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Sasquatch React to a Total Eclipse of the Sun

by Steve Moon


A few days ago as I write, I was fortunate enough to witness a very rare celestial event. At just after 2:00 PM Central Time, on April 8th, 2024, a total eclipse of Earth’s sun by its moon took place a few hundred miles to the south of where I live in eastern Iowa. At our oblique angle to the “path of totality”, about 80% of the sun’s illumination was masked by the moon. Where I was sitting, the change in the landscape was profound. A day later I could not stop thinking about just how strange the light had become during the eclipse. I describe what I observed as “shady sunlight”. Shadows were extremely dark and dramatic. The world was tinted with surrealism, eerie and strange. As I was to discover, the soundscape was altered as well.


The crescent sun focused through binocular lenses onto a picnic table top, during eclipse totality in eastern Iowa. Digital photo and interpretation by author


The night before the eclipse I readied three ZOOM F-3 audio recorders for deployment. Batteries sufficiently charged and memory cards formatted, I focused on my research design for the day of the eclipse. My primary study area would be a small county park where I have conducted relict hominid research for about five years. I have become somewhat familiar with a small group of Sasquatch that call the park home. After dozens of visits and many overnight bivouacs, I’ve gained at least limited knowledge of their interaction with that environment, and with me.


Late morning on the day of the eclipse, I deployed an audio recorder near the northwest corner of our little farm. Sasquatch frequent our farm, and I wanted to test for their presence during the eclipse, but was also interested in any reaction to this event by the amphibians that reside in a wetland habitat on the west edge of our property, or by our llama and sheep. Two hours later I arrived at the county park and quickly deployed a recorder at my prime target area, on the edge of a small valley at the north end of the small lake that is in the center of the park. I’ve camped and recorded audio in this valley numerous times, and discovered that it is a place that is frequented by the resident Sasquatch. I hung the recorder in a tree just inside a dense stand of cedar trees looking north into the valley. I had the recorder deployed in less than five minutes, and got the heck out of there. My goal was to disturb the activity at this location as little as possible, hoping to maximize my ability to capture a reaction in the Sasquatch to the eclipse, and less so to my presence. I then drove to a hill at the south end of the park and deployed my third recorder for the day. 


All three of my audio recorder deployments were compromised by wind. Winds were consistently ten to fifteen miles per hour out of the southwest. Finding an affective “wind shadow” at each recording location proved impossible. I normally would not attempt to record audio under such windy conditions. The audio recorder with the best position relative to wind turned out to be the north recorder at the park. This is not surprising because this is an area where I am conducting a longitudinal study, and it’s a place that I obsess about often.


I captured noisy soundscapes at each of my three locations, with constant wind interference and a lot of human made sounds. I don’t use wind screens on my microphones because they limit a recorder’s ability to capture faint or distant sounds, opting instead to filter out the annoying interference in post-processing. My mid-day window of interest coincided with the time of most human traffic sounds. On top of all of this there were peepers; amphibians in the lake and a few small streams and ponds who were vocalizing loudly, and more or less continuously. Recordings of such noisy soundscapes can be a real challenge to analyze. With the wind noise occupying frequencies of around 200 Hz and lower, and most birds, amphibians and insects occupying frequencies above about 2,000 Hz, filtration is necessary for a listening session and file analysis. Using the freeware program Audacity, I performed a high pass at 200 Hz and a low pass at 2,000 Hz. This provided a window with a 200 to 2,000 Hz frequency range, which is where nearly all mammal sounds reside. Whistles can occur at or above 2,000 Hz. Growls can reach into the sound spectrum below 200 Hz, but this is exceedingly rare. Had I not performed post-processing on the sound file from the north end, I likely would not have discovered most of the data presented below; data that I was hoping to capture. 


With limited time for file analysis, and my primary target being the valley at the north end, I quickly reviewed the relevant time periods in the farm recording and from the south end of the lake at the park. I probably heard but didn’t recognize the first silent period. Although I heard the second silence while sitting at the south end, neither of the two silences are evident in that sound file. This is likely due to wind interference, which is very pronounced.  There are no silent periods evident in the farm recording, and the resident biota seem not to have reacted to the eclipse. 


“Shady sunlight” and deep shadows defined the landscape during the time of total eclipse of the sun by the moon. Digital photo and interpretation by author


Having deployed my recorders, I hunkered down to take in the spectacle of the eclipse. I sat at a picnic table atop a hill above the south end of the lake. When the eclipse became evident, at around 2:00 PM, I was struck with how surreal the light had become. A minute or two after totality commenced, I felt a chill in the wind. I then became aware of silence. All of the birds, insects and amphibians in proximity to the park had suddenly become relatively silent. The silence engulfed the whole area around the lake, and an unknown distance away, with an occasional crow or Mourning Dove being the only exceptions. The sound of the wind and distant human activity suddenly seemed very pronounced. I walked into nearby woods and took photographs of this strange new landscape, bathed in eerie and beautiful light, with antique film cameras. My audio recorder at the north end was deployed near a small pond that is home to many noisy amphibians. Knowing that the silence extended that far, I anticipated a dramatic recording from the north end, hopefully including Sasquatch sounds. I was not disappointed! The remainder of this article will focus exclusively on the audio recording captured in the small valley at the north end of the park. 


Spectrogram image of the unprocessed sound file captured at the north end of the park, with a maximum frequency of 5,200 Hz. Two silent periods are evident in the higher frequencies.


The spectrogram image of the sound file from the north end shows two periods of relative silence, as can be seen above about 1,500 Hz. Both silent periods begin abruptly. Amphibians continue to sing in small ponds outside of the park boundary to the north during both silent periods, so the silence is localized, perhaps occurring only in or very near the area of the park. 


The second silence, the longer of the two, lasts four minutes and fifteen seconds. The first sequence of two knocks shown below occurs a minute and twelve seconds after the beginning of that silence. These initial knocks are three seconds apart. The second knock is much louder than the first, and may be a purposeful adjustment in volume from the first, which is faint.


Spectrogram image of the initial wood knocks captured during the second silence at the north end of the park, with a maximum frequency of 3,200 Hz.


Processed sound file of initial knock sequence.


A knock and vocalization sequence occurs fifty-five seconds after the initial knocks. The knock, which sounds very much like the second, “corrected” knock in the earlier sequence, is followed two seconds later by a two-part vocalization. The vocalization has a brief echo, which indicates that it originates from nearby, in the valley. The knocks and vocalization may be produced by a single Sasquatch, or by two or more Sasquatch. Because these all sound as though they emanate from the same locale, it’s impossible to know if more than one Sasquatch are present. The knocks and vocalization may be from a single individual, although a reply to these cannot be detected in the file. My audio recorder was deployed on the east edge of the valley rather than deeper in, so as not to disturb the Sasquatch population there any more than necessary. As a result, all activity in the small valley was captured in the left channel.


Spectrogram image of the wood knock and accompanying, or possibly acknowledging, vocalization, captured during the second silence at the north end of the park, with a maximum frequency of 3,200 Hz.


Processed sound file of knock and vocalization sequence.


At the end of the day, with sound data, all we are left with is our own interpretation. I interpret the sounds captured at the north end of the county park during the total eclipse of April 8th, 2024, as Sasquatch communication. It seems evident from this activity that the resident Sasquatch were as impressed with the unusual changes in the landscape as was I, and reacted to it by communicating with one another. Previous experience tells me that the periods of silence may have been caused by infrasound produced by the Sasquatch. The very abrupt “off and on” of the singing of amphibians and most birds in a localized area would support such a conclusion, as does the timing of the longer silence during full onset of the eclipse, and the first silence during an early phase of the eclipse. The use of infrasound to produce silence would have facilitated communication by knocks and vocalizations, which would have been difficult to hear otherwise.


The following partial transcript is from the sound file captured at the north end of the lake during the eclipse.


2024.04.08 eclipse of sun by moon – file begins at 1:08 PM - north end of lake

00.43.22 silent period begins

00.45.47 silence ends 

01.01.00 silent period begins 

01.02.12 very quiet wood knock left L1L

01.02.15 quiet wood knock left L3L

These wood knocks are nearly impossible to hear in unprocessed state

01.03.08 quiet wood knock left L3L

01.03.10 two part vocalization with echo left L3L 

01.05.16 silence ends


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Σχόλια


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