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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Audio Drop Boxes

An article written by D.W. "Darkwing" Lee, Executive Director, MABRC.

(Special thanks to Dave "Therealsuperdave" Jett for creating this unique drop box, without him, I don't think I would have ever come up with this great idea.)

About 9 years ago, I happen to talk to the guys from Texlaresearch about their dropboxes they used to place their audio recorders out in the field.

Courtesy of Texlaresearch

Courtesy of Texlaresearch

Courtesy of Texlaresearch

They have used these dropboxes to obtain some really great audio, and I learned a lot from these guys, one of the main things I learned, is to just walk along through the woods and just drop off the box and continue going on, not dwelling on the fact you are putting this recorder in place.

The MABRC uses this approach on our audio recorders and guys like Randy "Rebelistic" Savig, Mark "Sawdustt" Newbill, Dave "Therealsuperdave" Jett and Mike "CompresserMike" Hartsell have taken these to a new level with the numbers of dropboxes and the design of them.  

One design in particular caught my attention, and with good reason.  On an expedition about a year ago, I took Dave Jett out on a four wheeler to place his new dropbox, and I was very impressed.  It was a PVC pipe sealed on one end, with the other end filled with foam rubber to keep the recorder in and a very ingenious hook system that allowed Dave to place his recorder up high above the eye level of even the tallest Bigfoot.  

Placing bark around the entire rig, once placed high up into the tree, unless you knew it was there, you would never know it was hanging there above you.

So lets fast forward to January 2017, I had deployed some of my dropboxes out during the MABRC expedition.  These were made out of small tupperware bowls with lids, easily seen at long distances. 
Upon reviewing the audio, I was shocked to hear 4 wheelers approach my recorder, stop, and the people dismounted.  They approached the box and you could hear them open the box saying "what the heck is this?".  Then they realized it was recording, they closed the box back.  I came so close to loosing my recorder.

SO D.W., what next?  You may ask?

I took Dave Jett's idea and built two prototypes to use in my areas.  To do this, I needed to buy some items.  While I used a different capping system because my local hardware stores didn't carry what I needed, I have found everything I would require since on Lowes.com, I will be building newer models within the next month.

Here is the list of what you will need:

A substantial length of 2 inch wide PVC pipe  (Most places will sale you smaller sections, but the average is about 10 foot lengths.)
2 inch end caps
Silicone (clear)
eye hooks
OD Green spray paint
wire clothes hangers
paint extension pole
camouflage masking tape
foam rubber
black tape

Here are photos of what each one looks like for the record (Minus the masking tape, paint and foam rubber)

So how does it all go together?  The following photos shows the initial prototype.

The outside of the drop box, the bark is siliconed on it, but the plastic ties are on there to keep it tight on the box.

The bottom of the box, notice the foam rubber that is siliconed inside it with a small part cut out just big enough to slide a recorder into.

The top of the prototype was a reducing cap and plug, in the future, my dropboxes will use the end cap as shown above in the list of items needed.  The eyebolt is bolted on both sides of the plug to make sure it doesn't wriggle itself loose.  The wire clothes hanger is then bent into shape around the eyebolt to form the hook and the little arm used to put up in the tree.

A small part of the clothes hanger can be used to make a metal loop on the end of your pole and secured with black tape.

This loop fits over the little wire arm on the hook, and allows you to place it on a tree limb around 15 to 20 feet above the area.  

To test out my hope that people would not notice this dropbox once it was in place, I took it up to a fellow MABRC researcher's home, and placed two dropboxes around their house.  The researcher's husband was not told the recorders were there, and they were left in place for a week, with him walking by them on multiple occasions at eye level.  It finally took her taking him out there to them and pointing them out before he seen them.

So now, I have a viable option that when I am going down into the research areas on a four wheeler, I can pause long enough to raise my dropbox up to a tree limb over the trail, hook it, and continue on, no one or no bigfoot the wiser that I just dropped a recorder off.  

In the future, when I begin building the newer dropboxes, I will record the entire process and post it here on the blog.

Once again, I want to say thanks to Texlaresearch and Dave Jett for imparting their knowledge to me.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Arkansas Bigfoot Conference 2017 Presentations

Want to say thanks to Mark "Sawdustt" Newbill and his team for the recording of these videos. visit his YouTube Channel for other great videos he has there.

A great event put on by Robert Swain and the APES folks, this is the first 3.5 presentations, as the videos are being released one at a time as it takes a while to put them together.  We are reposting the schedule here to give you and idea of what each presentation was about.

One speaker was unable to make it, so I removed the presentation off the list just to avoid confusion.  

 More videos will be added as they are released.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Google, a researcher's best friend........

By D.W. "Darkwing" Lee, MABRC Executive Director

Google is perhaps the best investigative tool a researcher can have online, not just for articles, stories and other media online, but the most important is images.

Images?  What do you mean images, D.W.?

For the most part, especially on Facebook, I see posts like this.

I blacked out the user's name because it is someone I have gotten to know online fairly well, but they fell for the old, "I got it from someone else" ruse.

Even though I remember this picture really well as it was from a photo that claimed to have been taken at a lumber company's clear cut area.  This was nothing more than a tree.

But it could have easily been debunked by doing a Google Image search.  Let's go through the steps to show everyone one of the tricks I use to debunk a photo, because chances are, the photo has existed for sometime and can be easily discovered if people just do their research.

I took the photo shown below to illustrate this as it's a more well known photo that someone claimed to have taken of a Bigfoot in Oregon State.

First we go to Google, and in the right top corner of the page you will see Images, click this and it will open up the Images search box.  Click on the Camera (1) icon.

This will open up the Search by image dialog box and you will need to select Upload an Image (1)

This will bring up the Upload an image upload box.  Click on the Choose File (1) button to browse to the location of the photo on your computer.  Once you select okay on the file, it will start the upload to Google's server for the search.

The search results window will appear with the image size (1) shown of the photo you just uploaded.  You can search other sizes of this image, I prefer clicking All sizes (2) to get the most results.  (3) shows the search terms that Google guesses would be the best to search for related to this photo.  (4) is going to show several websites that have the most related information related to this photo per Google.  (5) shows several rows of photos that returned similar to this photo.  (6) continues other websites to check out that might be related to this photo.  I usually will go through two pages of the websites just checking them out to see what information is related to the photo, if any exists on those pages.  I will also search the images by clicking on the Visually similar images (5) link.

I have three images turn up that are very similar, so I take these three links (1) (2) and (3) and follow them.  They take me to a Bigfoot blog where the original claim was made over the photo.

You can see, that nothing about this photo is even close to looking like real woods, or a real Bigfoot.  But scrolling down, we find this.

A comment appears that shows this is a photo of a Bigfoot diorama in a museum in Wisconsin.

So the photo is fake, and since someone made claims that it was a real Bigfoot, the person making those claims is now a hoaxer in my opinion.

When this story first came out several years ago, I realized where it was from immediately, took the photos I had from the museum, and compared them together to prove it was a hoax.  But a lot of people started ooohh, and aaahhhh-ing, and believed it was real, and all they had to do, is Google the photo and follow the trail of information.

I hope this has been informative for someone out there to use.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Shadows in the Night by D.W. Lee

The actual book is now available, I tried to get the price down lower, but the publisher put the price what it is.

As early as 1977, D.W. Lee had been introduced to the legend of Bigfoot, creating an interest that has lasted nearly his entire life.

Shadows in the night tells the story of D.W.'s encounters with the legendary creature, Bigfoot. While the experiences D.W. has accumulated over the years with Bigfoot would fill volumes, D.W. has written about some of his more memorable and standout encounters.

If you use the following code when you purchase the book, you will get 25% off the price. 233TYRUJ

To purchase the actual book itself.

For Kindle Readers and Kindle Apps. It's been released for Kindle, until I work out some issues on the printed version.

To purchase the Kindle version

Friday, March 24, 2017

Oklahoma speaking engagement May 20, 2017

For tickets, you can buy them online at Eventbrite or at the door, the day of the event.
D.W. will be doing two presentations, Bigfoot Research in Oklahoma and How to conduct Bigfoot Research on a budget.  Copies of his books will be available for sale and signing at the event.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Introduction to Time Lapse Cameras

An article by Contributing Editor Dave "TherealsuperDave" Jett, MABRC Senior Field Researcher.

In this discussion, a Time Lapse Camera is a type of camera dedicated to taking time lapse photos. A time lapse "video" is made up of a series of still photos over a period of time, stitched together to create a video that appears as though the video was "speeded up" and played back over a shorter period of time.

Time lapse videos are often used at construction sites to periodically record progress over the life of the project, and then show the entire evolution of the project, from start to finish, in the form of a short "time lapse" video. Also, astronomers use time lapse videos to record stars in the sky over a period of time, then replay the movement via a short video.

Photography enthusiasts often create artistic time lapse videos of clouds, flowers blooming, sunrises and sunsets, by taking a series of photos and stitching them together to create a short video.

Hunters have discovered that time lapse photography can be useful for recording deer movement in a particular area.

Many cameras, including some trail cameras, offer a feature for time lapse photography. These usually require familiarity with photography editing software.

There are several manufacturers that make cameras primarily used for time lapse and do not require additional editing software for creating and viewing the photos. Day 6 makes a time lapse camera named the PlotWatcher Pro and Brinno makes a line of time lapse camera, featuring the TLC 200 Pro.

According to Day 6's David Blanton, there are some significant differences from a dedicated time lapse camera and standard game trail cameras: "Time lapse cameras are different from trail cameras because they use time lapse photography and are specifically designed to pattern game activity over a larger area, such as a food plot, an open field, or a creek crossing. Trail cameras are designed to trigger on short-range motion or heat, and are limited to close-range movements. A time lapse camera captures images every few seconds in a much larger area, without any trigger mechanism and regardless of how far the subject is from the camera. The time lapse camera can record game whether they are thirty-feet or three-hundred-thirty-feet away. This greater field of view allows you to see game and their travel patterns, that otherwise would have gone undetected by traditional game cameras."

The PlotWatcher and the Brinno TLC 200 Pro are both designed to be easy for anyone without a lot of photography experience to use. The primary feature that was so compelling is the ability to set up a shot and let it run for not just a few hours, but for a few days or weeks on a single set of batteries, depending on the settings and how often you are shooting a photo to make your movie. Relatively short battery life has been the primary limitation with other cameras, such as a GoPro.

Some people favor the game camera because of its ability to record during darkness (aided by artificial lighting), while the time lapse cameras typically only recorded during daylight hours. The PlotWatcher camera is designed to work only during daylight hours, however the Brinno camera can capture time lapse photos day and night.

The Brinno camera allows the user to select from several settings, based on the expected lighting conditions, which alters the shutter/exposure speed. Regardless of the chosen setting, the camera automatically adjusts to a faster shutter speed if, for example, it is set for a nighttime setting and the sun rises, allowing the camera to continue taking properly exposed photos into the daylight hours.

Here is a photo of the Brinno TLC 200 Pro

Here is a photo of the Day 6 PlotWatcher Pro

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bigfoot Evidence or Propaganda

Written by Randy "Rebelistic" Savig, MABRC Missouri State Director

What are we doing in the woods?  Are we out there trying to collect possible evidence of Bigfoot?  Are we following where the evidence sends us?  Or are we seeing what we want to see?  These are questions that I think every field researcher needs to ask themselves every time they go into the woods. 

With the internet being the super highway of information all we have to do is click and read, all the knowledge is there right?  We can gloriously see everything we want about bigfoot and form an educated understanding of what bigfoot is, what they do, how they look, how they hunt, eat, and if you read the right article how they make babies.  But is this "knowledge" we've gain from evidence or propaganda? 

The bigfoot community today is made up from all sorts of people and personalities.  We have average Joes, wanna-be computer experts, self proclaimed experts, perceived experts, newbies, the old guard, the skeptics, and the want to believers to the scientific types.  And each of those could be broken into more sub-groups.  There is an unbelievable amount of people that since bigfoot mania has happened has added to the mix.  Each with preconceived ideas that we have gain from past life experiences and what they have seen or read about bigfoot.  We see everyday when we open Facebook, YouTube or Google with sensational titles like "The best bigfoot audio ever recorded" or "Definitive Video of a Bigfoot" or "Proof Bigfoot Exists".  Most in my opinion are good folks that have either misidentified something or let their imaginations run away with them.  Mark "Sawdustt" Newbill did a great video showing some of this recently that is worth looking at. 

Even though it can be frustrating for the researcher, most of these folks are just over enthusiastic.

The ones that seem to be more damaging to the community is the ones that seem to push an agenda.  Some paranormal folks turn them into spirits, apparitions, and ghosts to further prove what they are researching to be real.  Some of the UFO folks explain the rare sightings that happen in the same areas as "must be aliens".  They just don't seem to be able to be willing to think that there may be two different phenomena happening.  Unfortunately these folks seem to be taking credibility from both types of research.  I have spoken with researchers in both those fields and they too wish that folks would stop trying to combine the two.  It is hard enough to get science to look at possible evidence of any field of research that is not mainstream and when they are mixed together it makes it even harder.

Then you have the ones that seem to be way out there.  The shape-shifting, cloaking, portal jumping, mind speaking, I am chosen types that seem to get a lot of attention from the I wanna believe types to where there is an almost cult-like following that has happened.  Heaven help anyone if they should ask for some possible proof behind those claims.  Some have went down that road and it ain't pretty.  That is when the name calling and fights begin.  Personally I stay away from that.  I have better things to with my time.  But needless to say these are a real problem in the Bigfoot community.  Why you ask?  If we as researchers are wanting to help prove the existence of a species to science and find one open-minded enough to look.  After a day or two on Google looking at what these folks are saying the scientist will run from it so they don't get branded and lose their standing in the scientific community.  They never even get time to look at the real possible evidence out there as they are bombarded with so much of the propaganda as it is so popular.

The next thing we hear is that the old guard or old timers won't let anything new come out as they want to control the knowledge of bigfoot.  When I read this on the social media I couldn't help but laugh!  I hate to tell you newbies that are calling foul on the old guard, they will listen and change their standing on things.  But they will look into it with a skeptical eye.  If you post a picture saying this is a bigfoot just know that they will look at it from all angles.  With the software that is available things can be zoomed into more and detail brought out like never before.  After seeing hundreds if not thousands of pictures they know what to look for.  Same goes with audio.  I've been down that road before myself.  I had folks send me audio on many occasions of what they say is bigfoot that turns out to be a common critter.  Even when confronted with audio that proves it is a known critter you get all kinds of flack from them as they "Know" it was a bigfoot.  So any more unless someone does their due diligence and run comparisons for themselves I decline listening to it.  So what does it take to get the old guard to look at things?  First, is what you want them to review something, whether picture, video, or audio have you, do your homework with it.  What, where, and when are the first details that will be asked by them.  If you can't answer it most likely they will not continue to look at it.  Best advise for anyone is if you aren't ready for their honest opinion, don't ask and definitely don't make it out to be the best evidence that proves bigfoot is real.  You may not be really smart as you think you are.  They have see more misidentifications, enough blurry pictures, shaky video or two second audio clips than you can imagine.  Second, is it testable or re-creatable.  Getting one anomalous audio clip doesn't make it a bigfoot sound.  One blurry picture doesn't make it a bigfoot picture even if your mind thinks it is.  The latest one to come back out is the plywood cutout.  Amazing of how may of those come out in so many areas of the country.

The sad fact is once we go into the woods looking for bigfoot we actually expect to find it and our minds programs itself to see it/hear it.  That is just how it works.  Our minds are geared that way.  Even the old timers had to grow as a researcher to get over that.  It's the way it works folks.  Being the worst skeptic of our own evidence is what has to be done.  Even now after doing audio for a few years, I still regularly  find myself mis-identifying sounds I hear in the woods.  Last Memorial Day weekend during an expedition is one example.  We heard and recorded at camp what I originally thought was a bigfoot vocal.  During that weekend Superdave listened to the audio and put it on a spectrogram and said it was just a coyote.  Even though I thought he was incorrect at the time, when I put it up on a spectrogram to review it did match 80% with a coyote vocalization except a bit off tone to it.  To me it did sound different that night than it did on review.  That is why I need to see what I hear.  And NO it wasn't something paranormal with it, it wasn't an ET, nothing was speaking to my mind, it was just my mind/ears playing tricks on me.  After all we were in a hotspot looking for bigfoot weren't we?  I would of really looked like a fool if I would of posted that as absolute proof of bigfoot wouldn't I.  ALWAYS do your homework before you post ANY possible bigfoot evidence.

One time that I know of that the old guard did change the way they thought was the Silent Hills Project.  We all knew knocks were long distant vocals.  Until a happenstance situation came up I was also of that mind set.  After I recorded what to me is proof of mimicking by a probable bigfoot, I decided to play their own game and started trying to mimic them with howls and knocks.  One night which was especially dead in the woods (which happens more often than anything) I decided as the night ended I would knock with my new shiny pick-ax handle on three different types of trees to see which sounded more like a knock that we hear out there.  I had a recorder set up about a half mile as the crow flies from camp.  I did three howls, and knocked three times on three different trees.  That way I could see which tree had a better sound. I mean I needed to know what tree made the best sound, right?  Upon doing the audio review the howls came in great, but none of the knocks were heard at all!  I shared my findings with the MABRC folks and an experiment was put together to see what the data showed.  The data can be seen here: Project Silent Hills as well as on the MABRC forums.  It proved that knocks in the woods does not travel as far as once was thought.  It is possible that in different terrains like out west it may travel further but as of now I don't think any group out there has followed the experiment to have the data to that.  It is possible to teach old dogs new tricks if you can prove that what you are saying is true.  Again, testable and repeatable.  And with the new data from the experiment some have changed research methods.

So the same questions remain.  What are we/you doing in the woods?  Are we/you out there trying to collect possible evidence of Bigfoot?  Are we/you following where the evidence sends us/you?  Or are we/you seeing what we want to see?  Evidence or more properly put, possible evidence is difficult to collect as these critters aren't there all the time so you have to spend a lot of time out there without results.  Otherwise all you have is what you think, or have read, or heard some guy talk about on a blog radiocast.  That is how misinformation is spread.  Anybody can tell a story, but without some possible evidence to back it up it's still just a story.  Propaganda is used to gain notoriety and attention, trying to get others to think your way.  The sad fact is that less people want to listen to the real stuff because it isn’t entertaining.  Monster!  Spooky Scary stories!  And the Way Too Far Out Fantasyland is where the action is.

But is that Bigfoot Evidence or Propaganda?