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Coleman & Meldrum Question Contactee Claims

Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 14th, 2011

One of the Siberian foot casts that Jeff Meldrum examined during his recent trip to Russia. But is was not the one found in the cave during the field trip conducted as part of the recent conference.

Discovery News reporter Eric Niiler wrote of the viral wave of information coming out of Russia in an article published on the afternoon of October 13, 2011, entitled “New Bigfoot Sightings: Proof Still Lacking ~ A Michigan woman says she feeds a bigfoot family blueberry bagels; others say a “snowman” roams Siberia.”

Niller details the new claims of Bigfoot encounters — in Siberia and rural Michigan, and you can read more here.

Discovery News quotes Robin Lynn Pfeifer, a 47-year-old resident of Newaygo County, north of Grand Rapids, as saying, “They get fish every day, a bucket of fruit, a bucket of dry dog food….Their favorite thing is blueberry bagels. If I’m not baking them, I go to different stores to buy them. I tell them they are feeding the wildlife.”

Niller presents a balanced view, and indeed, extensively interviewed Jeff Meldrum and myself. He writes:

Loren Coleman directs the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine and has been studying and writing about strange sightings of creatures for several decades. He says he’s skeptical of anyone who comes forward with tales of lengthy Bigfoot encounters without providing serious evidence.

“All the Bigfoot contactees — for some reason they never take photographs,” Coleman said. “There’s a lot of interest in finding these things, but we have to look at the credibility of the people feeding us the stories. I’m always careful of two kinds of people, the debunkers who have no interest [in openly looking at the evidence] and the true believers who will not bring any critical thinking [to the inquiry].”

Coleman said he hasn’t met with Pfeifer, but is doubtful, comparing her story to people who meet with aliens from UFOs.

“They really believe they are having these experiences,” Coleman said. “I don’t know if it’s hallucination or a psychological state.”Eric Niiler

Loren Coleman

Niller then goes back to Pfeifer, mentioning among other things that she says, “I want people to realize that they do exist….They are not aggressive, they are more human-like than an ape and I’m very protective of them.”

Later in the piece, Niller turns to Meldrum for his reaction to Pfeifer’s claims and those of Igor Burtsev, her supporter:

Jeff Meldrum, professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University, was at the meetings in Russia and has been sifting through the various claims about both the Russian Yeti in southern Siberia and Pfeifer’s story of a Michigan Bigfoot.

“There’s no substance to any of her claims,” said Meldrum, who is an expert in the evolution of early hominid gait. “If there were 10 to 12 around her home, she should be opening up a museum with all the artifacts.”Eric Niiler

Jeff Meldrum

Meldrum also has questions about what Burtsev presented during the two-day trip to the cave in the Kemerovo region. He says when the group of scientists entered the cave, there were several large footprints along the muddy floor, but strangely enough, they were only imprints of right feet.

“He must have been playing hopscotch,” Meldrum quipped.Eric Niiler

Igor Burtsev

Meldrum says that while he’s doubtful about the evidence for this particular creature, he is keeping an open mind when it comes to the possibility of a new species of hominid that could be alive today.

He points out that German scientists found finger bones from a new species of human ancestor known as Denisova hominin that co-existed with both humans and Neanderthals only 30,000 years ago.

That research was published last year in the journal Nature, using DNA sequencing to verify its age and identity. The cave where Denisova was found is 35 miles from the site where Meldrum and the other researchers were taken on their field trip.Eric Niiler

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.


4 Responses to “Coleman & Meldrum Question Contactee Claims”

  1. shmargin responds:

    Only right feet huh? Could only afford one giant fake foot?

  2. DWA responds:

    “I’m always careful of two kinds of people, the debunkers who have no interest [in openly looking at the evidence] and the true believers who will not bring any critical thinking [to the inquiry].”

    Not sure I could have said it better.

  3. wolfatrest responds:

    Some people are so rigid in their thinking that to seriously consider the existence of a previously unknown hominid might give them reason to question other beliefs that they hold and heaven forbid that should happen. Other people want to believe in something so badly and have chosen Sasquatch(or whatever other cryptid has caught their fancy) that they will accept any and all supposed evidence as fact, no matter how inconclusive or far-fetched that evidence may be. Unfortunately, these tend to be the people getting interviewed.

  4. Bob K. responds:

    I guess two things occurred to me after reading this article:

    1) There is plenty of anecdotal evidence concerning the big fella stretching back centuries which tells me that there is enough smoke for a fire to be burning. Without any proof at all (as is conspicuously lacking in almost all contactee claims), contactee claims are nothing more than anecdotal. The only difference is that these claims are a good deal more extraordinary in nature than the more garden variety “I saw an approximately eight foot tall creature covered with black/brown fur walk slowly across the road within twenty yards of my vehicle and disappear into the brush last Thursday evening at eight o’clock” accounts. So then,

    2) – in such cases the old maxim applies; extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    I can’t recall ANY contactee providing even a decent shred of evidence let alone extraordinary evidence (perhaps someone can correct me on this point if I am mistaken).

    And so, contactee claims are, in the end, just more anecdotal evidence. Believe ‘em or not. And since these extraordinary claims are rarely accompanied by any evidence at all – let alone extraordinary evidence – acceptance of the veracity of these accounts becomes a matter of faith.

    Nothing wrong with an intelligent faith, IMHO. It’s BLIND faith that’s problematic.



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