|Do They Help Research Or Hurt It?|
Bigfoot TV Shows
Do They Help Research Or Hurt It? Researchers Weigh In
By Dorraine Fisher
With the influx of Bigfoot TV shows in the wake of a lot of breakthroughs in bigfoot research, a lot of researchers complain these shows make a mockery of them and those who are serious about the subject. Especially in light of so much money changing hands sometimes, and so many supposed authorities on the subject suddenly emerging out of the shadows.
"In my opinion, these TV bigfoot shows create a phony set of "experts" and the general public are just unaware that there are no "experts" when it comes to bigfoot. Thomas Marcum, founder of our team said in a recent statement. "Yes, there are some knowledgeable people out there, but please don't believe everything you see on these shows," he said. "They are created mostly for entertainment and profit."
Profit is the one big thing that factors in the most with these complaints about the shows. And it’s the main thing that gets under the skin of those researchers who work quietly in the background on a shoestring budget and don’t get too much credit for what they do and virtually no monetary reward.
And audiences, who are usually far removed from the technological and scientific side of research and everything that really goes on in real investigations can easily be convinced that individuals chosen for these shows are "experts" on the subject. It’s true that a few of them know a great deal, but most were chosen for the purpose of making the shows interesting and keeping people watching.
Another complaint is that the shows are more interested in turning a profit than really finding proof Bigfoot exists. But I’ve often heard, under the table in the dark, that if Bigfoot is proved to exist, then the mystery goes away. And the mystery is what sells it. So if you prove they exist, the money goes away. At least that’s what some fear. Many write books and create documentaries innocently enough in order to inform the public of their findings and tell their stories, but there will always be a few that just want to make money. And that creates the fear in the community that hoaxes are born from this mentality. And it severely cuts into those who do the work to actually prove existence. And that’s what the bigfoot TV shows often represent to them. Fame, money, and no proof or substance.
The shows like Finding Bigfoot tend to focus on footage that has become famous or infamous, and isn’t necessarily accepted by real researchers in the community. So viewers are led to believe all bigfoot researchers must also believe it too. When the truth is none of them agrees on every piece of footage that’s out there. All footage is fully scrutinized and debated endlessly.
And why aren’t the producers of these shows talking to the habituators: those people who claim to live near and work closely with sasquatches in something akin to a "Jane Goodall" type approach to sasquatch research based on proximity and trust building? You’d think those would be the people these shows would be the most curious about in getting some real footage of sasquatches. But maybe there’s a reason these researchers aren’t approached, as cryptozoologist, Sharon Day, founder of Ghost Hunting Theories explained in a recent conversation about sasquatches and approaching them in this way, under the belief that they are a type of human species.
"It’s misleading to show the public that going into a forest for a weekend is going to be how one gets evidence of Sasquatch. Rushing the woods in a disruptive manner is only going to put Sasquatch on their guard. They do not like intrusion by strangers and they will simply go deeper into hiding. If a cable channel wanted a true reality show with any chance of glimpses of the Sasquatch, a show would need to revolve around habituators, those who live in on property shared with Sasquatch clans. The residents would probably have to film the show themselves, something like "Ghost Adventures." It would need to unfold over time and with patience. The key thing with this "Habituation Situation" show would be to bring to light the family units of Sasquatch, their reticence in trusting us, and the way in which they are able to coexist with us with great dignity, given our antics on their land. Knocking on trees and hollering, disrupting the peace of the forest by strangers who are unpredictable, is the worst possible example to give the public of how to have Sasquatch encounters. Although it certainly makes for entertaining TV to see the use of crying baby dolls and fireworks, it is a dangerous example of how to handle a shy people like sasquatches."
In essence, that would take too much time and effort. Maybe that’s more of a project for Nova or National Geographic over a period of years.
So, is there anything good about these shows from the perspective of the researchers in the field? It seemed to me like a bit of a double-edged sword.
"There are a few people who get out in the woods often, who know more than most. But their reputation gets somewhat diminished because of the shows," says Washington State researcher, Tommy Naff. " For the outside observer, these shows do provide some value. But for the hard core researcher/enthusiast, the shows are more for passing time and amusement.
"I think it hurts as far as credibility…" Cripple Creek Colorado crytpozoologist and paranormal investigator, Leon Drew, said recently. "But puts more eyes in the woods."
This view is widely accepted among many. The shows brings more attention to the subject, but can detract from serious research that also deserves attention and doesn’t get it, as crytpid hunter, Adam Davies, who’s appeared on National Geographic documentaries and Monsterquest explains.
"I think they are certainly bringing more mainstream awareness of the subject to the general population. But I would really like to see one [show] which concentrates on a couple of really serious potential areas and concentrates professional and scientific resource. I am yet to see one that does not spend more than a week at most in an area and then moves on," he said.
But Massachusetts researcher, Dax Rushlow, a real researcher who was also a member of the original cast of Ten Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty who also has recently casted some very interesting footprints from his area has a somewhat lighter overview from his perspective.
"It’s all just TV," he said. "I like the fact it brings Sasquatch out in the general public. I still do my research the correct way. Yes, some of the shows are bad, but it makes my life easier to do my business in this field."
Yes, the bigfoot craze on TV does bring a lot of trouble for those who are serious about the subject. But it also brings a lot of new fans to the subject too. And when people become fans of Bigfoot shows, whether they believe it all today or not, they’re more than likely the ones who’ll believe tomorrow. So maybe it’s a good thing to keep their attention???
And maybe it’s not bad to make money off of Sasquatch. And maybe it’s not bad to joke about the subject. We all do it from time to time. Just don’t make a mockery of the researcher’s work that takes a lot of time and patience and effort. Don’t lead viewers to believe it’s all so simple and cut and dry and that they all think the same way.
And maybe we shouldn’t expect miracles from these shows, or for them to be exactly the way we want them. Bigfoot shows may really only mean to entertain rather than inform. Isn’t that what TV is really supposed to be? So naturally it latched onto the subject of Bigfoot. Because Bigfoot, whether you believe or not, is like the rock star of the forest. Who wouldn’t latch on to that?
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