Sasquatch Coffee

Best Witnesses: Biologists or Truck Drivers?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 30th, 2007

Pitt Lake Giant

This Pitt Lake, British Columbia, Sasquatch was seen by two prospectors in June 1965. Should we discount this sighting because the eyewitnesses weren’t biologists? Credit: Harry Trumbore’s drawing from The Field Guide of Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates.

Regarding a couple quick comments there, however, I thought I would separate them out from the terminology debate. Some people have noted that it seems certain states and provinces may not appear to be able to support a population of Bigfoot living there. But, remember, reports do not necessarily reflect that Bigfoot live where they are sighted, but only they have been seen by other primates (humans), who are perhaps merely viewing Bigfoot passing through, for a variety of reasons (i.e. migration, hunting, searching for mates).

More significantly, Cryptomundo commenters have alluded to a couple old questions I often hear on the lecture circuit: Have biologists been eyewitnesses to unknown hairy bipedal primates? Aren’t the only credible sightings those by scientists?

One of the reasons behind Patrick Huyghe’s and my writing of The Field Guide of Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates was to show the diversity of credible witnesses. I’ve interviewed and investigated the backgrounds of many Bigfoot sighters who are more credible than some academic anthropologists, that’s for sure. Why should truck drivers be seen as less reliable than biologists?, I find myself asking, quick often.

Yes, some good eyewitnesses have been people who should know what they are observing, such as Gerald Russell, a naturalist (see FGBF, noted above, pages 126-127); Gary Samuels, a mycologist (pp. 72-73); Georg Steller, a naturalist (pp. 64-65); and physicians (e.g. George Moore & George Brooks, pp. 136-137; Ivan Ivlov, pp. 120-121; V. S. Karapetyan, pp. 92-93).

But the witnesses in Huyghe’s and my field guide also include a school superintendent, orchin collector, surveyor, engineer, geologist, timber prospector, fossil hunter, forestry committee members, reindeer hunters, construction workers, military personnel, campers, youth, Sherpas, natives, housewives, guides, and others.

Why should any of these witnesses be said to be less credible just because they are not biologists or anthropologists?

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.


165 Responses to “Best Witnesses: Biologists or Truck Drivers?”

  1. shumway10973 responds:

    I would rather look at the person, not the vocation. personal integrity and common knowledge of the area is more important to me than how many years someone spent in college being taught what is believe to be truth or fact these days.

  2. Bob Michaels responds:

    I think that you have to judge the event or circumstance described, rather then the occupation of the describer. Many cryptozoologist make use of natives or Aborigines in their quest to track the unknown animals of the world. In the case of the Sasquatch I certainly would take the observations of Dr Jeff Meldrum in the highest regard.

  3. Ceroill responds:

    Over the years I too have noticed this as a common in all sorts of crypto reports as well as sightings of any sort of unconventional phenomena. I think the most often opined reason is that the person in question is not a ‘trained observer’ and therefore their perceptions and / or motivations are automatically under suspicion.

  4. DWA responds:

    Questions to help answer a good question, when confronted with a witness:

    1) What’s the person’s reputation among people who know him? Skeptical? Cautious? Sharp and clear of senses? Not given to exaggeration? A pillar of the community; a person with high standing among all who know him? Doesn’t see things? Questions assumptions? Extremely intelligent? Down to earth? Observant? Keeps to himself; doesn’t like calling attention to himself? (Skeptics use witnesses’ reputations against them. See: Patterson. Sauce for the goose rule applies.)

    1a) What’s your assessment of the people giving you this information? (GIGO, right?)

    2) Is this person in the woods a lot? Does he/she know the things that live there? What they look and sound like?

    3) Are there other eyewitnesses? (These questions apply.)

    4) From the description, how likely does it seem that the person saw anything other than strictly what is being described?

    5) Does the person seem extremely reluctant to admit to a sighting of precisely the thing that’s being described? (Most witnesses, contrary to skeptical assumptions of mistaken identity, don’t seem to have “bigfoot on the brain” and run through all the animals they know first.)

    6) Does the description seem to fit general parameters established in other sighting reports? Do deviations seem to be the kind that can be explained by individual differences, or differences in terms used by witnesses to describe what they experienced?

    7) Does the person’s occupation – driver; nurse/doctor; commercial pilot; surveyor; logger; engineer; construction foreman; etc. – put a premium on sobriety, steady nerves and powers of observation?

    You get the gist.

    If you’re getting good readings from answers to these questions – or even just most of them – you shouldn’t care whether the person is a scientist or not.

    They saw something. And someone needs to explain what it is.

  5. mystery_man responds:

    I also think that the reliability of the witness is of great importance, and not really what they do for a living. However, I feel that someone who is a field biologist may make more accurate observations and be able to better articulate what it is they saw in more useful detail, where some others might be at a loss for words. I also would think that someone such as Meldrum or Jane Goodall would perhaps be less likely to embellish their stories, add details that were not there, or exaggerate what they saw, which would make their testimony particularly useful. Of course no one is going to be an expert at observing Bigfoot, but someone who is trained in this sort of wildlife observation and who may have some idea of some of the physiology of what they see, as well as possessing the kind of ability to accurately describe animals on a regular basis, is going to be in some ways a more useful witness than a layperson.

  6. mystery_man responds:

    I’ll try to illustrate my point a bit further. Imagine there is a sudden unusual accident or crime that takes place on the street. In many ways this is going to be a shocking and life changing event for anyone who sees it. Now imagine a regular Joe out getting coffee and an off duty police officer were to witness this event. Now I am not an expert in eyewitness psychology, but I would be more willing to value the account given by the policeman, who is trained to make observations, than the other guy. The policeman may be just as caught off guard and suprised by the sudden event as the coffee guy, but his skill at observing and recalling it will perhaps be sharper.

  7. mystery_man responds:

    Of course the “crime” is the sighting of a Bigfoot, the “coffee guy” is the weekend hiker or whatever, and the “off duty policeman” is the field biologist. Just clarifying that. I know they are two different situations, but it was the first analogy that popped into my head. :)

  8. DWA responds:

    mystery_man: couldn’t argue with you.

    What I’m talking about is what it would take to put this sighting in the database of good reports, not what the best description would be.

    Of course that picture isn’t a bad one, coming from a couple of prospectors.

    Lay people don’t use technical jargon. But if one knows what to look for, one knows when a witness is describing the sagittal crest; the compliant gait; the classic body proportions; the heavy brow ridge; and a number of other characters. (When an intimidation display is involved, a lay witness’s reaction is quite sufficient. ;-) )

    And this from an interviewer’s followup to a lay person’s report from (yes, Kathy Strain), Iowa:

    “…the nose which was human like but larger, wider and appeared flattened. .”

    Exactly what it looks like. Many sighting reports back that one up.

    And this, from the witness’s own report:

    “There wasn’t any wildlife around, normally there are a lot of squirrels, and deer, but we didn’t see anything other than the Bigfoot. Even birds were absent in the area.”

    Another classic characteristic of sighting areas.

    Scientific description: better. Lay description: usually good enough.

  9. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- I saw what you meant. :) Your post is an excellent set of questions to ask when screening for witness reliability. I was just making a general comment on the usefulness and quality of eyewitness testimony coming from biologists and it wasn’t really related to what you said.

  10. Pentastar responds:

    I consider myself to be an honest person but I would not be able to decide what I saw if it was under the circumstances of a short sighting in heavy vegitation or something blurry like that. I would probably not be able to tell the difference between a bear and a ape like creature in such conditions (I have never seen a bear apart from in the zoo and then I was sure cause there was a sign that said Swedish brown bear). Considering this makes me realise that a sighting from a person who is familiar with the area and knows the local fauna well is more reliable than a sighting from some city guy like me. But no sane person should be taken for a liar, especially if the person has no reason/s to lie or make a prank.

  11. DWA responds:

    Pentastar: having spent a lot of time in the woods and seen quite a few bears there, I can tell you that when you see a seven-foot bipedal ape, it not only won’t look like a bear, but that you’ll think bear first, before you conclusively rule it out.

    I think it’s very conceivable that many sasquatch have been seen by people who got the kind of very bad glance you’re talking about, and just presumed it had to be a bear…but I consder it highly unlikely that a misidentification could run the other way.

  12. alanborky responds:

    Loren, re: “Some people have noted…certain states and provinces may not appear to be able to support a population of Bigfoot living there…reports…only reflect they have been seen by…(humans), who are perhaps merely viewing Bigfoot passing through…”.

    It may also be areas from where there’re few or no reports are areas where they’re taken for granted or even deliberately unreported to protect them, (in the way Prince William was said to’ve been treated normally and even protectively isolated from outsiders by locals while attending University in Scotland).

    In fact, in some cases it mightn’t be the Bigfoot who’re passing through but the witnesses.

    As for credibility of witnesses, I’m with you 100%!

    In fact, if personal experience of numerous doctors and professors belonging to a variety of disciplines is anything to go by, I might even favour the testimony of an ordinary witness operating in their native environment to that of an ‘expert’, many of who’ve shown themselves up in my eyes while in the field.

    Having had the opportunity to observe a few REAL scientists positively thriving on being confronted by the general chaotica of novel situations found in the field, it’s very easy to recognise how the majority of scientists quickly find themselves completely out of their depth on leaving the carefully controlled and highly predictable confines of the lab, or the safety provided by giving lectures on the kind of ‘classic examples’ mainly only found in text books.

  13. things-in-the-woods responds:

    I agree with most of you here- we need to judge the individual not their occupation, for all the reasons that have been raised.

    It is just dumb blind faith to trust someone because they are a scientist (i’m saying this as a scientist- of sorts- and as someone who values science extremely highly). You only need to look at, for instance, that korean cloning scientist and his faked results.

    Of course, some scientists are going to have greater relevant knowledge about animal behaviour and anatomy and such like (but notice that is only some scientists- and indeed only some biologists- if their specialism is bacteria or earthworms or fish then well I reckon i might know just as much. And many scientists- including many biologists- spend a hell of a lot of time in labs looking down microscopes, rather than actually being in the field).

    Experienced hunters or hikers are likely to have greater knowledge of local conditions and wildlife. And policemen might have been trained to carefully note details when under stressful conditions (although i don’t put too much store in that…).

    One thing though, we should accept that this cuts both ways- we can’t just use this to defend sighting reports by non-scientists- it also means we shouldn’t be too hasty to suggest that when a scientist claims to have seen a BF that this is necessarily better evidence (which i think some have a tendency to do).

  14. things-in-the-woods responds:

    prince william… sasquatch… hmm
    now you mention it there is something about the eyebrows.

  15. Kathy Strain responds:

    I don’t think that it’s a person’s job that make him or her a better witness. I have interviewed hundreds of witnesses, all the way from professional biologists, archaeologists, pastors, to housewives and high schoolers. What makes a report “believable” is the content itself (accuracy of details and consistency of the witness with the written report and a verbal interview).

    And DWA, you are more than welcome to believe whatever you want to, but just because a database lists a report for a certain state or location doesn’t mean it’s accurate or truthful. I could easily point out reports on a certain popular website that I know, for a fact, are misidentifications or downright hoaxes. Thirty-five reports for an entire state, especially when they are widely spread and isolated single reports, is not believable or scientific.

  16. DWA responds:

    Kathy Strain:

    One can do with sas reports what one can do with reports of any other animal. But only so much.

    CA doesn’t have many more reports, per capita, than IA. No state has many, when you consider the size of the critter, and the curiosity it seems to exhibit in numerous reports. But then, the vast majority who see them, count on it, say nothing. Many just can’t; many don’t know where they can and be believed. You can only go so far with data being “believable and scientific” with a phenomenon that isn’t even agreed upon to exist yet.

    What is scientific is, and can only be, this: let the chips falll where they may, let the reports be where they happen, and see where concentrations are. Those are where you want to hunt for more evidence. As I said on the other thread where this came up: why are we keeping CA sightings and dumping IA? And look how many are in OH. Dumping those too? Now ALL the sightings start to look suspicious. Because they start to reflect personal biases rather than natural phenomena external to the cataloguer. There’s nothng more unscientific than that.

    You can only “purge” the database for reasons that make sense. That the animal isn’t where you want to see it is irrelevant. The animal didn’t ask you; its needs and movement patterns aren’t known to you. You have no good reason to do anything but collect evidence, until you have proof. Then the good data begins to sort itself out.

  17. Daryl Colyer responds:

    Loren, interesting blog. Thanks.

    I’ll honestly admit that the “dream report” would be a report submitted to the TBRC by a Texas Parks and Wildlife field biologist, who had a lengthy, close encounter with multiple sasquatches within the last 24 hours. Likely to happen?

    Dream on.

    If the trucker can be evaluated as a highly credible individual and his report can be corroborated by substantiating physical evidence, his report would be considered a Class 1 sighting by the TBRC, or at the very least, a Class 3 sighting (without corroborating evidence), under our new classification system.

    If a field biologist had the sighting with corroborating evidence, his report, like the trucker, would be considered a Class 1. However, with no accompanying evidence, the field biologist’s report would be a Class 2.

    Those whose report would be a Class 2 (without accompanying physical evidence) would be (for example) “biologist, ranger, trapper/seasoned hunter, bird watcher, game warden, naturalist, law enforcement” or someone who “is experienced in the outdoors and/or accustomed to looking for details.”

    So, from my perspective, there is some advantage to having a field biologist as a witness (especially one of positive repute), but there is also equal or similar value to a report from someone who is experienced in identifying wildlife or is trained to recognize and report on events of great detail.

  18. Benjamin Radford responds:

    We can all swap theories and opinions, but if you’re looking for the facts, there’s plenty available. Decades of psychological studies have repeatedly and consistently shown that eyewitness testimony is often unreliable.

    Loren himself admits this when he (quite correctly) states that the vast majority of Bigfoot sightings are misidentifications. So that’s pretty well a proven fact.

    It doesn’t matter if you’re a police officer, a field biologist, a boxer, or a game warden, we are all equipped with the same demonstrably fallible perceptual and psychological processes. Yes, you would expect an outdoorsman to better identify a bear than an office worker. So what?

    Most Bigfoot reports come down to “I saw something big and hairy, and it wasn’t a bear.” Even assuming that’s true, that is a NON-description; it just says what the person thinks it wasn’t, not a positive identification of a Bigfoot.

    The person who thinks he cannot be fooled has already fooled himself.

  19. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Kathy is right on the money with this note:

    I could easily point out reports on a certain popular website that I know, for a fact, are misidentifications or downright hoaxes.

    Without a valid way to tell a real sighting from a false one, it’s all mixed together…

  20. MultipleEncounters responds:

    First, as a lay person with some education in biology and forestry long ago, and having spent many thousands of hours in the woods for work and recreation, when you see a sasquatch up close, the impression is burned into your brain. It’s just too bad I couldn’t press the Print button from my first encounter nearly 30 yrs ago, because the detail I absorbed back then was incredible. I can still recall my making detailed mental notes of his palms, bare feet bottom, facial hair, nails, eyes, thighs, biceps, hair length, chest size, height, etc. Problem now is, the specific details of those observations back then do fade over time. Without going into every element, my two more-recent visual encounters were not as descriptive in detail because of lighting and angle, but there was definitely sufficient information to make a conclusion of what I was viewing due to overall size and profile of subject with limited detail. I also had other supporting information such as sounds, breathing, smell, etc.

    I think one big component in witness testimony is the interviewer himself, because they can have their own set of rules which can interfere or reinforce with the actual testimony. Is it a police officer or Federal forester who doesn’t want to file a formal sasquatch report in the first place because of his fear of ridicule? Is it a non-believer who is actually trying to disprove sasquatch in the long run, so finds non legitimate reasons to discount a claim? We’ve all read the ridiculed sighting reports floating around after the media gets ahold of them. Or is it a researcher who already has their preconceived notion of what is and isn’t sasquatch behavior or physical attributes, and therefore cuts portions of testimony he/she may dislike? Or finally, is the interviewer someone who is open minded as a result of previously recognizing that sasquatch may not fit within the comfortable box some may want to fit him in? Of course then sadly the interviewer himself can come into question if his/her peers or readers fall into one of the above categories. So the troubled credibility question continues.

    I suspect some very valid witness testimony has been completely thrown out simply because there was one or two elements that a dogmatic interviewer had no room for in their comfort zone. In essence, they threw the baby out with the bathwater. A good witness and valid report are often sadly discarded when a single questionable element in a claim is present.

    Here’s an example in my own experience. Last year Autumn Williams asked if I would mind doing an interview for the SciFi Investigates program. After much consideration on my part, I decided to go ahead. Keep in mind, I have had 3 visual and 3 vocal/interaction type encounters in my life by then. At one point in the interview, I had to look at my records to recall the order of one of the visual encounters to one of the non-visual encounters. Remember, we’re talking about a span of almost 30 years and I couldn’t recall if the second sighting came before or after a specific vocal encounter which were both almost 20 yrs ago.

    Apparently, my having to look at my notes became a major factor of my interview not even being included in the show. I’d like to see them treat Jane Goodall the same had she wanted to be certain of some details. They wouldn’t. In fact, if any credentialed witness needed to look at their notes, they would be recognized for their thoroughness. So I have to wonder if there may be a double standard we have in the field that needs to be exposed? In the end it was just as well I wasn’t included, because the show wasn’t a documentary anyhow, it was about ratings.

    As far as scientists as eyewitnesses, there may be some issues here. For instance, would a scientist dare report some of the things sasquatch are reported to do if they see it? Will they report the glowing red eyes when there was no external illumination? Will they report tracks beginning or ending in a snow field without explanation? (Neither of which I have ever seen) Would they dare report some of the stranger things being reported by what are likely credible witnesses?

    I’ve jumped around a bit because the issue of witness credibility is a little more complex then just the witness themself. In short, the credibility, quality, and content of the witness may actually have more to do with the interviewer then the witnesses.

  21. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Overall I agree with much of what Senor Multiple wrote. I do want to address one theme I keep hearing: ridicule of eyewitnesses. I know this is one of Loren’s themes, that a big problem in crytpid research is eyewitness ridicule.

    He wrote: “who doesn’t want to file a formal sasquatch report in the first place because of his fear of ridicule? We’ve all read the ridiculed sighting reports floating around after the media gets ahold of them.

    I keep hearing about all this alleged ridicule, all these credible eyewitnesses who are shouted down with laughter…

    Where? When? Names, dates, examples, please?

    Since it apparently happens all the time, I’m sure there are plenty of examples. Can someone point me to all these news reports in which the eyewitness is called crazy, or told they are stupid or foolish?

    I’m starting to wonder just how real the “ridicule factor” is. Everyone seems to be sure it exists, but I’m looking for actual examples. Anyone?

  22. DWA responds:

    MultipleEncounters: Great post. right on the money. When it comes to the sasquatch, there’s a big double standard, that is often passed off as “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

    Think about it. All that means is: claims require evidence.

    Speaking of which: back to Kathy Strain’s claim that there are “reports on a certain popular website that I know, for a fact, are misidentifications or downright hoaxes.” Such a claim (as we see here) plays right into skeptics’ hands; with no specificity, they’ll apply it to every claim on every database.

    As an equal-opportunity skeptic, I clearly recognize that this claim requires:

    1. Naming the database.

    2. Specifying the sightings.

    3. Noting, for each, whether it is a misidentification or a hoax.

    4. Presenting, for each, the corroborating data.

    That is an extraordinary claim. It requires extraordinary evidence.

    (That is a claim. It requires evidence.)

    One of the problems I see proponents have with skeptics is that they don’t hold skeptics’ claims to the same standards of evidence that skeptics reserve for proponents.

    I hold the claims of both sides to the same standards.

  23. DWA responds:

    Ben: here’s all the data you want for your request.

    Get up tomorrow morning. Decide you’re going to tell everybody you meet that you saw a sasquatch recently.

    EVERYBODY YOU MEET.

    Document the responses. That should tell you all you need to know.

    If you’re afraid people you don’t know will think you’re crazy just because you’re talking to them, limit the sample to people you know well. I predict similar results.

    Do this. I need to know if I’m right. :-)

  24. Benjamin Radford responds:

    In typical fashion, I ask for evidence and facts, and DWA offers only jokes…

    Can anyone with any credibility offer a list of cases where eyewitnesses were shouted down or ridiculed? I have interviewed dozens of Bigfoot eyewitnesses, and have treated every last one with courtesy and respect.

    I don’t doubt that every now and then there is some background snickering by those hearing about a Bigfoot encounter, but I don’t see any evidnece for the widespread, systematic eyewitness ridiculing…

  25. Kathy Strain responds:

    How in the world can purging a database of clearly inaccurate or misidentified witness reports be personal bias when how those reports got into the database was a personal bias in the first place? DWA, you seem to be under the impression that databases represent imperial data when in fact, they only represent what a human decided to put in (and by default leave out as well). You are also making an assumption that all those reports were thoroughly investigated and therefore represent accurate reports, when I have already stated (having been a former curator of said organization) that isn’t so. Many reports are in that database with NO investigation what-so-ever and are only there because they “sounded good.” I don’t know what you know about the scientific method, but I assure you, that an’t it.

    Yes indeed there are reports identified for California that should be purged because they are highly suspect based on the location…just like I would purged reports from parts of Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. It isn’t subjective to state that there has to be water and food, at a minimum, for a bigfoot population to be present in a given location. To continue to argue that we should just accept all reports that are in a man-made database because they are simply in a database is far more dangerous than stating we should throw them all out.

  26. DWA responds:

    Ben: most of us know red herrings when they’re brought to us on a plate. ;-)

  27. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Kathy writes “How in the world can purging a database of clearly inaccurate or misidentified witness reports be personal bias when how those reports got into the database was a personal bias in the first place?”

    Kathy, you are making too much sense, being too logical…

  28. Kathy Strain responds:

    DWA – My statement that there are false reports in a certain database falls right into the hands of skeptics? Good. First of all, it’s true. Check out Clark County, Nevada and get back with me. Second, maybe if there were less stuff like the footprint report above there would be no need for terms like scoftic because there’d be nothing to scoff at….

  29. DWA responds:

    Kathy: not sure you could misunderstand more what I said.

    On what basis are you purging? All I asked for is the evidence. What’s “clearly inaccurate”? A sas in IA? Who’s making the judgment?

    As I’ve said, I’ve read reports from IA – and other “unlikely” states – that seem as good as any from CA. Water, food and all present. A witness who gives a very good description, of an animal who seems to be in habitat much like that in which it’s found elsewhere. Don’t believe me? Bindernagel (and I) once felt the way you do about this. We changed our minds when we kept looking at data. Because it started to make sense.

    If you drop anything, you need to say why.

    If there’s one kind of data I would mistrust, it’s “imperial” data. Likewise, “imperial” dropping of data.

    WHERE PEOPLE SEE THEM IS WHERE THEY DO. Unless there is incontrovertible evidence that they misidentified something or lied.

    Knowing some scofftics (really well ;-) ), I can tell you how they’ll interpret your first paragraph: who knows how anything gets into those databases? Even the proponents think whole states should get thrown out. What does that say about the ones that get left in…?

  30. DWA responds:

    And I should point out another major problem that proponents have, that by itself has caused a whole lot of internecine warfare on the sasquatch:

    Too many proponents think they know exactly what this critter is, what kind of places it frequents, and where we should see them.

    NO ONE KNOWS, FOR SURE, WHAT THIS IS. Or how, or where, it lives. The best we have are educated guesses. Nomadism is an educated guess that comports with the behavior of known animals; explains sightings all over; and provides insight into why it’s been so hard to nail the sas down.

    If a sighting has passed the general criteria – sober, apparently credible witness; clear description fitting to what’s been reported in other sightings; lots of corroborating detail including multiple witnesses if available (as in several IA sightings, just had to toss that in) – it’s a good sighting. Insofar as any sighting can be considered “good” before proof is obtained.

    We don’t know the animal’s habits. Making turning around and dumping reports because we don’t like where they happened, to say the least, premature.

  31. MultipleEncounters responds:

    Ben,

    The ridicule factor is present everywhere, you just need to look closer.

    Look at how Prof Meldrum was ridiculed by some of his peers at Idaho State University. He is a witness in that he has found and cast tracks. Maybe ask Meldrum if he thinks there is such a thing as ridicule.

    Look at how Krantz was equally ridiculed by his peers at Washington State University.

    Look at how the news media ignores reports in communities then chuckles after they refer to how bigfoot was already proven a hoax by Wallace on his deathbed.

    Look at how few higher-ups in the USFS, BLM or USFWS with knowledge of bf, will dare speak publicly about sasquatch. (Of course there have been none willing to speak publicly), yet I know of several who have convided privately and in email.

    That’s just a few examples of the ridicule factor I could think of off the cuff.

  32. Benjamin Radford responds:

    BREAKING NEWS:

    HELL HAS JUST FROZEN OVER

    I never thought I’d agree with something DWA wrote, but then again even a broken watch is right twice a day.

    He writes: “NO ONE KNOWS, FOR SURE, WHAT THIS IS. Or how, or where, it lives. The best we have are educated guesses.”

    That is so true, but notice that DWA later contradicts himself by calling Bigfoot an animal. If no one knows for sure what Bigfoot is, how does he know it’s an animal?

    My own definition of Bigfoot is much more accurate: it is a label for the experience of seeing something large and hairy that the eyewitness cannot identify. So I’d include that in “what Bigfoot is.”

  33. Kathy Strain responds:

    Actually, DWA, I think you aren’t getting at all what it is that I’m saying and have no intent on doing so. I’ve never quite seen a self confessed skeptic argue so hard for including crap reports with the good ones. Do you have any knowledge of the database we are arguing about, other than what you have read on the website?

    I also find it hard to believe that Bingernagel would agree that bigfoot could occupy any location regardless of habitat or resources. Nor would Krantz…or Meldrum…or Higgins…or Noll.

  34. MultipleEncounters responds:

    We are all animals.

  35. DWA responds:

    And I should add: as to the vetting reports receive before they’re put in, that’s obviously not my problem.

    I was wondering about many reports that don’t show the follow-up evidence that the website insists must be done before any make the database.

    But here you have a baby/bathwater situation. Should a report that would pass all the tests if the witness got interveiwed get tossed, solely because the witness wasn’t? it’s a legitimate question. Saying “toss” could get rid of a lot of usable data. Why not simply put in a retro caveat and take it from there?

    And I’d dispute another point. I think tossing everything would be FAR more dangerous than leaving everything as it is, with an appropriate caveat. At least if you’re interested in finding out anything about the animal.

    Kathy, are you saying that if the vetting wasn’t done, it can’t be now? Cold followup is better than none, I’d think.

  36. Benjamin Radford responds:

    >>Look at how Prof Meldrum was ridiculed by some of his peers at Idaho State University.

    I will grant you that Meldrum has endured some ridicule, specifically when someone asked him if he will be searching for Santa Claus next.

    However, that was not the claim; Jeff is not, and has never claimed to be, a Bigfoot eyewitness. Nor, to my knowledge, was Krantz.

    If you will read the original post, and Loren’s writings, the comment is that eyewitnesses are often ridiculed, and I’m asking for examples.

  37. DWA responds:

    Actually, Ben, if you read sighting reports you’d know:

    1. Bigfoot is an animal. Maybe not a fact (yet), but a more than fair educated guess. (I refulse to caveat-weasel-word everything I say about the sasquatch.)

    2. Bigfoot is clearly identified. A biologist could plot every aspect of sightings on a bell curve (been done) and go, wow, that’s a species.

    And here I didn’t think you were right even once a day! ;-)

  38. Daryl Colyer responds:

    Hey Ben, how’s it going?

    You asked for examples of ridicule? Okay. This one involved my lovely wife:

    She was in the breakroom where she works, and the marketing guy approached her about the subject of bigfoot, and my involvment in it, apparently feigning serious interest. My wife fell for the gag, and began to tell him about a recent event. The guy interrupted her with a dismissive, ridiculing groan and made a sound like “Pfffft!” She stopped and said, “What?” He then asked her, chuckling, incredulously, “You mean you REALLY believe that CRAP?!?” My wife took offense, stood up and said, “Of course!”

    The guy smirked, chuckled and mumbled something to himself, and walked off.

    Another that comes to mind involved my very good friend, Craig Woolheater, when he was being interviewed by a radio station. While I don’t remember specifics, the ridicule got so bad that Craig cut the interview off.

    It’s real, Ben, and is quite pervasive.

    After church on Sunday, my wife and I were greeted by two nice couples and their children. One of the men, who seemed really interested, asked about my involvement in the subject. He is involved with an outdoors mens’ Christian group that has had me as a speaker a few times on the subject. When one of the wives heard what the subject was, she broke into laughter, and said loudly, “You’re kidding right? When my daughter mentions it, I tell her she’s nuts!” When I told her that I wasn’t kidding, she then apologized and said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to laugh.”

    I told her it was okay, and that I understood the difficulty in considering the existence of bigfoot. She turned and walked away, and then her husband began to ask quite a few serious questions about it.

    Anyway, there are many many examples that are similar to these, but I think I’ve said enough.

  39. MultipleEncounters responds:

    Yes Ben, that is correct, neither have ever claimed to have ‘seen’ a sasquatch. I used the term eyewitness too loosely to include finding tracks.

  40. MultipleEncounters responds:

    However, I do now recall Prof Krantz stating that his wife has seen one. That may not make him a full eyewitness, but he was married to one.

  41. Benjamin Radford responds:

    For a second, I misread and thought you said Krantz was married to a Bigfoot, not an eyewitness!

  42. Benjamin Radford responds:

    I’m pleased that DWA knows for a fact that Bigfoot is an animal and has been identified.

    …Right after he wrote that no one knows for sure what Bigfoot is.

  43. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Anyway, my request remains, to anyone who believes or claims that Bigfoot eyewitnesses are often ridiculed, and that this is a common or significant phenomena.

    Examples, please, of specific news reports or instances where officials have publicly ridiculed eyewitnesses into silence. According to Loren Coleman and many others, it happens all the time… surely there should be dozens or hundreds of cases.

    Note that “not believed” is not the same as ridiculed; people make claims all the time that are not believed (from car salesmen to politicians), but that doesn’t mean they are ridiculed.

  44. Ceroill responds:

    Ahhh. Here we begin to get to another bit of need of definition of terms. It is now clear that Ben defines ‘ridicule’ differently than some others might. Perhaps if we managed to arrive at an agreement on what terminology to use to apply in what instances then we might get closer to a consensus. Since Ben is asking for examples, perhaps he would grace us with his definition of ridicule. Then there might be some chance of satisfying his request.

    Here’s what I find at the Yahoo reference site:

    rid·i·cule (rd-kyl)

    NOUN:

    Words or actions intended to evoke contemptuous laughter at or feelings toward a person or thing: “I know that ridicule may be a shield, but it is not a weapon” (Dorothy Parker).

    TRANSITIVE VERB:
    rid·i·culed , rid·i·cul·ing , rid·i·cules

    To expose to ridicule; make fun of.

    ETYMOLOGY:
    French, from Latin rdiculum, joke, from neuter of rdiculus, laughable ; see ridiculous

    OTHER FORMS:
    ridi·culer (Noun)

    SYNONYMS:
    ridicule , mock , taunt 1 , twit , deride

    These verbs refer to making another the butt of amusement or mirth. Ridicule implies purposeful disparagement: “My father discouraged me by ridiculing my performances” (Benjamin Franklin). To mock is to poke fun at someone, often by mimicking and caricaturing speech or actions: “Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort/As if he mock’d himself, and scorn’d his spirit” (Shakespeare). Taunt suggests mocking, insulting, or scornful reproach: “taunting him with want of courage to leap into the great pit” (Daniel Defoe). To twit is to taunt by calling attention to something embarrassing: “The schoolmaster was twitted about the lady who threw him over” (J.M. Barrie). Deride implies scorn and contempt: “Was all the world in a conspiracy to deride his failure?” (Edith Wharton).

  45. Benjamin Radford responds:

    I agree that definitions are important, and I’m happy to use the definintion provided. We were not using ridicule as a noun, but as a verb: “eyewitnesses are ridiculed.”

    Thus “To expose to ridicule; make fun of” is a perfectly acceptable definition for me. Let’s see this slew of cases where Bigfoot eyewitnesses were “exposed to ridicule” or “made fun of.”

    Not “disbelieved,” not “ignored,” but mocked, exposed to ridicule, or made fun of…

    I’d add that ridicule implies public mocking; if a person just thinks to himself or herself that an eyewitness is stupid or crazy, that’s not ridicule. If that person says that to others, or prints it, that is ridicule.

  46. joppa responds:

    O.K. Ben, here’s your challenge; Send a request to every State Commissioner of the respective Department of Natural Resources or Wildlife Agency Director and ask about the Bigfoot population in their state.

    Next, send the same request to the Wildlife and Fisheries Department of every major university that has a program.

    By the way, ridicule, like racism has many forms.

  47. Benjamin Radford responds:

    I’m finding this very instructive, really fascinating.

    I ask for specific examples of Bigfoot eyewitnessees being ridiculed (which supposedly happens all the time), and so far I’ve gotten two responses:

    In the first, MultEncounters was honest enough to admit that Meldrum wasn’t really an eyewitness and (after I was honest enough to admit he had been subjected to some ridicule).

    In the second, I’m told I need to send a letter to every Wildlife department or something…

    It’s amazing the contortions people will go to when they (apparently) don’t have facts to back up their assertions.

    That’s okay, I don’t expect an answer immediately. I’m happy to wait for someone to cite me list of examples.

  48. bill green responds:

    hey loren & everyone great new article about sasquatch. yes i agree with all the above replys as well. thanks bill :) very informative.

  49. MultipleEncounters responds:

    Hello Kathy,

    Since we’re onto the subject of validity of witness testimony and of purging reports, I’d like to pose a question for you of a report that you wrote off at another forum. It involved the capture of an injured sasquatch during the Battle Mountain Fire in Nevada in August 1999 by fire personnel. (FYI, I too was a wildland firefighter.)

    In this other forum you stated that you were “the original investigator of that report”. I have chatted with Thom Powell in the past about the incident, which he has written about in his book ‘The Locals’, and he doesn’t seem to recall you being the ‘lead investigator’ or with the organization when the report actually came in. I just wanted to clear this up because I remain interested in that incident, and such contradicting information simply must be clarified.

    Clearly it can be important since we’re talking about a very high profile event. I am under the impression that someone else was the lead investigator.

    You also didn’t feel the habitat was there to support sasquatch, but this reasoning would completely ignore the possibility of a sas simply passing through and getting trapped. Not to mention, as raised before, nobody knows exactly what a sas needs and his access to caves, deer, and ground squireels could have been sufficient to sustain him.

    At what time did you actually investigate the report and in what capacity?

    This alleged capture and testimony by a seasonal firefighter, could have been such a pinnacle event proving sasses’ existence. Not to mention demonstrating knowledge by our own government, and a subsequent coverup as well.

    I think this thread tends to raise a very important issue about what criteria (and whose) is used in order to purge or pursue reports in what organizations?

    Anyway, I just find this capture report significant because it would be a terrible thing to see such a high profile case discounted and possibly purged for the wrong reasons. It might also prove existence of a government coverup the likes of which I suspect do in fact occasionally occur.

    Dave

  50. MultipleEncounters responds:

    Hmm, the firefighter may have been seasonal or may have been full time. It again depends on whose statements one believes.

  51. MattBille responds:

    Wow, a lot of good discussion.

    OK, a few points from an admitted armchair researcher without field experience.

    A report may be valid regardless of the source, but it’s not going to be given the same credibility by a “mainstream” of scientists and officials – REQUIRED to establish a new species officially – from a truck driver as from a field biologist. Conversely, a related degree is not a guarantee of a witness being correct: no disrespect to Dr. Samuels, but it would be easy to note that a mycologist is not a primatologist.

    I’ve mentioned my dad saw a large black “panther” cross the road in front of him in Maine about five decades back. Now I know Dad could make a mistake, but I don’t think he did. That, however, is my opinion based on personally knowing the individual. I can’t expect anyone else to accept this as authoritative on my “second-hard say-so.” It’s another bit of evidence in the file, but it’s not going to convince the FWS to do any serious investigating.

    As to sasquatches seen outside the PNW: We don’t know an unconfirmed animal’s range (pretty much by definition). We can, and should, look at where the more impressive reports come from (a subjective judgment itself, of course) and how suitable an environment is for a large animal’s need to find food and stay concealed. I’m more skeptical of reports near large population centers, in desert environments, etc. because the animal is less likely to be there. Not impossible, but less likely. If you need a population in the hundreds for survival, then you need a habitat where hundreds could live, breed, hunt, and die without, in many decades, having even one specimen killed by an elk hunter, or hit by a truck, etc. (Stories where specimens were lost, where a hunter did take a shot but failed to kill, etc. are no different as evidence than any other “I saw it” stories.)

    I’m not much on conspiracy theories. Yes, academics who investigate sasquatch get a hard time, and agencies like the FWS or state wildlife departments, inevitably saddled with huge responsibilities and inadequate fuding, are likely to brush off a sasquatch unless it’s seen by either a scientist or one of their own people. (And maybe even then…)

    To use another one of my tales, my friend Tom saw a grizzly very close up (as in inches away) in Colorado (where they are extinct). Tom is a lifelong outdoors guy and a former intelligence officer so solid that, if he told me he’d seen a sasquatch at similarly close range, I would personally accept that as proof of sasquatch. A Colorado wildlife officer to whom he reported this suggested that, even if Tom was sure it was a grizzly, he accept it was a black bear to prevent a major disruption in hunting, etc. in that area of the state. Now that officer in some sense shirked his duty, no doubt justifying it by thinking that a lone grizz could have been a wanderer, and its importance was not great enough to deal with the consequences. However, a more recent account, again by a lone witness, drew a pretty extensive official search. So a lot depends on luck – who happens to listen to the witness.

    Matt Bille

  52. Kathy Strain responds:

    Hey Dave – yes I was the original investigator. As I recall it was prior to FLATS. I was asked to investigate the report because I had just come to California from Nevada (working for the U.S. Forest Service) and had the right “connections”. After checking the facts of the report, I concluded it was a hoax (and hence why the report is not on the BFRO website). I never gave the report another thought until I read it in Thom’s book. It seems very implausible that after all this time not a single other person has come forward with telling the same story (not to mention that the witness was not telling the truth about being a federal employee).

    As I recall there is another report in his book that I was the original investigator on. Thom called the witness after I had already done the report. I have never had an issue about Thom following up on other people’s reports…our only disagreement was if the witness was believable and if the event really occurred.

  53. DWA responds:

    “It’s amazing the contortions people will go to when they (apparently) don’t have facts to back up their assertions.”

    I know. It’s amazing to watch what scofftics (in case of emergency, break glass) have done rather than back up their assertion that all sasquatch data is hoax, lie or hallucination. They ask a list of citations for a phenomenon pretty much as pervasive as bacteria. (Ben: read sighting reports – you can start any day now – and you’ll get copious renditions of what-happened-when-I-told-people. No need for us to recount it here.) This request list – when they are pretty much Exhibit A of ridicule, this red-herring routine being only one example – is a standard scofftic tactic. When you see a scofftic come up with real data to back his assertions, tell me. They have a position too, and unlike the proponents (for all their problems), they’ve done little or nothing to back it up. Other than call people liars – in nicey-nice words – and condescend to them.

    Sorry folks. When someone does go scofftic on me, I’m calling it. It’s like heroin. I can’t help it! :-D But I do have to say this: those who made the point that scofftic is a convenient term when you find scoffticism rampant, well, they HAVE a point.

    And Ben: My little project for you, up there? It would bring the phenomenon home to you, up close and personal, sort of the “Black Like Me” of squatchery. Ground-breaking field research. I mean it. Try it.

    BTW: it’s cool to see Matt Bille (a true skeptic) and Ben Radford (a scofftic) on the same thread. Sorta highlights the distinction we’ve been going over on that other thread. Thanks for visiting, Matt. Definitely a breath of fresh air.

  54. Daniel Loxton responds:

    Ben is quite right that eyewitness testimony is exceedingly, shockingly unreliable—that’s what the psychological literature has established beyond any doubt through decades of relevant experiment. It’s a fact of life we just have to work around.

    But I thought I might make a note, not about eyewitness testimony itself, but about how skeptics approach it. On a previous thread, Sergio mentioned that skeptics can become “scoftics” when they set aside eyewitness testimony. He also writes,

    By the way, it’s easy to “find the case for bigfoot to be quite strong” when I’ve seen one with my own eyes. Any argument that you can throw at me holds absolutely no water, because I know firsthand that you are wrong, regardless of how much ranting you do or how much patronizing you do.
    It’s really that simple to me. My eyes will trump your argument or the argument of anyone on the planet any day of the week, any week of the month, and any month of the year.

    Here’s my take. Bigfoot witnesses have had an experience that has given them a privileged viewpoint on the question of Bigfoot. The assertion that “any argument that you can throw at me holds absolutely no water, because I know firsthand that you are wrong” seems to me like a bit of a conversation-ender; but, on the other hand, how can a witness pretend that they didn’t see what they experienced first-hand?

    Skeptics are stuck: no one can take away a Bigfoot witness’ first-hand experience—but without further evidence I can’t claim with any honesty to know what it was.

    That’s not a coded way to insinuate that eyewitnesses are liars (though I can’t avoid the fact that some important eyewitness sasquatch testimony has proven to be fraudulent). It’s just that I can’t do much with anybody’s given story by itself. I wasn’t there. I don’t know anything about the witness. I don’t share the privileged vantage point.

    All I can do is proceed with what I do know—which isn’t much, in most individual sighting cases. I know the witness said they saw a sasquatch. After that, I’m just guessing. Every person’s individual Bigfoot sighting claim is a new mystery, and there are a terrific number of possible solutions I have to consider. One of those is Bigfoot, but unless I have clear corroborating evidence to help narrow the field of possible explanations, all I can do is set that story aside until more evidence emerges. Unfortunately, in many sighting cases, there is no possibility of any further evidence ever emerging specific to that particular sighting claim.

    My point here is just that merely setting a story aside does not in itself constitute “scoffing.” It’s just the only intellectually honest approach I know. I generally don’t have any opinions about any random witness’ trustworthiness, one way or the other, because I generally have no information about that.

    It’s just that I can’t accept an uncorroborated account as accurate without outright guessing.

  55. DWA responds:

    Oh, and Ben, joppa has given you another assignment. One that many who have seen or heard a sasquatch have tried with their local DNR, with predictable results.

    I’d give you two reports i know of right off the top of my head, but I know how this red-herring thing works. (It already has. “Only two.” That’ll morph to “Only two hundred.” “Only two thousand.” No thanks. Some movies I only have to see once.)

    You never do anything here but crap on proponents’ opinions. Get off your lazy scofftic butt and do some fieldwork! joppa gave you a VERY specific tasking.

    As did I.

    Get crackin’.

  56. Daniel Loxton responds:

    Radford’s question about ridicule is a good one. Are there cases where a bigfoot eyewitness has been exposed to ridicule? I would guess it might be common, but I’m curious whether this can be pinned down to specific cases…

  57. DWA responds:

    OK, for Daniel I’ll do two. (He tends to ask nice.)

    1. http://texasbigfoot.com/Montgomery12.html

    2. http://bfro.net/GDB/show_report.asp?id=1372

    I don’t have time to mine databases. But those are typical. (And yes, I think being warned about using alcohol while hunting counts as ridicule. I’d have shot the guy.)

  58. Daniel Loxton responds:

    Cool, thanks.

    (Those cases are unfortunate. No one deserves to be treated poorly as a reward for trying to do the right thing.)

  59. MultipleEncounters responds:

    Ben,

    I think the most important perspective of the ridicule question is not regarding ‘documented’ ridicule found in any news reports, but it is the ‘fear’ of ridicule, and the ‘whispers’ that take place in the back rooms where you work.

    I guess tell everyone at work that you saw a sasquatch over the weekend and see how it goes. Then after a few days, tell them you were merely conducting an experiment to see if you can get them to tell you what they said about you.

    Not everyone is this way but if anyone thinks this doesn’t happen, then they haven’t been around. It’s the same old story no matter what the unbelievably sounding claim may be.

    Why do you think sasquatch is where it is in our societal acceptance, and not having been listed as a member on any evolutionary tree?

    Dave

  60. kamoeba responds:

    I think that being ridiculed can’t be the only reason people fail to report cryptid sightings. If that were true, the YouTubers and Dominic Perezes of the world would think twice before parading their pathetic hoaxes across the internet.

    But seriously, who do you contact to report a cryptid sighting? The police? The zoo? Tom Biscardi? If I were lucky enough to glimpse a cryptid I don’t know who I’d go to with my information.

  61. joppa responds:

    Gee, Ben I thought you wanted to experience ridicule first hand, but let me give you an interesting example of institutional ridicule:

    I spent several years in various positions with a State Natural Resources Agency. I even got to make some policy. We would get wild and wooly critter reports all the time and occasionally Bigfoot sightings. Guess who, got to follow up, investigate and write reports.( these weren’t for public consumption or to be posted on the internet and they probably don’t exist anymore ).

    One fine day, the question got bandied about, “What if these boogers exist ?”

    Answer: “They don’t, until somebody higher up than us or better, some recognized scientific body says they do. ”

    “What do we do with the reports, if credible ? ”

    “Ignore them.”

    “Why?”

    “It’s not what we do !!! We are paid to manage game species, protect endangered ones ( only those with money and grants attached). When we get a Bigfoot department funded, we will worry about Bigfoot.”

    Now, this thread was about credible witnesses, and I talked to some pretty damned credible folks. But I got to write nice letters to these folks: ” Dear Mr. Witness, Thanks for your letter. You probably saw a bear. Don’t shoot at it, ’cause you can’t hunt bears in this State. Have a nice day. “

  62. DWA responds:

    Nope, Kathy, we just seem at loggerheads, but I keep trying.

    “I’ve never quite seen a self confessed skeptic argue so hard for including crap reports with the good ones.”

    Don’t even understand what that means. What’s a “crap report?” What’s a “good” one? How do you make that determination? Your problem, not mine. (Although I could give you some guidelines; and “nothing from Iowa” is a BAD one.)

    “I also find it hard to believe that Bingernagel would agree that bigfoot could occupy any location regardless of habitat or resources. Nor would Krantz…or Meldrum…or Higgins…or Noll.”

    Nor DWA. It’s just that some of us think IA is great habitat for the sasquatch. (Hint. IT IS.)

    And no I’m not from there. It’s just that I think sas researchers shouldn’t be ruling stuff out when so little is known for sure. 35 reports from that state is A LOT. It’s IOWA, ferpetesake. Where if you see something like that you’re a NUT.

    (Yeah, you are in CA too. But still.)

  63. springheeledjack responds:

    you know, I miss all the fun when I get too busy for a couple of days…sheesh…

    Scoftic is a great word and I intend to use it on a daily, weekly and moment to moment basis.

    You Scoftics are arguing over orange rinds and orange peels.

    Getting back to truck drivers…eye witnesses are on an even field–what can be observed in a laboratory has nothing to do with what is observed in the world outside the big building…I would trust the observations of a DNR/forestry person (if they’ve spent some serious time in their terrain) before I’d ever trust the eye witness accounts of biologists, police or campers (if they’ve only spent weekends or less in the wooded terrain).

    IT is all about the individual and it is all about the whole.

    Radford (oh boy, here we go again) talked early on about how “Decades of psychological studies have repeatedly and consistently shown that eyewitness testimony is often unreliable.”

    I’ll agree. BUT, that doesn’t mean that eyewitness testimony is ALWAYS unreliable. That’s where the scoftics like to make that erroneous push and just take out the “often” and replace it with “all.”

    Ben, you need to sing a different song, man, it’s the same old and it’s time to switch the station.

    And to Ms. Kathy Strain…Thirty-five reports for an entire state, especially when they are widely spread and isolated single reports, is not believable or scientific–

    only 35 reports also does not make them invalid…you should know that there are entirely too many variables as to why only 35 reports have come in…widespread, isolated or whatever…there are plenty of possibilities.

    And while we’re on the subject, who gets to decide if that’s believable or scientific…you?…why? Because somewhere it says in a book that 35 widespread, isolated accounts does not make believable or scientific…or is that just your opinion?

  64. springheeledjack responds:

    Now see, with everyone getting into all of this, I lost my train of thought and didn’t write down what I really meant to…sheesh, you people…

    My brother is a truck driver. He did have an odd incident while driving one night.

    It was late (about 3am) and out on a back highway when he saw something dark and gray-ish cross in front of the road–and he saw it over the hood of his semi (he did not see all of it at first sight).

    At first he assumed it was an owl because of the color and that it was moving fast across the road, and so close to his truck.

    But then it crossed out from in front of the truck and he saw that it was a something running across the road on two legs. It ran to the side of the road and jumped across the ditch at the side of the road and then down and into the vegetation and was gone.

    He guestimated the height as larger than man size because of where he could see it at the nose of the semi, and from the way it covered so much ground and for the impression of the leap across the ditch.

    Now, my brother was reticent to say what it might have been. He ruled out the owl, and deer (he’s seen plenty of those cut across in front of him and has killed more than one accidentally that way). He has never used the word bigfoot to describe it, but he has also been unable to explain what he saw in relation to other animals.

    And not just because of what he saw, but how what he saw compared to other things he has witnessed. The something moved similarly to people, but not exactly like a person.

    You can take that for what you want, but it is that kind of encounter that helps me give creedence to the belief in things like Bigfoot (and not just because it was my brother who saw this).

    It is when you talk to someone and they can’t pinpoint what they observed, but they know it was something outside of their normal realm of experience. You can tell from the way they talk about the incident that it defies all of their life experience and that they are trying to catalog the experience in a logical way and still can’t.

    That’s when you start looking deeper into eye witness accounts instead of throwing them off as (well, he was tired, he saw a circus bear parading across the road that was gray because of some fungal residue…so on and so forth).

    I have no doubt the scoftics will never be convinced. That is not my aim–people are free to believe what they will, and I do not need the rest of the world to believe me, to give creedence to what I see and believe.

    What is important is to present the information in objective ways and to let people make up their own minds…without worrying about our own insecurities because maybe no one else believes me…to not try to twist language to meet our own needs and ends.

    Do that, and we no longer have cause to argue. Do that and we have more energy to spend on getting to the bottom of these crypto-mysteries if that is your fancy.

    See you at Lake Champlain.

    SHJ

  65. springheeledjack responds:

    Oh, and since I’m weighing in, it’s not 35 reports…it is 36, because my above report came from Iowa…huh, go figure…and while you’re at it, go read my first bit about why there may be only 35 reports.

  66. Kathy Strain responds:

    Well, yeah, SHJ, for several hundred reports I did make the call on if it was believable or not! And, everyday, someone somewhere is making the same decisions of what goes and what stays. Change a person here and there, and you’ll change a database completely. That’s the point…a database is subjective and often contains reports that made it in on a whim, wasn’t followed up on, it sounded nice, etc.

    Would you argue that a sighting from Hawaii should be made public so that you can make up your own mind? Of course not, because it’s not reasonable to think that a bigfoot swam across the Pacific, made it to the island, and has a breeding population. The same can be said of places where the food resources are essentially crops and cover consists of grasslands.

    Like it or not, but a large percentage of reports (including those on the AIBR website) are not being presented to the public because we are making a decision that they are not worthy of public view. My point is, there are reports already out there that need to be purged because someone erred by letting it sneak through. If someone had done their job, you wouldn’t even know there was 35 reports for Iowa and this discussion wouldn’t even be happening!

    DWA, did you get a chance to read the footprint report from Clark County, Nevada?

  67. Kathy Strain responds:

    I should also note that

    a: I’ve been to Iowa;

    b: I am very supportive that there is fantastic habitat throughout North American (from coast to coast);

    c: I don’t believe that bigfoot is isolated to the PNW; and

    d: I am very supportive of most witness sightings (my husband is a witness himself).

  68. dontmean2prymate responds:

    Could a bigfoot tell the difference between a trucker and a biologist? Some biologists drive trucks. Some truckers have taken biology classes and have personal knowledge of life-forms that cross the road before juggernauts of technology. The biologist or trucker is not ridiculed but maybe sometimes given good-natured teasing, until bigfoot researchers and publishers become involved, then neutral neighbors become naturally suspicious, and the witness is forced into a corner of debate similar to here, an unfair, abstract corner they didn’t expect to be painted into. I’ve been ridiculed for searching for a legendary creature that dates from prehistory. It is in the earliest writings and is supposedly better than us and more powerful. We must answer to it or suffer eternally. Heard about it in church, and though some biologist and truckers believe in it, they haven’t specifically reported such a thing. Cryptoanything requires proof, not an assortment of stories from an assortment of tellers, though I enjoy most of the stories. What is the argument/debate?!: I like your words but not as much as mine?

  69. Daniel Loxton responds:

    This discussion regarding the vetting of reports provides a useful way to communicate why skeptics are a fairly cool toward eyewitness testimony.

    Sightings come in all shapes and sizes: Hawaiian sasquatches, telepathic sasquatches, sasquatches in virtually every state, province, and continent. The reported creatures vary wildly in size, shape, color and behavior (see Loren’s Field Guide to Bigfoot if you have any doubts on that score). They have almost any number of toes, and leave footprints of almost any size.

    What are investigators to do with that menagerie? If there’s a real animal in there someplace, you need to be able to sort the good data from the bad data in order to find it. But, as we see right here on this thread, there is no consensus about how to do that, about which cases to keep and which to reject. In any event, it seems clear that most eyewitnesses have to be wrong—certainly they can’t all be right.

    But which ones? The posters here cannot agree., for the perfectly good reason that there is no known standard to which to compare sightings.

    For all anyone knows, it’s a perfectly plausible guess that the only genuine sasquatch tracks have three toes, or that only sightings of sasquatches 16 feet or taller are the real deal.

    At this point, any and all vetting of reports is totally arbitrary—which is one reason why skeptics are cool toward sighting reports. Unfortunately, that badly undermines the whole point of collecting sighting reports, which is to try to build a picture of Bigfoot in the absence of a type specimen. I don’t know what to say about that—it’s unfortunate, but there it is.

  70. MultipleEncounters responds:

    Kathy,

    I don’t think that discounting a report because the region was grassland or cropland is reasonable. Some of these critters do migrate and there is no reason they wouldn’t even travel thru a wide expanse with available feed. Look at the report (Soul Snatcher) told by Cochice’s grandson, nephew of Geronimo, who told of his encounter with a sasquatch in chaparral desert long ago. Of course they may have had less to worry about back then, but that doesn’t mean they would abandon such behavior. Just because an area is desert, is no reason to discount a report.

    They know how to hide low to the ground. They can move at night. They can hunker down during the day. They can even move along the small canals that provide water for farms. We just don’t know enough about them to say they don’t move through these open expansive areas, or even stay a little while when food is abundant.

    “The same can be said of places where the food resources are essentially crops and cover consists of grasslands.”

    I’d be equally concerned if a report was abandoned because a witness claimed that a bf tried talking to a person, indicating strong human-like tendencies. Some researchers are so close minded to this possibility that I could see them erasing reports simply because they contained such elements.

    I guess the bottom line is that the validity of a witness testimony can be arbitrarily discounted because of a researcher’s limited point of view. I recently noticed an entire thread removed from a forum where someone had a detailed opinion that sas was of a homo lineage. While it was not my forum, seeing that kind of information removed arbitrarily does concern me. It wasn’t a ‘witness’ per se, but it was significant information none the less.

    Dave

  71. DavidFredSneakers responds:

    This is getting very long, I keep having to catch up!

    I agree that some reports aren’t worth publishing. If sasquatch is defined as just something big upright and hairy that can’t be identified, would anybody reasonably want to report a case of a purple haired biped with three arms? Of course not, a line needs to be drawn somewhere.

    While we do not have the DNA to prove what this animal is, it is not hard to see comparative features between reports. Bindernagel wrote a whole book on this.

    Reports that strongly do not conform to what has been observed in others should give plenty of ground for suspicion, and a lack of comprehensive investigation into the report should give even more.

    A working definition should be applied to the word “sasquatch,” and Bindernagel, Green, and Meldrum have all done well to present one. “Anything goes” is not an attitude that should be taken, as it just makes the subject more ridiculous and gives room for hoaxers or those suffering from hallucinations to muck up the pool of evidence and take up time.

    Oh yeah, and Meldrum was eyewitness to some possible sasquatch activity, as he records in the first chapter of his book.

  72. shumway10973 responds:

    Mystery_man is right in that someone trained for field study would probably be better at describing the encounter than someone that just graduated high school (especially with the way schools are going today). Let’s just remember that the common person that frequents the “area” would know better what animal(s) are common. Of course there is the possibility of getting someone like Betty White’s character in Lake Placid. She didn’t think it strange nor was she frightened to find crocodiles living in the lake. In a case like that a trained biologist on vacation would be ecstatic, excited and even frightened when encountering sasquatch, yet a local person may just chuckle at the commotion and say something like, “Oh, that. That’s just Bob. He comes around here now and again.” I kinda do that with arachnophobic people, “What? Oh the spider, that’s just Bob, my pet spider.”

  73. Lyndon responds:

    After church on Sunday, my wife and I were greeted by two nice couples and their children. One of the men, who seemed really interested, asked about my involvement in the subject. He is involved with an outdoors mens’ Christian group that has had me as a speaker a few times on the subject. When one of the wives heard what the subject was, she broke into laughter, and said loudly, “You’re kidding right? When my daughter mentions it, I tell her she’s nuts!”

    I’ve heard it all now. A Bible basher sniggering about bigfoot????

    Wouldn’t that be an oxymoron? LOL.

  74. Cropper responds:

    A note for Ben Radford.

    I’m an Australian investigator and author of a recent book on our own bigfoot creature, the yowie. I’ve personally spoken to around 130 eyewitnesses across Australia since 1975 and I can assure you the “ridicule factor” in Australia is alive and well! I would say that of the witnesses I’ve spoken too about 50-60% stated their had been negative consequences of them sharing their experiences, stretching from general disbelief of friends/colleagues through to outright hostility. I have interview tapes that I’m sure would corroborate this statistic.

    It was fairly typical for the witness to be asked (constantly) whether they’d been drinking before their sighting. In fact, its quite typical for witnesses these days to insist that their stories are kept completely confidential – a wise move in my view!

    As to whether some witnesses are better than others – well, I think so. In Australia, yowie witnesses have included an Australian Senator, a Victorian Zoology graduate, at least three National Parks employees, surveyors and several members of the Australian SAS.

    But some of these are single witness sightings. I always think multiple witness cases are more interesting, and we have 57 cases involving 2 witnesses, 29 cases involving 3 witnesses, 10 cases where there was between 4 and 6 people present and, in at least 2 cases, as many as 20 people.

    Cheers Paul.
    The Yowie File

  75. things-in-the-woods responds:

    I notice ben radford has gone strangely quiet since people have responded to his request for actual instances of eyewitnesses being subjected to ridicule (and ben, its not for you to say what counts as ridicule- if someone feels the reaction to their claim is in some way mocking or dismissive or just plain rude then that is all that is required really- anything that is going to discourage people).

    Ben it really wouldn’t do you or the sceptic cause any harm to now admit you were wrong on that one. Shall we all hold our breath…?

  76. things-in-the-woods responds:

    Oh, and as it happens I think daniel loxton has explained rather effectively why skeptics are wary of eyewitness reports. Of course, being wary of them, and agreeing to ‘set some aside’ is not the same thing as saying that they are all worthless as ben has done ad nauseum in the past.

    Having said that, however, I have to agree with DWA that the rejection of some evidence out of hand by some investigators is entirely unjustified before we know what this thing(s) is. As I’ve said before I think the best plan is to record and publish all data (yep, even the purple three-headed stuff), and then subject it to critique. If this is done i think it is then positively useful to have the more outlandish stuff in the data base, as by seeing the evidence and associated critique people can see why some are more reliable or probable than others. In fact I don’t see any harm with a rating system, as long as all reports are included, even if only in category X (extremely unlikely to be anything other than the effect of taking too many hallucinogenic drugs in California in the 60’s- and no, of course that’s not aimed at any specific contributor to this site..).

    It seems to me that the reason certain people want to ‘purge’ data is not out of concern for the scientific method, but rather in order to keep the field in some sense ‘respectable’ in the eyes of the scientific establishment (which is not the same thing). It would be ungracious to suggest that they might have some ulterior motive (i.e. protecting their living and reputation) for doing so..

  77. Patrick Bede responds:

    Amazing.

    We spend weeks debating the term “digger indian.”

    We have an entire blog dedicated to the term “scoftic” and how some people are offended by it, which brought out quite a few who found the term offensive.

    And then we have Lyndon, who casually uses the term “bible basher” to refer to Christians, and continues in his next sentence to further ridicule Christians.

    I understand, even though it really make no sense to describe a Christian, that the term is used in Britain to speak negatively about Christians. The term is highly offensive.

    First of all, why would a Christian be a “bible basher” when they don’t bash the bible, but try to adhere to its principles?

    Lyndon, why don’t you keep your ridiculous British prejudice and epithets to yourself?

  78. things-in-the-woods responds:

    Ok, heres a little story.

    In the 1980’s some scientists of the british antarctic survey were monitoring the atmosphere. They were using a weather ballon and a piece of kit designed in the 1950’s. They noticed that every october there was increasingly a depletion of the ozone layer. They linked this to CFC’s and soon everyone was aware of the danger leading to intergovernmental action.

    Embarrasingly the americans were also monitoring the atmosphere and were doing so with up to the minute technology based on an orbiting satelite, but they failed to notice the ozone depletion. Why? because they had set their instruments to reject any data that fell outside the known historical range.

    Make of it what you will.

  79. mystery_man responds:

    Ah man, I’m away for just a day and this debate has pretty much passed me by. A lot of good points being made.

    Things-in-the woods- I think you really made a good point earlier on about the ability of the biologist in question to adequately describe what they are seeing depending on their field of specialty. A specialist in earthworms, as you amusingly put it, would not be very much help with a creature such as the sasquatch, probably no better than anyone else getting cught off guard by an 8 foot hairy hominid. I agree. I, like you, am also somewhat of a scientist myself, and I’ve done field work to boot although not on anything as spectacular as Bigfoot. Even so, I honestly can say that I perhaps would not be any better a witness than anyone else if I were to ever have an encounter myself. I’d probably be too busy trying not to soil myself. I just was thinking that a field biologist would have an eye for detail that some might not have, although I suppose it still depends on the circumstances, the field of expertise and even with field researchers, reliability should still be considered I suppose. I agree with what many have said that it is very true that a seasoned hunter or a hiker that is familiar with the area would be just as good a witness as one could hope for. I was mostly talking about a layperson with no real experience at all when I made my post earlier on.

    This may be a bit of a tangent here, but one thing that strikes me as very interesting is the reports I have heard of people who ardently denied Bigfoot before, yet changed their tune dramatically upon seeing one themselves. Now of course they may be making up the fact that they were a skeptic before just to give their story some added weight, but if they are not what are we to make of these reports? They obviously saw something pretty defininative to make them turn their worldview on bigfoot completely around. I have heard of those who have become quite obsessed with hunting Bigfoot upon having their own sighting. Whether it was really a Bigfoot or not, I really wonder what it is that could have caused such a change in these people and how should these reports be treated? Anyone here on this site one of these people? It’s just a curious thing that I’ve been thinking about lately as I’ve found myself contemplating believers that have turned to believers and believers that have turned to skeptics.

  80. mystery_man responds:

    I meant skeptics that have turned to believers and believers that have turned into skeptics at the end there. Sorry!

  81. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Thing in the Woods wrote:

    “ben radford has gone strangely quiet since people have responded to his request for actual instances of eyewitnesses being subjected to ridicule”

    Yep, I had to turn off the computer, go eat dinner, and get on with the other aspects of my life. “Strangely silent” indeed.

    So far I have seen only two examples of “eyewitness ridicule”:

    Eyewitness Ridicule Case #1: “as he began to talk about the tracks that he had found, the Forest Service representative apparently snickered. The witness knew then that he was not being taken seriously.”

    A third-hand account that an unnamed Forest Service Rep “apparently snickered”? That’s the best you got? That’s the public ridicule? Come on.

    Eyewitness Ridicule Case #2:

    “The officer seemed skeptical at most and unwilling to check out the physical evidence. In his professional opinion it was only a bear and possibly a combination of hunting nerves.”

    “Seeming skeptical” is not ridicule either; sorry.

    Our Oz Bigfoot investigator states that “of the witnesses I’ve spoken too about 50-60% stated their had been negative consequences of them sharing their experiences, stretching from general disbelief of friends/colleagues through to outright hostility.”

    Please review the definition of “ridicule.” As noted earlier, “general disbelief” is not ridicule. Skepticism is not ridicule.

    I’m waiting for all the examples of where Bigfoot eyewitnesses were publicly mocked, made fun of, and made the subject of derision and laughter.

    I am still waiting for good examples of ridicule (their term, not mine). Or, if those here want to admit that they misused or misunderstood the word ridicule, that’s fine.

  82. Patrick Bede responds:

    You asked for examples of ridicule? Okay. This one involved my lovely wife:

    She was in the breakroom where she works, and the marketing guy approached her about the subject of bigfoot, and my involvment in it, apparently feigning serious interest. My wife fell for the gag, and began to tell him about a recent event. The guy interrupted her with a dismissive, ridiculing groan and made a sound like ‘Pfffft!’ She stopped and said, ‘What?’ He then asked her, chuckling, incredulously, ‘You mean you REALLY believe that?!?’ My wife took offense, stood up and said, ‘Of course!’

    The guy smirked, chuckled and mumbled something to himself, and walked off.

    Another that comes to mind involved my very good friend, Craig Woolheater, when he was being interviewed by a radio station. While I don’t remember specifics, the ridicule got so bad that Craig cut the interview off.

    It’s real, Ben, and is quite pervasive.

    After church on Sunday, my wife and I were greeted by two nice couples and their children. One of the men, who seemed really interested, asked about my involvement in the subject. He is involved with an outdoors mens’ Christian group that has had me as a speaker a few times on the subject. When one of the wives heard what the subject was, she broke into laughter, and said loudly, ‘You’re kidding right? When my daughter mentions it, I tell her she’s nuts!’ When I told her that I wasn’t kidding, she then apologized and said, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to laugh.’

    I told her it was okay, and that I understood the difficulty in considering the existence of bigfoot. She turned and walked away, and then her husband began to ask quite a few serious questions about it.

    Anyway, there are many many examples that are similar to these, but I think I’ve said enough.Daryl Colyer

    Looks like a few great examples to me.

  83. Sergio responds:

    I can’t believe that this thread has been high-jacked by one of the biggest scoftics on the planet.

    The comments are supposed to be about the value of certain witnesses. Biologists? Truckers?

    And then comes Benjamin Radford, dismissing everybody before him, to go on some goofy, naive rant about how he wants, nay, demands examples of witnesses who have experienced ridicule.

    What does it matter, Mr. Radford? Why are you asking for anecdotes anyway? Anecdotes are irrelevant. Remember your own close-minded philosophy? Let me help you remember; anyone who cites an example should be dismissed, because eyewitness accounts have largely been proven through the years to be highly inaccurate, right?

    The thread is supposed to be about the value of having a field biologist (or a scientist in general) as a witness. Mr. Radford refuses to even recognize the value of a field biologist’s eyewitness report, a position which is in contrast to the position of most governmental groups regarding reports of rare animals.

  84. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Patrick Bede provides (what he says is) an example of his wife being ridiculed by co-workers. Even though this is a second-hand story, and I have no way of knowing if it’s true or not, I will assume it is. As described, it does seem like she was ridiculed.

    Two points:

    1) As with Meldrum, it is not clear from what he wrote that his wife was an EYEWITNESS. We are specifically talking about people who report eyewitness accounts.

    2) I have never claimed that no Bigfoot believers were ever ridiculed; I’m questioning whether it happens all the time, as is often claimed. Furthermore, to my mind there is a big difference between being ridiculed in a private company’s breakroom by friends or co-workers, and being ridiculed in public by someone of stature.

    I don’t know about Craig’s experience, perhaps he can comment on it?

  85. Patrick Bede responds:

    I quoted someone else — those are not my experiences…Daryl Coyler posted that earlier in the comments.

  86. things-in-the-woods responds:

    Ben- its all very well you going off and eating and going to the toilet and otherwise enjoying yourself, but when i’m sitting here turning blue in the face, you could have a little more consideration.

    I take it you are purposefully missing the point?

    I accept that you are concentrating on a particular phrase used by certain people (i.e., ‘public ridicule’), but what matters here is not whether that phrase was the most fitting (and lets be clear you have just plucked that particular phrase out of wider arguments to suit your case), but whether it is the case that the reactions people get when they claim they have seen BF are negative to a degree where they are discouraged in making that claim widely known.

    You might not think that someone sniggering at you when you attempted to report to someone in authority what you considered an important scientific discovery (or public health danger, or just a curious thing that they might want to know wabout) is very significant. Indeed, for someone such as yourself who is so obviously well able to take criticism, disagreement and derision in his stride, it may not be. But it certainly would be enough to put some people off. Consider, for a moment, the fact that some people are reluctant to visit a doctor when they have a complaint for fear of being dismissed or belittled.

    And that is all that is significant here- the claim is that the negative reaction often given to reports of BF sighting might put people off reporting such sightings.
    It has clearly been demonstrated that such a negative reaction does occur (often/sometimes/whatever). In that light it is a perfectly reasonable speculation that some people might be put off. It is even more justified speculation if those making the claim personally know someone who has not shared their experience publicly specifically because they dont want such ridicule/hostility/hassle. Of course, we would have to take their word that they did know someone in that position, but i see no real, general reason not to believe someone who claims to know such a person.

    I’m afraid your pedantism wont save you today.

    Go on, just admit you were wrong. Its liberating.

  87. mystery_man responds:

    Ben- Well, I certainly think that some of the cases of “ridicule” may have been perhaps the impression of the eyewitnesses themselves. A sort of percieved ridicule when there wasn’t really any there, just disbelief. If this is the case, wouldn’t that basically count as ridicule in this case as the effect would be the same and cause the same sort of stress, therefore causing them to reign in their testimony of what they saw? The whole reason the subject of ridicule was brought up was that it was cited as a good reason why some people do not officially come forward with what they saw. So even if the ridicule were to be merely percieved as that by the witness, the effect is the same for the purpose of this discussion. In the end, ridicule, imagined or not, would be causing these people to keep their mouths shut, would it not? I am by no means trying to act like I know anything about the field of psychology, it’s just an opinion. As I know you have experience and knowledge in the area of witness psychology (if I remember correctly), what do you think of that theory? The “hostility” towards witnesses alluded to by Cropper is interesting, so maybe he would be willing to elaborate for us more on that.

  88. MultipleEncounters responds:

    Ben,

    I’m sure not going to spend however many hours/days it would require to sift through hundreds/thousands of reports in various forums, newspapers, online blogs, etc, just to satisfy your request.

    If your point of view does not recognize the existence of the ‘ridicule factor’ within sasquatchery, then you haven’t done ‘your’ homework, not us.

    Ridicule is everywhere but not with everyone. It’s hit and miss for sure but definitely more pervasive then not. Those who say “pssst, that’s the guy who claims to have saw bigfoot, tee hee hee” are everywhere. One reason I can think of why someone interested in bigfoot would not recognize there is a ridicule factor, would be maybe because they never seriously ‘advocated’ the creatures existence with a sufficient number of people in their own daily lives.

    Even in the various forums, people are ridiculed constantly for claims others might find as unbelievable. Am I going to spend my time trying to relocate them just so you can satisfy whatever notion you are trying to satisfy? No. Every researchers has admitted to being ridiculed by some of the media and those who don’t believe sasquatch exists. Not knowing this must mean you are not a researcher?

    I think you are pursuing a question where the answer is so pervasive within the core of the field that you just haven’t recognized it because you haven’t really looked. Hmmm, now I have to wonder, have you ever ridiculed a witness in a post here at CM? I don’t know, I’m not going to spend my time looking for that either. Just like I’m not going to sift thru decades of media reports to cite you some examples, it isn’t worth my time to address such a ‘ridiculous’ request.

    Tee hee hee, hey guys, Ben doesn’t believe bigfoot eyewitnesses are ridiculed. :) There, ridicule.

    I don’t mean any disrespect Ben, but you really are asking a far fetched question. We wouldn’t be in the boat we are now if we didn’t have to put up with ridicule out there. There would be hundreds of millions of dollars being spent in the field. I could write a grant to any foundation to fund my research. There would be so many scientists inundating the field, we’d be nobody’s. That day may come too. But for now, all us ‘eyewitnesses’ get to proudly face the ‘ridicule’ because we know that one day, the truth will be revealed. As an eyewitness, I have lived with ridicule from various corners. To hear someone not believe it exists, is in itself just a little ridiculous!

  89. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Mysteryman is correct that “some of the cases of “ridicule” may have been perhaps the impression of the eyewitnesses themselves. A sort of percieved ridicule when there wasn’t really any there, just disbelief.”

    Where he’s wrong is here: “If this is the case, wouldn’t that basically count as ridicule in this case as the effect would be the same and cause the same sort of stress”

    No. This means that any eyewitness who feels–for whatever reason–that he or she is not believed or taken seriously, or treated in a way he or she likes, is being “ridiculed.” This is, in a word, ridiculous. In our everyday lives, other people treat us in ways we don’t like, or disrespectfully, or ignore our wishes. That does not mean we are ridiculed.

    We are talking about a very specific phenomena which has been claimed by Loren Coleman and many others for a long time: that Bigfoot eyewitnesses are often “ridiculed” (their word, not mine). The implication is that the ridiculing is done publicly (nor privately), and with the intent of mocking or embarrassing the eyewitness into silence.

    I am sure it has happened on occasion, but the claim is that it is a common occurence, and all I’m asking for is evidence, proof, examples.

    It’s not enough to tell me a story about how someone once rolled his eyes at a friend who was relating an encounter. Come on! If this happens as often as is claimed, and is such a powerful example of why eyewitnesses don’t come forward, let’s see the cases. Show me the news report where a skeptic or Forest Service employee publicly ridiculed an eyewitness. Show me quotes where Bigfoot eyewitnesses were mocked and held up for laughter.

    If it happens all the time, there should be plenty.
    I’m still waiting.

  90. Benjamin Radford responds:

    MultipleEncounters wrote “I’m sure not going to spend however many hours/days it would require to sift through hundreds/thousands of reports in various forums, newspapers, online blogs, etc, just to satisfy your request.”

    In other words, “I just know that ridicule of BF eyewitnesses happens all the time. I can’t give you any good examples, and so far no one else can either, but I’m certain of it and I’m not going to do any work to prove the truth or validity of what I’m saying.”

    Interesting. You see, as a skeptic, I make sure that I have good evidence, good reason, for believeing what I believe, and saying what I say. I try to check my assumptions, check my facts, to make sure they are true. With all due respect to those here, I don’t see a similar care taken on “the other side.”

  91. MultipleEncounters responds:

    Excuse me Ben, I am a bigfoot eyewitness. I have been ridiculed by my neighbor who tells other neighbors what I shared with him. I have had friends ridicule me when together in my presence. I have spoken to a news anchor who chucked at me for wanting to discuss sasquatch, and politely move on to another subject sfter she stated that bigfoot was already proven a hoax. I have worked for the government and have been treated a little different after revealing my past encounters.

    Your request is only demonstrating just how displaced you are from believing bigfoot exists in the first place. Do you dare try the little experiment of telling co-workers that you have recently encountered a sasquatch? Or would you be too afraid of the ridicule you would have to face?

    I am afraid you are the one on the outskirts here being without personal experience in the matter. Since you can’t step in the shoes of an eyewitness, maybe you are simply a casualty of ignorance that we cannot help.

    Time to move on.

  92. Ceroill responds:

    Ben, I see you finally managed actually define precisely what your demand is for:

    ” I have never claimed that no Bigfoot believers were ever ridiculed; I’m questioning whether it happens all the time, as is often claimed.

    Furthermore, to my mind there is a big difference between being ridiculed in a private company’s breakroom by friends or co-workers, and being ridiculed in public by someone of stature.”

    I note with interest that it took this long for the salient feature of ‘someone of stature’ to come into play.

    If I might rephrase a bit (feel free to correct), what you are in essence asking for is examples of this happening during broadcast interviews with a well known person ‘of stature’. Since I greatly doubt that any initial report is going to be ‘public’ and involving ‘someone of stature’ taking the report, or even that any secondary investigation is going to satisfy your condition of ‘public’ and ‘someone of stature’, I really don’t see how you can honestly expect there to be any hope of meeting those criteria.

    But then…that’s the whole point isn’t it?

    You may not have been the one to first use the term ‘ridicule’, but you are the one who decided to insist that it must be a ‘public’ event, involving ‘someone of stature’.

  93. DWA responds:

    Guys: great responses, to what is I think the greatest red herring I have ever seen on this board.

    Just clarifying some points.

    1. Ben Radford isn’t the Bigfoot Existence Committee. The critter either exists, or doesn’t, whatever he thinks.

    2. Field research is about CONFIRMING THE ANIMAL. The typical scofftic mistake, or maybe that’s intentional ploy, writ large here, is to focus on the people searching, and not on the animal.

    3. I’m constantly telling proponent, skeptic, and scofftic alike to READ SIGHTING REPORTS. Ben never has, and one can see that, readily, from his posts here.

    4. Ben says: “Interesting. You see, as a skeptic, I make sure that I have good evidence, good reason, for believeing what I believe, and saying what I say. I try to check my assumptions, check my facts, to make sure they are true. With all due respect to those here, I don’t see a similar care taken on “the other side.”

    I’m not sure I’ve seen words on this board more assiduously disproven by the actual person using them to refer to himself. I’d be curious if anyone has the foggiest idea what Ben Radford believes when it comes to the sasquatch. I know what Matt Bille does, and what Daniel Loxton does. They’re clear on it. Ben? Couldn’t tell ya. Except that he thinks that proponents are here to justify their existence to him, and do his homework for him (familiar with the Green Rock Game? Ben’s a master), rather than to present – as they have, with no real refutation worth speaking of from Ben – copious testimony to the laziness of science, the imperfection of human knowledge, and, oh yeah, the existence of an animal that science, in its assurance it’s Done It All, just might not have the humility to believe has shown it up.

  94. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Ceroill makes a good point. I suppose I do expect (though don’t insist) that the ridicule be public, or at least semi-public. As I noted before, ridicule must be publicly expressed; it’s not ridicule if you just mock someone in your head; you have to tell other people for the target to be ridiculed.

    If all this ridicule is done in private, then how exactly does that discourage others from coming forward to tell their stories? If the ridicule you’re talking about is not public, how would others be influenced by it?

    As noted earlier, “general disbelief” is not ridicule. Skepticism is not ridicule.

    I’m waiting for all the examples of where Bigfoot eyewitnesses were publicly mocked, made fun of, and made the subject of derision and laughter.

  95. Benjamin Radford responds:

    “I’d be curious if anyone has the foggiest idea what Ben Radford believes when it comes to the sasquatch.”

    Of course DWA has no idea what I believe about Bigfoot, because he hasn’t bothered to read any skeptical arguments, articles, or books. Mr. DWA, who as far as I know hasn’t done any original research, hasn’t done any field work, hasn’t written any articles or books on the topic, hasn’t read more than one side of the issue and hides behind his anonymity while others like myself lend legitimacy to the Bigfoot search.

  96. mystery_man responds:

    I was a little unsure of the definition of “ridicule” leading to silence too. It appears that a perception of ridicule or even just plain mis treatment be it in private or public, regardless of whether that ridicule is actually happening or not, that leads to silence is not all that important in this discussion. Rather public ridicule by someone of stature that leads to silence is the issue here. Sorry, but to me they both end in the same result, people not coming forward. I don’t see how somehow proving that public ridicule doesn’t happen is going to mean that there is nobody keeping silence for a thousand other reasons. Since I personally never made any claims that public ridicule was rampant, I have no interest in keeping this argument going just for the sake of finding out who’s right and who’s wrong about “public ridicule”. And so what even if there aren’t a lot of cases of it? How is that a major breakthrough? I am more concerned about the overall picture of witnesses remaining silent for whatever reason that may be. I don’t really care if that silence comes from public ridicule or an aversion to being the butt of jokes at the office, just that some may feel ridicule enough (imagined or not) that they remain quiet. I really enjoyed Things-in-the-Woods’ take on the percieved ridicule affecting a witness’ desire to come forward. Right now, to me this debate really seems to be becoming a matter of making someone admit they were wrong about public ridicule or not, and is not really going to lead to any insight into witness silence or get to the bottom of anything in the end. I am interested in ALL of the possible reasons for witness silence, not “am not”, “are too” arguments concerning so-called “public ridicule”.

  97. MultipleEncounters responds:

    Ben,

    If you are that interested in hearing examples of instances of public ridicule, google ‘sasquatch, ridicule’. You can spend the time sifting through the pages and pulling what satisfies the interpretation you are seeking.

    Dave

  98. Sergio responds:

    Radford, you are talented at one thing for sure: thread-jacking. Dude, you have totally blown the door off the real intended subject. I think you do it just to knife people and twist. Other places, you would be called a troll.

    Who cares whether or not you believe ridicule is prevalent? If you are really ignorant of it, then you’re not nearly as learned as you proclaim yourself to be. If you’re aware of it, and are just pretending not to be, well then, that speaks loudly about your character.

    Either way, you’re none too impressive.

  99. DWA responds:

    Daniel: you said some interesting things about visual evidence which deserve comment. There’s been so much since you posted that I’ll just requote you here, interspersing remarks as needed.

    “Sightings come in all shapes and sizes: Hawaiian sasquatches, telepathic sasquatches, sasquatches in virtually every state, province, and continent. The reported creatures vary wildly in size, shape, color and behavior (see Loren’s Field Guide to Bigfoot if you have any doubts on that score). They have almost any number of toes, and leave footprints of almost any size.”

    @@@@True; and I’ve read more than one sighting report that makes me wince. But the vast majority of reports I’ve read – very few exceptions – seem to describe an animal with

    1. a mean height of seven feet in adults, with juveniles five feet or so, females six to seven and a half, males seven and a half up to maybe 10;

    2. five toes like ours, with a foot recognizably humanoid in appearance. Mutants and amputees are almost certainly out there, just as in humans, but five is the number for a normal individual and when I say “amputee,” I mean OUCH! but that’s what you get for being wild and barefoot;

    3. a face that, within a wide range of individual variance, like ours, has both apelike (particularly the brow ridge and the eyes) and humanlike (particularly the nose) characteristics;

    4. hands much more like ours than like those of the apes, but proportionally bigger, with a thumb shorter than ours and located “further down toward the wrist” than ours;

    5. arms proportionally longer than ours, extending to the knees or below;

    6. a sagittal crest atop the skull of all adult individuals (not present in juveniles, as size dictates its presence as it does in gorillas);

    7. juveniles that apparently range away from parents at a very early age;

    8. great footspeed and agility (able to bring down healthy adult deer in fair chase);

    9. a tendency to intimidation displays such as are practiced by the other great apes, with the interesting difference of an extreme tendency to remain concealed from the observer during the display;

    I could go on but you get the gist.

    “What are investigators to do with that menagerie? If there’s a real animal in there someplace, you need to be able to sort the good data from the bad data in order to find it. But, as we see right here on this thread, there is no consensus about how to do that, about which cases to keep and which to reject. In any event, it seems clear that most eyewitnesses have to be wrong—certainly they can’t all be right.”

    Yes and no. The best way to reach a consensus on reports is to drop all sightings in Hawaii, for one thing (although if a researcher there wants to comb the islands, let ‘em, why not? And the sas is, apparently, a swimmer to make human Olympians look like beginners). Color has more variance than in the gorilla, chimp and orang; but almost every sighter I’ve read reports rust, brown, charcoal or black, with the rare silvery or white individual, probably an old male from the size frequently associated with them. (Drop purple.) As to telepathy or other paranormal, er, features: can science check for it? No. Bin-list it until the critter’s verified. We’re looking for an animal. Basically: what characteristics seem to be reported repeatedly, by sighters across the continent, from WA to FL; from MD to CA; from ME to AZ; both in the US and Canada? The items I’ve numbered above pass that test. They’re a good start. You can pick off outliers.

    A sixteen-foot purple telepathic sasquatch: unlikely. Remember: the tabloid celebrity of this critter brings ‘em out of the woodwork. Like UFOs and ghosts, craz – um, let us just say really non-biologists – tend to groupie to the sas. A problem you don’t have with describing most other animals.

    “But which ones? The posters here cannot agree., for the perfectly good reason that there is no known standard to which to compare sightings.”

    I think I’ve got a pretty good start on the known standard, right there above.

    “For all anyone knows, it’s a perfectly plausible guess that the only genuine sasquatch tracks have three toes, or that only sightings of sasquatches 16 feet or taller are the real deal. ”

    Yes, but there’s a way to bet. I’d put my chips on the above animal. From the sighting reports, he’s by far the most numerous and (relatively, although many thousands of average Joes have) easy to find.

    Now watch a proponent come on and debate every aspect of what I’ve said. NOW you have the source of your problem.

  100. DWA responds:

    Ben sez:

    “Of course DWA has no idea what I believe about Bigfoot, because he hasn’t bothered to read any skeptical arguments, articles, or books. Mr. DWA, who as far as I know hasn’t done any original research, hasn’t done any field work, hasn’t written any articles or books on the topic, hasn’t read more than one side of the issue and hides behind his anonymity while others like myself lend legitimacy to the Bigfoot search.”

    My personal candidate for Funniest Post on this thread.

    Ben, I’ve done a thorough dissection of your “Bigfoot at 50.” I mean thorough. I’d send it to you if I thought you’d read it.

    But I think folks are on to you, and the above comments prove it.

    Thread-jacking isn’t lending legitimacy to anything unless you’re talking about megalomania.

    Could you leave us alone? I know you will soon. But sooner would be good. Looking for an animal here. Scofftics, we’ve documented.

    Oh. This is ridicule.

  101. Benjamin Radford responds:

    I agree, I’m not interested in arguing semantics. I am simply asking for evidence or examples that what you say is true.

    “And so what even if there aren’t a lot of cases of it?”

    It’s just one example of a common assumption among Bigfooters that everyone takes for granted but no one has really checked out the truth of.

    If all this ridicule is done in public, where are all the cases and examples?

    If all this ridicule is done in private, then how exactly does that discourage others from coming forward to tell their stories? How would others be influenced by it?

    I’m waiting for all the examples of where Bigfoot eyewitnesses were publicly mocked, made fun of, and made the subject of derision and laughter.

    And I’m not taking the bait about how it’s my responsibility to do find examples. YOU all are making the claim that BF eyewitnesses are ridiculed, not me. If it’s as common as claimed, it should only take a few minutes to find dozens of examples…

  102. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Sergio wrote: “Who cares whether or not you believe ridicule is prevalent?”

    You should, not for my belief but for your own. To make sure that you can back up what you say.

    “Either way, you’re none too impressive.”

    I’m not trying to impress anyone, I’m trying to find out what proof or evidence you have for your claim.

    When this topic started, I asked:

    I keep hearing about all this alleged ridicule, all these credible eyewitnesses who are shouted down with laughter…

    Where? When? Names, dates, examples, please?

    Since it apparently happens all the time, I’m sure there are plenty of examples. Can someone point me to all these news reports in which the eyewitness is called crazy, or told they are stupid or foolish?

    I’ve gotten a few insults, a few vague stories, but still no real examples… Still waiting.

  103. mystery_man responds:

    I really do think that private derision can be a powerful factor in altering a person’s behavior. This happens all the time doesn’t it? Don’t people check themselves and what they say on a daily basis due to what they percieve others will think? To me, this is a very natural reaction. If a person believes they will be derided or laughed at or mistreated because of something they do or say, there is a possibility they will not do or say it. Especially if it is of any kind of magnitude like, oh say, saying “I saw Bigfoot”. I wouldn’t even tell my wife that the dinner she cooked tonight was too salty for fear of having some kind of argument :) Maybe there are some witnesses that just want to go about their lives smoothly, without any added problems or hassles. I don’t believe that to be an unreasonable desire for a lot of people.

  104. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Mysteryman: “I really do think that private derision can be a powerful factor in altering a person’s behavior. This happens all the time doesn’t it? Don’t people check themselves and what they say on a daily basis due to what they perceive others will think? To me, this is a very natural reaction. If a person believes they will be derided or laughed at or mistreated because of something they do or say, there is a possibility they will not do or say it.”

    I agree with you. You are 100% right, people do watch what they say sometimes for fear of offending or ridicule (other people don’t– see Don Imus!).

    All I am saying is that I don’t see evidence that this happens as often to Bigfoot eyewitnesses as is often claimed (partly because eyewitnesses usually tell their stories to BF researchers who take them seriously and do not ridicule them).

  105. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Anyway, I got other matters to attend to… Thanks to those who participated in the discussion.

    Maybe I’m wrong, and there are plenty of cases where BF eyewitnesses are ridiculed. If so, I’d like to see them. All I ask is the usual skeptic request: show me examples or evidence of what you say. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

  106. Ceroill responds:

    Why don’t we try this from the other side of the question for a moment? Is there any actual evidence that witnesses being ridiculed is rare? Not just suspicions or guesswork, but actual documented evidence?

  107. DWA responds:

    Back to the thread. (Thanks for opening the windows. Smelled of scofftic in here.)

    There may be more than one dimension to this who’s more reliable thing.

    1. Who can be counted on more TO REPORT A SIGHTING? Many lay witnesses seemed absolutely astounded that the first person they told – AT WORK!!!!!! – laughed at them. A biologist, on the other hand, knows full well the likely consequences of reporting what he sees. I’d think that a team of biologists might stand behind one another. A lone one? He clams up. You can name the exceptions.

    2. Of course, individual powers of perception might have much to do with it. You might get a much more detailed description from a seasoned hunter than from a lab biologist. Now, I might – individual eyesight issues aside – put a seasoned field biologist and a seasoned hunter in the same bin.

    3. A biologist on an expedition FUNDED TO SEARCH FOR THE ANIMAL is what you call yer Colyer Situation. ;-)

  108. DWA responds:

    Ceroill: I have no interest in the question. Who cares?

    That was your classic Scofftic Red Herring. He has no data to back up whatever it is he thinks (and I can tell you, from reading his stuff, that what he thinks is: make fun of anyone who’s seen something). So he asks others to jump through assorted hoops for him, and points to that instead of the intellectual poverty of his “position.” He himself is ridicule Exhibit A. Contrary, apparently, to some others here, I have never heard Ben utter an opinion I felt obliged to respect. He’s a one-trick pony. The 30,000-foot view of anything I’ve seen of his says: This is riduculous. Let me show you why. And it’s easy for you to do when you can act from public ignorance of the topic to yourself ignore 98% of the evidence.

    Anyone with even a cursory association with the sasquatch field – and Radford has had at least that – knows that riducule and the sas go together like snow and winter. It was such a ludicrous topic that I’m amazed anyone gave it a minute other than me (I like Ben-bashing so that’s my excuse).

    First he asks for instances; then every time he comes back he changes what he’s asking for. Ever played the Green Rock Game? I want a green rock. No, with red polka dots. No, I wanted yellow hatching too. No, I wanted a red rock…

    Let’s find an animal and let the scofftics chase their tales. (What typo?)

  109. things-in-the-woods responds:

    Ok, this took me about 10 seconds to find.

    The Portland Mercury, July 2000
    “A Bigfoot sighting! Previously thought to be the wild imaginings of syphilitic nature-lovers, Bigfoot (or “Maize,” as the Native Americans like to call him) was spotted this past weekend by an absolutely 100% reliable source: a psychologist. According to a report in today’s Oregonian, psychologist Matthew Johnson spotted the large, lumbering brute while hiking at the Oregon Caves National Monument. Johnson, who was reportedly “squatting” in the woods at the time [!?!], saw the beast standing upright behind a tree about 60 feet away. As further proof of Bigfoot’s authenticity, Johnson claimed to have smelled a “pungent, musky scent”–though One Day would bet the smell was probably coming from whatever he was squatting over. No one else saw the monster, and an investigation is pending. However, One Day is so intrigued by this tale that we are offering a $10,000 bounty for the safe capture of Bigfoot, who will be dressed in a diaper and work the cash register at our Chinese chopsticks kiosk in the Clackamas Town Center Mall.”

    Hardly likely to make anyone eager to report a sighting.

    And another 10 seconds to find this;

    The EdgefieldDaily (a local online US newspaper) puts bigfoot stories on a special page where it collates stories about what it sees as the excesses of the ‘loony left’, ‘anti-christian’ happenings from around the world, perceived biases in favour of asian and latin-american immigrants, child abuse, and stories about aliens.

    Now that might not seem much, but if you happen to live in that community (and i’m guessing its a small rural community), the fact that your local paper classes all these things together is going to make you think twice before saying you’ve seen a bigfoot.

    So whether or not any of these count as ‘public ridicule’, it certainly seems reasonable to suggest the climate may not always be conducive to people ‘going public’ on sightings (although, in fact, another couple of minutes search shows that often media reports concerning BF are actually often quite serious and balanced).

    Can you at least accept that Ben?

  110. Ceroill responds:

    DWA, good points. I’m previously unfamiliar with that name for the game, but yes, I think we’re all familiar with it.

  111. DWA responds:

    things-in-the-woods:

    It’s only fair to say that the media this side the pond don’t uniformly squat (sorry!) on the squatch.

    My first exposure to the sas was a remarkably balanced read on the evidence, in a very mainstream magazine, months after the P/G film. An article in the Denver Post in, I think, 2003 is a classic of the genre, with detailed drawings (conforming largely to my portrait above :-D ) and testimony from Schaller, Goodall, Mionczynski et al. And the recent trend, in the US media at least, has gotten considerably more serious as a whole.

    I think there’s a good reason: many in this country and Canada (by no means most, but many) are acquainted with the evidence, and a lot of those firsthand. Who knows how many haven’t talked?

    But we know why many haven’t: the idea that you will be laughed at hasn’t gone away. Because so many are laughed at. And the greatest silencer of all – if one thinks of it for a moment, and Ben would never say this – is not how people react, but how YOU THINK THEY WILL.

    And if you’re looking for an indictment of human nature, there ’tis, right there.

  112. things-in-the-woods responds:

    Apologies ben, don’t mean to ask you questions when you’ve signed off. I know thats not really fair (i only read your sign off after I posted).

    I think probably its best you have though- i agree with mystery_man that this thread has become rather too focused on something that I suspect neither side actually thinks is that important- its descended somewhat into points scoring for the sake of it.

    So thats me signed off too.
    (Unless someone says something that really riles me…)

  113. Benjamin Radford responds:

    More examples:

    “we are offering a $10,000 bounty for the safe capture of Bigfoot, who will be dressed in a diaper and work the cash register at our Chinese chopsticks kiosk in the Clackamas Town Center Mall.”

    This is not an example of an eyewitness being ridiculed. While it is not exactly respectful, neither are the other commercial uses of Bigfoot, many of which have amused Crytomundo readers.

    The second is: “a local online US newspaper puts bigfoot stories on a special page where it collates stories about what it sees as the excesses of the ‘loony left’, ‘anti-christian’ happenings from around the world,…and stories about aliens.”

    Again this is not an example of a Bigfoot eyewitness being ridiculed. I don’t know how much clearer I can make it. In fact, if you object to this latter example, presumably you object to Loren talking about BF on “Coast to Coast,” where Bigfoot is clearly lumped in with loonies and “stories about aliens.”

    I agree that BF is not taken seriously among the public, and that sometimes eyewitnesses are not handled respectfully. No one disputes that; that is not what I am claiming.

    I’ve been given five examples of “eyewitness ridicule” so far, none of which actually involve ridicule of eyewitnesses….

  114. DWA responds:

    Ceroill: interesting contrast between skeptic and scofftic, in a Green Rockish way.

    1. Daniel Loxton’s response to me, in total, when I gave him the two examples of ridicule above (which like t-i-t-w it didn’t take me ten minutes to find):

    “Cool, thanks.

    (Those cases are unfortunate. No one deserves to be treated poorly as a reward for trying to do the right thing.)”

    2. Ben’s response, to considerably more: you saw it.

    (He probably thinks that when the CO game guy mentioned alcohol and firearms to the hunters that he was just innocently reminding them of the regulations.)

  115. DWA responds:

    Ceroill: re: Ben’s last post before this.

    See what I mean? He wants a yellow rock now. :-D

  116. things-in-the-woods responds:

    Ok- so it seems ben hadn’t signed off at all…

    Ho hum- geuss i’ll give it one more shot as well then.

    Ben, as usual you make the fatal mistake of failing to read what other people have posted. I didn’t claim those examples were of eyewitnesses being ridiculed. If you take a couple of seconds to actually read what I said, you’ll find that I was suggesting that there might be an atmosphere in certain cases which might discourage some people from reporting their ‘sighting’.

    You might be hung up on the phrase ‘public ridicule’ (but of course you aren’t interested in semantics…), but some of us are concentrating on the real issue behind the phrase. Just coz you want us to dance to your tune doesn’t mean we will…

    And that was a nice piece of partial quotation there with regards to my second example- pulling up the fact that BF stories are grouped with alien stories, but not paying any attention to the fact that i also noted they were grouped with stories of child abuse etc. Good work- if the skeptical inquirer ever goes bust (and i for one hopes it doesnt), i reckon you could get a job on a british tabloid.

    And on that second case, as it happens i do think that even being grouped with stories about aliens might put some people off (And its not that i ‘object’ to such stories being put together- as ever you entirely miss the point- but rather that for some people it might be a disincentive).

  117. Ceroill responds:

    Ok. Well, then. Our expedition into semantics has been diverting and amusing in some ways, but let’s see if we can’t get back to the actual topic here.

    I think a big effect on how good a descriptive report turns out is the skill of the interviewer/report taker. A trained and skilled interviewer can help the witness recall details and organize their thoughts. A well trained interviewer can also recast things into proper acceptable terminology and formats that the witness might not be as familiar with. Even with a highly trained witness a good interviewer can be of help. Needless to say a ‘well trained’ and ‘skilled’ interviewer is hopefully not going to be dismissive, derisive, sarcastic, etc.

  118. DWA responds:

    Ceroill: I’ve seen many instances of what you’re talking about.

    You can tell, clearly, from the investigative followup to some reports that some people are much better at talking to someone about what they’ve seen than they are at writing about it. Reports that sounded pretty “huhn?” when I read the witness’s submission revealed new dimensions when an investigator followed up with the witness.

    The obvious thing to watch out for here is leading the witness too much, such that things get planted in the report that it’s possible the witness might not have seen. But I haven’t seen a blatant case of that happening. Not to say it couldn’t have.

  119. MBFH responds:

    Hello folks

    This has turned into a fine discussion going down a few different tracks. I’m just going to throw in a few thoughts of my own for what they’re worth…:

    DWA – you asked “what typo?”. I thought scoftic has just the one ‘f’, not two. Sorry, couldn’t resist ;)

    Witness reports – one thing that is quite often brought up abou these is the unrelaibility aspect, i.e. multiple witnesses report different things. While I don’t doubt that this is true I do wonder about the circumstances such conclusions are drawn from and whether they can be applied here, to most BF sightings. For example, witnesses to a robbery on a busy city street may give several differing descriptions of the robber. However, if this robber was 7ft plus tall would the descritions vary to the same degree? Of course, in the wilderness there are other considerations, bers etc., but experienced outdoor people all making imilarly consistent misidentifications? Not sure.

    Ridicule – I’m not certain about this 100% but didn’t a lot of people get up and walk out of the public screenings of the P/G film?

    Cheers
    Dave

  120. sasdave responds:

    Hello everyone, I don’t know if this will help regarding the on going ridicule case. I am one of the people that have witnessed one of those grand creatures. It doesn’t bother me any more to express my belief in this intelligent creature. In the past I was ridiculed more then now. You can see me on sasquatch odyssey being accused of arguing with Rene D. If you were there you would know how much I was taken out of context. What was more the part of being ridiculed was when this so called documentary was aired, people would come up to me laughing and stating…” I seen you on TV arguing with that guy on those beer commercials, you believe in that sasquatch crap?” It has also happened many times that so called friends will in public, will call for me across a mall or cafe…Hey there’s sasquatch Dave. I am willing to own what I believe and not mock others for their experiences…true or untrue as time will tell. These creatures live even if some believe them to be alcohol demons or figments of someone imagination. Sure Ive been ridiculed a lot in many ways; but, what do I care I know that this lost tribe or beings are alive and live a lot closer then many want to believe. All I know is when I am in the forest I will know if there is a sasquatch, bigfoot, yeti or a ground burrowers is near. This arguement of who is the best witness will get no where til the media take this subject seriously and realize they are some of the most close minded skeptics around and liars, sorry if my learned truth hurts.

  121. Daniel Loxton responds:

    things-in-the-woods wrote:

    Oh, and as it happens I think daniel loxton has explained rather effectively why skeptics are wary of eyewitness reports. Of course, being wary of them, and agreeing to ’set some aside’ is not the same thing as saying that they are all worthless as ben has done ad nauseum in the past.

    There’s some room for confusion here, which I think can lead to skeptics taking some heat we don’t deserve. Of course the good reasons to be wary of eyewitness testimony do not in themselves mean that all such testimony is inaccurate. I know that. Ben Radford knows that. Skeptics set aside almost all eyewitness testimony, not because it’s “worthless” in some ultimate sense, but because we don’t see it as helpful as a practical issue.

    It’s a distinction that’s worth dwelling on for a second, I think, because it’s the difference between a real skeptic and a straw man.

    When skeptics look at the sighting database, we see a wild assortment of material. We know most of it does not record actual sasquatch sightings (this is necessarily the case because of the outrageous differences between reports and the known fallibility of witnesses), and we can only hope some few cases do.

    Unfortunately, looking at the eyewitness record in general, skeptics see no non-arbitrary way to sort true from false reports in the absence of a type specimen. Looking at individual cases, we see no reliable way to differentiate between mistakes, fakes, and the real deal. (The Shadow may know what lurks in the hearts of men, but we have to rely on corroborating evidence.)

    So, yes, guys like Ben Radford and I are forced to set aside virtually the entire eyewitness database. But that doesn’t mean it’s all wrong. Nor does it mean we don’t respect (even, if I may speak for myself, envy) the personal experience of sasquatch reporters.

    It’s just that we can’t do much with it.

  122. things-in-the-woods responds:

    Hi daniel-

    Your point rests rather on what one takes ‘doing something practical with the reports’ to mean.

    If you mean by that, that this evidence cannot carry any kind of objective weight as proof for BF existence, then you are, of course right (as are many of those of us who post here and say the exact same thing).

    But as DWA (in particular) has said on this site more than a few times, one useful purpose that this evidence could serve is to point us in a particular direction (in a quite literal sense).

    If we are to go about actually trying to confirm whether or not this creature exists (and lets just take as one hypothesis that it is, as widely claimed, a real primate), then this evidence can at least shape our research strategy. It can tell us where to look (e.g. where there are concentrations of sightings, where a sighting has recently taken place, etc).

    Ben has repeatedly argued that it is not even useful in this sense (on the grounds that as yet following up sightings has not produced proof of BF existence as a real creature- classic inductionist reasoning if ever if seen it. But then ben has proved himself not to be too big on logic).

    The reason that you and ben feel you can do nothing with that evidence is precisely because you are not in the business of actually going and looking for the claimed creature (and there is no reason you should be- no-one can do everything, and we should stick to our strengths). But that doesn’t mean the evidence is of no use, and should be cast aside.

  123. mystery_man responds:

    Well, I for one kind of see what Mr. Loxton is getting at. He is not saying that witness reports are useless. I think what he is trying to say that they would be useful if we could be sure they were the real deal. Although I also think that witness evidence can point us in the right direction, it is finding the actual genuine reports mixed in with the hoaxes and bogus ones that is the hard part. As I have said before, I have no doubt that witness testimony is useful and can lead to avenues of research and strategies, IF you have acess to these actual reports. The reports are useful in the way that things-in-the-woods, DWA, and myself mention, only if they are genuine. Reports can tell us nothing about where to look or how the creatures behave if they are fraudulent. Fraudulent reports that are taken as real can even seriously harm the research by allowing incorrect assumption to spring up based on false data, or leading us in the wrong directions.

    In a perfect world, if all these accounts were reliable, there would most definately be a big benefit to these eyewitness reports, but the fact is there are numerous imaginings and misidentifications and outright lies polluting the data pool. So that leaves us with the problem of which reports to value and which to exclude and I don’t think there is a foolproof way to do that at this time. That presents the Bigfoot researcher, who is often lacking funding and time as it is, with the daunting task of sifting through the reports and finding the ones they deem to be reliable often in an apparently arbitrary fashion. Of course it is somewhat arbitrary because no one really knows enough about the actual creature to say for sure which reports are most likely to be real beyond reasonable doubt and even what we think we know may be based on incorrect information. If there was enough scientific funding put into this field, the problem would be less of a feat. The Bigfoot researcher, lacking the proper resources, simply cannot follow up on every single lead that pops up and I am sure that many they choose to pursue turn out to be dead ends. In theory, yes the good reports will lead to stronger evidence, but I think the problem of bad reports mixed in there is a bigger problem than some may give it credit for.

    I think the witness accounts can be extraordinarily useful if we could somehow concentrate our time and resources on the ones that are really worth pursuing. Right now, it seems that Bigfoot research may be overloaded with too many bad reports. But if there was a more reliable way to sort out the gems from the rough, research could be brought to bear on them that could turn up some remarkable stuff. So I think these eyewitness reports should not be thrown out, but rather there has to be a more effective way to evaluate them.

  124. Daniel Loxton responds:

    Thngs-in-the-woods writes,

    Your point rests rather on what one takes ‘doing something practical with the reports’ to mean.

    If you mean by that, that this evidence cannot carry any kind of objective weight as proof for BF existence, then you are, of course right (as are many of those of us who post here and say the exact same thing).

    I think we see eye to eye on this issue. By itself, the eyewitness database can’t tell us whether or not Bigfoot exists. (I don’t mean to be coy about my own position, based on my good-faith assessment of the sasquatch evidence as a whole: I think Bigfoot is extremely unlikely. But the eyewitness evidence alone could mean anything.) Nor can sighting reports tell us what qualities Bigfoot possesses, if it does exist.

    I am quite willing to concede that sightings suggest places to look. But the usefulness of the eyewitness database is limited in this respect as well, again because we can’t tell a rash of hoaxes or mistakes from a cluster of real sightings. In any event, Ben is right to point out that a lot of effort has been made along these lines over the decades, much of wasted following up on known hoaxes. (The Bossburg fiasco comes to mind.)

  125. mystery_man responds:

    I absolutely think there has been a lot of time and research and rescources wasted on following up on bogus reports. It is interesting to me how on one side of the spectrum, there are the hoaxers or jokers that be it willingly or unwillingly pollute the data pool, then on the other end the silent witnesses who could hold some valuable testimony. The way I see it now, if every report that has ever been followed up on was the real deal, then I feel there is a strong possibility there would have been some definative, irrefutable evidence found that would be acceptable to science.

    I would think that at the very least there would have been enough found to more concretely point us in the right direction and shed light on this creature, yet Bigfoot still remains largely as unpredictable and elusive as ever. We still know practically nothing for certain about their behaviors, what their full diet is, what their family structure is, whether they bury their dead, whether they are nomadic or migrate or not, etc. I am not sure really how far our ability to adequetly research them has come from the way the witness reports have been used up to now. This undeniable evidence and groundbreaking illumination on Bigfoot research methods hasn’t happened yet to any great degree, and I think it probably would have happened if the research had all been focused on genuine reports (assuming Bigfoot is actually real).

    This suggests to me that more caution has to be taken with identifying genuine reports in a field where hoaxes and attention seeking are rampant. So how can the eyewitness testimony be put to more effective use? There has to be a way to be able to focus more time and energy into the worthwhile avenues of pursuit.

  126. mystery_man responds:

    And I guess I should add that I think it is not only identifying the hoaxes that is important. There also has to be a way to tap into the possible useful testimony of those that for whatever reason are keeping quiet about their own encounters. (didn’t want to use the “r” word there!) :)

  127. Ceroill responds:

    I’m not sure what would help bring that around, m_m. One important factor of course would be a more general acceptance of the topic as being worthy of study and research. Another would be a lessening or discarding altogether of the stigma that seems often to attach to witnesses of unexplained things. Of course those could be seen as two faces of the same thing.

  128. springheeledjack responds:

    Good lord a lot has gone on since I got in on this thing…love discussing this stuff…it always goes and goes and goes….SO

    on the ridicule thing…define ridicule in the context you want and then we can talk turkey…from where I sit, open ridicule is second to the subtle ridicule that exists when these subjects come up…go to your workplace and mention bigfoot…not as a joke, but as a serious topic of conversation and see what repsonse you get…there is the possibility that you may get a serious conversation, but there is the possibility that you will be picked on, made fun of, etc., and there is also the possibility that you will just get a lot of eye rolling and sideways grins and what not…is that ridicule…depends on your definition I suppose…BUT it is negative feedback…and that is what we are all really talking about and skirting around …it is the expectation that in certain circles you will be laughed at, not taken seriously or talked about behind your back and that is where the reluctance comes in to discuss such topics.

    And I have read time and again even in eye witness reports of people who did not share sightings or information because of fear of that “ridicule”( Sandra Mansi on Champ for one)…and that “ridicule” that is spoken of is not always laughing and name calling, but it is the more subtle negative reinforcement received that leads people to keep their sightings to themselves.

    And back to my subject at hand…let’s talk Kathy…like I said, it’s 36 not 35.

    You have one sighting in an odd place…well just how many more sightings in that odd place is it going to take before you actually start to take it seriously? 10, 35, 50, 100, 1000? And again, who gets to decide that? Your database?

    I agree there are reports that are hoaxes, fraud or just plain misidentification, but the real point is that it is all subjective (and yes, I already know you’re going to say that is why you can’t count eye witness testimony), and that it is the individuals who build their own databases who define what reports get thrown out and what are kept as good reports.

    I do it myself. I have several databases built around loch ness, champlain, etc. and I decide what is a good sighting based on my own criteria, but I made my own decisions from books that listed hundreds of sightings, and narrowed it down myself from there.

    I believe that is fine on a personal level. It is what leads to finding answers…some people may find patterns in sightings that others do not and lead to real evidence.

    However (god I do love that word), it is not for one person (or even one group) to decide which sightings go into the dumpster and which are “acceptable” because the second, minute and hour you do that, then there will be someone come along who suddenly decides a whole range of accounts are no good based on their own personal bias instead of pragmatic thinking, and slowly debunkers and scoftics start trying to whittle away at good accounts for their own personal agendas.

    That is why there is so much arguing going on in the first place…we as a BF community haven’t agreed on what makes a solid account/sighting…oh, there is some general agreement on specific cases, but as a whole there is a lot of debate, and for the extremists on both sides, there will never come a middle ground.

    That is why I would advocate a complete database of ALL sightings for those interested, to let each individual who is wanting to investigate such things delve into it with both big feet and make their own decisions…we can talk about it, come to some agreement that certain things were obviously hoaxed, but the minute you start censoring certain reports because for god’s sake a BF can’t swim to Hawaii, then someone decides well, why the heck would he want to go to Iowa…those must be bad too…and if BF wouldn’t go to Iowa, he sure wouldn’t waste time on Wisconsin or Illinois…and suddenly we may end up tossing out real good accounts because of personal, subjective bias.

    To say 36 sightings in an area is not enough to make any of the sightings credible is short sighted, sloppy, and just tells me you don’t want to even spend time to see if there is anything to uncover. And hey, that’s your right, so don’t search in the area, but don’t get lazy and say all those sightings are throw aways just because you don’t personally want to do the research there.

  129. DWA responds:

    springheeledjack: as usual you say it well.

    Here’s the absurdity: saying it doesn’t make sense that a given area harbors, but another arbitrarily chosen one doesn’t, an animal most people don’t seem to think makes sense, in either location or any other for that matter.

    And yes, the choice is arbitrary. We don’t know enough about the sas to know whether an area makes good habitat, although follow-up research requires us to make educated guesses. Based solely on anecdotal evidence, however, IA does seem to offer excellent sas habitat. As do most of the other lower 48. And Canada, and Alaska. (That’s a loooooong swim to HI.) We need to verify the animal to see whether that’s right or not.

    In my opinion, a good sighting report from IA trumps a bad one from CA every time. A good sighting report in a desert area may seem anomalous, but if all other factors (witness evaluation, features and behavior described, etc.) check out, and the encounter seems to match what people are experiencing elsewhere, then maybe we could be learning something new.

    And as I have said – sheesh, was it here, lemme look – yeah, waaaaaaay up there – there is a way to decide what good sighting reports are. I spelled it out, very clearly, up there.

    Or we can wait until a sas shows up at police HQ and says, I’m tired of you fools tripping over yourselves. I’m turning myself in.

    How bad do we want it? So far, not too.

    Although, check that, the TBRC is showing us exactly how science should be doing it. Bravo, say I.

  130. MattBille responds:

    Hmm… let’s stop throwing sasquatch dung for a minute and think about the title question on this thread.

    Anyone, regardless of education and training, can be a good witness. Education and training of a relevant kind can make one more likely to be a better witness (Example: Dr. Matt Johnson is not a biologist, but as a psychologist might be better able to recognize and filter out his own misperceptions). I think we all agree an experienced field biologist or zoologist would make the best sasquatch witness, but we don’t have one to test that consensus on.
    Evaluation of a witness’ quality is, in the absence of hard supporting evidence, subjective. It always will be.

    My two cents.

  131. mystery_man responds:

    Well, I think a good way to decide what “good reports” are is going to be when some of them start leading to video confirmation and I don’t mean blurry ones that people have to watch a hundred times in order to make themselves start to think maybe it isn’t a guy in a suit, or Bigfoot eating pancakes, or a blurry speck that could be anything at all and is only seen as a Bigfoot based on bias towards the creature’s existence. Or when they start leading to stuff we can use to more accurately ascertain where they will be and when. When some sightings lead to more significant results, then the features of those sightings can be correlated with others in the database and give us a better idea of what to look for. Right now, I agree that all the sightings should be kept in. I’ve thought that from the beginning. It is just a strain on resources to try to sift through bogus ones and it will take time.

    Does anyone here really claim to know enough about this creature to tell which reports are undoubtedly real? Even with hundreds of sightings, how can the good ones be ascertained? Right now, there is a lot of guesswork going on and I feel a bit of it is based on what people presume to be true about Bigfoot. It seems to me that some will read all the sighting reports and pick out the ones that fit their own notion of what Bigfoot should be and where they think it should live. To me, picking the ones that someone personal thinks have more merit than others is subjecting the reports to personal bias as well. Let’s not be like scoftics and start embracing reports just as they dismiss them. That being said, I agree with springheeledjack that the data should be there so that researchers can use whatever methods they employ to further the search for the truth. We just don’t know enough to throw any of them away based on arbitrary assumptions.

    I think the criteria that DWA mentioned are a good place to start. I also personally think that the evidence that sightings lead to needs to be accurately recorded. As I said, it is these sightings that are going to offer clues to what to look for regardless of witness reliability. Even if an unreliable witness by the above criteria gives a report that turns up a good video or a body, well then maybe there is something in there of use and that sighting should be dissected for every last detail.

  132. mystery_man responds:

    And I agree, DWA. I think the TBRC are on the right track for sure. The more I learn about their operation, the more I think they could really be onto something.

  133. Kathy Strain responds:

    SHJ and DWA – I assure you that the TBRC throws out reports…as does the AIBR, SRI, BFRO, and every other group I can think of. If you want something different, then feel free to take your own reports and keep whatever you want. By all means, keep reports from Hawaii, Iowa, and Las Vegas and don’t let science, common sense, or knowledge of an area get in your way!

  134. mystery_man responds:

    Kathy- Who knows, maybe someone in Hawaii had a Bigfoot as a pet and released it into the wild when it got too big to take care of? :) But seriously, I am sure that at least some of the reports can be expunged from the database based on common sense. What I think DWA and SHJ are trying to say is that even those should be left in and let the researchers themselves discard those on their own rather than have someone else decide for them which ones are good and which ones are not. If the researcher has the knowledge and common sense, they will figure out by themselves which ones do not warrant further attention. It’d make the work of going over all the reports more time consuming, though, that’s for sure.

  135. DWA responds:

    Kathy Strain: what you’ve heard from mystery_man and me and SHJ is how a scientist – and mystery_man is one, not sure about SHJ, and I just happen to think like one ;-) – would treat the information we have now.

    I think you’re getting hotter under the collar than you need to. We’ve said it here many times: you don’t want your brain to fall out but you need an open mind to evaluate alleged information about alleged sightings of an alleged animal. We can use parameters that recur to give us an idea where to search for evidence. If we’re not doing that, then what was the reason for compiling sighting reports in the first place?

    I would hope that Bigfoot organizations don’t consider every single report equal. You wouldn’t be able to use them, for anything, if you did. I have gone on at great length about an excellent method for using them, and I assure you that TBRC is using that method. I go to their site often so I know. Heck, you could say I learned it from them.

    It makes excellent common sense, while you’re using that phrase. And watch talking to SHJ, mystery_man and me that way. Find three more common sense people on this board. Go ahead; search. And no we’re not purple, don’t have tusks, and know no one from another planet, so toss those reports out. ;-)

    And one more thing: however well you may think you know an area, your quarry, in this hunt, knows it way better than you do. You don’t think the past 50 years is proof? You are a proponent, so I already know your answer.

  136. MultipleEncounters responds:

    I’d like to jump in here on the validity of reports based on supporting terrain issue.

    Any practice to throw out reports because a researcher doesn’t feel the area can support a sasquatch, is overlooking onr very important aspect of these creatures. They can travel wherever they darned well please. And sometimes, humans cross paths with them in the darndest places.

    If there are sightings in the Nevada desert, we lowly humans have absolutely no idea if there are valid reasons for its presence there. They could be there for the salt. They could have a taste for the marmots and ground squirrels. They could be moving to another mountain range for the annual bigfoot conference for dealing with pesky humans. My point is, the shortest distance to get to that next mountain range is across the desert, especially at night. Even in the desert, there are plenty of hiding places to hold up during the day too, and sometimes they get disturbed and hence a sighting.

    I have read a number of reports in the past that were discounted because of their location. To make such judgements and to not consider the various reasons why a sasquatch might be in an unconventional area, is very short sighted. Does it not make sense that we don’t know their needs and therefore cannot predict their behavior?

    Why did the sasquatch cross the desert?

    To get to the other side.

    I know dumb, but the point of it is there. Witness sightings can’t be discounted simply because of this criteria.

  137. DWA responds:

    MultipleEncounters: I’ve said what you’ve said, I think more than once.

    But you provided additional illumination from another angle.

    To say nothing of an angle most of us here can’t provide.

  138. mystery_man responds:

    MultipleEncounters- You bring up something that I’ve been thinking about during this discussion on whether to keep all of the eyewitness reports in the database or not. The desert is a good example. See, you have thought of that and I have, and DWA has, but what if someone who keeps these databases decided to throw out the reports without thinking about that? What if they threw the reports out without looking at all the possible angles and threw out the report? Now no one can look at that report and draw their own conclusions based on it because someone else decided that a Bigfoot would never be in a desert without considering all of the possibilities. Who should be allowed to decide that?

    There is a quote that has been mentioned on this site before that I think is very fitting to this topic.

    “I shall be accused of having assembled lies, yarns, hoaxes, and superstitions.. I offer the data.”Charles Fort

    All of these reports are the raw data. Considering this is a little known, enigmatic creature, I think for the most part that the reports should all remain in the database and the researchers and cryptozoology enthusiasts should be free to do with that data what they will. I am actually curious to see how different people evaluate the eyewitness accounts, which reports they deem as bogus, and which details they spend the most time on. Seeing how researchers deal with this raw data and which approaches reap results could be very useful and shed further light on how the hoaxes can be filtered out. Some fresh perspectives, speculation, and thinking outside of the box could also give new importance to reports that would otherwise have been tossed aside such as Bigfoot in the desert. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that they will discard any reports of three headed Bigfoot descending from spaceships. :)

  139. MultipleEncounters responds:

    I think we are repeating ourselves from different perspectives because we have an important issue here that needs to be driven home. We recognize the loss of what could be valid reports thrown out for ill-judged reasons.

  140. Daryl Colyer responds:

    The TBRC absolutely discards reports, but not because of geographical reasons and never based on personal preconceived notions or predispositions.

    We have faith that our investigators, who tend to be seasoned, both professional and amateur, will be able to get to the bottom of a report in most cases. Experience, learned techniques, and familiarity with deception signs definitely help our investigators in the process. Many of our investigations involve multiple investigators; the importance of the teamwork aspect of an investigation, especially when two or three seasoned investigators are involved, cannot be overstated.

    If a report is discarded, the chances are great that it strictly has to do with the witness. We have adopted an even stricter (than in the past) and hopefully more precise new classification system to allow for proper vetting and categorization of reported sightings.

    For the record, we probably consider 1 or 2 out of every 10 submitted reports to be possibly valid. Many of the discarded reports have no contact information for the witness, or the contact information is erroneous. If that is the case, the report is properly classified (Witness contact not possible) and the report goes no further, but remains in the non-publicized TBRC database. No contact with a witness means automatic rejection of the report’s validity.

    In some cases, the investigator(s) determines that the witness was mistaken or just not credible. In such cases, the report is not taken seriously, but does remain in the data base.

    So, you can bet that for every report that’s available to the public on the TBRC site, there are hundreds of others that the public will never ever see, that were probably invalid anyway.

    No it’s not 100% failproof, but it’s not too different from several mainstream organizations’ rare animals sightings classifications systems.

  141. Kathy Strain responds:

    Exactly Daryl. The TBRC does a great job. I only wish some other group actually had investigators in all states that they publish reports for…then this would be a mute issue!

    And watch talking to SHJ, mystery_man and me that way. Find three more common sense people on this board. Go ahead; search. -DWA

    What a strange comment. I haven’t talked disrespectfully to you or SHJ (nor have I ever addressed mystery_man at all). But if you would like to me make a list, ok…

    As for the Nevada desert, MultipleEncounters, have you ever been there? Mountain ranges can be hundreds of miles apart, and in the desert itself, there is little to no water. Humans can’t walk that distance, even at night, without significant support with man-made inventions. Even in the winter it would a difficult task to do.

    I am very sure that there are bigfoots in areas where it’s unusual or odd…but common sense should always prevail. (or better apply statistics to the issue!).

    I would always prefer to mourn the loss of one good report tossed due to an oddity than to have a database full of reports kept ONLY due to the fear of one of them being true.

  142. DWA responds:

    Exactly Daryl. The TBRC does a great job.

    (What are Kathy and I disagreeing about again?)

    They do it the way I’ve been saying do it.

    What my “strange” comment refers to is “don’t let science, common sense, or knowledge of an area get in your way!” Which one wouldn’t have to be sensitive at all to see as, in so many words, impugning one’s common sense. mystery_man came in after me, responding to you, and agreeing with my approach, so that’s how he got implicated in this. :-)

    As I understand it, Bobbie Short, to name one, casts a jaundiced eye at the whole process of interviewing witnesses to assess credibility (which I definitely advocate). So it’s not even uniformly understood among proponents that the TBRC’s methodology is the right one. (It is.)

  143. MultipleEncounters responds:

    Kathy,

    I lived in Yosemite and Mammoth for 3 years and am originally from California. Traveled into Nevada often. Tough dry country for sure. My opinion however, is that its an invalid criteria to discount sightings due to lack of cover or distance to provisions under our interpretation of these structures and food sources.

    As you know, there are plenty of other mammals living in the Nevada desert. They each have their ways to locate needed water. We even provide water sources for wildlife in some of these barren areas. No reason why sas wouldn’t exploit those sources just like he does elsewhere. That aside, big animals have been surviving in desert areas for, well forever. Look at Africa. Look at the Mojave. The Sonora. Some do die too, but most native wildlife have their secrets of how to find water. Elephants do pretty well traveling hundreds of miles through the desert.

    We have no idea what the metabolism or limits of this creature is. We suspect they have an uncanny ability to survive cold temperatures we cannot possibly endure. They may have an equally tolerant ability to go long distances with little water. Predators can receive moisture from prey, so there is a water source right there. There are plenty of lizards and snakes there. I suspect a few rattlesnakes and chukwallas (in southern Nevada) would offer some significant moisture and nutrition when needed. Different prey in the north. There are plenty of critters to provide sustenance and moisture. Then once again, there is the story told by Cochise’ grandson Nino Cochise, who gave an interview several decades ago, and who told of a ‘Yamprico’ (sasquatch) he saw once. This sasquatch carried with it an animal gut over his shoulder that served as a canteen. Oh but that would be nonsense right? How could sasquatch be capable of this? Or maybe its just one very long interview that this decendent of the great Cochise and Geronimo hoaxed with Morgan.

    What is probable is their knowledge of underground caverns where moisture (and cover) can be found year-round. There are many ways to find water and shelter in the desert if you know how, and especially if your kind has made the same migration before you.

    A human can travel, what 20 miles on foot in a day? My having seen what sas can do, I give them at least 80 miles a day, and they can travel at night too when it is cooler. Cold winters probably don’t even phase them.

    There are too many possible alternatives present to simply discount out of hand these harsh conditions. These are very very tough creatures. Their survival doesn’t follow the rules human scientists with their limited knowledge of the species assigns to them Kathy.

  144. DWA responds:

    I should have commented on this:

    “As for the Nevada desert, MultipleEncounters, have you ever been there? Mountain ranges can be hundreds of miles apart, and in the desert itself, there is little to no water. Humans can’t walk that distance, even at night, without significant support with man-made inventions. Even in the winter it would a difficult task to do.”

    Key word in the above paragraph: HUMANS.

    About the sas we know nothing, for sure, in terms of how far how fast it can walk at a stretch, let alone whether, like some other animals, it can get a substantial quantity of its water needs from the foods it eats. But the evidence seems to indicate that the sas could be expected to walk a lot farther, a lot faster, than we can. It might RUN those stretches between ranges. Who knows? It may be better able to find water out there too.

    You can’t presume too many things. Particularly when you are talking about things that known animals appear to be able to do, meaning you can’t say, a priori, that the sas isn’t capable of doing them. The psychologist Barbara Wasson used an intuitively similar principle to savage John Napier over his dismissal of the Patterson/Gimlin film, showing that he was attempting to rule out the sas just because its body structure wasn’t similar (in his opinion) to that of other known animals. Her essential point can be seen by assuming for a moment that the sas was known, and the chimpanzee wasn’t. Napier, shown a chimp film, could pronounce the chimp impossible.

    Just a cautionary point. The sas is unknown to science. We need to confirm it FIRST. Until then everything is a guess and you don’t want to be making too many bad guesses.

  145. Kathy Strain responds:

    I think you misread what I wrote. I stated that if you had a database that accepted reports from Hawaii, Las Vegas, and Iowa (cause now, it’s the stepchild of North America) you would have to do so by not letting “science, common sense, or knowledge of an area get in your way!” How is that being disrespectful?

    I fully agree that one should interview witnesses fully to access credibility, but what do you do with reports like the one from Clark County, Nevada that I asked you to read? Clearly, someone felt the witness was credible…so should it be included regardless of the fact that there is no way in hell there is a bigfoot there? (and before you ask, I KNOW there isn’t a bigfoot there…I was the head arch for the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area (the area of the report) and I know it like the back of my hand. It’s not possible for one to be there).

  146. Kathy Strain responds:

    Multiple Encounters – what mammals do you know of that travel across the desert from one mountain range to other mountains ranges in Nevada? Even wild horses and burros (introduced species) don’t travel that far.

    Nevada’s mountain ranges are known as “sky islands” to ecologists because the species in those mountain ranges are biological isolated from other species in other mountain ranges. Why? Because they can’t cross the desert. So, if human can only do it with the benefit of carrying water; mammals can only do it with the help (trucks); so why would bigfoot be able to? Are they more special than any other species?

    It does not bolster the case for bigfoots existence to continue to insist that he can live everywhere in North America.

  147. DWA responds:

    Kathy:

    I’m going to step back from what I don’t think is a debate and say, again, what I think.

    1. You don’t toss anything. (It doesn’t sound like TBRC truly tosses anything.)

    2. But all reports aren’t equal, either. Nor can they be. There are reports that for whatever reason seem – that’s seem, the animal isn’t known yet – to be better as pointers. (By, yes, artifically applied criteria. That is unavoidable.) Search based on those.

    3. You don’t toss ANYTHING. What if you find pieces of data over the next six months that have you wishing you hadn’t tossed what is now a missing piece in the puzzle? I would in fact argue this: IT IS WASTING ENERGY TO TOSS. YOU SHOULD BE USING ENERGY TO SEPARATE OUT WHAT LOOKS PROMISING. Leave the (for now) dead data where it lies.

    You don’t toss. You suss the (seemingly) good from the (seemingly) bad, and adjust your search parameters as more data come in.

    As to the desert issue: the sas isn’t “special.” He’s UNKNOWN. Only the arctic tern migrates almost from pole to pole, every year – something we’d think was science fiction if we didn’t know about the tern. The blue whale inhabits all the earth’s oceans. So does the giant squid, the sperm whale, the killer whale, etc. There are several species that live almost literally everywhere in North America. Is the sas special in that he CAN’T?

    I’m not concerned about “bolstering” the probability of the sas’s existence for the willfully ignorant. I want to find the animal.

    YOU DON’T TOSS ANYTHING UNTIL YOU KNOW – repeat KNOW -WHAT TO TOSS. The robin ain’t purple. You can toss purple robins. If you know what to toss on the sasquatch, then you can tell us right where he is.

  148. MultipleEncounters responds:

    Well, I guess sasquatch could be one that does travel these routes, we surely don’t know he doesn’t. We don’t have a complete portrait of what sasses’ behavioral or travel patterns are, so how can anyone responsibly say what they aren’t?

    Multiple Encounters – what mammals do you know of that travel across the desert from one mountain range to other mountains ranges in Nevada? Even wild horses and burros (introduced species) don’t travel that far.

    The following may be a major understatement Kathy. We sure in the heck haven’t been able to catch them like ALL other mammals that exist. We can barely get their picture. We can’t find a body. They, not us, control our interactions with them. Yeah, given the circumstances, I’d say they qualify as more special then any other species.

    Are they more special than any other species?

    I also commented above regarding food and water sources, but it took longer to post because of the inserted link.

    To also provide some supporting information about how I derived the 80 miles per day. Three years ago when the last sasquatch I’ve seen cut me off, he quickly overtook me. He walked (not ran) 200 yds to my hundred feet that I would of had to walk to beat him to the crossing. There is no way I could have beat him, and if I started running, so might he, and thus I’d of lost the race then too.

    Their physical abilities sure can’t be compared equally to our human measures.

  149. DWA responds:

    Re: this.

    “Multiple Encounters – what mammals do you know of that travel across the desert from one mountain range to other mountains ranges in Nevada? Even wild horses and burros (introduced species) don’t travel that far.”

    KNOWN animals that can do it?

    One.

    Us.

    We’re primates.

    Hmmmmmmm…..

  150. Daryl Colyer responds:

    I actually subscribe with a shared proposition offered independently by John Green and John Bindernagel, that if a number of the reports are accurate (and I believe that is true, especially the ones I’ve investigated myself; not to mention my own experiences and the experiences of other close colleagues, associates, friends in TBRC, AIBR and elsewhere), then we actually probably know quite a bit about the things, (contrary to what some may assert who don’t subscribe to the possibility that they even exist), even though we have not been able to provide the “discovery shot” — yet.

    Regardless of whether the species has been “officially” recognized, if it’s a legitimate species, and I am certain it is, then we do have a body of data that allows us to know some of its characteristics, based on eyewitness accounts and our own field finds and observations:

    Upright
    Covered with hair
    Bipedal
    Large
    Ape-like (or man-like, but covered with hair)
    Curious
    Possibly nocturnal or at least crepuscular
    Probably a primate, based on shared behavioral traits with great apes (projectile-hurling, nest-building, etc.)

    I agree with Kathy. All wildlife has a normal distribution range. When a report about any given animal is generated outside of what is considered its normal distribution range, we possibly have to rethink what we have considered to be its “normal” distribution range (and maybe await more data), or we have to consider the possibility that the witness was mistaken, or that the witness is contriving the report, or lastly that the species may have simply wandered into the area in search of company, sustenance or procreation.

    We may have a fairly good idea about which areas these things are inclined to prefer. So far, the data predominantly seems to suggest areas of abundant rainfall; abundant bodies of water/water courses; abundant cover (mostly densely forested remote areas); usually low human population densities.

    As with all wildlife, there are exceptions, but no matter the region as long as there is a divergent rainfall pattern in one part of a state from another part of the state, the patterns certainly seem to indicate a living species.

    Oregon and Texas are two states where the rainfall patterns are very clearly and distinctly indicative of where reports will originate. It’s interesting in Oregon because in the eastern third of the state, there is a thin line that runs southward, and along this line there have been a number of reports, but immediately to the east and west of that rainfall line, there are 0 reports. I find it interesting and perplexing, if the reports are all fabrications or misidentifications, why the folks that live in that thin line of increased rainfall in eastern Oregon would be inclined to make up stories about a hair-covered primate-like creature, and their neighbors 100 miles west (arid) do not fabricate the same fables.

    Regarding Iowa, it’s just not known to have an abundance of cover that a species that seems to favor dense forest would prefer; current estimates put the amount of forest in Iowa to be around 2m acres (for comparison: Texas 22m; Arkansas 18m; Washington 20m; Florida 16m; Georgia 24m; Oregon 26m; California 33m; Oklahoma 10m; Louisiana 13m; Maine 18m; Michigan 18m). The abundant rainfall is there in Iowa (as is the case with all the eastern states and provinces), but the other factors don’t seem to be present in abundance. Food? Absolutely it’s there, but it’s not necessarily a breadbasket that they’re seeking; they seem to want a breadbasket in a dense, wet forest (for the most part).

  151. Kathy Strain responds:

    As usual, Daryl said it far better and wiser than me. Thank you Daryl, I 100% completely agree.

  152. MultipleEncounters responds:

    Daryl,

    The points we’re making are whether open desert areas are their ‘normal’ habitat, which they likely aren’t. But that doesn’t mean the species doesn’t pass through these areas. It is these ‘accidental tourists’ that I suspect are sometimes spotted from a distance, or in someone’s headlights traveling 70 mph (the car not bf). Encounters in these remote, seemingnly uninhabitable areas, can’t be discounted out of hand simply because the habitat isn’t there. Habitat is not a prerequisite for an animal on-the-move to cross country to new (or Winter/Summer) range.

    Where is this thin rainfall line Daryl in Eastern Oregon? I regularly elk hunt NE Oregon. We’ve had two night time visits there in our elk camps over the years. I suspect one of the big criteria that can’t be overlooked in eastern Oregon is that there are thousands of miles where people rarely travel. A lack of sightings probably has more to do with lack of people then anything. It’s pretty remote, with endless habitat. While there may be less ‘reported sightings’, being it is a very sparse human population, that doesn’t equate at all as to whether bf’s aren’t there.

    A problem I can see that may have developed in this field, lies in the culmination of data based on certain field characteristics. Or lack thereof. Say over the decades, early eyewitness accounts of sasquatch seen in the middle of the desert, were thrown out by the initial investigator because they used the same rationale you are using now Kathy. Then, with new people and a new reports, the next ones get discarded because that researcher also rationalized they could not ‘live’ in the area. And so on. So decades later, even if the sasses were merely traveling thru the area, instead of having corroborating evidence available, the most recent researcher to go through the pile, ends up with only the most recent reports and does the same. There may be exceptions of course, but whose to say the most recent researcher going thru the pile isn’t simply repeating the same flawed assumptions made by their predecessors?

    I have heard discussions recently of universal protocols needed in the field as far as evidence handling. Well, handling of existing reports may be an area in equal need of an objective review and protocol design. I can’t agree with throwing a report out because it was in the middle of the desert. JMHO They don’t have to permanently live there to have been there.

  153. Kathy Strain responds:

    Well, first, I’m certainly not the only person who uses this rationale about throwing out reports. Nearly ever researcher I know does so. We’ve been doing this for a long time and know the areas we’re dealing with (i.e., I wouldn’t toss a report from Mass, cause I don’t know the area and don’t know what it’s capable of…but I also wouldn’t assume it was real either if I don’t know the area…I’d find someone who did). It might also surprise you to know that we also toss reports of reports that come in that have a paranormal aspect to them. I’m sure some will consider that a bias, but I’m very ok with that.

  154. MultipleEncounters responds:

    It’s unfortunate that reports get tossed that may be valid in someone else’s eyes Kathy. I think this desert scenario is the perfect example. If a researcher doesn’t have an overall knowledge of animal survival, or an insight of where a bf may be headed, then a reason to purge is not present in my eyes. Would you have tossed Nino’s interview if that was your region and you knew it contained several hundred miles of scorching hot desert where you felt a bf could not possibly survive? (Of course I realize that as an archeologist, you would have craved the opportunity to interview him and preserved such an interview for its overall historical significance alone)

    It also doesn’t surprise me that you would throw out reports (of reports) with a paranormal aspect to them. But if you throw out direct reports/interviews containing paranormal aspects, that might concern me. Why? Because as an archeologist, you would be at conflict with yourself if an old elder finally opened up to you in a way he never has before, about things you might not find believable. Sure you might rationalize it by inferring it actually represented some ‘symbolic’ element of the story, but then that becomes your interpretation and not the original one. Yes I see a big problem when Native American stories are interpreted by Europeans in ways that really are different from the original meaning. But that has happened since the first arrival of Europeans.

    The other funny thing about paranormal elements is that some so called ‘paranormal’ elements actually contain more science then many are able to deal with or recognize. But this isn’t the place for that discussion. You hapilly are dealing with one right now however of your own that has long had a paranormal aspect attached. I am referring to your having seen a sasquatch twice with glowing red eyes (well, you seen the glowing red eyes anyhow). You are attempting to apply a scientific explanation to what many have long considered paranormal. Good for you. But some paranormal explanations may not always be so easy to set aside. Some day you may find yourself witness to track that begins or ends in an open snowfield. What will you do then?

  155. Kathy Strain responds:

    I don’t think red eye glow is the least bit paranormal at all. Now, if it was really Satan, then maybe you’d have a case….

    Native American elders tell me stuff all the time and I have no conflict with it at all. People have a right to their beliefs, but it doesn’t mean they are true or I would use the account as evidence of bigfoot (regardless of how interesting the stories are).

  156. Kathy Strain responds:

    Oh…sorry, forgot to add, I have seen tracks that end in an open snowfield. I have it on film. Funny thing though, once I got on the ground and looked, it was easy to see that the bigfoot turned in and walked back in it’s own tracks (toes at each end). Nothing paranormal about that either!

  157. MultipleEncounters responds:

    When you can see toes on each end, I wouldn’t consider that abnormal at all except for being a saavy sasquatch.

    I’m not looking for a case for Satan, I sure hope you aren’t.

  158. dontmean2prymate responds:

    Humans can cross the Sahara because they lived there before it was an impossible desert. They lived along its surface waters, then slowly watched them disappear below the earth, chasing it down with wells, traveling farther between surviving wells. A person without that knowledge couldn’t travel the sand for long just using survival skills. Same with this continent. This creature could have watched the deserts grow, finding the harsher land continually more difficult to cross, but knowing precisely where shelters and water can still be found, places rare as themselves.

  159. Daryl Colyer responds:

    Hey MultipleEncounters,

    It’s a narrow “strip” that is about 150 miles long from the Oregon-Washington border running down between Pendleton and LaGrande, stretching roughly down along and to the east of Highway 395. It’s a swath that is about 20 – 40 miles wide. The rainfall there in that strip is higher than in the immediate east or west, averaging between 20 – 40 inches of annual rainfall, and there are a number of reported encounters in that “strip.” To the east and west of that “strip,” much of the environment is very arid (like West Texas) and the annual rainfall totals drop significantly, averaging well below 20 inches in much of the area, and very few or no reported encounters. Now, back over in the western third of the state, the rainfall totals increase dramatically, as do the number of reported sasquatch encounters. It’s very much the same as in Texas (except with Texas the western portions are arid, and the eastern portions are wet and heavily forested).

    I bet that it is in that eastern Oregon swath that you have had those encounters that you spoke about in your post.

  160. MultipleEncounters responds:

    Daryl,

    One was 15 miles west of 395 but the other was some 50 miles east of there. Nearly the whole NE quarter of the state is somewhat arid but heavily forested, except for small areas like near Pendleton which is prairie.

    All NE Oregon is great elk habitat. These are my annual hunting grounds. There are streams and other water bodies in practically every drainage. I’m not so sure its bigfoot that is so confined to a narrow corridor you reference, but 395 may simply generate more people who therefore enable more encounters. On the SE part of the state of course it becomes arid high desert.

  161. mystery_man responds:

    Being on Japan time, I always feel like I miss out on the meat of these discussions due to the time difference, but it looks like this debate is winding down a bit. I think these issues are ones that we aren’t likely to reach a unanimous consensus on anytime soon, but a lot of good ideas being put forth by everyone here and I have enjoyed this exchange of ideas immensly. It is always nice to see other people’s viewpoints on these sorts of things and I always come away learning a thing or two from these discussions. Thanks to all involved.

    Just a couple of things I wanted to get out. First of all, I guess you could say I am a scientist and I know a lot of other people here are either scientists or of a scientific mind. DWA, springheeledjack, Things-in-the Woods, and Mnynames spring to mind (sorry for anyone I left out.) Daryl Colyer certainly seems to know what he is talking about and I understand Kathy Strain is a scientist as well.

    I am pleased that no one here ever tries to play some sort of expert card and dismiss what the others are saying out of hand. And Kathy, I know you meant no disrespect to DWA and SHJ with your comments and that you were not addressing me at all. The fact is, even scientists within the same field do not always agree on everything and there can be some pretty heated debates. And then to add to that, you have scientists in different fields converging here (anthropology, Things-in-the-Woods is archeology, I myself am a biology and zoology man, and so on.) My point is, no one here is necessarily wrong, we just have different ideas about how to go about the same ultimate goal, which is to find the truth. This exchange of ideas is essential to furthering that cause I feel and is important for developing scientific and useful hypothesis as well as ways to better analyse what is found concerning Bigfoot. I highly value this site because all of us, from different fields, different backgrounds, and different experiences can come together and talk like this on a subject we all obviously love in a mostly open minded way. Again, thank you all.

    One more thing that I thought about concerning these reports. I feel that witness reliability is a key factor and that has been well addressed here. i don’t think anyone here disputes that. But I also think we should remember that not only honest, reliable people are going to see Bigfoot. And not all honest, reliable people are honest all of the time. Some bogus reports could be well within expected physical or behavioral parameters for this creature and sneak into the data pool. It is good that organizations such as the TBRC go through such great lengths to evaluate these reports, but unfortunately it is fallible.

    So I wonder if there is a way to keep all of the reports in the database and rather than throw the suspect ones away, come up with a rating system of some kind that would reflect the assumed reliability level of the report? That way there could be the ones that are solid grouped together, the less reliable ones grouped together, and on down to purple headed aliens. That way, the expertise of the researchers compiling the reports is utilized by grouping together the most reliable reports, yet individuals can still feel free use the other reports if they wish by looking under headings for less reliable ones. I do not know how feasible this is. Just an idea.

  162. DWA responds:

    In the latest installment of Ben Radford Watch, we find this gem:

    “Loren himself admits this when he (quite correctly) states that the vast majority of Bigfoot sightings are misidentifications. So that’s pretty well a proven fact.”

    This is one of the most exciting statements ever offered in the search for the sasquatch. We have a scoftic ADMITTING THE CREATURE EXISTS.

    Here’s the syllogism.

    1. Loren [Coleman], Himself, states that the vast majority of Bigfoot sightings are misidentifications.

    2. This statement is a “proven fact” by simple dint of Loren, Himself, having said it.

    3. Loren Coleman says the sasquatch exists.

    4. This statement is a proven fact by simple dint of Loren, Himself, having said it.

    Ben, I’m almost in tears. Finally the blind do see!

    NO ONE, ANYWHERE, OF SOUND MIND AND DECENT EYES MISTAKES ANYTHING HE ENCOUNTERS IN THE WOODS FOR A SASQUATCH. Hyperanalyzing a blobsquatch is not an example of this phenomenon, as of course we all know.

    Or, the critter exists as a proven fact. Choose, Ben. Either way, thanks!

  163. DWA responds:

    In the latest installment of Ben Radford Watch, we find this gem:

    “Most Bigfoot reports come down to “I saw something big and hairy, and it wasn’t a bear.” Even assuming that’s true, that is a NON-description; it just says what the person thinks it wasn’t, not a positive identification of a Bigfoot.”

    Did I ever tell you Ben Radford doesn’t read sighting reports? Do we now have proof?

    Virtually without exception, Bigfoot sighting reports clearly describe something big, hairy, and BIPEDAL, with a hominoid’s face and numerous other extremely consistent characteristics. People from coast to coast, north to south, not having met or compared notes, are seeing the same animal.

    Or they’re all lying.

    Your bet, Ben.

  164. Loren Coleman responds:

    Wow, 164 comments recorded.

    It is obvious a few people had some things to say about this topic, and it wasn’t even about a “mystery fish photo”!

    I especially wish to thank those who have been able to restrain their desire to make personal attacks, and keep this on a higher intellectual plane. Good for most of you.

    For those that have engaged in ridicule, silly, or illogical comments, even in the midst of these postings, at least you showed yourself openly for what you tend to feel about this subject.

    What I would appreciate, however, is to not be made a tool of any comment makers’ attempts to make a point about another party who may post here. Please leave me out of such comments. Take responsibility for your own thoughts, and do not use my name as some form of third-party defense or offense. Or even in your own concept of a love or hate triangle. Thank you.

    I am quite able to speak for myself, and don’t take kindly to being made part of an example that comes via someone else’s point of view, which may have nothing to do with my own sense about a person, their stance, or the facts.

    :-)

  165. Daniel Loxton responds:

    This seemed like the most relevant thread for this link:

    http://www.harrisonline.com/links/2007/05/color-changing-card-trick.htm

    This is a short and stunning demonstration, by skeptic and psychologist Dr Richard Wiseman, that underlines the degree to which expectation can badly distort eyewitness perception — even under clear, well-lit, near-optimal viewing conditions.



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