Behind the Scenes of Finding Bigfoot: “Caught on Tape” with Cliff Barackman

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on June 14th, 2011

Cliff posted his behind the scenes views for the latest episode of Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot entitled “Caught on Tape” on his website.

What I find most interesting is that Cliff leans toward the figure being a Sasquatch, while Matt is pretty convinced it was a human.

Take that, viewers who feel that Matt is too quick to jump on the Bigfoot bandwagon for all of the evidence and incidents on the program.

Cliff Barackman home Page

Field Notes – North Carolina

The Finding Bigfoot episode we filmed in North Carolina was the first of six episodes we shot this past winter. We were in the area to investigate the thermal footage obtained by welfare fraud investigator, long-time bigfooter, and friend of the ‘squatch, Mike Greene, that I believe shows a sasquatch.

Though the focus of our visit was Greene’s video, we did several night investigations in the Uwharrie National Forest. On one of these night investigations, we focused on an area where a group of witnesses possibly encountered several sasquatches a number of years ago. The camp was a several hour walk by trail, but only a 40 minute walk across country.

After navigating thick woods for around three-quarters of an hour, we arrived at the location. The camp was located in a shallow, bowl-shaped valley. The surrounding hills were covered in trees and bushes, and a small stream trickled nearby. It was an excellent place for sasquatches to potentially hang out. The valley had water, cover, lots of deer sign, was sheltered from the winds, and was very quiet so any bigfoots could hear what was going on in their area. These bigfoots could also navigate the surrounding high areas and observe the activities of any intruders.

We started the night by knocking and calling. Soon, a car was heard in the distance. One of the crew said he heard something right at the beginning of the car noise that was perhaps something different, and he suggested that it was a howl. Later checking the recording indicated that no other noise was recorded but the vehicle.

At one point in the evening, Ranae noted that she saw eye shine coming from the surrounding hillsides. I set out alone to find what it was, and after a long trudge in the brush I discovered that there were a number of small owls in the surrounding woods. The owls were recorded on thermal imager, and in my opinion, were super cool to see flying about through the trees.

It was getting quite late, perhaps 2:00 am, and everyone’s nerves were stretched thin. I had just been suited back up with a backpack camera for one more jaunt through the woods, and the tech guy turned on all my gear, including the DVR recorder which took the feed from my thermal imager. Everyone present was gathered in a loose group by the fire, when I hear Matt Moneymaker ask, “Who’s on the hill?”

“Nobody, Matt,” someone replied.

“Someone is. Cliff, is that you? Bobo? Ranae?” he questioned.

“Matt, nobody’s on the hill.”

Ranae took a moment and glanced at Matt, who was standing a little ways back from the group. He had his thermal imager pointed uphill into the darkness. Ranae later told me that she could see the thermal’s LCD screen, and she observed a human-shaped figure standing alone on the hill, arms hanging down at its side, seemingly just watching our circus. Then is started to move.

Matt yelled at it, “Identify yourself!” Whatever it was froze in mid-stride on one leg and just stood there for a few brief seconds.

At this point, I turned my thermal imager to the same direction in which Matt was looking. What I saw was a man-shaped figure moving from left to right across my thermal’s LCD screen. It swung its arms as it walked, but in a strange way, almost like a wader would as he pulls himself through water. Its legs moved in a peculiar fashion, similar to the way legs move when one rides a bike. The upper torso smoothly lurched (if that makes any sense) as it moved. It indeed had a very unusual gait. As was noted by both Ranae and I, the figure was one color from head to toe, indicating that it was probably not wearing any clothing (thermal imagers only see heat, and where one is wearing clothing, less heat radiates outward to the environment). Also of note is that the figure was navigating the hill without a light in complete darkness.

Right then, Matt took off after it running up the hill. Two camera men saw television happening right before their eyes and launched into action, following Matt towards the figure. I saw Matt and the two camera men in my thermal right as the figure disappeared over the top of the hill.

Knowing that whatever I had just seen could only be a bigfoot or a human, I thought it unwise to approach the figure directly. I moved off to my right along the base of the hill hoping to catch a glimpse of the figure from another angle. My adrenaline was pumping madly, and the thought of having just captured thermal footage of a sasquatch was blowing my mind.

I did not see the figure again, and I later found out that Matt never caught up to it. Matt was armed with both a thermal imager and a night vision monocular, and both camera men had star light scopes on their cameras. The figure only had a 50 yard head start. The pursuers completely lost all trace of this mysterious figure in a matter of a few moments.

When I returned to camp, I was disappointed to find my colleagues engaged in a heated debate. I was exhausted, and especially so because of the amazing adrenaline rush I had just experienced. I didn’t want any part of the ugly conversation.

Upon reviewing my tape, the first part of the footage shows the figure only as a blip of light disappearing over the top of the hill as Matt and the two camera men lumber upwards through the woods after it. (This footage can be seen in the episode, and in it Matt was highlighted by a circle.) I have no explanation as to why my gear only started recording at that point instead of having captured the entire sequence. After all, the tech guy activated the recorder only a few minutes before this whole thing started. Nobody touched my gear in the interim. I cannot explain it, but it’s the maddening truth.

As the night’s epic fail settled in on my exhausted mind, I stood away from everyone else being completely bummed out in the darkness. I watched the cast and crew argue among themselves about who did what, and what should have been done instead of what actually was done. After 15 hours of work, I didn’t have a lot of energy to give to fruitless arguments.

Just then, a loud grunt/growl came from the woods above me. It sounded like a guttural, “Huuuh!,” and was emanating from the same general area where the bipedal figure disappeared a while before. Bobo also heard the same noise. Though we had not shot the Florida episode yet, it was the same kind of grunt/growl that we would later hear on the Bridges’ property. Looking back, perhaps it was the bigfoot having the last laugh on us.

It should be noted that Matt really did think that the figure was a human. In fact, he still does. I am less than sure of this, but he could be correct.

I cannot seem to make up my mind about that night. Did I see a bigfoot through my thermal imager, or was it a very strange human? I don’t know. Based on the context, behavior, gait, and later vocalization, I kind of think that I finally got to see a bigfoot, but I honestly don’t really know. Worse yet, I never will.Cliff Barackman

Feel free to discuss this, your thoughts regarding the show, the research techniques, the evidence, whatever.

You can discuss how you think the cast acted.

What you can’t do is call the cast members names, what you think about them personally, etc.

The discussion is about the show Finding Bigfoot, period.

Comment within the guidelines of the terms of use of the site, and your comment will be posted on the site.

We are ALL abundantly clear how CDC, korollocke, Kahil, etc. feel about Matt Moneymaker and likewise, how he feels about them.

Comments of that nature will not be approved.

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.

17 Responses to “Behind the Scenes of Finding Bigfoot: “Caught on Tape” with Cliff Barackman”

  1. Demian66 responds:

    Do people in Northern Carolina walk undressed through deep forests at night? If not, Cliff has seen either a bigfoot or a really, really sad person…and if MM thinks it was just human, then everybody knows what the real identity of this creature can only be…

  2. SirKen63 responds:

    Without the Thermal of what you or Matt saw there is no way of telling. Sorry to say, but even with a thermal recording we cannot be sure it was the recording of that night.

    This is what we were are upset about. Any recording you may have cannot be taken as true because Animal Planet has either edited it or used a thermal from another show.

    It is truly a shame Cliff. Before this show, I think your word was all anyone needed. I do think you’re a up and up guy, but everyone’s credibility is now in question because of this show.

  3. JTTM69 responds:

    I am probably one of the few who enjoys the show. I got my wife into it and she doesn’t follow cryptozoology at at all, so it’s a good introduction for her.

    That said, I am kind of surprised by Cliff’s comments. I thought when they did the “re-enactment” of the Bigfoot taking the candy bar, it clearly showed only one heat index for Bobo. That means, the heat index for whatever Matt was chasing could very easily be a person. If this team actually photographed or discovered a live Bigfoot, do you think they would really air it on this show? Probably not.

  4. Mahalo X responds:


  5. dermal_ridges_are_proof responds:

    It sounds like such a great location, surely it’s got to be worth going back again!

    With what you have described, perseverance with this one area might really pay off in the future.

    MM sprinting up the hill may not have been text book or a part of the group strategy, but I don’t think it was totally wrong, just a bit unconventional. You were all taken by surprise by the spontaneity of it. However! I can’t help comparing it slightly to Patterson’s run after dismounting in order to get closer to his subject.

    In 1967, if Patterson had not got closer to his subject, the famous footage we have today might have be nothing more than a blobsquatch !

  6. SirKen63 responds:

    @ JTTM69

    They did a re-enactment using Mr. Greene’s camera. Cliff even said on the show with Ranae there that if Mr. Greene had one of their Thermal Imagers it would tell without a doubt if it had clothes on or not. That’s why if Matt said it was a Human, and Cliff says it a bigfoot. Without the recording we do not know and like I was saying if AP put the recording up then Cliff or Matt would have to say weather or not that was the Image they saw.

    It just too much of was it this or was it that…We will never know. 🙁

    @dermal ridges

    I see what you’re saying, but there are some big differences between Matt and the P/G file.

    It was during the day, and Patterson could see where it and he was going, not just crashing through the woods at night.

    Patterson had it on camera and barely took it off the Creature even when trying to get closer. As far as Matt said he knew it was a human, but still went running after it. And still lost it on thermal. Guess the guy most have been a track star and had Infra-red goggles. Cause when Matt got to the top of the ridge he should have been able to pick up the heat image again. None of it sounds right to me.

  7. dermal_ridges_are_proof responds:

    SirKen:- Interesting thoughts.

    … But don’t get me wrong, I did say it was a slight comparison!

    Although decades apart both Roger Patterson & Matt Moneymaker ran forward into the unknown, possibly into danger. If a large primate perceived a human charge to be aggressive it could become aggressive itself, no one else present would be able to predict what the reaction would be at the time. I think I’m safe in saying that primates do have different personalities, and a large element of behavioural unpredictability goes with that too.

    Of course we comment with the advantage of hindsight.

  8. SirKen63 responds:

    @ dermal

    I agree there is no telling what a giant primate would do if it thought it was in danger. And if it was female with a young one with her and you went crashing through the woods after it. I have never had the luck in seeing one, but from reports and encounters that describe the size of this creature, I would not think running after it would be in your best interest.

    You would very safe in saying “that primates do have different personalities, and a large element of behavioural unpredictability goes with that too.”

  9. CDC responds:

    I suggest to Cliff that he look at several thermal images of people in the woods to better help him spot identify what he is seeing.

    Get production members or anyone of different sizes to walk in front of a thermal camera at different distances so he can better compare what pops up on his real night searches.

    Also, invest in some night vision infrared goggles, about $125.00 so you can see what the thermal hit looks like not looking in the thermal cam. Just pop those on and it helps a ton when walking or running in the dark.

  10. jstevens2154 responds:

    Chasing shadows. Grabbing at smoke. I’ve fallen into the belief, but the belief has been shallow. After all these years, there is nothing. P/G is the saving grace. Outside of that film, coming on 50 YEARS, there is nothing. We have to start to take a hard look at our beliefs and pursuits.

    That is truth.

  11. jstevens2154 responds:

    Chasing shadows. Grabbing at smoke. I’ve fallen into the belief, but the belief has been shallow. After all these years, there is nothing. P/G is the saving grace. Outside of that film, coming on 50 YEARS, there is nothing. We have to start to take a hard look at our beliefs and pursuits.

    That is truth.

  12. mjm responds:

    I have been a fan of Cryptomundo for a few years now and have always enjoyed the news and comments that follow them. I’ve never felt compelled to make a comment of my own until now. Animal Planet and this silly show “Finding Bigfoot” have been a huge disappointment, an insult to those of us who still believe that there are still mysteries in this world yet to be discovered. I, for one, will not watch the show or read any more “stories” associated with the show any longer. If they find REAL proof, and I hope they do, I’ll see it on the nightly news. Not Animal Planet.

  13. Mïk responds:

    I would like to point out the nice, quiet, calm discussion carried out here by SirKen and Dermal Ridges. that’s the kind of thing I look to when reading Cryptomundo. Good job, you two. Let’s get back to discovering Bigfoot in a studied way; alla ya.

    The show isn’t about the facts, or finding Bigfoot. Like all the ‘reality’ shows nowadays, the reality is the team dynamic. That discussion was shown because the show needed drama. It is sad that the production has to resort to faked footage, but the subject is now being discussed by people who’ve never discussed Bigfoot before. That is the good side of this show. When they get enuf info to have reasoned debate, then we can welcome them to this forum without having to break them of internet ranting. Some here still need some tempering.

  14. Artist responds:

    Hey CDC… Where’d you find those “night vision infrared goggles, about $125.00”?

  15. Artist responds:

    CDC – Never mind – I found ’em on Amazon, plus Binocs for only $75, an even better deal – every Cryptomundian should have one!

  16. Massachusetts responds:

    Hi, I’ve just joined Cryptomundo and just starting watching Finding Bigfoot, so I’m sorry that I’ve come late to this discussion. But, that said, maybe someone can help me understand something? Basically, my main concern with the show, which has popped up in several places, is best exemplified with the candy bar thermal image re-enactment. The initial footage looked interesting for sure. Then they get Bo Bo to re-enact it. Now, am I recalling correctly, that his re-enactment looked almost, if not, EXACTLY like the original? In fact, didn’t the young female biologist stress that? Didn’t others concur?

    Am I incorrect in this observation? I know it’s subjective, but I was under the impression that people generally had the same impression. OK, so if that’s the case, then how can anyone conclude that the original is a Sasquatch? Don’t you have to conclude that it’s inconclusive, at the very least, or a likely a human? How can you conclude anything else, if your re-enactment looks almost exactly like the original?

    So, that means the video, though it looks cool, doesn’t really prove anything or tell us anything about Sasquatches, unfortunately. I know it’s disappointing, and I know Mr. Greene is highly respected and is a great guy by reputation, but how can researchers come to a different conclusion?

    I got the impression from the show and elsewhere that most of the members of the team, not the female biologist (sorry, I forget her name but she was great) for sure, but Matt Moneymaker and others still concluded that they were dealing with a Sasquatch? I don’t see how they can come to that conclusion.

    If the two videos looked very different I could see how you could come to that conclusion.


  17. CDC responds:

    I actually liked the recap of all the shows, and the questions and answer part of the show.

    Renae and Cliff are still very easy to like. Bobo is the big guy you root for, even though his story gets less believable. And Matt is still Matt.

    The questions were soft toss, but at least we got to hear some basic explanations.

    The one thing that struck me as hilarious was after every show this season, Matt Moneymaker claims, “I am sure there are Bigfoot in…(fill in the location)”!

    If that is true according to Matt, then we have viable breeding populations of unknown giant primates in 8 states across the country so far.

    At this rate, after the 7 more season of “Finding Bigfoot” Matt will have confirmed Bigfoot in 49 states and Canada.

    If that is the case, and Matt still hasn’t found one after over 35 years of looking…Matt may go down in history as the man who confirmed hundreds of Bigfoot type animals across all of the United States and Canada…without ever taking a single photo of ONE!

    Yeah, I’m gonna keep watching, what entertainment!

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