Bigfoot & Deception

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 16th, 2011

This week, in a reflective piece entitled “The fall of the house of Blogsquatcher,” D.B. Donlon ventured forth some answers to the question of why he got out of the Bigfoot field and what he thinks Sasquatch are.

One key passage goes like this:

I was considering…how to approach [the field] in the future. Is there some kind of deception involved in Bigfoot research?

At this time I was also reading plenty of strange tales about cryptoterrestrials too, as Mac Tonnies’ book had just come out, so such things were in the air, and it was all coming together at me rather quickly. I conceived that unless one actually sees a bigfoot, which does happen but not so often during what we call “expeditions,” when what happens are usually a congruence of strange sounds, branch breaking, and other indications that something is there, but you really cannot say what — anyway, unless you actually saw one yourself, you would not get enough evidence to show that they existed. You’d simply have to believe on the basis of the word of others, backed up by the kind of weak evidence that you do find.

This is believing on faith. This is religion.

(Read the entire blog posting of his, here.)

Let me repeat some things I wrote when D.B. left the field:

I am reminded, in reading of D. B. Donlon’s recent musings, of the similar journey many of us have watched Mac Tonnies and his friends and followers take. Mac Tonnies, 34, a rising intellectual presence in Fortean thought, the “Posthuman Blues” blogger, never got to see his The Cryptoterrestrials (2010), published to grand reviews and hot sales. Sadly, he left the scene before he could put all the pieces together. He was found dead in his apartment on Thursday afternoon, October 22, 2009. People, as I mentioned, leave the field in many ways.

Tonnies was covering the same ground many others had before, but, although this often was not acknowledged by him, he may not have been intentionally ignoring previous thinkers. In many ways, Tonnies had found a way to view Bigfoot and the other minions by going along a different path to end up, intellectually, with youth, at a place similar to Donlon’s. I know, because I wandered in that forest with Jerome Clark, once upon a time. I have never denied that. Donlon, despite his “last sunset” posting, however, is not dead and still survives to think tomorrow. That is an important and significant difference from those who leave due to death. The end is so final that way.

Nevertheless, some people make wonderful homes for their thoughts in the occult, paranormal, Jungian, or spiritual forests, like Jacque Vallee. Even others find it creepy and scary, like John A. Keel, and yet still may remain inside their own dark woods.

Others take detours and decide to go other places. The tale of Jim McClarin is known to many. He was very intrigued by Bigfoot, intensively interested in the field work and early computer research, and will forever be known as the guy that stood in for Bigfoot in John Green’s post-Patty film at Bluff Creek. Jim also will be remembered for his statue at Willow Creek. He’s still a friend, personally to me, and yet he left the field (or so he thought) in 1975, to become a survivalist, then later a politician, and today, an insect photographer.

A similar person many of us knew in the 1990s was thought by everyone to be the next leading light in Sasquatch research. Instead, here is how Kyle Mizokami (shown above, still hiding? today) writes about himself on WordPress in 2010, where he is still blogging about things that catch his fancy: “Kyle majored in history at San Francisco State University. Among his many jobs he has worked reviewing x-rated web sites, at an arms and armor auction house selling guns, and in a fortune cookie factory. Kyle once spent five years chasing Bigfoot, whom he did not catch.”

Who are any of us to say when the time is or isn’t right for people to go elsewhere in their lives?

Various former Bigfooters have left after marriage, when having kids, due to moving, when they changed jobs or became academics. All of these may seem like mundane choices. But to each of these people, it may have turned into the right ones for them.

Some have departed the field because the phenomena got too close to them. They believed their contact with Bigfoot, for example, gave them insights that told them to save Sasquatch, that they had to abandon the search. Others have felt their positions – in their colleges or their marriages – would be jeopardized if they stayed on the hunt.

A random few have felt betrayed by Bigfoot and Bigfoot hunters, due to the sense of false promises of immediate discovery or the terrible human interactions with hoaxers and fakers.

The Bigfoot research field is no different than any other, but, then again, we are seen as very dissimilar by most people.

Besides merely passing this way, some people do pass away. But people like Grover Krantz have given a lot, just like Tonnies, no matter their age, no matter their tenure, before they die.

In many ways, when you look at it, it is really amazing that there are people like me, John Green, Daniel Perez, Jeff Meldrum, Matt Moneymaker, Scott McClean, and many others who are still around – despite how people might feel about any of us personally. Or how any of us think about each other. 🙂

Goodbye, D. B. Yes, you will be missed, but I am reminded of a California employer who once hired me for a job before I left his first interview. What he said to me was this: “I’d rather have the absolutely best person I could get for one year of work, than have someone who is half as good who will promise to stay and work for me for ten years.”

When hunting, researching and being interested in Bigfoot, there are many reasons for departing from the field. Likewise, there are many levels of appreciation for the fact that partners in our pursuit have stayed on the trail even for a year or decades.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

4 Responses to “Bigfoot & Deception”

  1. PLMerite responds:

    You have to go where the evidence takes you, although I do understand the advantage of keeping it “real.”

  2. eireman responds:

    While I respect many of those mentioned (certainly Donlon for whom I designed that Blogsquatcher banner), I have to wonder if there is a pattern afoot when it comes to some investigators and researchers? I see this time and again: ‘Squatchers start out with a flesh and blood premise that they literally hunt for years, fruitlessly. In time, however, it becomes frustrating to stalk such elusive quarry, and each eventually finds himself facing a crossroads. He can either abandon his premise and say to himself none of this is real and it is all misperception, hoaxes, etc… Or he can modify that premise to accomodate various (and often increasingly outlandish) justifications as to why no one has nabbed Biggy: he’s an alien, he’s a thought-form, he’s a transdimensional being… This isn’t limited to just cryptozoology. We see this in UFOlogy and other fringe movements as well. I can see the merit in his analogy to faith and religion. My two cents.

  3. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Or he can modify that premise to accomodate various (and often increasingly outlandish) justifications as to why no one has nabbed Biggy: he’s an alien, he’s a thought-form, he’s a transdimensional being… This isn’t limited to just cryptozoology. We see this in UFOlogy and other fringe movements as well. I can see the merit in his analogy to faith and religion. My two cents.

    Possibly, but at least for someone like Mac, I get the feeling that he was just fascinated by the high strangeness accounts in which UFOs and Bigfoot sightings collided in an inelegant and illogical way, almost as a display to make us face the fact that these mysteries will never conform to our pre-conceived expectations.

    Maybe that’s the ultimate point of those mysteries: forcing us to evolve form our pre-conceived expectations.

  4. airforce47 responds:


    As DB leaves us we still must come up with a working hypothesis for what Bigfoot is that will account for some of the “High Strangeness” that is evident is some reports.

    On my last field trip in August of last year I witnessed some of the odd lights reported by other witnesses. What I saw and witnessed doesn’t have an easy explanation but like the physical evidence for Bigfoot it does exist.

    I’m convinced that the Sasquatch phenomena is not evil or demonic but that is does have a rational explanation. That explanation needs to be written in the form of a hypotheses along with a test for proving it. Only then will we be able to develop a working theory that will explain Sasquatch.

    My guess is that the explanation of the Sasquatch phenomena may make the human race take a really long look at itself and its’ place in the universe. My best,

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