Forest Friends

Janice Carter Coy is the translator of Bigfoot speak ( She claims to have developed her ability to understand the creatures through what she describes as a lifetime spent among them. Now an adult, Carter Coy first encountered a Bigfoot when she was 7 years old. Playing on her grandfather's farm in rural Tennessee, she literally ran into one of the creatures. Frozen in fear, Janice was rescued by her grandfather who rushed to her side and proceeded to stare the creature down until it moved away.

A year or so later, her grandfather took her out to the top of a nearby hill to show her the creature again. He had brought table scraps to feed it. He sat the plate on the ground and backed away while it came forward and ate. As time went on Carter Coy came to realize that there were several of the creatures, whom she calls 'Forest Friends,' living on the farm. Her grandfather had first befriended them in the 1940s when he rescued an injured juvenile and nursed him back to health. He named the creature 'Fox.' When her grandfather became ill and could no longer go out, the creature would come and sleep under the family mobile home, sometimes destroying the underpinning and heating ducts. When her grandfather passed away, Janice Carter Coy took up the responsibility for feeding and interacting with the creatures. In recent years Janice decided to tell the family story, with the help of Mary Green, in the book Fifty Years with Bigfoot: Tennessee

Chronicles of Co-existence. Green claims that because she grew up among the Forest Friends, she has developed a lasting relationship with them. She also claims that, in addition to their own language, the creatures have learned a good deal of English from the Carter family.

Russian Bigfoot researcher Dmitri Bayanov has focused on the Janice Carter Coy case, especially the claim that the creatures can speak English, in his argument that Bigfoot are more than animals, if not quite human. They are, he suggests, best considered to be 'manimals.' The fact that Carter Coy's grandfather could teach young Fox English and could co-exist in a complex social relationship with the Bigfoot indicates that the creatures are closer to humans than are any other known species.

Also of importance to Bayanov is Carter Coy's story of a burial of a stillborn Bigfoot baby. Digging a hole with their bare hands and with pointed sticks, the creatures buried the infant. For a long while after the burial, the mother would deliver food to the grave, as if expecting the baby to eat. This suggests, hints Bayanov, that the Bigfoot may even have a concept of the after-life.

Perhaps most important of all, however, is the claim that the Bigfoot on the Carter farm possessed a language of their own. It is not only that they acquired a kind of rudimentary English but that they possessed a spoken language independent of their English training. Carter Coy learned the basic of Bigfoot language from her grandfather and from Fox and others who could speak both Bigfoot and English.

Bayanov offers an example from Carter Coy as evidence of the depth and complexity of Bigfoot language. As a child Fox scared Janice and her little sister Lila. Her grandfather quickly chastized Fox for frightening the girls. By way of apology Fox spoke in the Bigfoot language to Lila and said 'Yoohhobt Papi Icantewaste Mitanski . . . Posa . . . Ka Taikay Kataikay Tohobt Wabittub.' This is translated into English as 'Yellow Hair, be happy little sister. I naughty. Don't cry Blue Eyes.' Bayanov writes:

In other words, Fox was apologetic, tried to console little Lila and used her traits in naming and addressing her. All that in a few touching words. Call him what you like: bipedal ape, Australopithecus robustus, Gigantopithecus blacki, for me such an utterance, if it really happened, is the sure sign of a human being. (www.hominology.

Indeed, accounts like the one given by Janice Carter Coy are a central part of why Bayanov rejects any attempt to kill a Bigfoot for study and dissection. For Bayanov, this would be the equivalent of murder.

Janice Carter Coy's account of her family's multi-generational relationship with a family of Bigfoot represents an extreme version of the habituation championed by Powell and illustrated by Klement's tale. It also suggests that Bigfoot are a long way from the supergorillas envisioned by Krantz and Meldrum. Not only does Carter Coy claim to have lived alongside a family of the creatures for most of her life, she also claims that they exhibit very complex social and linguistic behavior. It should not be hard to imagine why her story, and others like it, are rejected by many Bigfooters. Carter Coy's claims about the abilities of her Forest Friends are not the most extreme, however. There are plenty of others who see in Bigfoot a being that is more than a fellow resident of our planet earth, more than a physical entity, whether Gigantopithecus or manimal.

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