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Monday, February 17, 2014

JC Johnson finds bigfoot tracks
Bigfoot Track by JC Johnson

This Post By TCC Team Member Dorraine Fisher. Dorraine is a Professional Writer, a nature, wildlife and Bigfoot enthusiast who has written for many magazines. Dorraine conducts research, special interviews and more for The Crypto Crew. Get Dorraine's book The Book Of Blackthorne! 

One Big Mistake Sightings Investigators Should Never Make
Assessing The Basic Standard For A Sasquatch Description
By Dorraine Fisher

Are Bigfoot investigators making the best judgments they can possibly make when they decide if a witness is credible? Your answer may be yes, but are they missing an important element to the big picture?

I’ve been around cryptozoologists long enough now to have heard a lot of different stories. And it’s my job to pick through what might be credible and what might not. And it’s not always easy. But I think each of us has a prototype of the creature in our minds when we make those decisions. And lately I’m wondering if that’s really the best way to go.

Sure, there’s always the fear that a so-called witness is trying to make a fool out of us with their fake report. It’s something we face every day. And that makes all this work that much harder and sometimes unpleasant. But we have to do the best we can to rise above the ridicule and keep our eye on the ball.

Many investigators use the Patterson-Gimlin film creature as their standard for what a sasquatch should look like. And those who’ve had clear sightings of their own use their sighting as the standard to judge another’s story. But are they pigeonholing themselves into one basic description and deeming any description a fake that deviates from that?

Any of us that study the subject know that a description of a sasquatch is different in different areas of the continent. But, just as all humans are individuals, are we missing the point that all sasquatches are individuals also? That maybe, even within groups, they may vary a great deal in appearance? After all, we have males, females, adults, juveniles, babies, the old, the weak, the sick, the undernourished, the crippled or injured, etc. And their appearances would reflect that. I’ve heard of well-groomed adult females, scruffy, unkempt youngsters, enormous mature males, the often deformed-looking creatures of the southern swamps, human looking faces, dog-like faces, and ape-like, every size, shape, hair color and texture in the animal world, etc. The list goes on.

And what about sounds? All those sounds we often attribute to other animals, like the sounds of a coyote. Is it possible that a scream from a very young sasquatch could emulate the sounds made by coyotes or foxes or other animals? Possibly the similarities in sounds would be close enough that we would dismiss them as other animals and never give them a second thought. Is it possible that good witness testimony has often been blown off because it didn’t fit the normal criteria?

What about behavior? As different climates and topographies vary, so does all animal behavior. Harsher living conditions often make animals more aggressive or cautious. It also creates the need for different survival skill sets, different mating habits, and different food sources. But even within family groups, behavior can also vary depending on the animal’s emotional health, personal circumstances within the group, and its well-being.

All of these details should factor in to the big picture. Many researchers use Patty of the Patterson-Gimlin film to set the standard for what a sasquatch should look like. But what if we’d never had that standard to use? What would we be looking for then? Just because Patty was the subject of the first film-footage every captured, doesn’t mean that every sasquatch on the planet should look like her. Being first doesn’t factor in at all.

Of course, all investigators are doing the best job they can in taking these reports and they’re making a huge contribution to sasquatch research. But it’s always good to remind ourselves that the world of cryptids is never just black or white. We should never assume that all members of the same species will look and act much the same in any given area…or even in a single family group. They are individuals like we are.

So this all begs the questions: What are we looking for? And how do we determine if a witness is credible? The answer becomes more complicated here. But to dismiss a witness account because it doesn’t fit the description to which we’re accustomed is probably unwise and a serious disservice to the research overall. Our minds need to be open at all times and maybe we need to use other details to weed out the fakes.

Science tells us to take the evidence available and make the most obvious conclusion and run with it. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, we should conclude it’s probably a duck. But if a duck was a cryptid that was only seen on rare occasions by only a handful of witnesses that described a different-looking duck each time, how would we assess that? Would we assume that all creatures not fitting the original duck description were fake reports? Would we simply assume every account of a duck sighting was faked because the so-called witnesses each told different stories about what the elusive ducks looked like?

Luckily, there are now enough bigfoot sightings reports to give witnesses some credibility. More people believe now than ever before. So now we he need to just think outside the box a little bit more and see them as individuals. And no report should be completely dismissed based on a strange description of appearance or behavior.

I asked investigator JC Johnson from Crypto Four Corners in New Mexico to tell me his thoughts on the subject. And he offered this video of a report he took in his area that describes many different-looking individuals that were spotted there by locals. Check it out.


[Special Thanks to JC Johnson & Crypto Four Corners]

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