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Bigfoot – Not Just For Loons Anymore

New documentary on the big smelly guy on Discovery in January:

    For decades, a small but loyal legion of Bigfoot hunters has spent countless weekends prowling forests in nearly every state, piling up evidence such as alleged footprints and hair samples that now has a handful of animal experts willing to at least entertain the possibility of his existence.

    ”I’ve gone from being a raving skeptic to being curiously receptive,” says Robert Benson, director of the Center for Bioacoustics at Texas A&M. He appears in a new documentary, Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science, critiquing taped Bigfoot calls. Though many of those recordings ”could be human” (i.e. hoaxes), others left him puzzled.

    In Sasquatch, which airs in January on Discovery, a small cadre of scientists pore over audio, video and the Holy Grail of molds called the Skookum Cast, a plaster impression taken in 2000 from a muddy Mount St. Helens meadow that purports to capture a Bigfoot sitting on his oversized derriere.

    Sasquatch producer Doug Hajicek is mum on the film’s ”important revelations” but is confident viewers will tune in. ”I’ll tell you why this fascinates people,” he says. ”We’re the only bipeds (animals who walk on two feet) here. Imagine the primordial fear a competing biped species produces.”

    ….”He’s out there,” says Johnson, a clinical psychologist in Grants Pass, a town about an hour northeast of his Bigfoot stomping grounds.

    Johnson had no interest in finding the beast until the beast found him. He spied his personal Moby Dick while on a family hike two summers ago and was reduced to tears by its size — impressive considering that Johnson is 6-foot-9, weighs 250 pounds and wears size 16 shoes. Now he’s leader of the Southern Oregon Bigfoot Society, a ragtag but dedicated assemblage of sleuths who typify the breed.

    ”Once you hear him scream at you, you’re hooked,” he says. ”Some people play sports or fish. Others, well, we go Bigfootin’.”

    Bigfoot’s legend dates back to the earliest campfire gatherings.

    Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest had stories about encounters with sesqec, from which the term Sasquatch emerged, and the pioneers had their own run-ins with the woolly misfit.

    But what really launched Bigfoot into a Loch Ness Monster orbit was the amateur film shot in northern California by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin. The upright beast with gorilla looks and human gait — dubbed Patty — loped past and then suddenly glared at their lens.

    The hunt was on.

A Bigfoot-like creature seems reasonable to me, although I am troubled by the fact that nothing physical has ever been found other than the footprints.

About Eric Olsen

  • RogerKni

    Regarding Gridbug’s comment (#74) about the “fold” in the upper thigh as being perhaps indicative of a costume. First, it’s unlikely that such an otherwise tight, form-fitting costume would have such a large area of loose costume flapping around. Second, the bulge appears and vanishes (I’ve read) within four frames, or .25 seconds. That’s too fast (I suspect, not being knowledgeable in biomechanics or costume design) for a fold in a costume of fairly heavy material to pop and plop; a muscle twitch, which operates at high speed, seems more likely.

    As to the lack of flex in back and scapula motion, too-short strides (#82), etc., I think these are fairly minor red flags. That is, Bigfoot is an odd species, and would no doubt exhibit a few odd traits. I believe there is on one of the Bigfoot sites a link to a video of a chimp that has managed to walk upright. If its back muscles and scapula are similarly non-mobile, that would tend to diminish the suspiciousness of the PG creature’s similar configuration.

    Re comment 82: The oddity of the clear rectangular area around the eyes is something I asked questions about on one of the BF sites; I was told (I think) that the contrast between the light and dark areas on the face was exaggerated because of overexposure, and that other frames in greater enlargement looked less suspicious. (And it would have been so easy for a hoaxer to have blurred over the straight lines around the bare portion of the face with little wisps of hair that it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t have done so, given the great care that was taken to make other, more minor details look realistic.)

    Re comment 84, on the brief time window to get a videocam out and operating: There’s now a $370 or so (Amazon) always-on, flash-memory based videocamera that should help with this. It’s called the Deja View (Google for it); its small lens clips on to the frame of eyeglasses or the bill of a cap, and a cable runs down into a pocket where the main box is carried. The operator presses a button to capture the previous 30 seconds of footage.