Posted by: The Discerning Man's Squatch on January 18th, 2014
When Dogma Drives Karma
By The Discerning Man’s Squatch
As many of you know I am a skeptic. Or maybe I should say skeptical in that I filter everything and come to conclusions based on certain criteria that evidence must have in order for me to entertain it. I also take the approach in a philosophical manner as I try and explain sometimes our collective need for creatures that go bump in the night and the mysterious. I do believe, even if there is no such thing as Sasquatch we would have created him (or something like him) as therapy for our own questions of the unknown, our fears and just our own desires to tell stories in colorful ways. Luckily though I think there may really be something out there, but as things are, our hobby is riffled with bad science, bad evidence and even worse people and that is why many in the mainstream discount and even scoff at the whole notion.
I have done my research on the subject of Bigfoot and my conclusions which should not influence your own, are that there is something out there, and not just an imaginary beast. My conclusions are not based on a personal encounter as few in our hobby claim to have, but in the longevity of the myth and a fairly decent pile of evidence, which unfortunately lies under a greater pile of something that we often refer to as steaming.
Here is a list of my basic criteria when scrutinizing video evidence, and know that sometimes not all of these are met even for my favorites, but a good starting place for me.
1. Reaction of the people making the video.
2. Why are they there and holding a running camera?
3. Can we clearly see that you have a “living” creature on film…No shadowy shapes that could be anything?
4. How does the subject move in its interaction with the environment?
5. Does it look like what we have come to believe Bigfoot looks like, and still retain wild or animal like motion and characteristics?
6. Is there a verifiable background on the people releasing the
video that can be corroborated by other credible people?
Most of the evidence I have seen is pretty bad if not horrible, but there intertwined in the shadows and misidentifications lie some good stuff that can’t be brushed off easily. I truly like about a half a dozen videos (out of many hundreds) and today I am going to list some of those and express why I think they advance the conversation versus most nonstarters. Then I want to talk about how our actions with the bad dictate the acceptance of the good.
The Patterson Gimlin film. Perhaps the clearest video with no question that it is not a misidentification. Being that misidentifications are rampant or at least more likely in some cases than a real Sasquatch, this is very important. As most know, PGF was filmed in 1967 on a decent amateur camera that was rented by Roger Patterson. What a lot don’t know is that Roger bounced the check paying for this camera and that if what is in this film is a hoax costume, it would have been a very expensive costume, well beyond the means of Patterson. If it is a costume, it is 2014 Hollywood quality and not that of 1967 amateur on a meager budget. The film as I have discussed numerously has been scrutinized hundreds of times. Current technology has allowed for stabilizing, zooming in, taking markers in the film to gauge size in the actual field, as well as many professional eyes that have scanned every frame to death. If you have the time, look M.K Davis up on Youtube and see all of the work this man has done on PG. It is impressive. We also have Dr Jeffery Meldrum, who has respected credentials in anthropology and the locomotion of animals. He is fairly convinced that not only do the mechanics not jive with a human in a costume, but also the physical dimensions do not align with a human body. No matter how big a human, if you line up the shoulders with the creature, the hips are off by every leniency and by too large of a margin to be a man. If you line up the waists same goes with knees and so on. You simply cannot line up what is in the PG film and place a man into those dimensions.
Bill Munns, a Hollywood effects artist and costume maker also objects that this is a costume and will categorically deny that it was even possible in 1967 to make something like this, noting today’s inventions of form fitting stretchable materials that simply were not around in those days. The muscles and tendons are clearly visible in breakdowns of PGF and we barely reach that today without CGI. I feel that this is the real deal or the greatest hoax ever committed.
The Freeman footage is nearly as impressive in that we can state for a fact that this is no bear or other wild animal we have cataloged in North America. It also eerily looks very much like what PG caught on their camera, once again making it, if a costume out of the price range let alone beyond the then current technology in costume making back then. As in both PG and the Freeman films there is something else that seems to not be reproducible in a hoax and that is just the way the creature moves. We are very familiar with how people move and have athletes that at any given time show us the human body in extreme motion. These creatures move nothing like us, but have a certain glide to them that sets them apart from our bad attempts at recreating them.
Backed by Dr Meldrum’s conclusion from plaster cast foot prints of a meta tarsal break in the feet of these creatures, they have a completely different mobility than anything we are used to seeing. By these standards I can pretty much rule anything a hoax no matter how good the costume if it walks anything like we do. We just don’t move that way, at least naturally and these videos show very natural movement in its frames. In the Freeman film there is also a juvenile and a baby Bigfoot that seems to be hoisted into mama’s arms and so the degree of scripting I would say if it is a hoax would be well beyond the mind of Paul Freeman. A good guy, but no Steven Spielberg.
The Provo film. Shot by a group of kids on a camping trip as they walk off filming some deer and come upon what they think is a bear. Cautiously but curious they zoom in and watch what seems to be the back of a black bear foraging for something on the ground. This film would not have ever made it to my list if it hadn’t been for people like MK Davis and Thinker Thunker as well as a few others, who have slowed this video down and zoomed in. The reaction in the end is what you or anyone else would do as this thing stands up without using its arms to reveal its massive body. You would never make that out though without slowing this video down and in fact the video was labeled something like, “What is this?” when first published on Youtube. It wasn’t until many weeks later that people were talking about this being a Bigfoot and video geeks got their hands on it. Instead of a black blur, that we are quickly distracted from as the kids bolt, in slowed down versions, the creature is definitely not a bear, but a hulkish hairy creature with its arms outstretched as it lifts itself upward only using the power of its legs. These kids were later interviewed and they came off as credible to many and not Bigfoot enthusiasts as many like freeman and PG were.
There are a few more videos that I like as well, but not many in the scheme of things. You see this genre has pretty much shot itself in the foot (No pun intended) and has kept the subject strictly a fringe one. In fact, it could be that every one of the videos I have discussed here is a hoax and a person can come to that conclusion because the other 99 percent are just that, hoaxes or misidentification.
The field is full of hoaxers for various reasons and unfortunately to my chagrin there are a great deal of followers that don’t even require a costume of any kind, as a shadow or a rock will suffice to get them chattering.
My point is the dogma of Bigfoot has really affected its karma and is why any real proof has an uphill battle even before it gets started. In the news right now is a guy who sets us back many steps as he wantonly destroys any shred of credibility we have without care. I won’t mention his name, but you all know who he is and you would be doing us all a favor to nip this guy in the bud before he carries on much further.
So while I do consider some proof to be damn near conclusive, and this is not based solely off of what we see in the frames of videos, but a longer list of objectifications that line up to create a big picture, I also think it all has been tarnished by not only the behavior of the hoaxer, but also those who allow it by having very little criteria in which to base their beliefs. We create the culture by what we allow in it and by what we don’t by holding it up to the light for further scrutiny. Everything should pass the smell test or should be tossed because we are the only gate keepers of our beloved hobby. There is room to shelf some evidence until further information and conclusions can be reached, but if the evidence is not supported and we have not done our homework, we are the only ones to blame for our messy state of affairs.
I want this to be fun not only for myself, but for other enthusiasts and believers, but I also want it to be less fringy for the sake of being fringy because we have held ourselves to certain standards after being burned or by burning ourselves.
So do you agree that good proof has been sullied by the bad? Do you think we, by accepting blobsquatches and stories that don’t stand up to our scrutiny are nearly as bad as hoaxers in that our dogma suffers in the long run and affects our pastimes karma? Once again, we are the gate keepers and dictate how our future unfolds by opening the door carefully and pragmatically. We can no more blame our pet dog for urinating on the carpet if we don’t discourage it from doing so, than we can blame shoddy evidence and hoaxers while at the same time give them fertile fields. We can’t have it both ways if we expect our experience to change someday and believe me hoaxers are counting on that.
Ready, set… Bigfoot!
The Discerning Man's Squatch
Gordon Ambrose from Golden, Colorado is an enthusiast of things that go bump in the night. The strange, the unexplained and the manufactured imaginings of the human species. Believing that the human monster can be the scariest of them all, Gordon likes to tackle these questions with a philosophical slant that digs deep into the human psyche. “There are reasons we tell tales of the creepy kind Gordon believes, and they come from not only the darkness under our beds, but in the recesses of our minds, especially when the sun goes down and we are left with only our unprotected, naked selves.” Specifically for Gordon, Bigfoot is a fascinating and profound subject, and has the distinct possibility of being one of many real boogeymen that we have been warned about in myth and legend. “That is why it has captured almost everyone’s imagination, he says, both believer and skeptic.” Gordon considers himself a skeptic, but warns that does not mean he doubts anything for doubts sake. Both sides have blinders on Gordon thinks, as skeptics can use the same faulty logic to come to conclusions as those who see our planet teeming with Bigfoots, UFOs, Sea Monsters and Ghosts. Critical thinking is our friend and the best tool in our tool box and always our justly prerogative. One question Gordon gets asked a lot is, “Do you think Bigfoot exists”? His answer is not a straight forward one, because he, like most of us, has not had a personal encounter. He believes it is a possibility and even a likely one though. “Unfortunately we sometimes share this hobby, with those who use very little critical thinking and I am not a fan of that, he says. We have made leaps and bounds since the Dark Ages and I for one don’t feel the need to go back there in my search for an answer. The truth is out there and it resides in the real world. The place I like to hang my hat”. Gordon has a Facebook fan page named “The Discerning Man’s Squatch” where he first began to ponder and speculate not only the existence of Sasquatch, but what it means to us and how it relates, to our understanding of ourselves. “These are the questions that many don’t ask and I feel compelled to ask them” he says. Majoring in both History and Philosophy, he has a unique perspective that those subjects have brought to him and likes to remind himself of the phrases “Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it” and” I think therefore I am”. “We do have an inherent need for a boogeyman” he states. The need arises from our persistence to survive and keeps us from being careless when there are real dangers out there. Colorful stories keep those things close to our breast and help us to remind future generations to look before you leap, because there are real things out there with sharp teeth.” “That being said, he reminds us, that does not mean the colorful stories do not represent the real deal on occasions and in the case of Bigfoot, the deal has gotten a little more real for me, by doing some deep exploring into the topic.” “I am lucky to live in the mountains of Colorado. An area where I can look out my window and see miles of thick trees that cover the hills. There have been sightings not far from my home and I absolutely love that! There is almost nothing more exciting to me, to think that the big guy with big feet could be lurking in my very own backyard. However it also has the secondary consequence of making me a little more jittery when I go camping solo with just my dog.”