Monongahela

A site dedicated to the review and analysis of potential sasquatch vocalizations, Sasquatch Bioacoustic combines techniques from the domains of intelligence collection, audio analysis and bioacoustic studies to examine the evidence of sasquatch through their vocalizations. ~Monongahela

Monday, November 7, 2011

Examining the 2004 Mississippi Howl

On December 19, 2004, John Callender was in Forrest County, Mississippi investigating a report recently submitted to the BFRO. It was just after 11 p.m. and he used his video camera to capture nearly forty seconds of distinct moaning howls. The resulting audio file has been available through BFRO's website, www.bfro.net, for many years.

Upon cursory examination in a spectrogram, the characteristic arch-shaped form of a moan howl is readily recognized. It is very similar to what is seen in the Ohio Howl, recorded in Columbiana County, OH, in 1994. There are also attenuated fundamentals in each howl, a characteristic seen in the Ohio howl, and an expected attribute when examining this type of sasquatch vocal.


The recording itself is a victim of the electronics used to record it. There is a high pitched hum through out the clip that creates interference across a broad range of frequencies. Fortunately, the most annoying pitch is easily knocked out with filtering. And after amplification, the result shows a number of new features that weren't readily recognized in the original clip.

Highlights of the Mississippi Howl 2004 include what may be the first known recording of both a "falsetto shriek" and a "yahoo vocal". (There could be earlier recordings that include these features, but to date they have not come to my attention.) In addition to these, there is a clear whoop vocal and several percussive sounds that could be wood knocks.

The term falsetto shriek is a concatenation of two attributes recognized separately. Over many months of studying this vocal type in a number of similar recordings, I could find no better name for it than a "shriek" based purely upon the vocal quality, timbre and tone, that it displays. But during the Pennsylvania 2011 BFRO expedition, Todd Prescott remarked that the vocal was in a falsetto pitch. He was right of course and I validated his comment against a number of other shrieks. The term falsetto shriek is now used to portray a truer verbal description and mental image of this vocal type.

Yahoo is an onomatopoeia, or a name that sounds like the vocal to which it applies. This vocal originates much lower in the sasquatch vocal register than the falsetto shriek and is no higher pitched than the majority of howls and whoops attributed to sasquatch vocaliations. It is also relatively unknown, somewhat rare, and possibly captured no more than a dozen times. After hearing several instances of this understated vocal, often in response to much louder calls, the name yahoo came easily to hand. The vocal itself sounds like a person yelling out YAHOO in the distance. The first syllable is always ascending, and the second syllable is always descending. But there can be variations on the vocal. At times it sounds like WAHOO, with a distinct /w/ sound in the beginning. The yahoo vocal in the video spectrogram above is an instance of the wahoo variation.

This Mississippi Howl spectrogram attempts to lead the viewer's eye to the specific signals that represent the falsetto shriek, the yahoo, and other interesting features. But there is just too much going on in the filtered clip to fully annotate all the elements that have been uncovered. Instead, consider this spectrogram an introduction to an initial assessment of the recording, and in a future post I will dive deeper into falsetto shrieks and other things, like resonance shifting across harmonics.

3 comments:

  1. Many thanks for information. It is very interesting and informative.

    Peter
    owfr.org

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Peter, and that's a nice web site you have there. Check back from time to time, as I should have more new video-spectrograms in the future.

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  3. I live in Marshall County, Mississippi, and heard vocalizations exactly like this in late summer 2011. I live in a very rural, wooded area. The sounds terrified my outside dogs, which ran in the house when I opened the door to get a location on sounds.

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