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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Funding and Farces

By Jim "Biggjimm" Whitehead, Senior Field Researcher, 
MABRC Western Oklahoma State Director, 
MABRC Mid-South Regional Assistant Director

What is the difference between seeking funds for research and scamming someone out of their hard earned money? Unfortunately, as far as cryptozoological research goes, its a very tight and non distinct line that is as blurry as hell. There are several reasons why this is true, and any researcher worth their salt should be aware of them. 

To start with, one needs to be aware of what real research is. Real research is not simply going out in the woods and sitting around listening for things that go bump in the night. Real research involves an honest attempt to gather data and interpret it, and then add it to the pool of knowledge. This means equipment. Any good researcher will tell you that there area certain tools you will need to gather said data. And these tools are not cheap. Scientists rely on research grants to obtain the equipment that they need. Unfortunately, this path is not available to most cryptozoological researchers. Most researchers are your average working class folk, and simply put cannot afford to buy the equipment that they need to advance their goals. This means that they have to seek the cash to buy equipment on their own.

Most researchers will actively find ways to obtain the needed money. This can include getting loans, saving, buying used equipment, or selling items at conferences and speaking events. There is no issue with that. But a researcher should NEVER ask for donations or set up online accounts designed for collecting money. In the eyes of the Bigfoot community, it immediately raises concerns that the individual is simply trying to get peoples' money and not do any kind of meaningful data collection. Often the researcher's reputation is tarnished if they try to gather donations, and anything they produce is widely thought of as questionable at best, or hoaxed at worst.

The issue again lies in the fact that cryptozoological research is widely regarded as a half witted psuedo-science by the media. In the public's eyes all researchers are scammers, idiots, crazy, or at the very least just plain weird. It appears to most people from the outside looking in that any attempt to ask for donations by a Bigfooter is a scam to get their money. With this kind of scrutiny from both inside and outside the Bigfoot community, a researcher should avoid the temptation to try to take donations at all costs.

Peers - The Scientific Community and Bigfoot Researchers - by Marie Simone Van Speybroeck

- by Marie Simone Van Speybroeck

November 10

Recently I had occasion to talk with some of my peers about the work amateur researchers conduct in the field of cryptozoological study. After speaking with several experts in the field of zoology. I noted that the same responses were prevailing among all of them.

There is a notable apprehension in the scientific community to accept data provided by amateur researchers in the field of cryptozoological study. Understanding that the cryptozoological and zoological study should follow the same rigorous guidelines is one of the key reasons for the disdain of science for the topic. 

So let’s see if I can try to explain how an amateur researcher can gain the respect of the professionals.

To fully understand the in-cognizance of the sciences in regards to cryptozoology one must understand the meaning of the word, (Cryptozoology). 

Cryptozoology is a pseudoscientific approach to the discovery unknown or legendary creatures many of whom are considered to be of folklore. It is a study in the undiscovered and is often conducted with out the disciplines and skills of a zoological team. The title of cryptozoologist is more often then not, a self bestowed credential. Though it is accepted by the public as legitimate the word describes a multitude of different disciplines. 

To understand this one must look at the field of zoology. Zoology is the study of animals. It is a multi disciplined field. A zoological team is comprised of several individuals whom are all expert in different disciplines. A typical team consists of a wildlife biologist, wildlife behaviorist, a veterinarian and a veterinary pathologist and a botanist as primary members, secondary or support persons would be a local guide and a animal tracker. For one individual to master each of these disciplines it would take a lifetime of vigorous study resulting in several degrees for a single individual. Not an impossible thing but a highly unlikely situation. 

So the first mistake made by many laymen researchers is to introduce themselves as cryptozoologists a word that describes multiple disciplines of which most laymen researchers simply do not possess. 

Credibility is dictated by the qualifications and credentials of the individual. So simply introducing oneself as a amateur researcher is far more credible then using the self aggrandized title of cryptozoologist. 

Credibility also demands solid repeatable performance witnessed by more then one individual and proven scientific technical methodology be used in all aspects of your research.

Literally 1000s of items of evidence are destroyed by contamination or improper retrieval, storage handling of evidence. 

Photographic evidence that is unclear such as blobsquatches. Should not even be submitted to the body of evidence. Researchers whom post photographic evidence and say “ can you see it?” expecting the viewer to find some fuzzy dark mass in a picture and convince them selves that it is indeed a picture of the creature in retrospect. Diminishes the researchers credibility. 

Researchers should never work alone. Teams of two are a minimum, teams of 4 or 6 are by far more credible. Every team should have one skeptic as a member of the team. This prevents enthusiastic researchers from committing (Boboizums) (named after Bobo, James Fay) a comedic term assigned to researchers whom are guilty of seeing and hearing a cryptid at every snap of a twig. Or fallen tree. So before you say that’s a squatch. Make sure it really is a Sasquatch. 

These things will all improve the credibility of the researchers. 

If you would like more help in research techniques please comment and I will do my best to help.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Does Bigfoot Have a Language?

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.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Get your fat ass out in the woods!!

Wow, I seem to hear that a lot from people who get offended when I disagree with their "evidence" as not being the ground breaking "bigfoot evidence" that they want people to follow in line with.

Remember the burden of proof post from the other day, if not, you should go read it.  I'm not ever going to be a sheeple and believe people have great insight into Bigfoot, or the best evidence ever that makes the PGF look amateurish.  Back in May of this year, I found this post on Facebook.

The person who posted it, basically was saying that he knew the female Bigfoot made owl calls, and that he was feeding them in his barn.   And I need to point out, "HE SURE ISN'T IN THE WOODS" himself at this point.

So I did a screen capture and posted this in Bigfoot Hoaxers Exposed 2.0 along with my comments below.

 Yeah, maybe I should have not been so strong with my comments, but, that is how I am, I call it like I see it these days.

Well he asked to join the Bigfoot Hoaxers Exposed 2.0 Facebook group, and I allowed him in, I don't deny anyone from the group unless they have been found to hoax, then I deny them entry.  Now the Bigfoot Hoaxers Exposed 2.0 is a good group to go find out who has been caught hoaxing, who is suspected of hoaxing and even those who have just been outright the worst type of researchers in the Bigfoot community.  The reasons are always posted via screen captures to back up what is said about someone hoaxing or just being a bad person in the community.

Now so far I haven't mentioned the name of the person, and I won't, but here is his response to what was posted about his comments, despite the fact that everyone else had posted maps showing Barred owls and their range easily covered most of the United States.

Wow!!  Just flat come out swinging, with no intention of trying to prove me wrong, just the same old "GET YOU FAT WORTHLESS ASS OUT THERE" comment that seems to pop up when you question anyone's evidence or claims.  

And then he wants to claim I am making up stories or hoaxing a flipped off a 4 wheeler.  Or even the fact that I don't know anything about the subject of Bigfoot.

Just a really big "Awesome WOW!!!" is the first thing out of my mouth.

Let's look at some facts.

I have been doing research since 1991, in which I made my first trip down to Fouke, Arkansas to look for the Boggy Creek Monster.  Before that, I was interested in Bigfoot due to an incident that occurred in Adair County, Oklahoma back in 1977 just a few miles from my house.

In my lifetime, I have spent more than 4,000 times in the woods, in which I have had 26 encounters with what I suspected was Bigfoot, or actually seen the creature itself.  Not to mention multiple rock throwings, vocalizations, and other incidents to add to that count.  That figures out to .006 percent of the time I have been in the woods, I have had an encounter.

In 2016 alone, I have accumulated 42 days in the woods, looking for Bigfoot.  And there is still two months left of the year, and I expect to be out there another 14 days before the end of the year.

Now when I say in the woods, I don't mean camping in a state park or campground, I mean 10 miles back into the wilderness that only a 4 wheeler can get me to.  Why a 4 wheeler?  Because about 4 years ago, I was in an accident that broke my ankle, so hiking into the woods at night is hard for me to do without breaking my ankle all over again.  

I have several fellow MABRC researchers who have gone back into the wilderness with me, and we all knew, that if anything happened, it would be morning before we would come back out.  There was not much way of finding our way back in the dark, even with a GPS.

What did we do when we got there?  Simple, sometimes we would build a small fire to stay warm with, but most times, we took our folding camp chairs, set them up, and sat out all night in the dark waiting for something to happen.

Usually the only protection we had was bear spray.

I do have a lot of friends in the Bigfoot Community that has to do their research in state or federal parks because that is the only areas that they have around them to research in, and I understand that.  But I have a deep affinity to having to camp in a park or campground.  I want to go into the deeper areas where there is hardly any human activity to disrupt the research.

Here is what some of the areas look like that I go into.  Some of these pics were this last spring before the leaves came out.

The locations shown above are roughly 6 miles into a valley where we conduct a lot of research at, and to hike in at night is nearly impossible for even someone without a broken ankle to hike into.  That is why we use 4 wheelers to carry people and equipment into the valley.  And at night, sometimes we have to get to a person quickly and they sometimes are several miles away.

BUT NO!!!  I don't get into the woods according to this person, who thinks I am a keyboard commando, yet by his own admission, he doesn't go out into the woods, he stays apparently on his farm and only goes as far as his barn.

Now for the 4 wheeler incident.  Again, WOW!!!, this dude wants to talk about this, so let's talk about it.  An incident occurred last year during the 2015 Oklahoma Bigfoot Symposium at the valley that the MABRC researchers camp at during the Symposium.  A team comprising members from MABRC, BFRO, TBRG and a few independent researchers were going to set up a listening post at the entrance to the valley.  One thing we have found is that if you run into the valley on 4 wheelers and then come back out, the local Bigfoot seem to follow you out, as if to make sure you actually leave the valley.

To accomplish this, I mounted up on a 4 wheeler and was going to ride up about a third of the way up the valley and then turn around and come back out.  Now I admit, I broke the MABRC rules myself by going alone, but I didn't think much of it since I have been in the valley numerous times by myself.

Fate would have it differently, as I roared up through the valley, I turned a corner in the trail and lo and behold I seen two brownish-black Bigfoot carrying a young calf (For the city folks, a calf isn't just a little bity thing, a calf to country folks is any young cow, and they can get up to 600 pounds.  The one I saw being carried was in the 500 to 600 pound range) down the trail.  

Suddenly, the back of my 4 wheeler goes up in the air and nearly throws me over the handlebars.  As I look over my shoulder, I see a massive shoulder of black hair.  The 4 wheeler dropped, and to this day, I do not know how I turned around on that trail, but I did and roared out of the valley.  All I could think was that the Bigfoot that picked me up was running up behind me, so I was giving the 4 wheeler everything I had.  I crossed the creek coming out of the valley and ran directly into the listening post.  

From what I was told by those guys, I was nearly in shock, my 4 wheeler was smoking from being so hot.  After I regained my composure and told them what had happened, they looked at the back of my 4 wheeler, and this is what was found.

The (1) and (2) dots show where the fingerprints and handprint where something grabbed the back bumper of the 4 wheeler.

(1) shows how the bumper was bent outwards, (2) shows the bottom part bent outward and 3 shows the dried handprint the next day.

(1) to (2) shows the weld on the bumper was broken from the pressure of the bumper being picked up.

The next day at the Symposium, the caretaker for the cattle herd near the valley entrance came in and talked with me, when I told him what had happened, he told me that he had a calf missing that morning.  I didn't have a video camera at the time, but I have been trying to contact him so I can get him on video restating that.  

Now, all this is, is a story until I can get corroborating evidence, that being the caretaker saying he indeed was missing a calf that morning before he came to the Symposium.  Granted, this really doesn't prove that this encounter happened.  Nothing short of having a camera mounted to my head and recording the entire time I am in the valley will help to back that up.  Guess what though, I now will not go anywhere out of camp unless I have a gopro strapped to my head.  Lesson learned.

Finally, the fact that I don't know anything about Bigfoot.  First off, there is no one that is an expert on Bigfoot, and the only thing we know for sure, is that they live in the woods.  Second, I believe that I have more knowledge than most new people coming into the Bigfoot Community.  I've been doing this since 1991, have accumulated lots of evidence, and continue going in the woods.  I've worked long and hard on the MABRC Forums to post the combined information of everything Bigfoot-related on it, in one easy to research location.  I do know that the University of Oklahoma back in 2008 credited me with setting the model for Bigfoot Research on the Internet.  And finally, not to take anything away from Henry Mays, who has been given the title of the Bigfoot Encyclopedia, who can remember dates way better than I ever could.   I have shown that I have the memory of an elephant when it comes to information related to research and hoaxes, as well as the Community history.

So when someone who researches from their barn has the nerve to criticize me for not "Getting my worthless fat ass out there" it really just makes me wonder why anyone thinks I'm not out there.  Just because I don't post garbage "evidence" on Facebook like they do, doesn't mean I have evidence to present.  I just prefer to do it on the MABRC Forums.

I have said it numerous times, and will say it numerous times more, if you expect anyone to take you serious in Bigfoot research, you better do your homework.  Learn the history of the Bigfoot Community, learn who is who, because the person you blast may be someone who has been at this a hell of a lot longer than you have, have tried all the ideas you are claiming is your idea you just came up with, and know a lot more than you ever will know.

Basically, don't have your head up your ass.

And that is one of the reasons that this blog exists, to help people not only learn tactics, procedures and policies to use in the field of research, but also to teach them who the right people are to listen to.

There is also those who claim I bash all Bigfooters, and talk highly of myself.  I don't try to talk down to anyone until they show a case of the dumbass, then I have to say something.  I seldom talk highly of myself until someone attacks my background in the Bigfoot Community.  Just because they don't want to take the time to learn the history, it's not my fault that they sound so stupid or crazy when they make wild claims without anything to back them up.  I have also worked with tons of evidence sent to me, and used a lot of software to analyze this evidence.  Because of that, I was able to write books showing others how to do this.  So I think I do have some knowledge these days.

Enough ranting for this blog, but for those who will no doubt be upset about this blog post, all I can say, is do your homework, stop expecting everyone else to do it for you.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Burden of proof


Burden of Proof -
    - the obligation to prove one's assertion.

Today's blog is about the burden of proof in the Bigfoot Community.  I see it all the time, someone posts what they claim is a photo of Bigfoot, someone questions them about how do you know it's a Bigfoot, did you take comparison photos?  The person that is making the claim about the photo suddenly gets defensive and screams that they know what it is and everyone that don't believe them can take a flying hike off the cliff.

Let's take a look at the facts here.

The person posted a photo on Facebook to the public at large, making claims that it's a Bigfoot.  This is the assertion of the person who posted it, and accordingly, the burden of proof is their's to show it is a Bigfoot, not the person asking for comparison photos.

I see that a lot too, the person who truly has the burden of proof upon them, tries to turn the tables on those asking for more evidence, claiming that they either have to supply the burden of proof, or that they are just mean individuals who are jealous of the person's success in the field.

This usually ends up causing another issue that creates what is called sheeple.



People compared to sheep in being docile, foolish, or easily led.

This is caused by Peer Pressure

In which the person that has posted the so-called evidence has slowly created themselves a following, and once someone tries to question anything related to that evidence, the following/cult members begin piling on, attacking those who ask questions.  Before long, those who tried to maintain independent thought about the evidence and asking questions, are beaten down by these attacks, and eventually fall into the group think mentality.  The free thinker now becomes a sheeple.

So by now, you are asking, Darkwing, what is the point of this blog post.  When I started it, I was going to just talk about the burden of proof is always on the submitter, never on the reviewer.  But the other day I seen where someone asked legitimate questions about evidence submitted online, and when the followers of the submitter seen this, they viciously attacked the person asking the questions, after a day of being attacked, the person finally gave in and fell in line with the rest of the sheeple, refusing to ask any more questions.

I have to say, that is one of the things these days that makes me like going over to the Coalition for Critical Thinking in Bigfoot Research over on Facebook, led by Steven
Streufert, this group resembles more of the wolves instead of sheeple. What I mean by
that, is they analyze everything with a critical eye, and although this has led them into
some rather nasty fights with other Bigfoot groups on Facebook. They don't allow
themselves to be pulled into the sheeple flock. So you should check out the group,
but make sure to have a thick skin, they don't tolerate sheeples in the group.