Posted by: Rick Noll on October 3rd, 2005
3. Eyewitness Testimony
Reading about someone seeing a Sasquatch is quite different than talking face to face with him or her. You pick up subtle clues as to the veracity of their claim and so far I have only met two or three people I did not believe, out of literally hundreds. I think this is because the people fabricating a story know deep down inside them that they couldn’t or shouldn’t lie, especially in person, so they never show up for a face to face… never return your phone calls. They know that you probably traveled a long time to get to them, that it is costing you money to interview them and to lie to someone’s face after realizing that may just be too much for them… well for normal folks… but heck, were talking about Bigfoot now aren’t we!
Why would someone lie about seeing a Bigfoot? I thought about this… looking at stacks and stacks of reports made by various individuals and organizations over the years, I found it hard to think that they all could be lying about seeing one. But there are probably some who are.
Could it be they want fame? To be on TV, radio, in a newspaper or maybe a book? Now days we have to include the web too, so a Blog. Face it; the people who claim to have had an encounter with one of these animals are not famous except to maybe the people interested in the subject.
Do they think they could make some money off their story? That notion would crash down on them quick. Who here has seen a Bigfoot and has made money from it? Raise your hand please… Roger, you can lay back down. Anybody else out there?
Maybe all the people who have seen a Bigfoot are crazy or hallucinating. We can have crazy Pulitzer Prize winning authors, police, pilots, architects, software engineers, etc., can’t we? What about doctors and judges? Are the Bigfoot eyewitnesses a dysfunctional subculture? I don’t think so.
On the other hand, if already out in the field with a person who claims that moments before they just seen a Bigfoot I tend to be harder on them. I think, are they trying to impress me or use me to validate the encounter because I am here? I have been with many people while out and about, some making this very claim, with nothing to back them up. No tracks where the creature was supposedly seen. No smell or disturbance at all. No pictures… Nothing! A lot of these types of people also seem to make other claims of extraordinary circumstance; UFO’s, ghosts, sea serpents and such.
I should mention though that while driving home from a couple of days out in our study area, I passed a lone camper on a small turnout site along the main river. I was going slowly enough to see that he was cooking. Rounding the bend right there I came up to a 300 lb. cinnamon colored black bear. Unsure of itself it began to spin around a couple of times as if trying to decide which way to escape… towards the river and most likely food or back to the woods, where it could quickly blend in. Even in the closed cab of my truck I could smell hotdogs barbequing. I was driving a diesel 1-ton pickup truck.
I was so excited that I yelled, “Bear… Bear” over the two-way radio to Owen, who was still back at one of the sand bars looking for sign. He yelled back “Are you taking pictures?” Huh? I didn’t even think about taking pictures!
I grabbed my camera and jumped out of my stopped truck and got three retreating pictures of the bear. I followed it into the woods a bit before realizing that I wasn’t being very smart here and quickly went back to the road.
I started to look for tracks but couldn’t find any. I thought that was strange and just knew that there had to be some. I began to wonder just where was that bear anyway. Being that my camera was digital I brought them up on the screen and saw exactly where it had been and looked to the road… nope. Nothing.
If I hadn’t taken any pictures of this bear, even Owen might not have believed me and a bear is a real and common enough animal. The lone camper came running over to me and asked what the problem was and I told him about the bear. He gave me a funny look and asked if maybe he should move his campsite. He saw the camera in my hand and asked if I got any pictures of it. I said yes and showed him. Then he looked at me again as if making up his mind and went back to his campsite. I think he left.
I learned a couple of lessons that day and I thought about them as I made the long drive home.
I had rarely seen a bear out in the wild before but I recognized it for what it was immediately. I was so taken with coming upon it that I forgot completely that I had a camera ready in the truck. I didn’t hesitate to jump out of the vehicle after it and pursue it at risk of life and limb. Yet I could find no trace that it had ever been there.
I try to leave eyewitness testimony to others now. Why… I tend to believe just about anybody telling me they saw one of these animals, even when they lack proof of any kind. I figure that if they can stand in front of me and tell me a story or even talk to me over the telephone about it mater-of-factly then they must believe it happened just that way. Who am I to argue? Almost anything is possible.
But just what can one really get out of an eyewitness anyway? How do you separate out the human element? Time, date and location is all I ever got out of them.
Rick Noll has been actively searching for the Sasquatch since 1969 and continues his pursuit with extended field trips into the Pacific Northwest's most remote regions. Rick has worked with Peter Byrne, René Dahinden, Grover Krantz, John Green, Jeff Meldrum and the BFRO during all this. He helped with many documentaries on the subject including Animal X: The Skookum Expedition and Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science.