Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Great Bigfoot Debate - Kill or No Kill, Why Argue?

See that image up there? That is Justin Smeja, a man who claims to have shot two bigfoot, and fatally wounding one of them. A small juvenile in fact. In the image he is posing for a reenactment of the event.

And for some, that image absolutely infuriates them.

Why is the subject so heavily argued? It seems on the outside a simple difference in opinion. Either you feel that science requires a body as proof, or you feel a body is unnecessary. 

The reason for the on-going argument doesn't actually have much to do with the topic itself however. It goes deeper than that, to a personal level. It goes back to what most debates within this field are about, personal motives. What drives the individual. Why they have a particular interest in the subject of bigfoot.

On one side it is fairly simple and straight forward. They want answers. They want proof. They want the mystery solved. Science has made it clear that the best way to accomplish that is with a specimen. No one can argue against a body laid out in front of them to study. Nothing else offers substantial proof the way a physical specimen does. One could argue with the modern day methods of DNA analysis, that perhaps a body is not needed. With the right sample, DNA could be all the proof we need. That is however a two-sided coin. While yes, it could prove that something out there has DNA never seen before, that would just be the beginning. Science would still require a specimen. There isn't a living creature on the planet that doesn't have a specimen on record somewhere. So we are clear, by specimen I mean there's a dead one sitting somewhere for study.

Another thing to keep in mind that is if a body were to be brought in, that would by no means be the end of it. A single specimen would not be enough. The scientific community would want a male and a female to study I'm sure, and just because the Smithsonian has one doesn't mean Germany or China doesn't want their own to study as well. That's just the way the cookie crumbles.

On the no kill side one could simply argue that they don't need nor want to prove their existence to anybody. My response to that is then why are you in this community? Why do you research them? For your own personal benefit? How could you possibly learn more about them than what science could do with a specimen? By observing them in the wild? Good luck with that. Not to discredit the works of absolute legends such as Jane Goodall, but chimps didn't care if they were observed by humans. Chimps didn't go out of their way to remain hidden. Goodall and others were able to gain their trust, and truly habituate them, as in the chimps eventually ignored the fact that she was there. That is what habituation is. Not the incorrect definition individuals in the bigfoot community use to support their seemingly endless and special knowledge of these creatures.  
Another red flag reason that some proponents of the no kill philosophy use is that they want to protect the creatures by keeping them a secret. They do not want the bigfoot to be discovered. While this seems at times as a noble and respectable reason, you then notice that these same individuals constantly put out information about these creatures and talk about them openly on a daily basis. They post images of supposed evidence, even images of supposed bigfoot (although there's usually nothing in the image that is bigfoot related). They talk about their almost daily interactions with these wonderful and peaceful race of misunderstood giants. If you truly want to keep them protected and a secret from the world, then why are you constantly talking about them and exposing their supposed behaviors to anyone who will bother to listen? The best way to protect them and keep them undiscovered would be to never talk about them, and act like you don't even believe they exist. Not by doing the exact opposite.

Which brings me to my point. There's always an excuse as to why they don't have photographs. Why they don't have video. Why they don't have any samples of hair or tissue to submit for DNA analysis. It has nothing to do with protection of the species, or keeping them hidden. It's because they are most likely lying about their relationships and interactions with these creatures.

But if they are being untruthful about this, why do they care if someone else is pro kill? Or pro specimen as I prefer to say. This is where those personal motives kick in. The reason they are so against the possibility of someone killing one, or their existence being proven, is because then their fantasy world would come crumbling down. 

The reason these type people are in the bigfoot community has nothing to do with the creature, it's so they have a place to socialize. It's so they have a place to be someone important, someone special, an escape from their real life. Without this fantastical delusion to live within, they would no longer serve any purpose in the bigfoot community. They would no longer be "special". The fairy tale would come to an end, and the book would be closed. By grouping together, supporting one another's stories, following the guidelines they have set of what these creatures are, and what they do, sticking with the script so to speak, they can keep the fairy tale going, and remain the Kings and Queens of this fantasy world they have built up around them. They feed off the attention and admiration they receive from their peers, like ticks growing fat on a dog, remaining just out of reach of it's teeth and paws. In this case, the teeth and paws being reality.

If the truth was ever known about these creatures, years and years of continued lies and false information would be exposed. Who would have the most to lose? Who would want to prevent the truth from being known? The person who just wants answers, regardless of what they are, the person who may be right or wrong in their theories, or the person who has been telling lie after lie to give themselves a false sense of self-importance?
I do of course realize that not every individual falls within these categories. There are some out there who do not believe killing one for the sake of proof is justified. However, those individuals usually have no argument against the pro specimen idea. They would just prefer a body be found, or DNA providing the answer as opposed to killing one in cold blood. There are also some individuals who truly do not care if it is proven or not, they still find it interesting. None of these individuals however occupy the sides of the majority. That is why the reasons stated above, are in my opinion the true reasons fueling the debate between kill or no kill.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Meldrum Requests Bigfoot Hairs For Testing; Will Todd Standing Submit Samples?

Following the recent release of the DNA results of the Bryan Sykes study into the phenomenon of bigfoot, Dr. Jeff Meldrum has put out a request for the submission of possible bigfoot hairs to be tested. So far the bigfoot world is 0 for 2 when it comes to scientific inquiries into bigfoot DNA. The absolute circus of the Ketchum study, and the well publicized Sykes study where the media was more interested in pointing out the lack of bigfoot DNA results than they were that a major discovery had possibly occurred.

From Don Jeffrey Meldrum
"I HAVE A VERY SPECIFIC REQUEST TO MAKE AT THIS TIME. An opportunity has arisen to conduct morphological and DNA analysis of SELECTED hair samples attributed to sasquatch. I am looking for reliable samples, by that I mean with a known chain of custody, having been collected in association with a visual encounter or documented footprints. Respond only if you have such a sample in your possession, stored in paper envelope, having been collected under reasonably sterile conditions, i.e. minimal or no direct handling. RESPOND TO MY EMAIL ADDRESS ONLY: ALL OTHER POSTS OR RESPONSES REGARDING THIS REQUEST WILL BE PROMPTLY DELETED FROM MY TIMELINE. Thanks for your assistance."

At this point it is too early to try and guess at what Meldrum is up to, or who is behind the upcoming study. Meldrum is well respected in the community and among his peers, so this may be the study we've been waiting for. Meldrum is taking part in the 2015 World Conference on Relict Hominoids in South Africa next year, so this may have something to do with that. Which of course is nothing more than speculation on my part.

But I have a different question...

Is Todd Standing going to submit samples to this inquiry? Dr. Meldrum took a lot of heat for partnering with and supporting Standing this year, and in the past Standing has claimed to be in possession of various physical bigfoot evidence for DNA testing, including hair. One would only conclude that if Todd were on the up and up as he claims, that he would most certainly be submitting some samples to Dr. Meldrum since it is obvious he has nothing but the utmost respect and trust in the good doctor.

This may be just the opportunity for Todd Standing to once and for all quiet the naysayers and obtain that "protection" for the sasquatch species he claims to be so desperately wanting. Standing has made the claims, now it's time to support them with facts. Put up or shut up Todd.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sykes Yeti DNA Findings Result in Media Insults, Ignorance, and Disinformation

The newly published, but already known, DNA results from inquiry by geneticist Bryan Sykes into the "yeti" and "bigfoot" phenomenon has produced more than just DNA results. It has also resulted in numerous headlines and articles being written that are misleading, condescending, ignorant, false, and overall insulting.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bigfoot Belief and Skepticism

In our latest episode of Bigfoot Revolution, Phil and I discuss the subjects of belief and skepticism in the bigfoot community. While most see these two items as opposing forces, I see them as mutually needed in bigfoot research. Skepticism offers that checks and balances system. A way to weed through the debris and find the true factual evidence, and shed light upon the misleading and  falsehoods that exist within the field. But belief is not the ugly cousin you once thought it was. Belief is the subtle force that leads us forward. The push we need to get out there and look for the evidence. Without it, you will not find the evidence that does or could exist.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bigfoot Research Needs a Reboot

Bigfoot is Broken

The field of bigfoot research is broken. Stuck in a single, repetitive loop like a scratched record. The debates, the evidence, the theories, all re-hashed and regurgitated from a bygone era of pioneers in the field. Individuals who started to blaze a trail that ultimately led nowhere. But why did that trail come to a halt? How did bigfoot research find its way onto this never ending loop, passing the same tree over and over again? Is there anything that can be done to end the cycle?

Recently I've found myself focused on this problem, or at least a problem as I see it. Why are these debates repeated time and time again? The simple answer is because they were never put to rest in the first place. They were never solved. Evidence of these creatures existence has not progressed. At all. Sighting reports, audio recordings, track castings, limb formations, indiscernible photos and video, repeat. After all these years, where's the advancement? What have we truly learned? Not much.

Do you know why we do calls in the field? Obvious answer, to illicit a response. But really, why do we do them? Because on rare occasions something (we're not sure what) makes one back. We don't know if it is a bigfoot or not really, but since we can't always readily identify it we are willing to say it probably is. But let's go just a bit deeper into the origin. Why do people do calls in the field? Because they saw or heard about someone else doing it.

Now let's look at tree knocks. Why do we go around whacking sticks against tree trunks? Because on rare occasions we hear something that sounds like a stick whacking a tree trunk. On even rarer occasions when we do it something does it back. We don't really know if it is a bigfoot or not, but since we don't know what it is, we are willing to say it probably is. Once again going deeper, but why do we really do it? Because we saw or heard someone else doing it. Notice the cycle forming here?

Another popular tool in bigfooting is the game tracker camera. A camera system designed to detect motion and capture a photo or video of whatever it was that triggered the camera. The debate rages on as to why these things have not been successful in capturing that perfect image of a bigfoot. The bigfoot can smell them, they can hear them, they can see the ir light, they saw you put the camera up, they are psychic and know they are there, etc. etc. Yet regardless of what the position of the individual is, there is never a "fix" to the problem discussed or attempted. Just the debate. Furthermore, why are people still wasting their time with them if they aren't working in the manner they are being used? If your car stops running, do you spend the rest of your life debating as to why it isn't running, and spend the rest of your days sitting there trying to start it over and over again? Or do you try to fix it, or find another means of travel if necessary to keep moving forward? The answer seems obvious enough, but in the bigfoot world it eludes us as much as the bigfoot do.

I understand though. It's easy to get caught up in the debates. We tend to focus our attention more on the debating than the puzzle. We spend more time talking about one another and how our beliefs do not align with one another than we do discussing the mystery we're trying to solve. I'm going to blame that endless loop we're stuck on for that one. If we're not discovering anything new, or we're not making any progress, what is there really left to talk about?

How about we discuss how to break the cycle? Let's face it, the forefathers of this field had no idea what they were getting into. I'm sure most of them thought for sure it would be settled by now. They believed these things were out there, so if you spend enough time tracking them down eventually you would be able to bring one in. Don't let this ruffle your feathers, but most of the original bigfooters out there carried guns and had every intention of shooting one to prove they existed. How's that for your no kill/pro-kill debate? Why wouldn't they think this way? How long did it take Roger and Bob to film one in their quest? A lot less time than it's taken since then to duplicate it. Time advanced, and things got more desperate. People started coming up with new theories. They started coming up with explanations to things they were finding. These theories became accepted by their peers, at least most of them, and so it was. Those items got recorded in books and journals, talked about, passed around, so on and so forth. All the way to modern day where those same ideas and theories are accepted by the majority of researchers. Meanwhile the skeptical community can sit back and just rip those items to shreds. There's nothing to support them. There's no data. There's no true documentation.

I believe we need to start over. A reboot. Instead of following the lead of those that have come before us, allow the evidence we find (or don't find) lead our research. Throw everything you think you know or have accomplished out the window and start over from scratch. This time, doing it the right way. Documenting not only your evidence findings, but your research as well. Break out your fine-toothed comb. Document where your research area is, why you are choosing that location, and then document your search in that area for evidence. Is there anything there? Be honest, not hopeful or defensive.

People are going to be critical of any evidence you bring to the table. They are going to scrutinize it. You know this going into it, so be prepared. The fact of the matter is the evidence you collect should stand on its own, and it will if you have documented and collected it properly. For instance, you know if you see a ground impression that vaguely resembles the outline of a large foot, and you make a plaster cast of that impression, people are going to tear it apart. You know yourself you don't know for a fact a bigfoot was responsible for it, so why would you bring a glob of plaster back and call it evidence? What was the point in even casting it? You could have instead made note of it, taken the measurements as closely as possible, take a photo of it, and then follow it either forward or backward to see where it came from or where it was going. This sort of action can not only lead you to evidence worth collecting, but can also help you discern if it was really a track or not. There's no such thing as "one track". There are however people not properly educated on tracking.

It's time to start fresh. Time to take baby steps, and time to do things correctly. Quit blaming the skeptics, scientists, and cynics for not believing the way we do. Learn the standards needed for acceptance, and then adhere to those standards in our research. Otherwise we will be forever stuck on this perpetual merry-go-round, chasing our own tails.


Friday, May 23, 2014

The Unethical and Potential Dangers of Bigfoot Baiting - Part 3

The Unethical and Potential Dangers of Bigfoot Baiting
by Cindy Bowers

Part 3-Food

Another unethical practice is the gifting of food, especially food placed in plastic containers or with high sugar content. Animals that live in the wild who become habituated, lose their natural fear of man, and become dependent on the food provided. Not only are these animals becoming dependent on the food sources, but they are eating unnatural foods such as cookies, donuts and peanut butter. These foods are high in sugar and will cause health problems for the animals, such as tooth decay and potentially diabetes. If that isn't bad enough, they are chewing through the plastic lids and containers, inadvertently consuming the plastic.

Studies on wildlife have shown that plastic kills animals as it builds up in their digestive tracts. The California Coastal Commission in their article “The Problem With Marine Debris,” had this to say about the plastic debris: “Birds, fish and mammals can mistake the plastic for food. Debris may cause choking and injuries, and with plastic filling their stomachs, animals may have a false feeling of being full and may die of starvation.” Researchers may be inadvertently killing off native wildlife while in pursuit of an unknown creature. There are videos of researchers leaving these food gifts, only to later return to a littered forest floor, plastic strewn about. It is appalling. Animals, Bigfoot or otherwise, having gnawed at the plastic peanut butter jars have no doubt ingested the plastic. The high sugar content, with no dental hygiene, will cause the animals teeth to decay. No teeth, means, no eating. The animals again face starvation, and no teeth, also means, no defense from predators.

Littering is also a crime, and these researchers face potential tickets as well. The researcher must also remember that when leaving these foodstuffs he or she is attracting small animals such as mice and raccoon, which then ingest this plastic or sugar and then are consumed by predators. The plastic has now made its way up the food chain to other animals, such as owls or hawks, which now face death as well. The animals having become dependent on the food gifts will then began to wonder into areas they previously avoided, such as suburban housing in search of the food. This creates a danger to domestic animals through the spread of disease and attack from larger species. This practice can also potentially dangerous humans as well, as animals become more aggressive over things like garbage.

Food sources should be limited if not removed altogether, ensure the safety of all wild life. If a researcher feels the need to gift food sources, then limit the amount of food so the animals do not become dependent on it. By removing all plastics containers and their potential dangers, the researcher will make the environment safer for the animals. As an alternative the researcher could place non-sugar foods in cut melons, the rind will decompose and the forest will be litter free.

The Humane Society of the United States in their article titled “Four Reasons Not To Feed Wildlife” says that, “Human foods aren't nutritious enough for animals and may cause serious health problems.”  The article continues by acknowledging the fact that people may still choose to feed wild animals, and suggests a healthier alternative by saying, “healthy foods include seedless grapes cut in half, shredded kale, Swiss chard or romaine lettuce, and grains, including wheat, barley and oats.”  Since feeding wildlife is not recommended and ethical researcher would refrain from the practice, or at least provide healthy alternatives in a limited fashion.

The Bigfoot phenomena certainly warrants further investigation, as there are far too many witness sightings to ignore it. However, there needs to be some ethical changes made: no end justifies the means. It is the researcher’s responsibility to look after their teammates whether they are men, women or children, while taking care of the environment as well. By making these ethical changes in research practices, the researcher will be insuring the safety of all of his or her teammates, while at the same time looking out for the native wildlife, making the forest safer for all. This will also allow for mutual respect between parties, men, women, and children. Women will feel valued as teammates. The potential dangers from predators will be reduced. Children will be happier and safer while still exploring the topic, and grow up to be potentially valuable researchers themselves. The native wildlife will be healthier by removing the plastic and sugar from their diet, and the forest will become a prettier place for all to enjoy. By making these changes and becoming more ethical, researchers will be modeling correct behavior for future generations and setting a positive example for the current generation. Be safe out there, and happy hunting.

Works Cited
British Columbia. Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection. “Bears and Cougars.”  Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, 2002. BC Parks. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.
 Crowser, Vivaca. “Be Prepared (for Wildlife Encounters).” Montana Outdoors. Montana Outdoors. Aug. 2009. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.
 “Fatal Wolf Attack Unnerves Alaska Village.” MSNBC. NBC News, 17 Mar. 2010. Web. 7 Arp. 2014.
“Four Reasons Not To Feed Wildlife.” The Humane Society. Humane, 17 May. 2013. Web. 23 Apr.2014.
Freitas, John and Montra. “Sasquatch Pheromones.” Blue North: Investigations & Expeditions into the Unknown. Blue North Productions. 29 Aug. 2009. Web. 22 Apr. 2014.
Gunther, Kerry A. “Bears and Menstruating Women.”  Bear Management Office, Yellowstone National Park, 2012. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.
Hughes, Howard C. Sensory Exotica. Cambridge. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1999. Print.
“Mountain Lion Kills Boy Hiking in Colorado Park.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company.19 Jul. 1997. Web. 22 Apr. 2014.
Muris, Peter, and Andy Field. “The Role Of Verbal Threat Information In The Development Of Childhood Fear: “‘Beware The Jabberwock!’” Clinical Child & Family Psychology Review 13.2 (2010): 129-150. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.
“Pheromone Chips.” A Guide to Bigfoot Hunting. Bigfoot, 2001. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.
 “The Problem with Marine Debris.” California Coastal Commission.  State of California, 2014.Web. 15 Apr. 2014
Rogers, Lynn L, Gregory A. Wilker, Sally S. Scott. “Reactions of Black Bears to Human
Menstrual Odors.” Journal of Wildlife Management. 55.4: 632-634. 27 Mar. 1991. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.
“Report # 1090 (Class A).”  Bigfoot Research Organization (BFRO). 4 Jan. 2001. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.
Tipton, Florence J. “What Are the Different Types of Female Pheromones?” Wise Geek: Clear Answers for Common Questions. Conjecture Corporation. 20 Mar. 2014. Web. 23 Apr. 2014.

The Unethical and Potential Dangers of Bigfoot Baiting - Part 2

The Unethical and Potential Dangers of Bigfoot Baiting
by Cindy Bowers

Part 2-Children

A second area of unethical behavior involves the use of children in the field as a potential attractant through their laughter or through crying. This practice poses a risk to their safety, both physically and mentally. A crying child might attract Bigfoot, but also might attract the previously mentioned predators, and the fear they feel while out in the field may cause physiological damage to the child. Twenty years of therapy for a chance at a photograph simply is not right, and it borders on child abuse. Peter Muris and Andy Field, specialists in children’s psychology, had this to say regarding children’s fears: “Evidence from the literature on adult phobias also shows that fears during childhood should be taken seriously...and noted that specific phobias tend to begin at a fairly young age: animal phobias had an onset age as early as 7 years” ( 130). Children who are watching TV shows or movies that feature roaring, teeth barring Bigfoot may develop fears before ever entering the forest. Muris and Field continue with “The media represent a notable way through which children might be exposed to threat information” (131). Add to this the stories recounted by parents or their friends, and the child may potentially develop a phobia or extreme fear. Muris and Field also conclude that: “Factors that contribute to the origins of extreme fears in children generally fall in two categories, namely genetics and environmental influences” (131). It is the parent’s duty to ensure their child’s safety not only predators, but also their psychological well-being. Children should be taught to respect nature and be made aware of the dangers, but at an appropriate age. Children should not be used to lure in Bigfoot, children should come first, Bigfoot later.

Young children should be removed from the field as a precautionary measure, for their physical safety as well as their mental well-being. At least until the child understands the inherent dangers, armed with the knowledge of known animals and how to react in any given situation. Here education is key, parents should teach the children about the environment, the known animals and what to do in cases of emergency.  Parents should allow children to explore the topic, but in a healthy and limited way as to avoid any fears. The Boy and Girl Scouts of America have a wonderful educational program called The Wildlife Safety Trail which is designed to teach children how to avoid conflicts with wild animals. Vivica Crowser, a writer for Montana Outdoors, the online magazine for Montana’s Fish, Wildlife & Parks agency, experienced the wildlife trail first hand, and had this to say: “The Scouts stationed along this wildlife safety trail, are teaching me and the 7- to 9- year old students I am with how to avoid conflicts with wildlife.” Crowser explains in her article how the Scouts teach the children not only to avoid dangerous animals but how to identify them as well. The program is age appropriate and matches the psychological timeline for children mentioned by Muris and Field. This is a wonderful program and a safer alternative for the children. An ethical researcher would educate children before taking them into the field.

Click Here for Part 3