Oh wait, that was Vern. Never mind.
November 1, 2005 9:40 PM   Subscribe

The 2005 Texas Bigfoot Conference has ended and, in spite of one or two hitches, all 500 in attendance seemed to have a good time.
Bigfoots are more commonly found in Texas than one would imagine. Indeed, bigfoot sightings throughout the gulf coast are common.
posted by DeepFriedTwinkies (20 comments total)
Does this mean that the new Sam n ' Max game will be coming out after all?
posted by fFish at 10:21 PM on November 1, 2005

Kevin Kelly, an all around cool guy with cool tools (and a MeFi'er) believes in Bigfoot.
posted by stbalbach at 10:24 PM on November 1, 2005

Man, I can't wait to eat one 'o them Bigfeet.
posted by Balisong at 10:49 PM on November 1, 2005

Like UFOs, this is a phenomenon that's easy to dismiss due to a lack of proof, but you gotta wonder why there's so many reported sightings. I don't know what strains my imagination more: man-beasts living in American (and other) forests, or the all of the witnesses being either a) confused, b) lying for either fun or attempted profit, or c) flat-out crazy. That's a hell of a lot of confusion, lying, and craziness.

Neither side makes much sense to me, so for the time being I'll remain a Bigfoot (and UFO) agnostic.
posted by zardoz at 11:48 PM on November 1, 2005

posted by Pseudonumb at 12:00 AM on November 2, 2005

Zardoz: Here's one way. Also this, too.
posted by basicchannel at 12:05 AM on November 2, 2005

we know your legend's reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaalllll!
posted by Hat Maui at 12:59 AM on November 2, 2005

It'd just be marvelous if they caught the first bigfoot in my home state...
posted by shanevsevil at 1:03 AM on November 2, 2005

Might be a Freudean slip, but I first read "in spite of one or two bitches".
posted by keijo at 1:09 AM on November 2, 2005

What about the Bigass? Are they also commonly found in Texas?
posted by Termite at 3:31 AM on November 2, 2005

Zardoz: but you gotta wonder why there's so many reported sightings

Well the more popular a fantastic story is the easier it is for people to find themselves in situations that confirm them. That's why people see UFOs when UFOs are all the rage, find witches when it's witch-hunting time, read the name of God in the clouds when they're told that God will talk to them etc. Every single oddity can be interpreted according to the lore of the time. This is painfully obvious when testimonies get debunked (like those Belgian UFO sighters who were frightened by the headlights of their own car showing through the mist, or the story of the "escaped cheetah" near Marseilles last year that turned out to be a black cat - but yes, witnesses so sure it was a cheetah).
The question isn't the number of sightings, but the quality of them, and this is where this bigfoot stuff isn't better than the Loch Ness monster. There are various species of endangered large mammals on this planet and being rare and secretive doesn't prevent them (unfortunately) to be routinely found, photographed, filmed, sampled, bumped into and of course killed and turned into novelty items. That generations of Texans hunters haven't been able to bag a single one in centuries says it all.
posted by elgilito at 4:28 AM on November 2, 2005

That's the standard response, elgilito, a) by my list: confusion. These people are just plain confused. They get UFOs and Bigfoot on their minds, and Venus becomes a flying saucer and a deer becomes Bigfoot.

I don't buy it. It's one thing if the report is something like "There was this dark shape and I don't know what it was", but there are often really detailed descriptions that go way beyond simple misidentification. You could file that under active hallucinations. And how often does that happen? I mean, really? I just don't think that unconscious or subconscious suggestion could play such a large role.

Let me ask you, do you think that you would be so susceptible to such mistaken identity? I'd like to think I wouldn't, that in fact I'd be more critical and skeptical of what I see in the "Bigfoot forest".

Do I believe? No. But disbelief is also a belief of its own, and both close the mind for critical thinking.
posted by zardoz at 5:42 AM on November 2, 2005

"Are you tired of the routine conference that's merely a series of old recycled talks with weak audio systems in a crowded, overheated room, and barely any fun?"

I love it. And what's a Bigfoot Conference without an Elvis sighting?

Neither side makes much sense to me

This fellow agnostic suggests looking into Gigantopithecus to thicken the plot.
posted by mediareport at 5:49 AM on November 2, 2005

In Louisiana it is called a loup garou. Which is a warewolf like guy according to wikipedia.

Hey let's have an otherkin flamefestival!
posted by bukvich at 6:57 AM on November 2, 2005

When I was a kid I was fascinated by Bigfoot and UFOs and all the other quackery that routinely falls under the paranormal. Then, when I was a teenager, quite by accident I picked up a copy of Skeptic magazine. With whole issues devoted to debunking monsters and UFOs it pretty much killed my imagination.

The believers seem to be split between the realest - those who think that Bigfoot is a real, physical, unknown ape or sub-human - and those who attach more supernatural meaning to the monster.

I guess it's old-school vs. new-school.

Obviously the fact that no hunter has bagged a Bigfoot or Skunk Ape sort of kills the idea that Bigfoot is real, he's out there picking berries right now. For the super-naturalists (who are also usually the spells-magic-with-a-K crowd) it makes much more sense to suppose that the monster is a thought projection or extra-dimensional entity or whatever.

Nick Redfern has written about this and seems to believe that all sightings of monsters, strange animals and UFOs are these thought projections. IMHO Redfern is a quack. The fact that he can get books published with regularity and have them sell tells me that there are lots of people out there just waiting for their own paranormal experience.
posted by wfrgms at 9:29 AM on November 2, 2005

Zardoz: I just don't think that unconscious or subconscious suggestion could play such a large role

The folks in Marseilles last year were really sure they had a black cheetah prowling behind their houses. They had seen it, described it, filmed it and they called the police to get rid of it. You don't think that self-suggestion can play such a large role: be sure that its power is bottomless. And in the case of Bigfoot, I note that there's a nice cottage industry (with its "research center", merchandise etc.) dedicated to the critter, and that alone could give some people ideas: in one of the testimonials on the site, a group of hunters reported seeing the beast and then accidentally erasing the footprints they just saw. Yeah, right. I'm wondering what will happen with bigfoot sighting now that small, handy, powerful digital cams (some able to do night vision) are everywhere, removing much of the excuses given for the lack of bigfoot pics and films. If people can muster strength to film tsunamis and suicide bombings with their cell phones they should be able to catch a big shy ape foraging for garbage.

A sad story: there are less than 10 bears left in the Pyrenees. 3 were reintroduced in 1996. 2 have already been shot by hunters since (of course this is strictly forbidden). The probability of a large mammal escaping humans for more than a few months is zero.

Let me ask you, do you think that you would be so susceptible to such mistaken identity?

One evening, some years ago, going to the bathroom at home, I saw what looked like a thin, curvy, greyish twig lying at the bottom of the toilet bowl. I thought it was strange (how could a twig be there?) but didn't pay much attention, so I flushed the toilet, the twig disappeared and I forgot about it.

An hour later, before going to bed, I peered down the toilet bowl.

The "twig" had come back.

This time I looked closer: it was actually worm-looking, with what looked like scales over its body, and possibly hair. It swayed slowly at the bottom of the bowl like a moray eel, as if it were just living there. I took a small piece of wire and lowered it down gently into the water. The twig didn't mind. I touched the "twig". Its reaction was lightning fast: it retreated down the siphon and disappeared. I flushed again, just to be sure.

It was 1 am, and I had a 1-foot worm or leech (I ruled out a snake due to the presence hair) of a totally unknown species living in my toilet bowl. I actually pinched myself and started humming the X-Files theme.

At 2 am, I returned to the bathroom, and there it was again, still moving gently in the water, at home. I wasn't equipped to catch it, and it was much faster than me anyway. I had noticed that it didn't seem to mind the light changes, as if it were blind. But what about changes in the water?

I opened a bottle of Drano (actually a local brand) and poured some drops in the water.

The creature didn't pay attention.

I poured more.

It became restless, twitching slightly.

I poured more.

It squealed.

Hard, high-pitched, unmistakenly mammalian squeals.

Fully realising what it was, at last, I flushed as fast as I could so that the acid wouldn't hurt it too much. So there, one poor rat thought that he could climb up the drain pipe to live in my siphon, with its tail resting in the cool water. It never came back (we found a dead rat in the basement a few days later, so at least we know that there were rats).

Back to the original point: it could have been perfectly possible for me to stop investigating at 1 am and start pushing the ubercool idea that giant worms of unknown species (or from Planet Zorg) were taking over the bathrooms of the world. The scientific reality, of course, was much more mundane.
posted by elgilito at 10:55 AM on November 2, 2005

Bigfoot killed Kennedy.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 12:29 PM on November 2, 2005

In 1983 friends of mine from western Washington University were riding on bus from Vancouver BC to Seattle.

At the half way point they leapt up and staged this whole "Hey I saw some big ape thing!" production to see if they could get other people to say the saw something too.

About five other people said they had (not sure how many were on the bus total). And two or three others thought maybe they had.

Shared delusion.
posted by tkchrist at 4:55 PM on November 2, 2005

I thought Karen Hughes had left Texas for Europe? ; >
posted by amberglow at 5:22 PM on November 2, 2005

Mitch Hedberg said it best:

"I think the problem is that Bigfoot is blurry. He's a big blurry dude. And that makes him even more scary to me!"

(rip Mitch...)
posted by lumpenprole at 7:24 PM on November 2, 2005

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