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Archive for January, 2009

This blog has lamented the devolution of bigfootery in previous posts.  After all, the qualifications for being a “Bigfoot Researcher” are nonexistent and advancement is based largely upon social standing, time on task and willingness to place oneself in the public’s eye.  It is not based upon actual accomplishments or qualifications, truly qualified scientists are rare, while those claiming they operate skeptically using the scientific method are legion.

A pseudoscience is something masquerading as science, while protoscience is a new science trying to establish its legitimacy.

The following questions are adapted from an article by Lee Moeller that appeared in the Rational Equirer, V6,N4, Apr.’94.  They include interpretations and adaptations from a number of critical thinkers.  The Bigfootery Enquirer adds selected comments following each question.   It is illustrative of the poor foundation that bigfootery continues to be built upon.

1.  Has the subject shown progress?

     Not really.  No decent photographic evidence, let alone physical evidence.  Perhaps the Bossburg track way.

2.  Does the discipline use technical words such as “vibration” or “energy” without clearly defining what they mean?

      Dermal ridges, infrasound,  migration and territorial markers, yes, I would say it does.

3.  Would accepting the tenets of a claim require you to abandon any well established physical laws?

       Such as caloric intake, the lack of a fossil record in North America, bones or bodies, the fact that every living creature, including the whilely human, has been struck and killed by a car?  Give me a life preserver, bigfootery is abandoning the ship of physical laws.

4.     Are popular articles on the subject lacking in references?

         Given that most popular articles are websites that have absolute poverty when it comes to scientific references, I would say yes.  A few exceptions are out there, your mileage may vary.  But even those articles are built upon less than solid science.

5.     Is the only evidence offered anecdotal in nature?

        Such as the volumes of witness sighting reports and physical evidence attributed to an entity that was not witnessed creating it?  Another strong yes.

6.    Does the proponent of the subject claim that “air-tight” experiments have been performed that prove the truth of the subject matter, and that cheating would have been impossible?

         The claim that famous special effects experts reviewed the P/G film and purported that the level of special effects technology available circa the film makes creation of a hoax film impossible comes to mind when answering this question yes.  Legend Meets Science’s discussion of gate comes to mind as well.  Questionable super blow ups of the film with software sequencing and smoothing does not count in my book.

 7.   Are the results of the aforementioned experiments successfully repeated by other researchers?

        I have seen some people attempt to recreate the film in other locations relying upon arm length and gait as indicators that they are not humanly recreated.  They neglect to consider arm extensions and practice of the gait.

     

8.     Does the proponent of the subject claim to be overly or unfairly criticized?

         Nearly a week does not go by where a noted fourth or fifth level “Bigfoot Researcher” goes into a hissy fit when they are questioned over an assertion or experience.  They quickly grab on to the excuse the person asking the question is jealous and the troops rally around them noting their lengthy experience, good character and qualifications to say what they have said.  The implication is surely the questioner is being unfair and motivated by less than honorable intentions.  It is a hallmark of high level bigfootery and the source of much amusement for the correspondents of The Bigfootery Enquirer.

9.     Is the subject taught only in non-credit institutions?

         Taught?   Bigfootery is the largest collection of self professed “Researchers” and experts one can find.  The credit course in a real institution is nearly nonexistent, while some do have psychology classes that examine the belief in the paranormal as part of larger courses.

10.      Are the best texts on the subject decades old?

             The honest answer to this question is a mixed no.  One has Krantz’s text, which is a bit old, but Meldrum did pen a huge tome on the subject within the last few years.   Best evidence, yep, that is decades old.

11.     Does the proponent of the claim use what one writer has called “factuals” – statements that are a largely or wholly true but unrelated to the claim?

           This is a tough question.  The whole argument about the relatively recent discovery of the gorilla after years of its’ rumored existence might qualify, along with the broad notation of new species discovered.  Generally even less sophisticated reasoning is used to bolster the proponents claims.

12.     When criticized, do the defenders of the claim attack the critic rather than the criticism?

            Oh my, in my opinion this is one of the personifications of the high level “Bigfoot Researcher”.  They seem to either attack or storm off in a virtual huff refusing to answer honest questions. 

13.      Does the proponent make appeals to history (i.e. it has been around a long time, so it must be true)?

            Yup, any website or “Bigfoot Researcher” worth their salt can recite historical accounts, it is one of my tips for the newbie “Bigfoot Researcher”.

14.      Does the subject display the “shyness effect” (sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t)?

             Yes again.  Most “Bigfoot Researchers” are very comfortable with the shyness effect and will attack those that do not report that effect. 

15.       Does the proponent use the appeal to ignorance argument (“there are more things under heaven … than are dreamed of in your philosophy …”)?

              Yes.  If one has not run into that argument then consider yourself a beginning level “Bigfoot Researcher”.  Most will also claim secret inside knowledge and expertise to qualify anecdotal information.

16.      Does the proponent use alleged expertise in other areas to lend weight to the claim?

             If expertise is measured by time on task, absolutely yes.  Others claim, and may be, hunters and outdoors-men, as if that expertise is transferable to bigfootery.  One correspondent noted, in absolute amusement, that one “Bigfoot Researcher” claimed a high school vocational diploma in natural resources as expertise to make his opinion especially valuable.

Based upon the above it is the opinion of this correspondent of  The Bigfootery Enquirer the “Bigfoot Research” is pseudoscience.  Will it evolve to the next level?  Doubtful.  The “Bigfoot Researchers” that claim to be scientific and skeptical are hardly what that claim.  Bigfootery has, in my opinion, devolved with the influence of the inter-net and the carney barkers.

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Lower level “Bigfoot Researchers” should come to know and love the term blobsquatch.  Blobsquatch is a term that can give you bigfootery street cred.  Remember the tip about learning the jargon.  Blobsquatches have the following qualities:

  • They are often presented on crappy “Bigfoot Researcher”  websites as either the real deal, or the crafty carney barker “Bigfoot Researcher” will present them with either “decide yourself” or “other people say it is bigfoot” proviso’s although he/she is not making such a claim.
  • They are often still pictures, but sometimes entire blobsquatch videos are presented.
  • They often come with a red circle surrounding the actual blobsquatch, extra blogsquatch points are earned by circling individual limbs, and features of the face.  And yes, I once saw a blobsquatch that had a sexual organ circled, that blobsquatch was hung like an oak tree.
  • The blobsquatch often is very difficult to discern, hence the red circle, but has some visual attributes that imply a form.
  • Blobsquatches are most frequently presented in brushy or forested areas, open area blobsquatches seemingly appear at great distances.
  • Ask 10 “Bigfoot Researchers”  what they see and you will get a number of opinions, blobsquatches require imagination, a zealous belief and a bit of analytical skills.

So, what are blobsquatches?

  • Rocks, stumps, trees, roots and shadows that resemble the elusive bigfoot.
  • Hoax attempts.
  • People who are mistakenly or purposely presented as the elusive bigfoot.
  • Actual bad, or at least the best that could be taken given the circumstances, photographs of the elusive bigfoot.

If you fancy yourself a field “Bigfoot Researcher” and you are caught up in the spirit and fright of the moment, and a deep desire to finally see something, you will eventually find yourself confronted by a blobsquatch.  I remember an early time when I was in an area of supposed “hot” activity glassing hillsides when I ran into my first blobsquatch.  It was a holy shit moment, let me tell you.  This stump was perfectly proportioned and had an amazing profile from head to butt to be a bigfoot.  It looked exactly as one would imagine a bigfoot resting on its haunches would look like.  On the blobsquatch scale of 1-10, it was a 8.  After five minutes of watching it remain essentially motionless I did what all enterprising blobsquatch observers must do.  First, take a picture of it, then take another just to be safe you had everything set up right.  And when in doubt check it out.  One reads so many reports of “Bigfoot Researchers”  where they run away instead of walking toward the elusive bigfoot, that always amazes me.  Once you reach the object the mystery will be solved, if there is no object there take another picture.  At least you will have some evidence that what you photographed was animate in some fashion.  Then return to the original location of your picture and look, if it is again gone, take another picture.  If it is still there, take another picture, you have probably captured a trick of shadow, light and/or moving foliage.

Here are a few ways to minimize the impact of blobsquatches.

  • Do not put your camcorder or camera on auto focus.  Invariably those features do not auto focus upon the elusive bigfoot, instead the brush and trees the blobsquatch is hiding behind will be in crystal clarity, while the elusive bigfoot will not.
  • As said previously, when in doubt, check it out.
  • Do not post the picture or video to a bigfoot website, yet alone attempt to sell it or air it on a TV show, with the proviso that you are making no claims that it is  the elusive bigfoot and people need to decide for themselves.  This is intellectually dishonest and the actions of a carney barker.
  • If you feel compelled to present the picture, do not circle the object of interest.

And now a few blobsquatches for your viewing pleasure.

Traditional Blobsquatch

Traditional Blobsquatch

 

And one more.

Not one, but many elusive bigfoot(s)

Not one, but many elusive bigfoot(s)

I had hoped to add a you-tube clip from the Monster Hunter series as one clip is a blobsquatch and the independent photographic analyst even uses that term, but unfortunately A&E evidently patrols you-tube looking for use violations.

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Just a quick post of  two YouTubes demonstrating yet another near miss for a “Bigfoot Researcher”.  Another example of the dangers of “Bigfoot Researchers” doing field work without preparation, these incidents leave a bad taste in the mouth of park rangers, law enforcement and their bosses.  Eventually these misadventures will lead to access limits.  At least these “Bigfoot Researchers” were working in a group, but again a single hiker got into trouble because of losing light and being forced to cross ice. 

This one presents the beginning of the adventure.

And this one is the rest of the story, “Bigfoot Researcher” runs out of light, falls through ice, rangers have to plow a parking lot to get vehicle close enough to light the ice.

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This is a cautionary tale for the aspiring second and above level “Bigfoot Researcher”.  It may not apply to those fourth and fifth level “Bigfoot Researchers” because they seek fame, and sometimes fortune, through bigfootery.  But for any “Bigfoot Researcher” who has an identity or aspirations that transcend this little niche known as bigfootery, take note.

Let’s be honest, the “Bigfoot Researcher” is seen by the vast majority of people as a kook.  They chase after a legend and rub elbows with some odd characters.  2008 was not kind to the “Bigfoot Researcher”, the widespread coverage of the Ga. bigfootcicle and how it quickly fell apart was one of many stories that had the general public laughing at bigfootery.  To the regular joe, “Bigfoot Researchers” and tornados have alot in common, they both have an affinity for trailer parks.

This Coldstone Creamery commercial features both a bigfoot hunter and a “Bigfoot Researcher”.  Aspiring “Bigfoot Researchers” should realize the persons portrayed are a reasonable representation of the public perception of people involved in bigfootery.

 

To complicate matters for the “Bigfoot Researcher” there is www – bigfootery.  The web will capture your identity and maintain it for many, many years.  There are places that archive websites, pages, articles, pictures and all manner of content that makes it to the world wide web.  Some of these places are a boon to The Bigfootery Enquirer, as words, deeds and pictures are readily available for harvest.  In the future you will see how these things can come back to haunt “Bigfoot Researcher” mavens.  You may be asking yourself, so what if www-bigfootery prominently displays me as a “Bigfoot Researcher”?  Two things come to mind.  Individuals use google and search engines to find out about people, whether they be a potential date, a neighbor, a co-worker, an in-law or a fellow member of a church or other social group.  Even more serious is the fact that potential employers or customers may search your name on the web and on networking locations like myspace.  Could such a find kill a job offer?  Perhaps.   It would be interesting to survey hiring managers to see if finding a video of someone hunting bigfoot was more injurious to the person’s reputation as opposed to say a video of the person intoxicated and playing beer pong.  Again, if you life is so limited that becoming a media star in bigfootery is a goal you crave, then it is no problem.  But if your life extends well beyond this odd endeavor, then one must be wary of the Scarlet B.  I end this post with a link to an article from the person who coined the concept of the Scarlet B, it is instructive and illuminating for the “Bigfoot Researcher”.  You can’t say you have not be warned.

http://archive.salon.com/mwt/feature/2001/06/08/scarlet_b/index.html

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Here is one of the inherent dangers of bigfootery.  With no requirements, other than calling oneself a “Bigfoot Reseacher”, some try to reach the third stage of being a “Bigfoot Researcher” without the proper preparation.  This “Bigfoot Researcher” violated a number of basic outdoor safety ideas that may have prevented this near disaster, not to mention generating bad press that reflects upon “Bigfoot Researchers”.  And so, my aspiring “Bigfoot Researchers”, read, learn and reflect before  attempting the third stage of “Bigfoot Research”.

http://ecmpostreview.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2063&Itemid=1

I would recommend the growing outdoor knowledge contained at backpacker.com.  While incomplete, it is a good starting point for the “Bigfoot Researcher”.  Pay particular attention to the Survival section, it may save you from ending up the subject of a newspaper article, or worse.

http://www.backpacker.com/novebmer_2008_how_to_do_everything/skills/12638?utm_campaign=newsletter01&page=1&utm_source=newsletter01&utm_medium=email

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After a decade of bigfootery I have come to the following conclusion.  There is seldom anything new or interesting about bigfoot, but a week hardly goes by without a fascinating development regarding the people of bigfootery.  They are an interesting collection of souls and this blog will attempt to bring readers the juicy tidbits, misbehaviors, triumphs, feuds and other fun stuff.  Join me as we embark upon a study of those that study bigfoot.

Please do not interpret this coverage as wholely negative as there are some talented, dedicated and qualified people who call themselves “Bigfoot Researchers”.  Some of the stories will touch upon these people as they do contribute in their own ways to trying to bring sanity, science and integrity to bigfootery, but it often reminds me of the dutch boy trying to plug the leaks in the dam, they only have so many fingers and the flood of bad research and bad researchers is a mighty force.

The Bigfootery Enquirer studies and reports on the people who study bigfoot because enquiring minds want to know.   A small cadre of reporters cull a number of sources to bring you the funny, and sometimes sad, antics of those that claim the title of “Bigfoot Researcher”.  In order to bring you this content, to preserve our sources and otherwise be effective, identifying the staff of The Bigfootery Enquirer is not possible.  Just rest well in the fact that there are independent thinking individuals watching bigfootery to bring you, with a tip of the hat to the ABC’s Wide World of Sports, the human drama of bigfootery competition.

Tips can be submitted via the Comments section, we will see what we can dig up.

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