So you have decided you want to start your own bigfoot research group. Folks have asked me quite a few times, D.W. how do you start a bigfoot research group. First off, I have to say like Mr T.
I thought long and hard how to write this article, and decided to write it in several parts.
The very first thing I would suggest anyone doing before they seriously consider starting their own bigfoot research group is to read Steve Hyde's excellent article "Six things a new Bigfoot researcher should think about" by going to the following link.
Because this also fits into what to expect when you try to start your own bigfoot research group.
So let's go down the list here, along with my recommendations.
1. BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE, HAVE A CLEAR IDEA OF EXACTLY
WHAT IT IS YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH.
What do you want to accomplish with this group? There are so many groups out there already, what makes you think your group will be needed? When I was investigating ghosts back in the 90s, there wasn't many groups around to investigate the paranormal, then "Ghost Hunters" came on the air, and suddenly everyone started their own groups. Before you knew it, there were too many around, and serious infighting began as people strived to stake out their territory and find places to investigate.
The same holds true now with "Finding Bigfoot" on the air, everyone wants to start their own group, basically you are seeing that the Bigfoot community is being saturated with different groups, each with their own different views, beliefs, theories, etc. Each group tries to maintain their presence in the community, with many soon falling by the wayside because they can't make an impact on the community.
The best advice I can give you, is to decide what will make your group stand out in the community. Give yourself and your group a clear mission statement that outlines what you want to accomplish. Stay away from blanket comments like "WE ARE NO KILL" or "WE ARE PRO-KILL", that should be left up to individual members on where they stand. You can say that no hunting of Bigfoot while conducting organizational events, i.e. witness investigations, expeditions and so on.
The MABRC mission statement is placed here for reference of what I am talking about.
“To be the best in research, by freely providing information to MABRC members and the public, through the various means at our disposal, to lead the way in protocols and procedures, to maintain the highest level of ethics in the Bigfoot Community.
The MABRC will also not become embroiled in the politics that hinder the Bigfoot Community, and become the showpiece of what a Bigfoot Research Organization should be. We will always maintain professionalism under all and any circumstances, show kindness and consideration to others regardless of their stature or what their circumstances may be.
While continuing to think outside the box, the MABRC will continue to lead the way so that others may follow.”
You should also decide upon a clear concise name to go by, as many groups out there already exist, you need to do a Google search on every name you come up with, to see if it's already being used.
Creating a logo is also necessary to give your group it's identity. There are lots of free logo makers on the Internet to create you a logo if you don't have someone with good digital artist skills.
And creating the guidelines for how your organization will work is important too. The MABRC created the "7 Golden Rules" that is the fundamental rules of the group, I post those here for reference for anyone wanting to possibly create their own.
The MABRC is guided by 7 fundamental rules that are referred to as the “Seven Golden Rules”. These rules have remained unchanged since the inception of the MABRC and will not be modified unless by unanimous vote of the MABRC.
1. We share information with each other freely although some witness ID and location may be withheld due to witness request.
2. We don’t intrude on each others research areas or witnesses without contacting each other ahead of time.
3. No-Kill/Pro-Kill is left up to the individual researcher; we don’t endorse either way as a group.
4. Each researcher’s evidence and research belongs to him (or her) although we do encourage sharing of information among researchers in the group.
5. Each researcher may voice their opinion or belief without fear of condemnation or abuse from other members.
6. You contribute what you can; no one is expected to do it all.
7. Be the best researchers we can be, by thinking outside the box.
Every member has a right to say what they think about anything that may come up or need to be talked about.
Breaking of these rules can lead to expulsion from the MABRC, and should not be taken lightly.
It is expected that all MABRC Researchers and Analysts will present themselves in a professional and courteous manner no matter where they are. As a MABRC Member, you represent an organization striving to become the foremost research group in the world today.
By creating this fundamental foundation to work from, you will find attracting like-minded individuals will be easier.
Now for the next item.
2. BE WARY OF PEOPLE. YOU WILL LEARN MORE ABOUT HUMAN
NATURE THAN YOU EVER WILL ABOUT BIGFOOT.
This couldn't be farther from the truth. You will learn more than you ever thought you would about human nature. People will come and go throughout your organization's existence that will cause you more grief than you can imagine.
You will have people attempt their own agendas against the organization, for their own gratitude.
In the early days of the MABRC, we had an individual who considered himself a "Facilitator" between the group and other groups, scientists, academics, etc.. Yet the bottom line was, it had to be his agenda regardless or he would try to destroy the organization. When he was removed from the group, he attempted to destroy the MABRC by contacting everyone that he had ever contacted and made up lies about the group in order to destroy it.
His agenda went against the "7 Golden Rules" of the MABRC, and it took years to repair the damage he inflicted between the MABRC and other researchers. I once got to sit down and talk to Craig Woolheater at a MABRC Expedition that he came to as a visitor. He gave me the best advice he could for the leader of a Bigfoot research group. Your group will always have enemies trying to destroy you, but your biggest threat will come from those ex-members you have to purge from your group.
He was correct in that assessment. As members come and go, you will find that those who you either remove or quit due to fundamental beliefs, etc., will sometimes become your worst enemies.
Another important piece of advice I give to anyone wanting to start their own group, you better have a very, very, thick skin. Because as the head of your organization, you have the bullseye on your back. You will catch the heat, you will catch the criticism, and you will always, always, be given the blame for anything that goes wrong. You can do 100 things right, and only one thing wrong, and people will always remember the wrong thing, never the good things.
3. BE OBJECTIVE. THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A THEORY AND
This one is a no-brainer, always be skeptical of all the evidence, witness reports, and even when your best friend in the group tells you what they saw, maintain a level of skepticism. That is how you build credibility, when you don't accept everything as Bigfoot, and you try to debunk everything. When you can no longer can debunk evidence, then you can say "possibly" or "probable" that a Bigfoot might have done it. When putting evidence out there, always maintain the attitude that its a "possible" or "probable" Bigfoot. That will always put you in a good light with other researchers, because if you don't do your best to debunk your own evidence, when you release it to the public at large, others will debunk your stuff. And a lot of them won't be gentle with what they say. Once again, you better have a very thick skin for it all.
4. ALWAYS QUESTION YOUR ASSUMPTIONS.
Did I mention, that you should always be skeptical?? Even if you have seen a Bigfoot on multiple occasions like I have, you maintain your skepticism on the amount of evidence being presented these days. Create policies and procedures on how to do your research, how to do analysis on your own. The Bigfoot Field Guide series of books that you can order from here is a great start on how to do your own analysis of your evidence.
5. BE SKEPTICAL, OBJECTIVE AND REALISTIC ABOUT EVIDENCE AND
KNOW ITS LIMITATIONS.
By adhering to scientific protocol, following what the evidence shows, not what you assume it to be, is key to presenting valid evidence that many in the Bigfoot Community will accept. I've been doing this since the early 90's, and let me tell you, I have been through the ringer on evidence when I presented it, I earned my stripes from being assailed by many of the other researchers over my evidence, I quickly learned to go through it with a fine tooth comb before I let it go out to the public. And I had a tough skin. I understood that many of those researchers weren't being mean or hateful to me, they wanted the same thing I wanted, good evidence to come out, and they were trying to show me the way to do it properly.
6. THE BIGFOOT MYSTERY IS SOLVABLE, AND YOU CAN BE THE ONE
WHO SOLVES IT.
It's been tossed back and forth between many of the old timers in the Bigfoot Community that the Bigfoot mystery will more than likely be solved by either a logging truck smacking into a Bigfoot crossing the road, or by some young kid out hunting who blasts a Bigfoot in the woods. While this may appall many folks who are die-hard No-Kill, the truth of the matter is, only a body will totally solve the mystery. Now that doesn't mean that if you get the ultimate video or photograph of one, that you may solve the mystery, but you have to remember, the multitude of photo and video software out there that can be used to manipulate evidence makes that type of evidence moot.
Now that we have those out of the way, we will do part 2 tomorrow. We will talk about how to structure your group.