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David Holthouse of Hulu’s true-crime docuseries ‘Sasquatch’

May 11, 2021
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Did Bigfoot waste three guys on a northern California pot farm in the fall of 1993? It sounds ridiculous right?

Investigative journalist David Holthouse has put himself in the middle of some freaky situations in pursuit of a story, from infiltrating neo-Nazi groups to earning the trust of both sides of a gang drug war. He’s not afraid of much but he says this crazy Bigfoot story he heard from two rattled tweakers on a black market weed farm had him fearing for his life when he returned to the area 25 years later and started asking questions.

“Sasquatch” is Holthouse and director Joshua Rofé’s true-crime Hulu docuseries, presented in three narrative-driven episodes, only the first of which I’d seen before speaking with Holthouse for this story. No spoilers here.

(You can find Allen Adams's review of the full "Sasquatch" docuseries here.)

In the following interview, Holthouse speaks of the off the grid danger of California’s Emerald Triangle – the largest cannabis-producing region in the country. The vast mountain forest he revisits for this series, he explains, is generally undisturbed by the law and littered with the remains of countless bodies that knew too much.

The Sasquatch angle is the primary focus of the docuseries’ first episode, introducing both believers and skeptics, as the viewer joins Holthouse in the investigation.

The Maine Edge: Could you take us back to that night in 1993 when you were visiting a pot farm and heard this incredible story?

David Holthouse: I was in northern Mendocino County at a black market weed farm, kind of way back up in the hills. One night, these two guys showed up and they were totally rattled. I think they were also out of their heads on crystal meth. They claimed, and they seemed to be totally convinced, and I believed them, that they had just seen three mutilated bodies on a nearby weed farm that had been – in their words – torn to pieces. It was harvest season which is a particularly dangerous time in the Emerald Triangle (northern California cannabis producing region) because of rip-offs and a lot of violence. These guys said they knew this wasn’t a rip-off because the harvested weed on this farm was still there. There was a few hundred grand worth of weed just lying around among these bodies. They also said they saw Bigfoot footprints.

The Maine Edge: I can understand why that story would stay with you but what made you decide to return to the area 25 years later?

David Holthouse: A collaborator buddy of mine, Josh Rofé, is a documentary director. We worked together on a series about the Lorena Bobbitt case for Amazon. As we were closing up that series, he became a fan of this podcast called Sasquatch Chronicles. He texted me one night, saying: “Man, if we could just find some kind of true-crime story wrapped up in a Sasquatch legend, it could be fun.” I immediately triggered on that story I’d heard in 1993 which I’d always wanted to go back and follow to its source. It was like a message from the universe.

The Maine Edge: Word spread quickly once you started your investigation. Did you feel at any time that your life was in danger when you returned to the Emerald Triangle and started gathering information?

David Holthouse: It’s a dangerous and fascinating world up there and that’s why we decided to make the pursuit of the story part of the story. It’s a dark yet gripping experience to be knocking around there in northern Mendocino County. It’s a dangerous place under any circumstance, but it’s especially dangerous to go around asking questions – even subtly – about an unsolved triple homicide. What you quickly find out about unsolved homicides from a quarter century ago in that area is that there’s a lot of them. My concern was that I would find myself face to face with one of the killers and not know who I was talking to. I was afraid of their knowing that I was getting close to the truth and setting me up. Once you’re up in those hills, you are literally off the map. There’s no cell coverage, most of the roads don’t have names. When I was meeting with some of these sources, in a number of instances, nobody else knew where I was because I didn’t know where I was. Yeah, I was pretty concerned for my safety.

The Maine Edge: How much of a safety net did the fact that you were there filming for Hulu provide? If someone was planning to kill you, wouldn’t the fact that you’re shooting this documentary provide some cover?

David Holthouse: I certainly made it known to everybody that I was there making this documentary and that the crew was basically aware of where I was. There’s kind of two modes there. There’s the in-town mode and the up the mountain mode. In town I was meeting people in public places, but up the mountain, I was meeting people in a place where all of dirty deeds get done. I wasn’t sure to what degree the documentary thing would shield me from violence up the mountain.

The Maine Edge: We meet some Bigfoot believers in this documentary, but they’re balanced by a number of skeptics. After going through the experience, did it sway your opinion one way or another about Bigfoot’s existence?

David Holthouse: I’ll say this much, I’m not convinced Sasquatch exists, but I met enough people that convinced me that they totally believe they had a Sasquatch encounter, and in some cases a violent and terrifying one. I can’t just dismiss their accounts, but I didn’t believe these people were lying to me. After more than 25 years as an investigative journalist, I feel that my B.S. radar is pretty finely tuned.

Those are deep, ancient forests up there, and when you’re off-trail, you feel at all times like something is watching you. The idea that it’s Bigfoot’s habitat makes a lot more sense when you’ve actually experienced those forests for yourself.

Last modified on Tuesday, 11 May 2021 13:45

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