The Burden of Proof is a phrase that I'm sure most of you have heard many times. It is used in the court of law probably everyday. It is also used very often in the Bigfoot world, but before I get into some of that, lets look at what "Burden of proof" means.
The Burden of proof is a duty placed on a person to prove or disprove some stated or disputed fact. In the court of law, in criminal cases, it is normally the prosecution that has the burden of proof. In plain words, the prosecution has the burden (duty) to prove that the defendant is guilty of a crime. In doing so the person would get convicted of the crime. On some occasions, the defendant (the person accused of a crime) has the burden of proof. In cases where the defendant is pleading insanity, the duty of the defendant's lawyers is to present proof that the person has mental health issues.
If the prosecution can present their proof to the jury in a way that leaves no doubt, then the person is normally found guilty of the crime. The long and short of it is, the prosecution is accusing a person of a crime and must prove it. Hence, the phrase "innocent until proven guilty".
Now, lets take this novel concept over to the bigfoot world. It seems that if you have seen a bigfoot, have found things possibly associated with bigfoot, you get the ol "Burden of proof" phrase. So, for instance, you make a statement like " I seen a bigfoot carrying a live chicken", you will get the reaction that you must prove it. The problem is, the people who don't believe your statement, are accusing you of lying and asking you to prove your statement. They are acting like the prosecution, which to me, puts the burden of proof on them, not the witness. Beside, sometimes, there are things that you just can not prove when it comes to something you seen. The value of the witness comes into play. Is the witness a honest person, does the witness have a history of being truthful, in other words is the witness someone to be believed.
Some may say, "you have to be able to prove your claims", but sometimes it just can not be done when it comes to something you and only you have seen. There was no picture taken, there was no other witnesses, no evidence left behind. There is no way to prove it. Does that make you guilty? I don't think it does. The person or people accusing you has to prove you are guilty. They would have to prove you have a history of lying, or making up stories. Can they do that? For some people, yes they can, for others not they can't.
Now, for the sad part. The sad part and the one that hurts the bigfoot world in general, is not only that skeptic slam researchers and witnesses with the "burden of poof" phrase but other researchers use it. People and researchers who supposedly believe in bigfoot, run bigfoot groups and who do research, will slam other researchers and lay the "burden of proof" on them. Then the researcher who is sharing their research will often try to appease these so called fellow researchers by providing pictures, videos or witnesses. But, it is normally not ever enough. Now, I'm not saying accept all claims and never check into a person's story but some of these folks take it way over the line and try to tear down a person. In general, the people in the bigfoot world rip each other apart, all the while supposedly having a common goal.
In the event, that the researcher/witness does provide some type of evidence to strengthen their story, it is often rejected by these folks calling for the "burden of proof". Nothing seems to be good enough. Evidence presented is normally dismissed with claims of "they faked it". Well, prove they fake it. Present your evidence that it's fake. It is my opinion that some of these people ripping into claims, probably just do not believe that bigfoot is real at all, so nothing would satisfy them.
There seems to be a pretty large group of these people in the bigfoot community. Many are researchers themselves but seem to continually rip down other researchers. Then they high five each other and pat each other on the back to celebrate ruining someones reputation or claim.
Now, I'm not trying to be too hard on these folks who rip into other researchers, because I know that most of us have fallen into that trap at one time or another. But, at some point, we will have to raise above some of the antics going on in the bigfoot community and work towards our common goal.
A common goal of learning more about bigfoot.
I hear some of the claims being made, and no I'm not buying into it. But I can't just go barreling into someone because I don't see it like they do. It seems the wildest claims will still have supporters.
We would probably all be better off, if we would just share what we know, what we have experienced, what we have found, and what we have seen and see where all of it crosses and intersects. That would seem to be better than researchers ripping into each other over personal experiences. Its no wonder that some witness are reluctant to come forward, it is like volunteering to join in on a gang fight.
With all that said, and yes I ramble some, I think hoaxers and hoaxes should be exposed. But it should be done with some tact.
I'm reminded of a verse in the bible, that I will paraphrase like this " ... if this work is not of God but is only of men, it will come to nothing." And so it is in the Bigfoot world, If a person is a hoaxer, or a liar, it will eventually come out and their research will amount to nothing.
As for me, all I can do is share my research, what I know and my opinions. I can't make you believe any of it. But what I know does not hinge on whether you believe me or not.
This post by Thomas Marcum, Thomas is the founder/leader of the cryptozoology and paranormal research organization known as The Crypto Crew. Over 20 years experience with research and investigation of unexplained activity, working with video and websites. A trained wild land firefighter and a published photographer, and poet
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