Sasquatch Coffee

The Short History of Blobsquatch

Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 25th, 2006

Blobsquatch

As you click this image for a larger version, ask yourself, is this a blobsquatch or not?

“Blobsquatch” is specifically the object in a photograph of a supposed Bigfoot or Sasquatch that has a lack of definition and detail, an illusion created by a play of light within an often unfamiliar natural environment. It is literally a “blob” (an indistinct shapeless form) that may or may not, but probably is not, a Sasquatch.

The blobsquatch “creatures” seem to be shadows in the trees, dark spots in the tall grass, light-colored objects on trails, or crossing branches in the forest that assist people’s imaginations in “seeing” a Bigfoot (when one might not be there). One defunct group defined “blobsquatch” as “anything in a picture or film which might be possibly mistaken for a Sasquatch such as a tree stump, a large rock, [and/or] a shadow.”

While some measure their world with a very rigid black/white yardstick in excluding all blobsquatch photos, of course, someone else’s once and a future blobsquatch could be a really bad picture of an ill-defined Bigfoot in the woods. Thus, one person’s expunged blobsquatch could be another individual’s “initial” piece of potential evidence. The reaction to any one specific blobsquatch remains in the eye of the beholder.

While I and others at Cryptomundo have discussed blobsquatch, the term, before, I thought it would be interesting to track down the biographically significant history behind the word. After all, for years Bernard Heuvelmans got the credit for inventing the word “cryptozoology,” until we all have to do a bit of revisionist rewriting to include Ivan T. Sanderson in the picture, as he independently coined “cryptozoology” before Heuvelmans. Why not make certain we have it right, from the beginning, about “blobsquatch”?

So, who invented the term?

Vito Quaranta

The term “blobsquatch” was first coined online at the Bigfoot Forums by Vito Quaranta (above shown with Jane Goodall), and then it was employed extensively by Ray Randell (directly below), who was instrumental in promoting the term’s growing online popularity, throughout 2002-2003.

Ray Randell

Next came the first known public lecture appearance of the word on September 14, 2003. On that date, Alton Higgins (below), at the Willow Creek Symposium, flashed the term up on a screen and spent several minutes analyzing various blobsquatch images.

Higgins expanded what he presented at Willow Creek, and published his March 21, 2004 revised paper, which can be found online here: “Evaluating Purported Sasquatch Photographic Evidence”.

Higgins wrote within that paper: “Any photo requiring equal parts interpretation and imagination (photos sometimes characterized as ‘blobsquatches’) should be discounted.”

Alton Higgins

The term blobsquatch has been retro-extended to past photographs that are not specifically about North American Sasquatch/Bigfoot. One such instance is the infamous Woolridge “Yeti Rock” image, which was at first thought to be an Abominable Snowman, but later found to only be a rock. It clearly is a precise example of a blobsquatch since the return-springtime investigation of the “unknown hominoid” in the photograph lead to the discovery the “Yeti figure” was made by a geological formation. Nevertheless, the March 1986 photograph continues to live on as “evidence” for Yeti through its surprising reproduction in newly reprinted books, and via incorrect statements such as on the Outdoor India site, which says in “1986, an athlete, Anthony Woolridge, was witness to the Yeti for 45 minutes.”

Blobsquatch

Blobsquatch

Otherwise, most of the blobsquatch photos, such as the following one and the other at the top, are merely blurs in the woods that tell us little about what was there.

Blobsquatch

Click on the image for a full-size version.

Today, blogsquatching (this new term is the use of web logs to spread information on unknown hairy hominoids such as Sasquatch, Yeti, and Yowie across the internet) often freely shares and comments on the latest examples of blobsquatch images.

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.


17 Responses to “The Short History of Blobsquatch”

  1. fuzzy responds:

    Same as it ever was…

    Whether it’s an indistinct Blobsquatch or a “Blurfo” or a “Skyfish” or a Mystic Mist or an Orb or a Rod or a Ghostly form, whether seen or unseen at the time the picture was captured, paranormal research will always be enlivened by these images.

    To the experiencer, that large dark figure moving through the distant trees is easily composed and recognized, but the photo was snapped at just the wrong second (like photos of folks caught in mid-blink), and the creature was gone before another shot could be taken.

    And pity the photographer who carefully composes the low-light scenic sunset shot, only to have one of those darn pigeons flash by unnoticed, just as the shutter opened.

    And what to think of all the swirling mists, flashing glares, distorted faces, rippling rods, furry masses and other curious images with which we are being presented?

    With the proliferation of inexpensive digital cameras and camcorders, we can only hope to see MORE of these graphic mysteries offered for our interpretation.

    Perhaps one day, one of them will show the real thing…

    Or will it?

  2. oregonbigfoot responds:

    Hi Loren, everyone,

    Great post! I continue to receive Blobsquatch photos from witnesses from time to time. Often, when a witness tells me they have a “photo of Bigfoot”, they’ll go into an elaborate description of what’s visible in the picture… “Well, you can see it’s head and the arm reaching around a tree” or something to that nature. Then I get the photo or video and there’s a shadow that, sure, could be construed as a Sasquatch if you stand on your head and cross your eyes just right.

    I recently had this to say to a very persistent witness to insisted he had captured “bigfoot’s head” on film:

    “I have hundreds of tapes that I could throw in my tape player, analyze them to death and find a funny-looking shadow after the fact that I could say, “Gee, that looks like a bigfoot!” If I ran around trying to convince other people that that was the case, my credibility would cease to exist. Folks send me photos like that all the time. They didn’t see the object when they were filming the area… they find it after the fact and are CONVINCED they’ve filmed a Sasquatch. In the research field, we call these “blobsquatches” and they don’t amount to ANY kind of evidence. But try telling that to the person who emails me wanting a $1000 “reward” for their “bigfoot photo”…

    That said, a couple of things to keep in mind. Video evidence is, even in its clearest form, not really evidence. There’s too much room for manipulation. So its value starts out pretty low. And video is MUCH less evidenciary than FILM. Secondly, if you’re even going to ATTEMPT to tell someone you have video evidence, it had better be something so clear that the average Joe on the street doesn’t have to have it explained to him… he should clearly be able to see the subject in question. Otherwise, your credibility is in question, right then and there.

    Good footage doesn’t REQUIRE immediate interpretation.

    You sent me a short piece of footage that shows someone bending over in front of the camera and opening the door. You can HEAR the door open. The top of the head is visible. There is NO indication that this head is anything other than a good old human one with short cut hair. If I show it to anyone else, I can assure you that no one is going to exclaim, “Oh my God… is that a Bigfoot?!” It was somebody’s head. If that somebody was a Sasquatch, it simply doesn’t matter, because you can’t SEE enough of it to know whether it is or isn’t. If I got footage of bigfoot’s knee and only his knee, a vague flash of hair in silhouette, I doubt NBC news would be banging on my door.” :)

    Best,

    Autumn Williams
    Oregonbigfoot.com

  3. busterggi responds:

    Thank you for the info. Considering the explosive growth of the use of the word blobsquatch, this will save a lot of arguing later on.

    Three cheers for Vito!

  4. skeptik responds:

    Good example of a blobsquatch where you use imagination/interpretation.

  5. Rillo777 responds:

    Excellent article. I’m a photographer and I constantly get photos with “things” in them that look strange. They’re always in the background and far away. As far as Bigfoot goes, unless somebody has a good close up or even a distant one that leaves no one room for doubt that I’m seeing a creature, I pretty much ignore the picture.

  6. springheeledjack responds:

    might as well add blobsquatch to our list of Crypto-critters….

    Blobsquatch. Height: ? Weight: ?
    Description: dark blob
    Habitat: possibility on any photo…

  7. fuzzy responds:

    #4 skeptik’s Blobsquatch photog observes: “Neither the dog nor the horse were bothered by him in the least!”

    That’s because it was a tree stump lit by an errant sunbeam!

    Blobsquatch Rules!

  8. Raptorial responds:

    This is pretty interesting. I liked it so much I quoted it on my cryptozoology site.

  9. mystery_man responds:

    Blobsquatch. What a great word! Any chance this is ever going to make it into the dictionary?

  10. DWA responds:

    One thing Autumn said that is pretty interesting is the low quality of video evidence due to the opportunity for manipulation.

    Just my two cents, but my experience tells me to think that, if it were ever possible to get it (you kind of need a real animal first), a sasquatch video would look pretty compelling. Three million years of evolution as a predator trumps twenty years of Photoshop, methinks. We can all of us, maybe once we’ve trained our eyes a bit for some of us, pick out manipulation on a video of an animal. There is something about a real animal’s movement that is impossible to duplicate.

    This is to me the most compelling thing about the Patterson film (other than that EVERY OTHER SUCH RECORD has been either a hoax or a blobsquatch!). You can tell immediately that it’s a moving animal. And it sure seems surefooted for a guy in a very heavy, very bulky suit with torso and arms way too long for him. River bars are nowhere near as flat as they look.

    And motion gives you a dimension that a still photo, relying totally on the quality of a single exposure at a single instant in time, doesn’t.

    I bet that if we ever get a REAL video of a sas, we won’t be sitting around trying to debunk it; we’ll all be buying plane tickets and packing our cameras!

  11. DWA responds:

    I should clarify something in what I just said.

    A good sas video won’t just LOOK compelling. it will BE compelling; because our evolution as a hunter will tell us that all the appropriate search parameters are THERE. This ISN’T manipulated; it’s real video of a real animal.

    Again: this is why the Patty film has stood up so well for so long. It is compellingly REAL. The biggest factor in its favor is also the biggest problem with it: almost everyone associated with both its making and its defense is an amateur. This (a) rules out a hoax, which would have had to be better-than-Hollywood-studio sophisticated (remember, “Planet of the Apes” was the best Hollywood could do the year after the Patty film), and means that folks trying to defend it get, well, put on the defensive, rather than laughing, out loud, at how anyone could get suckered into such a conspiracy-theory argument as that it’s a hoax.

  12. DWA responds:

    Oh, the folks-put-on-the-defensive was the (b) to the no-way-it’s-a-hoax (a).

    To clarify my clarification.

    Sheesh…

  13. MattBille responds:

    I’m sorry Loren has beaten me to the idea of a companion word: “blogsquatch.” I propose that a blogsquatch is any creature that is debated endlessly in the online world despite there being no compelling new information about it.

  14. Loren Coleman responds:

    Boing Boing mentioned this post today, mentioning it as “Blobsquatches.”

    Specifically quoted was my mention of Alton Higgins’ Willow Creek lecture, which became the first public appearance of the word, as far as has been determined.
    :-)

  15. noen responds:

    I want to coin the word “blobsquatch cub”. In the jpeg labeled “Blob1.jpg” (the second one, not the one at the top of the page) if you look just to the left of the circled blobsquatch there is a smaller blob I dub a “blobsquatch cub”. To qualify, a blobsquatch cub should always be in the near vicinity of a larger blobsquatch.

    And who says there is no progress?
    ;)

  16. CalebKitson responds:

    I spend a lot of time in the woods, and am good at judging the diameter and height of a tree from a photograph. If one looks at the first picture, and looks at the trees the “Blobsquatch” is in front of, one would notice that the “Blobsquatch” seems to be only three feet tall at the most. Does anyone agree with this?

  17. CalebKitson responds:

    It’s just a guess of course. I wasn’t at the exact spot were the photo was taken, and I didn’t use a bunch of fancy trig or anything.



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