Sasquatch Coffee

Were We All Stood Up On Finding Bigfoot?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 23rd, 2012

Why in the world would Finding Bigfoot do an episode about Todd Standing’s Sylvanic project, which troubled Bigfoot investigators as soon as it appeared in 2006? (Search Google, Yahoo, and the Cryptomundo search engine for more on “Sylvanic” and “Todd Standing.”)

Below is a cropped view of the image, with the subject of the Standing video enlarged:

Sylvanic Cropped Image

And even tighter crop:

Sylvanic Cropped Image

One of my problems with most of the reality cryptozoology television series is that after a bit they tend to start scratching the bottom of the barrel for stories. This was behind the demise of MonsterQuest when they began producing non-cryptozoology programming about city rats, escaped piranhas, and large out-of-place snakes. I was saddened but not surprised to see them cancelled in mid-season.

These shows seem to ignore the fact that that while the subject matter is elusive, nevertheless, there is a universe of compelling cryptids out there to investigate.

So why would Finding Bigfoot already be turning to Todd Standing to show his movie? Well, the simple answer is because Mr. Standing has what television needs…visual footage…even if it might be, allegedly, created. Also, one wonders, did the show’s producers decide to look for an easy target to create credibility with the debunkers watching the series?

The tangled weave of intrigue with Todd Standing didn’t start recently. It has been going on for a long time.

The domain sylvanic.com was created on November 29, 2004, registered to a Todd Standing of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Between 2004 and 2006, a film appeared by Todd Standing entitled Sylvanic. For the tale of how it was made, you can watch the Finding Bigfoot re-runs now.

Almost immediately, as soon as Standing began to show his footage in 2006 in halls and elsewhere, people began to question it. One reviewer employed phrases like it appeared to be “just a fictional short film” by “Blair Witch wannabes.” Viewing all 30 minutes revealed it to be a story that someone was trying to sell. Did Standing finally find a payday with Animal Planet?

Most troubling of all, if this is being promoted as real footage of a Bigfoot: Why did Todd Standing place an ad (published in the Spring of 2005) for actors to be in a film that sounds like the one he claimed soon after to have been made about Sasquatch in Alberta?

Actors are invited to audition for a feature film to be shot in and around Edmonton in August. Seeking 9 male and 5 female actors 25 – 35 years old. For more info on the roles and for an audition appointment email or call Todd at (780) 232-5296.Ad at the Canadian Media Mag site (now archived)

How does showing the Sylvanic footage to the general viewing audience add anything worthwhile to the study of Bigfoot?

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.


20 Responses to “Were We All Stood Up On Finding Bigfoot?”

  1. DNS responds:

    Um… it’s TV? Not much of a surprise they head straight to the path of least resistance. Twenty minutes of digging into “Todd Standing’s” past is all it took for me to shake my head and leave it all for the bottom feeders.

    Remember when the people who made TV documentaries had the quaint notion that they had some responsibility to show things for what they were and to put some educational content in there where it was appropriate? I think I remember that, but it’s been decades and I may just be hallucinating. It’s hard to tell sometimes.

  2. DWA responds:

    The eminent info-ologist Edward R. Tufte once wrote: Show the data. Induce the viewer to think about the substance. Don’t dress up the numbers; they are interesting by themselves. If not: then you have the wrong numbers.

    Bigfootery on TV has the wrong numbers.

    A scientific program on the sasquatch and yeti, addressing nothing more than the frequency and coherence of the evidence, would be one of the highest-rated science programs ever. Of course you’d want lots of interviews with eyewitnesses (wonder how many would want faces and voices disguised) and with interested scientists both skeptical and otherwise. If you eliminated the woo-woo effects and dramatic music, and focused on informing the public, the societal attitude toward cryptid research could change more in a season than it has in a century.

    Why won’t somebody try it?

    Were we Standinged up? Well, as long as you watch programs like this, you will be.

    The encounter reports, on the other hand?

    Candy, to be eaten by the bag. Can’t get enough.

    The facts, ma’am. Just the facts. They’d be more than enough.

  3. Survivor16 responds:

    Todd Standing definitely did not rub off well on me. He seemed very shifty, especially how he was so quick to defer to not showing the location where the original footage was shot. I found his “day watcher” theory very intriguing however. It would certainly seem logical enough, should these creatures exist.

  4. Guy Edwards responds:

    Wow, did not know about the ad Todd placed! As usual, Loren you dig deeper than the rest of us.

    I agree, crypto shows eventually start digging the bottom of the barrel. I predicted the continued success of Finding Bigfoot would be dependent on the chemistry between the hosts; like genuine witty banter or the creation of an antagonist (Ranae’s not doin’ it). In other words, personality driven. If they continue the formula for season 3, episodes will be indistinguishable from each other.

  5. choppedlow responds:

    I love darn near everything on TV about bigfoot, even if it’s skeptical. My DVR is set to record anything with the word “bigfoot” in the description. But after one season and trying to sit through the second seasons first episode, I couldn’t take it anymore. I won’t even bother with it or waste my time. MMoneymaker seems to be dragging Bobo and Cliff, who once had some credibility, into the abyss of others like Standing and Biscardi. And now that they have wasted an hour with the second most transparent liar in the bigfoot world, I guess they will be following around Biscardi next? Then what? That crazy trailer lady who says they speak english and borrow garlic?

  6. John Kirk responds:

    Loren has always done well in researching and finding things that others miss. Hence, he found that ad for actors for Standing’s feature film which raises suspicions. For more of Standing’s incredible claims read this story.

    Standing claims that Russian and Chinese researchers fly in each time he returns from a ‘successful’ expedition. Really? Who are these people?

    I agree completely with Loren that cryptozoology shoots itself in the foot when they waste energy on people who present dubious videos and even more dubious photographs. I enjoy Finding Bigfoot immensely, but on this one I’m in agreement with Loren, they should stay away from the suspect and stick with the credible.

  7. Redrose999 responds:

    I think they need to stay away from stuff like this. It doesn’t do anything for bigfooting, but this is television, it’s about the ratings, and in the end, shows like this go down the hoax train film stretching for good stories to tell. MonsterQuest did that as well with the Gilly Suit Werewolf video. Everyone knew it was a hoax, save for a few who were holding out hope, yet they did an episode on it anyway.

    It makes good television. Then again, so would Tom Biscardi and Mat Moneymaker on the same finding Bigfoot episode, now that would really add to the ratings, it would be like watching Celebrity Deathmatch.

  8. bfseeker responds:

    It’s my understanding that Ping Pong (the production company) in this second season picked the sightings stories that they wanted the cast to investigate. Unlike the first season where Matt and the team decided where to go. Apparently Ping Pong has been very tough to work with by treating witnesses bad, promising things and delivering, and being about the bottom line only.

  9. springheeledjack responds:

    Uh yeah. The cast of Finding Bigfoot needs to weigh in on this and tell us why they’d go along with this definitely questionable footage…

  10. Turtledover responds:

    Now that I know about the five film segments that Todd Standing shot as a short movie, and the television show episode only featured one of the segments, as panned as it was originally when introduced… they must be real bad.

  11. mandors responds:

    Loren,

    After all the character assassination aimed at Roger Patterson to disprove his film, I’d think we’d tread a little more lightly when it come to people like Standing. Granted, much of his footage is dubious at best, but that doesn’t mean all of it is. I am not, nor trying to be, a Sylvanic apologist, but it seems–similar to Patterson–Standing could have been preparing to make a film in 2005, thus posting ads, then in 2006 stumble across real creatures, eventually leading to some actual footage. Though, not the video that looks like Ewoks–that’s horrible.

    I like DWA’s Tufte quote, but I’d add “show us the video” to it, as well. Just show the films. They are part of the data after all. Then, we all can decide.

  12. Loren Coleman responds:

    Mandors, sir, using the name of Patterson in alignment with Standing is engaging in apples and oranges, a false analogy. I respectfully disagree with the logic and comparative analysis of your comment.

    Besides, an actual greater point of mine was about the eventual subject direction of cryptozoology reality television series.

  13. etheral responds:

    From my perspective, it would appear that Todd is Standing in something that doesn’t smell so good. Mostly it came from his own mouth.

    I bet he’s happy though, he got his 10 minutes of fame which will inspire him to take his “craft” to the next level. The other problem I have at this point with Finding Bigfoot is that almost every sound they hear is a squatch. I’m fairly sure that’s due to the edits of the producers but if every sound made in the woods was a squatch, I believe it would be a lot easier to find one of these things.

    All in all, it’s TV but holds about as much water as a shattered glass.

  14. mandors responds:

    Loren, my only point is that attacking character should not be a basis of scientific evaluation of anything. Comparing Patterson and Standing may be apples and oranges, but it’s still the same subject.

    When I watched the History Channel’s roundtable on the PG film, I was shocked that the only criticism of the film was Patterson himself–that he was a poor man, of questionable background, running low on money. There was no direct rebuttal to Dr. Meldrum’s anatomical arguments about how it could not be a man in a suit, other than “Patterson was a bad guy, so it had to be a fake,” and “it looks like a suit to me.” That’s not science. Just as saying that Todd Standing, or Matt Moneymaker or Tom Biscardi or anybody for that matter, are in it for the money or might have done questionable things, so therefore nothing they produce is reliable.

    Your analysis of the demise of MonsterQuest was spot on, however, and I suspect that fall might have been due to the real viewpoints of the producers, who I would bet see the entire field of cryptozoology as nothing but a sideshow.

  15. nnnslogan responds:

    Whether something smells fishy or not, every extraordinary claim must be explored with the same unbiased eye. You can’t just decide someone is a hoaxer until you have conclusive evidence of the hoax, just like you can’t claim the existence of Sasquatch until conclusive evidence is provided. How we “feel” about a person or an allegation is not proof.

    Considering the fact that this television show has wasted considerable air time on bad jokes and ridiculous antics from a man calling himself “Bobo” I don’t know why anyone should take it seriously, even if it has visited some legitimate encounter sites. The BFRO does not have the best reputation among the bigfoot research community in the first place. The one thing you could say in its favor is that they have an excellent web site with a well constructed database. At an organization the BFRO has a reputation for fouling research efforts as many sites, and spoiling opportunities to obtain conclusive evidence. Supposedly the TBRC was approached before the BFRO about doing this show, and the TBRC turned it down.

    Standing will have his opportunities to prove his claims. If he turns out to be a hoaxer he will be exposed, and all the CGI in the world won’t shield him from scrutiny. Perhaps this is another hoax funded by zealous atheist stage magicians like The Amazing Randi (anyone ever see him actually do a trick?) or Penn and Teller. Time will tell.

  16. loopstheloop responds:

    In fairness, ALL the footage of this cryptid are staged fakes… from Freeman to Patterson-Gimlin. So why discriminate against this ‘Sylvanic’ chap… he’s just another chap who wishes to cash in on the rubes. You beatify some opportunistic tricksters, while pillorying others! Get consistent, folks!

  17. Loren Coleman responds:

    Dear “Loops The Loop” ~

    The assumptions in your comment set up a reality that is only your opinion, not fact.

  18. Nny responds:

    I think Mandors makes good points comparing Todd Standing to Patterson.

    In fact, after it’s pointed out, the skeletal structure of the stories are uncannily similar.

    And the difference is one person is praised and the other is criticized by the same people.

    I’ll also add that it’s sad that Todd Standing is, I believe, one of two people that Finding Bigfoot has doubted. If Todd watches the show, he’s gotta feel small about being one of two people who have faked/lied to Finding Bigfoot.

  19. DWA responds:

    nnnslogan:

    “The BFRO does not have the best reputation among the bigfoot research community in the first place. The one thing you could say in its favor is that they have an excellent web site with a well constructed database.”

    That’s a critical thing to point out. Those who have lost all respect for the BFRO’s work as a result of “Finding Bigfoot” risk tossing the baby out with the bath water. The guys who have no idea how to address a TV show on this topic from a scientific perspective could be the exact very same guys who are maintaining a database that is a critical evidence linchpin. The two endeavors are completely separate. One can set up an excellent data reservoir and still not have a good grasp on how to bring science to the topic. The database is populated by reports from everyday people, investigated by curators having no apparent interest in 15 Minutes, and not by data entered personally by Bobo Fay.

    “At an organization the BFRO has a reputation for fouling research efforts as many sites, and spoiling opportunities to obtain conclusive evidence. Supposedly the TBRC was approached before the BFRO about doing this show, and the TBRC turned it down.”

    TBRC shows how science-based organizations respond to circus-sideshow opportunities. They truly are science-based; they don’t invite the public on their research forays, treat evidence with the proper protocols, and don’t state as true stuff that isn’t confirmed yet. Anyone who thinks this is a big snipe hunt should spend time – a lot of it – on the TBRC website.

  20. hff135 responds:

    I’ve been to one of Todd Standing’s presentations and I’ve seen his movie. It’s definitely a “fictional short film”. The acting and production values are very poor. It doesn’t come off like a documentary at all.



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