Written By: Evan Jones
Upon seeing that print, we became connected to the multitude who have experienced things that they cannot explain. Things that a Google search won't or even can't verify as truth for someone else. Things that are left up to the story tellers and myth makers. The particulars of the experience was of course unique to my father and I, but it places us within a continuum of anyone who has ever experienced something that defies the general parameters of reality. And if nothing else, we had a great story to tell. Stories are in fact a fundamental part of human existence and most of them you won't find on the internet, which musician Michael Lueckner so beautifully illustrated in an interview he did with the Townhouse in 2016:
"...Google 'woloktei'! hahaha, you won't find something about them. But you will find a little bit 'Yemau' in different continents. One day in a world before our time the Yemau met the Woloktei at the river and the Yemau said: let's change our heads. The Woloktei agreed and flew away with the Yemau heads on..."
In a small way, I relate the experience my dad and I had on that shore of a remote lake in North Georgia to the story of the Yemau and Woloktei. It's a reminder to me that there is, even in today's saturated internet existence, information which still indeed exist outside of the internet. And that just because it hasn't been verified on Snopes, doesn't mean it's not real. And even within the confines of the internet, there is still the "fringe" that traffics in information most would write off as lunacy, but like this picture of a strange footprint is just as real as the headlines on your favorite news site. This may seem a painfully obvious statement to make, but I think it's one worth making, because as more and more of our experiences and knowledge seem to be passing through the internet gatekeepers, it becomes even more important that we remember how narrow their scope is. That what's on the internet is really but a single star in a universe of knowledge.
What my dad and I experienced on that camping trip was hardly anything in the grand scheme of things. It was exciting for us, and something fun and strange to look back on. It might not have even been a footprint at all. We have even less evidence that it belonged to a Bigfoot. But none of that is important. What's important is the experience. It belongs to us, and the knowledge and truth of it lies with us. We are the gatekeepers of it, like those who guard the knowledge of the Yemau and Woloktei switching their heads.
To define our reality based on what we can verify with a quick Google search not only gives us a watered down and distorted view of reality, it does a disservice to the tradition of humanity. A tradition that is thousands of years longer than the thirty-some-odd years we've been placing our knowledge on and trust in the internet. The real story of humanity is replete with mysticism and wonder. It's filled with things you won't find on the first page of Google. Things you can't have a fact-checker verify for you. Things like the strange print my dad and I saw on that camping trip on a remote lake. And it's filled with stories like the Woloktei and Yemau meeting at the river to switch their heads.