anybody’s “cup of tea.”

A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon Samuel Kercheval’s 1833 book on the Shenandoah Valley.  He specifically mentioned that the stone metates, stone griddles and stone box crypts were so dense in the bottomlands of the Shenandoah Valley that early settlers had trouble plowing the fields. Kercheval speculated that Indians from Mexico or the tropics had once lived in the Shenandoah Valley.  He also mentioned that many families in his time had used the stone metates as yard decorations, just like the mechanical contractor said.   All this has been completely forgotten by many generations of Virginia academicians.

Now you explain this!

Almost a decade later, when I was living in Georgia again after a marital breakup, I looked up my ancestors’ Civil War records. All of my Creek ancestors initially enlisted in Cobb’s Legion and were heroes in the Battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg.  After Gettysburg, the remnants of Cobb’s Legion was dissolved and one of my ancestors was re-assigned to a small Confederate army in the Shenandoah Valley.   Would you believe that he was captured, while standing on picket duty in November 1864, at the entrance to the driveway of my Shenandoah Valley farm?


  Habituation is key to observing and researching primates in the wild. Do you believe your really Habituating Sasquatch? Well lets look at the study of habitation and what it involves.

How is it possible that gorillas and other wild animals can allow scientists to sit with them and follow them around, recording the details of their lives? The answer is “habituation.” It is a basic and important tool used for studying primates and other wild animals. 

What is habituation?

The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary defines “habituate” as “to accustom by frequent repetition or prolonged exposure.” It’s a technical word for a very common psychological process. When you first hear an unusual sound, say, like a car alarm down the street, you pay attention to it. But if the sound continues and nothing much happens, eventually you ignore it. Habituation is important for distinguishing changes in the environment and for differentiating between unimportant or harmless situations versus potentially dangerous ones. In animal behaviour studies, habituation specifically refers to the process of getting animals used to people. 

Why habituate primates? 

(See my studies in primates and bigfoot: The comparison)

Most wild animals fear people for good reason: humans are the most dangerous creatures on the planet. But there’s little we can learn about the behaviour of wild animals if we only see them running away. In open country, you can sit in your car with your binoculars and watch animals from afar. In savanna parks, where animals have become habituated to cars, you can sit in a Land Rover and watch animals at closer quarters. But in forests, which is where most primates live, there are few roads, and trees block the view from the road anyway. So if you want to study primates, you must go to their “hang-outs.” Habituating them to your presence becomes necessary.

The primatologist is much like the cultural anthropologist: he or she seeks to be accepted into a foreign society, not as a member, but as an observer. Primatologists strive to be ignored while they observe and record events. Whether the study subjects are human or nonhuman primates, the new observer may experience a period of intense scrutiny, and may receive both threatening and friendly behaviour before being able to work without altering subject behaviour.

How does habituation work?

For habituation to work, animals need to see people regularly over a long period of time in non-threatening circumstances. For a long time, the habituator will get only sporadic glimpses through binoculars and will have long hours of seeing nothing at all. However, for those who are patient, have an interest in natural history, and enjoy activities like bird watching, identifying plants and insects, hiking and camping, habituating primates can be enjoyable and immensely rewarding.

You can speed the process up by providing food (“provisioning”). Wild animals are almost always looking for food, so if you provide food regularly, they quickly figure it out, and can rapidly overcome their fear of people to get that food reward.  Scientists used provisioning in a number of early studies, but the risks of doing so became apparent and the practice stopped at many research spots including Gombe National Park, site of Jane Goodall’s famous chimp research. Please note there are great risks when using food in the nature. Consider the health and well being of other wildlife  ECBRO strives to provide conservancy among the wildlife as well as protection. ( See below Risks)

Are there any risks to habituation?

Habituation is not always a good thing for primates. If they lose their fear of researchers, they may also lose their fear of hunters and other predators, making them easy targets. Because primates reproduce slowly, the ilegal commercial hunting for meat is now a tremendous threat to many primate species.

Habituated primates can also be dangerous for people. When wild animals get used to eating garbage and picnic scraps that are left accessible by humans, they will lose their fear of humans and can become more aggressive. Vervet monkeys are known to steal food at regular picnic areas. Across Africa, many baboons and vervets have been shot as a result.

Intentionally using food to habituate primates can also pose a risk. Researchers have planted sugar cane to attract wild apes, such as chimpanzees in Mahale, Tanzania, and bonobos in Wamba, Democratic Republic of Congo. While provisioning makes habituation easier, it does create new problems in that it changes the behaviour of the animals.  It is also worthy to note that because primates are our closest relatives, they are particularly susceptible to many of our diseases.

The general rule of thumb is that it is dangerous for both people and primates to get too close, as primates can feel threatened by the encroachment. At Gombe, park regulations stipulate that short-term visitors must keep 10 metres (33 feet) from primates, with researchers (who must undergo quarantine and health checks) being allowed somewhat closer.

Healthy Habituation

In primatology today, scientists seek to study animals without changing their behaviour. This means habituation without provisioning. Not using food means habituation takes longer, and in some cases may be impossible, if for example the study groups are especially wide ranging.

Primate habituation should only be attempted in areas where hunting is not a risk, and where good regulations are enforced, to ensure that people keep a good distance from primates. Any houses, offices, rubbish pits and other structures in areas with habituated primates must be secured to prevent primates from stealing food and other items.

How long does habituation take?

The general rule of thumb is that each individual primate needs about 100 hours to get used to people. In species that travel in cohesive troops, like baboons, and or clans of possible Bigfoot in the area of study every member of the group can see you every time you make contact, so the 100 hours go by fairly quickly, about three months. Chimpanzees take longer to habituate, because the entire social group rarely comes together. Individual chimpanzees often travel alone or in small subgroups, so it can take many years for every member of the group to become habituated. In forest sites, such as Kibale National Park in Uganda or Taï National Park in Côte d’Ivoire, habituation of chimpanzees without provisioning has taken five or six years. Habituation may take even longer in savanna sites such as Semliki, Uganda, where chimpanzees range over huge areas and only rarely encounter researchers.

Jane Goodall ( Habituation photo )
So please consider the risks and well being of our big hairy SUBJECT OF STUDY & RESEARCH AN “APE OF ANOTHER SPECIES”

* ASK YOUR SELF “Am I really Habituating Sasquatch? Do I have constant contact or up close visual interaction on a daily bases.

See my other research and notes of primates with the bigfoot comparison.


It is quite a breath taking moment to enter the world of nature to truly know the full existence of it’s inhabitants and not just entering it for what society leads you to believe…… Daniel Benoit

The gathering of trusted friends , fellow researchers, like minded people and those willing to Discover Truth beyond the blockage that society programs many with the blindness and missing pieces of the puzzle. 

We openly welcome people to experience for themselves the world that many deny.

So lets look at our most recent Expedition experience here in the E.C.B.R.O.’s general research area which is broken up into several zones. This location is in the state of Virginia.

Wildlife acknowledged in the area:

  • Bear
  • Deer
  • Coyote
  • Bobcat
  • Mountain lion
  • Barred Owl
  • Fox 
  • Raccoon
  • Turkey
  • American woodcock
  • Whoopa will
  • Squirrel
  • American bald eagle
  • Ospray

The list can go on however the listed above has all been both seen and heard, they all have been experienced multiple times either by visual or vocally. Some more than others have been studied throughout my research both in and out of the field in order so that I may become well more acquainted and familiarized as part of my recognition to the experiences that I endure. Also by learning and knowing more about these known beautiful species of various sorts; and only then can we seperate the unknown.

Activity in the area:

During our week out at camp we have had several vocalizations one being very common is the barred owl. Always great to hear them close. “Why”? Well as I shared before in other posts I found that owls vocalizing is a sign or a heads up that squatches are in the area. Coincidence? No and here is why. Its been observed multiple times over the years. I just never paid attention to it.

On two different days we had responses from Greg Corbin’s calls.

  • Tree knock 
  • Deep howl

Several occasions of movement and possible paralleling

The majority of activity comes from the location where we set up camp. The action we experience is spread abroad in a cluster off patterns reaching in a mile radius surrounding ecbro zone 1.

Did I mention the number of the tracks and impressions found throughout the area both from wildlife and the large humanoid tracks that clearly stand out with the observations.

Others have ventured in this area on their own just to discover and experience the unknown. Sightings till this day seeing sasquatch by pairs of 2 have been freshly reported in surrounding areas with the police being called to the scene.

The excitement grows and we are proud to announce our findings as well as share what we find. Yes to some the finding of constant tracks at times seems beyond the realm of reality but I assure you they are honestly truly found. 



LIARS Vs HOAXERS of Bigfoot Research

Some of you may be asking yourselves “whats the difference” Well lets take a look.

There are many among us who both lie and hoax, but why do they do this ?

Whats is a Liar;  They are those who want your full attention and loyalty regardless of how outrageous or extreme the lie may actually be. They starve and hunger for leadership against all others involved in the subject of interest. They want complete recognition and praise.

Birth of a Liar: It all starts with self deception , a repetitive rehearsed Story told to one’s own self until it has became a reality , then thereafter it becomes a story to deceive many other naive gullible people who take and run with it.

Why do people believe or support the one’s spreading the lies ?

  • They are friends with the liars
  • They do not require proof or evidence
  • It fulfills their incompetent minds 
  • They are simply lacking common sense
  • Uneducated

            ( The blind leading the blind)


The comedians , the Attention seeking no counts, Money hungry fame seekers.

These individuals destroy the credibility of those who take the subject seriously, as well creates a major set back or turn off to the mainstream scienfic fields point of view when it comes down to considering the real truth of the subject at hand. Not to mention the newbie or enthusiast who is just entering into this field becomes easily discouraged and leaves the community just to share what they have learned that it was all a joke.

Ask yourself this, Are Hoaxers and Liars really any different?

They both deceive people and give false hopes, they prevent the real truth from spreading, They cannot provide concrete evidence NOR DO THEIR FOLLOWERS REQUIRE IT. 

If any one man tells you he sees bigfoot everyday , all day and over 80 of them in his lifetime – WHERE IS THE FUCKING EVIDENCE?????


Another Cryptid Debunked

Thanks to Mark Oswells suggestion or accusations of the current image floating around social media as the Lockness Monster possibly being no more than a group of seals.

I took the liberty of doing some investigating on this topic. View the photos including the screen shot of the original and ZOOMED in. Then all the other seal photos.



And the following are all known seal images:

This should be enough for you to draw your own conclusion and clear this mystery up regarding the latest story, however being a Cryptozoologists I do believe that a creature resembling The lockness is still out there.


Thank you,

Daniel J. Benoit. (ECBRO FOUNDER)

Always seeking the truth!


A touch from legend to facts of the american black bear.

Black bears feature prominently in the stories of some of America’s indigenous peoples. One tale tells of how the black bear was a creation of the Great Spirit, while the grizzly was created by the Evil Spirit.[96] In the mythology of the HaidaTlingitTsimshian people of the Northwest Coast, mankind first learned to respect bears when a girl married the son of black bear Chieftain.[97] In Kwakiutl mythology, black and brown bears became enemies when Grizzly Bear Woman killed Black Bear Woman for being lazy. Black Bear Woman’s children, in turn, killed Grizzly Bear Woman’s own cubs.[98] The Navajo believed that the Big Black Bear was chief among the bears of the four directions surrounding Sun’s house, and would pray to it in order to be granted its protection during raids.[99]

Morris Michtom, the creator of the teddy bear, was inspired to make the toy when he came across a cartoon of Theodore Roosevelt refusing to shoot a black bear cub tied to a tree.[100] Winnie the Pooh was named after Winnipeg, a female black bear cub that lived at London Zoo from 1915 until her death in 1934.[101] A black bear cub who in the spring of 1950 was caught in the Capitan Gap fire was made into the living representative of Smokey Bear, the mascot of the United States Forest Service.[102]

The American black bear is the mascot of The University of Maine and Baylor University, where the university houses two live black bears on campus.

Sleeping Bear Dunes is named after a Native American legend, where a female bear and her cub swam across Lake Michigan. Exhausted from their journey, the bears rested on the shoreline and fell sound asleep. Over the years, the sand covered them up, creating a huge sand dune.

Attacks on humansEdit

See also: Bear attack and Bear danger

Although an adult bear is quite capable of killing a human, American black bears typically avoid confronting humans when possible. Unlike grizzly bears, which became a subject of fearsome legend among the European settlers of North America, black bears were rarely considered overly dangerous, even though they lived in areas where the pioneers had settled. Black bears rarely attack when confronted by humans, and usually limit themselves to making mock charges, emitting blowing noises and swatting the ground with their forepaws. The number of black bear attacks on humans is higher than those of the brown bear in North America, though this is largely because the black species considerably outnumbers the brown rather than greater aggressiveness.

The incidence of bear attacks in parks and campgrounds declined after the introduction of bear-resistant garbage cans and other reforms

Compared to brown bear attacks, aggressive encounters with black bears rarely lead to serious injury. However, the majority of black bear attacks tend to be motivated by hunger rather than territoriality, and thus victims have a higher probability of surviving by fighting back rather than submitting. Unlike grizzlies, female black bears do not display the same level of protectiveness to their cubs, and seldom attack humans in their vicinity.[53]However, occasionally, attacks by protective mothers do occur.[32] The worst recorded fatality incident occurred in May 1978, in which a black bear killed three teenagers who were fishing in Algonquin Park in Canada.[103]Another exceptional, spree-like attack occurred in August 1997 in Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park in Canada, when an emaciated black bear attacked a child and mother, killing the mother as well as an adult man who tried to intervene. This bear was shot while mauling a fourth victim.[104][105]

The majority of attacks happened in national parks, usually near campgrounds, where the bears had become habituated to close human proximity and food conditioned.[53] Out of 1,028 incidents of black bears acting aggressively toward people, 107 resulted in injury, were recorded from 1964 to 1976 in theGreat Smoky Mountains National Park, and occurred mainly in tourist hotspots where people regularly fed the bears handouts.[103]In almost every case where open dumps or handouts that had previously attracted black bears were ceased, the amount of aggressive encounters with bears have decreased precipitously over time.[32] However, in the aforementioned case of the spree attack in Liard River Hot Springs, the attacking bear was believed to have been previously almost fully dependent on a local garbage dump that had closed and was starving as a result of the loss of that food source.[104] Attempts to relocate bears are typically unsuccessful, as black bears seem to be able to return to their home range even without familiar landscape cues.[32]

On October 27, 2009, Canadian wildlife experts and managers for Cape Breton Highlands National Park thought Taylor Mitchell‘s suspect of her predatory attack on the Skyline Trail was a black bear at first, but they soon realized it was a pack ofcoyotes.[106]

Livestock and crop predationEdit

A limitation of food sources in early spring and wild berry and nut crop failures during summer months may be contributing factors to black bears regularly feeding from commercial human-based food sources. Crops are frequently eaten by these bears, especially during autumn hyperphagia when natural foods are scarce. Favored crops may include applesoats and corns.[5] Black bears can do extensive damage in some areas of the northwestern United States by stripping the bark from trees and feeding on thecambium. Livestock depredations by black bears occur mostly in spring. Though black bears have the capacity to (and occasionally do) hunt adult cattle and horses, they seem to prefer smaller, more easily overwhelmed prey such as sheepgoatscalves, and pigs. They normally kill by biting the neck and shoulders, though they may break the neck or back of prey with blows from the paws. Evidence of a bear attack includes claw marks and is frequently found on the neck, back, and shoulders of larger animals. Surplus killing of sheep and goats are common. Bears have been known to frighten livestock herds over cliffs, causing injuries and death to many animals; whether or not this is intentional is not known.[86] Occasionally, pets, especiallydogs, which are most prone to harass a bear, are killed by black bears.[107] It is not recommended to use unleashed dogs as a deterrent from bear attacks. Although large, aggressive dogs sometimes cause a bear to run, if pressed, angry bears frequently turn the tables and end up chasing the dog in return. A bear in pursuit of a pet dog has the potential to threaten both canid and human lives.[108][109]

Bear awareness in townsEdit

In an effort to help prevent conflicts with bears, many towns in British Columbia developed bear aware programs. The main premise of these programs is to teach humans to manage foods that attract bears. Keeping garbage securely stored, harvesting fruit when ripe, securing livestock behind electric fences, and storing pet food indoors are all measures promoted by bear aware programs. Revelstoke, British Columbia is a community that demonstrates the success of this approach. Before the community had an education program, an average of 27 bears were killed in  Revelstoke each year; after the program began, the average mortality has dropped to just 7 bears per year.

Black Bear Tracks:

Often mistaken as humanoid tracks. 

Some Cryptid researchers lacking proper awareness are quick to assume fales conclusions toward the identity of bear tracks believing them to be the mysterious Bigfoot or Sasquatch.

Guess again my friend. Learn your known wildlife before seeking the unknown.