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New York Times Reviews Finding Bigfoot

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on January 4th, 2012

Finding Bigfoot

Paul Souders/Animal Planet

From left, Cliff Barackman, James Fay, Ranae Holland and Matt Moneymaker in a scene from “Finding Bigfoot.”

Be Wary of Bobo, Sasquatch

By NEIL GENZLINGER

Published: December 30, 2011

These marauding Bigfoots must be stopped.

It was bad enough to see them terrorizing Florida, Oregon, Washington State, Alaska and the other places visited in Season 1 by the sasquatch hunters of “Finding Bigfoot,” a documentary series on Animal Planet. But the opening episode of Season 2 on Sunday night finds the investigators just a few hairy strides from New York City. How would you like to be jostling for a seat on the subway with a cranky, possibly fictitious 10-foot biped who hasn’t had his morning coffee yet?

The show follows Matt Moneymaker, president of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, and three sidekicks — Cliff Barackman, Ranae Holland and James Fay — as they investigate Bigfoot sightings with fancy-looking audio equipment and those cameras that record grainy, ghostly images in the dark. In Sunday’s episode they travel to the Catskills to try to show that footage of something climbing in a tree, captured accidentally 15 years ago, is proof of a Bigfoot infestation in the area.

The film, made during a music festival and generally known as the New York Baby Footage, comes from a man named Douglas Pridgen, who was shooting home movies with friends around a campfire. He tells the “Finding Bigfoot” crew that he did not notice the beast lurking in a tree in the background until a few years later, when he was transferring the footage to another format.

The film has been on the Internet for years and has drawn its share of skeptics. Some think the animal is just someone’s pet monkey. That the film was shot during a music festival has also been occasion for comment.

“Hippies are responsible for a lot of big foot sightings because of their hair and scent,” someone has posted under one YouTube version of the footage.

Mr. Moneymaker and his team go to the spot where the film was made, in Ulster County, and, by having Mr. Barackman clamber up a tree, prove conclusively that the thing in the footage looks nothing like a tree-climbing male adult human. At least one team member, though, had already made his mind up. “We’re clearly looking at a baby sasquatch in this footage,” Mr. Fay announced earlier in the show, his credibility only slightly diminished by the fact that his nickname is Bobo.

The crew also convenes a town meeting across the Hudson in Pawling, N.Y., in Dutchess County, where residents, Mr. Barackman explains, “are exactly the kind of people who might be encountering sasquatches every once in a while on their own property.”

The investigators invite those who attend to relate their sightings of Bigfoot or Bigfoot tracks, and quite a few do. By plotting the locations of these sightings, the investigators determine that the beasts seem to hang out in the vicinity of the Appalachian Trail.

“We think the Bigfoots use that as their highway,” Mr. Moneymaker says.

The team sets up nighttime surveillance in the woods in hopes of meeting some Bigfoots, bellowing an occasional sasquatch call — a cross between a police siren and an ill baby — through the hills to try to get the creatures interested in a rendezvous. As is usual for this absurd but delightfully addictive show, Mr. Moneymaker’s crew does not capture a Bigfoot, either on film or in the flesh. But the investigators nonetheless amass almost irrefutable evidence that the Catskills and Dutchess County are crawling with the critters: ¶When Mr. Pridgen appears on camera, the identifying label under his name says, “New York Bigfoot Witness.” Same thing for a couple of Pawling residents who describe sightings. Would Animal Planet, which has brought us rigorously scientific shows like “Hillbilly Handfishin’ ” and “Rat Busters NYC,” allow someone to be called a “Bigfoot Witness” on TV if he had not witnessed a Bigfoot? Seems unlikely.

Though the team does not find any Bigfoots, it does find a deer, and deer, as someone points out, are prime sasquatch food.

When the crew goes into the woods at night, it records assorted noises. And what possible explanation could there be for noises in a nighttime forest other than Bigfoots?

It seems clear, then, that these things are massing for an invasion of New York City. We need to act now, and decisively.

As with a military campaign, we need to sever their communication and supply route, i.e., the Appalachian Trail. Put up one of those police sawhorse barricades, or perhaps a sternly worded sign: “Absolutely no Bigfoots allowed.”

Clear cutting the Catskills would also seem advisable. At least then we’d be able to see the danged things. Any battlefield strategist knows that the key to dealing with invisible enemies is to flush them into the open.

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.


18 Responses to “New York Times Reviews Finding Bigfoot

  1. Cass_of_MPLS responds:

    One of the most intelligent and perceptive reviews of one of the lamest shows ever to appear on television.

  2. PoeticsOfBigfoot responds:

    I like it! I wish I’d written it.

  3. William responds:

    I must admit, I fail to see how anyone could read this article whether you have watched the episode(s) or not without at least smiling and probably chuckling a bit. This is indeed quite humorous reading.

  4. DWA responds:

    And yet another reason why I don’t really hang out around these kinds of shows.

    That review probably is a pretty accurate rendition of what went down on screen.

    As I say elsewhere: when you focus on individual reports, even the “iconic” ones, you make the whole enterprise look sketchy at best. The evidence shows a biological picture. It may not be as clear as the BFRO’s “sasquatches are well known to pull ducks underwater by their feet,” but it is intriguing, indeed compelling. You don’t get a hint of that on shows like this. Instead, it’s “the New York Baby Footage.” Which could be, you know, something.

    Ghost/paranormal shows don’t look, sound or act scientific. Bigfoot shows uniformly ape them. (No pun intended.) This is a scientific problem. Until it’s treated that way ….well, read the reviews, and you will know what you missed.

  5. Redrose999 responds:

    This review made me laugh. Yup, they called it.

  6. Survivor16 responds:

    I saw the episode and I have to say, this article really hits the nail on the head. Quite humorous really. Still, the show is very entertaining and I will continue to watch it.

  7. Nny responds:

    1.6 million people watched the season two premiere.

    I was not among them.

    All I can hope is next weeks numbers are cut in half.

    Because I think, in regards to cryptids and bigfeets, the show does a disservice.

  8. somebodyssquatchingme responds:

    Perfect review. My sons and I review the show in a similar way as it’s happening. Like when Ranae spends the night alone, an hour from NYC, in a dinky tent by herself. 0.01 percent chance of being approached by a squatch. 40% chance of an encounter with some drunk homeless guy.

  9. CDC responds:

    Very nice tongue in cheek review.

    I hope the team members of the show read it…maybe they can see how “seriously” people take this show:)

    But I have to give Animal Planet credit, 1.6 million viewers is very impressive…only 1.2 million viewers less than 2.8 million viewers the “The Cleveland Show” had, which puts things in perspective for me.

    Still, many will watch all season, and I hope Matt, BoBo, Cliff, and Ranae, stay safe all season long…with all these Bigfoot running all over the country, they will be bumping into them all season long.

  10. Aaron Buda via Facebook responds:

    you can say this or that about the show, but this reporter is not being a good reporter. he’s just using fancy language to poke fun at the topic as a whole.

  11. muircertach responds:

    I love this show. I really hope it is on for years to come.

  12. Steve Golden via Facebook responds:

    A fish wrapper known for dishonesty doing a hit job on bigfoot hunters. Approve of the show or not, the author’s bias is showing. Is the pen name for Tom Biscardi?

  13. dogu4 responds:

    I haven’t followed the program, having seen most of one episode was enough. It’s pretty lame, and some of it because of the participants and in part due to the way the program is edited for effect rather than its potential informative content, naturally…it’s not produced by the Peabody Museum for students in the field, in case the shake cam, night vision images of the Moneymaker gang banging and starting about didn’t say as much, and of course the ancillary features of the program: spooky music, questionable narration, etc…but in its defense, I will say that it does reach an audience who might one day come across the very evidence that is so sorely lacking and bring it into the light for examination, so I say, good luck and have fun.

  14. thatvoiceguy responds:

    @dogu4…. “questionable narration”??? Sorry I don’t impress you, pal.

  15. Craig Woolheater responds:

    Ken Scott, thatvoiceguy, is the narrator for Finding Bigfoot. Source

    Matt Moneymaker also narrates the series.

    I’m not sure if dogu4 was calling Ken Scott’s or Matt Moneymaker’s narration questionable.

    Care to clarify dogu4?

  16. thatvoiceguy responds:

    I can’t speak for Matt… except to defend the shows overall production value, which I believe is excellent. I think Matt does a fine job of his off camera narration… I, of course, am the standard narrator that does the show set up, trivia question and some of the teasers…

  17. dogu4 responds:

    Re: questionable narration; the questionable part is not so much in the voice’s talent, but how the narration is presumably written/composed/designed to lead the audience on. I realize that is intentional to make the production more entertaining and even valuable on certain levels, but for me it is valid criticism when the entertainment value exceeds the more objective info. Note that my criticism is intended to be constructive and that I generally encourage the further production of these types of shows even if I personally would wish for something else, because they do engage some people and brings the subject into the public awareness, and that is where I think it belongs. Cheers.

  18. DWA responds:

    dogu4: I’m with you, I guess.

    Like you, I wince at the treatment this subject gets most of the time it’s on TV. But I can’t help but notice something lately when I review the most recent reports on the BFRO website: the proportion of encounters that are being reported within months, weeks or even days of their actual occurrence has risen markedly.

    In the past, reports tended to be years, even decades, after the encounter, and were frequently prompted by a television program the witness watched that provided the a-ha moment. That so many are coming in now with the same or previous calendar year, and sometimes even the previous calendar month, is a possible indication that the TV programs may be increasing awareness.

    Maybe, although the jury’s still out on this, there really is no such thing as bad publicity.



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