BEST NEW UK BAND OF 2016 AND THE PHENOMENON OF BIGFOOT HOAXERS IN NORTH AMERICA
"Something very odd is going on in the forests of North America and it's not Bigfoot."
It's about this time of year that we columnists at MetalTalk usually talk about what we think are the best upcoming bands on the scene at the moment and what were the most rocking events of last year.
But if I may digress for a moment, what is going on in the mountains and woods of North America? There is certainly something odd going on there and I don't think it's Bigfoot.
It appears that teams of hoaxers are working day and night to lay evidence all over the countryside to convince a gullible public that an undiscovered indigenous species of large wild ape roams the forests at night.
I'm not happy with this. So let's take a deeper look into the phenomenon with the second episode of a previously unannounced new series of CHRIS DALE INVESTIGATES...
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Bigfoot, Ontario 2009? This photograph is known as the 'Temagami Hoax' alledgedly by Jeane Hiebert. It was proven to be a fake and that Jeane Hiebert is a made up name.
The Bigfoot myth is a unique phenomenon of mass hysteria. It is not unique in it's concept as many mythical beasts have their origins in mass hysteria. Once one person becomes panicked and hysterical by a false sighting of a monster, others soon come forward to say they've seen the same thing often adding details to their story from their imaginations. That is all part of what makes us human beings such a creative species but the Bigfoot myth in North America is unique in its scale.
In Delhi, India in 2001 a monkey-man was reported as rampaging through the crowded city, attacking at will. Fifteen people reported injuries and yet no monkey-man was ever found. It has been suggested that this was a classic example of mass hysteria spreading like wildfire through a community. It didn't reappear though and once people were reassured that no such monkey-man existed it was never seen again.
The Chupacabra in South America is another example of a monster created by mass hysteria. The first sighting of the ferocious beast which sucked the blood of goats was in Puerto Rico in 1995. Sightings of the monster soon spread throughout the Spanish speaking world, to mainland South America, Mexico, the Southern United Sates and across the Atlantic to Spain. As it spread it became more fearsome with sharp teeth, spikes on its back and glowing red eyes.
It only spread through Spanish speaking countries because news of it was passed by word of mouth and local press, hence it was able to cross the Atlantic to Spain but was not able to spread into North America as the English language media gave it very little coverage.
The Loch Ness Monster is another example of mass hysteria on a small scale. The legend of the monster was set back in the dark ages when in AD 565 St. Columba fought off a water beast in the River Ness by holding up the sign of the cross.
I'm not wanting to cast doubt on the Christian faith in general but legends of saints defeating monsters and dragons are not to be taken seriously as evidence of unidentified species. Nevertheless sightings of a monster in nearby Loch Ness began in the 1870s and although not numbering more than a few dozen still continue to this day. All this is based on ripples in the water, proven hoaxed photos and the legend of a saint.
Hoaxed Loch Ness Monster Photo by Dr Kenneth Wilson, 1934
Several sonar studies of the loch have found no monsters and a recent twenty-five year vigil by one man recently ended with his similar conclusion that there was no Loch Ness Monster. It is truly amazing what the human mind can convince itself of when given some small encouragement.
The legend of Bigfoot is different however. Like the Loch Ness Monster, its reports go back into the mists of time but unlike the Scottish beast the number of Bigfoot reports go into their thousands.
Like the Chupacabra it has spread across a continent but unlike the Chupacabra has remained constant in its description. Like the beast of Delhi, it could possibly be mistaken for a man or other known animal but unlike the Monkey-Man, Loch Ness Monster or Chupacabra it is consistently described as being similar to known extant animals, namely humans and apes, and also to our immediate ancestors.
Bigfoot believers describe a very consistent creature. It is a large, muscular, hairy ape. The hair varies from dark reddish brown to black. It usually stands upright, has long arms and relatively short legs. It has roughly human shaped hands and feet but of course much bigger than ours, hence the name 'Bigfoot'. They are described as having a conical head and a face between that of a human and an ape with a flattened nose and eyes which reflect in the dark.
The creature is allegedly intelligent, nocturnal and extremely wary of contact with humans. Despite its size, it can move quickly and hide effortlessly in the forest. Reports say that like other apes it is an omnivore that eats pine cones, nuts and fruit as well as fish and animals that it can catch. Some people believe they also hunt deer, wild pigs and possibly even stray human children in the forest.
They are also supposed to make rough constructions out of trees and branches that they break down and sometimes strip the bark from. Having opposable thumbs they are able to grasp, tear and thrown things such as rocks or branches when they feel threatened.
An alleged Bigfoot tree construction in Tennessee, note the trees are pushed from different sides and the bark is stripped back.
The Bigfoot is reported to make a variety of noises, howls, screams, chattering and ape-like whoops. Another advantage of having opposable thumbs means they can supposedly knock sticks or stones together to communicate.
The many eyewitness reports, blurred photos and film, footprints, recordings and other evidence all point to the same type of creature with very similar descriptions but they all fail in one simple way.
Bigfoot does not exist.
No clear photograph or film of a Bigfoot has ever been authenticated by the scientific community as a whole. No proven live or dead body, bones or fossils have ever been brought in for scientific examination.
There is no evidence at all of apes having lived in North America until the first humans arrived across the Bearing Strait between ten to forty thousand years ago. Furthermore there are no reports of large apes on the loose from zoos or private collections in North America.
This means that humans are and have always been the only animals with opposable thumbs in North America and thus the only animals capable of effectively grasping, throwing, pulling, carrying and knocking things.
These are all basic facts accepted by science, the academic community at large and by the majority of sane people around the world.
ORIGINS OF THE BIGFOOT LEGEND
The myth of Bigfoot started among the first nation tribes of Canada and America. Many tribes have legends of large, hairy beast-men that lived in the mountains and forests. Some describe them as fearsome, others as peaceful, either way they were warned away from and best left alone. These legends have their roots in antiquity and can probably be put down to mistaken identities elaborated on by generations by word of mouth.
Bigfoot Mask made by the Sts'iles First Nation People, British Columbia
The different tribes had different names for this mythical creature. Some called it the Hairy Man, the Stick Thrower or the Wood Devil. In their languages it was called Tsiatko, Ste-ye-hah' mah, Yeahoh, Seatco or Sasquatch, which is where the modern alternative name for Bigfoot comes from.
In these legends the creature is often described as large and hairy, fast and strong, a good runner, a deadly hunter and an expert in hiding in the woods. It is nocturnal and lives in the mountains and forests, usually avoiding human contact. When it does make contact it plays tricks, makes confusing whistles and whoops, throw sticks and stones and sometimes steals children.
These are some descriptions of the mythical beast from various local legends across North America collected by the BFRO (Bigfoot Field Researchers Organisation) website.
"The form of a man but larger, quick and stealthy. He inhabits the dark recesses of the woods, he sleeps by day but sallies forth at dusk. He robs traps, steals food and waylays the belated traveller. He steals children and is an object of fear and terror to all."
"Nocturnal in habit, they sleep or remain in seclusion during the day and consequently are seen only on very rare occasions. The traveller who is delayed or lost from the trail is very apt to receive their attention. He may hear a signal, perhaps a whistle, ahead of him. should he follow the sound, it will be repeated for a time. Then he will hear it in the opposite direction, along the path he has just passed. If he turns back, it will only be to detect the mysterious noises elsewhere, leading to utter confusion and bewilderment."
"When a person walked through the woods he nearly walked into one before he spotted it. They hide by standing upright and still against a tree. As a person approaches it it will stand against the opposite side of the tree. As the person passes it will move so that the tree is always between the person and the tree. If it cannot hide it will still stay perfectly still until it knows the person sees it."
Although some tribal legends had variations this basic description of a large, hairy, bipedal, nocturnal hunter that screams, whistles, shakes trees, throws sticks and is skilled in hiding from humans has made the basis of the modern Bigfoot myth and has remained pretty much unchanged since European settlers arrived.
The early European settlers took these local legends, intertwined them with their own and soon added new stories. This is the origin of the story of the Bogeyman coming to get naughty or stray children. From the seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries hunters and frontiersmen sporadically reported sightings, contact with and even shootings of wild hairy men in the forests.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE MODERN MYTH - BIG FOOTPRINTS!
The roots of the modern Bigfoot Hysteria began in 1951 when a logger named Jerry Crew reported finding large footprints at a remote work site in Bluff Creek, California. He took plaster casts of them and made it into the local and national press though his construction business made a loss financial loss from the event. This was shortly after Eric Shipton's famous Himalayan yeti footprint photo had made worldwide news.
It seems reasonable to see how the yeti news at the time (whether real or not) coupled with local legend inspired a hoaxer (whether is was Crew himself or an unknown third party) to make up some fake big feet and stamp around the countryside to gain some fame. Large humanoid footprints had been reported in the Americas as back as far as 1811 by David Thompson in Japser, Alberta. The 1950s Bluff Creek footprints simply continued the story.
Soon dozens more people reported seeing big footprints all across the country and into Canada. Since the 1950s hundreds of these footprints have been reported, photographed or cast. They are all similar in design to those originally casts at Bluff Creek: five toed, roughly human shaped but broader and longer often with a lesser instep arch than on humans feet. Some reports are mistaken bear or human prints but many are deliberate hoaxes.
A Bigfootprint found in the wild
These prints range in difficulty from single rough smudges in a back yard to detailed imprints stamped deeply into the ground with some weight, with a wide gait, some made in parts of the countryside that are difficult to access. The longest set of tracks followed three slightly differently sized footprints for over seven miles.
Most of these big prints are in earth, sand and mud. Some barefoot prints are made in the snow, recorded as low as -19c in Canada. Great pain and effort has been gone to in many cases to hoax these prints and fuel the myth.
EYEWITNESSES IN THE DARK
Naturally along with the publicity of the footprints, sightings of the beast increased. The BFRO website logs reports of Bigfoot. There are currently almost 50,000 on their database. While that figure may seem a a lot, in a continent as large as North America with a population of about 355 million that is actually a very small percentage.
As with the Monkey-Man of Dehli, once one person has seen it the next person jumps at every shadow in the dark. Here are two recent reports, the first is a report from a driver who saw a dark shadow across the road at night and assumed it was a Bigfoot:
"As I was travelling South Bound on US 33 near Plattsburg, MO on Friday July 11th 2014 at 11:48 pm, I witnessed a sizable creature cross the roadway from West to East jump the fence in pass into the corn. My initial reaction to this was 'Oh, a deer, there are probably more,' so I hit the brakes a slowed slightly.
"As the distance between us closed and more of the light from the headlights illuminated the shadow. I was able to get a better view of what I was dealing with. What I had thought was a deer was in fact much larger, and upright. As the light caught the side of the creature it made an extremely agile motion which consisted of two steps from the edge of the ditch to the fence line. In the same motion the creature placed its left hand on the top wire of the fence, jumped and cleared the fence with both feet and disappeared into the corn."
What the driver most likely saw here was in fact the shadow of a deer as he first thought but with the added mass hysteria of the Bigfoot myth his brain reports a Bigfoot sighting and fills in the missing details itself. There are literally hundreds of very similar reports.
Here's another report from a holiday camper in Ohio from September 2015. The witness had gone to bed at 1.30am and around 3.00am "had to leave the van to relieve myself. I opened the van's side door. Out of the corner of my eyes I detected a slight movement on the road but everything was bathed in shadow from the trees. I felt I was seeing a shadow of something. All I could see was its silhouette. It was upright and moving on two feet. It stood at least 8ft high. I knew at once it was a Bigfoot."
Note the phrases "corner of my eye" and "bathed in shadow", suggesting the witness did not get a clear view, yet because of the power of the existing mass hysteria, his brain suggests that it's a Bigfoot.
As well as sightings such as these we get the even more vague category of audible evidence, hearing a Bigfoot. Many holiday makers report any curious noise in the forest as a Sasquatch. Here is one such report:
"My wife and I were camping at Yellow-Wood State Park this past Saturday night. About 1:00am we both were asleep and were woken by a loud hollering noise. It was a very deep howling noise but it wasn't a dog or coyote. The howling noise was very long and very close to our camper."
Are they sure it wasn't a dog or coyote? Dogs, coyotes, wolves and owls all howl and scream in the woods at night in North America, not just Bigfoot. Do these campers know the difference for certain? None of these vague reports and anecdotes are serious evidence of an undiscovered species yet many Americans think they are.
PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE AND THE BLOBSQUATCH
Along with the fleeting sightings and hearings come dozens of distant and blurred photos. Even Bigfoot enthusiasts often refer to most of these as Blobsquatches because of their lack of clarity. Sadly, very few of them come close to being conclusive of the existence of a Sasquatch. Here's a close up one.
Bigfoot in Pennsylvania 2013?
Is this a Bigfoot striding away from the camera into the forested sunset? What else could it be? Quite frankly it could be any number of things, a bear, a guy in a costume or a trick of the light. On further examination of the photo and the area in which it was taken, this one proved to be nothing more than a shadowed tree stump.
What about this next photo taken in Alberta, Canada? Surely that's a Sasquatch sitting in the long grass with its arm outstretched and his back to the camera?
Bigfoot in Alberta 2012?
On closer examination this photo was proven to show two bear cubs wrestling at an awkward angle. It seems that just about anything can be reported as a Bigfoot sighting in the woods these days. Many people in the North American woods are quite literally jumping at shadows.
Some photos are more convincing than others, this one posted by Mark Anders on his YouTube channel is one of the better ones.
Bigfoot in Rogers County, Oklahoma 2013?
Somebody's gone to a lot of effort there to make a full musculature costume there. I feel I should congratulate them on their work because most of what they get for posting this kind of nonsense is abuse and ridicule. If the guy who made this costume is reading this article then I have to say well done you mate, that's one of the best so far.
The next logical step for Bigfoot enthusiasts was a video of the creature in the wild. The first and most famous film to be shown to the public was the Patterson-Gimlin Film of October 1967. This took the Bigfoot craze into a new league entirely. This was no longer mistaken identities and tall tales around the campfire. This was people making planned and deliberate attempts to hoax the public.
A still from the Patterson-Gimlin Film, Bluff Creek, California 1967
The story was that Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin went up to the mountains around Bluff Creek with the aim of filming a Bigfoot after the famous footprints had been been found over a decade before and many more reported in the region since. After a few days trekking Patterson managed to film his famous short clip of a figure walking away from the camera and looking over its shoulder.
Despite the bad camera work and poor resolution, the subject is clearly not a mistaken bear or tree stump. It is either a real Bigfoot or it is a hoaxer in monkey suit - to be fair it's a good suit (it looks better then most cinema apes of the 1960s and bulkier than Chewbacca ten years later) but it is still easily a guy in a costume at first glance.
One of the benefits of hoaxing an upright ape is that we humans are already the shape of an upright ape, all you need is a big tall guy in a bulky costume to pull it off.
Perhaps because of that whole aspect of similarity to humans, the Patterson-Gimlin film spawned a generation of video hoaxers. Having seen the blueprint of how a Bigfoot should look on the 1967 film, hoaxers since then have followed the example with the same conical head, long swinging arms, hunched walk, big build, high gait and sometimes the female breasts as seen in the Patterson-Gimlin footage.
New video makers even sometimes take that a step further and add babies in monkey costumes. I really am in admiration of the lengths some people go to for a bit of blurred footage to get some YouTube hits and impress their mates with. There is work an effort gone into here and that should always be acknowledged
Here's a compilation I made of my favourite ten Bigfoot videos. There are many more to choose from but these are my ten personal favourites. I'm awarding points here not just for the quality of the costume but also for the stunts they're performing while dressed up. Walking or running in long grass or dense forest is hard enough when equipped for the task, half blinded by a silly monkey costume it's even harder.
Please be aware also that all the films are blurred, distant and of poor quality as that's the nature of filming a a non-existent creature at a distance. The videos are in no particular order of preference but I'll start with the classic Patterson-Gimlin film.
Well done all you funny hoaxers!
Probably the most admirable one for me is that last one of the barely visible guy running down a mountainside in Canada dressed in a onesie. It's the most distant and least provable footage in the compilation (it may even take a few views to spot the guy) but boy did he work hard and literally risk his neck for that bit of poor footage.
So there we go, that's what Americans and Canadians do with their spare time in the countryside. Then hundreds more of them go searching for the elusive creature up mountains at all times of the night. They make wood knocks to encourage Bigfoots to do the same back, then other teams of Bigfoot hunters make a stick knock in return and thus the hysteria perpetuates itself.
There's a regular TV show (starting its eighth season as we speak) on the Animal Planet Channel called 'Finding Bigfoot' with extremely good ratings. The obvious irony being that in each episode they never actually find a Bigfoot because they don't exist.
There's restaurants, theme bars and tourist shops named after Bigfoot in areas where sightings have been reported. There's online merchandisers selling T-shirts, bumper stickers and coffee mugs along with DVDs of blurred footage. Then researchers hire venues to hold annual meetings to discuss the latest lack of clear evidence of such a creature.
A Bigfoot Themed Restaurant, Oregon
All this provides a revenue for small businesses but nobody makes a fortune from the Bigfoot industry. Mainly the hoaxers go about their hoaxing and the believers go about their believing purely for the fun of it. After all a walk in the woods is good for your cardio-vascular system.
I still think that believing in mythical beasts is an odd way for folk to behave in the modern day though.
MY ONLY THREE DOUBTS
While writing this article I read and watched a lot on the subject and most of it was clearly laughable. You watched my ten best videos above, right? You should have seen the ten worst videos. They literally included children in cheap hired gorilla costumes jumping around at the end of the garden. In fact most of my reading was like that. I was wondering how anyone could be taken into this at all.
In all my readings there were only three short moments when I doubted my sanity and thought for a minute that there might really be something to this. Each time I had to grab myself back to reality but these moments slightly spooked me.
DOUBT NUMBER 1- PROFESSIONAL WITNESSES
The first cause of concern about the reality of this whole idea was while I was trawling through loads of eyewitness accounts on the BFRO website. Most as exampled above were vague descriptions or distant memories by holiday makers, speeding motorists and sleep-walkers. The few that interested me were more detailed descriptions by forestry professionals. I assumed that these people could recognise bears and hikers from Bigfoot and would have little to gain and everything to lose from reporting seeing a Sasquatch.
There were a number of these from hunters to law enforcement officers. Here's two accounts that I read, the first is from a Dan Patino, a US Forestry Service Law Enforcement Ranger's report from a remote area in Oregon in 1995.
From a distance he and his girlfriend saw what they first assumed to be a large person dressed from head to toe in black moving away from him. This made the officer curious and he went to follow. He saw footprints that he estimated were 16" long and was examining them when the figure turned back and came towards him.
He reported that his girlfriend yelled "'It's coming back!' I just stared as it approached us at a fast rate. From the south, at 100 yards, at a fast clip.
"She pulled my arm and tried to drag me back up to camp. I told her I was staying and wanted to find out what it was. She became frantic, screaming, 'Come on!' as she headed to camp. I stood there and I was stunned. At a far distance of 80 yards or so, this thing was taller then me at a level field.
"As it got closer I started yelling 'You better stop! I am going to shoot!'. It kept coming, directly at me, like I didn't exist. Its shoulders seemed to be at least 4-5 ft wide, with no neck. I started to notice hair all over, and started to make out the face.
"At that point I realized and I said out loud, 'Oh My God, it's not a human!' I couldn't move for a moment. When I got control again I ran like hell, toward my girlfriend, who was screaming, 'Run!' I ran fast, thinking it was coming for me."
Was that a hoaxer running at an officer threatening to shoot? A forestry professional cannot have mistaken it for a bear on two legs or a charging deer can he? It's difficult to imagine the motive for a forestry law enforcement officer to make up a story like that. It creeps me out a little, that one.
Dan Patino's snapshot of some big footprints next to his own after the incident
Similarly here's a professional hunter's supposed eyewitness account from Texas in 2004. At the time he was hunting wild hogs when he saw something else also hunting the hogs.
"It was dark, hair covered and slowly moving its head around looking in the direction of the hogs. At this time it quickly moved to another tree. I could see most of its body, it was huge, standing on two legs, slowly looking around the tree at the hogs... The hogs were still feeding... and the animal was working towards the hogs. It moved quickly and disappeared. It quickly reappeared moving to another tree, still looking at the hogs.
"I could again study its features. Its movement from tree to tree was a quick leap, landing at the base of next tree on two feet. Standing behind tree and slowly looking around at the hogs. This continued for several minutes until they were about 30 yards apart and almost directly in front of me at about 40 yards.
"The animal dropped to all fours, bunched up its rear legs and leaped. It took two leaps to reach the hogs and it screamed during the second leap causing the hogs to panic for a split second. The second leap ended with it slapping one hog in its side, knocking it through the air into side of a tree. As the squealing hog bounced off the tree, it pounced on it, beating it with its fist like a person pounding on a desk. I could hear bones crunching with each hit. All this happened very fast. About four seconds from first leap to dead hog. The quickness of attack was very unnerving."
That wasn't a brief sighting of a hoaxer by an amateur in the dark, that was a woodsman closely observing an animal in detail. Or was it a hallucination? Or an oddly made-up story? I don't know the guy but both of those conclusions seemed unlikely.
These weren't the only sober eyewitness accounts from professionals, here's a compilation of reports from US policemen who claim to have seen Bigfoots while on duty:
OK, so now we know that many US police officers have difficulty telling fact from fiction in front of their eyes and that all of them carry firearms. That's a reassuring thought isn't it? I told you that something odd was going on the forest, but it's not Bigfoot.
DOUBT NUMBER 2- ARM TO LEG RATIOS
I had as good a laugh as you at the top ten videos when I first saw them. I mean really, what kind of idiot does this stuff? Sorry, not an idiot but what kind of oversized fitness freak does this kind of stuff in the woods, halfway up a mountain?
Then I read a few people online talking about arm to leg ratios in humans and apes. Basically humans arms are about 20% shorter than our legs, that's a fact for all of us regular adult Homo Sapiens. In gorillas and chimpanzees, the arms are longer than the legs. This is one of many reasons why human actors don't look convincing as chimpanzees in the original Planet of the Apes films.
In the Patterson-Gimlin film (and some others in my top ten compilation above) the subjects have arms that are relatively longer than ours and are only about 5% shorter than their legs. Suddenly we're talking maths and percentages instead of campfire tales.
Extending arm to leg ratio lengths monkey-style is easy with forearm extensions but you can't extend the elbow too. The human elbow is halfway down our arm and so the Patterson-Gimlin film with its extended arm and elbow in the middle of the arm would seem not to show a human.
Here's a picture of a human actor playing Chewbacca from the Star Wars films. As you can see, he has forearms extensions, meaning that his elbows are no longer in the middle of his arm length. The forearms and fake paws with no fingers are much longer than the upper arms.
Chewbacca, an honest photo of a human in an ape costume!
Having watched a fair bit of Star Wars with this in mind, I think they had at least two different arms for Chewy. Some shots where he has to grip something with his fingers, such as a laser blaster show his with shorter arms, elbows in the middle and active fingers. Other longer shots show him as above with the forearm extensions and no finger definition or individual movement. But I'm digressing into Star Wars now...
Also on the Star Wars topic, notice that despite Hollywood's multi-million dollar effects, the end onscreen result for Chewbacca is a tall slim guy in a monkey costume, there is no muscle definition in Chewbacca's lanky costume while the headpiece is clearly of different origin to the rest of the suit. These things aren't easy to fake, the hoaxers have done well to avoid the pitfalls that Hollywood fell for and have usually hidden their tracks by filming in appalling quality.
Of all the people discussing this topic of the arm to leg rations online, I think a guy called Thinker Thunker explains the arm to leg ratio theory best in this short video.
DOUBT NUMBER 3- FINGERPRINTS
OK, so now I'm living with the knowledge that many US law enforcement officials are mad and that there's something fundamental that I don't understand about the human and ape anatomy. That's OK too, I can live with those doubts. I'm not an expert on either topic to be fair.
Then there was more science to deal with. I find science a tricky one to doubt. Educated people in lab coats doing numbers and stuff. It is very impressive isn't it?
There have been several attempts to scientifically acknowledge Sasquatch over the years, all of them hindered by the undeniable fact that no such animal has so far been found to exist.
Dr Melda Ketchum examined over one hundred samples of alleged Bigfoot DNA, sent them off for laboratory testing and concluded in 2015 that although some of the tested samples were known animals others were from an unknown species and possibly a human hybrid. The majority of the scientific community ignored her testimony and some claimed that the tests were seriously flawed.
But remember those footprints and casts they made up in the 1950s and since? There's a professor of anthropology at Idaho University called Dr Jeff Meldrum who spends his time collecting and and examining them. Being a professor of anthropology, you would hope he could tell a fake wood or plastic foot pressed in the ground from a real animal with body-weight, motion, flexibility, muscles and bones. Despite this he has spent literally years collecting and studying the things.
Some of the Bigfoot prints from Dr Jeff Medrum's Collection
His conclusion in short is that while some of the casts in his collection are made by wooden carvings pressed into mud, some were made by real unidentified creatures of flesh and bone. That's all well and good but again we can't define a species based on someone's opinion of a footprint or two (or many hundreds more). For every pro opinion there is a counter opinion. So what is going on? We really need a single undeniable fact that we can grasp onto in all this mess.
A breakthrough came for Jeff Meldrum when a fingerprint specialist of the Texas police force called Jimmy Chilcutt contacted him and asked to see the footprints. Jimmy had police experience with both human and ape finger and toe prints. He examined some hundreds of alleged Bigfoot casts in Dr Meldrum's collection and found that some had clear dermal ridges.
Dermal Ridges as compared from a Bigfoot Cast and Human Fingertips
That's hard to fake. If faking dermal ridges and fingerprints was easy criminals would do it and the police wouldn't still use finger print identification to solve crimes.
What's more odd is that the dermal ridges on these casts do not conform to human standards according to Jimmy Chilcott. The ridges on human feet run mainly horizontally, the ridges on other primates run diagonally but the ridges on the Bigfoot casts run vertically.
Is that the conclusive answer to the mystery then? Bigfoot as an undiscovered species in North America is proven by fingerprint science beyond all doubt?
Well no, later researchers casted (excuse the pun) some further doubts on Chilcutt's results and suggested that some of the ridges may have been caused by dry brushstrokes while cleaning the casts.
Hang on a second. Dermal ridges on several prints, that criminal master minds can't clone and that were good enough to fool a Professor of Anthropology and a Police Fingerprint Expert, were made accidentally by brush strokes on a plaster cast?
That's not sounding plausible now. Suddenly, the non-believers are clinging onto a theory that seems less likely than the one the believers propose.
CONCLUSION AND THE BEST BAND OF 2016?
So there you have it.
Either a large number of Americans and Canadians believe in and cleverly hoax a purely mythical beast or such an animal actually exists undiscovered by mainstream science in the mountainous forests of North America.
Neither is entirely plausible and yet one and possibly both are true. I'll leave that for you to think over...
But what's this got to do with metal and what were we on about anyway? Oh yes, before we started all this silly sasquatch stuff I was going to tell you that my prediction for the best upcoming UK metal band for 2016 are called Bigfoot. They're from Wigan, they rocked the Bloodstock Festival last year and I think they're ace!
Have a Happy and Metal 2016 all!
SOURCES AND LINKS
Bigfoot Field Researchers Organisation
Most of the eyewitness and ancient reports from this article are quoted from the BFRO website
Hog hunter's report
Dan Patino's account
"As I was travelling South Bound..."
"I noticed I had earlier walked..."
"It was dark, hair covered..."
"my wife and I were campngf"
Ancient Local Legends of the Bigfoot