The Phenomenal Sasquatch – Tarot For Tough Times – The Paranormal Podcast 804

An intelligent conversation on Bigfoot. That is what author, podcaster and researcher Matt Pruitt brings us on this week’s show. He looks at many possibilities and you’ll be sure to learn something about the “big guy.” I know I did!

You can find his recent book on the subject, The Phenomenal Sasquatch: Seeking the Natural Origins of a Cultural Icon, at Amazon: https://amzn.to/46VkxvK

Theresa Reed, The Tarot Lady, joins us to talk about tarot for tough times. You can find her recent book on the subject, The Cards You’re Dealt: How to Deal when Life Gets Real, at Amazon: https://amzn.to/3MeKkqw

Two great guests! Thanks Matt & Theresa!

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Join us on October 28th at 7 – 11pm ET on YouTube for our Annual Halloween Livestream Party! Special guests, trivia, giveaways and more! Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzp-_uNkdqk


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TRANSCRIPT:

Jim:

Could Bigfoot actually be supernatural? And The Cards You are Dealt: all about tarot. Our guests are Matt Pruitt and Theresa Reed on this supersized edition of the Paranormal Podcast. 

Announcer:

This is the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold. 

Jim:

Welcome to the Paranormal Podcast. I’m Jim Harold and so glad to be with you once again and boy do we have a supersized, super duper paranormal podcast for you. First of all, we’re going to talk with Matt Pruitt about Bigfoot. Literally, it is one of the best conversations I’ve ever had about this subject, ever. I was so impressed. I’m just like, we got to air this right away. Matt is awesome, and we talk about the possibility of Bigfoot maybe actually being supernatural. And then we have Theresa Reed, the Tarot Lady, and she’s always fantastic to talk to about what else? The tarot. I think you’re really going to enjoy this show. Also, join us Saturday, October 28th from 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM on my YouTube channel at youtube.com/jimharold for our Halloween party live stream. We do it every year. We’re going to have great guests: Scott from Astonishing Legends.  We’re going to have Jody Livon, Ryan Sprague, a magician Jeff Ezell, and many more great guests and giveaways and trivia and costumes and fun. And it’s a four hour extravaganza. So join us this Saturday, October 28th from 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM eastern youtube.com/jimharold. It’ll also be on my Facebook pages, but really I recommend YouTube for the best viewing experience. We’ll see you there and now on to this supersized show. 

Now, if you’ve listened to the shows for any time, you know we’ve always been in search of, no pun intended, in search of the truth about Sasquatch, the truth about Bigfoot. Now, I’ve always admitted I’m kind of on the fence because one minute I’m like, yeah, there’s definitely something. And then other times I’m like, well, I’m not so sure. So I think we have a fantastic guest who looks at this phenomenon very seriously, and I really appreciate that. We’re talking about Matt Pruitt. 

He has dedicated nearly two decades of research to investigating the Sasquatch question. He has gained extensive knowledge of the topic through a combination of conceptual analysis and practical field work, and as an engaging public speaker, he’s been invited to share his insights on various media outlets and platforms. In 2023, he has published the Phenomenal Sasquatch: Seeking the Natural Origins of a Cultural Icon. It’s a book that demonstrates his dedication to unraveling the truth behind this intriguing mystery. He’s also a producer and editor of the podcast, Bigfoot and Beyond with Cliff and Bobo, and we’re so glad to have him on the show. Matt Pruitt, thanks for taking time today. 

Matt Pruitt:

Thanks so much for having me, Jim. It’s a pleasure. Really appreciate the invitation. 

Jim:

Now, how did you get into the whole question of Sasquatch to begin with? 

Matt Pruitt:

Well, like many people, I did have an experience when I was young. I was 17, and that was in northeast Georgia in the region of Southern Appalachians where I grew up. But I was accompanied with some friends and we were intending to camp and to do some night hiking, and it was an audio only experience, so it wasn’t accompanied by any visual, but a lot of what you would now think of as classic sort of Sasquatch behaviors or sounds that are associated with the Sasquatch phenomenon. But because we didn’t see it, it was very anomalous and strange and frightening. In fact, we ended up running down this mountain, getting back in our cars and driving back to my mom’s house. We didn’t come back for our tents and coolers and all that stuff until the next day once the sun came up. But it was really difficult to reconcile with some sort of conventional explanation or to explain away, but it was an area that had sort of a history of, let’s say, strange activity being in the southeast, obviously there’s a lot of sort of spiritual or cultural spiritual lenses in the cultural milieu, let’s say. 

And so it just had a reputation for being haunted; and being young and having experienced this we’re like, well, I guess, yeah, that strange things do happen in this place. And it wasn’t until the early 2000s, a couple of years later that I stumbled across Sasquatch information and thought it was laughable, this idea of these megafauna apes in North America and the sort of cartoonish depictions that come to mind when you’ve grown up only seeing it depicted that way, as either like a B movie monster or some comical caveman, troglodyte sort of character. But then I began to read eyewitness testimonies where people describe these, what we might interpret as intimidation displays, that are analogous to the displays produced by other apes. And I thought, oh, wow, that’s very similar to what we experienced. It was getting harder and harder to laugh it off. And so that’s really where the question began. And I thought a number of things. Number one being, well, if these are normal animals, they wouldn’t be new arrivals. They certainly must’ve been here for as long as the other extant mammals. And so I began digging into historical archives and found a number just in northeast Georgia in the area where I grew up, found nearly 40 print media articles that predated the year 1900 of people describing, encountering, or observing these sorts of animals, what we would call Bigfoot or Sasquatch today. So that was pretty hard to dismiss that, oh, this is much older than the television or the radio. It’s not just the product of the 1950s, let’s say. And then began finding local witnesses, people in these areas who claim to have seen them and interviewing those people and going to those places. And I thought to myself at that time, that all began for me in about 2002, and I thought, I’ll get to the bottom of this. And here we are 20 plus years later, and I’m still trying to get to the bottom of it, so I haven’t seen one yet, but man, I’ve tried. 

Jim:

Yeah, well, I love kind of the analytical approach you take to it. And my thing is this, is that, I mean, I believe there’s people of very goodwill who have had experiences, seen things and those kinds of things, but I keep coming back to the one thing, and I am familiar with some of the arguments on this, but the fact that at least mainstream science is not recognized that I’m aware of that any remnants have been found, hair, tissue samples, bones, those kinds of things, at least that I’m aware of. And it’s like, why hasn’t this happened? Now, I know that one of the theories is, well, you don’t typically walk through the forest and see a deer carcass, and especially if Sasquatch is very intelligent, which it seems to be, it might bury its dead. You know, you just don’t find corpses lying around in the woods. And the other argument being for people who believe that maybe it’s more of a supernatural thing, that it is coming back and forth between our dimension and our world, and it can appear spectrally and go away. What would you say to someone who like me is – not the hardcore debunkers, because I don’t think you’re ever going to satisfy those people, but – people who are interested and kind of waffle between belief and maybe not so sure. 

Matt Pruitt:

Well, there’s a lot to unpack in that question, and so I’ll try to do it briefly because we could fill up the whole time frame with that. In terms of sort of samples that you described, I do lay out in the book, one of the really interesting things about looking into the subject that you find is that there have been a number of samples, let’s just take hair for example, that have been analyzed by individuals. The frustrating thing, having pursued this for over two decades, I was sort of familiar with this, but then synthesizing it all, putting it together in the book, it really became even more abundantly clear to me that what has typically occurred in those cases is that people have collected samples, usually the lay person, and very often that’s in the aftermath of an alleged sighting or an encounter or something of that nature. And then through some means, usually interpersonal means, they’re able to make contact with someone who’s willing to look at it for them. So it’s never really been a university backed study or even a for-profit sort of scientific institution that’s taking a look at these. It’s usually on an individual to individual basis, and the analysis gets reported back to the submitter, but it’s never been in the form of a formal report or like an official analysis or something of that nature. 

And so there are, interestingly enough, many dozens of examples of these hairs that are morphologically anomalous because hair has a physical structure. And so anatomists, there are anatomists who specialize in hair. And so a number of these hair samples seem to defy categorization, but they share physical features with the great apes, which would include humans. So humans and the other extent great apes, they have primate characteristics or the characteristics of a higher primate, but they’re not an identical match morphologically to humans, gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos, et cetera. And so it’s fascinating to see so many of these experts that have gone on record either in the media or in personal correspondence or in book form who describe these samples that they’ve analyzed. 

But unfortunately, you can’t find, there’s no really official reports from an institutional perspective on these, but they do share similar features across all of these anomalous samples. So that’s a really fascinating question is that, okay, well, there’s something that’s shedding primate-like hair in North America for decades, some species of animal that’s distributed across the continent. These hairs don’t match anything else, and yet they seem to match each other. That’s a pretty interesting proposition. And because of these claimants, they are associated with Sasquatch sightings. And so things of that nature do exist. There are tissue samples, albeit much more rare than hair samples. Your listeners might be familiar with the show, MonsterQuest that was produced by Doug Hajicek, and a tissue sample that was collected in Ontario that was analyzed, that had interesting, and yet sort of inconclusive results. So those things do exist in abundance, but what you end up having are these individual experts in various disciplines who are willing to state to some degree publicly that, hey, here are the characteristics of what I’m looking at. 

But that’s sort of restricted within their particular discipline or their expertise. And so for someone like me or any other contender to say, well, you’ve got these mountain of claims that describe large non-human apes, and there are all these other elements, whether we’re talking about footprints or hair samples or vocalization recordings, all these things that seem to be sharing primate characteristics and yet cannot be attributed to any known mammals that people who are lateral thinkers or associative thinkers could see the connection or at least the potential connection between all those things to say, okay, well, from one, yes, there is no institutional recognition or institutional designation that even such a thing might be real. But from an outsider’s perspective, it’s like, well, you’ve got these claims and then all this evidence associated with the claims that seems to be supportive. And so to your point, it does very much feel like a coin that gets flipped and lands on its side every time. 

Jim:

Well, I mean, again, I’m not saying I’m a skeptic because some days I’m like, absolutely, I believe that there’s Bigfoot, and then some days I’m like, I’m not so sure. So it is a riddle. I think that’s what part of what makes it so fascinating. Now, you kind of talked about this a little in your intro there, but now I want to be clear. I think that anytime you look at anomalous activity, be it UFOs, be it ghosts, be it cryptids like Bigfoot, people seem to think it all started in the 2000s with paranormal TV and cryptid tv, but this goes way back and you even say it makes sense to go back and look at the evolutionary record and see who could be “ancestral candidates” for Bigfoot. Can you talk about that? I thought that was a fascinating treatment. 

Matt Pruitt:

Certainly. Well, if you’re going to posit that there could be, I mean the central thesis of not only the book but of everything that I’ve been trying to do for the last 20 years is to figure out, well, obviously this phenomenon exists at least in the form of claims and in the form of aforementioned physical items or elements that are touted as evidence or that are made to be sort of associated with the claims. And these things obviously have some influence on observers, and to some degree, they have an effect on the environment. We’re talking about tracks or other physical traces, let’s say. And so the question is, well, what’s responsible for that? Either there is some animal that fits that description with feet in the right shape to leave those impressions, or in lieu of such a species. well, it’s only ever associated with human observers and human sort of evidence collectors. And so the most likely proposition beyond there being an animal that fits that description is that it’s just some element of the human mind, some portion of the human psyche that’s being manifested either as a vision, an image, a hallucination, or it’s being voluntarily fabricated, intentionally fabricated, generated, and that the footprints are some artistic representation of that imaginary form. 

And so if we’re going to investigate, well, could there be an animal like this? You’d have to say, well, again, it can’t be a recent arrival. There must be something that approximates that form, and obviously looking into the fossil record would be important. And so because apes were not, they did not evolve in the Americas. We do have monkeys in Central and South America, new world monkeys, but in terms of apes, there’s no fossil record for that in North America until essentially humans, which are apes, move into North America via Beringia from Asia. And so I think you’d have to, if you’re looking for a candidate, you would have to start as locally as possible, focusing on proximity. The analogy I use with people is like, Hey, if someone egged your house, depending on where you live, let’s say you live in Atlanta, Georgia, well, you’re not going to start looking for the suspect in the Yukon, right? You’re going to start in your own neighborhood. So you go as locally as possible to find, well, what’s responsible for this? 

And it just so happens that just across the ocean in Asia, which Asia was connected to North America a great many times via a landmass called Beringia at multiple periods in time, and even within the Pleistocene alone, I think we’re aware of somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 or 16 times that that landmass was contiguous. We do find in the fossil record a clade of large apes, the youngest of which, the more recent, was a genus called Gigantopithecus. And thus far we’re only aware of one species that occurred within that genus, and it was called Gigantopithecus blacki, named after a gentleman named Davidson Black. But it was discovered in the 1930s by a scientist named Ralph von Koenigswald. But what we do know about Gigantopithecus is that essentially the oldest fossils emerge around a little over 2 million years ago, with the youngest fossils being arguably about a hundred thousand to as recent as 80,000 years ago. 

So they had a very long tenure spread over many parts of Southeast Asia and that these were the largest apes that ever lived. They were contemporaneous with our ancestors, with Homo erectus having co-occurred for over a million years, and then would’ve certainly been sympatric or occurring at the same time in place as very early Homo sapiens as they made their way into Asia. Now, what we do know about Gigantopithecus is sort of limited, but it’s because we only thus far have teeth in mandibles. We don’t have post cranial remains, so we don’t have a lot of information about their overall structure or their method of locomotion, but can make some solid inferences. But what is known is that they had a very wide ranging diet. They lived in very dense forests, closed canopy forests with dense under stories, and they were, again, much larger than any of the living apes, and they’re the largest ape in the fossil record. 

And so right there in this place that’s not long ago, not far away, in Asia, we have this candidate that’s very much, that approximates what people describe with the Sasquatch, which is an ape that’s significantly larger than humans with a broad diet preferring dense forests. And interestingly, there’s a huge interchange of mammals between North America and Asia prehistorically, and many, many mammals that now occur in North America came here from Asia, and vice versa, there are Asian mammals that moved into that continent via in North America. And so to me, that’s the simplest proposition in the fossil record is to say, well, because we know that Gigantopithecus has existed, we can make some other inferences like, well, that genus would’ve produced other species. Maybe some other species were more or less Sasquatch-like, and we know they were contemporaneous with our ancestors and lived at a time when they could have accessed North America. 

And so everything about that model for that to solve for Sasquatch, as in is this the source of the Sasquatch mythos? You only have to answer two questions in the affirmative, which is to say, did they make it into North America? Are there any still around? And if the answer to either of those questions is yes, then there’s your strongest candidate, every other candidate in the fossil record that people put on offer, including some South African apes, require so many more questions, so many more assumptions or questions to be answered in the affirmative to solve for that, that I think it’s at least worth pointing out that apes of this size did exist and they did exist alongside us and our ancestors. And so that makes the whole proposition entirely possible, if not plausible, at least to some degree. 

Jim:

Now, when we get back, I want to talk about indigenous people and what they have to say about Sasquatch. And we’re talking with Matt Pruitt and we are talking all about his recent book, the Phenomenal Sasquatch, seeking the Natural Origins of a Cultural Icon. We’ll be back right after this. 

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Announcer:

If you love the Paranormal Podcast, be sure to check out Jim Harold’s Campfire where ordinary people share their extraordinary stories of ghosts, UFOs, cryptids, and terrifying encounters. Find it for free wherever you listen to this podcast. Tune into Jim Harold’s Campfire today. Now we return to the Paranormal Podcast. 

Jim:

We are back on the Paranormal Podcast. Our guest is Matt Pruitt. We’re talking all about Sasquatch, and Matt has a new book out called The Phenomenal Sasquatch, Seeking the Natural Origins of a Cultural Icon. Now, before you were talking to us about some of the history and the pre-history, and I also admire the fact that you talked about indigenous people in your book. Where do they come into play and what did they have to say about the question of Sasquatch? 

Matt Pruitt:

Certainly. Well, it requires a lot of digging and a lot of interpretation. And for that reason, it’s a difficult sort of thing to contend with very often because once again, if we were going to posit that these things are around, they must’ve been around for a long time. And so as far back in time as you could look for clues, you would think, well, let’s start with the indigenous North Americans, the people that were here first, that if these animals did coexist with them, certainly there’d be some record of it or indication or at least suggestions or hints. And lo and behold, there are quite a few, in my estimation; the difficult thing is trying to get to the bottom of, well, first of all, we don’t know how old a lot of these traditions are because they were transmitted orally from generation to generation. 

They weren’t externalized in some written form. And so they’re not really written down until non-natives make their way to North America and begin to record these oral traditions, whether they’re ethnographers or even very often these were in the form of personal correspondences by missionaries who were writing back to Europe to say, the peoples that I’m proselytizing essentially, here are the things that they tell me. And so the earliest written examples of a lot of these traditions are unfortunately bastardized by the Western lens, by being viewed through the western lens. And so they’re very often dismissed as superstitions, as myths, these sort of wild beliefs rather than treating them as like, no, these are potentially descriptions of the living inhabitants of the natural world. And I think a lot of that had to do with we were in the dark ages of our understanding of animals around the world, and especially with the distribution of apes and the evolution of human ancestors, et cetera, evolution as a theory hadn’t even been posited yet for most of that time. 

And so it’s a difficult thing to parse out because I feel like we’ve lost so much valuable information. And unfortunately so much of that gets dismissed as simply stories like moral tales, cautionary tales, et cetera, that are just populated by characters that are nothing more than the products of the imagination, rather than saying, well, no, this is a repository. This is a database of traditional ecological knowledge observations of the natural world, but not what we would term as modern scientific observations, objective observations. These are subjective because you and I and everyone else, we’re not objects, we’re subjects. And so these databases that take the form of stories or narratives are like repositories of accrued observations and experiences. And then those things are represented in a classic narrative structure. And that very real phenomena, whether we’re talking about animals or weather patterns, a whole host of natural phenomena are represented in sort of this personified characterized form. 

But I think because the non-natives couldn’t reconcile it with known animals, they just assumed that, oh, well, this story represents the bear, and we all know the bear is real. This story represents something that we can’t understand, and therefore it must be just some ridiculous, silly superstition. So it’s a difficult thing to parse through. But in looking through a lot of the recorded oral traditions, you do find these ape-like creatures. So there’s not only these characters in narrative stories that might have some sort of moral role or be even cautionary tales, but you also have the testimonies of indigenous peoples who were describing these things not as single characters like a Zeus or a Hercules, but they were saying like, oh no, we don’t go in this valley during this particular time of the year because these things live there. And that’s when they tend to be there. 

And so then they would describe the things as being much larger than a person. They leave tracks that are a foot and a half long, they’re covered in hair, they do a lot of their activity at night. And so for someone like me, it’s easy to look at those claims and think, well, it’s very possible that they’re describing real animals that are associated with the food sources of those animals and the seasonal activities of those animals, the temporal activities, whether they’re more active during the day or at night or what times of year, et cetera. And because the languages are so different, I mean, we’re talking about a number of different cultures spread across North America with wildly different languages. There are so many different terms that describe these sort of ape-like creatures. And then because they weren’t externalized in a written form, those terms get anglicized by non-natives. 

And so for that reason, if you were to hear a particular native word to try to search for it in today’s digital realm, well that word might’ve been represented by 10 or 15 different spellings in old writings as people were trying to represent that word in the English language. And so I think that what the collective of Sasquatch researchers have found thus far that is suggestive of the indigenous knowledge of alike creatures in North America is a fraction of what truly exists because it’s very difficult to find those things or to search for them now that things have been digitized. But even if we were to leave that aside, we have our artistic representations. Now, those you can date stories, who knows how far back in time those stories go, their origins. But when you have representations in petroglyphs or pictographs or stone carvings or even younger things like totem poles, these sort of carvings that depict these ape-like characters, these ape-like creatures that are accurately depictive in terms of facial morphology, cranial morphology, and you’d have to ask, well, if this is solely the product of the imagination, how are they able to so accurately depict these shared ape features? 

Or is it more likely that no, they’re accurate because these people really were observing living non-human apes? And so I think that the wealth of information that’s available in indigenous knowledge, while it doesn’t constitute proof, to me it’s very suggestive and it at least shows that this is not a western idea. This is not a non-native idea. It goes back much further than that. And to read the claims of those people at the time that they were recorded, what they were describing was essentially a species of creatures that they lived contemporaneously with. They weren’t talking about singular fictional characters like again, Zeus or Thor or something like that. So I think it’s fascinating and probably an endless well of information to be found. 

Jim:

Now, when you did this book, the subtitle of it is Seeking the Natural Origins of a Cultural Icon, have you been able to pinpoint exactly when Bigfoot hit the big time? When did Bigfoot become Bigfoot and become a cultural icon? 

Matt Pruitt:

Yeah, there’s been a few moments in time leading up to the sort of big bang of Bigfootery, I guess we could say. Obviously there were stories that got local attention during the 18 hundreds and early 19 hundreds. The famous Ape Canyon story with the miners in 1924 that got spread around quite a bit. It radiated out of the Pacific Northwest, but I think the first worldwide attention given to the mystery ape phenomenon would be associated with the Yeti in Asia. And even though there’s a host of information that predates that in North America, at least now that we can look back retroactively or retrospectively and see, it was really once the Yeti emerged, that got a lot of media attention that a little bit more attention began to be focused on the North American mystery ape. But it really, the term Bigfoot is coined, it’s kind of funny because just to show the sort of difference between the American mind, let’s say, and the British mind, you know, technically speaking, if I’m not mistaken, what had occurred is that there was a particular term that was used in the Himalayas to describe the Yeti, and it was something like Metoh-Kangmi. And when it was transmitted over the wire, the O looked more like a C in the word “metoh”. And so it came across as Metch Kangmi, and the closest approximation that they could find to translate that was filthy snowman. And so that’s where the term abominable snowman came from, even though it was just essentially a typo, an error. And so how erudite and British that sounds, the abominable snowman. And yet in North America, they find large tracks and hey, it’s Bigfoot. So I have a love hate relationship with the word Bigfoot because it is so goofy and simplified. 

But essentially there was a crew building a road in the very mountainous region near the coast in northern California in 1958 and in the Bluff Creek region, which is where that very famous Patterson-Gimlin film was later filmed, that everyone’s seen those images, the most iconic images associated with the Sasquatch, but tracks were being found at these various road building sites, and the local name was given to this individual that was leaving tracks that was unseen, but they’d come back in the morning and there’d be these large tracks around. And they called that individual Bigfoot. And then Jerry Crew was the individual who brought that to the local press, and he cast tracks and was photographed holding these casts. And that’s where the sort of Bigfoot just blew up and hit the AP wire at that time. And that term unfortunately, is stuck. John Green had said – the luminary of Sasquatch research journalist John Green had said – I think if they had realized that they were about to give a name to an entire potential species of age, they probably would’ve thought a little bit harder about just Bigfoot. 

Jim:

Now, I want to just take a little sidetrack here and talk about the Patterson-Gimlin film from 1967, and people of a certain age like me grew up and there were these old Sun documentaries, which actually would go into the theater and see, and later they were on TV where they would show the famous film. And I always am careful to point out it is a film, it is not a video, it is a film. But the thing was, I always kind of went back and forth on it. I thought, oh, that might be a guy in a suit. But in later years, as I saw stabilized versions of it, I’m like, wait a minute, I see muscle tone that does not look like a suit to me, that looks like some type of an animal. Where do you come down on the question of the ‘67 film? 

Matt Pruitt:

It has been so controversial. That has to be the most debated piece of evidence that’s garnered the most attention in it. 

Jim:

It’s like the Zapruter film with the JFK assassination, yeah.

Matt Pruitt:

It really is. And it’s still yielding new information as people are applying new technologies to it. And so there’s so many layers to that because obviously you have what you see in the film and then you can defer to, or at least refer to, the opinions of various experts who’ve analyzed it, whether those are anthropologists, physical anthropologists or biomechanics experts or kinesiologists. And the list goes on of people who have weighed in on the film subject. And then from there, obviously you have a line of tracks that were cast. So when Patterson and Gimlin encountered this thing, they, according to their claims in the aftermath, they cast a left foot and a right foot, the cleanest examples of each foot that they could find in this line of tracks that were left on this sandbar. And then subsequently, a forest service crew led by a gentleman named Lyle Laverty came to the site just a few days later and photographed some of the tracks. 

And then after that, a taxidermist and hunter named Bob Titmus came and he cast 10 tracks consecutively. There is a host of physical evidence associated with that event in the form of these footprints that are seemingly very dynamic and do seem to show dynamic movement, but that gets hotly debated as well. Then obviously you have the testimonies of Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin given in the immediate aftermath of the event, there was an interview that he provided to, I think it was, I don’t have it in front of me, but I’m fairly certain it was the Eureka Time Standard, the night of the event in the aftermath of it, he called the Time Standard and described the event, and he published it the next day. So on October 21st of ‘67. And then there were various interviews after that, and Bob Gimlin is still with us and still describing the event. 

I’m sure he’s probably told that story, who knows how many thousands of times at people’s requests, but I’ve spent time with Bob. And so there are these hosts of different layers that you can evaluate, and I think it at least stood up to scrutiny enough to still be of interest. What I think a lot of people point to is the lack of other supportive evidence, generally speaking, for the Sasquatch, like you brought up earlier, there are no bones. There’s not a physical specimen yet. And so that tends to be the typical argument, not only among the public, but among a lot of the more prominent skeptics or some of whom are more cynical than skeptical, because the implications, okay, well , this film. If the subject in that film is a living creature, then that implies that it is one of a species of such creatures. Unless you want to think that there’s just some one-off genetic anomaly somehow that just appeared at this one point in time, and it doesn’t represent an entire population. 

And so some of the more heated emotional responses I hear leveled at the Patterson film are things like, well, then why aren’t there other pieces of footage? Where’s the body? Why hasn’t someone found bones somewhere else? And it’s like, well, that doesn’t really address what we see in the film. Those are relevant questions, and I want answers to those things too. I do think we need a specimen if these things do exist, obviously someone we would need to be able to provide substantive physical evidence. But it’s like if I showed you these items of interest, A, B, C, and D, and your response is, yeah, but where’s E? It’s like, well, can we talk about A through D first before we get into what’s not there? So as a piece of footage supported by physical evidence, obviously it’s the best multimedia evidence that exists. A lot of the expert opinion leans to the side of that. 

It has a very non-human gait, which takes some time and nuance to really parse out because it moves in such a natural way that it’s easy to superficially just see something walking bipedally and assume, oh, well, that’s just a person in a suit, which is what many people in air quotes see when they see that film. But then when you’re able to dig into the analysis offered by a lot of these experts in their relevant disciplines and see what it is that they find compelling, like the angle forward at which it’s constantly stooped, and the degree of knee bend as the weight passes over the leg that’s on the ground is when the knee is at the greatest bend, the angle is at the, it’s bent at the sort of hard to articulate something that needs to be seen to be, but essentially the way that we walk as you put your foot down and then your other leg lifts to swing forward, and so your weight is passing over that single foot, that single leg resting on that single foot point on the ground, we tend to lock our knees at that point, a straight stiff leg. 

This thing keeps its knees bent at all times, but the point when it’s bent the greatest is when all of the weight is passing over it, which is very markedly different than the way that the typical human locomotion, the human gait. And then there are a host of these other factors about the intermembral index. The ratio of lengths between the arms and the legs are markedly different, at least in some people’s interpretations. And then you have these other dimensions that you can sort of roughly arrive at because we do know that those tracks are associated with that event. And so we know how big that foot is, how long that foot is, and how wide it is. And so there are moments in the film where because of the nature of the animal’s gait or the subject’s gait, let’s say, because we can’t determine whether it’s a living animal yet, as the foot is at the highest point being lifted off the ground, it’s actually perpendicular to the ground and therefore parallel to the lens. 

And so you see the entire flat surface of the foot. So knowing that that foot is roughly 14 and a half inches long, you can take that as a visual sort of ruler or a measuring tool and stack that up or line that out laterally or horizontally to roughly estimate, well, how tall was this thing? How wide is it at the shoulders? How wide is it at the hips? And these dimensions are fairly remarkable. And so to me, those opinions matter very much. They’re very influential and they suggest that, well, even if it is a person in a suit, it’s not just the typical person in some off the shelf costume. It had to be something a bit more sophisticated or advanced than that. But to me, the whole mosaic of all the information as a standalone piece of film, I think it’s very suggestive that the subject is a real living animal. 

And then you put it in the broader context of the history of Sasquatchery. It’s like, oh, well, that’s just, if these things exist, that’s probably one of them because that’s what people describe, and it seems to be consistent and the tracks are consistent, but obviously it’s never constituted proof. I don’t think it ever will. There are still unanswered questions about the film, where specifically was it developed is a big question. And so I applaud the people that sort of still dig into the backstory of the claims and then people have claimed be the guy in the suit, and people should scrutinize those claims and look into them. But it’s truly a Rorschach test. And I think even people see it differently over the course of a single individual observer’s lifetime that there are times when they see it and they’re like, that is absolutely the best piece of wildlife footage ever obtained. And then they can’t unsee like, oh, that just looks like a guy in a suit. And so it really is, it’s ambiguous enough that some of the blanks that you can fill in with your own imagination. 

Jim:

Now, one thing I always try to remind people of is, remember when that film was taken. 1967, 50 plus years, going on 60 years here now soon in terms of prosthetics, in terms of suits, in terms of things that would be available to the general public at that time. I mean, we’ve come a long way in costumery, I guess is what I’m trying to say, in costuming and prosthetics and things. So don’t think if somebody could recreate it now, don’t necessarily think that that necessarily proves that they could do it back then, because I would say even Hollywood would’ve had a tough time back then with what they had as opposed to what they have now. So I just think we always need to keep in mind this is soon to be 60 year old evidence and remember that they had to work with what they had to work with in 1967, not what we have in the 2020s. 

Matt Pruitt:

Certainly. And if it’s permissible, would it be permissible to plug another podcast on your podcast?

Jim:

 Well, actually, I was going to ask you about it, so please do, because I know that you do your podcast, it’s called Bigfoot and Beyond with Cliff and Bobo, of course, from Finding Bigfoot. So I was going to ask you anyway, so this is a perfect time. Go ahead. 

Matt Pruitt:

Oh, certainly. Well, the podcast I wanted to plug, you know,  the Patterson film and its history are so wildly complex that to really get all of the minutiae right requires a lot of reading. So there have been many books and papers written about this film, and most of the media treatment is really subpar because they’re only seeing this superficial thing. And I can’t tell you how many of these treatments I’ve seen where people get the dates wrong or the location wrong, or Patterson and Gimlin name’s wrong. And so I always cringe when there’s a Patterson Gimlin sort of oriented documentary or something like that. But I have to say, I think there was a Herculean featt sort of pulled off that the podcast, Astonishing Legends did a six part series. 

Jim:

Oh, yeah. Scott and Forest are some of my favorites. We have a great relationship. We text several times a week.

Matt Pruitt:

Excellent. By all means, I have to say they did such a stellar six-part series about the Patterson film, and I really enjoy their podcast, but when I saw they were covering that, I cringed, I’ve just once bitten twice shy about all the previous coverage. And so I was like, oh, man, I hope they get this right. And it was so in depth and so detailed. That’s what I recommend. If someone has any interest in the Patterson film, listen to that series. And the other Herculean feat of that is, as I’ve just run into here trying to illuminate certain elements of the film, it’s really hard to talk about something that you need to see. They pull that off too. So kudos to them. To your listeners, I would suggest if you want a real deep dive into the Patterson film, rather than going and buying a book, which you should do, there’s multiple books, but listening to that series will give you a pretty thorough education. 

Jim:

Yeah, I agree. Astonishing Legends. Top shelf. Top shelf, indeed. They’re great supporters of our show and we try to reciprocate and do the same. Now we’re running short on time, but I have to ask you about this, the whole idea of the interdimensional Bigfoot, a lot of people look at it as like a deus ex machina, where basically it just kind of explains way everything, it just kind of appears and it disappears, and it’s kind of a, it kind of explains everything. It explains not finding the remnants, it explains why it’s so elusive, it just explains so much that it’s something supernatural of sorts that just appears and disappears out of thin air. What do you think about that theory? 

Matt Pruitt:

Well, it seems like humans have interpreted a lot of the natural world through those sorts of mystical or magical lenses. And I don’t mean that in a dismissive way. I just don’t know that there are better terms in modern times that we would use to describe that sort of perception or interpretation or representation of our observations and experiences as something supernatural, mystical, metaphysical. And so it is the case that people associate those things with the Sasquatch, not only in modern times, but going back again to these indigenous traditions and indigenous knowledge. And that’s part of the reason that it was so dismissed by non-natives or associated with the fringe or the taboo or the mythological or something of that nature. But when you dig into the traditional ecological knowledge associated with other animals, especially animals that are very rare and wide ranging, they’re highly mobile in a large home range, you find the same beliefs associated with them. 

So you could look at a collection of oral traditions about the apelike creatures that we might all house under the rubric of the Sasquatch now, and see this idea that they’re the mediators between the physical realm and the spiritual realm. They can appear and disappear at will. They can vanish into thin air, these sort of supernatural abilities where you’ll find the exact same beliefs across a number of different peoples in Asia associated with the tiger, whether we’re talking about the Indo-Chinese tiger, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, et cetera. I guess they’re kind of struggling in those places, but obviously were much more abundant in previous times, or we’re talking about parts of India or moving up into Siberia with the Amur tiger. The same beliefs occur. And so you could imagine that, okay, well, these animals probably from a phenomenological sense, an experiential sense because they’re ambush hunters and they’re entire existence is dependent on being as undetected as possible, otherwise they’d never eat. Tigers probably do seem to materialize out of nothing and then vanish back into thin air. 

And so something that’s as purportedly rare and as highly mobile over large home ranges as a Sasquatch probably would appear to the senses in that same regard. Now, you find the same beliefs associated with gorillas, with bears, with a host of other animals in indigenous people’s traditional knowledge around the world. But I think in modern times, first of all, people make a number of errors. First of all, they think, oh, those archaic people, can you believe that? They believe such hogwash? Anyway, let’s get back to interdimensional beliefs. And it’s like, well, wait a minute. This is the same idea. You’ve just updated the nomenclature. And now obviously there are scientific hypotheses that sort of posit a multiverse and dimensions beyond our perception. So obviously there is some real data to that. But these certain beliefs or ways of perceiving the world and then representing those experiences in a sort of metaphysical language are just the normative ways of human thinking. 

I mean, that’s why these things occur across our population globally. And so the argument I try to make in the book is that while skeptics should not be dismissing the Sasquatch simply because it’s associated with these beliefs, because I can and I do lay out a host of other animals that are very real that are associated with the same beliefs. And so unless you want to deny the existence of the Amur tiger or the brown bear, maybe you understand that well, if Sasquatches exist, not only should we expect people to hold supernatural beliefs about them, but here are the specific supernatural attributes that you would predict would be associated with it. And those are the ones. And it just so happens that in today’s world, we’ve updated this nomenclature to make it more in keeping with scientific inquiry or theory. And so, oh, they’re interdimensional or they’re genetic hybrids, whereas you have these ancient beliefs about what’s often referred to as the dual descent motif that these animals were that either humans are the product of some descent from other humans and these animals, or vice versa, that humans are relatives of the tiger, or that the tiger is inhabited by the spirit of fallen human ancestors on and on and on. 

So it’s clear that no, we still believe these things. We just have updated the verbiage. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has a one-to-one relationship with objective reality. And to the simplest analogy I could use to point that out would be like you observe the world through our very limited human senses and our limited perceptions, and then we represent that experience linguistically, narratively, et cetera. And a lot of our experience is authentic, but not necessarily reflective of objective reality. And so the simplest example of that is the movement of the sun, which we experience as an individual observer, is going up one side of you and up and above and over you and down the other side. And so to you, the sun does revolve around you. There’s no other way that you can experience it. But through modern science and many centuries and many discoveries of many minds, we now understand that no, we are on a sphere that rotates, that it itself is on an orbit rotating the sun, and it creates this appearance. 

But if someone told you, no, the sun revolves around me. I’ve seen it. Well, they’re not lying. That’s a phenomenologically authentic description. Although it doesn’t jive with objective reality, it is subjective reality. And so many of these things that people describe being paralyzed by the Sasquatch, it’s like, well, maybe that’s just a fear response, an ancient hardwired response to a large, intimidating animal. But if people say, no, the Sasquatch paralyzed me, that might be a phenomenologically authentic description. If someone says it materialized out of nowhere and vanished into thin air, well that might be experientially authentic. But that doesn’t mean that the animal generally or genuinely has these powers and abilities. We have to differentiate those two, that metaphysical claims can be subjectively true and objectively false. And that doesn’t mean that the claimant is lying, and it doesn’t mean that the Sasquatch is supernatural. All those things can be simultaneously real depending on what defines reality, so to speak. 

Jim:

Matt Pruitt is a great guest, as you’ve heard, telling us all about the Phenomenal Sasquatch. And Matt, to that end, we just scratched the surface. We could go hours talking about this because you obviously have a very serious and in-depth knowledge of this phenomenon. But I think at this point, folks need to do their own investigation and find your book, also find the podcast that you’re a producer and editor of. So where would they go to do such things? 

Matt Pruitt:

Certainly. So the book is available on Amazon, in print and ebook or Kindle format. So it’s again, under the Phenomenal Sasquatch. You can get autographed copies. The only online retailer that does autograph copies is my good friend Cliff Barackman’s North American Bigfoot Center, his museum, their website has it. And then our podcast I produced with Cliff and James Bobo Fay, who are both stars of the Animal Planet series Finding Bigfoot. You can find that wherever you find podcasts. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a good mix of education, entertainment, interviews, stories from behind the scenes of Finding Bigfoot or other stories from their years of Sasquatchery, and that’s a lot of fun to make and produce. So we’re on four years now, so hopefully we keep it going strong. And so if you’re into Squatchy stuff, go give that a listen.

Jim:

Matt, thank you so much for joining us. I hope everybody checks out the book, and we hope to have you back on the show if you’re willing to come back and talk with us about Sasquatch once again. 

Matt Pruitt:

Oh, I’d love to, and thank you so much for having me. It’s been a blast, Jim. 

Jim:

Now, whether you’re a believer or a skeptic, I think you can agree that Matt is very well-spoken and very informative and really gives you food for thought about the subject of the big guy Bigfoot himself. Next up is Theresa Reed, the Tarot Lady. She is a world-renowned tarot reader and expert who has been reading tarot and teaching tarot for close to 30 years. She’s the host of the popular online podcast, Tarot Bytes and Astrology Bytes. She is also the author of multiple tarot books. You can find her at thetarotlady.com. And today we are going to talk to her about her new book. Theresa, welcome back to the show. So good to speak with you again. 

Theresa Reed:

Hey, Jim. Thank you so much for having me back. I am happy to talk to you today. 

Jim:

So this new book, The Cards You Are Dealt, can you explain to people the concept of the book? 

Theresa Reed:

Absolutely. SoThe Cards You Are Dealt: How to Deal When Life Gets Real is a tarot book that really is focused on healing and living your life fully. One of the things that I found is that over the years when I’ve read for the public, people weren’t just coming in to talk about love or work. I think a lot of people misunderstand it and assume that’s what it is, but a lot of times people would come to the tarot table with really heavy, heavy stuff, things that they didn’t feel safe talking about maybe with their family. So I would do a lot of readings around loss, illness, grief, people who are just really going through some stuff. And I found that those were readings that I really enjoyed actually doing because they were very meaningful, and oftentimes they could be pretty intense too. But again, I really excelled in that type of work, and so I wanted to write a book about it. And I’ve gone through my own tough times too. I’ve dealt with loss and illness. I’ve someone I’m caregiving for now. So these are topics that are near and dear to my heart, and I wanted to write this book to help people, not just to help people who may be going through these things and might be looking for a tool like Tarot to help them, but also for other fellow tarot readers to help them deliver really good readings that are not going to unintentionally cause harm. 

Jim:

That makes sense, that makes sense. So I mean, I assume that’s something that has to be dealt with in a very sensitive way from the standpoint of, it’s one thing I guess to go get a reading quote for fun, but I think that people that practice this, and I think about paranormal investigation and those kinds of things as well, people have to be really careful what they’re doing with this because it impacts people’s lives in a very strong way. So if you’re giving, I mean, I guess I assume that every reading you should take seriously as a reader, but it’s one thing if you’re at a county fair and you’re giving readings maybe as opposed to somebody that comes to you and says, I’ve got this dire situation. I need guidance. Can you talk about that, the need for seriousness when helping people with tarot? 

Theresa Reed:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you’re totally right. If you’re on a fair and people are there, they’re having a good time, they’re probably going to be more lighthearted. They’re probably not going to bring something serious to the tarot table in a situation like that. But when you are doing one-on-one and you’re in your office, suddenly this is a very, very sacred place. I like to say that my office always felt like a womb, and people then are more likely to be vulnerable and to talk about what’s really bothering them. And I got to tell you, when I get a reading, I never get a reading just for giggles. I’m either getting a reading because I’m trying to plan for something in my life, or I’m going through something and I want to really figure out how to deal with it. So your whole tone has to be extremely sensitive then, and you have to make sure you’re doing a lot of listening, and you have to do perhaps even different spreads than you would do naturally to really help people work through things. 

Oftentimes when people are going through something heavy, they’re coming for divination, of course. They want to know, am I’m going to get through this, or what’s going to be the outcome? But so much more of the time at the tarot table then is processing the very, very difficult emotions that come along with these situations. For example, one of the things I say, no one likes to talk about grief. It’s icky. It is a topic we feel like, oh God, we don’t want to talk about it. This person’s grieving again. They’re never going to get over it. We really have that kind of an attitude. But at the tarot table now, we don’t have that. It’s like, no, it’s okay. You can talk about this. I’m encouraging you. Let’s talk about it. Let’s work through this. Let’s get through this together. So I really look at tarot as an amazing tool to help people to come to terms with things and to process these emotions so that they can show up in these situations in the best way possible. 

Jim:

And I think it’s important because you can sense in your voice and what you say that you take tarot very seriously. And I think a lot of people kind of consider it like a parlor game, but you consider it much more, right? 

Theresa Reed:

Yeah. I mean, tarot could be fun. Look, I’ve got a really wicked sense of humor, and oftentimes that’ll show up in some of my other books, which by the way, some people don’t necessarily like that. But I’ve got lots and lots of humor, and sometimes even when people are talking about heavy things, humor does come through. That can be a coping mechanism for people. I get that. But I see tarot not just for entertainment. It can be entertaining, it can be fun, it can be a blast, but I really do see it as a GPS to help you navigate the hard things in life. And it’s always served me well. Whenever I’m going through something, I know that I can rely on tarot to help me reflect and work through whatever is happening. So I do take it seriously. 

Jim:

Now, I think some people think that if something comes up in your tarot reading, if you’re looking for divination, for example, as you say, that it is a fait accompli, can you speak to that? Is something written in the cards, is that written in stone or is that something that we can influence? We can change, we can nudge? 

Theresa Reed:

Well, there are some things in life that are fated. I do believe that there’s things we can’t explain, Jim, and as a paranormal person, you know that, that there’s things that we don’t have total control over. 

So I am fully cognizant that some things, it’s like, okay, this is meant to be, or these actions have led up to it and this is where it’s going now, and you can’t stop that. But there are also a lot of things where we have a choice. We have a choice maybe to deal with the situation differently or maybe to make decisions that might start turning the situation around in a healthier direction. And so a good tarot reader is going to look at, okay, here’s where we are. This is where you’re going. These are some of the things that are available to you. Or if this is something that feels like we are moving towards a finish line, let’s get to that finish line with as much grace as possible. 

Jim:

Now your preface is the death card, the death cards, and that sounds kind of scary, but explain that to us and why you decided to make the preface the death card. 

Theresa Reed:

Well, there’s a very good reason because the death card, for many reasons. First of all, the death card gets such a bad rap. There’s so many misconceptions about it. People look at the death card like, oh my God, does this mean I’m going to die? And we can blame popular culture for that. You can look at any of those movies where there’s some woman or person dressed up and they’re pulling up the death card and saying, oh my God, you’re going to die. And the death card has something to do with that. The death card is all about transformation. And I’m a firm believer too, that when we are going to the other side, it is a transformation. It is not this horrific thing that we tend to look at it as. And what I mean is, is that we live in a culture that doesn’t want to talk about grief, and it also doesn’t want to talk about dying. We will do everything to stay here as long as possible. We try to preserve our bodies far past the point where they even want to be here and talking about the end of life or any of these things. We don’t want to do that. And I want to open up conversations about that. 

Now, there are many people who are involved in the grief world. Two people that I admire are Steven Jenkinson who wrote Die Wise, one of my favorite books, and Megan Devine who wrote, It’s Okay that You’re Not Okay. These are incredible books that really impacted me when I was dealing with loved ones who are going to the other side. And so I really like the way they approach it, and it is the way that I approach stuff. So what I’m trying to do with opening up the book that way is saying, look, let’s talk about these things. And hey, tarot cards are not scary. And actually these things that we’re going through in our lives, even though they may feel scary, they’re all part of the things we’re going to experience because we’re human. I mean, every one of us is going to experience illness at some point. Many of us are going to be caregivers. I’ve been a caregiver on many, many times. Many of us are going to lose somebody that we really love, or we might be going through another really difficult passage, maybe a divorce, and all of us around the world experience national tragedies at the same time, 

Even if we’re not directly impacted, we are still feeling it. We’re still grieving when there’s a loss happening on the world stage. So all of these things, all of these things are things we’re going to go through. Why are we not talking about it? In tarot we’re talking about, I mean, at least I am at my tarot table all the time. Why are we not talking about Why is it so scary? So I open up the book right away with that because I want to get the conversation rolling. And I also start by sharing a story of a woman that came to get a reading from me many, many years ago, and she came with an oxygen tank and she sat down at the table. The first thing she said is like, look, I’m dying and I just want to get this reading to make sure that everyone’s going to be okay after I’m gone. 

And I was like, oh, okay. And that’s what we did. We spent the whole reading talking about everybody else. She didn’t want to hear anything about what she’s going through, she wanted to make sure everyone was okay. And that reading stuck with me for life because I’m like, wow, this was a reading that had a profound impact on me, but also on her, she felt satisfied. She’s like, okay, I can go in peace now. And it was really, I mean, as weird as that might sound, it was really quite a beautiful, meaningful reading and I loved it. 

Jim:

So I mean, the whole thing about I, I think people have attached a certain spookiness to the cards, maybe because of the way the art is portrayed or maybe the way, as you mentioned, it’s portrayed in popular media, but in regard to this, it’s probably time to take some of that away and just look at them as kind of like a spiritual tool. Is that right? 

Theresa Reed:

Absolutely. That’s what they are. I mean, tarot is just 78 paper cards with art on it, and the art is universal archetypes that speak to every facet of our lives, every facet of the lived human experience, and again, death is part of that. So we do have a death card. We have all kinds of cards in there that represent different things, and they’re not spooky at all. They are images that we can look at, kind of like those ink blots, if you’ve ever done those, you look at the ink blot, you find, oh, look, there’s a butterfly in there, or I see two people holding hands and this is what it means. To me, tarot is very much like that. It’s like, okay, here’s an image. There’s a fool. He’s about to go off a cliff. There’s a little dog. What does that mean to me? It means I’m about to take a leap into the unknown. So instead of looking at it as something scary, again, we look at it as a tool to tell our story, to understand ourselves, to look at where we are and where we’re going. I mean, really in a way, they’re similar to picture books that children have and my grandchild has all these picture books now. He can’t speak yet. He can’t read, but loves looking through the pictures, and he is probably working out the little meanings in his mind. We do that with tarot too. 

Jim:

Yeah, wow. Now, let me ask you this, because in the book you talk about illness and healing tarot for illness and healing, and I will say this, and I always say this when this topic comes up on the shows, I personally am a big fan of Western medicine and I recommend if people have health problems, they go see their trusted physician and do those things that medical professionals prescribe that you do. But to me, there’s nothing wrong with adding other modalities if they are not contraindicated in any way. That’s my position and the position of this show. Can you talk to us about tarot for illness and healing though, how it can help possibly? 

Theresa Reed:

Well, mainly it’s going to be the tool that helps you to process a lot of things that you’re feeling around these situations. Tarot is not going to heal you physically. It’s not going to make you better. It’s not a guarantee of things like that. I think it’s better for processing what’s going on, for understanding what’s going on, but it can never, ever, ever take the place of a doctor. 

Jim:

I’m glad you said that, glad you said that.

Theresa Reed:

Oh, no, no. I discourage that. And one of the things that I say, and I stress this in the book, it can’t take the place of a doctor. It can’t take the place of a therapist. It cannot take the place of a financial advisor. Tarot is not for that. It is a tool. It can help you. But I mean, looking at, for example, I have a loved one who has a very serious condition. We’re not flipping cards in that condition. They go to the doctor, they get their medication, they get regular checkups. That’s common sense, and if there are readers who are telling you, well, this reading’s going to heal you, that’s… you’re walking into some very unethical and dangerous territory. How it can help heal is processing what we’re going through. Because again, I have a loved one with a very serious condition, and we’re not sitting around saying, will you get better? 

I mean, because first of all, we know that’s not going to happen. But instead, okay, well how is the treatment assisting me now? How am I feeling about this diagnosis? These are things that are going to help you because if we are present with what we’re dealing with, that is going to be far better than checking out or running around looking for some kind of a magical cure in some situations. There is no magical cure, and I’m living with someone with that. So I know that, and I know to use tarot responsibly because I lived the situation and many, many years doing readings for people. I have always said, you need to take this to your healthcare practitioner. You need to take this to a licensed therapist. I’m not a doctor. 

Jim:

Well, it’s a fascinating conversation. We’re talking with Theresa Reed about her new book, the Cards You’re Dealt, How to Deal When Life Gets Real, and we’re talking all about tarot, and we’ll be back right after this. Go to jimharoldplus.com and click on the banner with my smiling face and you’ll learn all about my Paranormal Plus Club. And it comes in two great flavors. First of all, we have our Spooky Studio app through Libsyn, and that’s cross platform. That’s if you want to listen on all different devices, Windows, Android, maybe mix in an Apple here and there, but basically you don’t like to be stuck to one particular platform, that’s what you want to check out and you get that information over at jimharoldplus.com. Then you say, no, that’s not me. I love Apple Podcasts. I love nothing but Apple Podcasts. That’s how I listen. Well, they’ve got a great solution too, that’s our newer solution and that is our spooky studio channel over on Apple Podcasts. 

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Follow Jim on Twitter and Instagram at the Jim Harold and join our virtual Campfire Facebook group at virtualcampfiregroup.com. Now back to the Paranormal Podcast. 

Jim:

We’re back on the Paranormal Podcast. Our guest is the Tarot Lady herself, Theresa Reed. We’re talking about her new book, the Cards You’re Dealt: How to Deal When Life Gets Real, A Tarot Guidebook. We’re so glad to have her with us and get her insight. Now, I’ve got to believe in any profession. There’s certain myths that get under your skin. For example, for me, it’s like, well, anybody can do a podcast. And I agree, almost anybody can do a podcast. Doing it well is the trick, and there are a lot of other misconceptions, and I think that’s with no matter what you do in life. Are there myths and misconceptions? I assume they are because I’m looking at them in your book, but can you talk about some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding tarot? 

Theresa Reed:

There are actually quite a few. One of the things that we mentioned earlier was the death card, meaning death. It means transformation, so it doesn’t have the meaning that people assume it to have. Another myth that is so common, and this one, I don’t know who the heck started it, but people say, well, you have to have your first deck gifted to you. And I’m like, what? And I don’t know. Again, it’s some bizarre superstition that if you don’t get it gifted to you, it’s not going to work or whatever. And I’m of the mindset that, well, that’s a surefire way to get a deck I don’t like, because I’m very specific in my tastes. And I think most people, you have to find a deck that you fall in love with because that is the deck. Then you’re going to love looking at it and you’re going to find the images that speak to you. 

So again, that is just such a weird superstition. And another one that I hear too is that you must be psychic to use tarot. And I’m like, we all have intuition. Everyone’s had it. At some point in your life, you’ve had an experience that you can’t explain where you’ve had a funny feeling. It turned out it was right. And anybody can work with tarot to access that intuition. And the more you work with tarot, the more intuitive you get. Now, I think it’s very interesting that you said about not everyone can do a podcast well. It’s the same with tarot. So although I believe everybody can learn to read tarot, not everybody can do it. Well, it takes a lot of dedication. You don’t just read one book and suddenly you’re a professional. You’ve got to get into the tarot trenches. You’ve got to do the work. You’ve got to learn how to find your tarot voice and trust your intuition. It is much harder than it looks, and I’ve seen many people over the years think that I’m just going to get a deck and I’m going to make quote unquote easy money, and they quickly discover it is hard work. I was just talking to someone yesterday, I said, it’s the hardest work I’ve ever done. When I used to read for the public, it was incredibly hard. 

Jim:

That’s interesting you say that because I don’t think people think of it that way, but I remember my wife recently stepped away, at least temporarily, from her speech therapy, her telepractice. She was doing online speech therapy for the last decade with children. And even when I do these interviews, when you’re interacting with people and communicating with people, it can be tiring if you’re doing session after session after session, and I never really thought about that, but your kind of work has to get tiring too because that has to be an emotional drain because dealing many times with issues of life and death and talking and working with person after person after person, that has to get tiring. How do you deal with that? 

Theresa Reed:

That is a great question. When I first started I was, as a pro, I was in my twenties, and at that time, you’re not really taking care of yourself, you’re running around, raising kids, doing this and that, but you have the stamina. And I found that as I got older, I had to really set myself up to be healthy because I started getting incredibly drained from the work. I was a high volume reader also, by the way. And so I realized that I needed to have really good spiritual practices, a lot of grounding, a lot of time away from people. I’m very introverted. I spent a lot of time by myself, which my daughter says, oh my God, you’re living like a recluse here. And I’m like, yeah, whatever. Leave me alone. It’s how I can decompress. And so my spiritual life, my physical practices, yoga, trying to eat healthy, these are all things that became incredibly important so that I could be present for people, but also shut that energy down and not carry it with me. It’s heavy work. Sometimes people also because tarot, well, maybe now it’s changed, it’s become more mainstream. But back in the day I had a stigma. You also deal with some pretty unkind people, and I’m somebody that doesn’t like that, and so there would also be incidents at the end of the day, I’m like, why am I doing this? And you’ve got to really understand. It comes with the work, the territory. I obviously need to elevate the self-care even more. So lots and lots and lots of self-care. It’s essential. 

Jim:

You also list some do’s and don’ts on tarot. What are some of the do’s and don’ts you like to tell people about tarot? 

Theresa Reed:

I mean, actually, first of all, some of it’s going to be opinion for people. I say for example, you want to approach it with an open mind. If you come into it and you’re very close-minded, probably not going to get a whole lot out of your session. Another don’t is don’t play games. If you’re getting a tarot reading, don’t come in and tell the reader, I just want you to guess whatever’s going on, I’m not going to tell you anything because it’s actually incredibly disrespectful. You’re making it now feel quite hostile. I would say do be really clear about what you want to ask. Also, another do, ask good questions. I mean that’s really important because so many people will come in because they don’t know any better and they’ll say, well, I’m going to ask a question. Will I get married? Now, that is a very disempowering question, and it’s not giving you a lot of information that’s going to help you take charge of your life. A better question might be, what do I need to know to attract the right partner? 

These are going to be questions that are helpful, that are healing, that are also helping you to realize that you are in the driver’s seat of your life. So ask good questions, be clear about what you’re coming to the reading for and don’t do it. Here’s another, don’t. Don’t do a reading when you’re inebriated. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve done readings for people who are blitzed and they never remember anything, and it always becomes an unpleasant experience. So those are a couple off the top of my head. 

Jim:

So baby steps, if somebody says, Hey, I’ve heard about the tarot my whole life and I’ve always been intrigued by it and I’d like to start doing readings, but I don’t even own a tarot deck, could you give him some of the baby steps? 

Theresa Reed:

Yeah, that is a great question. So first of all, I recommend you’re going to want to go and get a deck. That is the number one thing you’re going to want to do. So you may want to go to a metaphysical store if you’re fortunate enough to have one in your neighborhood. Those are usually places where they’ll have the decks that you can see them. They’re open. You can look online, and I mean decks are sold all over the place. You can find them on any place that sells books, and oftentimes they’ll also show you images. A lot of the deck creators, they have Instagram accounts, they will show their deck. So there’s many ways to vet a deck. And so you want to get a deck that you love, a deck that really feels good. And the next thing you also want to do is probably get a really good book. 

Of course, I want to recommend my books. The Tarot Coloring Book is an experiential way to learn tarot and Tarot: No Questions Asked is my manual to all the exercises I’ve used with students over the years. So these are the two things you want to start off with. And the next thing, what you want to do is you want to begin practicing right away. And I recommend that you practice every single day. Just start off by pulling one or two cards and then without even looking at the book, write down whatever you’re feeling. Write it down in a journal. I’m big on journaling. I think it’s really important. At the end of the day, revisit it. Maybe look at your book, see what it has to say. Jot down any further reflections that you might have. That’s how I started and that’s how a lot of us start. And then the next step is doing readings for other people, whoever will let you, I mean, when I started reading, I was a teenager, so it was whoever is going to let me read those cards, I am going to read for them. And that was actually quite a good education. So the more people that can read for the better, and I mean, that’s how you get good fast. 

Jim:

Now, based on what we talked about, I’m pretty sure that you can use the tarot for yourself, but can the average person effectively use the tarot to read themselves? Or is it better to have a third party or another party in to do the reading, or can we effectively read ourselves? 

Theresa Reed:

I love reading for myself because nobody knows me better than me. And I’m one of those people that I’m like, look, this is a way for you to learn. It’s a good way to learn. So anybody can learn by reading for themselves. It’s oftentimes the best way to learn because again, who knows you better than you? However, if you are bent out of shape about a situation, let’s say you’ve got an outcome you want to see, then oftentimes then that can lead to a problem because you can’t be objective in those cases. It’s better to go to a pro and not waste your time because you’re probably going to get a much more accurate reading. 

Jim:

Now, what happens if you do this reading and you see something that really frightens you or really scares you? What is your reaction? Or does that ever happen to you? Or if it happens maybe to people who are less experienced? 

Theresa Reed:

Well, the thing is, you might see something that does frighten you or maybe it upsets you, but this is me being very neutral and very zen about it. Sometimes life does hand to you not the best tasting sandwich, and in those cases it is important not to look at it like well, it looks like, oh my God, everything’s bad. It’s like, okay, we’re not liking the way this is going. Is there a better outcome? Can we look at alternate routes? Is there a way to deal with this that’s going to be healthy? So I don’t like to even use the word bad reading or any of that because I think that isn’t a very proactive approach to it. So definitely that’s not how I look at it. I always am like, okay, what do we do now? So that’s just how I approach it. 

Jim:

You talked about grief, and I’d like to talk about that a little more. Because that’s –

Theresa Reed:

It’s a big topic. 

Jim:

Yeah. I mean, it’s one of those things where when I’ve been in grief, it’s almost like nothing but time helps. And I haven’t, thank God, knock on wood, I haven’t lost a child. I haven’t lost a spouse, but I mean, I lost a brother. I lost one of my parents. So I’ve had substantial losses, but I know there’s, people have even more extreme things happen to them, but it just seemed like a little bit of it never goes away. Some of it never goes away, but it gets better with time and the old time heals all wounds and things. But where do you think tarot can come in and help you with that one? Because that’s one of the toughest parts of the human condition, even those of us who believe that the spirit goes on, and I do. Boy, there’s a lot of sadness that comes with when a loved one leaves this physical plane. 

Theresa Reed:

Yeah, I mean, I remember when my mother passed away and my mother now has been gone quite some time. I was so busy caring for my dad that I didn’t even realize that I was grieving. I didn’t have time to grieve. And it wasn’t until much later, probably a year after she was gone, suddenly I was like, oh, gee, it looks like I am feeling better. I didn’t realize I was depressed because I’ve been so busy and I had been doing some tarot readings for myself during that time, which it was helping me cope with caring for my dad. But the grieving process was, it was weird because I didn’t have the permission to really do the work. And I find that, again, when it comes to the grieving thing, being present with it is what helps us to really move through it. Listen, there’s going to be some that you never get over. 

I lost a good friend. I still think about him all the time. I was just talking about him this morning because he used to go to that Burning Man all the time. There’s some drama in that Burning Man field or event. So I still think about him all the time. There’s no straight line. There’s no necessarily like you’re just going to get over it. There’s not one way to grieve. Everybody grieves different. There are situations that are different, and the way tarot can help, it’s again, it’s about let’s sit down, let’s be present. One of the things that I really love doing for folks is I have a mediumship reading that I do now. I don’t consider myself a big medium, not that is just not me in my opinion. Other people would say differently, but I found that sometimes doing readings where we are looking at where our loved ones are on the other side can actually be quite helpful when people are going through the grieving process. I think a lot of us want to know how are they doing on the other side? And that can be a way to help work out things that we’re feeling, If that makes sense.

Jim:

That makes sense, that makes sense. It’s one you put in the book, which is really interesting to me because I’m approaching that time. I don’t quite have an empty nest yet, but I have an emptying nest. In other words, my one, my youngest daughter is in college in four year college. She’s got this year and the next year, and then she’ll be done, and probably she’ll go right out into the workforce. My oldest is going to go on to become an optometrist, so she’s doing some extra school and has to do that. So she’s going to be around at least for a couple years, but the time is quickly approaching when the nest will truly be empty. How can tarot help adjust for this big adjustment in life? 

Theresa Reed:

It’s a huge adjustment. My kids went off to college too for their masters. My son was in Indiana. My daughter was in Chicago,  then she was in Spain teaching for a while. And I got to tell you, you never stop worrying about them. You think, oh, when they’re an adult, they’re off living their lives. But I had a tremendous amount of anxiety. So tarot was actually really helpful for just checking in, working through. There’s grief that comes with that, working through a little bit of grief on that. And again, it’s all about being reflective. And also it’s good for looking at, well, what am I going to do with all this time now? I think a lot of us, what happens when suddenly the kids are grown, we have time and it’s like, well, our life isn’t centered around this child. Now what do I do? And so we have to also start really thinking about what is the new chapter for me? Because as your child is leaving the nest, suddenly you’ve got all this space and you got to find something to do with it. And so tarot is quite lovely for looking at options and other things that you could be starting to set up for yourself. 

Jim:

Yeah, makes a lot of sense. You got to look out for yourself, that’s for sure. As long as, I mean, of course also looking out for family members, but we kind of joke in our household. I’ll go get the first serving of something and I’ll say, Hey, it’s like the airplane in the mask. You got to take care of yourself first or you can’t take care of others. 

Theresa Reed:

Yes, totally!

Jim:

As I said it’s just in jest, but there is a lot of truth to that. I think 

Theresa Reed:

There is, and I got to tell you something too. They do come back in many cases. Both my children now, my son lives around the corner. My daughter’s five minutes away, so I’m very fortunate that they ended up coming back and I love it. 

Jim:

Yeah, yeah. Very good. And what’s been very good is this discussion about The Cards You are Dealt: How to Deal When Life Gets Real A Tarot Guidebook, Theresa, where can people find the book and everything else you do? I know you do a lot. 

Theresa Reed:

Thank you, Jim. Well, you can find the book wherever books are sold online and off. And of course, I also encourage people, please make sure that you ask your local bookstores, your indie bookstores to carry the book. Sometimes they do not know that folks want certain books. You can also ask your library to carry the book as well. So please don’t forget that if you love to go to the library like I do, and people, if they want to learn more about me, the best place to come is to my website, thetarotlady.com, that’ll show you where I am all over the web. And I’ve got a free newsletter and I do a lot of blogging over there. So definitely come and check it out. 

Jim:

Thanks so much for joining us today on The Paranormal Podcast. Theresa was awesome, and we really appreciated spending time with her and Matt to talk about tarot and before that, talking about Bigfoot. And if you love Halloween like I do, I know you’ll want to join us for our Halloween livestream party. That is this Saturday, October 28th from 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM eastern youtube.com/jimharold, and we’ll have giveaways, special guests, and much more. So I hope you can join us then. Thank you so much. I hope you have a beautiful, spooky, a scary, in a good way, Halloween. I hope you stay safe and have a great time. We’ll talk to you next time on the Paranormal Podcast. Stay spooky. Bye-bye.


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