"the search for Sasquatch is a serious endeavor"
November 9, 2014 9:27 AM   Subscribe

The Hunter, The Hoaxer, And The Battle Over Bigfoot
Jeffrey Meldrum is a respected anthropologist risking his reputation to prove Sasquatch is real; Rick Dyer is a self-described “entertainer” unapologetically capitalizing off it. Their rivalry represents two sides of the fractious but booming subculture.
posted by andoatnp (61 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Previously.
posted by cashman at 9:32 AM on November 9, 2014


"Jeffrey Meldrum is a respected anthropologist risking his reputation to prove Sasquatch is real" - well, respected by Sasquatch believers, sure. Sarah Palin is respected, too - just not by sensible people.

"Rick Dyer is a self-described “entertainer” unapologetically capitalizing off it." Good for him! Beats duping old ladies out of their pensions.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:37 AM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Any respect these guys once had, if any, is being pissed away.

Everyone knows Bigfoot was eaten by nessie.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:52 AM on November 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


The tension in the sasquatch community was well documented in the Mysterious Planet series.
posted by ddd at 9:56 AM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Call a friend. When they say hello, sing-song "I do think there's a Squatch in these woods."

Then hang up.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:04 AM on November 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


My "capstone" project for my history degree focused on the history of cryptozoology. (My prof threw the topic idea out as a joke, and I was like, "You're on, buddy.") Granted, this was like 11 years ago...but my sense of it was that there was far less derision for cryptozoology (Bigfoot included) in the scientific community than there was in the mass media.

Science just sees a purported phenomenon with a lack of hard evidence. It's the news and the entertainment industry that's looking for a punchline.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:07 AM on November 9, 2014 [10 favorites]


Sasquatch porn
posted by bq at 10:10 AM on November 9, 2014 [4 favorites]


I sort of also hope that Dyer dude gets eaten by an actual bigfoot at some point
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:13 AM on November 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm a few miles from one of the famous Bigfoot supposed sighting locations right now actually. The reality is that between mushroom pickers, hunters, poachers, shed hunters, hikers, birdwatchers, and snowmobilers, plus wildlife and fisheries biologists doing other research and more than a few illegal grows, the woods here are full of people for most of the year. Even the few supposedly closed areas (private land, watershed areas, etc) get a lot of illicit traffic.

If there were eight foot tall Sasquatches running around out there, they would have been seen and photographed, if not shot. There are trail cams all over the woods, too, including with night vision capabilities. There just isn't the space for a huge hairy apeman to roam around without being seen.

The scam guy needs to be charged and jailed; the researcher needs a reality check.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:16 AM on November 9, 2014 [9 favorites]


I understand the importance of skepticism, but I think most observers agree that there's SOLID EVIDENCE to support the idea that the word "squatchy" can be used effectively as an adjective.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 10:18 AM on November 9, 2014 [9 favorites]


Also: it's easy to stay indoors in front of your computer and deride the efforts of the last real adventurers, the latter-day frontiersmen who are willing to CONFRONT THE UNKNOWN by clicking links that just say "sasquatch porn".
posted by Sing Or Swim at 10:21 AM on November 9, 2014 [12 favorites]


Interestingly enough, people said much the same thing as the above about the existence of the gorilla before a specimen finally made it to England.

While I'm skeptical about the sasquatch, it's not impossible, and stranger things have been found in the real world. The hoaxer, on the other hand, is simply annoying.

Threads on Fortean topics tend to be very badly handled on Metafilter - mostly a succession of sophomoric jokes and little actual discussion. I know there are people in this community who might have something interesting to contribute on such topics, and I don't blame them for not participating.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:25 AM on November 9, 2014 [8 favorites]


That may be true of gorillas, but 1) casual racism probably meant that nobody would believe until a proper Englishman saw them, and 2) lack of proper Englishmen in gorilla habitats.

The PNW has been heavily settled for quite some time and there's never been a single piece of evidence for existence. So, sure, absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence, but I don't think the comparison is apt. We only discover new animals where humans--or at least school-educated sciency humans--aren't, generally speaking. And I think it's been quite a while since something eight feet tall has been discovered, no? I'm not suggesting that we know everything there is to know about species on this planet, but the existence of Sasquatch really is about as likely as anal-probing aliens.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:42 AM on November 9, 2014 [7 favorites]


Interestingly enough, people said much the same thing as the above about the existence of the gorilla before a specimen finally made it to England.

That's a perfect analogy due to the number of camera phones in the wilds of Africa in the 19th century.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:58 AM on November 9, 2014 [15 favorites]


Remember that time when Jane Goodall was on Science Friday and blew Ira Flatow's mind by answering a caller's question about sasquatch and yeti type creatures with "I'm sure they exist." That was awesome.
posted by edheil at 10:58 AM on November 9, 2014 [6 favorites]


Also: it's easy to stay indoors in front of your computer and deride the efforts of the last real adventurers, the latter-day frontiersmen who are willing to CONFRONT THE UNKNOWN by clicking links that just say "sasquatch porn".

There is nothing easy about Sasquatch porn.
posted by AdamCSnider at 11:02 AM on November 9, 2014


Metafilter: Do you know how hard it is to find goat balls?
posted by mannequito at 11:30 AM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is sort of the atheist - agnostic debate. On the one hand, I think the chances megafauna existing in North America undetected are vanishingly small. On the other hand, history had taught us that there are stranger things than we imagine might be possible.

On the general-principal-Foretean-hand, I say: well, maaaaaaaaybe.
posted by digitalprimate at 11:37 AM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Jeffrey Meldrum is a respected anthropologist risking his reputation to prove Sasquatch is real"

It sounds like Meldrum could benefit from the thread below.
posted by quin at 11:38 AM on November 9, 2014


Their rivalry represents two sides of the fractious but booming subculture.

The article was not a bad read, but I wish the subculture itself had been given more attention. One of these men is a charlatan and the other is a confused scholar, but most people interested in bigfoot are neither of those things, so it's not clear how representative they are of the people involved rather than two epistemic extremes.

Is the subculture of sasquatch credulity really booming? What does "booming" mean, in reference to culture? We say that sales are booming, or that an industry is booming, to mean that money is being made, companies growing in profit and employment, etc. But is the meaning-making involved in sasquatch culture growing in some way? Are more people than ever participating in it? Is it becoming more influential in other cultural areas?
posted by clockzero at 11:56 AM on November 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


Well, we know sasquatch did exist, don't we? And there were a lot of them.

We just call them by different names, such as 'neanderthal' or 'denisovan'.
posted by jamjam at 12:17 PM on November 9, 2014


jamjam: Well, we know sasquatch did exist, don't we? And there were a lot of them.

We just call them by different names, such as 'neanderthal' or 'denisovan'.


Well, except for existing in a completely different part of the world, being separated from modern man by hundreds of thousands of years, not fitting the description of the Sasquatch in any way, or having anything to do with the legend of the Sasquatch, sure.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:24 PM on November 9, 2014 [8 favorites]


I like reading about the subject of Sasquatch and think there is some decent evidence that they exist. Nevertheless, I also appreciate that there is a lack of scientific evidence and so tend to defer to the skeptic's primary concern that without a body, and a controlled examination by reputable scientists, the Sasquatch does not exist.

Still, without the physical evidence, some of the anecdotal and meta-evidence is hard to totally dismiss. One question I have for skeptics is, Why a Bigfoot at all?

That is, assuming a Bigfoot is mythical, then why is the creature always described in similar terms (hairy, walks on two legs, smells bad) by so many thousands of different people? (see bfro.net for some of the descriptions.)

Assuming all of those people are either lying or mistaken, then why are their not more sightings of other mythical creatures? In other words, if both the Bigfoot and the Unicorn are mythical and do not exist, then where are all the Unicorn sighting reports? (by liars and the mistaken.)

I am not singling out Unicorns as a mythical creature that should have more sighting's reports, only that I think it is a good example of a entity that mostly resembles a known creature (horses), but nobody seems to ever mistakenly identify horses for unicorns, or even make up stories about seeing the latter. (If not Unicorns, then mermaids, Jersey Devils (outside of NJ), other cryptids etc.)
posted by otto42 at 1:22 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm just spitballing here, but I think it would be safe to say that someone traveling where bigfoot sightings have occurred, and are cognizant of the concept of bigfoot or sasquach or yeti or whatever, are going to be at least slightly predisposed to "seeing a bigfoot" if they witness something that they can't immediately recognize.

Bears standing upright usually fit the bill for me. Their ability to stand, be seen, drop and run very fast thus disappearing fits a lot of this stories people tell. But anything really would work; an elk half seen moving fast by people who don't realize how tall elk are, etc.

If you were to find a field known to have horses, and laid claim, with some tangential photographic evidence, to having seen unicorns there, who knows how many people after hearing your claim wouldn't see the same thing?

It'd be an interesting thing to test.
posted by quin at 1:29 PM on November 9, 2014


jamjam: Well, we know sasquatch did exist, don't we? And there were a lot of them.

We just call them by different names, such as 'neanderthal' or 'denisovan'.


Well, except for existing in a completely different part of the world, being separated from modern man by hundreds of thousands of years, not fitting the description of the Sasquatch in any way, or having anything to do with the legend of the Sasquatch, sure.
posted by Mitrovarr


You've fallen a bit behind on your reading, Mitrovarr:
We present the high-quality genome sequence of a ~45,000-year-old modern human male from Siberia. This individual derives from a population that lived before—or simultaneously with—the separation of the populations in western and eastern Eurasia and carries a similar amount of Neanderthal ancestry as present-day Eurasians. However, the genomic segments of Neanderthal ancestry are substantially longer than those observed in present-day individuals, indicating that Neanderthal gene flow into the ancestors of this individual occurred 7,000–13,000 years before he lived.
Assuming you bothered to do any in the first place.

Cocksure and aggressive ignorance such as you display here makes it less interesting to talk about these things on MetaFilter than it ought to be.
posted by jamjam at 1:54 PM on November 9, 2014


Most scientists I know, including my biologist wife, think something like a sasquatch exists, or at least recently existed. I can't remember which one it was, one of the Himalayan ones I think, but folklore + nature of sightings + location = most likely real squatch in their opinions.
posted by charred husk at 2:05 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


"...people said much the same thing as the above about the existence of the gorilla..."

It was a much different world back then, and even few Africans had seen gorillas at that time because of the remoteness of their habitat. But now, few habitats are remote, and all are greatly diminished, having been encroached upon by Man.
Tales of mythological beasts are much harder to sustain nowadays, just as the myth that the gods dwell upon Mount Olympus can no longer be sustained. We can go and look. But, by all means, someone should go and have a look. There should be no disgrace in that.
posted by sudon't at 2:06 PM on November 9, 2014


Still, without the physical evidence, some of the anecdotal and meta-evidence is hard to totally dismiss. One question I have for skeptics is, Why a Bigfoot at all? That is, assuming a Bigfoot is mythical, then why is the creature always described in similar terms (hairy, walks on two legs, smells bad) by so many thousands of different people? (see bfro.net for some of the descriptions.)

I think there's no contradiction there. It is precisely because bigfoot is mythical that people know the mythology.

Assuming all of those people are either lying or mistaken, then why are their not more sightings of other mythical creatures?

This is very confused reasoning: if those people are lying or mistaken, then there aren't any actual sightings. People are seeing (or hearing, smelling, etc.) normal things that they assume are sasquatches because the sasquatch is an established mythology that appeals to people, and they're not assuming that they're seeing something else because imaginative inference is strongly intertwined with culture.

Most scientists I know, including my biologist wife, think something like a sasquatch exists, or at least recently existed. I can't remember which one it was, one of the Himalayan ones I think, but folklore + nature of sightings + location = most likely real squatch in their opinions.

Opinions about whether or not something exists, in the absence of any real evidence, don't have any more evidentiary value when they come from scientists. Without data or empirical evidence, scientists have no greater claim to knowledge about empirical reality than anyone else.
posted by clockzero at 2:10 PM on November 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


Alternatively, it might be useful to consider what the likely ecological impact of a small but sustainable population of large bipeds would be in such areas and look for evidence of those impacts.

Where do they sleep? What do pregnant sasquatch do, how do sasquatch neonates and young sasquatch behave and develop, and how does sasquatch mating behavior work? How large a population do most bipedal creatures need? Are sasquatches likely to be social animals like most larger primates? What is the sasquatch diet and, given the creature's reported size, how much biomass would an individual be likely to consume in a given timeframe? Are sasquatches likely to be Lazarus taxon of early bipedal primates like homo floresiensis or a truly never-discovered creature, or even an example of convergent evolution from a non-primate line? Why have no recent fossils or remains ever been found?

If sasquatches exist, they should leave metaphorical as well as literal footprints in their habitats. And they should have something like a life cycle and a population dynamics. Nearly all sightings are characterized as sightings of adults, and no sightings or apparent trace evidences of the creature's presence are ever sufficient to provide workable speculation about anything except a few superficial physical features. We have a creature that apparently edges close to human settlements and campsites on a fairly frequent basis relative to likely population size, given the number of reported sightings and the places where most sightings occur, but somehow leaves minimal and usually inconclusive trace evidence of its presence.

They sound unlikely. Not impossible, but very unlikely.
posted by kewb at 2:23 PM on November 9, 2014 [6 favorites]



I saw some show that correlated outbreaks of big foot like creature sightings with UFO sightings in different areas. Some of the reports were really, really strange. Although I can't recall if the show came out a said it directly it suggested that 'big foot' was a creature not of this world. It's a perfect theory really, sticks two big what ifs together and explains why no bigfoot homes or traces besides footprints are ever found. Bigfoot doesn't live here! Bigfoot is a visitor!

I like this theory the best and have had lots of fun with it.
posted by Jalliah at 3:30 PM on November 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


nobody would believe until a proper Englishman saw them

I'd like everyone to know that I'm available, at very reasonable rates, to look at things and bally well confirm their existence.
posted by sobarel at 4:16 PM on November 9, 2014 [12 favorites]


I think the ability to test for DNA has really put paid to the sasquatch myth. Big animals can hide very well, for years people were reporting mountain lions in the Michigan woods and being laughed at but DNA from hair trap showed they were there. If someone sees a sasquatch, a sasquatch researcher, they should be able to find at least one hair or some scat or epithelial cells that can be tested. Someone, somewhere should have found DNA.

I'm in the bear camp. I know, from personal experience, that a brown bear can move faster than your eye can track it in brush. They can stand up, look at you and appear to "disappear" and it is almost impossible to discern their true shape when they move quickly in the woods. Pattern recognition is a thing. If you didn't already have a mental picture of a bear to map to you might map the image to a human, which is the next closest thing in size and shape most people in N America have seen
posted by fshgrl at 4:40 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Having said that, if you DO want to believe in Bigfoot find a bunch of foresters, get them drunk and ask if they believe. They'll probably convince you.
posted by fshgrl at 4:41 PM on November 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


I am surprised at how often I need use the phrase "there's no such thing as a Sasquatch" but, um, there's no such thing as a Sasquatch. I am so sure of this that it is the lowest level on my personal plausibility scale (outlined below).

Mrs. Pterodactyl's 1-6 Scale of Cryptid Plausibility:

1: Sasquatch
2: Mothman
3: Chupacabra
----------Line of Likelihood-------------
4: Yeti
5: Loch Ness Creature
6: Kraken

Anything ranked one on the scale is non-existent; there's no such thing as a Sasquatch. Three or below is "probably not", anything above three is "yeah, seems decently likely". A six, or Kraken level, means I am basically convinced that such a creature exists. My roommate, for example, rates a six on the scale, and he is in the living room now so I am pretty sure that he is real.

You'll note that a lot of this scale is based on geography; as pointed out above, if there were Sasquatches, we'd know about them, but there aren't. There's no such thing as a Sasquatch. Once we get above three, we have creatures like the noble yeti which I think probably does exist because there's plenty of space out in the Himalayas for them to roam about. I heard some theory once about a cave leading into Loch Ness through which the creature could have come in prehistoric times and a prehistoric sea beast living under the ocean seems pretty plausible so that gets a five. Krakens are a six because I am affirmatively sure they are real. Who knows what lurks in the briny deeps?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 5:09 PM on November 9, 2014 [8 favorites]


If sasquatches exist, they should leave metaphorical as well as literal footprints in their habitats. And they should have something like a life cycle and a population dynamics.
posted by kewb at 2:23 PM on November 9 [+] [!]


http://www.bfro.net/ref/theories/whf/fahrenbacharticle.htm

To be brief, there are a number of studies that make the claim that Bigfoot "footprints" display sexual dimorphism characteristics in a sample. That is, the size of the footprints indicate the expected percentage of children at different ages, relative to adults (male and female), one would expect if Sasquatches actually existed. The corollary being that the samples do not represent a random selection of fake footprints.
posted by otto42 at 5:09 PM on November 9, 2014


Seems like some skeletons would have turned up by now
posted by thelonius at 5:13 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ask occasionally gets queries about What To Do when visiting Portland Maine, and I never think to mention the International Cryptozoology Museum. I'm not recommending it, mind you, I'm just telling you it exists.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:17 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


That is, assuming a Bigfoot is mythical, then why is the creature always described in similar terms (hairy, walks on two legs, smells bad) by so many thousands of different people?

Aliens ("the greys") are always described the same, and they don't exist either.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:19 PM on November 9, 2014 [3 favorites]


Who knows what lurks in the briny deeps?

Aquaman! He has more to offer than people think!
posted by clockzero at 6:47 PM on November 9, 2014


To be brief, there are a number of studies that make the claim that Bigfoot "footprints" display sexual dimorphism characteristics in a sample. That is, the size of the footprints indicate the expected percentage of children at different ages, relative to adults (male and female), one would expect if Sasquatches actually existed. The corollary being that the samples do not represent a random selection of fake footprints.

From that article:

METHODS

Most of the data were collected by John Green (1968, 1978, 1980a, 1980b, 1 980c), of Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada, over the past 40 years.


John Green is not a biologist, or a zoologist, or a scientist or scholar of any real discipline. He's a "bigfoot researcher," for cryin out loud, not exactly impartial. This is not a study in any meaningful sense. All of the data from Green are worthless, so we're back to square one.
posted by clockzero at 6:56 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Here's what we do. We issue cameras to every citizen of the country, and have them carry those cameras 24/7. Nobody will ever be more than 10 seconds away from taking a picture if they see something worth photographing.

Within a few years, we should have a pretty solid answer to the questions of flying saucers, lake monsters, ghosts, and Bigfoot.

Stolen shamelessly from XKCD.
posted by Hatashran at 7:19 PM on November 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


The best part about this is that, if we redirected the money being spend looking for a Sasquatch that doesn't exist, we could discover dozens of species of new insects or plants or fungi.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:21 PM on November 9, 2014


I really think Stephenie Meyer dropped the ball setting Twilight in the Pacific Northwest but not introducing the world to Sexy Sasquatches.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:38 PM on November 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


Please stop saying 'sasquatches'. The plural of 'sasquatch' is 'Saskatchewan'.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:40 PM on November 9, 2014 [9 favorites]


Opinions about whether or not something exists, in the absence of any real evidence, don't have any more evidentiary value when they come from scientists. Without data or empirical evidence, scientists have no greater claim to knowledge about empirical reality than anyone else.

Well, yeah, evidentiary value. But their opinions do carry more vale in terms of if and where to expend resources to try and find evidence.
posted by charred husk at 8:49 PM on November 9, 2014


I really think Stephenie Meyer dropped the ball setting Twilight in the Pacific Northwest but not introducing the world to Sexy Sasquatches.

(a) The plural of sasquatch is sasquatchim. It is known.

(b) Surely they would be weresasquatchim, or perhaps sasquanthropes.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:01 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Samsquanch. They're called samsquanches.
Geez.
posted by Seamus at 9:56 PM on November 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


Bigfoot: It's probably a bear.
posted by runcibleshaw at 10:50 PM on November 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


... some scientists did dismiss the possibility of Bigfoot's existence out of hand, lumping Bigfooters with Flat Earthers. This doesn't mean that science was too insular ... but that scientists are humans, and given to some of the same faults as any other humans: overconfidence, closed-mindedness, irritability, arguing in bad faith. Interestingly, though, I think that these faults were most clearly on display not among scientists—truth be told, most scientists ignored the whole subject—but among members of the so-called skeptical movement, who were often not scientists but fans of science: philosophers, magicians, science fiction writers, science writers. The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) founded Skeptical Inquirer back in the late 1970s and that magazine sometimes resorted to ridicule as a form of argument, lampooning the Bigfooters rather than engaging them....

Underneath all of this there is also a class dimension. Scientists are usually members of the middle class, if not always drawn from there. Many of the Bigfooters, and certainly a lot of the grassroots enthusiasts, were working class. They were trying to gain a degree of dignity by finding out something about the universe that elites did not know. The middle class was trying to retain its privileged position—CSICOP can be seen as defenders of this privilege. The ridicule skeptics used, I think, reveals this class dimension very well. Think of the stereotyped Bigfoot believer: a yahoo, trailer park resident, a guy who likes to spend too much time in the woods with his gun, someone who sees the world through beer-bottle glasses. These are all stereotypes of the working class, and by invoking them, skeptics could debunk belief in Bigfoot without argument but with an appeal to prejudice.
From an interview with Joshua Blu Buhs, author of Bigfoot: Life and Times of a Legend.
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:49 AM on November 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


jamjam: “Well, we know sasquatch did exist, don't we? And there were a lot of them. We just call them by different names, such as 'neanderthal' or 'denisovan'.”

I hope it's not "cocksure and aggressive ignorance" to point out that neanderthal looked absolutely nothing like the dubious reports we've received of "sasquatch" sightings. For starters, neanderthal were pretty much the same size as humans are now, standing around five and a half feet tall, whereas the "sasquatch's" large size is one of their only two consistent features. (As far as I know, denisovans were about the same height.) Moreover, neither neanderthals nor denisovans were hairy all over; the other consistent feature of "sasquatch" is that it is covered with fur.

I mean, I'm aware that it's hard to compare dubious reports of a forest-dwelling monster with our scientific knowledge of a humanoid creature that lived many thousands of years ago. But – isn't it pretty clear that, when people describe having seen "sasquatch," they are describing something completely different from pretty much everything we know about neanderthals and denisovans?
posted by koeselitz at 1:10 AM on November 10, 2014 [4 favorites]


Well, there is a well developed cryptozoological lore describing the Almas, who are described by believers as a relict population of Neanderthals living in remote mountain areas of former Soviet Western Asia. The stories came out of fringe science circles in the USSR and were popularized in the West by former anthropologist Myra Shackley. And, predictably enough, they're now being associated by believers with the recent Denisovan discoveries.
posted by Sonny Jim at 1:35 AM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ok, from my childhood to you: Everybody needs to go watch the Shazam/Isis Hour Bigfoot episode (link is to part 1). It may be the worst TV ever, but it's squarely in "so bad it's good" territory. Memail me for a refund to the 20 or so wasted minutes you'll never get back.

COME ON YOU KNOW YOU WANNA WATCH IT*

*She transforms to Isis to look at a footprint at one point then changes back!
posted by freecellwizard at 6:13 AM on November 10, 2014 [3 favorites]


Everybody needs to go watch the Shazam/Isis Hour Bigfoot episode

I must've seen that because I was a huge Shazam/Isis fan, but I had forgotten until now that Isis scooped Steve Austin's encounter with Bigfoot by about four months. O Mighty Isis! Was a busy season for Bigfeet.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:51 AM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


feckless fecal fear mongering : Aliens ("the greys") are always described the same, and they don't exist either.

Ooh! This is a good one. If I'm recalling correctly, there is some really strong evidence that what we perceive as the typical "greys" is how infants see human faces; featureless, huge eyes (for recognition), small nose and mouth, big head. And when people see what they think are aliens, they are tapping into that part of the brain that stores those visual cues that we've grown out of.

And in a time of stress or uncertainty, our pattern matching skill fails and delivers that image from our history.

I like this one, because I agree with you; greys don't exist, and we aren't being visited by aliens.

However, I absolutely believe in life, even technologically advanced life, on other planets in the universe. It's just too big, and there is too much evidence that the bits that make life possible, aren't really all that rare. I just don't believe that any of those alien creatures are coming here, because of distances, time, and general physics as we know it.
posted by quin at 9:24 AM on November 10, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh, yeah for sure, I have no doubt that there is other intelligent life in the universe. To suggest otherwise is overweening arrogance of the worst sort.

The notion that they're coming here undetected and anally probing people is what's just as stupid as asserting that there is a breeding colony of bipedal bear-sized ape-descendants in the Pacific Northwest.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:28 AM on November 10, 2014


quin: f I'm recalling correctly, there is some really strong evidence that what we perceive as the typical "greys" is how infants see human faces; featureless, huge eyes (for recognition), small nose and mouth, big head. And when people see what they think are aliens, they are tapping into that part of the brain that stores those visual cues that we've grown out of.
That's scientifically known as post-hoc justification.

One can hardly piggyback on the success of others by refuting their stories.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:29 PM on November 10, 2014


Years ago I was driving somewhere and listening to the Art Bell show. They were doing an episode on thunder birds. As I recall, ever person who called in with their story of the time they saw a thunder bird was perfectly describing a great blue heron. We don't realize that there is a prehistoric looking beast of a bird with a nearly 7 foot wingspan all around us until one flies right in front of us. We don't learn to see things until we learn to see them. During the summer I can drive home and probably count half-a-dozen herons, and the same amount of egrets, bald eagles and hawks. And I live in Minneapolis. If you ask the average person on the the street they aren't going to even know they are around just because they don't know to look.

So when a black bear is walking around in the woods and someone sees it, it's gotta be bigfoot because what else could it be?
posted by misterpatrick at 2:32 PM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well, if there are any real animals involved in this, and if they turn out to be primates (a remnant population of Gigantopithecus, perhaps) there is a National Geographic cover waiting for the first lady primatologist who goes and chums up to them, as there were for Jane Goodall (chimps), Diane Fossey (gorillas), and Birute Galdikas (orang-utans). Here's hoping they're nice beasties.
posted by jfuller at 2:53 PM on November 10, 2014


"One question I have for skeptics is, Why a Bigfoot at all?"

Wild, man-like creatures, living deep in the wilderness/woods/jungle, etc., have been a part of almost every culture's imagination. As to why people want to believe in this stuff, I couldn't say.
posted by sudon't at 12:00 PM on November 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


otto42: Still, without the physical evidence, some of the anecdotal and meta-evidence is hard to totally dismiss. One question I have for skeptics is, Why a Bigfoot at all?
I find none of the anecdotal and meta-evidence hard to totally dismiss. One question I have for you is, Why witches at all?

There's no physical evidence for witches casting spells on others; only anecdotal and met-evidence that women who sell their souls to the Devil gather at night and cast spells that hurt other people.

Why then is the idea of witches so pervasive, across so many cultures? Surely one must consider that real witches exist, or else so many people, from little girls in Massachusetts to Russian mothers, would be hard to dismiss as pure myth.

Except that a complete lack of evidence for something that should be fairly easy to find evidence for... suggests the thing isn't true.

If Bigfoot is a hairy, roughly-human-sized bipedal organism living in North America, how has he eluded leaving any reliable evidence, despite decades during which hundreds (if not thousands) of people have searched for it? Murderers on the lam are easier to find by far. That hairy bastard is so camera-shy he even avoids IR motion-sensitive cameras, and makes sure he doesn't leave any hairs where his footprints appear. He'd have to be an OCD paranoiac with infrared vision, and a strong knowledge of current technology (to avoid the motion detectors).

Anecdotal evidence of Bigfoot is exactly as trustworthy as accounts of witches riding brooms under a full moon, one-horned horses, and so forth. It neither strengthens nor weakens the case, at all.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:54 AM on November 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Bigfoot or Samsquanch?
posted by juiceCake at 7:04 PM on November 15, 2014


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