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Friday, April 12, 2019

Play Me Something Cool!

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


You know I wish I had a dime for every time I’ve heard this sentiment.  When it comes to bigfoot the public and wanna believers seem to only want the great videos, pictures and audio.  They want the Oohhs and aahhs so they can say they now know bigfoot is real.  Details don’t matter as long as it is cool!   So here goes a couple of questions, does this help research or get us closer to proving the existence of an undocumented species?   Is it only the cool stuff that matters?

With humans being so used to be entertained by all the available media out there it is hard to suffice the appetite for being entertained.  Sadly, real research seldom sees the cool stuff when they go out.  There are the hours in the woods.  There are the hours of review.  There are hours of planning.  There are the hours of try to put patterns together to make the time in the woods more productive.  On and on it goes.  Another sad fact is that what is cool to researchers ain’t always what is cool to the public.  You bet we love to hear and record the screams etc., see the possible structures or manipulations, or get lucky enough to catch something on video or thermal.  

Yes, we also appreciate the pat on the back when we do catch something from the public and other researchers.  Unfortunately for a lot of folks the Oohhs and Aahhs become addictive.  I think that is why there is such a hoaxing problem that we see every day on Facebook and Youtube.   It would seem like once you put something out there that is cool and possibly bigfoot related the public’s appetite just gets bigger.  At times it seems that they get demanding and what more from you.  Any researcher worth their salt know that we spend a whole lot more time without the so-called cool stuff happening.  We still do the planning, head to the woods, review what we have recorded, try and figure out things.  But we don’t get the Oohhs and Aahhs from that.  I’ve seen so many get into the trap of letting the notoriety get in the way and try and force things to happen.  If that fails, try and hype up the stuff that does happen just because they feel an obligation to fulfill the public’s appetite for so something cool.  I’ve seen scary bigfoot pictures added to audio, scary background music during talks about experiences, all in hopes of feeding the public’s hunger.  Sorry folks, that doesn’t do much but muddy the waters and takes away from the research.  All those scary pictures and music won’t help find the evidence needed to prove the existence of bigfoot.  

Now don’t get me wrong, I realize that folks are interested in bigfoot.  When putting presentation on for conferences and radio shows we need to share the cool stuff we get as that is what folks want when attending them.  Just don’t let the cool stuff be all that you are after.  The data is in the details.  The little stuff.  I can’t even begin to state the importance of how sharing the little stuff around campfires has made new ideas and filled in the blank to help others in researching their areas.  

So, one final thought.  As a researcher is your priority to the insatiable hunger of the public or to adding to the possible evidence to further push the existence for an undocumented species, we call bigfoot. 

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Is a Knock Just a Knock?

An article written by Randy "Rebelistic" Savig, MABRC Missouri State Director



This is one of those things that at face value seems to be accepted as a typical Bigfoot activity by most field researchers.  Why?  Where did it come from?  The history of wood knock reports go back generations for Bigfoot researchers.  There has been written accounts in newspaper, even some reports that have been collected.  Some of those can be see in the MABRC forums

So, if this is an activity of bigfoot, why is it done?  Hunting?  During the day that would make sense.  I could see knocking on a tree to scare a small critter to a smaller tree in hopes of shaking it out of the smaller tree.  But what about at night?  I can’t see that being viable.  Could we be missing something?  We know other primates do this type of thing, why is at this time not been answered, but they do.  We still don’t know if the knock that we hear is wood on wood, rock on wood, or another mechanism all together.  Is it possible that it is a hand clap?  Maybe chest slap?  The reality is that we just don’t know.  One thing is clear.  We hear knocks in areas of bigfoot sightings areas, associated with tracks and possible manipulations to nature so we can’t discount it.  

The sad fact is I had pretty much quit clipping knocks out during audio review because a knock is just a knock, right?  I would log it in the review file, but it wasn’t a cool sound so why bother?

In this article I would like to present what I have found while working with audio that may shed some interesting insight to the topic.  I’ve regularly recorded what we call knocks in many of the areas that member of the MABRC has been researching for years as well as my primary research area.  This article is by no means proof of anything, just what I have been able to come up with using audio analysis in the same way I do when identifying known and unknown vocalizations that have been recorded.  Every sound whether natural, known, or unknown have a signature that can be seen on a spectrogram.  They all have certain profiles, tones, how they start and end that can help identify what the sound is.  Nature allows variables in the sounds as no critter is the same.  However, the structure or signature will still follow patterns of the known sounds.

One of the more interesting things about knocks is that they have different tones to the knock.  You may say “duh” but let me explain what I mean.  In doing the Silent Hills Project it was realized that the sound of the knock comes from the object that we do the knock with not the sound of the tree.  The axe handle we used didn’t change tones when we hit on three different trees.  The only change was the volume, NOT the tone of the knock.  Some were softer, some were louder depending on the softness of the bark or the strength behind the knock.  However, if the handle was held closer to the middle of the axe handle the tone would change.  With that being said, the number of knocks that are reported verses the number of sightings report that are only a small handful that ever say things like carrying a stick or club.  Now if a stick was used to make the sound, you would expect a lot more reports than what is there.  Even the sightings reports that talk “as it disappeared into the woods we heard a knock” sort of thing none of those talk about a club being carried during the sighting.  That brought me to the thought that they could maybe pick up a stick to hit with.  It didn’t take long to realize the problem with that.  It is a lot more difficult to walk through the woods, pick up a stick of any size to use as a knocking stick.  The majority of what is on the ground and rotted to make it useless for more than a pale knock as it breaks.  Nature just claims things back too fast.

For several years I have suspected that for the most part knocks were a way of locating other when they were foraging through an area.  The reason for that was based on drop box recordings where you could hear faint knocks that got louder then soft again.  It was like something came up and passed the recorder and continued until it got too distant to record.  These knocks were not evenly spaced or even the same volume, but it always came together.  Like one knock and a reply a few seconds later almost as one was answering the first one.   It wasn’t until the Silent Hills Project that it hit me that the tones of the knocks would be the same if it was one knocker was doing the knocking.  When I did a spectrogram analysis of the knocks, I was taken aback when it should that there were two different tones to the knock.  Those two tones of the individual knockers didn’t change.  Whether close or far, the tones didn’t vary.  It was easy to see the difference in the frequency (hertz) each knock.  Using that information, we started what we called knock - knock games to try and lure them in.  We have had some interesting results.  Other researchers have over the years had results also by returning knocks and getting responses back.  Here are some links to what we recorded.    




Now if you paid attention to the dates on the three clips you will notice that there were two close together and one a lot later.  The third was recorded in a new listening post we just started to use and a seldom in that area.  If you watch how they evolved, you’ll notice that the knock – knock game changed after the first one.  It was almost like they learned our knock’s tone.  They seemed to be able to challenge us to see if it was one of them or us.  I understand that it is to a lot for folks a big pill to swallow.  I know it was and is for me also.   When I brought it up to some of the MABRC members a couple years ago needless to say I got mixed opinions.  One piece of advice they all basically had was collect the data and follow the evidence.  

Because of the lack of sightings where them carrying clubs or stick, it made me highly suspicious that it was actually wood on wood sounds we were hearing.  Even a rock on wood would not be sensible as there is NO reports of any carrying rocks from what I have read.  I also can not find reports of other primates that carry rock with them as they travel from place to place.  Yes, chimps have been known to pick up rocks and strike a tree for an undetermined reason but the drops it as it leaves.  It is also a rare situation for other primates but knocking sounds seems to be fairly prevalent with Bigfoot.  


All primates have an ability to make a knock like type sound with their bodies.  Chest slap, and clapping are the two.  To my knowledge only the gorilla uses its chest.  But all do clap their hands.  Could that be what is happening that we think is knocking?  With the quick response to our knocks like is recorded it would seem highly unlikely that they could be that quick if they had to swing a stick.  Then you add the rapid one that we caught, it is not possible for us to knock nearly that fast using our ax handle.  Then add the two tones ones and that is impossible using a stick or handle.  


During the Thumperville Expedition with the Western MABRC Team last fall I had them help me collect more data by trying hand claps and knocks from different trees and distances.  We did a simplified version of the of the Silent Hill Project so the folks in attendance could experience the results of the experiment. Here is the baseline knocks for each person there.  



With all the participants using the same ax handle as was used in the Silent Hills Project you can hear they are all a little different.  Hand placement, hand grip used, and even the size of the person using it made a difference.  

In the first field round, we had adults and a young teen doing the knocks.  With the recorded audio it was easy to hear which person was doing the knocking even though they could not be seen.  Each had distinct difference in the tones of the knocking stick and could easily be identified with who it was.  They all used the same knocking stick on the same trees as they went further and further from the recorder.  Even with the volume decrease as the space widened, the signatures on the spectrogram stayed mostly consistent with each person. Here’s the results of the knocking as they moved away from the recorder.  During this portion of the experiment I also had them do a long vocal as a way of showing how the howl/whoop compared to a knock as far as how the different sounds travel.   



Again, notice the different tones each person knocking produces using the same knocking stick.  Even without seeing who was doing the knocking if it was compared to the baseline knocks you could pretty much figure out who it was that was doing the knocking.

We did not do a hand clap during the experiment but with the significant difference with the initial baseline of the experiment it was truly remarkable the sounds of the individual claps among the whole group.  Here are the results of the clapping.  



It is easy to hear the difference between each participant’s clap.  Big hands, small hands, soft and rough all had a different tone.  Now I know that our clapping sounds don’t travel as far as the ax handle.  But with the individual clapper’s tones being so different and distinct, it would make one question if a stronger species with apparent bigger and stronger hands could it travel further if not the same as us swinging an axe handle?  If in fact they do clap to make the sound we call a knock, could their clap be as distinct as ours?  
  

We recently had a night out in our primary research area where we recorded knocks that happened on and off for 3 hours.  No, they were not consistent but in total there were over 50 knocks on the camp recorder alone.   This has been recorded several times in this location and I suspect it is used as location during foraging behavior.  However, there hasn’t been this may in such a short period of time before.  Maybe they were out of sight from each other but not out of sound range?  With some knocks having the same tones that were recorded before my arrival back at camp and may have been done to alert others of people presence.  This was a recording from the camp recorder using the Zoom H2n which have less distortion than my other recorders.  However, you will also hear some camp noise being fire snaps or other man-made audio.  This was a quick cleanup to eliminate as much audio between knocks a possible.  



With the knocks being close to one after another it is easy to hear the different tones of the different knock.  While listening and observing the signatures on the spectrogram it would appear like there is 3 possibly 4 different tones of the ones the recorder picked up.  I highly suspect as with what the Thumperville Experiment shows, that this is more than one critter producing the knock. 

So, what does this all mean?  I’m not sure, but it does seem to point to that each Bigfoot may have a unique tone to their knocks however they are making them.  Could we use this as a way of counting how many individuals are in the area at a given time?  Could we use their distinct tones as a way of identifying certain individuals?  Maybe even track them year to year?  All these questions need to be answered by the bigfoot community if we want to solve the mystery.  Hopefully others will also look at this and see if they can collaborate what I have found.  The answer is in the woods.  Let’s see if we can start putting the puzzle together using a more thorough analysis of the possible evidence. 



Monday, January 14, 2019

Shout Out to Don Lee



The MABRC would like to thank Don Lee for the help in recovering all the episodes of the Bigfoot Field Guide Radio Show, I have uploaded them to the Talkshoe page and also to the Google Drive folder where people can now access them. Let's give a big whoop to Don for his help, we couldn't have recovered the shows without his help.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Bigfoot Field Guide Radio Show Archive

The Bigfoot Field Guide Radio Show archives were lost when Talkshoe did an upgrade on their system, however, I have been able to recover the first 23 episodes from my extensive data storage and have placed them here at the following link for now for those who wish to relisten to the old shows.  

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1KsM0DwOUmmLQQjthl6VVlAEq-qbAWIhW

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Hey, I am Gonna start a Bigfooting Group!!

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




I’ve become fascinated with the Bigfoot TV shows and all the Facebook groups make it looks so easy so I’m going to start my own group!  I’ve got a perfect location and I’m sure nobody is doing it there or it would be on Facebook right?  And I’ve got a ton of ideas that I’ve came up with!  I’m so excited to get into the woods and find their signs, collect audio, and most likely get one on video or a picture.  Wow this is going to be cool!!  

If I had a dime for every time I’ve seen or heard this, I’d be able to buy a ton of equipment to take into the woods.  I think Bigfoot research has become what ghost hunting has.  Let me explain a bit.  If you just watch the TV stuff and think it is really what happens out there you need to reconsider your thoughts.  Folks, this is for entertainment.  PERIOD!  Not every spooky looking house in the world is haunted by evil ghosts or demons. The ghost hunting shows made it look so easy that everyone wanted to try it.  You could go on the internet and buy all types of fancy ghost hunting equipment to guarantee you’d find a ghost.  And when folks went out there, they showed them with a camera filming themselves running out of a house screaming because the old floor creaked which they knew was a demon or evil ghost coming to inflict all sorts of ills upon them, just like they do on TV.  Tons and tons of natural things became ghosts because well, it had to be.  I mean they were out ghost hunting, right?  Video and camera artifacts automatically became normal things posted as true and real ghosts.  Every sound recorded was a ghost saying this or that.  People wanted it so bad that they actually went out of their way to hear things in what was actually natural sounds or recording artifacts.  So, what has happened?  Something that I feel should be truly researched and documented and could have some real discoveries won’t be taken serious by science because of all the garbage out there.  

So now that very few people think ghost are real and science won’t even look at the actual evidence of potential ghostly activities, it has pretty much fallen to the side of being a joke.  All the serious researchers and even scientists that were involved in long time research have seemed to disappear.  Some of the places that did have what appeared to be legitimate haunting activities have closed access because of all the negative experiences they have had from all these “groups of real ghost hunters” that came in.  Some were even destroyed just to avoid the harassment and trespass that was going on.  All that potential evidence gone forever.  




Sadly, this appears where Bigfoot research is going if not already there.  It seems like everyday we see or hear of a “new” bigfoot group that has all these “new” ideas and all these fuzzy, grainy pictures and shaky videos of the”real” bigfoot that are out there. Auto focus and facial recognition stuff in cameras is great stuff ain’t it? When looking for faces you will find them even if they aren’t there.  All the audio that is collected out there that just has to be bigfoot because this “new group” is out there looking for it, so it must be.  And the sad fact is people who want to believe in Bigfoot ooh and ahh it as absolute proof and stroke the egos of these “new group’s new ideas” that work every time they hit the woods.  And folks wonder why people are wanting to hoax things so that they can be an expert?  They want the oohs and ahhs too.  Folks that strive for attention can sure get it when saying bigfoot no matter how outlandish it is.  We constantly see pictures repeat themselves over and over that is supposed to be taken yesterday by a buddy’s game cam of a real bigfoot.  Whether it is the one who posted it that was hoaxing it or one of his buddies is trying to trick him, the results are the same.  Arguments, hurt feeling, name calling, and it usually ends with something to the effect of if you were got out and looked you’d know.  It’s a complete waste of research time.  I think that a lot of folks that want to do honest research are driven away because of this sort of thing.  




Now don’t get me wrong, we need people out there to help solve this mystery and I’m all for that.  But like ghost hunting, folks are doing it without researching what is already out there.  The invent of the internet has really been a double-edged sword.  One side is it’s a great tool for learning what groups have done and using their experiences adding to the knowledge base.  The other side is unfortunately where egos and popularity seem to be more important than anything else.  Attention hungry people love to dazzle people with whatever they can pass off as real or get them the attention they seek.  Facebook has not been beneficial to any type of mystery in my opinion.  It’s only on Facebook where you can go from ghost, to bigfoot, to alien, to telepathic being, to interdimensional entity, to inner earth being, all in the same post by all who are self-professed experts in the situation.  And the scary part is that they all have followers that will tear you to shreds if you dare ask how they came up with those conclusions.  It’s really amusing of how the answer “I just know” seems to be acceptable in those cult-like situations.  God help you if you dare question the Bigfoot gods of these groups!  It seems real troubling to me that the search for what appears to be an undocumented animal has turned into a religion!  WOW.


As far as these great “New” ideas that seem to recirculate with just a little research you can find out what results have been done in the past with them.  One that was put out there again recently was the “Crying Baby” recording being played in the woods to attract a possible response.  Yep.  Its been done and definitely had results.  The original poster had this thought that it may attract a female bigfoot through her maternal instincts.  It sure could if one was in the area.  However, with a little research you’ll also find out that the audio is very close to a fawn in distress, so it also could bring in predators looking for an easy meal.  Bears, wolves, coyotes and even possible bigfoot could be drawn to your location so, IF you use it you had better be prepared for the outcome! 

I recorded some vocalizations a few years back that I really think would draw them in, but I honestly am afraid to use it as it appears by the situation to be a territory dispute.  I may be fairly gutsy out there, but I sure don’t want to challenge them to territory!  So, as of yet we haven’t tried it.

Another recent “New” idea was walking with a camera mounted to see behind you.  This gal went absolutely ballistic when she was told that it has and is being done as part of research.  It was sad and comical all at the same time to see the responses on that post from folks.  The ornery me wanted to post “yep, it was her New Idea that the captured interdimensional sasquatch we got last week was used to transport us into the future and steal that New Idea and transport back years ago and implement just so she couldn’t take credit for it!”  I seriously fear that someone may have believed it as a fact!  At the MABRC we have used for years the saying of thinking outside the box, but I think that has been taken as a challenge by some folks who don’t know what a box is.



  
So, if you aren’t into bigfoot to try and make a name for yourself, seek attention, or stroke your ego and just want to help try and prove the existence of an undocumented critter, what should you do?  Join a group?  If so what group?  These can actually be easily answered.  Do your research.  How long has the group been around?  What possible evidence have they shared?  Are they close enough for you to easily participate?  Do they have enough people to help with analyzing possible evidence you collect? What is the group’s goals in research?  Don’t look for the perfect group because there are none.  Each has folks with egos.  Each has some members that don’t get along with members of other groups.  Do they have info on their websites that shows what they do?  What they have found?  When you find one that seems to fit for you, humbly join it.   My personal advice would also be to stay off Facebook unless you look at it the same way you do the TV shows, as entertainment!  Don’t get me wrong there is some actual good information there, but you usually must wade through two tons of bull crap to find it and for me it is not worth my research time to do it.

What is wrong with a new group?  Actually, nothing really, except that you’d be starting at ground zero just like every group out there did.  Having the support and knowledge with a group of more seasoned researchers can be a huge asset to you.  You can just get a quicker understanding of what seems to work best.  You have other eyes and ears to help you understand what is what.   Not every person can have a good understanding of possible tracks, tracking, possible structures, photo analysis, video analysis, audio analysis, etc., and so on.  Another thing to consider.  Is a group already actively researching the area your “new group” wants to research?  The MABRC and APES holds a Fouke Expedition every year, that is one of those hot areas that a lot of folks want to research.  It is one of the areas that anyone wants to experience where the Fouke Monster was as their curiosity of Bigfoot began from the famous movie.   To keep from having contamination of the possibility of recording other researchers call blasts as possible evidence a lot needs to be done to try and assure it least likely to happen.  Planning, research areas less travelled, being able to control access to the area of research all play part of making it a hopefully contamination free expedition.

Here’s a scenario that would be devastating to the bigfoot community.  Let’s say two groups both want to research X river basin.  Most likely it happens on a Friday or Saturday evening.  Each set up on opposite sides of the river. Just over the bank and into the woods where neither can see the other.  Both do some vocals and knocks.  Each think that they are interacting with a possible bigfoot, but in reality, they are interacting with the other group.  Both post it as a highly active weekend and what a great place they found.  Did either hoax anything?  Nope.  Is any possible evidence collected over the weekend valid?  Sadly, no unless the two groups can meet and compare all the evidence the other has and anything that isn’t the exact sounds as they both did could be bigfoot related.  But what would most likely happen is both groups would bad mouth each other making a mockery out of the others and themselves.  Tempers would flair and anyone in the scientific community that had a fleeting interest in either of the groups would run for the hills laughing at the amateurs now convinced that they are no bigfoot, just bigfooters making other bigfooters believe in bigfoot. I know it has happened before.  A “New” group came into an area of another group and started the one up’em routine.  Not only did bad mouthing and tempers flare, but deliberate misrepresenting possible evidence and even try in hoax the other so they could discredit the other group.  And folks wonder why science doesn’t take Bigfoot research seriously.  Why would they? 

There are a lot of groups out there that have been there for a long time.  New blood in older groups is a great thing.  Different perspectives from new folks helps keep the old timers on their toes.  More ears, eyes, boots and equipment on the ground can take a mediocre expedition with minimal possible evidence and make it excellent just by adding fresh ideas.  If you want to ask an old timer why they think the way they do, you can ask, question, and even challenge their ideas.  It really is acceptable to do that.  If you want to be respected, remember, respect is a two-way street.  You have an idea.  Share it.  New ideas are always wanted.  New possible evidence is always wanted.  But it is paramount to be willing to change your perspective and thoughts if the evidence is there.  Even if it is different than what you were expecting.  Just because I think I know something doesn’t make it fact.  Fact is based on available evidence.  And proving the existence of an undocumented animal doesn’t happen by what we know, it happens on what we can prove as fact.  And the reality is that facts don’t care about feelings.  

So you still want to start a “New” Bigfoot group?