Sasquatch Coffee


Skeptic Questions Patterson Bigfoot Tracks

Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 23rd, 2008

patty tracks1patty tracks2

Talking of the photographs above, the so-called “Bigfoot Skeptic” this month writes:

These are the tracks that Patterson claimed the Bigfoot made from his famous 1967 film. Notice the toes. How smooth and perfectly shaped they are. Also notice that despite the deep impression of the foot, the only part of the toe that shows in the plaster is the round tips of the toe. No other part of the toe is seen in the deep plaster cast. This suggests that it was not made by an actual fleshly foot stepping down and putting weight down. Shouldn’t the toes smoosh into each other, not maintain a perfect round form, and show more than just the tips of the toe from such a deep impression?

Okay, first of all, do any of these debunkers do their homework? Do Bigfoot researchers realize part of the problem faced today is the “trophy” mentality and legacy of the early folks who collected Bigfoot track casts? It is good to know as much about the history of these cryptozoological artifacts, as possible, before critiquing them.

A variety of things are going on with the track casts from the Patterson-Gimlin filmsite trackway. Let’s look at two areas to pay attention to, in studying these casts.

titmus

(1) Back in the 1960s, Bob Titmus, who was the taxidermist who first began taking plaster casts of Bigfoot tracks in the Bluff Creek area, had a “trophy” mentality with regard to the footprints being cast. The absolute best track to take and keep was the one that showed the whole foot, he felt.

Most photos from the 1950s and 1960s show Bigfoot eyewitnesses holding up what were considered, at the time, the “best” casts. These were seen as the ultimate proof, because the “whole feet” casts were well-formed and perfect. (We now know the opposite is actually true. The more movement shown in a cast, the more we learn of the real animal.)

selling casts1

selling casts2

The “Patterson-Gimlin filmsite” casts most often sold today (per above) continue a tradition begun by Bob Titmus of picking out the most “perfect” casts.

perfect casts

Titmus also treated these “trophy tracks” as items to be “cleaned up” and some of the early letters talk of Titmus “scrubbing up” the casts. He wanted to have them without imprefections, to be presented as white, smooth objects. Titmus, furthermore, actually sold cast copies from the very beginning, and some examples from that time demonstrate the cast surfaces were worked on to look smooth, with plaster edges trimmed.

pgf trackway1

(2) Secondly, and perhaps more importantly in the case of these Bluff Creek tracks, there were more than just the two examples being held by Patterson above.

Roger casting

(Go here to view the clip of the film showing Roger Patterson casting these tracks and speaking of his sighting.)

Dr. Grover Krantz and Dr. Jeff Meldrum have both written extensively about how the trackway of where the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot walked included a series of tracks. Krantz and Meldrum detailed how the filmsite track casts capture animate feet, not ones that were created by a fixed fake set of feet, as would have been expected with fake feet being used.

The skeptics and debunkers with questions about the Patterson-Gilmin film trackway casts merely have to look at the plaster of Paris imprints and the surviving photos of the filmsite that have been displayed in several books. They show little evidence of fakery, and clearly the tracks were not made by a fixed fake pair of feet.

white casts1

Krantz published the trackway casts in his books.

Mid-Tarsal Break

Meldrum, Chris Murphy, and others have brought forth photographs taken at the time of the varied tracks left at Bluff Creek on October 20, 1967. Meldrum is interested in proving his mid-tarsal break theory, but looking beyond that, study what he has published. Examine how different the tracks are, because it was a live primate, not a man in a suit wearing rigid fake feet.

trackway

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.


53 Responses to “Skeptic Questions Patterson Bigfoot Tracks”

  1. captiannemo responds:

    This is why I come here every day!
    Loren that was a GREAT article!

  2. DWA responds:

    Great. More heartburn.

    One reason I find it so annoying that crypto can’t drag itself into the sciences is the incredible traction that every skeptical supposition attains, backed by evidence or not.

    And I’ve said more than once what I think about all this focusing on artifacts. I’d rather people just looked for the animal.

  3. wolftrax responds:

    This article did not specifically address the “Skeptics” objections to the cast, specifically the toes being rounded and only the tips making any sort of depression.

  4. Lyndon responds:

    I wouldn’t place too much importance on what this nobody writes. A brief skim over his other writings seem to confirm my initial guess that he hasn’t got the foggiest idea what he is talking about.

  5. Artist responds:

    Hey, it’s Summer again!
    LET’S GET OUT THERE!!!

  6. Loren Coleman responds:

    LOL.

    DWA, you kill me. You wrote: “I’d rather people just looked for the animal.”

    Actually, most good animal people, native collectors, and zoo folks understand that the best way to “look for animals” is by following their tracks until you find them!

    I suppose if you want to ignore the signs and tracks, on your way to “look for the animal,” that’s up to you.
    8-)

  7. Shane Durgee responds:

    Who is this guy, and why does anyone care about his blog?

    Actually, who are we trying to convince about the reality of a large primate living in North America’s moutains and bogs? I’d gather it’s the people who have money to fund the research and authorities with the power to protect these animals as an endangered species.

    Where do these willfully ignorant armchair skeptics fit into that and why do they care? Moreso, why do we care?

  8. Amdusias responds:

    Nice article. I had never seen the other tracks before. The patterson video is really the line in the sand. An entire line of inquiry really rests on this film never being revealed to be fake. There just isn’t anything else in bigfootery as concrete and convincing as that footage.

  9. gavinf responds:

    I went to the zoo a few weeks ago. They had a polar bear exhibit. The bottom of the polar bear’s feet don’t even look real. They are basically just giant pads.

    I don’t imagine that if a bear leaves imprints, that there is a lot of separation or “smooshing”.

    Debunking a Bigfootprint based on “smooshed” toes is a stretch.

  10. gavinf responds:

    “Toe Smooshing”? That’s the best argument against Bigfoot prints this skeptic can come up with?

    I would imagine that a huge padded foot, like the one seen in the P/G film, would not be quite the same as a human foot, or a fake foot.

    The foot in the film reminds me of the type of padded foot I saw on a polar bear at a zoo recently. The foot actually looks fake. And yet, it wasn’t.

    I would not be surprised that a very heavy creature like Bigfoot would have large, padded feet, with toes that don’t “smoosh”.

  11. Shane Durgee responds:

    wolftrax responds:
    June 23rd, 2008 at 10:00 am
    This article did not specifically address the “Skeptics” objections to the cast, specifically the toes being rounded and only the tips making any sort of depression.

    Not specifically, but this covers it for me:

    Titmus also treated these “trophy tracks” as items to be “cleaned up” and some of the early letters talk of Titmus “scrubbing up” the casts. He wanted to have them without imprefections, to be presented as white, smooth objects. Titmus, furthermore, actually sold cast copies from the very beginning, and some examples from that time demonstrate the cast surfaces were worked on to look smooth, with plaster edges trimmed.

  12. Ceroill responds:

    One bit of quibbling: I’m not sure I’d call this ‘trophy mentality’ as much as the desire to produce exemplars of the track in question. I see a difference between the two, but as I said, it is a quibble, not a heavy criticism.

    I suspect this same mindset has applied to the collection of other kinds of ‘impression’ evidence, such as fingerprints, where we now have the nuanced knowledge to realize that incomplete and imperfect prints or impressions have their own valuable data about the situation under which the print or track was left. I seem to recall in my old boyscout handbook that the section on tracks made a point of telling you to cast only the ‘best’ tracks, and that a neat and tidy cast was also ideal.

  13. Moon Knight responds:

    At first the casts that Patterson is holding up do look somewhat fake. You also have to take into consideration the optimal conditions from which the prints were obtained. The creek bed sand/soil left very defined prints showing lots of detail, especially the toes. It’s no wonder why the casts look so good and why many can’t accept them as genuine.

  14. nzcryptozoologist responds:

    Loren once again a great article.

    We had similar things happen here in New Zealand with Moa tracks and I guess just because everyone wanted it to be Moa’s for years the tracks went unchallenged.

    That was until the Hoaxers themselves admitted it was all a bit of a lark.

    It’s getting harder and harder now with all the fakery, photos and video can be faked, tracks can be faked, all for the as you say Trophy hunt.

    The credibility of Cryptozoology as a science slips each time one of these is produced.

    Still its that odd bit of unaccountable evidence that gives us all hope.

    Tony Lucas

  15. DWA responds:

    Well, from a visit to the site, doesn’t seem as if anyone cares what this guy thinks.

    And reading how little thought goes into his arguments, I’m not too surprised.

    One common characteristic of the skeptics on this topic is ignorance of any field relevant to the discussion. Chalk up another one here.

  16. Andrew Minnesota responds:

    Took him to school.

  17. Roger Knights responds:

    The “sand” on the bar at Bluff Creek is probably of a sort that wouldn’t easily “smoosh.” Here are descriptions of it by three persons who’ve been there:

    M.K. Davis—The sand is sort of funny. It’s a shale sand. It’s not your quartz type. It’s not round and it doesn’t roll out from under your feet very easy. It’s sort of made of little platelets.
    —on Tom Biscardi’s Bigfoot Live show, 3/17/07

    Joe Beelart—Through personal observation, “sand bars” on Bluff Creek are hard …. They are composed of granulated small, jagged rocks, not sand.
    —“Bluff Creek Speculations”

    Don Monroe—The sand there is made of slate. It’s what miners call “black sand”—gold-bearing sand.
    —paraphrased personal communication (phone call)

    It would be better of course to get statements on the matter from recognized authorities, like FS employees or geologists.

  18. Roger Knights responds:

    PS: Regarding the sand’s color, here’s an interesting tidbit:

    M.K. Davis—It’s an oily rock and when it’s dry, it tends to be kind of reflective. And when it’s wet it’s very dark.

  19. wolftrax responds:

    There’s a problem with the “Bob Titmus trophy caster” theory behind the rounded toes. Titmus cast 10 of the tracks, and if anybody has seen those casts or better yet handled them they would know Titmus did not smooth them over, they are rough and have many of the imperfections and cracks from the substrate. Also, compare them to Patterson’s casts, even in the photo at the top where Patterson had just pulled them from the ground, and it’s apparent they have the same rounded toes. This is also apparent in the Laverty photos of the tracks included in this article.

  20. dmpelley responds:

    I wonder if “WildBackdunesman” had any idea that his little salvo would result in a Loren Coleman nuclear bombardment?
    Hee-hee; this made my night.

  21. springheeledjack responds:

    It’s the same fallacy that a lot of skeptics fall into…they attack a particular incident without knowing their facts, and either purposefully, or ignorantly try to debase all incidents of a particular cryptid based on one piece of the puzzle.

    And the problem, is that cryptomundians and other serious investigators get tired of having to correct people who shoot off at the mouth without knowing what it is they are going on about…I have no problem with a skeptical approach to cryptozoology…it’s what we do here.

    However, you have to know your stuff before you start trying to argue against BF and the others, and if you are TRULY skeptical, then you keep an open mind…

  22. Lyndon responds:

    I wonder if “WildBackdunesman” had any idea that his little salvo would result in a Loren Coleman nuclear bombardment?

    I would hope so. If you go public with your thoughts and assertions then you have to expect to be pulled up when you are wrong.

  23. Roger Knights responds:

    I think it’s natural for the front edge of a footprint to dig deeper into the ground than the rest of the foot, except the heel. That’s because the whole weight is borne on a small surface area during heel strike and toe-off.

    Also, Gimlin reported seeing sand being from behind the feet. This might have been due to the toes gouging in and flinging back little spurts of sand while Patty was briskly walking away, at 4.77 mph (per Krantz, I think). This might have pushed back the soil behind them (under the rest of the toes) and raised it up somewhat. Footprints of other Bigfoots that were walking at a more leisurely pace might not have shown such a disparity between the depth of the toe tips and that of the rest of the toes, because the tips didn’t dig in so much at their slower pace.

  24. WildBackdunesMan responds:

    I have a response.

    You guys are harsh… :-) I’ll respond in kind! Thank you for checking out my blog its brand new.

  25. The Blogsquatcher responds:

    The author there thinks Loren is a “she,” as he tries to take Loren to task for ignoring his main point:

    “Nowhere does she address the toes in her article. Instead she and her posse insults me and carries on with side issues all while avoiding what I said like an ostrich with its head in the sand.”

    Emphasis mine, original from this post:
    http://bigfootskeptic.blogspot.com/2008/06/loren-coleman-it-is-time-to-think.html

    I think he must have missed the bit about how the trophy cast mentality caused some researchers to work the casts to make them present better. It seems an obvious leap but maybe a leap too far for some folks..

    At any rate, one would think a passing familiarity with the experts in the field would be a requirement for a truly authoritative rebuttal of the case for the existence of bigfoot, no? I can understand disagreeing with Mr. Coleman on this point or that, but do we have to take the fellow seriously if he doesn’t even know who Loren Coleman is?

  26. vampchick21 responds:

    I generally don’t take anyone who defines themselves as a skeptic seriously, anymore than I take new agers seriously. And I don’t.

  27. DWA responds:

    Well, I read WildBackdunesMan’s response, well, all of it I needed to.

    What I find “intriguing” is how people who style themselves skeptics will accept, indeed swallow whole, at face value, anything that ANYONE tells them that backs up what they want to think.

    No one has ever produced:

    1. Any evidence that can stand up that points to a P/G fake.
    2. Even a credible scenario of how such a thing could conceivably have happened.

    Every attempt by anyone (Bob Hieronymous only the funniest, other than possibly Greg Long) to explain how this was done has been laughable, on its face, judging from what is clearly visible on the film.

    If I have said this once, I have said it a thousand times. Experts in fields directly relevant to analysis of the Patterson-Gimlin film have pronounced it a genuine uncatalogued animal. None such – at least none who have troubled to actually analyze the film, rather than hipshoot – has ever come out with the opposing view.

    Would you please argue with them, and stop bothering us?

  28. Roger Knights responds:

    Another thing: Isn’t it normal, on a human footprint, for the tips of the toes and the sole of the foot to be visible, but not the shaft of the toes? When human feet are inked and stood upon a piece of paper, or when footprints are found in most types of soil, there is usually or often a gap between the sole and the toe tips.

    So I don’t see that it’s suspicious for Patty’s toe shafts not to have sunk in as much as the tips. Especially since the substrate wasn’t ordinary compliant sand, but this special slate grit that didn’t flow very readily.

  29. Lyndon responds:

    DWA wrote:

    “”What I find “intriguing” is how people who style themselves skeptics will accept, indeed swallow whole, at face value, anything that ANYONE tells them that backs up what they want to think.””

    Absolutely right. This particular scoftic doesn’t seem to mind that Bob H and co can’t seem to get their stories straight regarding what the suit was made from, how it was made, how to get to the filming site, how Bob H doesn’t fit the bulk and limb ratio of ‘Patty’, how they won’t release footage of their recreation attempt, how Morris doesn’t have any actual proof of Patterson buying a suit, how Bob H refused an independent lie detector test of Roger Knights’ choosing…etc etc etc.

    But that’s ok though. He thinks the P/G footage was a fake and Bob H’s ‘word’ is enough….despite it not tallying up with anything of note.

  30. Lyndon responds:

    vampchick 21 wrote:

    “I generally don’t take anyone who defines themselves as a skeptic seriously, anymore than I take new agers seriously. And I don’t.”

    It truly amazes me why they even bother being a skeptic/scoftic. Haven’t they got anything better to do? I mean, it’s pretty darn obvious why PROPONENTS spend their time discussing this subject but the scoftics? And there are tons of them. All over the place. They hang around like a bad smell trolling from site to site spending inordinate amounts of time telling us so and so is wrong and this is a fake or that is a fake. So what if it is? So what if ‘Patty’ was a man in a suit? Big deal. What’s it to them? Why should they worry and be so concerned to the point of having sleepless nights about it? So what if people believe it? Who cares?

    I think the alien autopsy footage was a fake. I don’t buy into alien abduction. So what? I don’t waste my time almost on a daily basis trying to convince people they should think likewise. I’ve got better things to do with my time and my life than telling Peter Pepper he’s wrong.

    Seriously, these scoftics who hang out on bigfoot boards or who like to argue against the bigfoot question on almost a daily basis trying to be smart arses are NOT the kind of people you would like to ever bump into in real life.

  31. DWA responds:

    Lyndon: right back atcha.

    And you know what they say when the “why the heck do you DO this?” question is asked?

    Oh, I really don’t spend much time on this at all. Not at all. This is an infinitesimal fraction of my time.

    Honest. That is the ONLY response I have EVER heard to ANY such question.

    You know what I think about alien abductions? I do not care about them. At all. I don’t study them. I don’t read up on them. I have about as much to contribute to that topic as Bigfoot “skeptics” do to this topic. (More, actually; MUCH more. But still almost nothing, by my standards of informed discourse.)

    So what do I do? Well, you just saw the lifetime total of everything I’ve ever written on alien abductions!

    Those guys over on the Randi Forums who have these elaborate shapeshifting superpositions of Bob H on Patty, or tracks on wooden footstompers, well, they SCARE me. “Oh, and that takes no time at all. All you have to do is be a World Master of the ‘shapeshift’ function on Adobe Debunker 5.4.4.6.i…”

    Folks like this SCARE me. Hey, at least those of us who understand the evidence have something to talk about!

  32. vampchick21 responds:

    What drives me out of my mind is the stance that they are smarter than us and must therefore save our poor deluded souls from the quagmire of cryptozoology or paranormal research (and being long into the paranormal, I’ve encountered my fair share of skeptic-debunkers).

    They take obvious hoaxs and honest misinterpretations and blanket an entire field underneath them, oftimes dismissing valid evidence or explaining away things in a manner that is sometimes more outrageous than some of the more ‘out there’ believers would come up with. They consider people who seriously research such fields as stupid, when its been my own experience that those very people are very intelligent, sane and reasonable.

    Their minds are closed, locked the door and threw away the key. And it’s as bad as the ‘out there’ believers.

    Bottom line is that people are seeing and encountering something outside of current accepted science and zoology. Intelligent, reasonable, sane people. And there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with trying to figure out what that something is. One day we will know, all of us. But we won’t if we don’t seek.

  33. DWA responds:

    Actually, there is stuff on this guy’s site it would be good to go to school on, from a strictly crypto-psychological standpoint. Besides, never hurts educating these guys.

    Read the “You see what you want to see” link on that site. To compare this to what’s going on in sasquatch sightings is apples and oranges to say the least. He’s right that lots of people might have filed false reports in the wake of the escaped panda’s death. But there are possible reasons that have nothing in common with crypto sightings at all:

    • The sighting(s) might have happened while the panda was still alive. The sighter got the news of the loose animal late, recognized that weird critter they saw, and either they or whoever took the calls filed the sighting report after the dead animal was found (either before the news of the find came out or before they saw it).

    • The sighting might have been of an animal that superficially resembles the red panda (say, a fox or a cat), under circumstances that made the sighter uncertain (poor lighting; brief view; sideways glance; etc.). Since there was an APB out, the sighter filed the uncertain sighting, not having yet seen the news that the animal had died, and wanting to be helpful and not hold back on what COULD have been a legitimate sighting. I’ll bet (although there may be no way to know) that many calls expressed the caller’s uncertainty, but the caller wanted to help.

    • In other words, there was a specific incentive for callers to report, even if uncertain of what they saw.

    • The red panda is NOT A BEAR. OK, irrelevant. But remember, education is what we are about here.

    In the case of, well, we’ll just say sasquatch sightings because I’m familiar with them:

    • There is no other animal that even superficially resembles the subject, with the possible exception of A REALLY BIG human. (In a fur coat or a hoody. On a hot summer day.)

    • Most sighters get a really good look; there is nothing preventing them from registering a good picture of what they saw. (The vast majority describe the animal as superficially human-like in some ways, but most definitely not human.)

    • The vast majority of sighters either (a) believed the animal not to exist or (b) believed there was no way they lived in the sighter’s area.

    • The sighter knew he would be at least teased, quite likely accused of some sort of substance abuse, and at most stripped of his job and community status if he reported this. In other words: the sighter has NO incentive to report what he saw, and probably a very sizable NEGATIVE incentive.

    • Most sightings happen in country also occupied by bears, which is what the sighter would say he saw if he “saw what he wanted to see.” The template you apply is a template of what YOU EXPECT TO SEE.

    • Virtually no sighters have “bigfoot on the brain;” they haven’t even but casually thought of the animal at all, if even that, before the encounter. “Bigfoot on the brain” is THE ONLY WAY a sasquatch could be what “you want to see.” It doesn’t happen.

    Ergo: people who see sasquatch are simply not seeing what they want to. Most of them spend years telling themselves they did NOT SEE THIS, and finally report when they know there is no way the reality of what they saw is going away.

    You would have to read a lot of sighting reports to know the above. (And I have.)

    I have never encountered a self-styled “bigfoot skeptic” who has. As I said above: here’s yet another one who hasn’t.

    (And don’t get me started on the crumbly-biscuit example. I don’t know what that’s trying to point out.)

  34. Roger Knights responds:

    If that zoo had issued an escaped-gorilla report, there’d have been few false-sighting claims. That’s a more accurate parallel with the Sasquatch situation.

    I think this red-panda case is an outlier, due to the circumstances DWA described. I suspect a detailed examination of what really went on would back up DWA’s speculation that reports of past sightings somehow got mis-attributed as current sightings.

    I see skeptics drawing overly broad conclusions from this event in order to obtain a broad-brush dismissal of all eyewitness claims, similar to what they do with the well-known experiment of student-witnesses giving erroneous reports about the features of a pre-planned classroom disruption. That is, they use it to dismiss ALL eyewitness testimony, although about a quarter of the students gave fairly accurate descriptions. (In other words, SOME people are competent observers.)

    And they even extend that dismissal to trained observers like cops. If the students had been experienced cops, trained to make mental notes about detailed characteristics of suspects and the sequence of events, they’d have done much better.

    Another point to consider in those experiments is the file drawer effect. Cases in which the students do well will be under-reported, because they’re not news, and because psychologists and sociologists have a professional interest in denigrating the observational powers of the public, thereby boosting the public’s supposed need for professional assistance in understanding what’s really going on.

  35. DWA responds:

    Roger Knights:

    Great post.

    I LOVE education!

    Now, maybe our “skeptic” will understand what true skepticism is about.

    It’s about questioning ALL comfortable pat assumptions. Including the one that there’s nothing there – despite the demonstrable fact that a lot of competent people are seeing very similar somethings.

  36. jerrywayne responds:

    Bumping into a Wasp’s Nest

    As a skeptic, I’m ambivalent concerning the posts above. On the one hand, some posts are ironic and others angry. For irony, you can’t beat the claim that skeptics are like New Agers, given this claim is being made by a self-proclaimed paranormalist. (Skeptics are usually hard-core rationalists and empiricists; New Agers are the folk who gladly embrace a paranormal view of the world). As to the angry posts: well, the posters are confidently angry, but to what end?

    On the other hand, I have come to feel as if I have a familial kinship with many of the posters here. I like reading the comments here at Cryptomundo, even if I can’t agree with a lot argued. Still, I honestly think we are all here to try to understand the issues and phenomena before us, the issues found under the umbrella of cryptozoology.

    I suggest our mutual “enemy” is not the skeptic, nor is it the advocate. Our mutual enemy is dogmatism, be it blind skepticism or faith-based advocacy. Concerning the bigfoot phenomena, there is a spectrum of possible explanations. One end of the spectrum suggests the bigfoot phenomena is legend, myth, hoax, misperception, and other simply human errors and beliefs. On the other end of the spectrum, bigfoot is a flesh and blood animal, unknown to science, distributed throughout the PNW, if not the entire United States, and it is giganto, a huge ape of pre-history. In between these two views lay other ideas: bigfoot is sasquatch (native American giants); bigfoot is a totally new and surprising ape; bigfoot is a hybrid population; bigfoot exists in the PNW, but other accounts elsewhere are hoaxes or misperceptions; or bigfoot is an evolutionary transitional form, a true man-ape.

    I think the most plausible explanation for the bigfoot phenomena is that it is myth, legend, and hoax, born from native legends, the ape canyon story, the linkage of native sasquatch tales with “America’s Abominable Snowman” spook stories and hoaxes created in the 1950′s and based imaginatively on news reports of the yeti, and the spread of formerly local phenomena to the nation at large through dubious cable and syndicated sensationalist tv programs. However, I’m married to my loving wife, not this explanation.

    I fully recognize there are other views besides my own, and that many intelligent, studious, well informed folk hold views different from my own. I also recognize that my view cannot be proven, only suggested as an answer, and that folks are free to take it or leave it. Having said all this, I must say that advocates also are providing provisional answers to the question of bigfoot. Their views are likewise unconfirmed and unconfirmable. This is the nature of the game (unless or until a bigfoot is captured, or Gimlin confesses, or whatever), and we may as well listen to one another, learn from one another, respect one another.

  37. DWA responds:

    jerrywayne:

    Nice post. Nothing there to disagree with. Except I don’t really think I’m seeing all the anger you’re talking about.

    It does get a bit, well, old, to see folks like this “Bigfoot Skeptic” continually come forth with opinions transparently uninformed on relevant topics, including human psychology and perception, to say nothing of zoology, anthropology and their allied disciplines. Maybe some folks get a bit frustrated by that.

    After all, the hard sciences don’t give this kind of thinking the light of day. You challenge the thinkers in those disciplines, you better do your homework and do it good.

    It’s understandable, don’t get me wrong, that crypto don’t get the same respect as the hard sciences. There’s good reason that guys who really haven’t thought this topic through feel ready to challenge folks who know what’s up here. There is still way too much woo-woo going on in crypto; too many people propound pseudo-theses totally incapable of verification by the scientific method.

    That having been said, there’s a lot of scientifically testable stuff out there on this question. And folks like B.S. (oddly apropos, that one!) really need to start acquainting themselves with it before they go off two-twelfths cocked like this.

    If you come off as authoritative, when the cheeks that are moving are demonstrably not the ones surrounding your mouth, well, folks who know a bit are going to start in on you.

    Don’t know about the others. But angry? I’m laughing, actually.

  38. jerrywayne responds:

    DWA,

    Thanks for the comments. Of course you’re right. I initially typed “nasty” instead of “angry”. But at the O.K. Corral that is the Blog, I thought I might come across as something of a wuss (using “nasty”). So I used “angry”.

    Obviously, the advocates here are taking potshots at skeptics. Our friend Lyndon wonders why skeptics even exist, much less post. This is one of the ironies mentioned above: Lyndon is just as much a skeptic as I am concerning a continent wide bigfoot distribution, and has said as much here at Cryptomundo.

    I do understand why wildbackdunesman has drawn the criticism. If he doesn’t know who Loren Coleman is, or that a red panda is not a bear, then he is fair game. However, he does have a few points to make.

    The idea of misperception and anticipation of perception (the power of suggestion) are explanations of bigfoot sightings that certainly are not conclusive or definitive, but neither should such explanations be ignored entirely.

    I know you are very impressed with the volume and quality of bigfoot sightings (nationwide). I’ve suggested in other posts that we really don’t know much about the sightings and sighters other than having to take them at face value (as is your postiion). It is here (as elsewhere), the skeptic and advocate collide.

    For an animal as large in size as is purported for bigfoot (as large or larger than a grizzly bear), and for this animal to be distributed nationwide, and for this animal to have never been “discovered”, caught, killed, or otherwise definitively verified, it MUST be both extremely elusive and very rare. And yet, if we accept the “sightings” at face value, bigfoot is neither elusive or rare!

    This is a dynamic contradiction at the heart of bigfoot advocacy. The skeptic sees the contradiction; advocates, on the other hand, seem to be blind to it. And this is a cause of tension. At first glance, I understand the advocates point of view. There are a lot of folks out there who claim to have seen an unknown form of bipedal ape, or a primitive human in the wild. On second glance, this fact makes no sense to me. One cannot advance the idea that bigfoot is so elusive and rare that it has remained “hidden” and uncaught, and yet it is seen all over, time and time again.

    As skeptics and advocates try to locate their solutions to this conundrum, they end up at opposite ends of the issue. The advocate tries to give the animal bigfoot almost supernatural abilities of elusiveness, even if it IS seen everywhere. The skeptic looks to the other end of the equation and suggests it is with the human element (the sighters) that the solution may perhaps be found.

    Of course, neither skeptic or advocate has the definitive answer. It is all provisional (for now, at least). I think the best we can hope for right now is to look at the phenomena with an open mind, believe what is most reasonable for us to believe individually, and to respect others’ right to disagree.

  39. Roger Knights responds:

    Jerrywayne wrote:
    “For an animal as large in size as is purported for bigfoot (as large or larger than a grizzly bear), and for this animal to be distributed nationwide, and for this animal to have never been “discovered”, caught, killed, or otherwise definitively verified, it MUST be both extremely elusive and very rare. And yet, if we accept the “sightings” at face value, bigfoot is neither elusive or rare! This is a dynamic contradiction at the heart of bigfoot advocacy.”

    Hence my suggested name for the beastie is Shroedinger’s ape. (Because the pattern of the evidence suggests: Bigfoot exists–sometimes.)

  40. DWA responds:

    jerrywayne:

    “Obviously, the advocates here are taking potshots at skeptics. Our friend Lyndon wonders why skeptics even exist, much less post.”

    Not really. It’s the other way around. Our friend wildbackdunesman is taking potshots, which I think have been pretty neatly dissected here – something I never, and I mean that never, see “skeptics” like this one do to serious proponent positions. What Lyndon wonders is why people keep coming back with the same arguments, acting as if they haven’t really heard anything they’ve been taught, and putting the same old leaky battleships in front of us to get peppered, again and again. It’s really quite peculiar, I’d have to agree. Lyndon isn’t, in other words, talking about real skeptics, like Matt Bille, who continually puts interesting stuff up here, but about “skeptics” like wildetc.

    “The idea of misperception and anticipation of perception (the power of suggestion) are explanations of bigfoot sightings that certainly are not conclusive or definitive, but neither should such explanations be ignored entirely.”

    Maybe not entirely. But a good read of the anecdotal evidence means you can ignore them, pretty much. Anyone who doesn’t believe me should just read reports. The simplest conclusion one can draw is that these people are seeing what they say they are. Not saying it’s true. But being the simplest (and given what we accept in general about human perception, the most reasonable) explanation, it can’t be explained away.

    “For an animal as large in size as is purported for bigfoot (as large or larger than a grizzly bear), and for this animal to be distributed nationwide, and for this animal to have never been “discovered”, caught, killed, or otherwise definitively verified, it MUST be both extremely elusive and very rare. And yet, if we accept the “sightings” at face value, bigfoot is neither elusive or rare!

    This is a dynamic contradiction at the heart of bigfoot advocacy. The skeptic sees the contradiction; advocates, on the other hand, seem to be blind to it. …”

    I’d disagree. There is really no contradiction at all, and thus nothing to be blind to. Once again, the evidence – if one only reads it, and I see clearly on this site that almost no one does – paints the picture. If many consistent sightings, continent-wide, of similar things aren’t assiduously followed up, you don’t have 2+2= 4. You have 1+1+1+1+1+1+etc. =0. THIS is how a animal that’s not rare, and found across a continent, can go without scientific confirmation. Science simply doesn’t want to see it; it looks the other way when the evidence is presented. I wonder how many scientists have seen a sasquatch. Wouldn’t surprise me if many who do not publicly acknowledge its existence have. They just are afraid of not being taken seriously. When your livelihood depends on not seeing something, it will be awfully hard to make you see it.

    The problem is that the general public doesn’t perceive the essential difficulty of confirming unconfirmed species, particularly when reporting an encounter is evidence that you are not to be taken seriously. There is no more effective barrier to knowledge than that one. I’ve said it many, many, many times here: Bigfoot could be twice as stupid – and it ain’t so durn preternaturally smart, how do I know? I read – ten times as big and ten times as numerous, and the way it’s perceived by science, and by people who fancy themselves rational, we’d have no confirmation yet. People do not, fundamentally, understand what scientific confirmation entails, is the problem.

    “There are a lot of folks out there who claim to have seen an unknown form of bipedal ape, or a primitive human in the wild. On second glance, this fact makes no sense to me. One cannot advance the idea that bigfoot is so elusive and rare that it has remained “hidden” and uncaught, and yet it is seen all over, time and time again.”

    It made no sense to me either, until I started seriously reading encounter reports. It makes perfect sense now. Why?

    Not sure how many times I will have to say this here.

    READ SIGHTING REPORTS.

    Nothing beats evidence.

    You know how I know?

    I AM A SKEPTIC.

    And I am extremely skeptical of the credulous “thesis” that this is just all made up.

  41. DWA responds:

    And I do have to add something else, something I missed up there.

    But, once again, it is something I have said over and over and over and over on this site.

    EXPERTS, IN RELEVANT FIELDS, SAY THE ANIMAL EXISTS.

    NONE SUCH WHO ARE DEMONSTRABLY ACQUAINTED WITH THE EVIDENCE HOLD OTHERWISE.

    ARGUE WITH THEM, “SKEPTICS.”

    Maybe if I put it in caps, a “skeptic” will read it.

  42. jerrywayne responds:

    DWA,

    I’m not sure who started the latest dust up between skeptics and advocates. I do know that both sides (here and elsewhere) are guilty of caustic and ridiculing comments. I guess it depends on whose ox is being gored as to who becomes offended by such comments. Personally, I like straightforward arguments from both sides.

    I realize that some folks believe ridicule should be part of a critique. Maybe so. I have no problem with the arrow of ridicule, as long as the target is deserving. For instance, if one wants to ridicule “spirit channelling” (or other “paranormal” subjects), have at it. On the other hand, I don’t believe cryptozoology is a discipline based on the paranormal. It distresses me to find skeptics lumping proposed cryptids with truly paranormal notions and concepts. I think most of us here (I hope) see cryptozoology as simply a sub-branch of zoology.

    As to my point concerning the “dynamic contradiction” inherent in bigfoot phenomena, I think you missed my point. I did not mention science or scientific verification. My point is this: you have TOO LARGE an alleged data base of sightings of bigfoot for the creature not to have been killed, caught, definitively filmed, ran over, etc., etc., by the thousands of hunters, outdoorsmen, hikers, highway drivers, professional trappers, ranchers, professional trackers, etc., etc., that populate the countryside. I’ll say it in another way: according to your primary evidence (sightings database), bigfoot is seen EVERYWHERE by hundreds (thousands?) of people: yet it cannot be found, ever. Does this not strike you as suspect? (And remember, you cannot use the pat answer that these alleged creatures are “elusive and rare”, because according to your own database of sightings, THEY ARE NOT!

    As to your idea that “EXPERTS, IN RELEVANT FIELDS, SAY THE ANIMAL EXISTS” and that those who do not so believe are not really acquainted with the evidence, does not persuade me. Why?
    First, it is demonstrably false. For instance, Kenneth Wylie wrote BIGFOOT: A Personal Inquiry into a Phenomena, and he concluded that bigfoot is a modern myth propped up by hoaxes.
    And BIGFOOT EXPOSED: An Anthropologist Examines America’s Enduring Legend, by David J. Daegling is another scientist’s repudiation of bigfoot as a real animal. These are hardly uninformed opinions.

    Secondly, there is an advocate bias at the heart of this issue. If a scientist (a Meldrum or a Krantz) looks at the evidence and concludes that bigfoot is real, then he writes books and papers, appears on tv, etc., etc., championing the advocates cause. He may even gain converts to his side. On the other hand, if a scientist looks at the bigfoot issue in detail, and concludes that it smells fishy or that bigfoot is unlikely a real animal, what does he do? He simply ignores the issue. No books, no papers, etc. (What would be the point? One cannot disprove bigfoot anymore than one can disprove unicorns). It doesn’t mean the informed scientist who is skeptical does not exist; it just means that pro-bigfoot confirmation is more likely to be made public than anti-bigfoot rejection. (And the preceding paragraph shows that there have been at least a couple of published scientists refuting the case for bigfoot).

    I would like to close by bringing us back to the Patterson prints, the original topic. While I’m not sure “Bigfoot Skeptic” made a strong case against the Patterson prints, I do know there is another problem associated with the tracks at Bluff Creek. The North American Science Institute, a bigfoot advocacy group (it turns out), in studying the Patterson films and testimony, concluded that Patterson’s film subject weighed 1,957 pounds. Almost two tons!
    Now, many advocates place the height of Patterson’s subject at just over 6 feet (or maybe at 6 feet 6 inches). Now, tell me DWA, does the creature in the film, at 6 feet to 6 feet 6 inches, really look and move like an animal weighing two tons? And just think, it made the tracks flatfooted and with padded feet! Or is there a contradiction between what the film gives us (remember, Gimlin originally said the creature appeared to be 400-500 pounds) , and what analysis of the evidence gives us. I submit that bigfoot phenomena is shot through with such contradictions.

    On a personal note: If tomorrow I awake to news that a bigfoot has been captured, I will be excited and very joyous. Heck, I’ll open a can of Bud and toast all the advocates I know and all the one’s I have read. Even all the guys and gals here at Cryptomundo. But I really don’t believe that will ever happen. I’m truly skeptical of the reality of bigfoot.

  43. DWA responds:

    jerrywayne:

    “As to my point concerning the “dynamic contradiction” inherent in bigfoot phenomena, I think you missed my point.”

    No, I didn’t. What you go on to say is EXACTLY what I understood you to mean. I simply think that you’re wrong; you have TOO LARGE a database to be explained away as anything other than what people say they’re seeing. If it’s “alleged,” what explains ALL (and you MUST explain ALL) of them? You say it “cannot be found, ever.” The evidence says: sure it can! Read the reports! THOUSANDS of people are finding it. NO new wild animal will be confirmed by science in this century, says here, without well-heeled scientific expeditons going to where the evidence says the animal is and getting what they say they need for proof. Amateurs, barring excellent luck combined with dogged study and mounting a very steep learning curve, will NOT do it.

    [Daegling and Wylie] “These are hardly uninformed opinions.”

    YES THEY ARE.

    Wylie’s thesis, by itself, brands him as inadequate to his task. I’d bet a month’s salary – or more if you wish – that I could take it apart before I got halfway through the book. Daegling I’ve read. (You can read, right on this site, the fun I had with that guy.) He forsakes his science for incredulity, pure and simple. He argues like an unschooled layman – the precise characteristic of every “scientific” denial I have heard. I have said it before. If you know what I know on this topic, you think what I think. PERIOD. I have never found, and never will, wanna bet? an exception. Sorry. This is just understanding the way data behaves when it describes a natural phenomenon. If you have not read numerous sighting reports, you don’t even understand what that last sentence means.

    “Secondly, there is an advocate bias at the heart of this issue.”

    Um, nope. There’s a denial bias. Once again, THE DATA SAYS SO. If you don’t want to see it, you won’t; that’s been proven so many times, over and over, in human history that we don’t need to dwell on it here. The reason you will never see a reasoned scientific dissection of the evidence, coming down rationally on false-positive (which is quite emphatically different from “disproving a unicorn”) is THAT IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO PERFORM ONE. Shoot, they can’t even put a guy in a Patty suit!

    “I would like to close by bringing us back to the Patterson prints, the original topic.”

    Me too. People can (and have) mangle Patty any way they want. If Patty disappeared tomorrow, it wouldn’t matter; she is a grain of sand on a beach of evidence. Never mind that:

    1. Many say they saw an animal that corresponds to that one in appearance and gait (and they say it in ways that you know they mean it; RSR!);

    2. Research into the evidence left by thousands of trackways corroborates what is seen in the film, and vice versa;

    3. Patty left tracks that have never been debunked.

    Patty was besmirched from the moment she went public. I don’t really care about Patty. (Other than her being a bigfoot, and being fun to talk about.) It’s the rest of the evidence that is shot through with anything BUT contradictions.

    RSR!

    Anyway. I’d sure like to see someone take a chance that maybe, unlikely though it is, I’m wrong.

  44. DWA responds:

    jerrywayne: some more of your comments deserve attention.

    ———————————————

    My point is this: you have TOO LARGE an alleged data base of sightings of bigfoot for the creature not to have been killed, caught, definitively filmed, ran over, etc., etc., by the thousands of hunters, outdoorsmen, hikers, highway drivers, professional trappers, ranchers, professional trackers, etc., etc., that populate the countryside.

    ———————————————-

    As has been said by a proponent: that is nothing but a supposition, unbacked by evidence.

    From the time I’ve spent in “the countryside,” which compared to anyone who doesn’t actually live there is copious, I can tell you that a healthy population of 100-foot whales could be swimming around out there, banking through the trees, floating gracefully on air currents above grazing cattle, and you’d know about them what you know about the sasquatch. One thing skeptics don’t know is how thinly populated most of the North American continent is. Trust me: we hikers, backpackers, long-distance drivers and general outdoorspeople know. There is plenty of room for a healthy population of sasquatch – more, in fact, than there is for bears. And we have enough of those, don’t we.

    ————————————————–
    Kenneth Wylie wrote BIGFOOT: A Personal Inquiry into a Phenomena, and he concluded that bigfoot is a modern myth propped up by hoaxes.
    ————————————————–

    I never read the book and I dismissed Wylie. But I should say why. He’s saying that EVERYTHING OUT THERE IS A HOAX. I KNOW he has no evidence of that. Dismissed. If that is you are characterizing his “thesis” correctly. This is what I mean about scientists forsaking their science for incredulity when it comes to this topic. SCIENCE RUNS ON EVIDENCE, NOT PET “THESES.” RSR, Wylie! The ONLY thing I ask (and it ain’t much) is that a scientist debunk, conclusively, enough pieces of evidence to lead me to conclude that the rest could, reasonably, be false positives. I am not holding my breath.

    —————————————————-
    The North American Science Institute, a bigfoot advocacy group (it turns out), in studying the Patterson films and testimony, concluded that Patterson’s film subject weighed 1,957 pounds. Almost two tons!
    —————————————————-

    I have said it before and I will say it again (and again and again and again and…): I do not blame the animal’s nonexistence on the mistakes of those searching for it. (1,957 pounds is almost ONE ton, speaking of mistakes. 8-)

    —————————————————–
    Now, many advocates place the height of Patterson’s subject at just over 6 feet (or maybe at 6 feet 6 inches). Now, tell me DWA, does the creature in the film, at 6 feet to 6 feet 6 inches, really look and move like an animal weighing two tons? And just think, it made the tracks flatfooted and with padded feet!
    —————————————————–

    Well, now that you mention it, there really is nothing incredible about an animal that big with flat padded feet walking like that. Right? Right. I don’t know ANYONE who can say, authoritatively, how you “should” walk if you weigh x. I want to know: what’s that on the film? I’m not concerned what diet she’s on. I just want to know: how do you get a human in a suit proportioned like that? No, SHOW me. (Bill Munns, BTW, while we’re on science, has shown us. To wit: can’t be done.)

    —————————————————–
    Or is there a contradiction between what the film gives us (remember, Gimlin originally said the creature appeared to be 400-500 pounds) , and what analysis of the evidence gives us. I submit that bigfoot phenomena is shot through with such contradictions.
    ——————————————————

    And here’s another unschooled estimate by an amateur being held up as Crypto’s Contradictory “Answer.” No wonder crypto can’t get traction as a science! If you read sighting reports, you’d recognize that one thing the bigfoot phenomenon is “shot through” with is uncanny consistency.

    That is, for something that doesn’t exist.

  45. jerrywayne responds:

    DWA,

    Thanks for your comments and your robust advocacy. (But why do I have this mental image of you shouting out loud sitting at your keyboard?) [SMILE]

    Amigo, I think you might want to add a glossary to your posts, just so we know how you define your terms. To state that Daegling, an anthropologist who has studied issues relating to bigfoot, is NOT INFORMED is odd and contrary to normally defined words. It seems you are stating this: “If you agree with DWA, you are INFORMED; if you disagree with DWA, you are NOT INFORMED!” Pardon me, but if this is your position, well it is full of….(well)…. immodesty.
    [SMILE AGAIN]

    It seems that you treat “sighting reports” as some kind of “holy writ”, incontestable, definitive, and free of doubt. This is probably the defining difference in our views; I, of course, am doubtful and do not see such reports as conclusively in favor of the advocate.

    Here are some of the reasons I am not as impressed as you are concerning “Reports”. First, I get the impression that advocates think the “playing field” (between skeptic and advocate) is level, and this “level playing field” is tilted in favor of the advocate by “Reports” of bigfoot. This view totally ignores the fact that
    the field is not level to begin with. There is a little thing known as “negative evidence” i.e., no confirmed animal at all, no body, no bones, no DNA, no incontestable scat, no incontestable film, no known natural history, etc., etc. Do “sighting reports” really erase this advocacy deficit and give a level playing field? Many folks, especially “INFORMED” scientists, would say no.

    Second (and you have admitted as much in another post, if I remember), we really know nothing, by and large, about the people claiming to see bigfoot? We may know something about some folk, here and there, but the large bulk of “sightings” are just details on a web sight or in a book or magazine. Are the majority of sightings researched impeccably and thoroughly? In another post, you seemed to say you frankly didn’t care if sightings were confirmed by any hard, empirical method. (Of course, I may be misremembering your comments; you will want to correct me if I’m mistaken. [SMILE])

    Third, “sighting reports” are almost always compiled and investigated by advocates themselves. Except for an occasional non-partial news reporter (who usually is non-committal concerning the reality of such reports), most sighters find a sympathetic ear as they relate their story to an advocate (and may unintentionally embellish the story as a result). It is also not beyond the pale that an advocate may lack the skills necessary for the job and actually “lead the witness”.

    Fourth, I would say that “people see what they see” is a truism. The question is: do they accurately remember what they see. The evidence of studies on this very issue suggest they do not. Despite your admonitions to the contrary, eye-witnesses are simply not always reliable. Bare reports do not, can not, factor in such relevant information as to whether sighters are prone to suggestion or even fantasy prone.
    There are all kinds of scenarios that one can suggest that would explain why a person interprets an anomalous event in the wild as a “sighting” of bigfoot. (Here’s one. Sam is hiking in the woods late one afternoon and he sees, a hundred yards away in a shadow, a large bipedal hairy animal. He is baffled and later interprets what he saw as bigfoot. He actually saw the back end of a moose; the rest of the moose obscured by undergrowth.)

    Fifth, people lie. Even “reputable” people tell stories. You simply have no way of knowing if a person is lying or not. Impossible. While I am not suggesting that all reports are knowing lies, you cannot rule out that the more adventurous accounts, and maybe even the cleverly mundane, are made up stories (“I killed two bigfoot, Art. Then I got scared and buried the bodies!”)

    Sixth, as I have stated many times, the “sighting reports” are actually too numerous. The notion that there is a reclusive ape native to the U.S. and it is unconfirmed over the generations makes sense if we relegated it to the outposts (PNW?), and have it very rarely, if ever, seen. It makes no sense to have this creature seen everywhere, including peoples’ back yards, and it STILL is unconfirmed! So to make bigfoot credible (to me anyway), you have to throw out the unlikely sightings of it everywhere.

    Seventh, the “uncanny” consistency of bigfoot reports makes me more suspicious, not less. This seems to me to be the hallmark of a culturally driven phenom, rather than biologically driven.
    Remember, earlier this year we had a sighting of an “ape” in a tree in Florida. One person said he saw a monkey in the tree. Second person came along and said he saw a squirrel in the tree. Another person claimed to have seen an orangutan in the tree! Now, this was the same animal, but different interpretations were made by different folks. With bigfoot, there is less interpretation? Razor sharp witnesses, or witnesses inclined to see what a bigfoot is supposed to look like (based on popular conceptions)?

    Amigo, I have other comments to make, but I must call it a day. Take care.

  46. DWA responds:

    jerrywayne:

    ——————————————–
    (But why do I have this mental image of you shouting out loud sitting at your keyboard?) [SMILE]
    ——————————————–

    ***

    ———————————————
    To state that Daegling, an anthropologist who has studied issues relating to bigfoot, is not informed is odd and contrary to normally defined words. It seems you are stating this: “If you agree with DWA, you are informed; if you disagree with DWA, you are not informed!”
    ———————————————-

    ***

    I simply said that, when it comes to the sasquatch, Daegling forgets he’s an anthropologist. He becomes a frothing true-believer-in-nonexistence. He actually says that Jeff Meldrum has to address the issue of whether that’s a man in a suit, when Meldrum has more than satisfied himself that it’s not. How? Read his book, which, in “reviewing” it, Daegling clearly did not.

    I just know when you have read up on the topic and when you have not. I don’t look at your sheepskin, I look at your evidence. Daegling is blatantly uninformed when it comes to the evidence. I don’t say that. DAEGLING DOE…heh heh, does.
    It’s eminently clear from reading what he says, and comparing it to what I have read. That’s all. It is simply what any informed person does when judging someone else’s level of information.

    And with all this, Daegs comes no closer than saying that that’s a sasquatch; he just can’t say so. “The identity of the film subject cannot be determined with any confidence.” If it’s a man in an ape suit, my experience says, yes it can be. Because, quite simply, it looks like…heh heh, one.

    ——————————————
    It seems that you treat “sighting reports” as some kind of “holy writ”, incontestable, definitive, and free of doubt.
    ——————————————

    ***

    I said up there, and have said many times, the following: scientists (and people who think like them ;-) ), reviewing the anecdotal evidence, show that it behaves like data with a naturally-occurring source. A scientist, purely because he is one, might want to know why, rather than insisting that, against all odds and rationality, lies are behaving like data.

    ————————————————

    Third, “sighting reports” are almost always compiled and investigated by advocates themselves.
    ————————————————–

    And whose fault is that? At least the advocates investigate; they don’t look the other way and dismiss.

    ————————————————–

    most sighters find a sympathetic ear as they relate their story to an advocate (and may unintentionally embellish the story as a result). It is also not beyond the pale that an advocate may lack the skills necessary for the job and actually “lead the witness”.
    —————————————————

    I’d say they should find a sympathetic ear (i.e., one that doesn’t dismiss them, out of hand, as nuts, Ben Radford). And remember what you are presuming, and yes, you certainly are: *** Yes, you are, because you are saying it’s all fake. I’m saying that if one of them is straight up, than everything on the physical plane of existence says we have a new species here. And everything on the physical plane of existence bets all its chips that if there is one, there are many more than one “good” one. Because that is how reality, simply, works, everywhere we look.

    —————————————————–

    Fifth, people lie.

    ——————————————————

    No, you’re wrong. *** Yes, this IS, logically and inescapably, what you think. (Caps just to call your attention to what’s in your head. ***

    ——————————————————
    Sixth, as I have stated many times, the “sighting reports” are actually too numerous. The notion that there is a reclusive ape native to the U.S. and it is unconfirmed over the generations makes sense if we relegated it to the outposts (PNW?), and have it very rarely, if ever, seen. It makes no sense to have this creature seen everywhere, including peoples’ back yards, and it still is unconfirmed! So to make bigfoot credible (to me anyway), you have to throw out the unlikely sightings of it everywhere.
    ——————————————————-

    Fortunately for you, me, and science, a scientist, with his mind on correctly (and most demonstrably aren’t when it comes to this, as they let their incredulity get in the way of their science), would reject every word of what you say there. If the animal exists in the places it is being seen, well, of course the sighting reports make sense, silly! Your thesis – logically and inescapably – is that they, well, just can’t be seeing that. They can’t, because science hasn’t confirmed it!

    If Science has not confirmed it, it doesn’t exist. I just summed up the skeptical take on the sasquatch. If you actually were acquainted with the data, it would make perfect sense to you; science has the data right in front of it, and refuses to believe it.

    ***

    And *I* have much more to say too. But I have, once again, said it all before. I am so patient.

    And so science must be.

    As usual, a pleasure, amigo.

  47. DWA responds:

    jerrywayne: some things just keep bringing me back here!

    ———————————————
    There are all kinds of scenarios that one can suggest that would explain why a person interprets an anomalous event in the wild as a “sighting” of bigfoot. (Here’s one. Sam is hiking in the woods late one afternoon and he sees, a hundred yards away in a shadow, a large bipedal hairy animal. He is baffled and later interprets what he saw as bigfoot. He actually saw the back end of a moose; the rest of the moose obscured by undergrowth.
    ———————————————

    That only “suggests” anything if you don’t read sighting reports. here’s what really happens: Sam sees a bigfoot, thinks it’s the back end of a moose he just wounded, and kills the sasquatch, with one shot!

    And that’s an actual report. See why I say: RSR?

    And of course, if you are human, mine, not yours, is the kind of report one should expect. One puts things into the templates of what one knows. One does not see something mundane, and put it in a template of The Unknown. People’s minds just do not work that way (unless they’re being hospitalized for the way their minds are working).

  48. DWA responds:

    jerrywayne: Two more things.

    “It makes no sense to have this creature seen everywhere, including peoples’ back yards, and it still is unconfirmed!”

    It actually makes total sense. People seeing an animal does not equal scientific proof. Personal proof, yes, but science needs to provide community confirmation. Once again, it’s not 2+2 = 4 here. it’s 1+1+1+1+1 etc. = 0, because science refuses to do the addition.

    “So to make bigfoot credible (to me anyway), you have to throw out the unlikely sightings of it everywhere.”

    And you and what army of biologists – based of course on careful field study – are going to decide how to define “unlikely”?

    One totally unacceptable (to science) answer:

    “any sighting I, personally, am not comfortable with because it doesn’t comport with what I think.”

  49. jerrywayne responds:

    DWA,

    Thanks again for your comments. Unfortunately, I have to use the company computer (after hours) to add my two cents worth, hence my sometimes slow and incomplete responses.

    Before I continue, I would like to state plainly my overriding stance concerning skepticism, advocacy and the existence of bigfoot. I do not pretend to know if bigfoot exists or not. I do have serious doubts, however. My complaint with the bigfoot phenomena is that advocates DO claim a certainty: BIGFOOT EXISTS! It is this certainty that I question. It is this certainty that I believe puts cryptozoology in a bad light with many folks, lay and professional.

    Back to “sightings”. Another reason why I find bigfoot sightings questionable: such “sightings” are not unique in the world of other questionable entities. If people reported ONLY giant apes in the forests of America, I would say “Hey, there MUST be something to it!” But, alas, people are seeing space aliens in their bedrooms; ghosts in the mall; werewolves down by the creek; UFO’s above us; mermaids combing their beautiful long hair; dead Elvis alive and well at the local trailer park; etc., etc. Now, I grant you, bigfoot is a more plausible entity than the ones mentioned (although I might get some argument from others here to the contrary), but we are talking about SIGHTINGS, and a sighting is a sighting is a sighting. (If you use a “plausibility standard” to accept or reject an entity’s supporting “sightings”, then be prepared to have folks reject the idea of giant, hidden, unknown types of apes populating an industrialized nation that has no confirmable natural history of such large animals.)

    Another reason I am doubtful about bigfoot “sightings” concerns the issue of contradictions. You state bigfoot sightings are “uncanny” in their similarities. Maybe this is so. What I meant by contradictions is this: the reports seem to contradict what we would rationally expect from such reports, matching “sightings” to reality. As I pointed out, Patterson and Gimlin estimated the weight of their film subject at 400-500 pounds. Yet, independent analysis of the depth of the prints allegedly left by this subject, analysis made by both advocates and skeptics, suggests Patterson’s bigfoot weighed almost 2000 pounds! Now, the image on the film as well as testimony by the witnesses, as well as common sense, do not support an almost 2000 pound animal. You skirt the issue by simply saying the calculation must be in error. Maybe. But also maybe, the tracks were laid by something other than a 500 pound ape with flat, padded feet, suggestive of a hoax.

    To expand: let’s match “sightings” with what we may extrapolate from ape behavior. First, since it is assumed that we are talking about a very large ape with a pronounced sagittal crest, this would indicate a large diet made up of hard fiber, roots, nuts, and the like. This massive animal would spend a big part of its day eating and part of the day conserving its energy. If we extrapolate gorilla behavior, we would expect an animal of social structure, of family and groups. Most reports run counter to what we would expect from such ape behavior. What we find instead is an almost too obvious mythological motif: the Wandering Ape of Solitude. A lobo. No family or group sightings. No animal continuously grubbing for food. Just an ape striding here and there. (This problem, at least to me, would be alleviated if we followed Sanderson and assumed we are talking about primitive humans and not go the way of Krantz and Meldrum, an American ape.)

    DWA, let me tell you about a “sighting” of a different sort. I had a co-worker who told me he had a “sighting” of a creature half man and half horse. I kid you not. He was very sincere. He said he saw the creature at a park and it was walking ahead of him and his friend, only to disappear around a bend on the trail. He was very, very sure of what he saw. He is a honest person. He was a college kid at the time.

    Now, what are you to make of this sighting. Dismiss it out of hand? Everyone knows there are no such things as what he claimed to have seen! Hey, I could say the same about bigfoot. Maybe you might say that only two guys saw this animal and thousands have seen bigfoot! True, yet how many folks saw the famous “Dover Demon”? Remember, a sighting is a sighting is a sighting. I vouch for the honesty of this kid who saw a man/horse. So, what is YOUR verdict. (BTW, I got to know this kid pretty well over a year’s time. I was able to talk to him many times over time, a luxury many researchers do not have.)

    I was able to solve the centaur sighting to my own satisfaction. Before I reveal my solution, DWA, explain to me please, why you would reject this sighting (as I assume you will).

  50. jerrywayne responds:

    DWA,

    I’ll try to respond to some of your remarks.

    “The simplest conclusion one can draw is that these people are seeing what they say they are.”

    This seems to be the crux of the issue and not just for the bigfoot phenomena, but for various and sundry “anomalous” events. But is it true? Is it true that the simplest explanation is to take such accounts as bone dry literal? I think not, simply because we have no hard evidence for bigfoot (and we really should!). So, to my mind, taking sighting reports at face value must share the stage with taking such reports as the artifacts of human witness: faulty at times, fraudulent at times, sometimes culture driven, sometimes mere fantasy driven, etc., etc. (Remember, we DO KNOW that human testimony cannot be trusted always; we DO NOT KNOW that bigfoot truly exist. So which is the truly simplest explanation?)

    “The problem is that the general public doesn’t perceive the essential difficulty of confirming unconfirmed species….”

    I think the general public may understand that you cannot have people allegedly tripping over bigfoot all over the place and still have an unconfirmed animal. You have failed to address this central criticism. You may want to point to the vast wilderness regions in the U.S. and Canada as reasons for the cryptid status of bigfoot, but this is beside the point. Your contention is this: “THOUSANDS of people are finding it [bigfoot].” Let me repeat, in your words, for effect: “THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ARE FINDING IT.” Yet, it is not found, not really. “THOUSANDS” have found something that no one has found (or documented in any concrete fashion).

    I hold out hope for the reality of the PNW bigfoot of yesteryear. Things were so much simpler when bigfoot was truly a rare gem. You had a creature so rare and elusive that documented sightings were likewise very rare. Then, bigfoot became a rock star. Cable mystery-mongers had the old standby–bigfoot. Bigfoot went Hollywood—-and now the old fellow is being seen everywhere. Too bad the initial mystery got swallowed up by a cultural, myth in the making, icon.

    Is there an “advocate bias” or a “denial bias” attending this issue?

    Here, we are talking about different issues. You are suggesting scientists have a “denial bias” that you easily see through. My concern was with advocacy bias as it is found in media and culture. Pro-bigfoot books, documentaries, and tv programs are much more likely to be financed and produced than skeptical treatments of the same subject. It has nothing to do with the validity of bigfoot phenomena and everything to do with making money. More folks would like to be entertained by mysteries than by debunking or skeptical treatments. (I had this point driven home to me years ago when a female friend of mine was very interested in an upcoming tv program on ghosts. She was fascinated by ghost stories and tv docs about ghosts. I missed the show and later asked her how it went. She said: “Oh, it was no good.” Really, I said. “Oh, yea, it was so bad I couldn’t even finish watching it.” I thought maybe it was just a cheap production, or maybe one even too credulous for my ghost fascinated friend. No, it was an “awful” show because it debunked ghosts; it showed how some ghost pictures and films were hoaxed.)

    I suggest “people lie”, and your rejoinder: “No, you’re wrong.”

    Enough said.

    I suggest we need to shed the omnipresent bigfoot (according to your bigfoot reports) for a far less visible bigfoot for it to be a credible cryptid (a view I share with even some advocates). Perhaps I didn’t write it up clearly for your reply, “you and what army of biologists” are going to decide what report is “unlikely”, seems to have me and some “army” involved in picking and choosing.[Smile] That was not my point. (And to make my point, once more: If you have bigfoot being “found” by “THOUSANDS” of people, it would NOT be a cryptid!)

    I care about cryptozoology and have followed the issues involved with it, on and off, for almost 45 years. (Yep, I’m old). I simply think we do it a disservice when we become “believers” prior to confirming evidence. Bigfoot reports, alone, simply are not the “be all” and “end all” of the discussion. Besmirching scientists who point this fact out does nothing to advance the discussion.

    George B. Schaller writes the following about the yeti in his forward to Meldrum’s book on bigfoot.
    “Naturally, I am intrigued. I realize that the evidence [for yeti] includes hoaxes, delusions, and mistaken identities, prejudiced conclusions, and cultural legends of dubious value as testimony.” He goes on to write: “I look at the evidence with a naturalist’s eye. I am neither a believer nor can I reject all the evidence and conclude that a novel apelike being cannot exist.”
    Writing about bigfoot, he says: “But there is still no proof. No bones, no skin, no conclusive DNA analysis from hairs. The question of existence remains open.”

    I, as a skeptic, will go along with Schaller’s point of view. Bigfoot is an open issue. If only the advocates would also acknowledge that the existence of bigfoot is an open issue and not treat the issue as closed (in favor of bigfoot’s existence), then maybe we all can learn from each other and be friends. [Smile].

  51. DWA responds:

    jerrywayne: some more stuff. But you’re not surprised, I know. :-)

    ——————————————————————

    “ So, to my mind, taking sighting reports at face value must share the
    stage with taking such reports as the artifacts of human witness: faulty at times, fraudulent at times, sometimes culture driven, sometimes mere fantasy driven, etc., etc. (Remember, we DO KNOW that human testimony cannot be trusted always; we DO NOT KNOW that bigfoot truly exist. So which is the truly simplest explanation?”

    I said it: that people are seeing what they say they are.

    This is a constant skeptical misstep, asserted metronomically but never taken past this point: People are known to be unreliable, so we have to presume that all of these reports are worthless. The obvious conclusion that must be getting drawn: some people lie, fantasize, defraud, etc. Therefore WE MUST PRESUME THAT THEY ALL DO, and thus cannot proceed until a body is dumped in our laps. In no other area of science – nor of life – do we make that presumption; why are cryptids the sole exception? And to reply by saying – as again, skeptics constantly do – that there is no proof is, simply, a circular argument with no logical foundation. Um, just asking: why would you think, given this sort of circular reasoning, that there IS no proof…?

    It seems really odd that people think that a large volume of reports, generated by numerous speculated ersatz sources, happen to conveniently behave just like scientific data (which has been demonstrated more than once). What are the odds on that? No one who plays Powerball every day would bet them.

    —————————————————

    “I think the general public may understand that you cannot have people allegedly tripping over bigfoot all over the place and still have an unconfirmed animal. You have failed to address this central criticism.”

    Right. That and many other incorrect public “understandings” contribute to there being no proof yet. And I have addressed this, au contraire, many times. Public ignorance and the associated derision have kept serious science away from this topic, because serious scientists like dealing only with serious people. People are far from “tripping over bigfoot all over the place;” they are not doing this any more than they are other widely distributed animals like mountain lions, porcupines, bears and coyotes. But they are seeing them, in a lot of places. The public doesn’t understand science, by and large; nor does it understand human perception, wildlife, and the out of doors, by and large. (Don’t believe me? Read so-called skeptics. Heck, read many of the proponents!) The idea in quotes above would die quickly if the public understood the relevant topics. Largely, they don’t. The ones that do tend to keep their mouths shut because they just don’t need to hear any more from the ones who don’t. They have what they need.

    ———————————————————–

    “THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ARE FINDING IT.” Yet, it is not found, not really.
    “THOUSANDS” have found something that no one has found (or documented in any concrete fashion).”

    Yep, true. Happens all the time, if the history of species discovery offers any context. Scientific proof and personal proof are two different things. Just try telling someone who has the latter that he’s wrong because there’s no former. When nothing else in your life would lead anyone to think you are a crank, why would reporting a sighting suddenly change that? Actually, reading the data, the entire range of sasquatch spoor has been found, at one time or another: everything from feces and hair to footprints and blood. Why no proof? Well, read what happens to all of this stuff when it gets found, almost always by amateurs, and it’s easy to see why. Doesn’t say anything, really, about whether the animal exists or not. Just about how people misuse evidence when they have adopted an a priori negative attitude. Nothing unusual there.

    —————————————————-

    “I hold out hope for the reality of the PNW bigfoot of yesteryear. Things were so much simpler when bigfoot was truly a rare gem.”

    See, that’s your problem. ;-)

    In the real world nothing is that simple. Fact is, when you’ve really acquainted yourself with the data, the continent-wide sasquatch makes sense; the PNW-only one does NOT. There is no way a wide-ranging largely nocturnal omnivore like this would stay holed up in such a restricted range, anymore than anything else like it (bears, wolves, coyotes, chimps) would. If you presume for this the basic things you presume about other animals whose behaviors seem similar, in similar habitat, you presume an animal with a large range, not a small restricted one.

    ———————————————–

    Is there an “advocate bias” or a “denial bias” attending this issue?

    Actually, nothing you say in the paragraph addressing this question has any bearing on whether the animal exists or not. It does, or doesn’t, regardless of what people want to think. I don’t want to talk movies, TV, comic books or tabloids. We have a biological question here. Let’s address that.

    —————————————-

    “I suggest “people lie”, and your rejoinder: “No, you’re wrong.”
    Enough said.”

    No. Not nearly. You say “we must presume everyone’s a liar on this topic. (Or mentally ill, or on drugs, or mistaking a bear for an ape. Same thing.)” And you’re wrong. That’s not a logical position to take, on any topic. What’s logical? Thinking people who catch a fleeting glimpse of an ape, in bear country, naturally think, had to be a bear. THAT is logical. You don’t think so? See what I mean about the public not understanding how human perception works?

    —————————————

    “I suggest we need to shed the omnipresent bigfoot (according to your bigfoot reports) for a far less visible bigfoot for it to be a credible cryptid (a view I share with even some advocates).”

    I suggest not. I base my assertion on data. (I’ve already outlined what I mean by that. If you’re not sure: RSR cures all ills.) On what are you basing yours? Many advocates are wrong, badly so, on this topic, because many advocates – like most “skeptics” – are badly informed on relevant topics. I don’t blame the animal’s nonexistence on the missteps of the searchers, because that is blatantly illogical to do.

    —————————————————-

    “[If you] have bigfoot being “found” by “THOUSANDS” of people, it would NOT be a cryptid!)”

    Wrong. I have devoted no more words to any topic on Cryptomundo than I have devoted to debunking that notion. I have done a clear and compelling job, and been ably assisted by others here. It’s blatantly wrong. Thousands of people have found it; and it remains a cryptid. Voila!

    And how many times need I say this? Debate this with the scientists who hold open the same possibility I do, i.e., every single one I am aware of who is as informed as I am on this topic. I mean, I’m doing a heck of a job. But one does get tired.

    ————————————————–

    “I care about cryptozoology and have followed the issues involved with it, on and off, for almost 45 years. (Yep, I’m old). I simply think we do it a disservice when we become “believers” prior to confirming evidence. Bigfoot reports, alone, simply are not the “be all” and “end all” of the discussion. Besmirching scientists who point this fact out does nothing to advance the discussion.”

    Um, I’m a SKEPTIC. (See, no one knows how skeptics think! Disbelievers in Bigfoot are not skeptics, because this is NOT about belief.) No scientist, acquainted with the evidence, could do his science service by either: (a) saying flat out, without proof, that it’s real; or, (b) dismissing it. Who said anything about being and ending?

    —————————————–

    “George B. Schaller [etc.]… I, as a skeptic, will go along with Schaller’s point of view. Bigfoot is an open
    issue.”

    I’m with Schaller. And you too. Exactly. Every word. In fact, my position could not be stated more exactly; nor could anyone doing a thorough read of my posts dispute that.

    —————————————-

    “If only the advocates would also acknowledge that the existence of
    bigfoot is an open issue and not treat the issue as closed (in favor of
    bigfoot’s existence), then maybe we all can learn from each other and be friends. [Smile].”

    Well, I keep teaching. As you can see, I keep the advocates in line. If you do so with the skeptics, now we’re getting somewhere. ;-)

  52. DWA responds:

    Jerrywayne: missed this one, and as it’s an intriguing opportunity to outline some stuff, here goes.

    ———————————————-

    “DWA, let me tell you about a “sighting” of a different sort. I had a co-worker who told me he had a “sighting” of a creature half man and half horse. I kid you not. He was very sincere. He said he saw the creature at a park and it was walking ahead of him and his friend, only to disappear around a bend on the trail. He was very, very sure of what he saw. He is a honest person. He was a college kid at the time.
    Now, what are you to make of this sighting. Dismiss it out of hand? Everyone knows there are no such things as what he claimed to have seen! Hey, I could say the same about bigfoot. Maybe you might say that only two guys saw this animal and thousands have seen bigfoot! True, yet how many folks saw the famous “Dover Demon”? Remember, a sighting is a sighting is a sighting. I vouch for the honesty of this kid who saw a man/horse. So, what is YOUR verdict. (BTW, I got to know this kid pretty well over a year’s time. I was able to talk to him many times over time, a luxury many researchers do not have.)
    I was able to solve the centaur sighting to my own satisfaction. Before I reveal my solution, DWA, explain to me please, why you would reject this sighting (as I assume you will).

    ——————————

    My answer: I sure wouldn’t reject it.

    Here’s a partial list of things I don’t reject: Bigfoot; alien abductions; ghosts; pyramid power; werewolves; mummies walking at night; humans who can fly; ancient Egyptian curses; Kappa; Mokele-mbembe; thunderbirds; ropen; any cryptid; Jesus Christ as Immortal Ruler of the Universe; etc. etc.

    I don’t reject any of those; nor many other things. Because “reject” is the wrong word.

    Here’s what I do to that centaur? sighting: nothing.

    How many are there? One. Regardless the witness’s standing: ONE. There are any number of reasons that report could have happened. Lie. Hoax. Attempt to mislead for some other reason (like making a Bigfoot doubter his friend). Desire to be thought insane by at least one person. Good drugs. Bad cigarettes. GREAT beer. Optical illusion. Finding out one’s favorite supermodel believes in centaurs.

    Etc. Including: just because we consider the centaur a legend doesn’t mean the centaur has to think so.

    One sighting.

    What, exactly, can one do with it? Where would science be if every single thing every single person reported had to be followed up?

    Answer: we wouldn’t have science. We’d only have chaos.

    I would only ask – and I can only ask – science to act on things that have lots of evidence to back them up. And only if the evidence looks like real people experiencing a real, plausible thing, external to them, that – and this is key – is susceptible to the process of scientific proof.

    If you can show me a Centaur Sightings Database, and those reports read to me like sasquatch reports do – like accounts of real, reasonable people encountering a very specific, uniformly described something they can’t account for otherwise – now I’m saying put it in that database, and let’s see if we have something we can search on.

    Otherwise: science has better things to do. Like find the sasquatch. ;-)

    (Oh. That you were certain I would reject it tells me somebody isn’t reading my posts thoroughly. ;-) )

  53. Aaron7531 responds:

    I really enjoy reading your comments DWA. It must be frustrating when the person you are debating refuses to acknowledge your arguments. I don’t really get how you come to your conclusions jerrywayne. People not just in North America, but across the world are seeing variations of similar creatures and most sightings seems to stay consistent with others in the region. Is everybody going along with it just to annoy the skeptics? Do they all have contact with each other to get the details right? Last, have you ever heard of large scientific expedition mounted by top scientists with large funding going out to search regions with reported Bigfoot activity? No? Well, maybe if it finally happened science would get the conclusive proof it needs instead of the thousands of individual, separate sighting reports. There is so much evidence, not yet proof, but evidence that real scientists should be looking into that I find it appalling. When did science turn its back on its own original principle, to question everything you think you know?



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