To celebrate our Legends of the National Parks Poster Art Collection and our foray into the wild side of the National Parks, we at ADG thought we’d learn some more about these mysterious creatures who call the National Parks home.
As luck would have it, we found an expert to talk to right here in Nashville! This week we had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. David Eller, veteran cryptozoologist and Bigfoot researcher.
The following is a brief back and forth David and I had, plus some great images he sent us and some renditions of our vintage poster art of the National Park monsters.
A Conversation with a Bigfoot Researcher
ADG: “It’s great to meet with you, David! Let us start by asking, what do you do in the cryptozoology field? If you have an elevator pitch for what your role is, what would that be?”
David: “First off, I do immense amounts of field research, with my primary focus being on Bigfoot. I search for Bigfoot creatures by making unique vocalizations and using tools to make sounds that attract them. I also set up experiments in areas with high cryptid activity, to test areas for creature activity. These creatures interact in various different ways, and they’re a lot more elusive than other animals. I spend hundreds of hours exploring Tennessee, North Carolina, and Kentucky, just to name a few states. I’m also currently working with a fellow named Eustace Conway. He’s got 1,000 acres of land and I’ve been on his property researching quite a bit. I also put on events and I just finished a book!”
ADG: “Wow. Field study, research, conferences, lectures, authoring new texts on the subject, sounds like you’ve got a lot going on in this field! What would you say is your mission?”
David: “If I had to put it into one sentence, I’d say my mission is to bring information to the public about the potential existence of an array of mysterious creatures that the scientific community has thus far been disinterested in.”
ADG: “Fascinating. Well, as artists who’ve been interested in showing the more mysterious side of the National Parks through our vintage poster art, we’re happy to have you around to educate folks! And can you tell me a little about your background? What’s the story behind your interest in cryptids? How did you go about getting educated in this field?”
David: “Gosh, well I was first introduced to the concept of these ‘large hairy creatures that live in the woods’ by an article I found in a Reader's Digest back in the 1960s. This would have been right around the time the Patterson-Gimlin film came out in 1967. I started by just reading everything I could get my hands on about cryptids. Then in my 20s I started moving into field research, but I still read a lot too, all the greats like Ivan Sanderson, John Green, and John Napier.”
ADG: “Sounds like this has been a real life-long adventure for you! And what are some of your most remarkable findings? Have you ever done any research or investigation in a National Park?”
David: “Gosh, where to even begin? The site I discovered a year ago has been called “The Holy Grail of Bigfoot Sites.” It’s right here in the American South, and it’s been documented as one of the most Bigfoot-dense locations in the United States. I even got a documentary filmmaker to come out with me and explore the site. My best find at the site is these domed structures made from trees that are bent to the center and braided. Let me emphasize that, the tree branches themselves are braided. Not tied together with rope or string, but the actual branches braided together to create the basic framework of a domicile. I’ve found several of these dome-like structures. They’re about 20ft to 30ft wide and eight feet tall in the center.”
“I never want to state something as fact without having hard evidence. I want to take a scientific approach to all of my research. And there’s a lot we’re not sure of yet, but it seems the Bigfoot creatures might be living in these structures, or at least in the process of making a home there. The structures are made with some really fascinating handiwork.”
ADG: “Amazing! That’s an incredible find. So what are some of the projects you're currently working on?”
David: “I do a lot of research here in Tennessee, but I’ve also moved my research down into Evergreen, Alabama. There’s a ton of activity in that area. A Deputy Sheriff sent me a fantastic vocalization coming from the woods down by his house. Really incredible stuff. I’ve also got projects going on in Illinois and in North Carolina too. I’ve gotten some great photographs in these places. I’ve also just finished writing a book, it’s a diary of each day I’ve gone out. Every chapter is a day, what I saw, where I went, getting lost, getting found, seeing new structures and tracking sights, sounds, smells, and indicators of these creatures. It’s sort of a journal of all my findings and what I’ve learned in my research, both here in the U.S. and abroad.”
ADG: “Very interesting, David. You’ll have to send us a copy of that book. So, we’re poster artists, and we're on a mission to use the arts to promote the conservation and protection of America’s natural lands. Considering your field, what role do you think the visual arts can or should play in cryptozoology?”
David: “I’m so glad you asked that, because the arts are SO important to the field of cryptozoology. Here’s the reason: Since no one has found an actual body of Bigfoot or of other cryptids yet, the way we tell the stories of these creatures and inform the public about them is we use art as the medium to show people what these creatures might look like. If we do it well and if we take our time with the artistic renditions of the creatures, we can really portray what these creatures might look like, and we can be realistic and factual about it. Creating quality art that’s true-to-scale and realistic is our best way to interpret what these creatures might look like.”
“Speaking of art, I’m in the process of building a Bigfoot museum right here in Tennessee, and one of my main focuses with the museum is to showcase artist renditions of Bigfoot. From the Indigenous legends of these creatures from centuries ago right up to the present-day renditions like Anderson Design Group’s original illustrations, the museum is going to have a lot of art. I’ll use the arts to create a learning experience about Bigfoot and the field of cryptozoology.”
ADG: “You’ll have to send us an invite to the grand opening! So, speaking of art of Bigfoot and other cryptids, what do you think about our Bigfoot poster art? And our other Legends of the National Parks designs? Any other designs we should add to our series?”
David: “Your National park poster art and the monsters and legends is all really good! Each artist operating under the ADG banner has their own take on what these creatures look like and I really love that. You guys aren’t making definitive claims as to what these creatures look exactly like, which is good. I really believe we have to be open-minded about what the creatures look like, because much of our knowledge of the creatures is still just conjecture. But that’s what’s so amazing about Anderson Design Group poster art. People can look at the art and form their own opinion about what the creature might look like. And that’s all a part of the wonder of cryptozoology. Discovering for yourself what these beasts are all about.”
“As to your question about other creatures, I really would love to see you guys create art of the “The Creature That Stops Rivers.” It’s called the Mokele M’bembe. It’s located in Africa. There are so many international creatures that we don’t even hear about here in the United States. The Death Worm in Mongolia, trolls in Europe, the Nandi Bear, also in Africa, the Yowie in Australia…. and so on.”
ADG: “Amazing. We’ve just begun to broaden our scope and look internationally at other famous creatures. And what advice do you have for folks who are interested in diving deeper into the world of cryptids?
David: “I have three things I always tell folks. First, read the cryptid books by John Keel. He’s really the best. For just Bigfoot, check out Ivan Sanderson. Try to read up on the old authors who first started writing in this field. Also, check out the Indigenous cultures. These tribes have the oral histories on the very first sightings of cryptids on the North American continent. We wouldn’t even know about most cryptids if it wasn’t for Indigenous Americans. Respect their knowledge and the spiritual reverence such tribes often have for cryptids, and study their work if they make it available to you.”
“Second, get out in the woods. That’s where the cryptids are. Keep your eyes peeled. Know that you’re probably not going to see something for a long time. The more you’re out there though, the more likely you’ll see something. And don’t lose faith just because you don’t see something. It might take some time, so be patient.”
"Finally, and I always tell people this: The gorilla was a myth until it wasn’t. The Komodo dragon was a myth until it wasn’t. ALL creatures on this wonderful Earth are cryptids until we find them! So get out there and have fun! Looking for cryptids is like the ultimate treasure hunt, except this one is all about scientific discovery and finding new creatures to add to our list of Earth’s great wildlife.”
ADG: “This has been a great conversation, David. We've learned so much! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!”
David: “Thanks for having me!”
Exploring the Wild Side
We love the National Parks and all their great aspects, including the stories, cultures, and traditions that have evolved around these beloved places. We’ll keep creating original illustrations of the National Parks, fueled by our inspiration from these sacred lands. And if you happen to spy a unique creature or unexplainable happening in a National Park, be sure to let us know! Who knows, we might create a new art design out of it.
Have fun out there!
Anderson Design Group Staff Writer