March 28, 2013 by kittynh
The Bigfoot Club I belong to (which is actually named “The Bigfoot Club”), recently had our ” Spring update” meeting. While Spring may be in the air elsewhere, here in New Hampshire there is still enough snow on the ground to continue the “Snow Tracks” viewing program.
I previously posted about this ambitious project, where we each took a tract of land where Bigfoot has been reported residing, and look for Bigfoot prints in the snow cover. February was a record month for snowfall, so we had high hopes.
Sadly, the only truly mysterious tracks have been the ones I found in Pisgah State Park. It is rather disappointing for the average Bigfoot believer when the token skeptic finds the “evidence”. Acres and acres are still scanned daily, but no unknown tracks found “so far” (hope springs eternal in the breast of a Bigfoot hunter), besides my finding which is still “unidentified”.
This is good ,if not for Bigfoot research, as it has assured the club that as a skeptic I am as dedicated to this work as they are. When I had to go to the ER for 24 hours, I was careful to find someone to cover my “viewing area” while I was out of commission. As a skeptic that has been allowed to join a Bigfoot group, I have to play by the rules. In other words, even though I don’t believe evidence of a Bigfoot is out there, I have to follow through with my commitment to keep looking. This “taking things seriously”, which I was warned I had better do if I wanted to belong to the group, has resulted in respect for my opinions and suggestions.
I have shown I’m not there just to make fun of them, as tempting as that is at times. I have to remember that several of the members have seen Bigfoot. Personal experience is very convincing, though I’ve been able to educate the group that your personal word, no matter how nice and honest a person as you are, is not proof. As one member recently said, “We are not here to get our own reality show, we’re here for the science.” I’ve been working on their definition of “science”. We’ve had talks about what would constitute proof, and what evidence would be needed for “science” to agree with the personal opinions of the group members.
Sharon Hill and her web site Doubtful News have proven to be an invaluable resource for this education. The recent Bigfoot DNA results got great hype, but even our favorite hard core Bigfoot believer site, Bigfoot Lunch Club, has been clearly skeptical about the supposedly scientific results. My Bigfoot group has been learning what a real scientific paper is, and we have Melba Ketchum and her badly done DNA paper to thank. The group even knows what “peer reviewed journal” means now.
One thing I like to do is give “homework”. I listen to their stories and theories, the believers then consider it is only polite that they listen to mine. I actually am far more compassionate and respectful of group member Larry’s encounter with a Bigfoot when squirrel hunting than his wife is. It’s not hard to be more empathetic than her taunts of “Larry you are just crazy!” Larry isn’t crazy, I don’t think he saw a Bigfoot, but he truly thinks he did.
Recent Bigfoot homework I have assigned has been on the subject of just why there are such poor quality photographs and video of Bigfoot. My local group has had trail cameras all over the woods for years, long before I joined up. Sadly, no Bigfoot has ever been caught on the cameras. The group actually feels most Bigfoot photographs and videos are fakes or mistaken identifications. My question to them, “Why?”
As a skeptic, you can lead a believer to water but you can’t make them stop looking around for Bigfoot long enough to drink. The answer that the group came up with is what I like to call “creative”.
Bigfoot can sense batteries. Bigfoot avoids trail cameras and anything with a battery. That’s why if you go Bigfoot hunting with a TV crew, you won’t get good footage. Those cameras have a battery. Also, when a club member goes out snow scanning or just walking in the woods, there is always at least one battery along.
The group identified the following as possible items that might scare a Bigfoot
Tim’s new heart pump implant
Larry’s hearing aide
Kitty’s Kindle (I get bored and sometimes want to read)
I not only felt like banging my head on the table we were meeting, I actually did. This cracked the guys up, and Larry’s wife came in with some snacks and beers, looked at me and said “I told you he’s crazy!”
Humor is a good tool for any skeptic. My head banging was to show that I know it’s not batteries! But, I also lack the ability to explain just why a battery could not scare off Bigfoot. The believers logic of “Well, we don’t know much about them, so we have to just use common sense. There’s some reason they aren’t coming around when we’re looking!” did show they were thinking. I do like that the group is creative and original.
The group does not just copy what TV Bigfoot hunters do. No banging on trees or howling. People live here. It’s rather rude to howl and bang at night. Most of all, the group agrees what the Bigfoot hunters are doing on TV doesn’t work. So the group is dedicated to trying new methods. Snow scanning for tracks was a very innovative first step.
The next step, getting rid of batteries. That means, no cameras, no cell phones, no GPS, no Tim, no Larry being able to hear a thing, and no Kindle for me.
The question of how we gather scientific proof of Bigfoot without anyway to record our finding then came up. We would be looking for DNA as usual. I downloaded videos on how to collect DNA properly and the group carries gloves and bags just for this. Still, what if we see a Bigfoot?
Since I am an artist, the first suggestion was I sketch Bigfoot. Since I am a skeptic, I know how much credibility my Bigfoot sketch would have. “I saw a whole bunch of Bigfoots and they were having a birthday party. They held still quite nicely while I did this portrait of the occasion.”
I mentioned the dilema we were having on Facebook, where almost all my friends are skeptics, and they supplied the answer! Skeptics suggested the group obtain and use antique Brownie style cameras, being careful if the camera had a flash to remove any batteries. One person even sent me directions for us to make our own pinhole cameras.
The group was once again impressed that skeptics, instead of just
making fun of their theory, supplied an answer to our dilemma that did not involve me imitating Bob Ross. The more a believer group can look upon skeptics not as people that will just make fun of them (like Larry’s wife), and more as people that can supply answers and make reasonable suggestions, the more believers will be opening to listening to skeptics.
I was clear, as were the skeptics helping with the battery problem, that I don’t think Bigfoot can sense batteries. This is not just based on our belief that Bigfoot does not exist. I don’t believe any animal has this ability. Except perhaps sharks. Tim made a good case for sharks, but I have to look into it more. I did point out we weren’t looking for sharks, but for all we know Bigfoot could be the shark of the forest.
The group is trying to purchase enough Brownie type cameras that we have enough to be ready for a few good test hikes. We are continuing the snow scanning until the snow pack melts. Then we have to wait for the trails to dry up. New Englanders know that it’s bad for the environment to go walking on muddy trails. It causes a lot of erosion, so many trails and even roads are closed during “mud season”. It should be noted that where I live in New Hamsphire 1/3 of the roads are dirt.
Bigfoot Club is accepting donations of Brownie style cameras, or if you have one you would like to sell at a good price let us know. We just ask that it be in working order. We have no budget, so any low tech donations are welcome.
Meanwhile I look forward to the end of mud season, where once again as the lone skeptic perhaps I will be the first to snap a photograph of a mystery furry object. Tim won’t be there to enjoy that moment, but he and his pacemaker will be there in spirit. Also, Larry won’t be able to hear me say “Hey, over there! Quick snap a shot!” Then again he won’t be able to hear his wife say “Larry you are just crazy!”
Future updates soon!
- I’ve Heard the Bigfoot Singing (bemusability.wordpress.com)
- Serious science talk about Bigfoot – the new Tet Zoo podcast (idoubtit.wordpress.com)
- Bigfoot DNA Tests Call Science Journal’s Credibility Into Question (huffingtonpost.com)