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?