Chapter 5:     Media Storm

I concentrated upon sealing the house against the coming winter.
It was all patchwork because once I stopped earning money we 
really couldn't afford the grandiose plans we had envisioned.  We
quickly dropped all plans for an immediate total renovation with
vast picture windows and sandalwood floors.  Instead I bought second-
hand windows and doors and made them fit, finishing the weather-
proofing phase of the project just before December, when the snow
came flying at us.

We designed a special room for Adam upstairs.  There was already 
a balcony with wide French doors that could be very open to 
nature.  We eventually did put windows in, but they were only
closed in the most ferocious of storms.  Even in winter he
preferred to sleep half outside and never slept well if he was
closed in all night.  Sasquatches like fresh air.

We really wanted the plumbing as soon as possible, so that was 
the next project.  At least we already had a good water supply,
from the well and the creek which ran by the house.  

It would have cost a fortune to install electricity or telephone 
out there at that time, we were so far away from the nearest 
houses that special cables would have to be laid out just for us.
So we did without.  Actually it was quite peaceful without TV or 

But there was one electrical appliance we didn't want to live
without: a stereo system. We had a nice CD collection of music 
in a broad spectrum of genres, but were uninterested in hearing 
the kind of sound you get from a cheap ghetto blaster.  So I 
bought a quality auto stereo with four speakers and set it up in 
our living room, powered by a 12-volt car battery. 

The first CD we put on to test the system was Paul Simon's 
Graceland album, an old favorite.  It sounded good, so we 
turned up the volume.  Adam was playing on the floor with the 
cats, so we were both interested in seeing how he reacted to it.

"Hey, I think Addy likes it!" Elaine said.

Evidently: his eyes were wide, his mouth was a big O, he looked
astonished, delighted, hypnotized.  Especially when "Call me Al" 
came on, he started bobbing to the African rhythms.

As an experiment, I turned the volume down until it began to fade
out and Adam whimpered and frowned as if I was stealing his 
mother's milk.  Then I turned it up again and he was bobbing and 
smiling again.

When he started looking for where the music was coming from, it 
was us who were astounded at the level of intelligence he 
evidenced.  The cats had never heard music before either, but of 
course they reacted not at all.  Adam went straight to one of 
the speakers and reached up for it.

As all new parents, we'd learned to baby-proof our home, so I'd 
set the stereo system up on shelves to keep it out of reach 
from curious but destructive fingers.  Little Adam came over to me 
and tugged at my pants leg, he wanted to see where the music was 
coming from.  Back then he only weighed about 70 pounds, so I 
lifted him up for a close look at the speaker.  He put his ear 
to it and smiled.

I took him to another speaker, he looked back and forth between 
the two. Then I showed him the player up close and ejected the 
CD.  The music stopped, Adam looked around the room in confusion 
at all the sudden silence, but paid attention when I showed him 
the CD itself and put it back into the machine.  The music 
started again.  I turned the volume knob up and down.  He got 
excited and wanted to turn the knob himself.

Finally I had to put him down, the kid was heavy enough.  He 
started to protest, but I turned the volume up and he sat down, 
satisfied to hear the music.  

"Do you think sasquatches have music?" I asked in wonder.

"If not, they will have when this kid comes back to visit them!" 
Elaine prophesied.

Elaine had to rush off to work, but I continued experimenting 
with our specimen, changing disks and observing Adam's reactions.  
Rock, classical, jazz, folk, a broad spectrum.  Some music moved 
him and some seemed to bore him, some he didn't like at all: 
heavy rhythms were in, light airy pieces as well, but big
band horn music seemed to get on his nerves.

Then I took out my old violin, the one I had once played almost
proficiently, but had now ignored long enough to be well out of
practice.  I turned off the stereo and tuned the strings.  I had 
Adam's immediate attention.  He waddled over to me and stood on 
his tiptoes, trying to get a closer look at the instrument.

I played a few pieces as well as I could, wincing at my own
ineptitude and cursing my own laziness for not practicing, but
little Adam was as fascinated by my amateur performance as he
had been by the stereo's.  I let him pluck the strings, but when 
he tried to pull them I took the violin away, saying "No!"

I didn't like saying that word, starting to sound like a negative
parent: "no" this and "no" that all the time.  But it was 
necessary, our little friend was a very strong klutz who could 
and did break things in his hands without meaning to, a violin 
wouldn't have a chance.  Dumb and strong, like tragic Lenny in 
Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.

But of course, he was not so dumb after all.  About a month later, 
Elaine was home and we had a fire in the fireplace and the house 
was magical with the music of Vivaldi's Quattro Stagioni.  
Adam seemed hypnotized, head nodding to the music.  All very cozy, 
but we were sleepy and ready to go to bed so Elaine staggered up 
from the sofa and turned off the stereo in the middle of the 
"Spring" movement.  The mood was broken.

Adam looked up, frowning, dismayed and wailed, "No, myoo-sik!"

We were stunned.  We'd had him about eight months by then and he
had never yet uttered one English word, much less a sentence.  We 
never really expected him to. 

Elaine spoke directly to him: "No what, Addy?  You don't want
us to turn off the music?"

"Myoo-sik," he said again, pointing at the CD player, not the 

"One more song?" I asked.


Elaine looked at me with her best "wow" expression.  Up to three 
words now.

"Which song do you want to hear?"

He seemed to be trying to find a word, not knowing how to describe 
which song.  "Uh...myoo-sik!"

I couldn't resist pushing the envelope, enunciating every word 
clearly: "Do you want to hear Quattro Stagioni again?"

"Yeah, want to hear Quattro Stagioni again!"

Were we blown away?  Why, indeed we were.

Then the story hit the papers:
B A B Y B I G F O O T L I V I N G W I T H H U M A N F A M I L Y !
A news photographer had been re-checking the sasquatch shooting scene and secretly took telephoto pictures of Elaine and Adam sitting on the porch. They were published in the Daily Exposer, along with our names and general location. Within a day there were all sorts of people from all sorts of organizations trying to get to us: anthropologists from The University of Washington, weirdoes from the Flying Saucer Warning Patrol, all the media--TV, radio, newspapers and magazines--even a freak show manager. And the police: Sinsley had filed a charge that I had stolen the baby sasquatch from him for personal profit. The Department of Public Health was concerned about a dangerous captive beast. Child Protection Agencies came to try to take the child away from us. We had to remind everybody that they were on our property and that a sasquatch's legal status was as yet undefined, so that he too was also therefore de facto legally Our Property, and somehow we stood them all off. At least the first wave. We did allow some people to see Adam: anthropologists, scientists, doctors were quite appreciated. But we had to filter out a lot of crazies. It was only begrudgingly that I allowed the entire Sasquatch Hunter's Club in to see Adam, after they had convinced me that they only "hunted" with cameras. It was a hard time. And there was that legal battle with Sinsley which was going to cost money we didn't really have. So when we were offered grants from the UW to allow them to study Adam and when the Sasquatch Hunter's Club offered us free legal assistance to help protect the species, we began accepting. But we had known that this would happen eventually and had prepared for it as best we could. The solution was to become anthropologists ourselves. I had already written my petition for a grant to study "a sasquatch" and of course I had a great advantage over anyone else trying that one out for approval. I knew the academic game pretty well, having survived grad school with independent research grants before. I did have a teaching certificate and although I was not a trained anthropologist, I had taken a few courses out of personal interest (when you go to college on the G.I. Bill you don't rush through, it becomes a lifestyle). And I had once subscribed to National Geographic. Speaking of that publication, they too wanted photographs and an article on Adam, so I found myself becoming a more or less self- employed expert on sasquatches. There were invitations to give paid lectures at various colleges and clubs, but I politely refused them since I didn't feel I had enough data yet to make any valid presentations--especially because what they really wanted was for me to make a show of Adam for them. The grants usually stipulated that certain agencies would also have occasional access to the sasquatch for study of details beyond my expertise, such as medical or neurological. I was careful with those, we had a lawyer check everything out. Anyway, there were often visitors at the house. We became funded by the University of Washington, at first responsible to the Biology Department, but later organized under the absurdly long name of The Great Pacific Northwest Indigenous Primate Research Center, which we called IPR. They controlled the grant and could therefore make certain demands, but it was agreed that our house would be the "field HQ", where Adam would be more comfortable and happy and that we would occasionally transport him to the UW facilities for any necessary high-tech research. My function in IPR was primarily as "observer and custodian of the specimen". To protect Adam as much as possible, Elaine and I applied to adopt him as our own son, thus establishing by legal precedence that we were also "guardians of the specimen". As parents we could control what other people tried to do with and to him. But we ran into the legal complication of first defining Adam as human being, and that took a while to sort out. For example, several scientists wanted Adam to be kept in a cage on campus, but I had written into the grant the rationale that too much contact with modern civilization could be traumatic for an innocent baby sasquatch, thus corrupting the pristine nature of his mind, which we were attempting to study. The authorities bought that. Truth was, Adam loved riding in the car to Seattle, the bright city lights, all the people and traffic. He would often pester us, "Can we go to Seattle today, can we, huh?" He wanted ice creams, cokes, pizza, loved visiting the Pike Street Market, the Waterfront, the view from the 73rd floor of the SeaFirst Building, the UW campus. He even liked the research lab, where they stuck him with needles. He didn't mind the needles, he had a high tolerance for pain and otherwise everyone was nice to him and made a fuss, just like out on the street. He couldn't get enough of city life! Once our house became the Field Unit of the IPR, it was abruptly transformed from being a romantic log cabin in the woods without telephone or electricity, into a totally wired minor institution complete with electric lights and appliances, multiple phone lines, fax and broadband Internet. We allowed the IPR to build a "Bigfoot Lab" near the house but discretely tucked into the woods, more suitable for groups of scientists and their equipment than our living room or kitchen. It was a luxurious barn: only one large room, double-wide doors a truck could drive in, but with a very solid wooden floor, plumbing, electricity and heating. When the IPR weren't using it we called it "the Mead Hall" and held big parties there. We had to draw the line when IPR wanted to install surveillance cameras and security fences around the house. Since we did have that great big house in the woods, with many rooms, we could provide guest quarters for researching visitors and colleagues from out of town. They often stayed for several days at a time and we became such good friends with some of them that they ended up staying for weeks at a time. In fact, that became our social life. After all those months of isolation and hard work keeping Adam a secret, it was wonderful to have a life again. We would make dinners together and have interesting and intellectual discussions around the fireplace, drinking a little wine, smoking a little pot. A golden age. Every scientist and anthropologist who came to study Adam had assumed that he was some sort of semi-intelligent ape and every one of them was equally bowled over when that sasquatch kid spoke directly to them and even asked them rather intelligent questions for a child his age. They all came to like him as a human person and lost most of their subjectivity, even forgetting that he was only supposed to be an animal, a specimen to be studied. And why not? Adam had a very sweet personality, neither selfish nor aggressive as many children are and he was openly affectionate to everyone. He liked to cuddle with Elaine and me and especially Melly--but she comes into the story later. Having said what a great kid Adam was, I suppose I'd also better mention the hard part too, in case you ever consider raising a baby sasquatch yourself: he had the energy of an atomic bomb. Little Adam was like a puppy that couldn't stop running and hopping and rolling and wiggling. We had to keep him outside all day long, just couldn't have him in the house. We got a dog for him to play with in the woods, but by the end of the day the dog was worn out and little Adam was still hopping around the living room. He'd run up the stairs, hop the entire flight down in one go, then do it again because it was so much fun, until we'd flip out and make him stop. When research people were around we kept him close, of course, but when it was just us Adam could run around the woods as much as he liked. At first Elaine was worried about letting him go free, since we couldn't keep up with him. "What if he runs away, or gets lost?" she'd ask. "He's a sasquatch," I reasoned, "he grew up in the woods. And he won't run away, he loves his mother too much." I meant Elaine, of course. Then she admitted her real fear: "What if they come to take him back?" She meant the sasquatches, of course. "Well, if they do, there's nothing we can do about it, be it from the woods or from the house." "Maybe not, but if it's from the woods...then we'll never know why he didn't come home..."
Adam was in danger of growing up in a media spotlight. Besides being on the covers of all the news magazines, National Geographic articles and television specials, there had been several TV documentaries for the Discovery Channel and his name and picture popped up periodically in People Magazine--if for nothing more than his birthday. Everyone knew who Adam Leroy Forest was, they had seen him talk, laugh, run like the wind. He was a child star. All that publicity helped when our application to adopt Adam as our legal son finally came to court. First, because we had already become world-famous as his parents-- thus had precedence working for us --and second, because everyone already knew him as a person by then, due to his "human intelligence", as evidenced by his doing interviews on TV. In order to adopt him it had to first be legally agreed that he was "human" at all and there was a well-publicized hearing to determine just that. Which established his identity as a young Citizen of the United States, with a Social Security Number and all equal rights entitled. This too made great headlines, so the media machine was on our side. And when the adoption did come through we were all three on the covers of PEOPLE, as well as just about every other news magazine in the world. Hey, if he's in PEOPLE MAGAZINE he must be one, right? I had to put a gate at the front of our driveway to keep the general public from swarming the place. Most people were nice, just interested, but there were some crackpots too. One old man was a religious fanatic who insisted that Adam was really the Beast of the Apocalypse and must be destroyed. I convinced the old man that God's Will would prevail without any human interference and he left. There were some who just had to touch, and some who had to tease or hurt and eventually we couldn't trust anyone without some sort of reference. So we locked the gate. Neighbors were no problem, since the nearest were about three miles away and there were no main highways anywhere near, so it was pretty easy to maintain a distance to society in general. We became friends with Dave the Hippie Mailman, who brought great loads of mail to us every day and who had a good rapport with Adam. He also kept a personal eye out for suspicious packages, not that we ever got any.
The Monroe City Council called me because they were interested in erecting a sign on the outskirts of town: "Welcome to Monroe, home of the Baby Bigfoot". And they wanted to exhibit "it" in a cage at the next Washington State Fair. I had to explain that I couldn't allow that. My excuse was that since Adam was actually a person the city would certainly end up with a racial discrimination case, just as if they had put an African or Chinese baby in a cage. Really bad publicity. But we didn't want to burn the City Council and we did want to generate as much good will towards our "baby bigfoot" as we could get. And if the City of Monroe wanted to brag about Adam growing up there, so much the better. It ended up that Elaine and I went up on a stage before thousands of enthusiastic and interested State Fair spectators with Adam in our arms and presented him to the public as if he were the crown prince. We had taught him a phrase to say, to impress everyone with the fact that he could talk and was therefore not an ape. He was supposed to say: "My name is Adam Leroy Forest and I live in Monroe, Washington." But he was an almost 3 year-old child and any parent knows about getting that kind of beast to perform on cue. It was a fiasco, of course. It went so well when we rehearsed it with him, he sounded smart, looked cute, a child star. But it startled him when I spoke into the microphone before all those people and my voice thundered back from all those loudspeakers... "we'd like to let Addy introduce himself. Tell them who you are, Addy..." He just curled up into a ball, indistinguishable from any other shy chimpanzee. "Come on, Addy, say something to all these nice folks." Rolled his eyes, finger in mouth, looking pretty stupid. The audience was being patient, but certainly not impressed. "I guess he's shy folks, you know how kids are, heh heh heh..." One last try, "Come on, say something, Addy." Shook his head, lips sealed. I shrugged, gave up, "Sorry folks, no show tonight..." But then Elaine deftly pulled an Oreo cookie out of a magic pocket and waved it in front of Adam. He reached for it, but it was whisked just out of reach. "It's MY cookie," she said. "Hey, I want a cookie too..." he'd spoken into the microphone and it was his own voice that thundered back through the fairgrounds. He looked surprised, then got closer to the microphone and shouted "I want a cookie!" The crowd laughed at that, then applauded in wonder that a sasquatch really could speak. We'd been worried that he might sound like a trained parrot, but that certainly didn't happen. Elaine gave him the cookie, but now he was more interested in the power of that microphone. "Cookie, cookie, ooo aahh boo!" We had to drag him away from it, but just as we were about to go he shouted out, "Wait! I'm s'posta say my name is Adam Leroy Forest and I live in Monroe, Washington!" The audience cheered. Adam liked that. It was his first public performance and it may have gotten into his blood right there, because it was far from his last.
Chapter 6

Adam out of Eden