Tag Archives: Bigfoot

Spooky Science: Paranormal Beliefs Linked to Fearful Worldview

By Elizabeth Palermo via LiveScience.com

ghostly_173People who believe in ghosts may be more afraid of actual, real-world dangers — things like violent crimes or nuclear war — than are people who don’t hold paranormal beliefs, a new survey finds.

The Survey of American Fear asked people in the United States to divulge the terrors that keep them up at night. For the survey, nearly 1,500 participants responded to questions about 88 different fears and anxieties, ranging from commonplace phobias (like fear of heights) to less tangible concerns (like fear of government corruption). The survey also asked participants about their beliefs concerning paranormal and mythical things, like ghosts, Bigfoot and ancient aliens.

An inforgraphic demonstrating the paranormal beliefs included in the Fear Survey. Credit: Chapman University

An inforgraphic demonstrating the paranormal beliefs included in the Fear Survey.
Credit: Chapman University

“The reason we ask [about paranormal things] on the survey is that we’re interested in finding out what kind of clusters of beliefs tend to be associated with fear,” Christopher Bader, a professor of sociology at Chapman University in California and leader of the second annual Fear Survey, told Live Science.

ouija-board-gifLast year in the survey, researchers asked questions that gauged the respondents’ scientific reasoning. This was done to find out how the individuals’ knowledge of scientific ideas (how electricity works, why the sun sets in the west, etc.) related to those respondents’ fears. But this year, the focus was on supernatural beliefs, not scientific ones.

Bader and his colleagues found that quite a few Americans hold paranormal beliefs. The most common of these is the belief that spirits can haunt particular places; 41.4 percent of the demographically representative group of participants said they held this belief. A lot of Americans (26.5 percent) also think that the living and the dead can communicate with each other in some way, the survey found.

Many survey participants said  .  .  .

Continue Reading at LiveScience.com – – –

The Skookum Cast

The first “full body cast” of an alleged Bigfoot left many experts with a different impression.

skeptoid eyeby Blake Smith via skeptoid
Read transcript below or listen here

It’s not as famous outside of the Bigfoot research community as the other alleged evidence. The shaky films and blurry photographs appear in more documentaries, and the giant plaster foot castings are more widely recognized. But in September 2000, Patterson_bigfoota team of investigators from the Bigfoot Field Research Organization (BFRO) emerged from the woods near Skookum Meadows in Washington state with 15 square feet of plaster and Hydrocal® that they claim results from a full body impression of the mysterious man-like animal known as Bigfoot. Was this the best new evidence supporting the existence of Bigfoot since the Patterson Gimlin film? Or was it something else?

Before we dig into the question of whether or not the Skookum Cast is evidence for the existence of Bigfoot, let’s take a look at how the cast came to be taken in the first place. bigfoot-2In late 2000, the Australian television show Animal X was filming its second season. As part of a planned Bigfoot special, they sent a film crew to Washington state to meet with team members of the BFRO to look for Bigfoot evidence in the Pacific Northwest. An expedition was mounted in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The expedition included Matt Moneymaker, Thom Powell, Rick Noll, Dr. Leroy Fish, the film crew from Animal X and several other BFRO members. For six days the team had been blasting recordings of alleged Bigfoot vocalizations, experimenting with pheromone lures, and using thermal cameras. In many ways, they were doing the same kinds of activities that would become the basis for the television show Finding Bigfoot. On the evening of the expedition’s sixth day, the team placed fruit bait near a muddy patch by the road in the hope that it might lure a Bigfoot and provide some good physical evidence. On the seventh day, September 22, the team discovered the large animal impression that would become known as the Skookum Cast.

The Skookum cast is a plaster cast often claimed to be an imprint of the body of Bigfoot, although it is more typically regarded as that of an elk (Wikipedia). Some bigfoot enthusiasts believe the cast shows the imprints of bigfoot body parts (above right).

The expedition members used 200 pounds of casting material and some tent poles to make a record of the large impression. But where were the footprints? Clearly a large animal had made the shape in the mud, but there were none of the signature tracks that have made Bigfoot so famous – and from which it gets its name. There was much discussion and finally a scenario emerged that the BFRO suggests explains the situation: A lone Bigfoot was attracted to the bait, but did not want to leave its tracks so it carefully crawled to the fruit. It then reclined on the ground in the mud while it ate the fruit, before departing in a similar trackless mode. With this theory and their 200 pounds of alleged Bigfoot evidence, team members transported the cast to an indoor location where it could be studied by scientific experts.

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Dyatlov Pass and Mass Murdering Yeti?

bigfoot right there

A Closer Look at Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives

Benjamin RadfordBy Benjamin Radford via Doubtful News

A new two-hour Discovery Channel “documentary,” Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives, revisits the curious case of nine Russian skiers who died under unclear circumstances in the Ural mountains. It is packed with dramatic “found footage” recreations, dubious derring-do, a pulse-pounding score, and piles of speculation.

Here’s the premise, based on a press release for the show:

“On February 2, 1959, nine college students hiked up the icy slopes of the Ural Mountains in the heart of Russia but never made it out alive.  Investigators have never been able to give a definitive answer behind who – or what – caused the bizarre crime scene.  hiking 753_225pxFifty-five years later, American explorer Mike Libecki reinvestigates the mystery—known as The Dyatlov Pass incident—but what he uncovers is truly horrifying…. Based on diary accounts, forensic evidence and files that have just recently been released, Mike pieces together the graphic stories in search of what really happened that evening.  According to the investigators at the time, the demise of the group was due to a ‘compelling natural force.’ The students’ slashed tent was discovered first with most of their clothing and equipment still inside.  Next, the students’ bodies were found scattered across the campsite in three distinct groups, some partially naked and with strange injuries including crushed ribs, a fractured skull, and one hiker mutilated with her eyes gouged out and tongue removed… Mike first heard about the Dyatlov Pass incident on a climbing expedition in 2011 and since then has become obsessed with the case… Determined to find answers, Mike hires Russian translator Maria Klenokova to join him.  Together, they set out to one of the most remote and inhospitable places on Earth.  However, nothing prepared them for what they were about to discover.  Following the trail of evidence, Mike finds proof that the hikers were not alone—a photograph, taken by one of the hikers a day before they died that suggests that they encountered a Yeti.  But just how far will they go to find the answers?”

tentFocusing on the undisputed facts in this case, we know that after nearly a week of skiing the group led by Igor Dyatlov, at some point on the night of February 1-2, 1959, cut slits in their tent and left through the cut for the safety of the wooded area below, most of them wearing their underwear or a few scraps of clothing. After they failed to return, a rescue party was sent, and tracks were followed from the tent to the woods, where all the skiers were found, some of them many months later. According to the autopsy, the cause of death for all of them was hypothermia, or freezing to death; four of the nine also had internal injuries, and one of them, Ludmila Dubinina, was missing a tongue and had additional injuries to her eyes. The biggest mysteries are why the group abandoned their tent (with their supplies and clothes inside), apparently in a hurry through a cut in the fabric; and what caused their injuries.

There are many elements and claims to the Dyatlov Pass story, and many theories including UFOs, top-secret government conspiracies, and unusual natural phenomena. I won’t be addressing those claims (in fact as we will see there’s really no need to invoke those anyway), but instead focusing on the plausibility of the newest theory as promoted in the new Discovery Channel show: That a Yeti was responsible for the mass murder of nine Russians in 1959.

The Group’s Injuries

hiking 754_225pxRussian Yeti: The Killer Lives begins with the premise that the injuries sustained by the skiers were so grave and extraordinary that could only have been inflicted by an inhumanly strong creature. The shows says that according to the autopsy, the hikers suffered “horrific injuries” including fractured ribs and a fractured skull attributed to a “compelling natural force” (in other words, some sort of blunt force trauma such as a fall or being crushed).

Unfortunately for the show, photographs of the dead hikers undermine most of the sensational claims. The photographs are crystal clear: the bodies were not “mutilated”. They were actually in fairly good shape for a party who had skied into the remote area, froze to death, and were discovered months later after exposure to the elements. Those who had cracked ribs were found at the bottom of a 13-foot ravine, and could have sustained the injuries falling into it, or at some point after their death during the months before they were found when buried by an avalanche or the weight of wet snow crushed them.

While a fractured skull might be considered “horrific” depending on your comfort with bodily trauma, according to the Mayo Clinic  .  .  .

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discovery channel_150pxAs of this writing, the Discovery Channel schedule shows the following broadcast dates and times for Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives:

  • 6/8/2014 @ 8:00 pm
  • 6/9/2014 @ 12:00 am
  • 6/9/2014 @ 3:00 am

Bigfoot Hoax – How Far Will It Go?

H/T:

steven_novellaBy via NeuroLogica Blog

I admit I am curious to see how this will ultimately play out. Rick Dyer is at it again. In 2008 Dyer claimed to have found a dead bigfoot. He claimed that scientific analysis was coming, he had the body for investigation, he held a press conference promising evidence.

finding-bigfoot_250pxIt was soon discovered that the bigfoot body was simply a rubber suit – the whole thing was a crude hoax, surprising only the most gullible bigfoot believers.

Amazingly, Dyer is now at it again. He claims to have shot and killed a bigfoot, that he has the body, that the BBC has footage of the whole thing, and that a team of scientists have thoroughly examined the body.

If his claims are true, then Dyer has the smoking gun evidence that bigfoot is real. Of course, at this point no nerd can resist quoting that Klingon saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Does Dyer honestly expect anyone to believe that a proven bigfoot hoaxer really caught bigfoot this time? Where so many have failed before, a hoaxer alone has struck gold.

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 9.00.01 PM_250pxAgain we see the same pattern – the promise of stunning evidence, but only tidbits of unconvincing evidence so far. Dyer is showing only a short grainy video he took with his cellphone, and a couple of closeup photos of a furry face and back. You can see these images here as part of this local news interview.

In the interview Dyer is full of the expected excuses. He has promised a press conference, but he is having difficulty organizing everyone’s schedule. You see, if you are the scientist to have performed the first anatomical analysis of a bigfoot, you have to schedule the press conference around your daughter’s soccer game.

He promises that the BBC has stunning video – but they are not going to show it, or even acknowledge it, until their movie comes out.

The scientists are not talking because they all signed non-disclosure agreements.

He says he has the body back now, the scientific analysis being complete, and it is standing in the next room – but his video camera does not reach. I guess he didn’t consider that anyone might want to see it during the video interview.

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I’m Not Making This Up: Why I’m Skeptical of Eyewitnesses

Sharon_hill_80pxBy via The Huffington Post

One of the major disconnects between those who practice effective skepticism and those who believe in paranormal possibilities (or are emotionally invested in unexplained mysteries) is over the topic of anecdotes and witnesses’ testimony.

tape recorder brain_300pxIf there is one fact that I wish we could all accept early in life, I would vote for drumming in the idea that memory is not like a tape recorder. If we learn this truth about the human mind, we could avoid so much trouble.

Memory is constructed. Pause a moment and let that sink in.

Memory is not objective, it is constructed by our own brains. It is not burned, or ingrained, or seared into it, as much as we would like to think that is the case. The truth is less precise, uncertain, and disturbing.

Most of us rely on our short- and long-term memories nearly every moment of the day. For the most part, our recollections are simple and good enough to get us through situations and day-to-day activities without much trouble, but false memories are ubiquitous.

I don’t trust my memory at all. I’ve seen it fail epically. That’s why I try to keep logs and records of what happened and when. I’ll take pictures of things I want to remember and write copious notes.

I’ve had a journal since I was 7. There have been times when I looked back on events and was dumbfounded at the dispute between what I thought had happened and what I wrote happened in my journal. For a moment, I doubt my journal! But that’s incorrect. My current memory had evolved into what I wanted it to be for my state right now. It had been reconstructed each time I accessed it in the intervening years.

memory falseI’d bet many of you think you have a great memory — that you can relate your observations clearly and accurately. But you’re wrong, too. Don’t feel bad about this! We are all imperfect when it comes to observing and remembering. Our brains are incredible things but they function mostly for self-preservation and propagation of the species, and only moderately well as an accurate memory collector.

Several paranormal subjects such as hauntings, UFO sightings, and Bigfoot reports rely solely on witnesses’ recollections. Sometimes years or decades pass, but the memory is still taken as credible and true because the people seem sincere. I’ve lost count of how many times the argument has been put to me that the eyewitness reports for Bigfoot are so compelling and voluminous that there must be something to them. Frequently, they present the really poor argument that if this was a court of law, Bigfoot would be ruled genuine. It’s more complicated than that.

Not only are our memories generally far from perfect, perception is poor too.

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Bigfoot Files: Science, Skepticism and the True Believers

bigfoot right there
Sharon_hill_80pxBy Sharon Hill via The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry – CSI

There is a small, elite group of skeptics who know their Bigfootery. That’s right, the Bigfoot skeptics.

bigfoot-2Scoff if you will, but skeptical advocacy through talking about Bigfoot and other cryptozoological creatures is an important job. Those who joke about Bigfoot and how we are wasting our time researching and discussing it must have missed the Internet and popular TV shows lately. Bigfoot is booming.

Thanks to pop culture making this a hot topic, the public finds it more acceptable—people are talking about it, it has its own TV shows, there must be something to it.

Bigfoot is arguably one of the more plausible cryptids out there. While he tends to behave a bit supernaturally at times (can’t catch the bugger in real life or even on camera), a hairy hominoid is not an impossibility—just REALLY unlikely.

I thought it was time to update what has happened in the Bigfoot drum circles in the past year since Melba Ketchum released her astoundingly disappointing and inept study of Bigfoot DNA. You can read the chronology here. It’s quite a story, interesting for reason far beyond that of genetics and a new species (a claim which is not justified based on this one highly questionable set of tests).

finding-bigfoot_250pxKetchum’s credibility faded fast upon the reveal, even though she kept promoting more and more ridiculous events, like the “Matilda, the Sleeping Bigfoot” press conference. If the Ketchum team had sought assistance and advice from knowledgeable scientists, they would have been told in no uncertain terms this is the absolute worst way to appear trustworthy. Science should not be done by press conference, especially if your Bigfoot looks an awful lot like a Wookie (from Star Wars).

I have digressed. Back to the science of Bigfoot. Yes, there is some, it can be done.

All eyes and hopes in the Bigfoot world turned to Dr. Bryan Sykes of Oxford University in the U.K. who was well underway with the Oxford Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project. Sykes accepted samples of what was suspected to be an unknown hominid from around the world. Using his special technique to remove contamination and analyze the inner core of a single hair, he has reached results that have garnered far more weight that the Ketchum results.

Why? Because he had credibility to begin with. Sykes is genuinely interested in the answer, not hung up on a pre-existing conclusion. He has not been deceptive, or continually feeding us a whiney train of gripes about how the world is out to get him. There were no conspiracies mongered in this case. There were tests and there were results. It was objective science.

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Dragon Video

steven_novellaby Steven Novella via Skepticblog

These make for light-hearted posts, but occasionally it’s fun to deconstruct viral videos purporting to show something fantastical on the internet. Most such videos are one of the big three – ghosts, UFOs or Bigfoot (or some other cryptozoological creature).

dragon_250pxThe current video is in the cryptozoological category – a video purporting to show a dragon flying through the skies of Truro England.

Obviously the prior-probability here is vanishingly small, and so it would take a very compelling video to have any chance of being taken seriously, and this video does not come close. Before I take a close look at the video itself, let’s explore the plausibility of the claim.

Dragons are gigantic flying predators, at least in their current Western cultural image. Such creatures if they existed would be voracious. Flying is a high-energy activity and animals pay for the benefits of flight by needing to eat incredible amounts of calories. Bald eagles, for example, eat about 10% of their body weight per day. If we extrapolate that to a dragon, even if light for its size so it can fly, would require hundreds of pounds of food per day.

Each dragon would require a large hunting territory. If there is even a minimal breeding population of dragons, they would frequently be seen in the skies hunting for prey or carrion. Saying they live underground or are stealthy hunters, first is an argument from ignorance to explain a lack of evidence. green_dragon-20112027Further, it is not plausible such creatures could survive under ground (and why would they fly), and you can only be so stealthy when you are that size.

There are also the usual objective to cryptozoological creatures – why are there no specimens of such creatures, no bones, no carcasses, no nests, scat, or remains of their eating? We can invent a special reason why each bit of evidence is lacking, but Occam favors the conclusion that these creatures just don’t exist.

We also have the historical record of dragons, meaning their existence in culture, as a guide. We can clearly see the image of dragons evolve over time, going in different directions in different cultures. Real creatures have a more stable representation in art over time – the artistic style may evolve, but a lion is always a lion. (Here, of course, I am talking about historical time frames of hundreds of years, not evolutionary time scales.)

The Video

It is reasonable to conclude from existing evidence that dragons probably do not exist (as cool as it would be if they did), but let’s take a look at the video with an open, but critical, mind.

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Superstitious Beliefs Getting More Common

by Emily Sohn via Discovery News

THE GIST

ghost 820_250px

  • Believing in the paranormal is actually more normal than you might think and may be growing more common.
  • Contrary to common stereotypes, there is no single profile of a person who accepts the paranormal.
  • It might be in our nature to look for patterns and meaning in strange and random events.

It’s that time of year again. Ghosts, goblins and other spooky characters come out from the shadows and into our everyday lives.

For most people, the thrill lasts for a few weeks each October. But for true believers, the paranormal is an everyday fact, not just a holiday joke.

To understand what drives some people to truly believe, two sociologists visited psychic fairs, spent nights in haunted houses, trekked with Bigfoot hunters, sat in on support groups for people who had been abducted by aliens, and conducted two nationwide surveys.

Contrary to common stereotypes, the research revealed no single profile of a person who accepts the paranormal. Believers ranged from free-spirited types with low incomes and little education to high-powered businessmen. Some were drifters; others were brain surgeons.

paranormal_america_book_300pxWhy people believed also varied, the researchers report in a new book, called “Paranormal America: Ghost Encounters, UFO Sightings, Bigfoot Hunts, and Other Curiosities in Religion and Culture.”

For some, the paranormal served as just another way of explaining the world. For others, extraordinary phenomena offered opportunities to chase mysteries, experience thrills and even achieve celebrity status, if they could actually find proof.

“It’s almost like an adult way to get that kidlike need for adventure and exploration,” said co-author Christopher Bader, of Baylor University in Waco, Texas. “Other people are sitting at home and renting videos, but you’re sitting in a haunted house that is infested with demons.”

“These guys who are hunting Bigfoot are out chasing a monster,” he added. “I could see the real appeal in going out for weekend and never knowing what you might find.”

There is no hard data on how common it is to believe in the paranormal, which Bader and co-author Carson Mencken define as beliefs or experiences that are not fully accepted by science or religion.

But trends in television programming offer a sense that there is a widespread interest in . . .

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5 Thing I’ve noticed about… Cryptids

By via The Soap Box

Cryptids.

Creatures that are often times so elusive that there is no physical proof of their existence, and has lead most people to believe that they don’t exist at all.

Now despite the fact that there is actually no proof that any cryptids exist, there are certain things that I have noticed about them, and have narrowed down to five things.

So here are five things I’ve noticed about cryptids:

5. They are masters at Hide & Go Seek.

finding-bigfoot_250pxIf a cryptid was to ever enter a hide & go seek contest, they would probably win it, because they are masters at hiding.

Despite the fact that many of the areas of the world where various cryptids are known to live are actually very well explored, no one can actually seem to capture a living or dead cryptid.

A couple of good examples of this would be the search for the Loch Ness Monster and the search for Bigfoot.

Despite the fact that there have been multiple explorations of where Bigfoot is suppose to live (which is apparently everywhere now) or the use of motion sensor triggered trail cameras where they are suppose to roam, no one has ever been able to produce any solid proof that Bigfoot exists, other then a few grainy photos taken by people whom weren’t even looking for the creature and could easily be something else entirely, and some photos and videos and footprints that are clear, but have either been found out to be hoaxes, or are strongly suspected of being hoaxes.

As for the Loch Ness Monster, that creature is so good at hiding scientists couldn’t even find it after all of Loch Ness was scanned with sonar devices.

4. They’re big business

ccc

Mothman is a legendary creature first reportedly seen in the Point Pleasant area of West Virginia from 15 November 1966 to 15 December 1967. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothman)

Cryptids have made people a lot of money.

There have been many popular TV shows dedicated to finding cryptids, or has a cryptid as one of the characters. There have also been multiple products that feature cryptids as well (including shirts and toys). You can even pay people to take you on expeditions into these places where these cryptids are suppose to inhabit, and the sites where some of these creatures are suppose to live (such as Loch Ness) have become huge tourist attractions, attracting thousands of wannabe monster hunters every year hoping to catch a glimpse of one of these elusive creatures.

Of course lets not forget the millions of dollars spent on high tech equipment to try to find these alleged creatures.

Plus, who here can honestly say that the creation of the Star Wars character Chewbacca wasn’t in some ways inspired by the descriptions of Bigfoot.

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Judging Paranormal Claims: Group-think Is Not a Good Thing

Sharon_hill_80pxBy via The Huffingtonpost

When I do interviews for paranormal-themed podcasts or radio-shows, I find myself stressing the difference between my skeptical approach and the paranormalist approach. It’s worlds apart, starting with the core questions we ask. The paranormalist will ask, “Can we find evidence of paranormal activity here?” I start out with, “What, if anything, happened?” I have not begun with the assumption that paranormal activity has played any role in this situation whatsoever. If you do assume that, you are biased from square one. You are far less likely to come to a sound conclusion.

ElmerGhost02_250pxThe paranormal researcher, I have found, often is interested in their subject area because of a personal experience. These experiences are emotional and confusing and probably highly disturbing to the individual. Once a person has this type of personal experience and believes it was of a paranormal nature (a haunting, seeing a UFO, or encountering Bigfoot, for example), it is impossible for anyone to reason them out of that interpretation. The memory becomes ingrained as a paranormal experience. It’s unlikely they will change that interpretation as their life progresses. Paranormal belief can be reinforced by positive feedback from social aspects, such as acceptability of the belief in pop culture or a social group of others who feel the same. Thus, we have diehard fans of paranormal reality TV and members of amateur paranormal research groups all over the place.

group think_150pxThe emotion and time people invest in their paranormal interest is not unlike a church or even a skeptics society — we feel a deep comfort in being around like minds and having our ideas bolstered.

However, being surrounded only by those who see things the same as you do is a severe roadblock to fair assessment of paranormal claims. We end up mired in group think with no innovative thoughts (which is why I also engage with pro-paranormal people). In order to get the best answer, we must put our ideas up for deliberation, engage in critical thought, and eliminate the subjective bias in the approach.

Many of us have grown up believing in the paranormal. We read all the expert’s books. We listened to the gurus and believed the eyewitnesses. Not too many of that crowd picked up the skeptical literature that addressed the flaws in those beloved paranormal ideas. There are good reasons why we tend only to hear what we want to here.

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The Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Film

The true history behind the iconic Bigfoot film that launched the legend.

Brian DunningBy Brian Dunning via skeptoid

Read podcast transcript below or listen here

You’ve seen it a hundred times: the iconic picture of Bigfoot striding heavily through the clearing, arms swinging, head and shoulders turned slightly toward the camera. Bigfoot 815This famous image is frame 352 of a 16mm silent color film shot in 1967 in northern California by rancher Roger Patterson, accompanied by his friend, Bob Gimlin. The impact that this film has had on Bigfoot mythology is inestimable; and correspondingly, so has its impact upon paranormal, cryptozoological, and pop culture mythologies in general. I might well not be doing the Skeptoid podcast today if the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film had not turned legend and fancy into concrete, tangible, see-it-with-your-own-eyes reality.

Whether or not Bigfoot exists is one question — the answer to which has not exactly whitened the knuckles of science — but the authenticity of the Patterson-Gimlin film is something else. If Bigfoot were known to be a real animal, an investigation into the authenticity of the film would make sense. If Bigfoot were known to not exist, then it would be logically moot to study the film at all; it must be a fake.

Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin

Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin

But for today’s purpose, we’re going to brush aside the larger question (which should never be done in real science) and focus only on this detail. We’ll assume that the existence of Bigfoot is an open question (a big assumption), and just for fun, let’s see what we can determine on whether this famous film clip is a deliberate hoax, or whether it shows a real animal, or whether there might be some other explanation. Maybe it’s a misidentification, or an elaborate film flaw, or an unknown third party hoaxing Patterson and Gimlin. There are many possibilities.

Roger Patterson died of cancer only a few years after the film was shot, and never offered any clue other than that the film was genuine. Bob Gimlin remained silent for 25 years, and ever since he began speaking about it in the 1990s he has firmly stated that he was unaware of any hoax, but allowed for the possibility that he may have been hoaxed himself. Nobody else is known to have participated, and so the only two people whom we can say for certain were present when the film was shot are both stonewalls. So we must look elsewhere.

The original film no longer exists (only copies), and there is no record of anyone ever having possessed the original print. We don’t know why, but we’re left without the original film’s leader, which would have included the date when it was developed. Thus, we have only Patterson’s word for when it was developed, so we can’t verify that the film was shot and developed on the days he claims it was. The original also would have included any other shots that were taken, such as possible alternate takes. If these were ever seen, we’d know for a fact that it was faked. So that’s one more line of evidence that is unavailable to us.

No one has ever produced documentation like receipts showing when and where the film was developed. We know when and where Patterson rented the camera, but that’s not really in dispute. He had it in his possession for plenty of time before and after the alleged date of the filming. So that’s yet another dead end. Patterson covered his tracks very effectively (no Bigfoot pun intended).

He was quite a character, and had always been. He’d been . . .

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Spike TV show features nine teams of Bigfoot hunters

Via UPI.com

finding-bigfoot_250pxLOS ANGELES, July 24 (UPI) — Nine teams will compete for $10 million in an effort to determine if Bigfoot actually exists in the United States, Spike TV announced Wednesday.

The show, “10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty,” premieres in January, TV Guide reported. The show will be hosted by Dean Cain, star of “Lois & Clark,” who is described as “team leader.”

Bigfoot or sasquatch is a so-far mythical, ape-like animal said to live somewhere in the woods of North America. While the Pacific Northwest is the most fertile area for sasquatch sightings, there have been tales from other parts of the country, including Pennsylvania.

Photos and film of the creature have mostly proved to be hoaxes or wishful thinking.

Spike said the show will feature different Bigfoot “hot spots” every week. The prize is being underwritten by Lloyd’s of London.

[END]

via UPI.com

How the attempt to sequence “Bigfoot’s genome” went badly off track

bigfoot right there
Humans interbred with an unknown hominin in Europe, then crossed the Bering Sea — say what?

by via Ars Technica

finding-bigfoot_250pxWhen we first looked at the report of the bigfoot genome, it was an odd mixture of things: standard methods and reasonable looking data thrown in with unusual approaches and data that should have raised warning flags for any biologist. We just couldn’t figure out the logic of why certain things were done or the reasoning behind some of the conclusions the authors reached. So, we spent some time working with the reported genome sequences themselves and talked with the woman who helped put the analysis together, Dr. Melba Ketchum. While it didn’t answer all of our questions, it gave us a clearer picture of how the work came to be.

The biggest clarification made was what the team behind the results considered their scientific reasoning, which makes sense of how they ran past warning signs that they were badly off track. It provided an indication of what motivated them to push the results into a publication that they knew would cause them grief.

Melba Ketchum and the bigfoot genome

The public face of the bigfoot genome has been Melba Ketchum, a Texas-based forensic scientist. It was Ketchum who first announced that a genome was in the works, and she was the lead author of the paper that eventually described it. That paper became the one and only publication of the online journal De Novo; it’s still the only one to appear there.

The paper itself is an odd mix of things. There’s a variety of fairly standard molecular techniques mixed in with a bit of folklore and a link to a YouTube video that reportedly shows a sleeping Sasquatch. In some ways, the conclusions of the paper are even odder than the video. They suggest that bigfeet aren’t actually an unidentified species of ape as you might have assumed. Instead, the paper claims that bigfeet are hybrids, the product of humans interbreeding with a still unknown species of hominin.

bigfoot_200pxAs evidence, it presents two genomes that purportedly came from bigfoot samples. The mitochondrial genome, a small loop of DNA that’s inherited exclusively from mothers, is human. The nuclear genome, which they’ve only sequenced a small portion of, is a mix of human and other sequences. Some are closely related, others quite distant.

But my initial analysis suggested that the “genome sequence” was an artifact, the product of a combination of contamination, degradation, and poor assembly methods. And every other biologist I showed it to reached the same conclusion. Ketchum couldn’t disagree more. “We’ve done everything in our power to make sure the paper was absolutely above-board and well done,” she told Ars. “I don’t know what else we could have done short of spending another few years working on the genome. But all we wanted to do was prove they existed, and I think we did that.”

How do you get one group of people who looks at the evidence and sees contamination, while another decides “The data conclusively prove that the Sasquatch exists”? To find out, we went through the paper’s data carefully, then talked to Ketchum to understand the reasoning behind the work.

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Man believes he found fossilized Bigfoot head

facepalm 827Here is a story about a man and a rock. He takes his rock with him everywhere he goes. He believes his rock is special. After you read this story you will think HE is special.

*FacePalm*

Mason I. Bilderberg (MIB)


By Mark Saal via Standard-Examiner

OGDEN — “I found a fossilized Bigfoot skull.”

A journalist can go his or her entire life waiting to hear those six magic words. And yet, on a recent weekday afternoon, that very thing happened.

Todd May holds a rock.

Todd May, of Ogden, dropped by the offices of the Standard-Examiner to see if someone would be interested in a story about a fairly impressive fossil find. After showing off a couple of digital photos, May offered six even more compelling words — “Do you want to see it?” — followed by the motherlode of sentences: “It’s out in the trunk of my car.”

In the trunk of your car? Do I want to see it? Does Bigfoot make in the woods?

May proceeded out to his car, where he popped the hatchback on his Nissan 300 ZX. Peeling back an American flag draped across the cargo area of the vehicle, he hefted a black piece of luggage that resembled an oversized bowling-ball bag, lowering it to the asphalt of the parking lot with a clunk. He struggled to pull a noggin-sized, seemingly ordinary rock out of the bag, held it up and turned it over.

A face.

The rock looks vaguely like a smaller version of one of those Easter Island heads. Pronounced forehead. Large, flattened nose. What could only be described as a chiseled chin and jaw line.

It’s been about six weeks since May found the rock near the mouth of Ogden Canyon.

“I was looking for some fossils,” the 49-year-old “semi-retired” private investigator explains, “and I was kind of drawn to something in the ground.”

It was a rock, sticking up out of the dirt.

“So I went and dug it out, and you couldn’t tell what it was ’cause the head was face down; all you could see was the back of it,” he said. “But when I dug it out you could see the face, perfect.”

May believes his weighty prize — it tips the scales at 70 pounds — is a fossilized Bigfoot skull. What compels him to make such a claim? Because he says he has seen a couple of the nonfossilized, live skulls — attached to their monstrous, hairy bodies — in recent years.

“I’ve been tracking and watching for Bigfoot,” May said. “I’m very curious, interested in that, and wanted to get footage on it ’cause I’ve ran across him a couple of times.”

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Supernatural Creep: The Slippery Slope to Unfalsifiability

Sharon_hill_80pxBy Sharon Hill via The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) – Sounds Sciencey

I’m taking a step beyond sciencey with the following topic. What happens when science doesn’t cooperate with your subject area? Researchers of unexplained events may get frustrated and disenchanted with the scientific process when the eyewitness accounts they collect are too weird to explain via conventional means. They go unconventional.

hill-supernatural-creep-1Captain Jean-Baptiste Duhamel led the hunt for a beast that was attacking and devouring victims in the Gevaudan, France, in 1794. He had a problem. He could not catch and kill the man-eating monster. Being a proud man, he had to justify why he could not conquer this particular foe. Since the option that he was an inadequate huntsman was not acceptable, the creature must be supernatural in its abilities to escape his capture. The characteristics of the beast were exaggerated—it was huge, cunning, and not just an ordinary wolf. Captain Duhamel left defeated by what must truly be an extraordinary beast.

Captain Jean-Baptiste Duhamel led the hunt for a beast that was attacking and devouring victims in the Gevaudan, France, in 1794. He had a problem. He could not catch and kill the man-eating monster. Being a proud man, he had to justify why he could not conquer this particular foe. Since the option that he was an inadequate huntsman was not acceptable, the creature must be supernatural in its abilities to escape his capture. The characteristics of the beast were exaggerated—it was huge, cunning, and not just an ordinary wolf. Captain Duhamel left defeated by what must truly be an extraordinary beast.

The cognitive dissonance experienced by the French captain is reflected today by those who can’t capture Bigfoot. When normal processes and causes fail to satisfactorily explain events or answers to questions, then the reasoning slips beyond nature, into super nature, beyond the testable claims of science.

I call this “supernatural creep.” Although, I swear I’m not the first one to name it as such. I searched to find where I have seen this referenced before. (If anyone knows, please email me so I can give the originator due credit.) Once I noticed this kind of reasoning, I saw it frequently. Wherever I come across this concept, it reveals a bit about human nature:

If you have to choose between the belief or a rational explanation, the rational explanation may be that which gets rejected.

hill-supernatural-creep-2_200pxThe effect of supernatural creep can be seen with UFOs, anomalous natural phenomena (Fortean topics), and in bizarre stories categorized as “high strangeness” (which I’ll explain a bit further on in this piece). A perfect example is that of “black dogs” whose appearance is spectral or demonic and is associated with either protection from or nearness of bad spirits. Could it be just a big black dog? Witnesses perceive that it’s more than that. When the circumstances feel uncanny, we slip into thoughts of the supernatural. An enjoyable book that illustrates supernatural creep quite nicely is Three Men Seeking Monsters by Nick Redfern. Fun stuff.

With phantom black dogs, there is a connection to local legends and ghost stories. A modern example of the dispute about supernatural creep is evident in the Bigfoot/Sasquatch community.

Bigfoot proponents generally fall into two camps: those who search for a real animal that functions as nature intended (called ‘apers’) and those who entertain the option that the entity is not natural (paranormalists).

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Mystery, Mayhem, and Quantum Physics: The Bermuda Triangle and the Hutchinson Effect

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By via Lucid Dreams and Saturn Skies

Well, it was inevitable. Anyone who writes about the weird stuff that happens in this world has to, at some point, tackle two topics: Bigfoot, and the Bermuda Triangle. Not that the two are in anyway related; rather, they’re both arguably the most popular paranormal subjects out there. Usually I try to find more exotic fare for the blog, but when a friend mentioned the Bermuda Triangle in conjunction with something called the Hutchinson Effect, I decided I’d dive in since it was a two-fer.

The Bermuda Triangle is such a facet of pop culture at this point that I won’t spend a ton of time describing it. It is described as a big slice of ocean (between half a million and 1.5 million square miles) that forms, big shock here, a triangle, with the vertices centered in Bermuda, Miami, and San Juan. The Triangle is alleged to be the site of strange phenomena: metallic fogs, strange magnetic disturbances, freak storms, and unexplained lights in the sky. Believers claim that the Triangle swallows ships and planes whole, leaving not a trace for befuddled rescuers to recover.

Believers posit various reasons for the phenomena. Perhaps Atlantis sank beneath the waves under the Triangle, or there’s an alien colony on the sea floor abducting people for nefarious purposes. Since those of us who don’t regularly sport tinfoil hats can easily discount those two, let’s move on to a third, more entertaining option: the Hutchinson Effect.

Known was the H-Effect, it was allegedly discovered by an eccentric inventor named John Hutchinson, who was monkeying around with the various electronic gizmos that he packed his apartment with over the years when, lo and behold,  something (it’s never said what) whacked him in the shoulder! Turns out whatever it was had started levitating due to…something. Something that can also cause unlike materials (metal and wood, for example) to meld together, metals to melt without heat, and other strange phenomena, including metallic fogs similar to those allegedly reported above the Bermuda Triangle.. The best explanation that supporters can come up with for the alleged effect is that scalar waves tap into zero point energy, thus producing the phenomena observed. How exactly that happens, they have no explanation.

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Weird Word Salad: The Terminology of the Unexplained

Sharon_hill_80px via The Huffington Post

Paranormal investigators say they look for evidence of paranormal activity. That phrase always confounded me. I don’t quite get it. What does it mean when someone says they have evidence of “paranormal activity”? And, how do you know it’s not normal activity that you just couldn’t ferret out?

ElmerGhost02_250pxThere is a problem with how the word paranormal is used because it is often utilized in a way that is perhaps not consistent with the original intent.

Language evolves. Let me take a shot at unpacking some of these definitions about unexplained phenomena. See if it makes sense.

“Paranormal” and other terms for strange goings-on have changed over time. The word paranormal was coined around 1920. It means “beside, above or beyond normal.” Therefore, it’s anything that isn’t “normal” — or, more precisely, it is used as a label for any phenomenon that appears to defy scientific understanding. Ok, right there is a tripping point. Whose scientific understanding? The observer who is calling it “paranormal”? If so, that is problematic as a theoretical physicist sees things a lot differently than a dentist or a police officer. So, it appears too subjective to be precise. Each person may have their own idea of what constitutes “paranormal activity”.

The term “paranormal” used to just mean extrasensory perception and psychic power but, since the 1970s in particular — thanks to TV shows and proliferation of the subject in popular culture — the term expanded in scope to include all mysterious phenomena seemingly shunned by standard scientific study. It was a convenient way to bring many similarly peculiar topics under one heading for ease of marketing. So today, it can include everything that sounds mysterious: UFOs, hauntings, monster sightings, strange disappearances, anomalous natural phenomena, coincidences, as well as psychic powers.

images.jpgUFONot everyone agrees that fields of study such as UFOlogy or cryptozoology (Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster and the like) should be considered paranormal but, if we think about the fact that after all this time, we have yet to document what these things actually are, that is beyond normal. Therefore, paranormal (arguably).

What appears as paranormal could essentially one day become normal. This has happened before with meteorites and still mysterious but likely explainable earthquakes lights and ball lightning. Or, we might not have developed the right technology or made the philosophical breakthrough yet to provide an explanation for some seemingly paranormal events. Perhaps we may find an instrument that can measure whatever it is that results in “hauntings” of a particular type. (Notice that I didn’t say an instrument that detects ghosts — an important distinction.)

Contrasted with paranormal is “supernatural.” To say something is supernatural is to conclude that the phenomenon operates outside the existing laws of nature. We would call such phenomena . . .

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The Internet: A Superhighway of Paranormal Hoaxes and Fakelore

Sharon_hill_80pxBy Sharon Hill via The Huffington Post

It’s been a hot time for hoaxing thanks to the Internet. With Photoshop, citizen journalism sites, YouTube, and postboards for the latest photo leaks, it is way too easy to send a lie half way around the world before the truth can pull its shoes on.

This iconic image of the Lock Ness monster was hoaxed by Hugh Gray in 1933. (source)

In this post, I wrote about a busy week in paranormal-themed news. In chatting with a correspondent — Jeb Card, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Anthropology Department of Miami University — over a shared interest in the state of the paranormal today or “occulture,” we got to talking about the state of hoaxing.

Make no mistake, hoaxing has always been around. Hoaxers have been trying to fool people by displaying their special skills (scams) or stupendous stories since the beginning of civilization, I think. But there is a particular history of hoaxing in occulture. Lately, it has gotten more frequent (or we sure notice it more), more absurd (to outdo the last one) and more involved (because the payout can be big while the scrutiny greater).

There are many famous hoaxes from this scene. It’s hard to say if it’s more common now than in the past. Some of the hoaxes, notes Jeb, have been very influential in the creation of popular folklore. Big ones have defined UFOlogy: Roswell and the Men in Black. Not everyone would conclude these are deliberate hoaxes — there is a grain of truth to them — but they went way out of control and now there are hoaxed videos, documents and tales based on these events that never happened the way the lore says it did. Stories like that, which have taken on a life of their own as if they were true, are called “fakelore.”

bigfoot-2The Bigfoot field is trampled over with fake footprints, stories, casts, photos and videos. It can’t be denied that the majority of Bigfoot stories are unbelievable, without supporting evidence, or obvious hoaxes. Every new bit of Bigfoot “evidence” these days makes us roll our eyes and say “SERIOUSLY!?” This reputation is damaging to those who truly believe something is out there to be found. The credibility of Bigfoot researchers scrapes the bottom of the barrel. The history of hoaxes colors this topic deeply when we realize that the seminal story of “Bigfoot,” Ray Wallace’s trackway, was revealed to be a hoax.

Actually, the same can be said for the Loch Ness Monster. The iconic Nessie photo — the long-neck arching out of the rippling water — was hoaxed.

A longtime follower of the occulture fields, Jeb says he can’t think of a time when these communities weren’t awash with . . .

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Foiled Again: Lake Monster, Bigfoot Body and Alien Humanoid All in One Week

Sharon_hill_80pxBy Sharon Hill via The Huffington Post

It’s been a busy week in the world of the weird. Not a good one for those who hope to see the dawn of new worldviews or a shift in the paradigm. In one week, three stories topped the abnormal news headlines — all three hyped stories fell apart.

While the stories are still unfolding, it’s clear that they turned out to be nothing as promised.

Click image to view the fake monster video.

Click image to view the faked monster hump video.

First, there was this video of a lake creature swimming among boaters supposedly in Lough Foyle in Ireland. The video, taken by students one of which has the suggestive name Conall Melarkey, shows a hump moving rapidly through the water. The story gained widespread attention. The problem is that no animal can swim this way, no animal looks like this and, in consideration of the circumstances, the best explanation is that someone is towing a hump through the water. In all respects, this video is unbelievable. That is, it appears to be faked.

This second story is a bit more “inside baseball.” Many people will remember the Georgia Bigfoot Hoax of 2008 when two men, including Rick Dyer, teamed up with Bigfoot tracker Tom Biscardi to announce to the world they had a Bigfoot body in a freezer. There was even a press conference where Tom was adamant this was not a hoax, it was “the real deal.” Well, it was a hoax. Hard to fathom how a rubber suit with animal entrails would fool anyone for very long.

Rick has been telling anyone who will listen yet again that he has another Bigfoot body. This beast he supposedly shot during filming of a documentary called Shooting Bigfoot. The majority of Bigfoot enthusiasts did not buy it — once bitten, twice shy — and berated Dyer for his claims and his pay-per-view antics. The movie has come out and… there’s no body. But ever the profiteer, Dyer is still looking for money even though he says he is quitting the ‘footer world.’ Bye. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

alien603 836This week was the Citizens Hearing on Disclosure, an unofficial governmental hearing that provided a forum for testimony from believers in the reality of UFOs and alien visitation. It was nothing we haven’t heard before (and been unimpressed by). But, one very interesting aspect of this tale was about a six-inch, strange-looking mummified body, human-like but not quite right. The ribs, the head, the bone growth was strange. DNA testing showed it was human and of local Chilean origin where it was said to have been found in the Atacama desert. The Atacama humanoid was featured in the new movie “Sirius,” also about extraterrestrial visitation to Earth.

Study of the specimen’s bones by one expert delivered a shocking conclusion: the being was six to eight-years-old. Either the bone conclusions are wrong or we have a very bizarre find here.

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Inside Source Claims “Shooting Bigfoot” Documentary Climax is Just a Big Hoax

By Greg Newkirk via Who Forted? Magazine

Jeff, a squatter who appears prominently in the film as a “weird homeless guy”, but as it turns out.. was actually part of the crew, says "I can tell you right now, all the shooting and stuff like that is staged.”

“I can tell you right now, all the shooting and stuff like that is staged.”

Since the Sasquatch hunting documentary Shooting Bigfoot premiered at Toronto’s “Hot Docs” festival this week, the cryptozoological community has been buzzing with widespread allegations that the film wasn’t so much a documentary as it was science fiction, but all they had to base their opinions on were a few broken promises, previous hoaxes, and inconclusive footage.. until now.

Thanks to the investigative prowess of J.R. Bob Dobbs Jr, a man involved in the filming of the movie has come forward claiming that infamous Bigfoot hunter (and hoaxer) Rick Dyer and director Morgan Matthews coordinated an elaborate hoax for the film’s climactic scene, a tense moment during which Dyer has long claimed to have actually shot and killed a Sasquatch.

Dobbs met up with Jeff, a squatter who appears prominently in the film as a “weird homeless guy”, but as it turns out.. was actually part of the crew tasked with being a “lookout” during the pivotal “Bigfoot killing” scene.

“They had me right on that hill back there watching for people… they radioed in letting me know before they did anything, so I knew what was going on,”  he tells Dobbs, adding that he had to walk in and out of the camp all night, and there wasn’t a Squatch in sight.

dyershooting_250pxDobbs’ offscreen partner tells Jeff that internet commentators were picking apart the film’s final scene, saying, “at the end you see some sort of scuffle and Rick with his gun, and then Morgan Matthews, the director, gets knocked over by something.. can’t really tell what’s going on, and then at the end he’s in a hospital. Doesn’t really explain what happened to him.”

“Did you see him beat up or anything like that?” she asked.

“He actually walked out of here just fine, got in the truck, put everything away – he was carrying at least 80 pounds of gear, at least… I can tell you right now, all the shooting and stuff like that is staged.”

Jeff went on to mention that the money shot was actually filmed multiple times and that Dyer’s gun wasn’t even firing live ammunition, a fact that would certainly make it hard to kill a Bigfoot, unless they’re just sensitive to loud noises.

MORE (Including Video) . . .

bigfoot hideand seek_300pxRelated articles

Brewer offers $1M Bigfoot reward

via Fox News

bigfoot hideand seek_300pxSasquatch has been on the lam for far too long and brewer Olympia Beer is out to catch the elusive beast.Evan and Daren Metropoulos, owners of Pabst Brewing Company and Olympia Beer, are offering a $1 million reward for “the safe return of Bigfoot.”

“We have been sharing the same backyard for over a century and we believe it’s time to do what has never been done,” the company announced on its website. “That is to offer a one million dollar reward to anyone who can ensure the safe capture of Bigfoot.”

According to the official rules of the contest, the winner must prove “the irrefutable existence of Bigfoot at some time during the period beginning January 1, 1989 through March 31, 2014.”

And they are serious about “irrefutable” evidence.

The rules state that acceptable proof must be in the form of DNA evidence (hair, blood, tissue or saliva) that does not have the same genetic markers and DNA sequence as any known species ever discovered. The evidence may also include ‘Visual Proof’ of a live physical body.

“We have been operating in the Northwest since 1896, so we know firsthand how important Bigfoot is to the people here,” the owners told TheDrinksBusiness.com.

The contest will run for one year, finishing at the end of March 2014. The website states the $1M reward will be payable at $25,000 per year for 40 years. Happy Hunting, folks.

Where’s the Beef? Thoughts on the Lack of Paranormal Evidence

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By Todd Misura via Who Forted? Magazine

When skeptics and believers alike look for evidence in the paranormal fields of inquiry the overwhelming question regards evidence. Where is it? What is it? What should be counted as evidence?

We have video, picture, and eyewitness testimonials, and even physical evidence in some cases, but it never seems to hold up. Why is that? It’s possible that the reason we don’t have evidence that even believers can stand behind a hundred percent is tri-fold. I’m going to break down several topics of interest, and give my thoughts on why we might not have any usable evidence. Well, public evidence at least.

Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Other Hairy Dudes

bigfootronaldsmWhen Sasquatch researchers go searching for clues or evidence, one of the biggest finds happens to be the reason for the creature’s nickname: footprints in soft dirt, sand along creek or riverbeds, and other soft marshlands. We seem to have many footprints, but not any real fur, bone, scat, or even a body. When it comes to Sasquatch sighting and there is visual evidence of video or pictures, it seems to be very blurry or out of focus.  When we do have fur or hair to be analyzed it comes back inconclusive at best, American Black Bear at worst.

So, what gives? Why is solid evidence of Bigfoot so hard to find? Here’s a few thoughts:

Sasquatch is metaphysical in nature

Perhaps Sasquatch is a physical creature only part of the time, almost as if he is half here, and half in another dimension. There are strange stories of Sasquatches and other creatures being picked up or dropped off in UFOs, arriving or leaving in green mists, and other just plain bizarre acts of arrival or disappearance. This is a strange enough idea, but if Sasquatch were metaphysical they could only leave partial evidence behind, like, say.. footprints.

Sasquatch is entirely supernatural, a woodland spirit

When one is sighted by human eyes, they’re as real as anything else, just ask a witness. But once photographed or recorded on video, the recordings lose definition or clarity, particularly while the subject is on camera. Of course, there are hoaxes out there, and we can and do get duped every now and then by those that are particularly well-done, but what of the unsolved evidence that really stands out?

The Sasquatch or Yeti tend to be the focal point of the shot,  they’re blurry yet usually identifiable, though other pictures taken with the camera or even in the same shot, things are in focus and clear. If these creatures are either metaphysical or entirely supernatural, I would hazard a guess that they might have the ability to, well.. “blur” reality. Or perhaps have the ability to “jam” electronics if they want to be photographed. Hell, maybe it’s a passive thing.

If we can believe that something is a form of supernatural or metaphysical creature or entity, we can also believe they will be able to warp or effect reality if strong enough. If Sasquatch is a personification of the earth or woodlands, technology isn’t exactly its best friend…

Unidentified Flying Objects

Seth Shostak: The UFO BestiaryThe field of ufology makes me the most curious as to the things that are really going on, specifically why we don’t have particularly good evidence. This is especially perplexing considering the high speed cameras and advanced technology widely available to observe and record strange things everywhere.

One reason for lack of concrete evidence is actually quite simple:  they don’t land on the ground and are just really good at avoiding being shot down or captured.

Aside from the theory of being fantastic escape artists,  there could be several other reasons why we lack good evidence of extraterrestrial craft.

It’s an entirely natural phenomena on Earth

It’s possible that the UFOs we see in photographs and video clips are just a natural occurrence that we don’t quite understand. The spheres, lights, and even tube-like objects reported could be a form of plasma, a biological response to certain geological conditions, or even simply a kind of weather related phenomena.

The uniform shape, colors and speeds of similarly shaped objects can’t be denied, though. When someone actually manages to snap a photo, or are lucky enough to capture a video, they seem to blend into the skies they occupy, and video footage is usually too shaky to examine properly. Those particular objects might lend themselves to military craft. Good luck getting information about that.

They are multi-dimensional, or have a “bubble” around them.

We’ve seen UFOs capable of some astounding feats, many of which are completely un-repeatable by modern technology if piloted. The 90 degree turns and sudden bursts of speed exhibited by these objects tend to make me think that they are either not fully here, or have shields of some sort. The occupants of most space vehicles will tell speak of the toll it takes upon the body for exiting and re-entering our atmosphere. It’s certainly not the thickest around, but the g-force exerted during some of these maneuvers would crush a man. So, to have a machine perform these maneuvers with occupants is unheard of unless they have anti gravity tech that compensates.

Extraterrestrials, Ghosts, and Other Creatures

This is a catch all for the entities that are extremely random or unclassifiable that happen to turn up in blurry photos from time to time. We have the extraterrestrial peeping toms, the cave goblins, the duende, or the ghost haunting an old prison. Again, with these creatures, no real evidence seems to exist.

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I Doubt It and Maybe You Should, Too

Sharon_hill_80pxBy Sharon Hill via The Huffington Post

On the hill behind my yard where I grew up, there was an Arborvitae tree in the shape of Sasquatch — small pointy head, huge shoulders and massive long body.

The outline of this monstrous Bigfoot looming in the darkness caused me a little anxiety as I rushed from the car to the house. I grew up fascinated by monsters, ghosts and strange things. They seemed real, out there in the woods, in the cemetery, or just beyond my senses. in search of title_300pxI checked out every book about monsters, haunted houses and UFOs from my school libraries. I learned about Loch Ness and psychic powers on In Search Of… with Leonard Nimoy. I can’t really explain why I was interested in these things or why I still am. But I’m certainly not the only one. Ghost hunting and monster tracking is a popular hobby these days thanks to cable TV programming.

My views about the paranormal and the mysterious have radically evolved since childhood. My opinion has swung like a pendulum from belief to disbelief and I progressively ended up in the center. I learned how to apply scientific skepticism. Skepticism is a process of evaluating things by emphasizing evidence and the tools of science. It’s an approach that I personally adopted and practiced. Why? Because I didn’t want to be fooled. I didn’t want to swallow a comforting story when I would rather have the truth.

The younger me, the Bigfoot believer, assumed that Bigfoot is out there. Why not? I mean, hundreds of people tell of their experiences of seeing, smelling, hearing or otherwise experiencing something that they attribute to our popular description of Bigfoot/Sasquatch. bigfoot-1Books are filled with stories. Stories are a gift to humanity but they are far from being hard data. Pictures of footprints and dark blobs are questionable. There’s hair here and there. There is also that famous film — named for those who captured the images, Patterson and Gimlin — taken of a large hairy creature striding rapidly across a California creek bed only to glance back and reveal her face for a moment.

I don’t have enough information to make a pronouncement on all the evidence. But it’s a logical error to say “why not?” when we really need to ask “why?” Why should I believe in this extraordinary creature? In the 50 years after that iconic film, the evidence for Bigfoot still consists of mainly lots of stories that can’t be double-checked. The rest of the evidence remains questionable — possible mistakes, misinterpretations, and a slew of hoaxes. After 50 years, we are no closer to finding Bigfoot. There is no body. The clues do not converge on a solid explanation. As much as I want to think that the creature is out there, strong evidence for it is still lacking.

Skepticism is a valuable thing to practice in proportion — not too much, not too little. This approach can be highly valuable when you are dealing with medical treatments, consumer products or investment. You can apply the same approach to other questionable claims like UFOs or psychics.

Sure, there is a downside. When you dig into the mysteries, they become . . .

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(Leonard Nimoy) In Search Of… Bigfoot

Crypto Creatures And Local Legends Lurk In Destination America’s New Series “Monsters And Mysteries In America”

Via ibtimes.com

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Sheepsquatch

Sheepsquatch

SILVER SPRING, Md., March 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Mysterious shadows. Screams in the night. A hair-raising sense that something is watching. Stories of the unknown capture our imagination and curiosity in Destination America’s new series MONSTERS AND MYSTERIES IN AMERICA, premiering Sunday, March 24 at 10 PM E/P. From all across the country emerge tales of close encounters with legendary creatures, from horrific monsters and ancient spirits to alien sightings and unexplained paranormal phenomena. Thirty percent of Americans believe that a beast such as Bigfoot is living in our forests*; in a quaint Montana town, reports of an elusive lake serpent have persisted every year since 1889; last year, UFO sightings were reported in 36 of 50 states in one week alone.** Featuring first-person accounts with everyday people who believe they have come face to face with real-life folktale fiends, MONSTERS AND MYSTERIES IN AMERICA travels our country’s untamed wilderness to tell of its storied past.

“Each legend in MONSTERS AND MYSTERIES IN AMERICA, including those of Sheepsquatch, Batsquatch, Skunk Ape, and Mothman, may have been passed down from generation to generation but these aren’t your average scout master’s campfire tales,” said Marc Etkind, SVP of Content Strategy for Destination America. “Local legends are a product of their environment and no country is a better muse for this kind of fear than America, with its dense forests, desert wasteland, and hundreds of miles of uninhabitable wilderness where any evil could hide.”

Each episode focuses on a different American region and features stories of people who claim to have encountered creatures of local legend. The first two episode includes:

Appalachia premieres Sunday, March 24 at 10 PM E/P

  • Sheepsquatch (Breckenridge County, KY) – The border between southwest Virginia and West Virginia is an area shrouded in mystery and folklore, but few mysteries are more unusual and intriguing than that of the Appalachian white beast known to the locals as Sheepsquatch. Dakota Cheeks and his best friend Ricky Joyce become prey to the legendary white beast during a weekend hunting trip.
  • UFO/Little Green Men (Kelly and Hopkinsville, KY) – One quiet summer evening in 1955, the Sutton family farm is invaded by unexpected visitors. The family is hardly prepared for what they encounter – a small, green creature with glowing yellow eyes, about 3.5 feet tall with pointed ears and long arms raised high in the air. And he’s not alone. At first, the family is captivated by this transcendental moment… but evil quickly takes over.
  • Mothman (Point Pleasant, WV) – An innocent drive down a country road turns into a nightmare for Faye LaPort and her siblings as they come face to face with the legendary Mothman. Sightings of the Mothman began in 1966 and continued for more than a year, electrifying and baffling the entire region of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Although the hype has died down since then, the sightings have not.

MORE . . .

Quick Bigfoot DNA Update

by Daniel Loxton, Feb 14 2013 via Skepticblog

bigfoot-2The internet was buzzing [on February 13, 2013] with the long-anticipated1 release of a paper purporting to present DNA evidence that “conclusively proves that the Sasquatch exist as an extant hominin and are a direct maternal descendent of modern humans.”2 With DNA sourced, according to the paper, from among “One hundred eleven samples of blood, tissue, hair, and other types of specimens,” this is the most prominent Sasquatch DNA case to date.

Full expert review of the team’s data and methods should emerge in the coming days. In the meantime, science writers identified several serious red flags within hours of the paper’s release.

To begin with, it seems that the paper was roundly rejected by mainstream science journals. “We were even mocked by one reviewer in his peer review,” complained lead author Melba Ketchum.3 So how did the paper get published? Although Ketchum insists that this fact did not influence the editorial process, it seems she bought the publication.4 In fact, her paper is the only paper included in the inaugural “Special Issue” of the DeNovo Scientific Journal. Benjamin Radford notes that no libraries or universities subscribe to the newly minted DeNovo, “and the journal and its website apparently did not exist three weeks ago. There’s no indication that the study was peer-reviewed by other knowledgeable scientists to assure quality. It is not an existing, known, or respected journal in any sense of the word.”5 Invertebrate neuroethologist Zen Faulkes notes further that DeNovo lists no editor, no editorial board, no physical address—not even a phone number. “This whole thing looks completely dodgy,” he writes, “with the lack of any identifiable names being the one screaming warning to stay away from this journal. Far, far away.”6

Beyond these irregularities, there are also signs of serious problems with the paper’s data, methods, and conclusions.

MORE . . .
Also see: Bigfoot Witnessed in Texas (GhostTheory.com)

Crop Circles Explained

By Benjamin Radford via LiveScience

According to some estimates, crop circles appear every week somewhere around the world. The strange circles and patterns appear mysteriously overnight in farmers’ fields, provoking puzzlement, delight, and intrigue for both locals and the news media. The circles are mostly found in the United Kingdom, but have spread to dozens of countries around the world in past decades. But who — or what — is making them?

This massive 780-foot (238 meters) crop circle appeared in 2001 in the remote area of Milk Hill in Wiltshire, England. The elaborate design is composed of 409 circles that form a pattern called a double, or six-sided, triskelion, which is a motif consisting of three interlocking spirals.CREDIT: Handy Marks | public domain

This massive 780-foot (238 meters) crop circle appeared in 2001 in the remote area of Milk Hill in Wiltshire, England. The elaborate design is composed of 409 circles that form a pattern called a double, or six-sided, triskelion, which is a motif consisting of three interlocking spirals.
CREDIT: Handy Marks | public domain

[…]

… the first real crop circles didn’t appear until the 1970s, when simple circles began appearing in the English countryside. The number and complexity of the circles increased dramatically, reaching a peak in the 1980s and 1990s when increasingly elaborate circles were produced, including those illustrating complex mathematical equations such as fractals. [Image Album: Mysterious Crop Circles Gallery]

Theories & explanations

Unlike other mysterious phenomenon such as psychic powers, ghosts, or Bigfoot, there is no doubt that crop circles are “real.” The evidence that they exist is clear and overwhelming. The real question is what creates them.

People inspect crop circles within a golden wheat field in Switzerland. The photo was taken on July 29, 2007.CREDIT: Jabberocky | public domain

People inspect crop circles within a golden wheat field in Switzerland. The photo was taken on July 29, 2007.
CREDIT: Jabberocky | public domain

Crop circle enthusiasts have come up with many theories about what creates the patterns, ranging from the plausible to the absurd. One explanation in vogue in the early 1980s was that the mysterious circle patterns were accidentally produced by the especially vigorous sexual activity of horny hedgehogs. Some people have suggested that the circles are somehow created by incredibly localized and precise wind patterns, or by scientifically undetectable Earth energy fields and meridians called ley lines.

Many who favor an extraterrestrial explanation claim that aliens physically make the patterns themselves from spaceships; others suggest that they do it using invisible energy beams from space, saving them the trip down here. Still others believe that it is human, not extraterrestrial, thought and intelligence that is behind the patterns — not in the form of hoaxers but some sort of global psychic power that manifests itself in wheat and other crops.

While there are countless theories, the only known, proven cause of crop circles is humans. Their origin remained a mystery until September 1991, when two men confessed that they had created the patterns for decades as a prank to make people think UFOs had landed (they had been inspired by the 1966 Tully UFO report). They never claimed to have made all the circles — many were copycat pranks done by others — but their hoax launched the crop circle phenomena.

Most crop circle researchers admit that the vast majority of crop circles are created by hoaxers. But, they claim, there’s a remaining tiny percentage that they can’t explain. The real problem is that (despite unproven claims by a few researchers that stalks found inside “real” crop circles show unusual characteristics), there is no reliable scientific way to distinguish “real” crop circles from man-made ones. [Related: Crop-Circle Artists Becoming High Tech]

MORE . . .

A review of the top paranormal events of 2012

By via paranormal.about.com

Fright_300px_250px_250pxIT’S EASY TO forget how many paranormal news stories are reported with a year until you see a roundup like the one following. And these are just the top stories; there were many, many more, proving that 2012 was another remarkable year for the unexplained. There were ghost sightings, ghost pictures and video, dozens and dozens of Bigfoot sightings and lots of alleged Bigfoot pictures and videos. There were also many sightings of lake monsters, chupacabras, and other undefined crypto-creatures. There were reports of psychic phenomena, work by psychic detectives, stories of exorcisms and miracles… and a lot more, as you’ll see in this roundup of the entire year.

GHOSTS, POLTERGEISTS AND HAUNTINGS

Ghost photos and video. The ghost of an 18th century nun was photographed in Galway. The ghost of Guildford was photographed in thick fog. A ghostly photo was captured by students from Triabunna High School. The ghost of Glastonbury pub was allegedly also caught on camera.

Ghostly apparition caught on camera at Perth tearoom hailed as best evidence of paranormal in 10 years

A ghostly apparition caught on camera at Perth tearoom was hailed as best evidence of paranormal in 10 years, while a daylight photo from a gazebo at the Weems-Botts Museum shows a ghostly figure. Guests captured yet another spooky visitor in a picture at the haunted Glastonbury pub.

Workers at the Manchester Arms pub in Hull’s Old Town claimed to have captured a ghost on video. A grandmother was astonished when a photo from her granddaughter’s christening seemed to show the ghost of her late husband. And reporter Vanessa Bolano was working on a story about a haunted plantation when she discovered a ghost on film. Then some said a ghost appeared in a photo taken at the Stansted pub.

A ghostly message left on a frosted up window?

A ghostly message left on a frosty window?

Poltergeists. A grocery throwing poltergeist was reported in a Brompton IGA store. A woman pleaded for help in her own poltergeist nightmare. And a phony video of a woman who claimed she had a haunted toaster went viral.

Haunted places. Noise from a “ghost train” drove residents mad in Kerry. A couple tried to sell a house plagued by the ghost of the Titanic captain who was born there. And a family in Toms River fled their house that they said was haunted.

The Sports Legends Museum was speculated to be haunted. Screaming spirits, unexplained voices and ghosts were reported in the kitchen of a New Mexico haunted saloon. Kansas City was named haunted house capital of the world by USA Today, while Hertford claimed to be the most haunted town in the U.K. And ghosts doled out advice at the Hotel Galvez in Galveston.

GhostGirl_250pxGhost hunting. Grant Wilson explained why he left the Ghost Hunters Syfy show. And a ghost hunter died after exposure to bat and rodent droppings during an investigation.

Life after death. A University of California, Riverside philosophy professor, John Martin Fischer, was awarded a $5 million grant to study life after death. And two quantum physics experts claimed that near-death experiences occur when the soul leaves the nervous system and enters the universe. A woman claimed that her dead son was guiding her hand to send her messages from beyond the grave. Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University and the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil analyzed brain activity of spirit mediums.

PSYCHIC PHENOMENA AND PROPHECY

hallucination1024_250pxProphecies. December 21 came and went without an apocalypse or advance in human enlightenment, nullifying any fears about the Mayan calendar. NASA did its best to debunk the prophecy, but mild panic arose in some places.

Mind over matter. A woman in Pittsburgh stunned doctors with her ability to control a robotic arm with her thoughts alone.

Psychic phenomena. A Forest Lake mum won $1.3 million in Gold Lotto after a psychic prediction. Remote viewers in Nevada helped solve a California murder. A US intelligence officer revealed that a psychic was used to track spy Jean-Philippe Wispelaere during a secretive operation.

MORE . . .

Bigfoot totally exists, everybody!

Gravity's Wings

So apparently some “scientist”, and I use the term loosely, has sequenced some DNA that’s totally from a Sasquatch.  Take a look:

A team of scientists can verify that their 5-year long DNA study, currently under peer-review, confirms the existence of a novel hominin hybrid species, commonly called “Bigfoot” or “Sasquatch,” living in North America. Researchers’ extensive DNA sequencing suggests that the legendary Sasquatch is a human relative that arose approximately 15,000 years ago as a hybrid cross of modern Homo sapiens with an unknown primate species.  [From the press release]

Seems legit.  Although wouldn’t it be better to prove that Bigfoot exists before you start sequencing it’s DNA?

Also, how did they get the Sasquatch DNA sample in the first place?

Ketchum says her DNA sample was obtained from a blueberry bagel left in the backyard of a Michigan home that, according to the owner, sees regular visits from…

View original post 147 more words

“Bigfoots are real. The evidence shows it.”

via KVAL CBS 13

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – Bigfoot is no stranger to the Pacific Northwest: about a third of reported sasquatch sightings happen in Oregon and Washington.

The legend – or search – has gained new popularity from “Finding Bigfoot” on Animal Planet.

“It won’t take long, a few years tops,” Portland native and bigfoot hunter Cliff Barackman told a Springfield High School club. “These things are real, and soon everyone is going to know about it.”

Barackman admits to a lifelong obsession with sasquatch, an obession he now gets to indulge by traveling the country with three other bigfoot experts in search of ‘squatch.

He is used to dealing with skeptics, but during a recent visit to Springfield High School, barackman was preaching to the choir at the Sasquatch Brotherhood, a school club.

“It’s like religion,” said Austin Helfrich of the Sasquatch Brotherhood. “You try to spread religion. Sasquatch, you try to spread it around, and have other people start to believe in it. And it just spreads like wildfire.”

“Finding Bigfoot” has helped fan the flames: 1.3o million people tuned in for the premiere of its third season.

“Certainly more people are becoming believers because of the show,” Barackman said. “I don’t encourage belief. I encourage weighing the evidence and coming to your own conclusion.”

The Sasquatch Brotherhood’s members have come to the conclusion that bigfoot is out there, and like many fellow enthusiasts, they feel there’s a good chance he calls the Pacific Northwest home.

“Lots of forested areas, very wet, mostly lots of animals,” Helfrich said. “I think it would be an easy location for sasquatches to live in.”

Helfrich and his friends admit they get some odd looks from other students.

But the general public’s skepticism doesn’t seem to bother them – or Barackman. They are all convinced that sasquatch’s days in the shadows are numbered.

“I don’t have a PhD. I don’t care what other people think of me,” Barackman said. “Bigfoots are real. The evidence shows it.”

Bigfoot Sightings & Pictures: Hoaxes and Cases of Mistaken Identity

via LiveScience

Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, is a giant ape-like creature that is said to roam the Pacific Northwest. There is scant physical evidence that such creatures exist, but Bigfoot buffs are convinced that they do, and that science will soon prove it.

While most sightings of Bigfoot occur in the Northwest, the creatures have been reported all over the country. There are many native myths and legends of wild men in the woods, but Bigfoot per se has been around for only about 50 years. Interest in Bigfoot grew rapidly during the second half of the 20th century, spurred by magazine articles of the time, most seminally a December 1959 “True” article describing the discovery of large, mysterious footprints the year before in Bluff Creek, California.

If you don’t believe in Bigfoot (singular or plural), you’re not alone. According to a 2007 Baylor Religion Survey, only 16 percent of Americans said that Bigfoot “absolutely” or “probably” exist, with 44 percent responding “probably not” and about 40 percent saying that they “absolutely [do] not” exist. (In contrast, over twice as many people believe in ghosts or astrology.) [Infographic: Tracking Belief in Bigfoot]

Eyewitness evidence

By far the most common evidence for Bigfoot is eyewitness reports. Unfortunately, this is also by far the weakest type of evidence. Psychologists and police know that eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable, and that people are simply not very good at accurately describing something they saw — especially at a distance in low light and when the subject is partially hidden by trees and foliage (as most Bigfoot reports are).

A frame from the film by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin.

Anyone can be mistaken, and pilots, policemen, priests, and public officials are no exception. Most Bigfoot researchers admit that the vast majority of sightings are mistakes or hoaxes (up to 95 percent, by some estimates). Still, they insist that a Bigfoot must be hiding in that tiny portion of sightings and reports that can’t be easily explained.

Photographic evidence

The most famous image of a Bigfoot is the short film taken in 1967 by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin. Shot in Bluff Creek, Calif., it shows a dark, man-sized and man-shaped figure striding through a clearing. Widely considered a hoax, it remains to this day the best evidence for Bigfoot. However this poses a serious blow to the film’s credibility: if it’s real, and these Bigfoot creatures are really out there wandering in front of people with cameras, it’s very suspicious that better films and videos haven’t emerged since Lyndon Johnson’s administration.

MORE . . .

Top 10 Things You Can’t Prove But People Believe Anyway

by Lara Webster via listverse

Empirical proof helps us validate what we should and shouldn’t believe, but sometimes cold hard facts just aren’t available. Even when we don’t have solid proof, however, humans still tend to extend their sense of belief to certain phenomenon. From things we could never see with the human eye to life forms that have yet to be verified, here are the top 10 things we believe despite a lack of verifiable proof.

10 – Aliens

While conspiracy theories and UFO sightings abound, we don’t have verifiable proof that other lifeforms exist in the space beyond our own planet. Still, many people firmly believe that there is life on other planets, or that life did exist at some point in the past. From video claims of inexplicable objects in the sky, to personal testimonials from people who say they’ve been taken into a spacecraft, we want to believe that there is more to life than what is on our own planet even if it has yet to be scientifically proven as fact.

9 – Astrology

The notion of astrology is not a new one; people have been making major life decisions by the stars for centuries. Without any real proof that the way the planets and stars are aligned will actually shape a person, we believe that if we are born under a certain zodiac sign we are bound to a particular disposition and set of skills. Daily horoscopes and astrological charts have become a guiding tool for many people, who truly think that one’s birth date determines her fate and can help her make day-to-day decisions.

8 – Cryptids

Cryptids are animals whose existence has never been proven by science, such as Bigfoot or the infamous West Virginia Mothman. Enough sightings and amateur photographs exist that we consider it possible that these creatures really do walk or swim the Earth with us, even though they don’t exist in museums and aren’t officially acknowledged. Until the Loch Ness monster or another cryptid is captured, they will continue to be merely mystical creatures of which no proof exists.

7 – Ghosts

Anyone who claims to have seen a ghost might say that there is proof of spirit life, but skeptics would argue that any ghostly sighting can be explained away by lighting tricks or other logical reasons. At the end of the day, there may never be indisputable, tangible proof of ghosts. While ghost hunters have electronic tools meant to measure ghost activity, results are open to interpretation. Yet, we believe in ghostly encounters and phenomenon – that when things go bump in the night or move suddenly, a ghost can be the cause.

6 – Psychic Mediums

Psychic mediums purport to talk to people who have died and gone to “the other side.” Mediums convey details that they supposedly hear from the deceased to loved ones who are still alive. Despite any way to really measure how psychics come by the information they doll out, we believe that they are someone seeing and hearing signs from dead people. While psychic mediums offer a less than 100% accuracy rate, the desire to speak to our dead family and friends is so great that we overlook their mistakes and grant them the benefit of the doubt.

5 – Karma

Whether you call it karma, or just “what goes around comes around,” people have a common belief that the behavior you exhibit today somehow informs what happens to you down the road. With no more than anecdotal proof, we think that acting morally or fairly now will yield positive things for us in the future. Despite the simple fact that we can never prove that karma exists, it remains a principle that many people live by in the hopes that they can reap the benefits it promises.

MORE . . .

Bigfoot Bounty: Spike TV Offers $10 Million For Irrefutable Proof Of Legendary Creature

via huffingtonpost.com

What would it take to get you interested in heading to remote wooded areas of America to try and prove the existence of the legendary creature known as Bigfoot? How about $10 million dollars.

Spike TV is offering the largest cash prize in television history for its new reality show, “10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty.”

Hoping to whet the appetites of Bigfoot hunters everywhere, the cable television channel has partnered with the international insurance market, Lloyd’s of London, to put teams of explorers on the track of the elusive, tall, hairy, human-like animals that allegedly live in the wilderness areas of North America.

“If this series idea had come in without that Lloyd’s of London mark attached to it, I don’t think we would have taken it seriously, but that’s no small chunk of change,” said Tim Duffy, Spike TV’s senior vice president of original series.

“What it signified to us was an opportunity to attract the best scientists, zoologists, trackers and Bigfoot hunters in the world in an attempt to prove or disprove its existence,” Duffy told The Huffington Post.

[…]

The 10, hour-long episodes of “10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty” are in pre-production now, with teams being assembled that will travel to various locations in the U.S., applying different methods in the search for their evasive quarry. The show has a scheduled launch on Spike TV in the fall of 2013.

In an odd twist for a new television series, besides the outrageous dollar amount prize for the first person to prove Bigfoot’s reality, Duffy said he and other Spike TV executives actually hope the show doesn’t last more than one season.

“Yes, absolutely! No one has ever done anything like this before, and that’s what I love about this show,” he said. “We’re going to do this right, not fast, and we’re not going to do it purely for entertainment purposes.”

Certainly one question that must be considered is: Does the $10 million bounty depend on whether Bigfoot is captured dead or alive? In some states, like Texas, it’s perfectly legal to shoot the alleged creature.

“We haven’t gotten to that point yet with Lloyd’s of London. Because they are the guarantors of this prize, they have a huge say in it. We’re still in the process of figuring out what the requirements will ultimately be for the retrieval of the bounty by whoever is successful bringing Bigfoot in,” said Duffy.

The most controversial piece of evidence to date that has been …

MORE (including photos and video) . . .

Watch this analysis of the Patterson-Gimlin 1967 Bigfoot film

Eyewitness to the Paranormal: The Experimental Psychology of the ‘Unexplained’

via CSI | The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry

Research in experimental psychology has shown that many paranormal sightings fall directly within the realm of eyewitness memory. Experiments reveal that such “sightings” derive from the psychology of the observers rather than from supernatural sources. Experiments show these proclivities.

If many sources on cable TV and the Internet are to be believed, the world is currently under attack by a variety of supernatural forces, apparently acting in concert.

Such reports are ubiquitous. Aliens appear at night on deserted country roads. The ghosts of hoary and defunct Scottish peers turn up on castle battlements, demanding retribution for ancient defeats at the hands of the Sassenach. Bigfoot, all eight or nine feet of him, runs past a given cabin on his way to some cryptozoological tryst—and all of it winds up on television.

What, exactly, is going on?

There is a difficulty in explaining many of these paranormal “sightings.” At first, one might expect that the witnesses to these phenomena would be residents of the wilder shores of psychological instability; however, many of the people who report these things are sober, educated, reasonable individuals. Many are ac­tively adverse to publicity, and an ap­preciable fraction of them passes polygraph tests. In short, many of these witnesses—in fact, probably the majority of them—are neither lying nor mentally ill. They have normal nervous systems, and they are convinced that they have experienced something extraordinary.

Logically, therefore, there are only two viable explanations for the events these people claim to experience. Either Bigfoot, the ghosts, and the Gray aliens actually exist, or the individual witnesses to these exotic beings have actually observed and misinterpreted relatively prosaic phenomena. If the latter is the case, then these misinterpretations are very literally eyewitness errors and, as such, are governed by the same psychological principles that operate in eyewitness processes in the forensic world.

Eyewitness Memory and the ‘Paranormal’

On average, most of us think of eyewitness memory in relatively narrow terms, such as criminal identification via police lineups. In fact, the eyewitness field has much broader significance both in the criminal justice system and beyond. Every human phenomenon involving reportage—from recall of childhood memories in psychotherapy to the observation of a planetary transit—coalesces around some kind of account of some variety of human experience. This means that the processes involved in eyewitness cognition per se are continually operating, albeit at a relatively subtle level, through the entire fabric of human existence.

Unfortunately, eyewitness memories are frequently wrong. In my own work I have found that people, including and perhaps especially jurors, tend to think of the human nervous system as some kind of digital recorder, faithfully reproducing what we’ve actually seen when, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Eighty years ago (Bartlett 1932) it was demonstrated that human memories become reconfigured—changed in terms of gist, brevity, and personal belief. Our memories lose detail; they become shorter; and what we think we’ve seen frequently replaces what we’ve actually seen. These aspects of human memory have been reconfirmed by modern studies (e.g., Ahlberg and Sharps 2002) and have been shown as far back as the 1970s to be directly important for eyewitness memory; for example, Loftus (1975) showed that witnesses will typically “remember,” and confidently re­port, the color of a barn in a given scene as red even when there is no barn in the scene to be observed. This illustrates the effect of personal belief on an individual’s memory. People generally expect barns to be red; therefore, when Loftus asked experimental witnesses for the color of the barn they had seen, their imaginations obligingly provided the most typical color even though no actual barn had been presented to them.

Our recent experimental research has underscored this effect (Sharps et al. 2009; see also Sharps 2010). In studies of witness errors derived from a violent crime scene, the most prevalent error
(an average of nearly two errors of this type per witness) was a mistake in the physique or clothing of a gun-wielding perpetrator. However, the second most prevalent error (an average of 1.25 errors of this type per witness) was one of “inference, extrapolation, or imagination”: in other words, the average witness simply made up, out of whole cloth, one and one-quarter nonexistent “facts” about a given violent crime.

‘Seeing’ the Supernatural

Human memory, therefore, is malleable: what you see is not necessarily what you get. This concept has obvious relevance to sightings of the “unexplained.” It is clearly possible for a human being …

MORE . . .

Anecdotal (testimonial) Evidence

via The Skeptic’s Dictionary

Testimonials and vivid anecdotes are one of the most popular and convincing forms of evidence presented for beliefs in the supernatural, paranormal, and pseudoscientific. Nevertheless, testimonials and anecdotes in such matters are of little value in establishing the probability of the claims they are put forth to support. Sincere and vivid accounts of one’s encounter with an angel or the Virgin Mary, an alien, a ghost, a Bigfoot, a child claiming to have lived before, purple auras around dying patients, a miraculous dowser, a levitating guru, or a psychic surgeon are of little value in establishing the reasonableness of believing in such matters.

Anecdotes are unreliable for various reasons. Stories are prone to contamination by beliefs, later experiences, feedback, selective attention to details, and so on. Most stories get distorted in the telling and the retelling. Events get exaggerated. Time sequences get confused. Details get muddled. Memories are imperfect and selective; they are often filled in after the fact. People misinterpret their experiences. Experiences are conditioned by biases, memories, and beliefs, so people’s perceptions might not be accurate. Most people aren’t expecting to be deceived, so they may not be aware of deceptions that others might engage in. Some people make up stories. Some stories are delusions. Sometimes events are inappropriately deemed psychic simply because they seem improbable when they might not be that improbable after all. In short, anecdotes are inherently problematic and are usually impossible to test for accuracy.

Thus, stories of personal experience with paranormal or supernatural events have little scientific value. If others cannot experience the same thing under the same conditions, then there will be no way to verify the experience. If there is no way to test the claim made, then there will be no way to tell if the experience was interpreted correctly. If others can experience the same thing, then it is possible to make a test of the testimonial and determine whether the claim based on it is worthy of belief. As parapsychologist Charles Tart once said after reporting an anecdote of a possibly paranormal event: “Let’s take this into the laboratory, where we can know exactly what conditions were. We don’t have to hear a story told years later and hope that it was accurate.” Dean Radin also noted that anecdotes aren’t good proof of the paranormal because memory “is much more fallible than most people think” and eyewitness testimony “is easily distorted” (Radin 1997: 32).

Testimonials regarding paranormal experiences are of little use to science because selective thinking and self-deception must be controlled for in scientific observations. Most psychics and dowsers, for example, do not even realize that they need to do controlled tests of their powers to rule out the possibility that they are deceiving themselves. They are satisfied that their experiences provide them with enough positive feedback to justify the belief in their paranormal abilities. Controlled tests of psychics and dowsers would prove once and for all that they are not being selective in their evidence gathering. It is common for such people to remember their apparent successes and ignore or underplay their failures. Controlled tests can also determine whether other factors such as cheating might be involved.

If such testimonials are scientifically worthless, why are they so popular and why are they so convincing? There are several reasons.

MORE . . .

Here is a great podcast:

Robert T. Carroll, Ph.D. discusses anecdotal evidence (8 minutes).

Click here to open in a new window or listen right here:

Via Skepticality – the official podcast of Skeptic magazine and the Skeptic Society

Do Ghosts Exist?

by Brian Dunning, Aug 30 2012 via Skepticblog

Since so many of my acquaintances know me as “that skeptic guy”, it’s not rare for one of them to challenge me with an experience they had, often reporting something like a ghost experience and saying “Disprove THAT, Mr. Skeptic.”

Of course, this completely misrepresents what I do, and where the process of skeptical science leads us. I’m far less qualified than my friend to prove or disprove his ghost experience; I wasn’t even there. In fact I’m always a little disappointed to find that my friends think I’m obsessively out to tell people that they’re wrong. If there is one thing that obsesses me, it’s the challenge of finding solutions to interesting mysteries — and telling people that they’re wrong is not relevant to that process. Proving alternate explanations wrong is collateral damage when a mystery is eventually solved, but it’s never the goal.

Yet, plenty of unsolved phenomena exist, and so the field for possible explanations remains wide open. Perhaps some strange experiences are caused by ghosts. However, I don’t think that’s a very satisfactory hypothesis, and the main reason is that the rationale for the existence of ghosts is — forgive the term — illusory.

Here, in brief, are a few of the reasons I give most often why it’s never right to jump to the conclusion of “It was a ghost”:

  1. There is no theory in any life science that makes a prediction that ghosts exist.
  2. Ghosts have no properties that can be described.
  3. There has never been a reproducible ghost event. This makes it unlikely that the perceived phenomenon was a real one.
  4. The logic that most people use to arrive at a conclusion of “ghost” is faulty. It’s usually “Something inexplicable happened, what else could it be?” A ghost is an unknown. By no logic can a set of unknown properties be considered consistent with your experience. Any other unknown – leprechauns, sorcery, Bigfoot – is an equally valid match.

Continue here: Skepticblog » Do Ghosts Exist?.

The danger of pretending to be Bigfoot: You can get hit by a car. And die.

By JIM MANN/Daily Inter Lake

A man dressed in a military-style “Ghillie suit” who was attempting to provoke a Bigfoot sighting was struck by two vehicles and killed on U.S. 93 south of Kalispell Sunday night.

“He was trying to make people think he was Sasquatch so people would call in a Sasquatch sighting,” Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Schneider said. “You can’t make it up. I haven’t seen or heard of anything like this before. Obviously, his suit made it difficult for people to see him.”

The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office identified the man as Randy Lee Tenley, 44, of Kalispell.

Schneider said Tenley’s motivations were ascertained during interviews with friends who were not in the immediate area but were nearby when the man was struck at about 10:30 p.m.

“Alcohol may have been a factor,” Schneider said. “Impairment is up in the air.”

Tenley was on the southbound side of the highway, about a half mile south of the highway’s intersection with Rocky Cliff Road.

“He was in the right-hand lane of travel and the vehicle was unable to avoid him and struck him,” Schneider said of the first vehicle driven by a 15-year-old girl from Somers.

A second vehicle driven by a 17-year-old Somers girl also struck Tenley as he laid on the highway.

Ghillie suits are commonly used by military snipers and some that are advertised on the Internet have a Bigfoot-like appearance.

“This one was a store-bought version, just a commercial Ghillie suit that was pre-made,” Schneider said.

Tenley was pronounced dead at the scene.

More: Sasquatch stunt takes a tragic turn on highway – Daily Inter Lake: Local/Montana.

Bigfoot Sighting in Washington State

Video and narrative courtesy ledouxtube:

While visiting my family in Washington state, my brother and I were taking turns riding my parent’s quad. He came back claiming he saw bigfoot. I thought he was making it up until we played back the video. I don’t know if someone was in the woods messing with us or something, but whatever it is freaks me out!

via Bigfoot Sighting in Washington State – YouTube.

Where’s the science in the search for Sasquatch?

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency recently issued a statement indicating it knew of no evidence of the existence of “aquatic humanoids.”

This remarkable statement was prompted by calls from viewers of Animal Planet’s “Mermaids: the Body Found,” which claimed such creatures exist. A swarm of television programs, listed as “scientific” and “reality based,” perpetuate similar pseudoscientific ideas that are gobbled up by viewers, especially kids.

This incident illustrates a dangerous trend: Viewers’ acceptance of claims made by untrained laypeople as authoritative, and their simultaneous rejection of work done by experts in science, history and politics. This idea argues that egg-headed specialists — with a lifetime of focused academic work, peer-reviewed scholarship and study — are hiding the “truth” from us so that the only way to get answers is from down-home folks with little schooling but good sense. In other words, formal education is bad.

Keep Reading: Where’s the science in the search for Sasquatch? | NJ.com.

Why Do So Many Cultures Have a Version of Bigfoot?

More than a quarter of Americans believe in Bigfoot, a recent poll found. They claim this legendary bipedal ape, a “long lost relative” of humans, evades detection in remote woodland areas. Although it may seem strange to think a 7-foot-tall land mammal could go unnoticed for so long, the notion is actually widespread.

via Why Do So Many Cultures Have a Version of Bigfoot? | Yeti Myth | LifesLittleMysteries.com.

You are Not Entitled to Your Own Bigfoot Facts”

By Sharon Hill CSI

CSI | “You are Not Entitled to Your Own Bigfoot Facts”Once upon a time, not so long ago, I came across a website that provided “Bigfoot Facts” for kids. The site didn’t say from where these facts were derived but they were commonly circulated in various books and all over the web.

Here are some typical “facts”:

  • Bigfoot has been spotted all over the world, often in wooded and mountainous areas.
  • Bigfoot is an omnivore, eating plants, nuts, berries, fish, deer, and other animals.
  • Bigfoot is shy. He just likes to be around others of his own kind but not around people.
  • Since Bigfoot doesn’t want to be noticed or photographed, he is hard to spot and difficult to capture on film.
  • He is curious, aware of people, and can stealthily avoid them.
  • Bigfoots talk to each other by making loud howls across long distances or by wood knocking.
  • Bigfoot throws rocks at people to scare them away. He isn’t mean, just territorial.

How do they know these things? I asked the site owner. My comment got rejected and my question was never answered. Did I cross a line? I just wanted a reference. Apparently, that was too much to ask.

Self-styled Bigfoot researchers make claims that suggest they know more about Bigfoot than Bigfoot might know about himself. They can tell me what Bigfoot likes and doesn’t like, where he sleeps at night, how he avoids detection, and how he communicates. They tell the public that Bigfoot makes those sounds they hear at night. They find locations where a Bigfoot passed through or slept or built a shelter. These researchers even know about Bigfoots’ “culture”—what they do with their dead relatives, how they can fool humans. But apparently they don’t know enough to catch one.

Continue Reading: CSI | “You are Not Entitled to Your Own Bigfoot Facts”.

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