Sasquatch Coffee


Bad Bigfoot Data Is Still Bad Bigfoot Data

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 30th, 2012

Over ten years ago, Ray Wallace died and his family members found fake wooden Bigfoot tracks in his garage. This lead to the discovery that some series of “Bigfoot” footprints in the Pacific Northwest had been planted by Ray Wallace or his agents – and were fakes.

Blue Creel Wallace Hoax Comparison

In 2007, Mark Hall posted a review entitled “When Legends Meet Science” on his “Living Fossils” webpage about Jeff Meldrum’s then-new book, Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science. That page does not exist any longer, but one of the foundation themes contained within Hall’s critique is still worth pondering.

The databases of various Sasquatch researchers continue to contain examples of Ray Wallace’s fakery. Because of this, the collections throw off the summary statistics and general analyses of Bigfoot track information.

Wallace Track

Dave Rubert photographs of the Ray Wallace fake Bigfoot footprint tools.

One section of Mark Hall’s review discussed the Ray Wallace wooden fake track creations, and how the imprints made from them are still appearing in works by some Sasquatch researchers.

Hall writes:

[Jeff] Meldrum fails to recognize that the Ray Wallace fake imprints have become part of his database. For a professional claiming an expertise in the study of footprints, this lapse is a costly and tragic error. He had a chance to rid himself of this pollution, but he has failed to do so.

Dr. Jeff Meldrum

Meldrum did not have to uncover the fakery on his own. The history of how these fakes came into being has already been told. The hoaxing tools were publicly displayed in December of 2002 after Ray Wallace died. I was one who wanted to know how these fakes had found their way into so many places. They appeared in Sanderson’s 1961 book and in many popular books and articles since that time.

Blue Creek Track

When it was shown that these were hoaxed impressions, it became important to throw out the trash and leave us with valid data. So I reviewed the records for the 1950s and 1960s. I published an article that came out in April of 2003 that illustrated the three sets of fake feet that were associated with Ray Wallace. I followed up with two more articles as more of the history of hoaxing emerged.* Meldrum has failed to learn the history and throw out the garbage.

Perhaps he has been unduly influenced by those who were also fooled by Ray Wallace and cannot acknowledge their mistakes. But Meldrum is not an amateur investigator. According to the publicity for this book he has even been given a grant of $30,000 to further his studies of the phenomenon. He should be leading the effort to throw out the bad data. Instead we find him defending the fakes.

In Legend Meets Science he illustrates only one of the most prominent of the wooden tools used, the right foot. It is the wooden tool for the left foot that produced the most often photographed images. It shows up in widely published cases of trackways seen in California. It has been cast in plaster, despite Meldrum’s assertion that it has not**. Those who cannot admit to this particular success by Ray Wallace have kept this tool out of the books they continue to publish, and Meldrum has taken the same sorry path by illustrating only one of the two wooden tools.

Keep these shortcomings in mind if you read this book.

^^^^^^^

* “The Real Bigfoot and Genuine Bigfoot Tracks” in Wonders, Volume 7, pages 99-125.

“The Bigfoot Community’s Wallace Problem” in Wonders, Volume 8, pages 44-53.

“October 1958 in the History of Bigfoot” in Wonders, Volume 9, pages 85-96.

- Mark A. Hall

**Further clarification/footnote from Hall: Meldrum does show a cast of the left tool on his page 68. But it is a lousy cast [thus allowing Meldrum to] say it doesn’t match. It was made by the tool and the cast shown beside it was a fake in the 13-inch size. But the medium at that location was good for imprints and not for making casts.

Blue Creek Track

Don’t forget. To compare the wooden fake tool to the track in the ground, you must look at the mirror image of the footprint.

These wooden fakes are from the other members of the Wallace family, and show some of the earlier and/or rougher ones that Wallace employed.

Sasquatch Legend Meets Science

Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science by Jeff Meldrum.

About Loren Coleman
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.


28 Responses to “Bad Bigfoot Data Is Still Bad Bigfoot Data”

  1. springheeledjack responds:

    I haven’t read Meldrum’s book so I don’t know in what context he refers to the Ray Wallace fake shoes and prints. I do remember that there was question as to the “tools” and whether they matched tracks supposedly made by him, but BF not being my main cryptid, I don’t know all of the ins and outs of this one.

    Maybe Jeff can answer that.

  2. bigfoots responds:

    Having spoken with Jeff several times regarding my footprint photos I gave him to look at I can tell you Jeff is EXTREMELY cautious with his analysis when it comes to evidence…
    So I must say I’m a little shocked to hear this…

  3. jewpunxxx responds:

    I am almost certain that he knowingly left these in as fakes to help determine between authentic prints and fake prints. They are not there because he believes them to be authentic, they are used as a control group to compare against known fakes and authentic prints. What a ridiculous claim against someone who has done more in furthering the study of these creatures than anyone else. This claim sounds like envy or someone who has nothing better to do than crap on other peoples work.

  4. jewpunxxx responds:

    I am of course refering to mark hall and not the poster

  5. flame821 responds:

    What’s concerning to me is how evolved a lot of the new ‘fake’ prints can be. There is an art project called outliers by Maskull Lasserre that uses normal-ish shoes to leave wild animal prints all over the place. Manhattan being the starting point. It wouldn’t take much effort at all to modify these shoes or copy them using either rubber, latex or sugru to create a flexible, more life like bigfoot print.

    I think the footprint evidence would do well to have a knowledgeable person comb through it to clear out anything that might be iffy. We may lose a lot of data and even toss out a few good prints with the bad, but at least what we have left would be solid.

  6. Loren Coleman responds:

    I merely had to open the comments today to read, unfortunately, what I thought I might read.

    Comments from two different people have the same shaky foundations.

    “I haven’t read Meldrum’s book…”

    So, a comment is based on no context.

    Another individual writes in:

    “I am almost certain that he knowingly left these in as fakes to help determine between authentic prints and fake prints.”

    In other words, the writer is speculating on why Meldrum put the fakes (which Hall is talking about) in Meldrum’s book, without any knowledge of where or why their placement is in the Meldrum book.

    “They are not there because he believes them to be authentic, they are used as a control group to compare against known fakes and authentic prints.”

    Actually, this is a false statement, and completely ignores the Hall (and my past) critiques that Meldrum and others have in their database of accepted, authentic “Bigfoot” tracks placed some probable Wallace fakes. Those are not used as “controls.” Those are “fakes/mistakes” that should be taken out of the “authentic” tracks database. These are different than the tracks that Meldrum acknowledges as Wallace fakes. We are talking about a larger pool of track data that are mixed into the Bigfoot track database.

    “This claim sounds like envy or someone who has nothing better to do than crap on other peoples work.”

    That sentence shows no awareness of Hall’s long serious study of the Sasquatch field, undermines the serious consideration Hall and I are giving to the question of fakes hiding in plain sight, and sounds like the remark of a “true believer.”

    Blind faith in Meldrum’s, John Green’s, Loren Coleman’s, Mark Hall’s, or anyone’s work can be the downfall of hominology and cryptozoology, just as surely as it can be if everything from the mouths of Ben Radford and Daniel Loxton is “believed.”

    I expect more from the readers of Cryptomundo. No reason to deal in speculation and personal mud-slinging when there are plenty facts to debate here.

  7. DWA responds:

    OK. We all of us need to know what needs to be done here.

    Meldrum is an expert in primate locomotor adaptations. A key linchpin in the sasquatch evidence is his analysis of tracks. Fake feet like Wallace’s are simply not going to produce those tracks.

    Anyone who has reservations about anything Meldrum is including in his database is on Meldrum’s ground.

    From what does Hall make his assertions? What is his evidence? All I see here is the assertion.

    I have read Meldrum’s book, and analyses of the footprint record by Krantz. Anyone who says Meldrum is wrong has to show why, using Meldrum’s science.

    Period.

    I’m more inclined to take the word of an expert in the field. Particularly since Mark Hall’s pseudo-taxonomic splits of hairy hominoids don’t pass the sniff test, in my opinion.

    What I read here gives me no reason to suspect a problem. Those fake feet simply aren’t going to produce tracks that will pass expert analysis. And despite the assertion made, the connection is not.

    The “mirror image of footprint” dodge is a James Randi technique and not kosher. Analysis of the track, on ths site, is the clincher.

    Whether Hall is right or not, there is no reason to believe he is just from what is written here.

  8. dbaymiller responds:

    Curious to see Dr. Meldrum’s response.

    Flame821: interesting link to those shoes. Very interesting. Thanks for that.

  9. Hapa responds:

    It seems highly unlikely that Meldrum would confuse a track made by a block of wood to one that shows signs of fleshy pliable-ness/dynamic interaction with the soil. I’ve read the book and he goes through a whole section on the Ray Wallace fiasco. And I believe Jewpunxxx is right: Along with possible fakes in his collection (used for differentation with tracks considered legit) there are I believe Bear tracks in his collection. One was I believe thought to be a Orang Pendek, until he showed it was a Sun Bear. He probably still has that track in his collection as well, even though it is not a Hominid’s.

    The so-called fake left foot track in the book on page 68 does not look like the track pictured By Coleman with a ruler besides it (not the same photo, and in comparison, among other things, the toes of the track in the book are more realistically defined than either the track depicted above or the actual faked carved feet depicted alongside it), but does bare a similarity to the fake carved feet Coleman puts up over the pic of Meldrum’s Book (both heels are less round, more squarish), but a more forward facing pic should be put up to see if indeed it is the same.

  10. Hapa responds:

    This development here also illustrates the many dissagreements among the cryptid community. Grover Krantz and Rene Dahiden had a feud for years. To this day the question of kill or no kill continues to divide. Paranthropus or Gigantopithecus, each other’s tactics and methods of research, the list goes on. Often we have to agree to disagree. I differ with Coleman and many others on the value of population estimates, Josh Gate’s belief that Sasquatch is non-existant (though he does give good reasons for his belief in his recent book), And with most that believe that the Chupacabras is a real beast sighted all over Latin America and Spain (and even recently Russia): aside from some undiscovered animals that might be mistaken for it, along with rare but known animals (The Amazonian Short Eared Dog, both Greater and Lesser Grisons (latter also called a Quique) and diseased hounds (such as the wolf-coyote hybrid found in Texas with deep blue eyes and ravaged skin, no doubt due to mange or scabies, etc), I doubt that animal exists.

    Only discovery can silence the stir over many of these cryptids. Until then, speculation divides.

  11. Loren Coleman responds:

    I have written extensively on Cryptomundo about the Ray Wallace debate occurring in this field. As a refresher, since DWA appears to have forgotten Hall’s and my arguments and examples, I have posted several photographs and links moments ago at Sasquatch Scholars’ Wallace Problem.

    With regard to DWA’s distracting and disrespectful swipe at Hall’s (and I’m assuming by extension Ivan T. Sanderson’s, Loren Coleman’s, and Patrick Huyghe’s classification systems), we can leave that for another day.

    As to this, “The ‘mirror image of footprint’ dodge is a James Randi technique and not kosher,” was no “dodge” on my part. I find it remarkable that people say to me all the time, “Hey, that fake wood print doesn’t match that track. It’s backwards.”

    I was merely trying to make a helpful insight to flip the human mind’s optical tricks, so a comparative “picture” of the fakery could be examined visually. To say I was using a “James Randi technique” was distasteful. I don’t know what I’m going to do with you DWA.

  12. DWA responds:

    Guys: I vote Meldrum.

    I’m not going to read anything about this that doesn’t have Meldrum’s take on the situation in it.

    He’s the authority. If something’s in his database, it’s there because it belongs, until proven otherwise.

    I haven’t even seen evidence otherwise. And I’ve read those posts.

    I have said it time and again, and crypto needs to get it:

    Internecine warfare not driven by science does nothing but make the field look foolish.

  13. Loren Coleman responds:

    OMG, DWA.

    You write, “I’m not going to read anything about this that doesn’t have Meldrum’s take on the situation in it.”

    You are falling into the behavior pattern of which you accuse the debunkers/scoftics: blindly only reading one side of the argument/debate.

    “If something’s in his database, it’s there because it belongs, until proven otherwise.” Jeff is a friend, I have great respect for his work. I think he can miss things, sometimes, because he’s only human.

  14. DWA responds:

    I should add something.

    Ray Wallace is not even a factor in the Bigfoot discussion to anyone seriously acquainted with the evidence. He’s like Tom Biscardi and Ben Radford: a sideshow. A fun sideshow, but a sideshow.

    His fakes are painfully obvious. He’s taken seriously by ignorant people.

    (I’m looking at you, Timothy Egan of the New York Times.)

    Elevating him does the evidence no good. THAT’S the “Wallace Line.”

  15. DWA responds:

    Loren:

    I’m not falling into any traps at all. I’m sticking to the science. As should we all.

    Any critique of Meldrum, to be taken seriously, must either:

    1) allow Meldrum rebuttal, or

    2) absent that, and in the event of his silence, show in detail how Meldrum’s own science failed him.

    Once again.

    Photos of tracks, absent analysis, means nothing.

    The fakes are of no conseqiuence. And to continually talk about them as if they are

    (1) implies that everything could be fake, which although conceivable is something no rational person in command of the evidence would accept as a significant possibility; and

    (2) elevates a circus sideshow to the serious debate.

    You’re not telling me Wallace is that important?

    Because he’s NOT.

  16. Loren Coleman responds:

    DWA, you are seriously missing the boat on this one.

    The reason that “Ray Wallace is not even a factor in the Bigfoot discussion” is because a minority have decided that tracks like the Blue Creek Mtn prints should be in the “good” Bigfoot track database, while it is “painfully obvious” to some of us that these are Ray Wallace fakes. But due to the godlike status given to John Green and Jeff Meldrum, people are afraid to speak up. People don’t get it. Green is right about no “Bigfoot massacre” but wrong about how many Wallace tracks are out there, in his books and those of others.

    The recognized and accepted “Wallace fakes” are one thing. Yes, you may diminish their significance by calling them a sideshow. But you are missing the point in an attempt to ridicule this entire discussion.

    There remain bad apples in the Bigfoot baskets and they are contaminating the entire analytic apple pie. That is scientifically significant.

  17. DWA responds:

    Loren: I’ve read Meldrum’s ichnotaxonomy paper.

    I don’t see tracks anything like the ones I’m seeing here described.

    And I know what treating such as Wallace seriously does to the field. Scientists say that “it’s rife with hoaxes,” and don’t even look at the legitimate evidence, because, to them, the hoaxes are enough. The Tim Egans say: Wallace was Bigfoot, and we’re done. In the New York Times, ferpetesake.

    Even if we never find every track laid by Ray Wallace, it’s safe to say that the mark he leaves on the overall evidence is insignificant. And we know what Grover Krantz said, about the footprint evidence alone, and he had Wallace sniffed out:

    “Even if none of the hundreds of sightings had ever occurred, we would still be forced to conclude that a giant bipedal primate does indeed inhabit the forests of the Pacific Northwest.”

    Good enough for me, because he’s right, albeit a bit restricted in range; and he looked at this from a strictly scientific point of view.

    Other than looking at Wallace in the same way we look at “Finding Bigfoot” and Tom Biscardi, I simply don’t see what the value is in talking about him, at all.

    He pollutes the evidence in no significant way whatever. He’s worth a chuckle. Nothing serious. All by themselves, the P/G film and the Skookum Cast – pick one, you don’t even need both – trump everything Wallace ever did, in spades.

    Treating him seriously makes sure that the topic never is.

  18. TheForthcoming responds:

    Loren is their any way you can contact Jeff and ask him to set the record straight?

    Also I have read Jeff’s book and believe that jewpunxxx did have a point about the pictures of the footprints and why Jeff left them in the book.

    But I do agree a database of Bigfoot data needs authentic material and not any hoaxes or fakes such as known fake footprints.

  19. TheForthcoming responds:

    On a side note, Loren, I do hope you write more about this issue and maybe someday write a book on logical fallacies in the field of Cryptozoology (or just logic in general) and maybe a book like Cryptozoology for Dummies or something like that.

    Keep up the good work and research, btw.

  20. DWA responds:

    One more point I need to make. It’s about that extraordinary-claims thing.

    Jeff Meldrum being a renowned expert on just this aspect of the sasquatch issue, it’s an extraordinary claim that he’s letting shallow tracks made by wooden feet seriously pollute his database. It could be considered an even more extraordinary claim than the one that the sasquatch is real.

    This extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence: science-based debunking sufficient to call Meldrum’s ichnotaxonomy paper into question as based significantly on fraud.

    If that paper is legit, this discussion is moot.

  21. DWA responds:

    And I need to say this about the “James Randi dodge.”

    It’s not flipping a photo to line up with another photo.

    It’s posting a photo of a track, and of something that allegedly made the track, without evidence sufficient for proof that the thing that you are saying made that track made it.

    As I said earlier: I want analysis of the track, on the ground. Not two photos that we are asked to believe, without additional evidence, show causality.

  22. bigfoots responds:

    @ Loren

    Just wanted to say I don’t view anyone in the Bigfoot field as a god.. nobody is an expert.. if they are they have yet to reveal themselves..
    in fact I totally disagree with some of Jeff’s views.. particularly his “guesstimation” of 750 creatures in north america.
    I think 10,000 is a good starting point.. they are far more widespread that what he would believe. At least in my opinion.

    I do however think there is a method to Jeff’s analysis and commentary..
    He walks a very fine tight-rope as a Tenured? College professor I’m sure.
    Not to mention I think as a “scientist” he tends to naturally error on the conservative side.

    However, I do think that when it comes to foot casts its far more likely that Jeff is “on point” so to speak… I don’t know.. I just find it really hard to believe, and its not because i think what he says is “gold”. Perhaps there are a lot of newbies who do.. so I can see where your coming from I guess.

  23. WinterIsComing responds:

    “It’s posting a photo of a track, and of something that allegedly made the track, without evidence sufficient for proof that the thing that you are saying made that track made it.”

    Isn’t that…you know…every bigfoot track…ever?

  24. DWA responds:

    WinterIsComing:

    Um, no, by so much it isn’t worth talking about, and somebody needs to read him some Meldrum and Krantz.

  25. bigfoots responds:

    @ WinterIsComing
    very true…
    with exception of the p/g film I would say thats a “mostly” true statement..

  26. springheeledjack responds:

    Just because I haven’t read someone’s book does not exclude me from making comments nor does it make it “based on no context.” If you had read my comment you would have seen that I did indeed admit I was asking for more information about this issue. I do not appreciate the condescending remarks just because I haven’t read every text on BF.

    Jeff Meldrum is not some armchair cryptozoologist who’s well read. If there is question about what data he includes in his book, then ask why he chose to include that data. Meldrum’s specialty, as DWA says, is in “primate locomotor adaptations.” I’d say he’s got some right to speak his mind on this front, and if Mark Hall and apparently you don’t agree with him, then put forth some factual data disputing it. That’s what Cryptomundo is for. You can’t take for granted that everyone reading these posts has read all of the informtation

    And no, I haven’t read the book et. Maybe he does answer those questions in it. I guess I’ll be plunking down my $$ now to find out, because while Jeff Meldrum may not be a god, his opinion and perspective carry a lot of weight with me.

  27. jewpunxxx responds:

    My apologies loren i was half asleep as i was writing my comment i did not intend for it to be taken as matter of fact only as opinion and likliehoods. Because it seems to me and i would in fact keep known fakes in my collection to use as refrence when comparing alleged prints and if said prints have more in common with the known fakes than with ones that do not have anything common with the fakes, then i would know how to classify them. At this point since science does not recognize sasquatch as a known species the ONLY groups of alleged prints i could classify credibly is known fakes, known species(i.e. bear, human, ape etc) and unidentifiable (those that do not match the fakes or any known species) at this time. So until sasquatch is recognized by sciennce as real species it would be imperative that i keep the fraudulent prints in my collection for identification pirposes. Using that common sense logic, i assume an educated man such as meldrum would do the same. So we all know what happens when you assume and i apologize for not being clear on the point i was trying to make. But in the future it would be nice to see both sides of the story from halls point and meldrums rebuttle to the accusations before we the readers begin debating a subject.

  28. jewpunxxx responds:

    And btw i do not believe in god or gods evspecially not elevating any human to that status. But i do applaud anyone who uses the scientific method to research anything considered to be the so called fringe sciences. That approach goes along way. In recemt years i applaud meldrum, seth shostak, richard dolan, and pat spain(may he make a triumphant return to crypto hunting). They are IN MY OPINION, shining examples of how each of their respective approaches to their specialties should be handled.



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