Michael Boutwell loves searching for stories, whether with a video camera or a metal detector.
“I just fish a bunch of different ponds, try to do unique things,” he said, adding that everything he tried was self-taught.
Boutwell filmed Civil War reenactments from Honey Springs to Gettysburg.
“In Honey Springs, there might be 350 re-enactors. You go to Gettysburg, and there are thousands of them,” he said. “We put it together with the photos we took and the music. The re-enactors and the public bought it. I had no experience. I was green, so my stepdad bought the business.”
He continued to learn videography over the next few years.
“I did production work in a studio,” he said. “People would come, whether it was churches or an advertisement and say, ‘can you film that.’ Then you have to go to the station and pay the station, God only knows how much they would charge you.”
The internet has made things easier, he said. “You can do pretty much the same job with your iPhone if you’re good at it.”
For the past three years or so, Boutwell has worked with a few doctors, filming interviews with people who thought they had seen Bigfoot.
His latest interest is in metal detection. He said a friend had interested him.
Boutwell remembers going to Arkansas to buy an $800 Garrett metal detector.
“I came back and I was like, ‘I don’t know anything about it, I have to start learning’,” he said. “I went to Garrett’s website and watched their YouTube and started learning about metal detecting.”
He now wants to document people experiencing signs, miracles and wonders.
“I want to go after people’s stories,” he said. “I talk to people who tell paranormal stories. I really enjoy talking to people who have been healed. I find that very fascinating.”
Historically Accurate Re-enactor Battles
Michael Boutwell says Civil War re-enactors are at the forefront of historical accuracy. He said he had to stay in army tents and even eat the same kinds of food as soldiers.
“We literally dressed like them, in uniform, and did everything they did down to their underwear and socks,” Boutwell said. “We would even go so far as to take old ammo boxes and blow a hole in them and put the camera inside, to try and get the shots.”
He filmed skirmishes and military balls, all in period costume.
He recalled stories of Union and Confederate troops camping opposite each other.
“And they would cross the creek and play cards at night, and they would say to each other when they were through the night ‘I hope I don’t see you tomorrow on the battlefield,'” he said.
Often, before re-enacting a famous battle, groups would skirmish and let the loser win, Boutwell said.
“As far as the actual day of the battle, they were trying to stay with the storyboard of what actually happened,” he said. “They wouldn’t turn away from it.”
In search of Big Foot
Tracking Bigfoot’s searches was more unpredictable, Boutwell said.
“I had no script, I had no storyboard, I had nothing, I just said ‘badabang badaboom’ and got in the vehicle with them and traveled and documented”, did he declare.
Boutwell said the show was a podcast show that went visual under the name “Monster 911”.
“We were getting hundreds or thousands of people calling us, and we were interviewing them, getting their story and if it was a good story, we’re publishing it and broadcasting it,” he said.
He said he’s been on a couple of live video hunts, some of them in the town of Honobia in southeast Oklahoma.
“They’re looking for clues, they’re looking for footprints, they’re looking for hair samples,” he said. “We used infrared cameras a few times.”
Does Boutwell believe in Bigfoot?
“We have a lot of believable stories that I’ve heard and seen from people who have said, ‘this just happened to me’. But in terms of getting out there and documenting things, I haven’t seen anything personally. But I can say there’s a lot of people that we’ve interviewed and heard stories from who are credible people,” he said.
New challenging hobby
Boutwell discovered all sorts of things in the few months he detected metals.
“I went out and started on my own, scanning, digging, learning, watching,” he said. “One of the first things I found – and Brenda, my girlfriend, was helping me out – was an old LTD hood ornament.”
He also found an old red cat’s eye marble, some old keys. Many of them were found near a 1940s house his son rents. A neighboring house had been demolished.
“I’ve been there four or five times, and now I’m back to school,” Boutwell said. “You have to perfect yourself and learn it. It’s basically tones. It’ll be under the ground, and when you scan it, it’ll make a tone.”
A hand-held beeping device called a carrot focuses closer on the metal object.
“It will tell you if it’s a nickel, a dime, a quarter, what kind of material it is,” he said.
Boutwell now combines videography with its metal detection.
“You can’t just walk up to somewhere and start scanning,” he said. “I thought if I asked I could get a good story on this property. I can do the story, do some scans and then pick up some artifacts, that would be more interesting.”
HOW DID YOU COME TO BE A MUSKOGEE OKIE?
“My father was a pastor here, and we moved here in 1980.”
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT MUSKOGEE?
“I love the diversity. I drive around and see these big, huge houses that are, in my mind, almost a mansion. I’m amazed at how beautiful and beautiful they are and they’re old now, and many are falling Now I have this fascination of learning history.
WHAT MAKES MUSKOGEE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE?
“Muskogee has a great story behind it. If there were funds available that could fund a lot of things that could be restored to bring economic development back to Muskogee. That and work. I think Muskogee could create more good jobs , where people can make a good living.”
WHICH MUSKOGEE PERSON DO YOU ADMIRE THE MOST?
“Mr. Parker. I was good friends with his son. He was a business owner and entrepreneur, and that’s exactly how he raised his kids and the environment.”
WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE THING THAT HAPPENS TO YOU AT MUSKOGEE?
“School dances, football games. All my friends at school. Going to the rink with my friends. Flirting with Main. My father, a pastor at the church, was very important to me.”
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME?
“I spend most of my time outdoors whether it’s hunting or fishing. Now I’ve taken up metal detecting. I really like to get out and listen to stories. It’s really fascinating to hear people’s stories, whether it’s a religious story, a Bigfoot story, a UFO story or whatever.”
HOW WILL YOU SUMMARY MUSKOGEE IN 25 WORDS OR LESS?
“A wonderful and beautiful place. It has a lot of attractions.”
MEET Michael Boutwell
AGE: 56 years old.
EDUCATION: Hilldale High School, Class of 1985. Tulsa Community College.
OCCUPATION: Structural mechanic with Nordam in Tulsa.
FAMILY: Three children, eight grandchildren.
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Christian.
HOBBIES: Fishing, hunting, videography, metal detecting.