Flashback 2005: The Skeptical Inquirer

Originally published at Cryptomundo on October 30, 2005, a classic from Richard Noll:

(The Electric Prunes I Had Too Much Too Dream Last Night)
I like walking into and spending hours at a good book store. I do so with my iPod on, listening to music so the place doesn’t seem so dead. I wonder how much the music influences me in what I look at or purchase? Quite a bit I would imagine by judging some of the things I cart home.

I am fascinated by a variety of topics. I can lose myself to the consternation of others looking for me, blending in with the rows and rows of books on shelves. I recently found a new book on mutants. I don’t really find the subject that fascinating but the fact that it was located in a place I hadn’t expected caught me by surprise – Science, so I just had to look. I thought this kind of thing would be where you would find material on circus and sideshow attractions. Who categorizes these anyway?

I opened it up to read chapter headings. In it was the first picture I have ever seen of Homo trogloytes – cave-dwelling Man, named and classified by Carl Linnaeus. It was a line drawing of a hairy, upright female creature. In his tenth edition of Systems Naturae, he wrote right next to it H. nocturnus – Man of the night.

What was Linnaeus trying to describe here? Bigfoot literature has brought this item up as important to their cause, that a famous scientist (second some say only to Darwin himself) described such a creature, giving it a name. Was he describing a Bigfoot? Or was he describing a Chimpanzee? The author of this book seems to think much differently… it was only a disguised albino, a wood-cut borrowed from Jacob Bontius’s ‘ourang-outang‘ in Historia naturalis indiae orientalis.

Finally getting over to the magazine rack I spy the latest Skeptical Inquirer rag. I scan a copy quick and come to Benjamin Radford’s review of Bigfoot Exposed by David J. Daegling. I buy the magazine and sit down with a coffee to read it. I liked the book but knew there were a few condescending errors in it. Others can speak of those details but I am more interested in my own search…

In my mind, this was probably the biggest event for Bigfoot in 2004. I think everyone who is into this subject should read it. It will remain on my shelf just like Green, Krantz and soon Meldrum.

You know, I find truth to be one of the biggest mysteries of all… and any such truth for me can be very different from that of others. Are either less valid? How does one know they have reached a truth?

Time to change the tunes…and stop these random thoughts.

Beyond Invention – Cryptozoology

Beyond Invention airing on Discovery Science Channel May 25th at 10:00 PM ET. Airing again on May 26th at 1:00 AM, 5:00 AM and 11:00 AM ET.

Bigfoot in your backyard? Sea Serpent stalks Fisherman! Extinct Mutant Creature Lives! Believe it or not, these headlines are real!

Featuring Rick Noll, Bigfoot Hunter.

P/G Film Roll #1 versus Roll #2

Just an exercise here but I was thinking about just what was on these two rolls of film. The creature walking along the creeks sand bar is only in 23′ 9 and 1/4″ of a 100′ roll (Bigfoot Times, Danny Perez, Center for Bigfoot Studies, pg.2) and is at the end of that roll. Danny states that 76′ 2 and 3/4″ of the first part of the roll contains scenery, horses and riders. Did he in fact watch this for himself? Hmmm.

So this roll of film obviously could not contain close-up footage of the track-way made by the filmed subject. Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin have both gone on record that Roger ran out of film and had to reload the camera right after filming the creature (the film is daylight loadable). They are also on record saying that it began to rain that night and they had to get out of there so packed up and left early the next morning. All casts and the roll of film that contains footage of the tracks were made before the end of that night. Some were covered with bark by Bob when it started to rain, but they never returned to make more casts or film more.

Therefore the #2 roll of film made that day (there may have been other rolls exposed earlier that day but for the purpose here…), the one everyone thinks has gone missing or is misplaced should only contain the tracks and the casting of them. Their camp was already setup and there was no mention of running into the creature with a pack horse in tow. SO there should not be any footage of either one of them leading a pack horse on the #2 roll. This second roll may even not have been all exposed.

I am thinking that we have in our possession all of the second roll, because there wasn’t that much filmed on it, and the material on the first roll has been mistakenly thought to have belonged to that second roll.

Many of you may already know all of this or have already come to this conclusion. Most likely though the only persons still with us who have seen the unedited, uncut rolls of film is John Green and Al DeAtley. I wonder if what we see today is what they saw then? I mean look at the images posted below. I tried to correct them with the same filter pack I use on the creature sequence and it still looks like a different emulsion, processing or was severally underexposed. Why would it be so different? Could Roger have taken a light reading beforehand and changed the settings? I don’t recall anyone mentioning anything like that. In fact I thought the camera was setup and left as is for quick pull and shoot tactics.

I cannot believe that Roger bait and switched in front of Bob a pre-exposed roll of film with a hoaxed creature in it but the film change happened at just the right time to have done so. Reloading a partially exposed roll of film I think was also beyond Rogers expertise with that rented camera. If this had happened we would most likely get some double exposure stuff on the roll and some over exposure at the transition point. Granted now I have only worked with a copy of it but there is a very sharp cut between the creature scene and the one before it. Was the camera capable of stopping like that on a dime without much content movement in the frame… handheld? The lever to turn the camera on and off was in a very awkward position to do so and the exposure was consistent at that particular spot.

Which now brings me to Bruce Bonney. He was commissioned by René Dahinden to print a select few frames deemed the sharpest in order to fulfill René’s rights as a co-owner. Bruce decided to use Cibachrome technology and supposedly had access to the original film down in LA at the time. Right after the images were made and published in Man Like Monsters on Trial though, these two had a falling out… a pretty serious one. What was that about I wonder? Did Bruce see something or want to do something different than René with the film? They were suppose to have written a book about the film but that got canned as well.

Any way… doubts I have had with the film have been the exposure problem, Bruce Bonney’s exodus and the timing of and transportation for development. The only answers I ever got from René was… just look at the damn creature… is it real or not… that is the question. I felt a bit misdirected with that.

Just some food for thought and musings from the past.

Patterson Gimlin Film Roll 2 Images

Where is Bigfoot now? The cycle…

Does it seem that there hasn’t been any good Bigfoot track ways found lately? Have we gotten so good at looking at this type of evidence that the preponderance of new finds have people not wanting to come forward with their pictures, tracks or casts of them? We now can look at these tracks and casts and tell with reasonable certainty if they were or were not of human manufacture?

In the past, large finds of track ways seem to have been laid down at random. What was going on in the Bossburg, Washington area (for now forget about Ivan Marx) that left over 1,000 tracks with all the tracks found at Blue Creek mountain, California? Would it be prudent to make a simple spread sheet for each of the large finds and place columns next to them of seemingly unrelated activities to see if maybe we were wrong and that there is a really is a pattern?

Logging, road construction, road building, harvest time, good substrate for tracks, Bigfoot researchers in the area, dynamite explosions, floods, drought, time of year for latitude, forest fires, holidays, fish runs, human behavioral changes with new laws, who knows.

Of course quantification for relatedness has to be determined… spatial and temporal distance limits for instance. A new road punched through an area may not mean Bigfoot suddenly gets seen more on that newer road… but maybe 20 miles away on an older road it use to cross easily and unseen things are now changed. What if the area is only occupied partially during the year? A road punched through in summer may not affect anything until fall.

A study area size is determined by a lot of these factors and you sometimes just have to take a WAG as to what to include and what not to include. A contiguous area can be just as hard to work as a patchwork or mosaic. I like both for each has its advantages.

Ultimate Bigfoot Conference

Many things go into setting one of these conferences up, including location, logistics, availability, politics, ideology and entertainment value but I am curious as to what the potential attendees think would make the ultimate line-up of speakers. Doesn’t matter if they are no longer with us…Here is a fun list I would love to see on a Bigfoot Conference bill, off the top of my head an in no particular order:

  • Jane Goodall
  • George Schaller
  • Diane Fossey
  • Russell A. Mittermeier
  • Russell L. Ciochon
  • Rene Dubois
  • Roger Patterson
  • Ivan Sanderson
  • Bernard Heuvelmans
  • Charles Darwin
  • Alfred Wallace
  • William Roe
  • Albert Ostman
  • Debby Myer
  • Tom Slick
  • Jimmy Stewart
  • The Playboy Bunny
  • Peter Matthiessen
  • Fred Beck
  • Teddy Roosevelt
  • Grover Krantz
  • Rene Dahinden
  • Ken Coon
  • Chief Seattle
  • John Green
  • Bob Titmus
  • Lyle Laverty
  • Peter Byrne
  • Ivan Marx
  • Rant Mullens
  • Ray Wallace
  • Paul Freeman
  • David Daegling

OK, this may seem a little over the top but I would pay quite a bit to hear all of these people talking at one place – on one subject… Bigfoot. Can you add someone I forgot? Think about what could be learned from these people so separated by time but linked with knowledge of a mystery spanning many more generations than this. The chemistry that could mixed… I guess if we could get our hands on a time machine and a large hotel with conference room…