Sasquatch Coffee

Braking News: Bigfoot Crosses Hiway 101

Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 30th, 2008

Down through the years, you have read my thoughts on fires forcing cryptids like Bigfoot and known animals into new areas, into vulnerable locations where they could be seen by humans, and perhaps even into life-threatening situations.

I even wrote only a few days ago about the 50th anniversary of the prototypical “Bigfoot crossing the road” story.

It appears one of the hottest reports (all puns intended) hitting the Sasquatch sites today will be the new report out of the old original Bigfoot country of just such a fire-related, road closing encounter.

Reporter Linda Williams of the Willits News discusses a “Bigfoot sighting on Highway 101.” The essence of her detailed report is below:

During the height of the smoke from Mendocino Lightning Complex fires, a Laytonville man had an encounter with an apelike creature while driving north of Willits on Highway 101 near Shimmins Ridge Road.

“This animal stepped onto the southbound lane near where the guardrail stops,” says LoPinto. “It was very smoky and incredibly hot, at least 100 degrees but still daylight. It ran really fast, directly into the path of a small truck, which had pulled out to pass me, after the lanes had expanded from two lanes to four.

“The creature was completely black and looked all freaked out. I pointed at it so the other driver could see it and hit my brakes, hard. I didn’t think I could stop in time and was sure I was going to hit it. Miraculously the passing truck missed the creature and sped out of sight.
“As the creature ran toward me, I saw it was least seven feet tall. The animal never slowed down as it ran on its hind legs like a man.

“I thought, ‘it looks like a guy in a gorilla suit.’ When it got to middle of the freeway, I could see it clearly. Its whole head was covered in black hair. I couldn’t see any ears. As I was braking hard to make a panic stop the creature put its arms down and started running on four legs, bounding across the freeway. It had giant arms; they were very long and covered with fur.

“When my car finally stopped, I looked out the windshield and it stopped about 25 feet in front of me at the edge of the road. It was at eye level with me as I sat in the car.

“I had no idea what it was. It was covered with hair down to the ground. I looked at its face and it was completely flat without a nose. It turned his whole body toward me-its neck was stiff. We made eye contact. Its face was yellow or gold like a ripe banana. It had holes for its nostrils and a smooth and shiny forehead with ridges instead of eyebrows. It had a simian face.

“I saw a red glow coming back from its eyes; it may have been a reflection from my headlights. Its mouth was closed and it had thin lips, it didn’t show any teeth and made no sound, at all. Then it turned and leapt down into the ditch and up the hillside. I was freaked out.”

At first, Chris LoPinto had no idea what he had seen; he thought it might have been an escaped zoo or circus animal. He called the Department of Fish and Game biologist and found there were no apelike animals native to North America and that no such creature had been reported lost in the area. LoPinto filed an incident report with them. LoPinto also filed a police report with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department.

LoPinto was later interviewed by our old buddy, Bigfoot field researcher Tom Yamarone, who gave the report high marks. Yamarone thinks the creature was “obviously disturbed by the heavy smoke and fires throughout the area.”

Williams reports on several reports in Mendocino and Humboldt counties, many from Tom Yamarone, for 1961, 1962, 2004, and 2007. Read about those here.

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.


32 Responses to “Braking News: Bigfoot Crosses Hiway 101”

  1. Ceroill responds:

    The two factors in the account I find most interesting are the mention of the creature going quadrupedal at one point, and the color of the face being such a bright yellow.

  2. busterggi responds:

    Funny how so many people run into squirrels, possums, skunks, raccoons, coyotes, turkeys, deer, moose bear and other people but everyone stops to let bigfoot go by.

  3. kittenz responds:

    I dunno … it sounds to me like the guy saw a black bear. Yellow (tan?) face, long shaggy black hair, going down to all fours to run … I’d bet it was a bear.

  4. Crypto-Enthused responds:

    I also found it interesting that this supposed bi-ped went quadrupedal when it really needed some speed. I do believe that this is typical behavior for apes. I live in Rhode Island and there are few stories around here of a white bi-pedal man-ape going quadrupedal when it wanted to escape quickly. I think busterggi is correct in the posted statement. Sometimes you just need to step on the gas pedal and not the brake. It really would have been a different world the next morning.

  5. mystery_man responds:

    Crypto-Enthused- It would’ve been a different world for the driver too when they woke up in a hospital or worse. Hitting a large animal like that causes a tremendous amount of damage to the car and its occupants as well. Many serious accidents and deaths are caused by hitting deer, moose, wild boar, even dogs while driving. Most people want to avoid hitting animals like that not only because they don’t want to kill the animal, but they don’t want to completely total the car and maybe die. Sorry, but stepping on the gas to hit a creature the size of a Bigfoot would be a pretty foolish thing to do. I’d certainly want to avoid hitting it at all costs unless I was in some kind of big rig.

    It sounds to me like the driver didn’t stop to let it go by, but rather slammed his brakes just like anyone would do when a deer jumps in their way, and just happened to luck out in not hitting it.

    Anyway, I do agree that it is strange that there is a lack of any Bigfoot being killed by cars, even though so many sightings read like this one with the creatures being spotted near roads or being described as jumping out in front of moving vehicles. It’s definitely curious.

  6. tropicalwolf responds:

    Most apes, including descriptions of our favorite North American ape, have longer forelimbs than hind limbs. This would precipitate rapid quadrupedal travel IF NECESSARY. Man would be “faster” in a quadrupedal posture except for the fact that our forelimbs are shorter than our hind limbs…which typically causes us to “hop” in such a posture. Just a thought.

  7. mystery_man responds:

    I have some other observations concerning this case.

    A couple other thoughts on the whole roadkill factor. In this day and age, roads are finding their way into even some of the most remote areas where sasquatch are said to inhabit. Even when you think you are in the middle of nowhere, in many places chances are there’s a road in some form or another not more than a few miles from where you are. So you can sort of imagine large swaths of remote wilderness being sort of divided up and intersected by roads, which animals have no choice but to cross in order to roam over ranges that are often very large. Statistically at some point or another, these animals are going to be hit by cars. I would even venture to say that you could probably get a fairly good idea of the biodiversity of the area by looking at the different species that end up as roadkill.

    So it is interesting to me that sasquatch have managed to escape this and that not a single body has turned up in this way. Since there are many sightings near roads as in this report, obviously if they exist they have been forced to cross roads just as other animals in their area must, so it seems that we should have had some sort of incident by now.

    Maybe because they are so intelligent, they are able to avoid this? Maybe, but the animal in this report seems to have pretty much jumped right out in front of a moving vehicle and there are other similar reports, which makes it hard for me to believe that they are being especially wary at all times. It seems clear that they are having some close calls. Also, humans are hit by cars too and I think it is a safe assumption that we are most likely at least as intelligent as sasquatch. It just seems statistically improbable that they would manage to remain unscathed for so long. It is one of the things that I am suspicious of when it comes to the existence of sasquatch. It’s not enough to make me discount it out of hand, but it sure is weird to me.

    I also thought the mention of falling on all fours is interesting. I have read this in sasquatch reports before, and it strikes me as odd. Yes, apes get around on all fours, but apes are naturally quadrupedal (Oliver not included :) ). On the other hand, by all accounts, sasquatch seems fully evolved to be bipedal. In my opinion, this would likely make it inefficient to try and travel on all fours, and I think it is unlikely a fully bipedal animal would do this. Not only would their body not be designed for it, but why develop bipedalism to that extent only to revert to traveling on all fours? It would be easier for me to accept if sasquatch were predominantly quadrupedal and only occasionally showing limited bipedalism, like bears, but that is apparently not the case. All this makes me think that it was perhaps a bear that was seen in this case.

    Another thing is the glow in the eyes. If this is suggesting that the eyes generated their own glow then, well, that is preposterous. If it is suggesting that the eyes reflected the light from the headlights back, then we get back into the debate on whether sasquatch is a nocturnal animal. Eye shine is caused by a feature called the tapetum lucidum on the retina of nocturnal animals. This causes light to bounce back with the aid of a substance called guanine, and allows two passes of light, effectively doubling the amount of light that enters the retina. Only nocturnal animals possess a tapetum lucidum, and the only known primates to have it are the prosimians such as aye ayes and lemurs.

  8. kittenz responds:

    When a bear is standing up its forelegs look like long shaggy arms. The report says that the area was very smoky and hot due to widespread wildfires. A bear, disoriented by smoke and made frantic to try to get away from fire, might very well dash out in front of vehicles. As for the description of the face, well, the man could have been mistaken about the “It had holes for its nostrils and a smooth and shiny forehead with ridges instead of eyebrows”. If it was that smoky in the area, he may not have seen the animal clearly or for long enough to see its features accurately. Or maybe it had been burned and had some of the hair singed off.

    Or, I suppose, it really could have been a Sasquatch.

  9. mystery_man responds:

    tropicalwolf- That’s true about the arm length of apes in comparison to humans, however limb length is not the only factor involved with bipedalism versus quadrupedalism.

    For example, in humans there is a whole slew of anatomical adaptations that help facilitate bipedalism, including reorganized musculature, enlarged joint surface areas, changes in foot bone arrangement and size, hip size and shape, pelvis size and shape, knee size, vertebral shape and orientation, a curved lower spine, angled femur, and a skull balanced on top of the vertebral column. It is a very specialized adaptation, and fully bipedal animals such as humans need to expend a great deal of energy and muscular effort in order to attempt to move in a quadrupedal manner. Apes display limited bipedalism when they need to, but it is NOT their predominant mode of locomotion, and they move around more easily on all fours. I just feel that an animal that has evolved all of the advanced adaptations necessary for full bipedalism as its primary means of movement, such as the sasquatch seems to exhibit, would not be well designed or disposed towards moving around on all fours. It could be in some sort of transitory stage, I suppose, but it is still a very curious detail for me.

    Anyway, interesting to speculate about. I’m going to have to go with bear on this one for a few reasons. Bears can be found in that area, the creature was seen in a bipedal position and then went to all fours like bears are known to do, the appearance of the body sounds like it could be a bear as much as anything else, and there was eye shine displayed which is caused by the tapetum lucida I mentioned and which bears do have. Incidentally, depending on the make up and structure of an animals tapetum lucida (there are many variations), certain species tend to display a particular eye shine color. The typical color of a bear’s eye shine? Deep red. Just like what was reported here.

    The flat face and yellow facial color is odd, but to me if I have to say what this could be, the facts point more to a bear. Occam’s Razor. It COULD be a sasquatch, but why jump to that unknown conclusion when so much points to a bear?

  10. raisinsofwrath responds:

    Mystery man,

    I’ve read a lot on bigfoot and rarely do road encounters involve the animal being that close to an automobile. Also, to compare humans to bigfoot in this instance is wrong. Humans are careless and that is why they get hit by cars in most cases. IMO, a bigfoot would be very careful prior to crossing any roadway and in most cases (not all) they are at least 100 yds or more away when seen on the road. This animal was obviously in a panic which made it uncharacteristically careless.

    This is only the second or third time that I’ve heard of an alleged bigfoot going quad. I’m not so sure that this wasn’t some type of ape/chimp that was out in the wild. I have no doubt that there are simian’s out there that have not only gotten loose from zoo’s, pets, etc..but also learned to survive for extended periods of time in the wild. Not all escapes or dumps are reported, hence the possibility.

  11. DWA responds:

    General observation: there are many reports of road-crossing sasquatch – and sas in other situations – going quadrupedal. It may seem unusual (does to me); but this is an undocumented species we’re talking about here.

    Kittenz/mystery_man: I think the description effectively rules out bear. This guy got a pretty good look, particularly at the head. The head coloration alone would make it one freak of a bear; the guy clearly says there was no “nose,” by which he undoubtedly means “snout.” “It had giant arms; they were very long and covered with fur” is not a comment you will ever hear about any bear. Bears have LEGS. Red eyeshine is frequently reported in sas encounters; other colors too, which seems quite analogous to the variety of eye colors in humans. His discussion of gorilla suits and reference to the forelimbs as “arms” – inconceivable for anyone getting this good a look at a bear – say it wasn’t a bear he saw. (A black bear’s forelimbs actually appear shorter than the hindlimbs – something that was clearly not the case here.) Oh. “At least seven feet tall” makes it likely the biggest black bear on record, not likely where this account comes from. “Smooth and shiny forehead with ridges instead of eyebrows” sure doesn’t say bear to me. And the final kibosh is administered by: “As the creature ran toward me… . The animal never slowed down as it ran on its hind legs like a man.” I have seen many metric tons of bears. Bears cannot, under any circumstances conceivable, do anything that a witness of sound mind could render in those terms. Many people allow their basic incredulity to get in the way of a clear analysis of the account. That this is a bear seems more of a stretch to me than it simply being an ape. (Or whatever the sas happens to be.)

    Mystery_man:

    right-o on collisions, with any critter. I still remember this line from a National Wildlife Magazine article, decades ago: “many a dead driver thought he could miss the animals, but didn’t.”

    As to the collisions: I’ve read several accounts of a sasquatch hit by a vehicle, some involving considerable vehicle damage. (Plus a few accounts of misses, followed by a crash.) All we can say is that no sas roadkill has been REPORTED yet. Or at least I’ve never read an account of one. (I have read one account of a sas, encountered in the middle of a road by a driver who evaded it, which appeared to the driver to be badly injured.) I bet if a logging truck hit one you wouldn’t get a report if the timber company could help it. ;-) Another thing I’d note: the sasquatch’s speed exceeds that of most if not all other native animals, if accounts square. Plus, if it’s a primate, it’s quite a bit smarter. You’re not going to hit one of these often (in all my driving and hiking miles across the continent, I’ve never even seen one), even though, again, there are lots of reports of near misses. As odd as all this may seem, every scenario that wishes the animal out of existence is, when subjected to clear examination, far odder, to say nothing of being backed by no evidence.

    This is as good a report as I’ve read, and I’ve read many. Proof, no. But we do ourselves no good with really long logical stretches to discredit what seems a good nail by a clear-headed observant individual.

    This is smoke. (Figuratively.) I’d like to know where the fire is.

  12. mystery_man responds:

    raisinsofwrath- Ok, maybe not SO many sightings near automobiles, but there are scattered accounts, and like I said if they are being seen at all, then they are likely being seen by people that are not hundreds of miles from the nearest road regardless of whether the person actually saw the creature on a road or not. Crossing roads is going to be a fact of life in many areas for these creatures.

    That’s a good point about humans getting hit by cars. You’re probably right. Still, it is curious to me that this hasn’t happened with more sasquatch. There are reasons this could be, sure, but it is something worth critically considering I think.

    DWA- Good information! I guess an animal the size of sasquatch could get hit and manage to survive to limp off to safety. However, in that case I would at least expect some physical evidence to be left behind such as blood or hair.

  13. Ceroill responds:

    Allow me to offer a piece of rank speculation and imagination for a moment. Perhaps the sasquatches who dart out in front of cars are actually playing? One sasquatch dares a second one, and perhaps over a few decades this becomes a tradition, almost a rite of passage, so to speak.

  14. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- I see what you mean about the face and lack of nose. It is a very interesting detail.

    However I think it is important to look at this critically. Bears have red eye shine, they can adopt a bipedal position for short times, and they would be found in that area. So what I find myself thinking is what is there about this case that allows us to fully throw out the possibility of a bear? Is there enough here in this particular case to suppose that what they saw was an undiscovered bipedal ape that has evolved nocturnal adaptations, or can we say that considering the details that bears also share, maybe he made a mistake about the nose and some other details? After all, by the witnesses own admission it was very smoky and he was in a panic.

    Some other thoughts concerning roads and sasquatch that I think need to be considered.

    1) Sasquatch are sighted near roads and crossing roads.

    2) Even if not always spotted right next to cars, they are seen up close enough for the witnesses to give details which seems close enough to present the chance that one might be hit.

    3)Regardless of the frequency of reports of this nature, there HAVE been close calls of this nature before, which suggests under certain circumstances, sasquatch are perhaps not always completely careful when crossing the road. All it takes is one mistake.

    4) Sasquatch live in some areas where they would have no choice but to cross roads on a fairly regular basis.

    5) As DWA says, there have been cases of sasquatch actually being hit by cars, so allegedly it DOES happen although lack of physical evidence left behind is suspicious to me.

    So this all makes me consider why there are no bodies that have turned up in this fashion. All other large terrestrial animals fall victim to cars at one point or another. I would expect that sooner or later, a sasquatch would be careless enough and unlucky enough to get killed by a car. I think this is something that deserves consideration.

    Anyway, this is all very interesting to discuss and speculate about, and I like hearing everyone’s ideas here!

  15. DWA responds:

    Mystery_man:

    What kills bear for me is the guy’s clear description of an animal *running* bipedally, “like a man;” a bear can bearly (bare with me :-D) walk on its hind legs. And doesn’t look the vaguest bit human while doing it.

    Plus all the other stuff he describes. (I’m not talking gorilla suit, or arms and not legs, or making special note that it was hairy, if it were a bear. We all know bears are hairy. It’s people we don’t look at that way – a dead giveaway that what he was seeing looked to him human.) I simply don’t run in to report a bipedal ape if there is a shred of doubt in my mind. What he describes doesn’t sound anything like a bear. It was 25 feet from him, and “had a simian face.” His description of that “simian face” squares, in every single last detail, with many other reports I have read.

    If he was of sound enough mind to do what he describes doing, he’s of sound enough mind to rule out sasquatch if it didn’t look, incontrovertibly, like one. I guess that’s my problem; I would have real trouble filing a report for public consumption, or contacting an agency with my story, even if I had not a shadow of a doubt what I’d seen. So I just don’t think rational witnesses will say anything unless they are beyond sure. And the vast majority of witnesses sound, to me, beyond sure.

    And here’s my bottom line. This guy could have seen a sasquatch. Period. We will not, says here, get proof unless evidence is amassed, and followed where it leads. If every time we get a report we’re making logical stretches to come up with a glimmer of hope that it might have been what the report clearly, I think, says it is not, what the public reads is: another crackpot, another hoaxer, another reason not to take this seriously.

    There is no reason not to take this report seriously. None. It’s what I call evidence. Not proof. But evidence.

  16. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- That’s true. The stride and running doesn’t seem consistent with a bear, and it is something that would maybe be identifiable even under smoky conditions. You also make a good point about the “simian face”, and I must say I agree a bear would likely not be mistaken for having a face like that. These could have been exaggerated, though, or smoky conditions might have created some confusion as to what he was actually seeing. The smoke and the panic factor might have influenced what he thinks he saw. Those features don’t necessarily push me away from a bear hypothesis in this case but they do cause me to hesitate to assert it must have been a bear. I’m still somewhat open minded on this one.

    All things told, I also think this COULD be a sasquatch (for the details you mentioned), but I also strongly suspect it may have been a bear. I guess I’m just not as convinced as you seem to be that it isn’t a bear based on what was reported. I’d be more receptive to the observations made, and more willing to jump to more unknown explanations, if the sighting was under clearer conditions. Right now considering the conditions, nothing screams to me that it COULD NOT have been a misidentified bear, and so this still should be considered in my opinion.

    Ceroill- That’s an interesting idea, but I would think if that were the case and sasquatch were “playing” with cars, there would almost certainly been some sort of incident by now. After all, when you play with fire, sooner or later you’re gonna get burned. It’s good speculation, but I just think that it is unlikely they could keep that up for so long without one of them slipping up and getting itself killed doing so.

  17. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- I’m also not convinced that him referring to its “arms” is any sort of strong argument for sasquatch in this case, or an inconceivable thing for someone to do when describing a bear. How did he know they were arms? Wouldn’t a lot of people seeing a bear in a bipedal position describe the front legs as arms, especially if they thought that bear was a sasquatch (in this case because of smoke)? I think we are getting into semantics with that one. I think he saw “something” on two legs and described the two non standing limbs as arms, but that doesn’t mean they CANNOT have been legs. Perhaps they were sasquatch arms, but I’m not willing to jump to conclusions based on the particular words the witness chose to use.

    Like I said, it could have been a sasquatch, but I’m not convinced he got as good a look at it as it seems, and I’m not sure the reference to arms in this sighting is a watertight argument for this not being a bear. Bear is still a candidate for this one in my opinion.

  18. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- Putting aside our slight disagreement on how reliable the evidence is that this is something other than a bear (even though I do agree you bring up very interesting points which is why I won’t say it was definitely a bear), I have a question for you regarding sightings of this nature since I know you read a lot of sightings reports.

    My question is, just how frequent are reports where sasquatch are nearly hit by vehicles? I know they exist, but is it a relatively common sort of report, or is it a very rare occurrence? I’m just curious and your input would be appreciated (as always).

  19. DWA responds:

    Mystery_man:

    Reports of sasquatch being hit by vehicles are rare – as I would expect them to be.

    (As with any other type of report for something like this, of course, it’s likely that it’s happened to more people than have been brave enough to report it.)

    I don’t think I’ve read five. More than one, but not five. Three or four would be my guess. It occurs to me, looking back, that what I wrote might make it sound like more. I have almost certainly not read at least a couple of others that are out there.

    I did read one, from Virginia, about a sas crossing Interstate 64, in broad daylight, with a lot of motorists on the road who, in the witness’s estimation, would have to have seen it. I’ve read a few others in that vein as well; other motorists – as in this case in fact – were on the road; their behavior indicated that they too saw the animal. If they actually happened, it says something about how extremely reluctant people are to report something like this. In one or two of such cases, more than one report actually was independently submitted, but never more than two total, despite the likelihood that well over two other people made the sighting.

    And no, people wouldn’t report a bear sighting to a sasquatch website. But let’s not say “touché” yet. :-) It’s just as unlikely, I think from the apparent public reaction to this subject, that they’d report a sasquatch if they knew for sure they’d seen one. Most of the reports I read – conservative estimate 75% – were made years, as much as a decade or more, after the encounter. Those people, safe to say, didn’t see bears.

    I may have read two where a collision happened. (I’ve read at least two, but let’s be conservative here and say those were it.) I’ve read at least two, let’s keep it at that, of a near-miss followed by an accident. (Actually in one, the witness’s car subsequently did a 180 in the road with no damage done.) There was the one about the obviously injured one in the middle of the road. I’ve read a couple of others about an animal in the middle of the road whose behavior might indicate a possible collision casualty, even though the witness made no such inference in the report.

    Whoa. Over five! I really need to do a statistical review of my own here. LOL Point is, though, they’re out there. And again, rare is what I’d suspect. I believe I have seen every kind of large animal in North America that might wind up running in with a vehicle, either alive or dead. The only Virginia coyote I’ve seen – pretty sure that’s what it was – was roadkill. But I have never seen a sasquatch. (I never hear of roadkill bobcat either. And I have seen two crossing roads, the only two wild ones I have seen. Just saying.) Just based on that, I’d say roadkill sasquatch are a very rare event.

    But I would never say what a lot of proponents do: that it’s never happened.

  20. DWA responds:

    Mystery_man:

    I should add something else here, in fact the foundation of my approach to the anecdotal evidence:

    As soon as I establish, this might have been a sasquatch, all further analysis ceases. The account goes into the mountain of evidence favoring the proponents. Why? Simple. Because: this might have been a sasquatch. As soon as I ascertain that, why analyze further? I’m done.

    This may not seem in consonance with the scientific method. I would disagree. I would say it is the only responsible way for a scientist to treat an anecdote.

    We are here talking about this for one reason: the mountain of evidence is inadmissible as proof. (Many – including, to their shame, scientists – say it is inadmissible as evidence.) The reason anecdotes – or footprints, while we’re on that – cannot be admitted as proof is simple: they cannot be analyzed to a conclusion. They are one person’s – well, frequently more than one person’s – record of a personal experience. How can one analyze that? It could be a lie. It could be the person was hoaxed (very unlikely in almost all accounts I have read, but still in some, conceivable). It could be a hallucination. It could be (it is NOT, but for completeness we must include this (im)possibility) an innocent misidentification. (There is no “innocent misidentification” of such a thing. There is ONLY hallucination, period. Psychology is quite clear on this point.)

    In short: it is impossible to analyze an anecdote, beyond sussing for things that mark it as “tough to take seriously.” Examples: it was sixty feet tall; it was wearing a school-patrol visibility belt; it had eight arms; it was pink with yellow polka dots; it flagged the motorist down to ask what year it was and if the Native Americans had won yet; etc.

    There is nothing in the instant case that bears such marks. This account sounds, on its face and after preliminary (the only allowable kind) analysis, as not only possibly but LIKELY a sasquatch, based only on what can be read in the report. Could the guy be nutty? Sure; he just doesn’t sound it. Could the guy be innocently wrong? (He’s nutty, in that case.) Could he be lying? Sure. Unless he comes forward and says, just kidding (or, subsequent events prove, just nutty); or unless other evidence incontrovertible comes forward saying he is wrong, we are stuck – with another feather in the cap of the proponents. That could have been a sasquatch. When such as George Schaller say that “a hard-eyed look is essential,” it’s a pile of these – with, of course, the associated other evidence – that they are talking about.

    This is how science works. One can only analyze any piece of evidence so far. Nothing found yet for the sas permits analysis to a conclusion (i.e., proof).

    How can one come to that conclusion with an anecdote like this one? On the basis solely of what we have so far: One cannot. It’s his experience. Period.

    Which is why I try to stay away from “could have been a bear” when the preponderance of his report comes down on another conclusion.

    It could have been a sasquatch.

    And if we keep allowing logical stretches to, bear, well, science will never look and we’ll never know.

  21. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- Great information on those sightings! Thanks.

    Some thoughts.

    The problem with anecdotal evidence in cases like this sighting report, is that once you believe that this is LIKELY a sasquatch based on this testimony alone, a sighting made under poor conditions to boot, then you open a whole can of worms. Now you are forced to accept all other anecdotal evidence for all manner of other phenomena that have sightings from equally reliable witnesses (ghosts, orbs, aliens, etc). By your rational, all of those things that are “tough to take seriously”(by whose measure anyway? What is the criteria for ‘tough to take seriously’ anyway?) all deserve just as much consideration based on what they saw as this sighting does. This is a mistake.

    I know what you’re going to say. You are going to talk about the mountain of evidence for sasquatch compared to those other phenomena, and that this should somehow give this sighting more weight. Yes, I agree in that sasquatch is compelling in many respects. But I would disagree in the case of most sighting reports. This sighting should be taken and analyzed on its own at first, since we have no idea if it is related to the other evidence for sasquatch. Like I said, it could be a bear or a fabricated report. All we have is the witness’s word and our subjective judgement of character, and to favor it over other types of witnesses who see equally strange things without more to go on to support the claims such as footprints left behind, is not scientific. It is shoehorning the sighting into a favored, pet phenomena (which granted, some scientists are guilty of themselves.)

    I disagree that from this report we can ascertain that this is a LIKELY sasquatch in this case, no more than we can say a sighting of a ghost is a LIKELY ghost when made by a reliable witness. Do you see what I’m getting at? It is not scientific to do this, no matter how much we’d like to think we can fully rely on this guy really having seen what he thinks he saw. Who are we to favor one thing over another? OBJECTIVITY IS KEY. If scientists had to track down every single thing (like this sighting), give them equal weight, and accept it as LIKELY such and such without more to lead us to think that, we’d never get anywhere and we’d never learn anything new. We just cannot accept things like that without more to go on, and until we fully suss it out and consider all options and evidence (which in this case I don’t find much namely due to the sighting conditions.) Following leads is good, but we have to narrow down which ones to follow.

    So yes, on the whole, sasquatch has amassed a good deal of stuff that points me in the direction that it could indeed be a real animal. More so than many of the other phenomena I mentioned. I’m with you on that, that’s why I’m here. But I think throwing scientific caution out the window and accepting any reports like this at face value is a mistake. You wouldn’t even do that for any other natural, unexplained process, so why do that with cryptids? Everything has to be taken into consideration. There is PLENTY to analyze in these sightings (the conditions, the habitat, details of appearance, behavior, etc). “This could be a sasquatch, I’m done”, is not how new things get discovered or explained. It is not how we get to the truth or learn more about the natural world.

    Science needs to dig deeper than that. Scientists constantly test, look at things from different angles, and try to find ways to refute other’s and even their own ideas to see if their hypothesis is true or not. We have to critically pick apart reports like this as much as possible. Critical, scientific thinking is essential in cryptozoology as well, and there is much to be critical of in this particular report in my opinion. I will not simply accept it.

    I just cannot accept things at face value. Everything needs to be looked at from every angle. Is that because I am a scientist? Probably. I know you might not agree with some things I say, or think it sounds dogmatic, but just try to consider what I said. I am not letting incredulity color my conclusions, but rather just trying to make sense of all the data in a rational way.

    If there’s one mantra to remember in this sighting report, it’s “Let’s not open the Pandora’s box of accepting all anecdotal evidence at face value!”. Not very wieldy, but true. “Let’s believe it until it is proven wrong” is false. It is the opposite of science. It is the bane of pseudo science and I don’t consider cryptozoology to be anything of the sort. That goes for sighting reports too. Each one deserves a critical appraisal without assumptions that sasquatch does or does not exist.

    My approach is “Maybe it’s out there. Let’s see where things lead.”

  22. mystery_man responds:

    I would have more or less given this sighting more weight and been more receptive to the details given if the conditions hadn’t been so smoky.

  23. mystery_man responds:

    One more additional thing to clarify about what I wrote above concerning anecdotal sightings.

    I tend to think that the reasons people might fabricate, misidentify, make mistakes, or exaggerate with a Bigfoot sighting are the same basic reasons they would for sightings of weird phenomena like ghosts. I feel just because we know what evidence is out there for sasquatch, doesn’t mean a sasquatch sighting is automatically to be given more weight than other types of sightings simply because the person might not have seen what they claim for the same reasons I’m sure people who see ghosts didn’t actually see what they claim (no matter how reliable they seem).

    I think that just because sasquatch has credible evidence pointing at it as a potentially real creature does not mean all sightings of one must be considered just more anecdotal evidence if they COULD be a sasquatch. Although WE know there is solid evidence for sasquatch, the sad fact is that many people still view it as a fantastic, improbable, or supernatural type of creature. Like I said, people claim to see far stranger things and the sasquatch is sometimes lumped with those other things in the popular imagination. People make mistakes and make stuff up with things like ghost reports, why wouldn’t that possibly happen with sasquatch? Those ghost sightings also have the same ridicule factor, so that can’t be used as an argument for the veracity of all sasquatch reports, such as the argument that “they would never come forward if they didn’t really see it” argument. The very fact that the ridicule exists in the first place is because although you may think of sasquatch as a real animal, many people don’t.

    I just think if a seemingly reliable person can see, say, an alien in silver coveralls, then chances are there are similar types of people, for whatever reason, claiming to see Bigfoot who didn’t in actuality see one (even though sasquatch is more likely to be actually real based on the evidence that cryptozoologists are aware of), just like there are hoaxes.

    So there are likely real reports mixed in with fantastical ones, and it might not always be easy to tell them apart. There’s a very real chance you could be throwing a lot of junk in with the potentially genuine reports if you take any report that comes in as another feather in the cap of proponents. That is not a scientific way. Each sighting has to be critically looked at just because until sasquatch is proven as a real animal, there are going to be bogus reports and over active imaginations in some people seeing, say, a bear, under certain conditions (just like mundane objects seen as alien spacecraft). It’s a fact of life in this field. Scientific objectivity and caution are very important, in my opinion.

    I’d prefer any scientists pursuing this to be as sure as possible that a report is potentially legitimate before following it as a lead.

  24. DWA responds:

    M_M: believe it or not, I couldn’t have said better than you do what I think. Because what you said is what I think.

    My point is: anecdotes usually can’t be analyzed. We only have the witness’s word for it. As I noted, you have to toss any report that has earmarks of having been faked or fantastical. Are you tossing babies with bath water? How do you know? As none of these constitute anything that can be proven (they’re only leads), you are very restricted in what you can do with them.

    In other words, unless this guy is grilled from numerous angles or other people who were there come forward, I’ve done all the analysis one can do, and it sounds as legitimate to me as any I’ve read.

    If the conditions were really THAT smoky, the guy has an accident, period. I can conceive of no conditions so smoky that they would make a guy report a known animal as a bipedal ape (with a “simian face,” seen from 25 feet away). Normal people don’t do that, and he seems normal. (Is he? Someone would need to find that out, wouldn’t they?)

    “Tough to take seriously” is a critical test for any scientist to apply. You say so yourself. The only way to treat anecdotes in a manner that doesn’t have one “throwing scientific caution out the window and accepting any reports like this at face value” is to toss anything that doesn’t sound consistent with the body of reportage. Like it or not, you HAVE to do this; and scientists do it all the time. Otherwise you wind up sending teams out looking for sixty-foot pink sasquatch in silver jumpsuits. Personally, I’d rather not. Because I think it’s a decent bet you won’t find one.

    You say that ” “This could be a sasquatch, I’m done”, is not how new things get discovered or explained. It is not how we get to the truth or learn more about the natural world.”

    And I couldn’t agree more. How we get to the truth is: taking tons of reports for which the conclusion “This could be a sasquatch” applies; seeing where these reports occur; matching this up with the other evidence to see what that tells us; and starting work on search protocols. What I am “done” with is the INDIVIDUAL ANECDOTE, because I can do no more with it if the witness seems to pass the (subjective) credibility test and his report seems to scan.

    We make the mistake of over-analyzing here, using as our main analysis tool our absolute incredulity. Which, if the animal exists, is a prima facie mistake.

    All one can say here, barring further evidence of the kind I speak of above, is: this could have been a sasquatch. And it seems a stretch to make it anything else. I could pull any single report I have read, and I can tell you that I wouldn’t be able to find one that – based only on what I can read – is more likely to be the truth than this one. They’re all anecdotes, period. (Even the followup to a report by an investigator is an anecdote, and his personal judgment. It may bring forward new detail from the witness, and it’s important to do. But we still have an anecdote.) All we can say of any anecdote – any piece of evidence, in fact, short of proof – is that it sounds consistent (as this one does) with what many other people have found and reported.

    Which is all we’ve done with the best evidence we have.

    The next thing that needs to happen is serious scientific attention. We won’t get anywhere analyzing what are, for the moment, people’s personal experiences. Because that’s not where the proof lies. Sooner or later, a scientist has to toss his incredulity and go where the evidence leads him.

  25. DWA responds:

    I should also comment on another thing: my saying that “no normal person” could do something (or other).

    If the person isn’t of sound mind, you can’t count his report. If you decide it’s safe to presume him sane, then you have to consider what that means. I cannot see a sane person, capable of driving a car without avoiding imaginary things to hit real ones, morphing any animal known into what this guy says he saw.

    Again, scientists HAVE to make calls like this. If they don’t, then with every report, we’re doing things like “if he had x-ray vision glasses and was smoking weed and using a tennis racquet to drive, this could have been a bear.” Sorry; but I think that this guy turning a bear into something like this requires a stretch like that.

    Based only on what is in hand, all I can say is: if we accept his sanity, and the possibility that the sasquatch is real, then a sasquatch has to be a realistic and high-order possibility. Because he clearly describes one.

    Beyond that, what can one do?

    Accumulate all of these anecdotes, each one equal in weight once you’ve tossed the tough-to-accept, and proceed as I’ve outlined above. But with this particular report, nothing more, unless more comes to light.

  26. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- You make some interesting points. To tell you the truth, I’m still open minded on this report. The smoke may not be as much of a factor as I’ve made it out to be. If this was a complete fabrication, it seems odd the smoke would have been claimed as it would detract from the believability of the story. And if there really was smoke, then the striding gait would rule out a bear.

    I think I misunderstood your “It could be a sasquatch, I’m done” argument. I see what you mean now and that makes sense. You are right in that we could cross reference reports and get an idea from the body of reports as a whole. That process would weed out some that just don’t fit in and that could be our definition of what is tough to believe, but how do we know which things fit if we don’t know which reports to take seriously? That is why I say you have to be very careful with how far you are willing to accept anecdotal evidence. There is no bonafied benchmark sighting. There is subjectivity involved, and I suppose since we don’t know what we are looking for, we need to accept any sighting that doesn’t stretch plausibility too far. You are right that nothing in the report seems completely far fetched if we are dealing with a real animal. But note I said IF. We simply don’t know, and I am very wary of bogus reports tainting the data of good ones.

    You make a good point that we cannot throw the baby out with the bath water. Of course I don’t want to do that. What I’m saying is that you also have to be very careful of not including junk with your good stuff. If there is any chance at all that this could have been a bear, that has to be considered from every angle. We simply don’t know if sasquatch exists, but we know that bears do. If that option is thrown out so readily, then you are not putting the sighting up to a rigorous analysis. The bottom line is that some features match a bear, so they have to be considered.

    What you said about narrowing the field and not sending scientists out to look for sixty foot giants is exactly what I was getting at before. We agree on that one hundred percent. there has to be a point at which we pick and choose which avenues of inquiry to make.

    What I don’t really agree with is your black and white view on a witness either being sane and reporting exactly what he saw or completely raving mad if he makes a mistake. Do you really think it is that cut and dried? Witnesses to events make mistakes and overdo what they see all of the time. I don’t agree that for someone to make a mistake in certain situations or exaggerate what they saw marks them as hallucinating or insane. By your argument, people are either totally accurate with what they reported, or looney, with no grey area. Completely sane people CAN make observational errors, sometimes egregious ones. What about the perfectly sane pilots that report UFOs flying next to them, or the perfectly sane people and even professionals such as cops, that have reported seeing ghosts and goblins, and all manner of things that you might not believe? I’m fairly sure many of them didn’t see those things and yet they are sane. Tiredness, fear, panic, or outright dishonesty can all play a role. Are you going to say they were all insane, or perhaps accept they might have made a mistake or been seeing things under peculiar conditions?

    Sane people can lie, they can see things, and they can exaggerate. It is not so cut and dried as he is either insane or he saw exactly what he reported. The human capacity for observation is much, much more complex than that. I think it is a mistake to assume because someone is deemed sane, we can believe everything they claim to have seen. Of course that is obviously not true.

    With the smoke and quadrupedal movement described, I still think bear is a candidate. I think it is wrong to discount that based on the testimony given. You mention a lot about what the case is if sasquatch exists, but have you considered the case if it doesn’t? I don’t think bear is as much of a stretch as you do, and I think you are perhaps assuming a little too much that the witness must be telling the truth because he was able to drive, as well as that sasquatch definitely exists.

    That’s what we are trying to find out.

    But yeah, considering we just don’t know what is going on here and there is nothing that screams that this report is bogus (unless sasquatch doesn’t exist, a possibility I think you may need to keep open more), then it needs to go into the file of possible genuine reports.

    I think in many ways we actually agree on this one.

  27. DWA responds:

    M_m:

    AAAAAAAAAArrrrrgh!

    We agree again! This is like “Groundhog Day!” :-D

    Well, we pretty much do. But I did want to say about this:

    “You mention a lot about what the case is if sasquatch exists, but have you considered the case if it doesn’t?”

    Well, yeah, I have. And I guess what I come down on is this: We don’t know. Which by itself doesn’t make me lean either way. But, there’s a lot more evidence that it’s real – evidence that behaves the way I’d expect it to for a real animal – than there is that everything we have is a concoction that doesn’t point to something real.

    So, until I know more, I have to consider “sasquatch” a valid possibility in any report. Particularly when, once again, I read something that sounds like something I have read many, many times.

    And I suppose I could say something about this:

    “What I don’t really agree with is your black and white view on a witness either being sane and reporting exactly what he saw or completely raving mad if he makes a mistake. Do you really think it is that cut and dried? Witnesses to events make mistakes and overdo what they see all of the time.”

    Well, I hope I didn’t really make it sound that way. It’s just that the “mistakes” and “overdoing” don’t seem there with this, or with many other reports I have read. “Mistake” is saying the bear you saw weighed a ton. (I don’t think many people are that good at guessing weights; many don’t know what bears are supposed to weigh.) “Overdoing” is…well, actually, I think I just gave an example. :-D What this guy – and other sasquatch witnesses – seems to be doing is a whole ‘nother smoke. I’m just having trouble with someone of sound mind conjuring up something like this.

    So, it’s not that you’re crazy if you err. It’s just …how could a person of sound mind make anything known into something like this? And then go unflinchingly public with it, and stand by his story? Whether I’m correct or not, I have enough trouble with that concept that I don’t put it high on my list of considerations. I think you might have to toss every anecdote if you did. Which, given the nature of the evidence, it doesn’t to me seem wise to do.

  28. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- Like I said, I guess this report needs to be considered. We don’t know for a fact if it was fabricated, and it COULD have been a sasquatch, true. It’s also true that nothing mentioned is entirely far fetched if this is a real animal. I wouldn’t want to throw out a potentially good report. If it was, then it is very interesting to me that these fires have an obviously jarring effect on them as with other animals. Seems there is a research approach in there somewhere, mobilizing expeditions to check out fire ravaged sasquatch habitats.

    Perhaps I am being overly critical and over analyzing this one. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I can sometimes be very harsh on anecdotal evidence. I just want to be as careful and thorough as possible. Chalk it up to my profession, I guess. Hey, at least I think it could maybe be a sasquatch that was reported, which is more than I can say for a lot of others in mainstream science.

    We don’t agree completely on everything here, but I definitely see your points and this was an excellent discussion. Hopefully you think so as well.

  29. DWA responds:

    M_m: Oh, don’t worry, I’ve gotten quite a bit out of this one. It helps to have you here to keep me honest. :-D

    I try not to be TOO harsh on anecdotal evidence, precisely because that’s all it is. I take all of it with a grain of salt, though, which is why I say I’m not convinced – yet. None of it can I take for proof; although the body of it so suggests a real animal that sometimes I wonder why I don’t. Let’s just say that seeing one would help there, a lot. :-D

    I thought it might be useful to say a bit more about the animal’s apparent switch to a quadrupedal gait – something for which as I say I’ve seen a number of reports. One Texas witness recalls seeing the animal coming in his general direction, fast, on all fours, and then using a fencepost to hoist itself into a bipedal position, from which it took off – after a significant pause during which they made eye contact, at a distance of about ten feet – at a sprint, equally fast. I would guess, from what’s speculated about sasquatch foot morphology and what has been observed about the length and strength of its arms, that this switch doesn’t pose serious problems, and may be done in stressful situations (a number of reports I’ve read indicate the possibility) or simply as a change of pace. This animal simply seems better adapted to both modes than other primates do. Until we know more, that’s where we’re stuck. I do know this: no report in which quadrupedal activity is described strikes me as any less credible than any report in which it isn’t. In fact, I’m struck specifically by how clear such reports seem on all particulars – maybe because the quadrupedal particular really focused me on the credibility of the rest of the report. In fact, the Texas report above is one of the most detailed I’ve read – and the details are very consistent with the many other “could have beens” that I’ve read.

    On with the search. Glad we’re both on board.

  30. Crypto-Enthused responds:

    Well I’ve been gone a few days and this has apparently turned into quite the discussion, mostly between DWA and mystery_man.
    mystery_man ,
    I agree that accidents with animals can cause damage to both the animal and the vehical. I don’t take the position that it’s a shame to hit anything cute and fuzzy. My position is this. If your an animal on a highway, please get out of the way or it could get dangerous for you. The highway did not spring up overnight so you should know it is there. In regards to bigfoot crossing hightways and getting hit, my position is the same with the added opinion of: to get the proof that is so long over due you really should be driving a much larger vehical when you hit them. The debate can go on and on and on and on and on as mystery_man and DWA seem to be doing here but it still is not producing a BODY!!!! End of speech.

  31. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- Wow, that report you mentioned is pretty striking. I completely got the image in my head of a sasquatch doing that.

    As I mentioned way above, I am a bit skeptical of sasquatch moving around on all fours for the reasons I mentioned concerning the highly specialized adaptations needed for bipedalism above and beyond simple arm length. Sasquatch is overwhelmingly described as being a very bipedal animal, which suggests to me they may have evolved that way to a similar extent as humans. I just do not think it would be very efficient for a true biped to try and get around that way considering how their foot structure, knee structure, hip structure, musculature, skeletal structure, and vertebral column orientation would have developed. It is not easy for a creature evolved this way to get around on all fours, and sasquatch seems to be quite well suited to bipedalism.

    That being said, I cannot really say it would be flatly impossible. Sasquatch could be in some sort of transitory evolutionary stage between the two modes of locomotion, retaining some quadrupedal characteristics for when it is needed. After all, apes possess some aspects of both, so maybe sasquatch are like that, more bipedal than the apes, but still somewhat less evolved that way than humans. The only problem is if that were the case I’d think we’d see more reports of it. In the end, we simply don’t know, so I leave the possibility open but it is a very curious detail for me. If the accounts of quadrupedal movement are true, then it certainly poses some very interesting questions on sasquatch evolution.

    Crypto-enthused- Yes, sasquatch if it exists, seems uncannily good at avoiding accidents. Some apparently HAVE been allegedly hit, but the lack of any physical evidence left behind such as blood or hair, is suspicious to me. An animal getting hit by a car is going to leave something behind more likely than not. Oh well, who knows, maybe it will happen someday. I hope the people are in a big vehicle. Until then, debates like this go on.

  32. Goodfoot responds:

    Cerolli: There HAVE been indications that juvenile BFs like to play dare games. I believe Loren may have written about this. But it DOESN’T make sense to play such games when being chased by a forest fire!

    I think going quad makes LOTS of sense when negotiating steep banks. I’ve resorted to it myself.



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