The 2021 Conference Speakers

Jerry Hestand:

a native of North Texas and has been involved in Bigfoot research since January, 2001. Jerry is now a retired elementary educator who has spent much of the last sixteen years investigating and writing witness encounters about Bigfoot sightings in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. He is also a former member of several well-known research groups. His research has extended from the swamps of the Big Thicket, Bayous of Fouke, Arkansas and also led him to the mountains of Southeast Oklahoma in search of the “Wood Ape.” Jerry has appeared in two Bigfoot documentaries and has been mentioned in several books and magazines as well as local news articles. He has had numerous encounters with the Southern Bigfoot over the years culminating with an up close sighting in the mountains of Southern Oklahoma. Come along with Jerry as he documents his evolution from a child Bigfoot enthusiast to years of seeing the Bigfoot phenomena transform from what was thought to be just a figment of the imagination to a possible scientific discovery. He has been a part of Southern Bigfoot research from the get-go and has a wealth of information guaranteed to have the reader transfixed by his fantastic adventures! 

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Ken Gerhard:

   a widely recognized cryptozoologist and author who, frequently appears on television.


Ken has traveled the world searching for evidence of mysterious creatures including Bigfoot, The Loch Ness Monster, the Chupacabra, Mothman and even werewolves. 


In addition, he’s written five books on the subject of unknown animals and his research has been featured on numerous TV shows including Missing in Alaska, Monster Quest, Ancient Aliens, America Unearthed, Legend Hunters and Unexplained Files.


Appearing on major networks including – History Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery, Syfy, National Geographic and the Science Channel.



Lyle Blackburn:

is an author, musician, and cryptid researcher from Texas. His investigative cryptozoology books, “The Beast of Boggy Creek” and “Lizard Man,” reflect his life-long fascination with legends and sighting reports of real-life 'monsters.' During his research, Lyle has often explored the remote reaches of the southern U.S. in search of shadowy creatures said to inhabit the dense backwoods and swamplands of these areas.


Lyle has been heard on numerous radio programs, including Coast To Coast AM, and has appeared on television shows such as Monsters and Mysteries in America, Finding Bigfoot, and the CBS Sunday Morning Show.  Most recently, Lyle served as a consulting producer and special episode host for the tv show Monsters and Mysteries in America.


For more information, visit his website at:


John Vanderventer

Hometown: Plano, Texas

16 year US Air Force Veteran

2014 became a novice Bigfoot Researcher

2017 published Bigfoot Novel “Relics”

2018 moved to Honobia, Oklahoma


Marvin Leeper

Marvin is a former Folklore and Language/Arts Professor at Murray State College, in Tishomingo, OK.  Prof. Leeper has contributed several articles on the subject such as, "Bigfoot in Your Own Backyard", "Bigfoot; Man or Monster (published in the Oklahoma Humanities Council Journal), & "Oklahoma's Boggy Creek," the last chapter in Wood Knocks vol. 3.  Prof. Leeper has given presentations at the Fouke Monster conference and Honobia Bigfoot Festival.