Stalking the Big Thicket Bigfoot

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on January 22nd, 2006

On the front page of today’s San Antonio Express-News is an article concerning a recent research operation by my research group, the Texas Bigfoot Research Center, into the Big Thicket of Southeast Texas.

Overall, I thought it was a good article describing our research operations.

Scattered throughout this section of the woods, sitting silently and bundled against the near-freezing temperatures, are a dozen or so maverick researchers looking for the large, hairy, elusive embodiment of fringe science — Bigfoot.

But there were some troubling quotes from David Daegling.

Critics and cynics abound, and David Daegling is foremost among them. The University of Florida anthropologist wrote “Bigfoot Exposed,” a scholarly vivisection of the Bigfoot story from cultural, scientific and historical perspectives.

“I think we have to be careful not to paint the Bigfoot community with too broad of a brush,” he said. “There are, within that community, people who are more skeptically inclined. And then there are true believers, and there’s nothing that can change their mind about it.”

Daegling said the presence of Bigfoot hoaxes hurt serious attempts to prove the existence of the creature.

“One of the historical failings of the Bigfoot community has been that even though they’ll (investigate and) rule out some report as a hoax, they don’t pursue that question vigorously enough,” he said.

There was, for example, the classic grainy 1967 film of Sasquatch traipsing along a tree line in the northern California woods, and footprints found in the same region 10 years earlier. Both were seminal pieces in the growth of the Bigfoot movement. Both were debunked as fakes years later. Neither revelation changed the minds of Bigfoot believers.

Say what?!

The Patterson film and the footprints found and cast by Jerry Crew were debunked as fakes? I don’t think so.

Daegling said Bigfoot fills in a blank for some people burdened by modern society — it is wild, it is solitary, it can disappear at will, and it can outsmart everyone.

And the legend continues due, in large part, to eyewitness accounts, perhaps the most unscientific of all observational techniques.

“I don’t think these people are lying,” Daegling said. “They remember seeing Bigfoot, but there’s a difference between remembering it and actually seeing it. That’s because memories are fallible.”

Typically, there is a sighting in an area. Then other people, who’ve heard the report, see or hear something they can’t explain. Their subconscious fills in the blank, Daegling said, with Bigfoot.

Anyone have any comments for Dr. Daegling regarding the Patterson film or the footprints found by Jerry Crew and others in that region? Voice them here and I will pass them on to him…

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

7 Responses to “Stalking the Big Thicket Bigfoot”

  1. CryptoInformant responds:

    I’ve read a book on Bigfoot, and those were upheld as real evidence all through it.
    In that book, however, there is a report of a “Goblin-Man” attack, in which a bipedal, furless creature with long claws first destroys a campsite, killing one, then leaps at a truck several nights later, it was filed as a Bigfoot sighting.
    A raptor dinosaur, maybe?

  2. bill green responds:

    hi craig & researchers that a very interesting new article about the texas sasquatch creatures. thanks bill 🙂 p.s. i hope to see some new texas sasquatch sightings mentioned in your blog.

  3. DrX responds:

    Craig, I can understand your disbelief, given the perpetual controversy surrounding the Patterson film, and given your involvement with Bigfoot. Nevertheless, I agree (with journalist Roy Bragg, since Professor Daegling is not quoted as saying “debunked” ) that the Patterson film has been debunked. Here’s why:

    – confessions and corroborations from Clyde Reinke, Philip Morris, Bob and Opal Heronimus (however you spell it), John Miller, et al;

    – the photogrammetry study commissioned by the BBC that determined the entity in the film to be the same height as Heronimus;

    – Daegling’s analysis of the film and his rebuttal of Glickman and Krantz;

    – Long’s book and the subsequent article by Kal Korff and Michaela Kocis;

    – my own cynicism as to Patterson’s extraordinary good fortune in being just at the right place at the right time once he had decided to make a Bigfoot documentary for sale; and

    – my own gut reaction to the film: that it shows a big guy doing a mediocre monkey impression in a fur suit with a zipper down the back.

    I understand that none of this debunks the film for you. It does for me.

  4. Lu Ann Lewellen responds:

    Is this the Dr. Daegling who took Cliff Crook’s assessment on the Skookum Cast (the imprint is of an elk, of course)even though neither had seen it? The Dr. Daegling who thought dermal ridge information could have been communicated by long distance telephone?

    Sorry, I didn’t read all the book. I had to lay it down a few times because of uncontrolled spluttering and was afraid I’d damage the library’s copy.

    Did he buy the Wallace family story? Who debunked the Patterson film? Was it really Mrs. Wallace in the ape suit?

    I think John Green did one of the best jobs of debunking the debunking. Nothing I could say can top this.

    Or this, by Loren Coleman:

    Surely Dr. Daegling has read them already and printed a retraction………somewhere.


  5. jamesrav responds:

    DrX, I was not aware an analysis was made that showed the height of the subject in the film was the same as Mr. Heronimous. I was always under the impression that the height couldn’t really be established very well, with ranges from 6’4″ to 7′ or greater. But Mr. Heronimous I believe is barely 6′ tall, which falls below the lowest estimate.

    The ‘best’ (?) analysis I’ve seen showed pictures of a tall, thin young man (6’4″ as I recall) superimposed over the film’s subject (the foreground trees, etc. overlayed with seemingly good precision), and Patty was a bit taller and much bigger than the human being.

  6. Alton Higgins responds:

    My only real objection to the article was the way the author apparently buys into Daegling’s ridiculous claims about hoaxing.

    Here’s the quote:

    “There was, for example, the classic grainy 1967 film of Sasquatch traipsing along a tree line in the northern California woods, and footprints found in the same region 10 years earlier. Both were seminal pieces in the growth of the Bigfoot movement. Both were debunked as fakes years later. Neither revelation changed the minds of Bigfoot believers.”

    In my opinion, Daegling is an intellectual fraud masquerading as a purveyor of accuracy and truth.

    I once knew a brilliant man, prominent and influential in some circles, who did many good things in his life. However, “Dr. M.” had a fatal flaw: he was a racist. Not the cross-burning kind but, rather, the prideful kind. Dr. M. was German, and he refused to accept the possibility that Germany committed atrocities during the war.

    “There was no holocaust,” he said.

    It didn’t matter that Jewish prisoners said they were there. It didn’t matter that American soldiers said they saw the death camps or the victims. He wasn’t impressed by the photographic evidence. He refused to accept the reality of the holocaust, period, insisting that the anecdotal accounts and “so-called evidence” were misinterpretations or fabrications, and that holocaust historians were perpetuating a gigantic hoax.

    Daegling reminds me of Dr. M.

    After his death, Ray Wallace’s family claimed that he hoaxed many footprints, including one found and cast by Jerry Crew and made famous in a newspaper photograph. Wallace himself never made this claim, and not one shred of evidence in support of the contention exists. In fact, the available evidence clearly DISPROVES this assertion, as documented by the BFRO. However, the fact that one of Wallace’s nephews said it was so was good enough for Daegling. In his mind, apparently, the unfounded claim must be fact, because it lines up with his opinion.

    Likewise, when Bob Hieronimus said he wore an ape costume and was filmed by Roger Patterson, Daegling accepted the bizarre and contradictory story. He needed no supporting evidence, the claim itself sufficed as truth because it matched his prejudice. Academically, Daegling appears to be little different than present day German Nazi apologists who refuse to accept information that contradicts their beliefs and who latch on to anything, regardless of the source, that supports their bias.

    In my opinion, many of those who buy Daegling’s assertions are either betraying their lack of familiarity with the history of sasquatch research or exposing a personality trait they share with him.


  7. Mike Smith responds:

    You know I have seen the Patterson film many times. Not once have I seen a zipper. Mr. Daegling would you please show me the zipper. I think I know what a monkey suit looks like, and that is not a monkey suit, but if it is why do movie from the 60’s about monkeys look so cheap. Can you tell me that? I don’t think so. If Hollywood had that technology at the time I might have my doubts. So show me a ZIPPER PLEASE!

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