Associated Press Attacks Meldrum

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on November 4th, 2006

While the first media outlet that I came across that was carrying this story was Forbes, it has now been picked up by 166 media outlets worldwide, at last count using google news search.

The headlines trumpet:

Bigfoot studies render academic an outcast
Professor’s Bigfoot Research Criticized
Idaho professor becomes a campus outcast with his Bigfoot research
Professor’s Bigfoot Research Called ‘A Joke’
Petition Criticized Bigfoot Symposium
Bigfoot research embarrassing to school, some say
Sasquatch authority shunned by fellow academics
Bigfoot prof fights for tenure

The Associated Press rolls out the ridicule curtain for Dr. Meldrum.

Loren has talked about the ridicule curtain before here on Cryptomundo on several different occasions.

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Just as when Ray Wallace died and the story was picked up by media outlets worldwide, so is this story, mocking a scientist and his interest in Bigfoot.

Below is the text of the version of the article that I first found on Forbes‘ website. 

Associated Press
Idaho Prof Criticized Over Bigfoot Study

Jeffrey Meldrum holds a Ph.D. in anatomical sciences and is a tenured professor of anatomy at Idaho State University.

Jeff Meldrum

Jeffrey Meldrum displays what he describes as a casting of a footprint from a ‘Bigfoot’ creature, taken in the Blue Mountains of eastern Washington, in his laboratory at Idaho State University in Pocatello in a Sept. 19, 2006 file photo. Meldrum holds a Ph.D. in anatomical sciences and is a tenured professor of anatomy at the school, and also one of the world’s foremost expert on Bigfoot,the mythical smelly ape-man of the Northwest woods. Many scientists at the school are embarrassed by what they call Meldrum’s "pseudo-academic" pursuits and have called on the university to review his work with an eye toward revoking his tenure. (AP Photo/Jesse Harlan Alderman, File)

He is also one of the world’s foremost authorities on Bigfoot, the mythical smelly ape-man of the Northwest woods. And Meldrum firmly believes the lumbering, shaggy brute exists.

That makes him an outcast – a solitary, Sasquatch-like figure himself – on the 12,700-student campus, where many scientists are embarrassed by what they call Meldrum’s "pseudo-academic" pursuits and have called on the university to review his work with an eye toward revoking his tenure. One physics professor, D.P. Wells, wonders whether Meldrum plans to research Santa Claus, too.

Meldrum, 48, spends most of his days in his laboratory in the Life Sciences Building, analyzing more than 200 jumbo plaster casts of what he contends are Bigfoot footprints.

For the past 10 years, he has added his scholarly sounding research to a field full of sham videos and supermarket tabloid exposes. And he is convinced he has produced a body of evidence that proves there is a Bigfoot.

"It used to be you went to a bookstore and asked for a book on Bigfoot and you’d be directed to the occult section, right between the Bermuda Triangle and UFOs," Meldrum said. "Now you can find some in the natural science section."

Martin Hackworth, a senior lecturer in the physics department, called Meldrum’s research a "joke."

"Do I cringe when I see the Discovery Channel and I see Idaho State University, Jeff Meldrum? Yes, I do," Hackworth said. "He believes he’s taken up the cause of people who have been shut out by the scientific community. He’s lionized there. He’s worshipped. He walks on water. It’s embarrassing."

John Kijinski, dean of arts and sciences, said there have been "grumblings" about Meldrum’s tenure, but no formal request for a review.

"He’s a bona fide scientist," Kijinski said. "I think he helps this university. He provides a form of open discussion and dissenting viewpoints that may not be popular with the scientific community, but that’s what academics all about."

On campus, Meldrum – himself a hulking figure, with a mop of brown hair, a bristly silver mustache, and a black T-shirt with a silhouette of a hunchbacked, lurking Bigfoot – gets funny looks and the silent treatment from other scientists, and is not invited to share coffee with the other science professors.

Over the summer, more than 30 professors signed a petition criticizing the university for hosting a Bigfoot symposium where Meldrum was the keynote speaker.

He pays for his research with a $30,000 donation from a Bigfoot believer.

Still, Meldrum has a distinguished supporter in Jane Goodall, the world-famous authority on African chimpanzees. Her blurb on the jacket of Meldrum’s new book, "Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science," lauds him for bringing "a much-needed level of scientific analysis" to the Bigfoot debate.

"As a scientist, she’s very curious and she keeps an open mind," said Goodall spokeswoman Nona Gandelman. "She’s fascinated by it."

Bigfoot is sort of the Loch Ness Monster of the Pacific Northwest. The legend dates back centuries. Indian folklore includes murmurs of a man-ape that roams the hidden hollows. Sasquatch is a Salish Indian word meaning woodland wildman.

Newspapers began recording sightings of Bigfoot in the backwoods during the 1920s. But skeptics have challenged the accounts, and practical jokers have staged elaborate hoaxes, including grainy film footage of someone in a monkey suit and phony footprints stamped into the ground with giant molded feet.

Meldrum said it was a decade ago in Walla Walla, Wash., that he first discovered flat 15-inch footprints in the woods. He said he thought initially that they were a hoax, but noticed locked joints and a narrow arch – traits he came to believe could only belong to Bigfoot.

"That’s what set the hook," Meldrum said. "I resolved at this point, this was a question I’d get to the bottom of."

When not in the lab, he loads his Chevy Suburban with tents and forensic gear and heads for the woods of Washington state and Northern California, where he has collected what he says are footprints, hair and feces from the ape-man. He tests hair samples and uses physics to produce charts that purport to show how Bigfoot would walk.

Meldrum wonders aloud how much longer he will be on the faculty. But he said he also dreams of one day bringing back a bone or a tooth or some skin, and silencing the "stuffy academics."

"Is the theory of exploration dead?" he asked. "I’m not out to proselytize that Bigfoot exists. I place legend under scrutiny and my conclusion is, absolutely, Bigfoot exists."

As Dr. Meldrum’s book, Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science was just published in September, is it a coincidence that this article demeaning him and his research is spreading far and wide? There’s that ridicule curtain again…

The book is the best selling Bigfoot book on right now. As a matter of fact, it is ranked #3,239 of ALL books sold on right now! 

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.

26 Responses to “Associated Press Attacks Meldrum”

  1. crypto-steve responds:

    Hi everybody. I’m a big fan of the site, but I’ve never posted before. However, after reading the above article on the attacks towards Dr. Meldrum’s work, I felt that I needed to say something. I just finished reading his book last night. It was absolutely brilliant! I learned a great deal about primatology from it, as well as getting a better understanding of foot mechanics. Why is he being attacked by his peers for adding to the scientific knowledge of mankind? It makes no sense to me. How would his work on Bigfoot suddenly make him unqualified to be a professional academic? He has the degrees. He has the training. How does studying Bigfoot change that? I do find it interesting that the professors attacking him in the article are physicists, not anthropologists or zoologists. What training do they have that would make them qualified to say whether or not Dr. Meldrum’s work is valid? In any case, it’s obvious that they haven’t read his book or looked at his evidence. That being said, I must also applaud Jane Goodall for her support of Dr. Meldrum’s research and for keeping an open-mind, which is something that all good scientists should have. It is the only way that discoveries can be made.

  2. I_M_NOT_A_Yarwen responds:

    Popular, conformist ‘scientists used to laugh at the theory of a spherical Earth as well, or that the Earth revolved around the sun and not the other way round. It takes people with vision and courage to confront popular belief. Three cheers for Dr. Meldrum.

  3. stillserchin responds:

    It’s a sad commentary when academians such as Dr. Meldrum are castigated and shunned by fellow academians for attempting to do serious research on a subject he truly believes in. Nothing seems to have changed much since the time of Copernicus. It’s the same with other scientists who decide to take on something outside the parameters of mainstream science., i.e. ufos, the paranormal and anything else that has no scientific validity in their fellow scientists minds.The concerns of the establishment scientific community are understandable but do they warrant such uncompromising behavior? Regardless to what his critics may feel I applaud Dr. Meldrum’s courage and tenacity in the face of considerable adversity to continue his so called “Pseudo-Academic” pursuits. May it one day soon lead to one of the greatest cryptozoological finds of our time.

  4. Loren Coleman responds:

    Well, we all knew it was bound to happen. Considering Grover Krantz is dead, Jeff was due, especially now that his well-researched book is out, for an academic lashing in public. This physics prof tried to do it to him during the recent conference in Idaho, but few listened.

    Sadly, on a broader scale, the AP is spreading this poison. Amazingly, the various headlines, such as “Bigfoot studies render academic an outcast,” seem much worse than the content. In the end, hopefully, the university will find a way to resist this media madness.

    Many of us who have lived and died in academia, however, understand that the environment can be fickle. If this press storm continues, unfortunately, Jeff could be in store for shaky times, just as Roy Mackal and Grover Krantz both experienced.

    Let’s hope not, and my best wishes and thoughts of support go out to Jeff Meldrum and his family.

  5. a_welch90 responds:

    It’s certainly sad that people in this field have to take this abuse from people in the more traditional scientific fields. Dr. Meldrum is a great asset to the cryptozoology community. His book is excellent, and its content adds a lot of credibility to the research of the sasquatch. I hope he can persevere through the attacks that, for anyone involved in cryptozoology are inevitable.

  6. joppa responds:

    Whether the search for and study of Bigfoot is worthy of serious academic and scientific effort is certainly worthy of debate. There has rarely been a subject of inquiry that is surrounded by so much weirdness, which I believe completely clouds the debate and fuels the controversy. Any self respecting researcher would give up if he or she had to wade through the hoaxes, shuckters ( too many to be named ) and crazies who flock to the subject.

    Nevertheless, Bigfoot is worthy of study in many fields. First, a sociologist should be amazed by the “cult” of bigfoot that exists and the incredible amount of public interest in these “maybe monsters”. It seems as a culture, we need Bigfoot to exist, but we also need to understand ourselves.

    Next, after you filter out 95 percent of the crap, there still seems to be something that people are seeing, hearing and smelling in those remote fringes of our suburbs. Why ridicule anyone who wants to study the real mystery, particularly in a honest, thoughtful and scientific manner?

    Finally it comes to this; Bigfoot won’t die, either culturally or scientifically. Why? Maybe it’s because SOMETHING’S out there. And as for the physics professor, which would you rather study, a bigger, better nuclear bomb, or Bigfoot. Oh yeah, bombs pay better.

  7. Ole Bub responds:

    Good morning Cryptos…

    Unfortunately it appears Dr. Meldrum may be the latest casualty of petty academic jealousy and bickering…JMHO

    His work to date has brought increased scientific credibility to the study of Sasquatch…how many folks ever heard of Idaho State….before Dr. Jeff Meldrum…the faculty and staff should be damn proud to have him…JMHO

    Show your support by purchasing his book….”Sasquatch, Legend Meets Science”…JMHO

    No bucks…No bigfoot…

    ole bub and the dawgs

  8. Dudlow responds:

    Bravo, Dr. Meldrum, you are a true champion. Never give up the fight and don’t be swayed by the lesser of mind!

    Only you and a few other brave academic warriors have actually acknowledged the evidence for BF’s existence. You brave folks lead the ‘credible’ charge for truth on behalf of those who already know, but have no scientific standing. Hopefully your persistence will soon be rewarded by a personal encounter or sighting.

    Sadly, though, not much new about the tone of the article – just the same old, tiresome, vitriolic tantrums and jealousies we have all come to expect from the closed-minded ninnies of the academic mainstream. It’s time to wake up and smell the Wildman!

    Sadly, it is true that anyone brave enough to put their hard-earned scientific convictions on the line in favor of forbidden science will inevitably be ‘Krantzed’ and branded heretic. But, after all, that’s a good thing in that it means mankind is making progress in spite of itself. If anything, the door towards discovery creaks wider all the time, thanks to your efforts.

    “Crucifiction, any one? Second door on the left, one cross each…”.

  9. busterggi responds:

    Physicists are criticizing Meldrum for his studies? What are they studying? String theory? Multiple dimensions? Cold fusion?

    Much of what physicists are studying today waas laughed at as nonsense back when I was in college.

    Personally, I think there’s a serious undercurrent of jealously over Meldrum’s public recognition.

  10. cor2879 responds:

    It’s things like this that make me have no respect for the modern day scientific community. It’s true I think they are 95% of them a troupe of charlatans that play at ‘knowing it all’ and patting themselves on the back rather than participating in true science which is research into the unknown.

  11. mystery_man responds:

    It is truly sad when someone delves outside of mainstream science and gets ridiculed and ostracised like this, but as has been already mentioned, this is the way it has always been since the times of Copernicus. The scientific community is a very jealous, competitive, often cutthroat place for being supposedly for the good of mankind. Believe me, I know. Scientists can often be very ineffective when they blindly adhere to theories despite evidence to the contrary, or shun new potentially groundbreaking science. I would urge Mr. Meldrum to keep up what he is doing. I mean hey, they used to think airplanes and phones were impossible too.

  12. Lee Murphy responds:

    Jealousy is a HUGE problem in the academic field (everywhere, really). Turns out the lovable, dottering old scientist in the old sci-fi films who ends up saving the day for the good of mankind was as much fiction as the giant bugs, aliens, and mutant-dinosaurs they were called upon to dispatch.

  13. kittenz responds:

    “Still, Meldrum has a distinguished supporter in Jane Goodall, the world-famous authority on African chimpanzees. Her blurb on the jacket of Meldrum’s new book, “Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science,” lauds him for bringing “a much-needed level of scientific analysis” to the Bigfoot debate.

    “As a scientist, she’s very curious and she keeps an open mind,” said Goodall spokeswoman Nona Gandelman. “She’s fascinated by it.”

    If no less a person than Jane Goodall can keep an open mind about Bigfoot and support Dr. Meldrum’s continued research, then by what authority are all these professors calling for his head?!!

  14. mark responds:

    Science is the new religion, of course. The high priests have no experience of life when they live in the temple all day. They only know what the other high priests tell them. Go back to the Miocene and look at the diversity of apes. Where did they all go? The fossil record only hints at it so far, but if you do some reasonable guesswork based on the internal consistency of sightings around the world, you will find a path to stand on. We’re so secretly happy that we’re the only species in our genus and there are no genera close to us: officially. Why would we want to even find something that upsets our self-made demigod status?

    The evidence in Jeff’s book is clear and undeniable. But anyone can choose to believe that the sun revolves around the earth, and that the earth is the center of creation, and H. sapiens the lord of it all.

  15. robzilla responds:

    Let me see the world was flat anyone who belived otherwise was laughed at.
    The earth was the center of the universe same there.
    Gorillas in africa noway.
    I live in the ruarl part of michigan i know what i was seeing and hearing out here when i was younger these people who write all this stuff i seriously doubt have ever even been out of the city.
    As for other scientists if they have no degree in a related field i dont care what they have to say.
    Just because your a scientist does’nt give their opinion any more credibility than mine.
    I thought journalistis were supposed to get all the facts and report it and let the reader decide for themselves and not give their opinion.
    That folks is just my opinion.

  16. Raptorial responds:

    It is sad what some scientists do. I mean, classing us cryptozoologists as the equivelant of studying Santa Claus? That is just wrong. Dr. Meldrum, I support you.

  17. One Eyed Cat responds:

    Jealousy and child behavior from grown men and women can backfire so quick.

    Fussing over something not in your field is just — trying to be nice here — brainless.

  18. greywolf responds:

    I am presently reading the book. I find that the press (ie) AP news and othere no longer report the news as it is they interpret it as they wish and then tell us what they seem to think what we need to know. Report the news as it happens and let us deside what we need to know.

  19. isawasasquatch responds:

    For those of you who would like to let Hackworth know that you’re not impressed with his tasteless, uncalled-for and close-minded remarks, I encourage you to go to Hackworth’s website and fire away.

    The sheer arrogance, and ignorance for that matter, on display here astounds me. I read this morning in another article that Hackworth was so pompous as to flat out state that in all likelihood the sasquatch doesn’t exist. I wonder what his assertion is based on? Probably not research, since he doesn’t even think the subject is worthy of honest, fact-seeking research such as what Jeff Meldrum and others are involved in.

    While it’s okay, of course, to be a skeptic (as I once was), it’s disrespectful at best, and quite childish at worst to publicly attack those who claim to have seen one of these things (such as me), or attack those who research this phenomenon (such as Meldrum). What in the world is wrong with honestly researching it? Is the disdain out of a fear that the research may lead to discovery? How can it be remotely argued in cogent way that the possible discovery of an as-yet unidentified species is not something worth pursuing? Why do some of the world’s leading primatologists, such as Jane Goodall, Russ Mittmeier, George Schaller, Esteban Sarmiento, and others publicly make statements that they believe the subject is worthy of serious research and discourse? There are hundreds if not thousands of other scientists who actually, quietly feel the same way; but because of the atmosphere that has been perpetuated by the likes of some journalists and the Hackworths of the world, everyone wants to remain in the closet with their interest and/or research. I think it’s despicable, sad and very unscientific for such an atmosphere to be promulgated.

    I also find it interesting that a physicist would even dare to make public statements regarding a subject which is certainly not within the realm of his/her study. What Hackworth has done is akin to Meldrum speaking to the press in a highly negative manner about Hackworth’s research (which of course, Meldrum is not the least bit interested in doing).

    I am quite tired of the likes of the Daeglings and Hackworths of the world being afforded authority on this subject by the press, when they really haven’t even begun to actually touch the surface of its possibilities.

    I hope Hackworth is inundated with pecking, pesky, nasty, irritating, set-you-straight emails in the near future on a number of fronts.

    I say to Jeff Meldrum, good for you, sir and do not be discouraged.

  20. ilexoak responds:

    It will be interesting to see how the tables will turn the moment BF steps into the light of day. For BF’s sake I’d hope that he remains a crypto, but for guys like Prof. Meldrum, I hope they get the credibility they deserve. All it would take is for one to wander into a urban area with a few thousand witnesses and a probable capture and “relocating” perhaps.


  21. Hoax Hater responds:

    Scientists should not look down on someone for studying something they do not believe in. There is more proof that bigfoot exists than there is evidence that the Big Bang theory is correct. I hope that Jeff Meldrum is the one to discover bigfoot. He deserves it I think.

  22. Rustaveli responds:

    On Jeff Meldrum, Sasquatch & Religion.

    Please don’t get me wrong, my comment means no disrespect to any religion or any firm believer in religion at all. We know, however, that all it takes to believe in dogma is just that: unshakeable faith. Therefore, from a strictly objective point of view, Prof. Meldrum has more reason to believe in Sasquatch than any faithful has to believe in God, or in the Big Bang theory, as Hoax Hater aptly put in the comment above.

    It is utterly incomprehensible to me that such a piece of news (?) is published by someone who is obviously biased, and clearly NOT KNOWLEDGEABLE of what he is writing about; and also I don’t understand why it should deserve any attention or credit.

    I wonder if it would be possible for us to show Prof. Meldrum our support and encouragement for his research.
    Sugestions anyone?


  23. mystery_man responds:

    Yes, good idea, Rustaveli. It would be nice to give him some show of support. I hope he can see some of these wonderful, supportive comments here. Sometimes a good vote of confidence is enough to get you through tough times.

  24. ilexoak responds:

    Someone may qualify as a “scientist” in the field of “physics” while failing to qualify as a “scientist” in the field of “biology”. The analogy to Santa exemplifies this. The same holds true for all those biologists and cosmologists who try to expound on theology.


  25. elsanto responds:

    I have to say, Mark, you hit the nail on the head. Science has become so much sophistry. It’s hilarious that science (as it is practised today) is so at odds with religious fundamentalism — and yet, it’s so understandable: each is everything the other hates about itself.

    Alderman makes an interesting statement in his article: [Meldrum] “…gets funny looks and the silent treatment from other scientists, and is not invited to share coffee with the other science professors.”

    Sadly, HACKworths and other shoddy academics are very petty people. They are easily jealous and quickly regress to the mean. And why? Because most are incapable of functioning in the world beyond the halls of academia. (Make no mistake, I was the beneficiary of a grand eduation, and was blessed with the many great teachers and professors I had). Thus, many are reduced to clutching at what scraps of glory and power they can snatch. If Meldrum is indeed so regarded by his colleagues, we can accurately acscribe it to petty jealousy and resentment at his exposure and publicity.

    Note, too, that HACKworth, nor anyone else, is actually able to criticize the science of the work that he does.

    Just my two cents.

  26. joe levit responds:

    isawasasquatch, it looks like Hackworth may be blocking his email. I did try to log my consternation and found an error getting through to him!

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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