Sasquatch Coffee


Six Rules of Bigfoot Research

Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 11th, 2007

Bigfoot dropping gaff

Blake Mathys has been a Bigfoot researcher for decades, from his days of being in the woods of the Midwest, investigating as a kid growing up in Ohio. Currently, he is studying for his Ph. D. in wildlife biology. As I write this, he is presently on his sixth trip to Bermuda, collecting further data on the native birds from that island for his dissertation.

Blake Mathys shares his following “Six Rules of Bigfoot Research” for feedback and critiques.

Six Rules of Bigfoot Research

The following “Six Rules of Bigfoot Research” are meant to improve the quality of the evidence that is gathered. Similar rules could be applied to any cryptozoological research and are indeed just extensions of healthy skepticism.

1. Physical evidence (broken branches, moved rocks, stick formations, et cetera) that could have been caused by humans or known animals should not be regarded as Bigfoot-related.

2. Sounds that are heard without seeing the creature responsible cannot be directly linked to Bigfoot. While it may be necessary to suspend this rule during the course of an investigation, it must be imposed if no corroborating evidence is discovered.

3. It is not possible to reliably determine if people are lying simply by listening to their testimony.

4. Despite the real possibility of getting shot, people do walk around in gorilla outfits.

5. Most people are incredibly bad at judging heights, weights, and distances. If a witness did not have something in close proximity with which to compare height, estimates are likely to be inaccurate. This does not reflect on credibility, it is simply a common human attribute.

6. Despite no obvious monetary gain or fame, people will invent Bigfoot sightings to gain attention. This is true even if the attention is only from a few Bigfoot researchers.

Another rule that didn’t quite make the list is “There are no caves.” In Ohio, many Bigfoot witnesses will mention nearby caves as possible living areas for the creatures. These caves don’t exist. There may be rock overhangs, but do not bother looking for actual caves. I’m not sure if this rule applies in other areas. (I know that there are actual caves in Ohio, but it has been my experience that searching for alleged Bigfoot-related caves is never successful.)by Blake Mathys

I appreciate thoughtful work and feel Blake stands on firm to semi-firm ground on most of his points. (I reserve mild disagreement on #3, based on my experiences, for sometimes it is possible for a good and skilled interviewer to detect deception during extended and multiple interviews of the same eyewitness.)

But if we consider Blake’s afterthought about his possible “#7,” his “no cave” addition would be without foundation. Absolutes are usually a mistake, anyway, and for Blake to say “searching for alleged Bigfoot-related caves is never successful” is incorrect.

“Never”? Perhaps this has more to do with a breakdown in definitions. Usually, underground caves are formally termed “caverns,” and found most often in limestone. Therefore, specifically “caverns” are few and far-between in Ohio. In the Buckeye State, when people say “caves,” as Blake is partially conveying, the caves of Ohio are most often recess caves or overhangs, caused by erosion in sandstone. Are there “caves” in Ohio? Well, yes, as the largest recess cave in the state is part of the state park system, and called “Ash Cave” at Hocking Hills State Park.

Other “named” caves or caverns in Ohio, include: Haunted Cave, Heineman Winery-Crystal Cave, Olentangy Indian Caverns, Perry’s Cave, Saltpeter Caves, Seneca Caverns, The 7 Caves, Zane Caverns, and Ohio Caverns. For more details on all of these locations, click here.

Are some of these caves “Bigfoot-related”? Just as much as someone’s farm, a near-by creek, or a road near where a Bigfoot is sighted can be “Bigfoot-related.”

Also, throughout North America, limestone caverns, sandstone rock outcroppings, old abandoned shacks, rundown unoccupied camps, empty barns, and all kinds of presumed habitat are found by Bigfoot hunters and linked to thoughts of a migrating Bigfoot or free-ranging Sasquatch. It doesn’t mean those structures have been used or that unknown hairy hominoids exist, but that caves can be found, even in Ohio, with histories of Bigfoot activity near them is a fact and not a negative absolute.

The illustration at top is a Bigfoot dropping gaff sold by ClaytonBaily.com/ceramics/.

Loren Coleman – has written 5491 posts on this site.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


52 Responses to “Six Rules of Bigfoot Research”

  1. windigo responds:

    He seems to completely trivialize the importance of caves while searching for Sasquatch. Every creature has a need for shelter, and especially during the colder months. Sasquatch probably enter a period of torpor during the winter months, as suggested by Dr. Bindernagel. This, combined with the more inclement weather of winter, would only increase the need for shelter and concealment from the elements, and would make caves an enticing option for a Sasquatch.

  2. Benjamin Radford responds:

    An excellent list of suggestions. Too bad it will be ignored. I’ve been trying to raise the standard of crypto evidence for well over a decade. With a few notable exceptions, I mostly get attacked and criticized for it.

    It’s clear to me that most of the crypto community don’t want to raise the standards of evidence, because of course that will dramatically cut down on the amount of their so-called evidence…

  3. mantis responds:

    #4?
    Has there ever been anyone that was shot while wearing a gorilla suit? I did only a quick search but found nothing. And what would be the legal results of shooting someone in a gorilla suit? Could you plead that you thought it was bigfoot; by killing the creature you hoped to discover it’s existance? Could I shoot a man who entered my house because I thought it was Santa; by killing him I could prove he existed?

  4. fuzzy responds:

    Mantis: “Could I shoot a man who entered my house because I thought it was Santa; by killing him I could prove he existed?”

    Bad example, in my opinion – you KNOW the truth about Santa, but Squatch truth is still up for grabs, so no comparison. But if someone was snorkeling along a lake surface in a big Nessie suit and you popped him, now THERE’S a similar example.

  5. Bob K. responds:

    It can happen. Not too long ago in Oregon, a convicted felon on parole was high on something, I guess hanging around the waters edge(whether it was a lake or stream, I cant recall)with his rifle, and shot a passing snorkler in the head, thinking he was a nutria. He at least had the decency to help the fellow out of the water, and the man survived. The shooter was in some hot water, however! Of course, the point is, our unfortunate snorkler wasnt disguised as anything. It goes to show you how foolhardy it is for someone to go traipsing through the woods in an animal custume.

  6. DWA responds:

    In short:

    1. Don’t look, because
    2. If you find evidence, it isn’t evidence, because
    3. All evidence must be accompanied by a Bigfoot on a leash.

    Pseudoscience is a funny thing. This guy is a biologist, right? Can I have a look at his research?

    I bet that, using his rules, I could shoot it so full of holes that no one using his rules would accept it.

    Fortunately, biologists, by and large, don’t use his rules in searching for animals.

  7. DWA responds:

    OK, I’ve mellowed a bit since I put that first one up.

    Isn’t it great what first posts can do?

    Still, there is an air in these “rules” of: none of that stuff – sightings, sounds, smells, eyewitness accounts – is searchable. You can’t do anything with it. But let’s see here.

    If this guy is a Bigfoot researcher, than he quite obviously has done something with most if not all of it. Let’s take them one at a time.

    1. Physical evidence (broken branches, moved rocks, stick formations, et cetera) that could have been caused by humans or known animals should not be regarded as Bigfoot-related.

    “Could have been?” As in “conceivably”? You won’t be able to consider any of it, then. And some of it might be under conditions or in places or showing additional sign that might make a human or a known animal a very unlikely culprit.

    2. Sounds that are heard without seeing the creature responsible cannot be directly linked to Bigfoot. While it may be necessary to suspend this rule during the course of an investigation, it must be imposed if no corroborating evidence is discovered.

    Well, who’s saying that’s-Bigfoot? People are describing sounds of incredible volume and carry. The descriptions don’t sound like anything I’ve heard. OK, like very little I’ve heard; and I could in no way identify the “very little” I’ve heard to a known animal. Some of the descriptions of vocals I’ve heard seem to rule out known animals. You should at least be searching for that corroborating evidence when reports from a locale describe vocalizations for which the known fauna don’t seem responsible.

    3. It is not possible to reliably determine if people are lying simply by listening to their testimony.

    No. And I don’t believe anyone who contradicts this statement. But the point is not to be certain; it is to be uncertain enough that this person didn’t see what they are talking about. Attempts to ascertain veracity are attempts to answer the question: can we rule this one out? You have to make those attempts; if witnesses don’t seem the type to do this, you may have something you can search on. This feller became a researcher because he read and heard about eyewitness testimony.

    4. Despite the real possibility of getting shot, people do walk around in gorilla outfits.

    A few, maybe. This in no way could be considered a plausible cause of maybe 90% of the reports I’ve read. And it’s simply irrational to use this to discount eyewitness reports out of hand.

    5. Most people are incredibly bad at judging heights, weights, and distances. If a witness did not have something in close proximity with which to compare height, estimates are likely to be inaccurate. This does not reflect on credibility, it is simply a common human attribute.

    And that attribute seems astonishingly consistent in the case of the sasquatch. We’re not asking them, 7-4 or 7-5? We’re getting a rough idea, which is all you can get. What, you don’t search because it’s not precise enough? If it were, we’d, um, KNOW. Again, the testimony critiqued in 5. is why this guy became a researcher.

    6. Despite no obvious monetary gain or fame, people will invent Bigfoot sightings to gain attention. This is true even if the attention is only from a few Bigfoot researchers.

    Some might. Most, you’d have to show me, case by case. It is HARD to fake a sighting report anything like some of the ones I have read.

    Another rule that didn’t quite make the list is “There are no caves.”

    Right. ;-)

  8. DWA responds:

    And I should have added: great gaff! Are we gonna see more? That one is priceless. I want one.

  9. Benjamin Radford responds:

    You know how some people just love to hear themselves talk? It’s the same with posting.

  10. old crow responds:

    Funny his rules would pretty much rule out the average criminal investigation. Now days the criminal investigation as it has for years involves the eyewitnesses, among other things. In order to make a case you have to have circumstantial evidence of some sort.

    As I recall and I haven’t worked in law enforcement for years. We used the who, what, where, when, & how. This included what did you hear? Was anything left behind? How tall? what was he wearing? It appears these same things can still be applied to science when you are trying to determine if you are on the right path to finding evidence of BF

    This gentleman needs to pause and think about what he is stating as fact.

    Oh an in my neck of the woods Fly over America. We still have lots of folks that would shoot anyone wearing a monkey suit day or night, as it would be perceived as a threat.

  11. DWA responds:

    I agree, Ben.

    But some of us, instead of making statements like that, come up with arguments, insights, and points.

    Your turn. Come on, we’re all in the business of elevating discourse here. OK, most of us. Give it a try.

  12. AtomicMrEMonster responds:

    I definitely agree that it’s not a good idea to discount a report right off the bat, but it’s also not a good idea to discount the possibility of a hoax without checking.

    Although we think of the dangers of getting shot or otherwise injured, not all people do. This especially goes for those who have lookouts, those who aren’t very bright, or someone who is so in love with the idea of a hoax that they fail to consider getting shot (especially if it’s off season). Besides people out for a laugh or trying to boost the tourist trade, there’s also the possibility of people filming a movie/web short/etc. If the suited person is directed to wait behind a bush and a hiker is on the other side of the bush, well, you can guess the rest. Although it can’t explain all sightings, this could explain some deep woods sightings if the film crew is trying to get footage without a permit. That’d also explain why they wouldn’t admit to the sighting.

    Some sightings, especially ones near residental areas, could be due to Halloween enthusiasts testing a suit or prop. Speaking as one such person, many of us build/test stuff all year ’round and some do like to prank other people as a “test.” Some will explain what happened (if the person sticks around), but others won’t. Checking forums devoted to Halloween and haunted attractions will yield several such stories.

    People in suits would obviously not explain all sightings (and footprints, etc.), but the possibility of a hoax or misidentifications should be shown to be unlikely before moving on to other possibilities. By presenting an airtight case that all other explanations are unlikely, one gains more credibility.

  13. AtomicMrEMonster responds:

    By the way, has anyone ever tried compiling a pictoral database of gorilla, Bigfoot, and ghillie suits? It would be a good way to see which suits have similar features and pictures could be shown to witnesses (without immediately telling them that it’s a suit) to see if they match up to what they saw.

    I know this wasn’t directed at me, but I’m not posting to hear myself talk…er…post, but I am trying to keep my posts in bite-sized chunks. The possibility that others like to post thoughts as soon as they occur instead of mulling them over to form a single post should be considered, too.

  14. DWA responds:

    AMM:

    Couldn’t argue with a thing you’re saying.

    But I think there are lots of encounter reports for which everything but the witness outright lying can be comfortably ruled out. And the witness doesn’t appear to be lying.

    It’s up to individual scientists how far they want to go with pursuing anecdotal evidence of cryptids. Obviously, you won’t see significant numbers of zoologists just summarily drop what they’re doing and pursue a cryptid when they think they’re studying something with a greater likelihood of return (a somewhat subjective evaluation, of course). But with few exceptions (and almost all of those are scientists searching in the types of places where either they haven’t searched before, or where similar searches have been fruitful), new animals don’t get discovered without some prior evidence of the anecdotal sort. As old crow points out, pretty much every scrap of evidence in a crime investigation is anecdotal at the start. But if you don’t pursue leads that appear promising to obtain progressively more solid evidence, the investigation stops before it’s started. Interviews with witnesses and suspects yield what can only be called anecdotal evidence. If you don’t follow it up you go nowhere.

    So it is with cryptids; the only real difference is that law enforcement is paid to do it. Not so sasquatch hunters.

  15. DWA responds:

    AMM:

    Your suggestion of a pictorial database is one I can’t believe somebody out there, somewhere, hasn’t done. But if there’s a centralized resource I wouldn’t be aware of it.

    I have long said that good close-up video of a sasquatch would be instantly compelling. But hey, no reason not to make sure.

    And actually, you know who I think would be the best candidates to assemble such a resource? Skeptics. I think proponents have to focus on searching for the animal. But debunking does need to happen; and this would be a good debunking tool.

    My only question: how difficult would it be to get people to cooperate who might want to make a lot of money off pranksters and hoaxsters? And one might want to include online images too. It may not yet be possible for art to imitate life exactly. But boy some recent things I’ve seen have gotten close. Not close enough; but close enough to cause some mischief before savvy people review them.

  16. AtomicMrEMonster responds:

    DWA:

    It depends. One could just do online searches for gorilla/bigfoot/etc. costumes and download the pictures. However, this could lead to copyright issues and skew witness reactions (A picture of a suit with a black background is a dead giveaway that it’s not real). This would also not cover all the older costume styles.

    Those involved in/enthusiasts of sideshows, dark rides, haunted attractions, costume manufacturers, etc. could also be asked. If you say that you want pictures of “ape-like” costumes, they might assume that you’re just a collector (albeit a more hardcore one). Catalogs might also be obtained from various costume/haunted attraction/movie prop/novelty/magic/etc. businesses via request.

    Costume makers are in the business to make money, so offers of money could loosen their lips. The possibility of using it to get a jump on their competition might be too good to resist. One might also have to pay them for use of the pictures (or buying/renting a suit to photograph in a wilderness setting) for it since they’d own the copyright on the costume designs. You would need to contact those people if you wanted information on older styles of costume. However, they might not have any of those since the materials have deteriorated away.

    I’ve also heard that some costume stores make their own suits, so one might have to go as far as to contact every store in the country (world?) to get a complete list. This would not cover defunct stores, though.

    There will be holes in such a database due to new movies being made, custom-made suits, and new costume designs, etc. Oh, and human-faced masks should also be included.

    Due to the money involved, I’d imagine both sides would be reluctant to do so. Some believers might not want to since they think they skeptics should do it. Some skeptics might think that the believers should do it since they have more to prove. Hopefully, this idea will spread and someone with the desire and means will do it.

    There’s a temptation to think of hoaxsters as incompetents who rush through their work because we see many obvious hoaxes. However, it’s the crafty, careful ones whose work isn’t so obvious that we must be worrying about. If the database isn’t heavily publicized, many hoaxers won’t be aware of it.

  17. Greg(Not that Greg) responds:

    Why do we hear so many warnings about the danger of being shot while wearing a monkey suit, while on the other hand we hear endless excuses as to why a Bigfoot hasn’t been shot?

    Why wouldn’t people fail to shoot at someone in a costume for the same reasons?

  18. MattBille responds:

    Since several people have claimed to have fired a rifle at a sasquatch (some claiming to have hit the beast, but without downing it), it’s logical to assume there is a danger to idiots in gorilla suits. Human beings being what they are, it’s also a safe assumption that a few idiots have taken the risk.

    It’s extremely hard to imagine, though, that it would be a workable defense for a hunter to say, “Yes, your honor, I killed that man, but I didn’t think it was a man. I was justified because I thought it was an animal, even though that animal has no legal hunting season anywhere.”

  19. DWA responds:

    A few things that are frequently overlooked by the man-in-a-suit school:

    1. Suits are heavy and hot. It’s hard to do anything much in them for very long. Much less act like the fast, graceful, athletic critter people are seeing.

    2. Yes, people will do it. You see their fate when you come to this site. Encounter reports are definitely not describing what one sees in Youtube videos.

    3. Most hunters – that is most – know the rules well enough to know that if there is not a specific open season on an animal, you can’t hunt it. No open seasons exist on animals that aren’t recognized by science.

    4. Most hunters that have encountered the sasquatch – and more hunters see this animal than anyone else, except maybe motorists or campers – don’t shoot, for a variety of reasons.

    5. A few have. (Most of the people who have shot at one have been scared campers or property owners thinking they were protecting themselves.) Their target seems to react pretty much the way any large animal does when shot, most particularly – except in one case that I’m aware of – not going down as quickly as a man in a suit would. (In that one case -there’s at least one, Matt – great shot. By accident, because the hunter thought he was shooting at a moose. Not as weird as it sounds. It was 1941; the sasquatch wasn’t on the public radar screen yet; the animal was in dense brush; and the hunter was tracking a moose he’d wounded.)

    6. You can get guys in suits. You could even get a guy to shoot at one, probably for a malicious show-this-idiot reason. But I’m not sure it’s a main avenue for sasquatch debunking, much less research.

  20. DWA responds:

    AMM:

    Probably the thing that will happen – should a shot, shots or video seem to show something compelling – is that researchers and debunkers alike will be all over the Web combing it for possibilities. (Something that wasn’t very easy to do at the time of the P/G film, not that there were many suit designs around that looked like that.)

    You know what? That database we’re talking about may already be here! It’s called Google Images (and its buddies), aka the Internet.

  21. AtomicMrEMonster responds:

    DWA:

    1. This is something that can be used to weed out the possibility of suits in some cases. However, you seem to be assuming that a person wouldn’t try to practice in/get used to the suit. Just as a good weightlifter practices instead of trying for the big weights immediately, a good hoaxer will practice.

    There are also ways to “beat the heat,” such as putting bags of ice in the costume prior to use or wearing the costume for short amounts of time.

    This video seems to be an example of someone using a suit on a hot day, but I can’t say for sure since there’s no way for me to tell what the temperature really was.

    2. I doubt that a person who gets fooled due to a combination of shock and a costume has the same advantage that we do in our ability to watch and rewatch videos to our hearts’ content, especially if they run for it or the hoaxer leaves. Or if someone uses something that make make someone think that a costume was impossible, such as a suit similar to a “stalkaround” puppet (Instructions for building them can also be found online. And even those Youtube things fool people sometimes, like how one of the editors thought that viral video was credible.

    Really, would we expect someone to report a Bigfoot sighting if they saw an obvious costume? Of course not, they’d swear that what they saw was too realistic to be fake. After all, they’d know a costume if they saw it…

    As suits get more advanced each year, we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of suit-based hoaxes. Let’s not forget about that guy who mistook a guy in a suit for something mundane at first, then jumped to the conclusion it was Bigfoot: Part 1 and Part 2 (Hey, two pictures someone could use for a database!).

    I’m not saying that all sightings are suits or will play out like these, but I am saying that offhand dismissal without checking possibilities is foolhardy.

  22. AtomicMrEMonster responds:

    DWA:

    What you say could be right, but how will they know if they’re looking in the right place or not? And if it’s a custom job and the hoaxer didn’t post a site bragging about it, how could we tell?

    Online image searches can work, but it takes time to sort through them all (and that’s assuming you used the right queries to find an image). Heck, even a centralized database would be massive and would suffer from similar problems, although a well-made one would have images that didn’t make it obvious they’re pictures of someone in a suit. But then again, it never hurts to try searching…

  23. MattBille responds:

    DWA, re your comment

    “In that one case -there’s at least one, Matt – great shot. By accident, because the hunter thought he was shooting at a moose. Not as weird as it sounds. It was 1941; the sasquatch wasn’t on the public radar screen yet; the animal was in dense brush; and the hunter was tracking a moose he’d wounded.)”

    This is a good illustration of a couple of the rules being debated. We do NOT have a case where a sasquatch was killed by a hunter. We have a case where someone CLAIMED this happened, but the only evidence (correct me if I’m wrong) is the statement of the one witness. Not the same thing.

    Regards,
    Matt

  24. MattBille responds:

    I stand corrected on my comment about accidentally shooting an idiot in a gorilla suit thinking it was a sasquatch.
    My wife (a law degree in the family comes in handy) informs me that it could not be murder, as there was no intent to kill a human.
    Manslaughter would be possible, but not likely: the prosecution would have to argue the defendant should have taken some action that would have been reasonable under the circumstances to verify his target was not a human in a suit.
    If the hunter thought it was dangerous to get close enough to verify the apparent sasquatch, which a judge or jury might indeed think was reasonable, a prosecuter might not be able to nail him for anything.

  25. DWA responds:

    Matt:

    Until the sasquatch is confirmed, nothing is any better evidence than anything else.

    Many if not most incidents have only one witness. Even in those where there were multiple witnesses, do we think a concerted scientific search would be mounted in that area due to that alone? (Hasn’t happened yet.)

    I simply choose to omit “weasel words.” You said: “Since several people have claimed to have fired a rifle at a sasquatch (some claiming to have hit the beast, but without downing it), …” I was simply responding to that. At least one person claims to have killed one, with one shot. And a number of those other claims, too, have only one witness.

    Until something substantive is found following up any claim, a claim is all it is. From science’s standpoint, obviously, even P/G is no more than a claim, so long as there’s a preponderance of thought that what’s shown isn’t a real animal but a fake one.

  26. mystery_man responds:

    Matt Bille- That is certainly interesting info on the legalities of some guy in an ape suit getting shot. The thought has seriously crossed my mind a couple of times as to what would happen to the poor guy who thought he was making history by bagging a Bigfoot? Interesting post. Now, would that be treated almost like a hunting accident? I’m no lawyer, but I wonder if any prosecutor would be able to prove that someone thought it was a possibility it could be a man in a suit but shot anyway. If that was the case, it would be at least manslaughter, wouldn’t it? I honestly don’t know, so I’m curious.

  27. MattBille responds:

    Mystery man,
    Good thought, but I don’t see how a prosecutor could prove the hunter considered the possibility unless the hunter admitted it, which might happen but doesn’t sound likely, at least not if the guy has a lawyer.

  28. seethingcauldron responds:

    If this logic were applied to the investigation of crimes, the jails would be empty. No eye-witness reports (people make mistakes), no auditory evidence (could have been anything), very little physical evidence (someone else did that) and no admissible confessions (people lie to get attention).

    In addition, any strange physical evidence that IS found is immediately dismissed as an error or a planted fake.

    I’m not much of a believer in BF, but I find that these die-hard skeptics are being as rigid and foolish as any obsessive believer.

    Issac Newton himself believed that the correct way of pursuing science was to OBSERVE the phenomenon, create a theory that explains the phenomenon and them experiment to test the theory. What happened to that kind of science? What happened to the ‘search’, instead of the ‘research’?

  29. MattBille responds:

    DWA, re:

    ” Until the sasquatch is confirmed, nothing is any better evidence than anything else…
    Many if not most incidents have only one witness. Even in those where there were multiple witnesses, do we think a concerted scientific search would be mounted in that area due to that alone? (Hasn’t happened yet.)”

    You are quite correct, and I put my point badly. The point I was trying to make is that some writers give “alleged body” stories a little more weight, as if a witness’s claim a body was taken but lost is more important than a witness’s report of merely seeing a creature. This crops up with the Gambo, “baby Champ” and “baby Caddy” stories, among others. If you have one witness, you have one witness, whether the thing reported is alive or dead. Unless the witness is exceptionally qualified in a way that provides scientific credibility, a story of a body is no better or worse evidence than a sighting report.

  30. DWA responds:

    AMM: you say

    “…you seem to be assuming that a person wouldn’t try to practice in/get used to the suit. Just as a good weightlifter practices instead of trying for the big weights immediately, a good hoaxer will practice.”

    Two things about this.

    (1) I don’t assume anything. But I can say that what I’ve read in numerous encounter reports seems to preclude a human hoaxer at any level, as the reports are of witnesses seeing things humans can’t do, with or without a suit. I’d encourage anyone with any doubts about this to spend time perusing the BFRO and TBRC report databases.

    (2) Most hoaxers are bad. Like most thieves, they don’t want to go too far out of their way (and know that to get temporary attention, they don’t have to). I think that, for example, what’s shown in the P/G film is better than a good guy-in-ape-suit act, which usually echoes the way the guy would think a gorilla would act. The P/G subject doesn’t look to have trained; it looks as though it’s done that every day of its life. I don’t like to postulate (as I call it) The Legend of the Omnipotent Hoaxer before researching what I consider, actually, a more likely possibility.

    “There are also ways to “beat the heat,” such as putting bags of ice in the costume prior to use or wearing the costume for short amounts of time.”

    Both of these things are likely to backfire. (1) makes the suit harder to wear and move around in; (2) leaves open the possibility that the hoaxer will be caught in the open long enough for the hoax to become obvious. And of course to presume that a hoaxer would perfectly plan for both of these eventualities contributes to The Legend of the Omnipotent Hoaxer (hereinafter called LOTOH for purposes of brevity).

    “I doubt that a person who gets fooled due to a combination of shock and a costume has the same advantage that we do in our ability to watch and rewatch videos to our hearts’ content, especially if they run for it or the hoaxer leaves.”

    I don’t doubt that a guy in a suit could fool some people. But most – well, most of us nail the Youtube stuff after the first second or two, and almost all after a single viewing. And I really think that most if not all of the Youtube stuff is state-of-the-art for this sort of thing. And again, I simply can’t believe that a significant percentage of the encounter reports I’ve read could possibly be of a guy in a suit. These witnesses are unsettled and creeped out by the certainty that what they are seeing isn’t human. I think that almost everything I’ve seen on Youtube would have me (or them) laughing – at my computer, or in the field. (I can think of one exception. What the heck is up with the Peguis, Manitoba video? Anyone know?)

    “Really, would we expect someone to report a Bigfoot sighting if they saw an obvious costume? Of course not, they’d swear that what they saw was too realistic to be fake. After all, they’d know a costume if they saw it…”

    I think that if someone saw an obvious costume, you’d never see it on a sightings database. But that’s just me. I sure wouldn’t waste my time doing it.

    “As suits get more advanced each year, we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of suit-based hoaxes.”

    I don’t think that, in 40 years, I’ve seen anything that even comes close to a league below the P/G “suit” (which you probably gather I don’t think is a suit). I think I can confidently say that any human, in any suit yet made, would identify himself to me – never mind an expert in human anatomy and movement – conclusively as such with even the temporary exposure the P/G figure got.

    Again, summing up: given a choice between an unclassified animal and LOTOH, I research the former, first. It’s clearly the best bet. +The latter is not, I believe, worth a minute of time or money.

  31. DWA responds:

    Matt:

    I think you and I see eye to eye on this; I was simply pointing out the (single that I’m aware of) report of somebody bringing one down for keeps. (And freaking out so bad that there was no question of his bringing it in or letting anyone else know.) But it’s no better than a sighting, for sure. What, but his word, do we have?

    You do make an interesting point, and one I’ve touched on here, when you say: “Unless the witness is exceptionally qualified in a way that provides scientific credibility, a story of a body is no better or worse evidence than a sighting report.”

    That “unless” is one reason I think that a scientific expedition may be much more likely to bear fruit than a lot of people realize. If someone with unimpeachable credentials – on a funded search to confirm – has even a sighting, that one sighting could, by dint of the sighter and circumstances alone, suddenly take on more weight than everythnig else we have. I really think that it’s quite likely that our problem has only to do with who is seeing the animal. The animal certainly seems to be getting seen, a lot.

    I’ve often thought about this. There should be a one-year census of sighting or sign reports for the sasquatch, the wolverine, the wolf, and the mountain lion. Allowing (and I have no idea what the factor would be) for how many people are likely to not even report finding sas evidence, they’d probably be surprisingly close.

  32. mystery_man responds:

    Well, I will say one thing about costumes. Whenever you see any interviews with people who were required to wear elaborate suits in movies, what do you always hear? That they are heavy, hot, difficult to maneuver in, and offer extremely limited visibility. It is my understanding that scenes shot in movies that involve these costumes have to be done in bits and pieces with a full crew standing by to make sure it is presented well and that the suit wearer is comfortable. Even then, realism can be loacking. That’s why you get your cheaper, easier CGI. Then on top of that, look at some of the footage that is known for a fact to be a suit and you see how ridiculous it looks. Suits may be getting better, but I still don’t think it would be a fun day out in the forest for the hoaxer.

  33. MattBille responds:

    The film question gets into the problem of the new technology of CGI. I often watch Sci-Fi channel films just to laugh at the bad CGI creatures (who sometimes forget to cast a shadow or leave footprints), but I saw the third Shrek the other day with my daughter. The story is so-so (and they took the ogre-ish-ness, and thus the fun, out of the title character) but the creature animation is astonishing. I saw one shot of a CGI horse that for a moment made me wonder if they had spliced a real horse into an animated film. I suspect Pixar could create a CGI sasquatch that would pass muster when expertly spliced into in a real film or video except in an extreme closeup view.
    The point is that while, for now, I don’t think anyone except Pixar could create a sasquatch that would fool both film experts and zoologists, processing power is getting cheaper and animation software better. We may get to a point in a few years where a smart amateur could create a sasquatch which, seen in the middle distance, would fool almost anyone.

    Regards,
    Matt Bille

  34. mystery_man responds:

    MatteBille- I agree. What I meant by the CGI comment was that I feel one reason films rely heavily on CGI nowadays is that the technology has come to the point where is just easier than dealing with actors in big, heavy suits and more fluid movement can be created with CGI that just cannot be easily conveyed with a suit. I didn’t mean to imply that these Bigfoot films are using CGI to hoax anything at this point. My comment was more to illustrate how even movie makers find it hard to work with suits on film. But it does bring up an interesting question of how hoaxes might be performed years down the line. If CGI technology advances to the point where it is readily accessible and cheap, I can see the appraisal of possible Bigfoot footage becoming more difficult. Where photos have photoshopping hanging over our heads, footage will have the specter of CGI doctoring to contend with.

  35. AtomicMrEMonster responds:

    mystery_man:

    It is my understanding that scenes shot in movies that involve these costumes have to be done in bits and pieces with a full crew standing by to make sure it is presented well and that the suit wearer is comfortable.

    This is true for footage shot in a studio, mainly because of the extremely bright (and hot) lighting equipment. However, it should also be noted that lighting equipment can also be (and often is) used for outdoor filming due to the greater amount of control over lighting conditions that it offers.

    There’s also the matter of multiple takes. Even if they nail it on the first take, most directors have actors do multiple takes in order to have more footage to work with. Only extremely low budget productions avoid doing that. Anyway, this means more movement under hot lights, which requires more attention from the crew. However, an “in-person” hoaxing would not require extra lights, takes, etc.

    It also depends on the material used to make the suit. Latex/rubber-based suits tend to get the hottest. The early 90′s Japanese/American co-production “Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero” (this never aired in the USA, but it was shown in Japan as “Ultraman Powered” and clips can be found on Youtube) opted to use foam rubber (coupled with a cooling system) to allow for comfort and because of the greater amount of detailing that foam rubber offered. I saw an article touting the cooling system as being based on something NASA devised for astronauts, but considering the show’s low budget, I’m guessing they were overhyping a system of small tubes filled with cold water.

  36. AtomicMrEMonster responds:

    DWA:

    Most hoaxes are bad.

    But is this because you’ve seen all hoaxes or because you’ve only seen bad ones?

    The Legend of the Omnipotent Hoaxer

    Are you referring to the idea that a hoaxer will plan out multiple details in advance? If so, it’s not entirely far-fetched if you’re dealing with someone who actually cares about what they’re doing. If you ever get the chance, try sitting in with someone editing a movie they put together. They’ll obsess over the most minut things/errors. Why? Because it’s their “baby” and they’re more likely to notive flaws. And since editing often requires viewing footage multiple times, they’re going to keep noticing the errors and keep focusing on them until they think that anyone watching the movie will instantly notice them.

    (1) makes the suit harder to wear and move around in;

    They don’t open bags of ice, pour ‘em into the suit, and put it on. What they do is put in plastic bags full of ice into the suit and take them out just before the actor puts on the suit.

    I can think of one exception. What the heck is up with the Peguis, Manitoba video?

    Do you mean this? The comments have some theories, but they didn’t note this: Video can’t capture depth as well as film can and tends to “flatten” details. This can make forced perspective tricks even easier than they are on film. It’d be very interesting to see if everything in that area really is as close together/located together as the video makes it out to be. The camera movements, bushes, and snow make it hard to tell where the trees actually start growing. For all we know, these guys tried filming someone from a distance to hide details and lucked into an effect that makes it look like he’s very tall.

    I think that if someone saw an obvious costume, you’d never see it on a sightings database.

    Yes, of course. People don’t report something they know is fake. It’s when they don’t know it’s fake that the trouble starts.

  37. mystery_man responds:

    Well, I would certainly be interested in evidence that these suit wearers are out there in force using high tech suits and causing all of these Bigfoot sightings. Perhaps someone could tell me where they are all purchased from and maybe even show video clips of these alleged suits in action. I won’t discount suit theories, but I would like to see evidence pointing towards this on a scale large enough to produce a good deal of the Bigfoot sightings. I am hesitant to embrace the idea of all of these people with such a dedication to what they are doing, hoaxing and the expertise to pull it off, the funds to get these suits and with such an eye for detail. Obviously if this is the theory, then there are many groups of suit hoaxers like this operating all over the United States with advanced suits and the means to pull off elaborate camera tricks. I’m not sure I agree this is the most plausible explanation.

  38. mystery_man responds:

    What I mean is that I do not doubt that the technology is there to produce believable hoaxes with suits. I also do not doubt that there are people dedicated enough to “care about what they are doing” and go to great lengths to fool people. What I do doubt is that there are the necessary numbers of these sorts of suits and people that it would take to perpetuate such a long standing, nationwide hoax, not to mention being tight lipped enough not to come forward and brag a bit about it.

  39. DWA responds:

    mystery_man: what you are describing is downright Fortean.

    What I mean is: you’re describing an animal that just doesn’t seem plausible to exist. But I guess if Bigfoot could, LOTOH could be real as well.

    I just think that LOTOH goes totally against human nature. (As, by the way, does the theory that people are misidentifying known animals.)
    It seems too out there to even be plausible – which, to me, means too too out there to account for any significant percentage of sasquatch sightings. To me, the only truly plausible theory is Folks Making Stuff Up (FMSU) – which really seems a stretch itself, as witness the sort of attention witnesses going public draw (and that most witnesses seem to be keenly wishing to avoid). As many sightings as all these theories taken together might account for, I don’t think it is at all a significant percentage of the eyewitness reports I’ve read. (Most of the FMSU “reports” are nailed before they get posted on websites, I think.)

    If extraordinary claims do indeed require extraordinary evidence then anyone propounding this thesis needs to provide evidence that it’s plasuible. This has never been done; and as I’ve said here times past counting, Mr. Sas himself just seems, to me, much more plausible. Not to mention simpler to explain.

  40. DWA responds:

    AMM:

    The discussion going back and forth before my last post strikes me as making sure folks understand what I mean when I say “plausible.”

    I don’t mean that the theory needs simply to be shown conceivable, or possible. Or even that an example needs to be provided.

    The theory needs to be shown so plausible – which would, I think, entail the discovery of numerous examples of it having been pulled off successfully – to make a serious dent in the anecdotal evidence for the sasquatch.

    And no, conclusive debunking of the P/G film won’t suffice in and of itself. That would still leave a metric tonne of encounter reports – many by people who had never seen or heard of P/G, or learned of it only following their encounters – to account for. Did this hoaxer roam the country, replicating his elaborate feat over and over and over, with different suits, different extreme athletes (dating from a time well before anyone knew what that term meant), all at the very limits of the human curve in numerous anatomical features, of builds running the entire gamut of a species, in different locations – pretty much nonstop, for five decades? Using apparatus that left footprints that have convinced experts in all relevant fields that either this wasn’t faked or that it can’t be explained? If he did, he must be pronounced the greatest costume designer, practical anatomist, biomechanic, director, producer and primatologist, bar none, of all time. In short, one of history’s most talented individuals. I’d be tempted to go Top Ten.

    And of course in forty years he’s taken no credit for that title. Who, that would do this, would turn that down?

    And if it’s many people: why in heaven’s name didn’t they turn their considerable talents – which demonstrably exceed by far those of the Founding Fathers in scope and breadth – to something more worthwhile than faking an upright ape? (If they did, they take their rightful place in history ahead of the Founders, in talent if not in its application.)

    Something no less amazing – and yep, silly – than that is what’s being discussed when the topic is men in suits systematically faking Bigfoot. It makes conga-dancing lines of otters seem, well, if this line of thinking is proven, I can go with a forty-foot otter in Loch Ness. Lines of them, dressed like the Rockettes, I could not consider out of the question.

    That’s what I mean by “plausible.”

    I suppose that I should also point out that the attention witnesses get when they report Bigfoot encounters is not the only thing standing in the way of my thinking that the FMSU theory is plausible. It’s how they are, with incredibly well-calibrated nuance, and without comparing notes, describing the same animal.

    And if they are comparing notes, they’re all moonlighting as primatological geniuses, without anyone they love either knowing about it or telling anyone.

    Just need to make clear what’s being propounded against the simple notion of an animal, pretty much all of whose traits comport with those reported from known animals, including, of course, us.

    It is, in the opinion of many of whom I am clearly one, something far more farfetched than the simple critter itself.

    In closing: everything I say, you’ll agree with, if you simply do what I’ve been encouraging people to do as long as I’ve been sas-talking here.

    Read encounter reports.

  41. mystery_man responds:

    I think the idea of suits causing all sightings is fairly far fetched too. I also would be more willing to believe the theory that everyone is making stories up (FMSU) before I went with the suit hypothesis as an end all, be all explanation. It would be logistically impressive to have so many out there going to all these lengths to pull one over on everyone.

    To me, the possibility of suits causing some sightings illustrates the importance of looking at any forensic evidence that can be gleaned from the site of a sighting. If it is possible to get evidence of Bigfoot, then surely it must be possible to get evidence of a possible man in a suit as well. I suppose something that could be looked at is the depth and quality of prints, any human prints or signs of where someone got changed into the suit, or any synthetic fibers left behind by the suits. Of course some stuff could be covered up or faked. Loren once told about how someone could be hung from a car in order to make tracks that appeared to have large strides, but this would be difficult to do when the person in the suit was actually sighted.

    I won’t rule out suits as the basis for some sightings, but I am not ready to believe their is a large scale conspiracy of people out there roaming the woods with water cooled suits that offer fluid movement as well as visibility to navigate the terrain, convincingly tricking so many, and causing the sheer amount of sightings in such far flung locations. I entertain mundane explanations for Bigfoot, but let’s stay somewhat realistic here.

  42. AtomicMrEMonster responds:

    DWA and mystery_man:

    I never said that all Bigfoot sightings were the result of hoaxers (suits, tracks, etc.) and I agree that such an explanation sounds really farfetched. What I am saying is that it’s not a good idea to flat-out dismiss possibilities on a report-by-report basis instead of investigating and making sure that those aren’t the case. If scientists/skeptics/scoffics/whatever are bad for dismissing things without looking into them, those on the crypto side should take the effort to avoid dismissing stuff outright as well. It’s only logical, right? mystery_man had some good ideas about checking for evidence of suits that needs to be used more often. If you can eliminate all mundane explanations in a reported sighting and show the person isn’t lying, then the case for an unknown animal becomes more credible.

    Similarly, I don’t feel that debunking the P/G footage would disprove Bigfoot’s existence for the same reasons that DWA outlined. Frankly, it’s also part of the reason that I think it’s a bad idea to champion the film as proof of Bigfoot’s existence.

    why in heaven’s name didn’t they turn their considerable talents – which demonstrably exceed by far those of the Founding Fathers in scope and breadth – to something more worthwhile than faking an upright ape?

    I ask the same thing about people who make computer viruses and the like. People are weird, huh?

    It’s how they are, with incredibly well-calibrated nuance, and without comparing notes, describing the same animal.

    But how do you know they aren’t reading up on Bigfoot sightings before making up their own (and in the internet age, this gets more and more likely due to the ease of looking up websites, especially with sightings databases)? Does the BFRO investigate all reports in their database, or do they just take submissions? Please tell me; I really do want to know.

    If someone proves or or at least shows that it’s unlikely for this to happen, great. If not, then there’s a problem that desperately needs fixing. To me, someone saying that something doesn’t sound plausible and then dismisses it without checking is silly.

    After all, the idea that a type of shark can decompose in a way that makes it look like a dead pleisosaur might not sound plausible (or likely) to someone, but it does happen.

  43. mystery_man responds:

    Atomic- That is one thing I am always saying here to people who may be proponents and that is not to dismiss possible good explanations. Like I said, I don’t discount suits as a possible cause for some sightings and I’m sorry I misunderstood you and thought you were painting all sightings with that brush. I agree that these sightings need to be viewed on a case by case basis and all possible explanations should be considered. I also think that at least some sightings could have been attributed to hoaxers in suits so it is something to keep in mind if the circumstances of the sighting warrant it. I just think that without evidence that this is the case we shouldn’t rely too heavily on that particular theory (of guys in suits) but rather keep it in mind as a possible cause if the facts point in that direction. Just because something is possible does not mean it is the right answer.

    A scientific approach would be to look into what there is in any given sighting to support the man in the suit hypothesis and if that does not check out, test another hypothesis. I won’t jump to conclusions that a hairy hominid is the cause of the sighting and neither will I assume that it is a man in a suit without weighing the possibilities and surrounding circumstances, including witness reliability and any evidence found in the area. i think it is very important to check out what supports any given hypothesis. Like I said before, I feel it would be immensely important to investigate the area where footage or a sighting was made to look for clues, whether those point to a guy in a suit, an unknown animal, or a figment of the witnesses imagination.

  44. DWA responds:

    AMM: I guess if I could sum up my position in this discussion I’d say this: I wouldn’t get too hepped up about disproving the hoax hypothesis if another P/G -type film, say, showed up tomorrow.

    Remember, there’s never been a successful man-in-suit Bigfoot hoax. Really. Yep, there’s been lots of video and lots of guys in suits. But never has anyone been fooled by one, not anyone it would take substantial effort to fool. Unless, of course, P/G is one. And if it is, it’s the only one.

    If a similar film showed up tomorrow, I would consider it an illogical response to go to a ton of trouble to try to disprove that was a guy in a suit. P/G has never been shown to be such. In fact – and I’ve said it here – it was illogical to jump to the pseudo-conclusion that it was one, as so many did, 40 years ago. It doesn’t look like one; too many of its measurements are…oh stop me.

    All that has to be done is this: look at the video. How does it move? Are there any suits like that? Let’s do a quickie search of the Internet and whatever other resources are out there. That should take a day or two at most. If it’s good video that shows something that sure doesn’t look human, wrong proportions, too big, too everything to seem human, and it appears to be moving naturally – in other words, like the P/G subject – it’s time to get in there and start confirming.

    Our reaction to P/G was crippling. We need to get off the crutches of blind belief that we’re the only mammal that can run on two legs. Please let us not do that again if we ever get a second chance to do it right.

    And as to witnesses:

    “But how do you know they aren’t reading up on Bigfoot sightings before making up their own (and in the internet age, this gets more and more likely due to the ease of looking up websites, especially with sightings databases)? Does the BFRO investigate all reports in their database, or do they just take submissions? Please tell me; I really do want to know.”

    I’d say that most of the reports I read are coming from people who didn’t know enough about the subject to even do this. (This is why I keep on saying: READ SIGHTING REPORTS.) And you’d be surprised how hard it is to make a faked report sound real. Look at the blurbs that accompany the stuff you see on Youtube. They invariably scream “faked” before you even take a look. I’ve tried to fake reports in my head. I can write. It is HARD. It’s just not a logical thing to expect this many people – many of whom submit their names – to do.

    But now, your question about investigations. This is where things get, let us say, a bit sloppy. From what I can see, the BFRO does not seem to research many of the reports they put up. Numerous reports get excellent followup, and are much more compelling after you read the followup report. (Many people cannot write their way out of a paper bag, or are shellshocked, or something; the followup research has the potential to bring lots of important detail out that wasn’t in the original report.)

    I’d love to hear myself why so many of the reports I’ve read there don’t have followup, yet are posted, something I understood the BFRO doesn’t do. BTW, this kind of thing is pretty par for the course. All cryptid research, by any scientific standard, is quite shoestring. After all, everyone working on it has a real day job.

    That being said: research or no, the reports – and most certainly many of the ones with no posted followup – are impressive testimony. A report doesn’t get more true or more false with followup. It either is or isn’t. Followup or no, I still want to know what these people saw.

    “If someone proves or or at least shows that it’s unlikely for this to happen, great.”

    It is a common misconception about the sasquatch that it’s such an improbable critter that we need to thoroughly research almost anything other possibility fiirst – like people conducting history’s most elaborate and improbable hoax, or every witness concocting vivid, damn-difficult-to concoct stories, that don’t break down when they are followed up (and while many of them don’t seem to be followed up, many, many of them are). I know you’re not trying to tar all of them with that brush. But too many people do. I think we need to move away from the hoax-first presumption – or at least be cautious enough about it that we don’t pollute the next P/G – really, pollute our own minds about it – beyond recovery the way we did the first one.

    This ain’t no lake monster. Read sighting reports.

  45. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- Read sighting reports. Do you have that set on a hotkey to automatically type? :) Good mantra. The more I read, the more interesting little details pop up.

  46. DWA responds:

    mystery_man: That’s what I’m saying.

    The most interesting thing about reading them – and you bet I’m still doing it, there are a LOT of these, people, and many of them bear reading several times – is the number of times I mutter to myself, as i’m reading, something like “yep. Frequently reported.” I would say I do that, on average, four times per report. And no, I do not do it with “big, black and hairy” or “bipedal” or “definitely not a bear.” I do it with nuances – smooth effortless gait; amazing speed, agility, and ability to cover frequently uneven ground, fast; no neck; turned its body along with its head to look to the side or behind; sagittal crest (witnesses have many ways to convey this, mind they’re not primatologists); flat, but humanlike, nose; consistent reports of hair location, thickness. length and other features including color (which doesn’t seem to be black too often, BTW); hunched stance; long arms swinging rhythmically when the animal walks or runs; feeling of being watched; eerie silence before the encounter, unlike anything the obsever has noted in an area the observer has in most cases been to many times; extreme fear; even more extreme fear on behalf of livestock and pets, especially dogs…you get the picture.

    Almost every report I read, I get the same picture in my head of what the observer is describing. Try that with Nessie.

    Now to set up that hot key. (I actually need to have two, for when I type it all caps.)

  47. AtomicMrEMonster responds:

    Remember, there’s never been a successful man-in-suit Bigfoot hoax.

    So “The Horror of Being Hoaxed” wasn’t good enough for ya? Well, to be fair, I suppose whoever submitted that could be lying. But you don’t seem to get what I’m saying: How would you know a successful (as in many people were fooled into thinking it was real) hoax from the real deal? It’s easy to pick out an obvious hoax, but what about a well-crafted one? Suit-based hoaxes aren’t just in videos.

    I’d say that most of the reports I read are coming from people who didn’t know enough about the subject to even do this.

    But how do you know this for a fact? For all you know, some of those could just be the cryptozoology equivalent to the “Letters to Penthouse.”

    I’ve tried to fake reports in my head. I can write. It is HARD.

    No offense, but saying that something is hard/unlikely since you can’t do it isn’t really the best way to show that something is unlikely.

    It is a common misconception about the sasquatch that it’s such an improbable critter that we need to thoroughly research almost anything other possibility fiirst

    Not quite. You’ve got to show that something isn’t likely to be known phenomenon before saying it’s something new. If a Bigfoot specimen could be obtained, we wouldn’t even be quibbling over this stuff since there’d be something to test against. But since there isn’t such a specimen, we have to test against stuff we know exists. It’s similar to why one is expected to test if the results of an experiment can be repeated. Why do this? To make sure that the result of the first experiment wasn’t just a fluke.

    smooth effortless gait;…agility, and ability to cover frequently uneven ground, fast; no neck; turned its body along with its head to look to the side or behind;…hunched stance; long arms swinging rhythmically

    Those sound an awful lot like people describing the P/G footage. If the reports were made prior to the film’s release, I could take them ore seriously than modern ones. They’d still be worth looking into, mind you, but the possibility that someone was merely recycling details from other accounts must also be considered. Failure to do so could result in winding up with egg on your face.

    sagittal crest

    Ah, but couldn’t they have heard of 1954 and 1960 investigations involving a pointed “Yeti scalp”? If that detail managed to pop up in a 60′s TinTin book, who knows where else it could pop up?

    My 1970 copy of John Keel’s “Strange Creatures from Time and Space” mentions several of the other details you bring up in the chapters “The Hairy Ones”, “Meanwhile in the Soviet Union”, “Big Feet and Little Brains”, and “Creatures from the Black Lagoon”. While such details could lend credbility to older reports, their appearance in newer reports may or may not be the result of someone cribbing details from books or websites on Bigfoot sightings. One must rule out the possibility of such things to give credibility to claims that they are the truth. Sadly, it’s hard, if not impossible, to follow up many of the older sightings.

    feeling of being watched; eerie silence before the encounter, unlike anything the obsever has noted in an area the observer has in most cases been to many times; extreme fear; even more extreme fear on behalf of livestock and pets

    Several of those things occur when a predator is in the area and can be observed on hikes and hunting trips. They’re also used in horror movies, which make it even easier for hoaxers to have a reference point to base their “sightings” on. Some of the details you mention would be more credible in older sightings. However, “newer” ones are a bit iffy since people have material to base their own stories on.

  48. AtomicMrEMonster responds:

    mystery_man:

    No worries; I just wanted to clarify my position on hoaxes and the like. I definitely agree with you about investigating the area around a reported Bigfoot sighting to see if the evidence could point towards a hoax or not. Heh…it looks like our discussion has gone full circle and brought us back to some of the points brought up by Mr. Mathys.

    And on a somewhat related note I once read something about some supposed samples of “Bigfoot hair” turning out to be synthetic hair/fur after analysis.

    You can read some notes on this at this site and this site. Sadly, there’s not enough “meat” on those (at least for my liking) for me to do any independent research on the matter, but it’s interesting to think about. After all, what’s that material doing out in those areas?

  49. mystery_man responds:

    Atomic- Interesting info on the collection of synthetic fibers. It is very good evidence of the use of a suit in those particular cases. There are also hair samples that had people scratching their heads. Well, like I said, I think the suit explanation may very well account for some of the sightings, but that still leaves a large amount of sightings that may not fit into that hypothesis and which I think could not all be perpetrated by hoaxers. It is just one possible cause out of many and nothing to make me want to jump to that hypothesis in every case. Interesting discussion, all!

  50. DWA responds:

    Atomic EMM:

    Points well taken – but I’m not sure they changed mine.

    Some Bigfoot sighters knew of the Patterson film – and made the link when they saw one. Nothing unusual about that; in fact you’d expect it. Happens all the time with known animals: Oh, I know what that is. But many describing the things that just happen to be in that film had never seen the film before they saw the animal. (Not hard to imagine at all: I saw the film, for the first time, two years ago. Before I saw it, I knew far more about the sasquatch, I believe I can say with confidence, than the average person knows.)

    The many descriptions given for what is obviously a sagittal crest tell me that the way to bet is that the sighting – not memory of something else -triggered the description.

    Or else they were lying. And I’m just not seeing that as a logical explanation for everything I’ve read.

    It always comes back to this with me: it’s simpler just to presume that they’re seeing what they’re seeing. And it’s happening more than often enough to be worthy of investigation with the upfront presumption that what people are seeing is real, not faked.

  51. DWA responds:

    With regard to your comment about phenomena which “occur when a predator is in the area and can be observed on hikes and hunting trips,” all I can say is that in nearly 30 years of hiking I’ve never had one of them occur once. It may or may not be significant that I can’t report any encounters with the sasquatch.

    And keep in mind that in these cases, the person isn’t reporting just the phenomena, but also the sighting of an animal in direct conjunction with the other experiences, one that simply can’t be a known animal from the description given.

    Those phenomena are a thread – nay, a cord, nay a triple-steel cable – through so very, very, very many encounter reports (just read yet another one that featured all of them) that they stand by themselves. They do so, in fact, so strongly that, despite Mr. Mathys’s rules and the respect one must have for not jumping to conclusions, they are darn close to being diagnostic, and may one day be regarded as being so on their own, the way so many known animals’ tracks are.

    Once again, it’s something that’s happening way too often to simply use a mundane explanation to dismiss it out of hand. We know that it’s a possibility that can’t be utterly ruled out. It’s just that that possibility does not seem to be the way to bet for a significant percentage – much less all – sasquatch encounter reports.

  52. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- I’ve done a lot of hiking myself and echo your sentiments. I too, have never had any sort of sasquatch encounter and I have seen all sorts of other animals. Oh well, not everyone can be Multiple Encounters. :)



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