By Randy "Rebelistic" Savig, Senior MABRC Field Researcher, Missouri State Director.
After I did the research paper and compared purported Bigfoot vocals with other primate I have been questioned on why I didn't put in there that they "talk" as humans do. Well honestly, I didn't because I don't know. Yes I suspect that they may have a rudimentary type of language based on some of the audio that I have collected over the years. However that is also an interpretation of mine. I am not a linguist and have no training on making any assumptions other than my personal feeling on the matter. There was some very interesting conversation from folks that I would like to address here.
One fella said that they had to have a language to trade with the natives. I know that there are those that claim it happened and I guess I really don't doubt that it could happen but what is considered trading? There have been a lot of reports of raided coolers in campground, freezers on porches, even taking feed out of deer feeders and cattle feeders at night. Did they leave something behind? Most never took a look to say one way or the other. Was the trade items talked about something that they had with them such as a branch, or rocks? That was left behind? Not really as a trade but a way of freeing up their hands to take something else? I suspect that was more of the way it went and the thought of stealing is taking without exchange so it could be seen as a trade. What we think of a trade today is something exchanged to both parties benefit and satisfaction. So if that was what was considered as a trade, there was no need for talking.
I have had several folks that heard mumbling in the woods bring that up. With questions like: If it wasn't talking what was it? I have heard and recorded that type of stuff myself and have asked the same question time and time again. There are a lot of reports of them mimicking anything from other critters in the woods to calling people’s names. The first time I heard what I suspect was a mimic it was one single word. While setting up a parabolic early one morning in the dark I heard what I thought was a person say "Hey". This was 5 a.m. on a cool November day. I was there until 10 and never saw or heard another person, and with only one way in, there were no other trucks. That was what made me consider the possibility of Bigfoot mimicking. Here's the thing that is interesting to me. No other primate can imitate human speech. Yes there are some birds that can but no other mammals or primates that I have found. So it could be said that IF it was a Bigfoot that did it apparently it have the physical traits needed to produce that ability.
Then a few years back I was fortunate enough to record something mimicking what I was saying at camp as I discussed the possibility of them being able to mimic. Here is what was recorded. Headphones are best for listening to this as it is faint.
This for me pretty solidified that there is something in the woods that can mimic us. I have also caught other stuff that could easily be either a mimic or possible language. But the big question is which is it?
Another thing I have heard a lot is that it sounds like an Asian talking, or people think they hear Native American word from one tribe or another, or even English. I do know from doing this audio stuff now for a few years that our ears can play tricks on us as much as our eyes can. It is only natural for us to try and make sense of what we are hearing and identify it with what we can understand. The most famous one that is talked about is the Sierra Sounds recorded by Ron Moorhead back in the 70s. I do think it is authentic, however I question if that was the Bigfoot trying to mimic what they were hearing and that was the best they could do without practice. Even we humans with the physical traits needed to make speech, we can actually talk without practice and a need to do it. We see kids all the time that really don't talk until about 3-4 years old, usually because siblings do it for them or they use gestures like pointing to get what they want.
The type of language for us is nothing more than interpretation on our part, usually from sources like TV. We can all remember trying to sound like the Chinese or Asian from the TV shows we watched when we were young. We'd do our best samurai talk and it was sort of like it in inflection and structure so to us it sounded good but in actuality it was nothing more than gibberish. It would make no sense to a person that actually spoke the language. I remember back when I was a little fella watching the old westerns and just KNEW that all Indians said "How" for hello. And the sounds they made during dances etc. Wow what we learn from TV. As I got to know people from the local tribes I found out it was not only way off but was even insulting. Point being, without an actual reference our minds have a real ability to KNOW things that may not be true.
Back to the Sierra Sounds, it may have been the first time those Bigfoot had heard people and that was as close as they could get to what they were hearing. Another eye opener for me was a documentary that is on Netflix. It is called "First Contact: The Lost Tribes of the Amazon". It is a show on how some of the tribes in the Amazon are coming out to modern people and the problems they face. The local people there are distant relations with them and were separated between 100-150 years ago. The languages had evolved on both sides to the point that they could no longer understand each other. Because of this, there are tons of misunderstandings between them. If anyone is interested I would highly suggest watching it because there is so much there to be learned. On a side note, there was one tribe that when in the jungle, had certain whistles that were used. However the reasons have yet to be understood.
So for me when I hear that they said this word or that word in a native language I highly question it. Even more so when I hear people say they are saying this or that in English and they play the clip it is a HUGE stretch most times to actually hear what they say they hear. It's kind of like those ghost hunter folks on TV that have some sound recorded and they say it says this (or print it on the screen) and then you hear it. That is how our minds work. If we are told what it says, we can usually hear it. But if we aren't told what it says we can't. The one thing that is the hardest thing for me in audio review is to actually hear what the sound or vocal is before my mind identifies it. We are instinctually programmed to quickly identify sound as a survival tactic and respond accordingly that makes it easy to misidentify things. That is also why we have as many misunderstandings as we do with other people. We think we heard them say this when actually they said something else. It happens all the time. Take my name, Randy. If I am in a busy place like a restaurant and someone says "Candy" my mind only heard the last part of the word and I think they are talking about me or to me. So when you think you hear something like a word, we really need to make sure our minds aren't filling in the blanks.
Now that I have I have talked about how what we are hearing may be misinterpretations, I like to bring up a couple of points that I think are something to think about. Again I think it is pretty much a given that Bigfoot does have the ability to mimic other critters and maybe even people. A lot of people are at the thought that all we are hearing is the sounds it makes to communicate with others. All animals do it. Certain sounds communicate certain things. Science has done a lot of study on this over the years and has come up with a lot of good stuff. And yes, critters will use different vocals for different things like contentment, warnings, etc. Some studies have even proven that they can have different vocals for the different threats. One thing I have found in my research is that those vocals sound pretty much the same and without a spectrogram and seeing what is around in context with the vocal it would be really difficult to notice the difference. For a lack of a better way of putting it, they all sound pretty much the same.
Here lays one thing we need to look at. Primates are able to make different sound for different things like I talked about in my comparing purported Bigfoot vocals with known primates. Do to the mouth/lip structure that is in primates we can make sounds that other critters can't. Listening to the YouTube clips above there are sounds there that need a primate mouth/lips structure to make. Language as we know it needs a Hyoid bone. And to the best of our knowledge only humans or extinct hominids have them. It has been proven that Gorillas, Chimpanzees and others have the intelligence to communicate with sign language using it in proper structure and context for the situation that they are in. So it is safe to say, the thought patterns of these primate are there for language. Now there has been recordings of hearing what is most likely a mimic during some of the MABRC Expeditions. One in particular is the recording of something saying "Bobbie" several times after everyone had turned in. Look at the structure of the lips/mouth that would be required to say that. No known critter in nature has the lip/mouth structure to make those sounds except primates.
Another time in the same area "Izzy" was heard. Take the "Z" sound. What critter can make that? A lot of the consonance sounds seem to be only done with the lip/mouth structures of primates.
Now I have no idea as of yet what sounds can or cannot be made without the Hyoid bone as my research hasn't found those answers yet, but I suspect that the ability they appear to have to mimic humans talking may show that it could be there. In all reality until we get some DNA evidence we won't know for sure. Personally I wouldn't be surprised if they did have a language, however, I think it would be rudimentary at best. Even our human ancestors having a Hyoid bone I suspect didn't use as much language as we do today. With them living in close proximity with each other as they did, it wasn't really needed. It wasn't until our ancestors started to expand from smaller groups that talking became more and more important. That is when language as we have come to know it evolved.
Even today people close to each other communicate more by gestures than we even notice. Reading body language is instinctually understood even though we can talk.
I know from spending a lot of time with the MABRC folks around the campfire discussing things that there seems to be an even split on this topic. Some who have heard and recorded what sounds like mumbling conversation feel they do have a language of sorts. And the others feel it is just instinctual animal communications. The answer is in the woods. And hopefully with collecting and comparing more data, we can get a clearer picture of what is actually happening.