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July 5, 2016

"Evidence" ~ What Is It?


The Merriam Webster dictionary defines "evidence," as:

: something which shows that something else exists or is true
: a visible sign of something
: material that is presented to a court of law to help find the truth about something

Why do I bring this up? There seems to be a lot of people who don't understand what evidence is or how it is applicable to the work we do. I work off the truest definition of that word using my background in investigations. 

Over the years, some, have been convinced that footprints, footage, audio - all the things we look for (and more) are not evidence. That's simply not true. Not true at all. We have an abundance of evidence. What we don't have is an abundance of (and I am sure this will ruffle some feathers)  reliable evidence

There is a difference.

Have you ever heard the phrase, "let the evidence take you where it leads"? It's  not just a catchy phrase from a movie or an episode of Law and Order. There is a reason for that phrase. Evidence is information you gather, as an investigator/researcher. It's physical, tangible items. It is up to you as an investigator/researcher to determine - what is going on - based on the evidence you find. I never let myself get emotionally invested in evidence of any kind. Why? Because it takes away my ability to remain neutral during an investigation. You need your neutrality to accurately assess the evidence you collect. I know it can be very hard, but it will save you a lot of pain down the road. If you think you can't be hoaxed, let me tell you, you couldn't be more wrong. Some of the best have been taken in by a hoaxer. No one is immune.

BUT - and here 's the kicker - Evidence is NOT proof. Yep, that's right. There is the rub.

Footprints. Yes, they are evidence. They are evidence something walked a path (for example). They can also contain biological evidence like hair that can be collected from the cast itself along with dermal ridge evidence. It's your job as in investigator/researcher to determine what created those tracks or footprints. So perform your due diligence; cast and document the area.

Say you are documenting a track way and you come across a trident wrapper (for example). What do you do? Is this evidence? Yes it is, especially if you have been lead to this spot in the woods by a witness. Do you need to collect it? No. You can simply snap a photo and move on. Why do I say document this? Because what if the witness is hoaxing you and only later you see the witness pop a piece of trident in their mouth? Are you going to run back to where the track way was to collect the wrapper? No - but it helps build the case for, or against, a legitimate track or track way. It is our job as investigators/researchers to pay attention to everything - even signs that hoaxing may be happening. You can believe the witness all you want but be ready should the worst come to pass.

You laugh about the gum wrapper;

But ask yourself this, how many times have you been in an area looking at tracks or what not and never even gave the rest of the area a glance? Be honest and really think about that. It happens a lot because we get so focused on the evidence at hand we don't stop and take a look at the larger picture. We are human after all.

Video. Video is also evidence of something that happened. It is your job as an investigator/researcher to determine - what. It can be evidence of the target animal, it can be evidence of hoaxing, it could be evidence of wishful thinking. I have said this before and I'll say it again - if you must screen capture and use a red circle it is NOT evidence that is useful. Your position in the woods has nothing to do with the blurriness or clarity of the video you capture. Make the proper adjustments and be prepared if this is the kind of evidence you choose to work with, or rely on, for your own field work. It's your responsibility. Yes, some of these videos can be interesting and can provide us with months of evaluation, debate and fighting that leads to the ending of friendships and all kinds of drama which is great fodder for the internet- which is all so much fun - but unless you have clear footage that does not need to be enlarged, enhanced and filled with red circles - it is not evidence that is useful other than trying to decide if this is an intentional hoax or someone who was simply excited and just turned on their camera or cell phone. But as an investigator/researcher it is your job to determine which.

Witness reports: Yes, they are evidence. They are also your first true point of contact with a witness. The report you get online or over the phone is great -but you  can't truly evaluate the witness until you are face to face. Witness reports are very important and can give you all kinds of information if conducted right. I can hear you all  now:

REALLY? Yes, really. But, again, as an investigator/researcher it is your job to determine the value. The witness report is either evidence of an event or a hoax.You must investigate to decide if it's a hoax or the target animal. 

Going back to the trident wrapper incident - the face to face report is where you first ask all the questions you can think of. I do often ask witnesses if they were eating or drinking near the location where their sighting happened (or what not). Documenting as much information as possible can only help you during your evaluation of the evidence you collected. Be it good or bad.

Audio: Oh audio. Yes. It's' evidence. It's evidence that something made a noise. Again you perform your due diligence and try to determine if it's an animal noise we know of. BUT unless you witnessed - as in seen the animal with your own eyes- open its mouth and utter the noise you captured on audio - it is NOT proof.

Actually, I would suggest you ask the bigfoot to pause before he/she makes the noise, so you can get your camera going because no one will take you at your word.

That's a joke, lighten up. Of course the bigfoot isn't going to wait. So, you be ready!!

Stick structures and tree breaks: The bane of existence for most in this community. Are they evidence? Well yes. They can be evidence of a natural weather event that moved through the area. They can be evidence of a hoax. They can be evidence of an elk rubbing its antlers, or it could be humans out practicing their survival skills which is all the rage these days. Thanks Preppers! Or it could be bigfoot related.

And again,

It is your job as an investigator/researcher to determine what created these things. You check weather reports for that area. You go to the area and look for animal sign. You look for evidence of people in the area. Check the structure for knots and such which holds the structure up. If you see a square knot - probably hoaxed.

I don't think Bigfoot makes square knots.

Are you seeing a pattern here? So, what does this all boil down to?

It boils down to you and your ability to ask questions, listen, observe and document. Talk to those you trust and ask them what questions they ask witnesses. Read your manuals from front to back. Learn your equipment so you can use it in the dark. Practice casting in different types of soil, so you can reasonably anticipate what you may encounter. Different soils require different mixing ratios. You can never document enough information. I record all telephone conversations (with the permission of the person on the other end of the phone) for my own reference later.

In the end we all want the same thing - proof. But if the goal is to get as much evidence as possible, regardless of the reliability of said evidence, we will be here another 40 plus years complaining about the lack of proof. I know the bar is high. But rise to meet it. I know everyone is capable of doing just that. Yes it's a lot of work.....but;

Proof should be the ultimate goal. Not just evidence.

June 17, 2016

John Green 1927 ~ 2016... In Memorium..


Recently our "community" lost one of its founding fathers. John Green has been described as one of the "Four Horsemen," a tough skeptic, author, journalist and a plain talking man. If you asked his opinion on something, he would always tell you exactly what he thought. Some could take that ~ others not so much. 

I'm sure many are wondering why it's taken so long for me to write something about Mr. Green. Answer to that: I had, still have, and will always, have great respect for this man. Why? He really was one of the first chroniclers of this mystery we call, "Bigfoot." He was out there, boots on the ground, talking to witnesses and taking punches in the media long before many of us even knew about the mystery or him.

Many people will tell you their interest in this topic began with the first time they saw the Patterson/Gimlin film. My interest started, as a child, with a photo I saw of Mr. Green holding a foot cast. My mind instantly filled with wonder and amazement. It was only later (in my teens) I saw the PGF for the first time. Never in a million years did I ever think I would be  out researching the very mystery, this man, had brought to life in my mind as a child. Never did I ever think I would one day be exchanging emails with this man, as I did in 2006  after I began researching myself, for this blog.

I have been sitting around, since the news, thinking about what I would say in this article. Recently I had a conversation with a friend and fellow researcher out of B.C. and I asked him - what should I say?

How do I discuss the life of a man who had a larger "footprint" in this community than Bigfoot itself?

I decided to put together, in one article, an interview I had with Mr. Green over email and released over the course of a few days. History is important. Those who came before us are important and it's even more important to remember that without people like John Green - most of us wouldn't even know about this mystery, of course, unless you had your own sighting.

Photo Courtesy of Rick Noll
I hope you enjoy this exchange as much as I did.

Question: I have read many times, you yourself have never had a sighting, that being the case, what drives you in the pursuit for this undocumented North American Primate?

Mr. John Green:  Basically, I am trying to find out what makes the huge footprints, which I have seen. Beyond that, I have enjoyed participating in such an interesting area of research.

Question: On the Willow Creek-China Flat DVD set, in your speech, you talk about Bob Titmus. You say, if it had not been for Bob Titmus we wouldn't have the Patterson footage, etc. Could you please elaborate on that? And for those of us new to this field, maybe tell us something about Mr. Titmus?


Mr. John Green: Very briefly, Bob Titmus was by far the most competent of the people who took up the search for Bigfoot/sasquatch in the 1950's and he devoted the rest of his life to it, accomplishing far more than anyone else, aside from Roger Patterson's lucky encounter." He is not well known because he did not seek publicity or write a book, but you can find a lot about him on the internet.

Re the movie, without Bob the chain of events that led to Roger being where he was when he took it would never have started, and would have been broken off a couple more times along the way. Here are the specific steps: If Bob had not shown Jerry Crew how to make a cast the "Bigfoot" story might never have hit the news, and I would not have gone to Bluff Creek.

If Bob, as a taxidermist, had not been the best-qualified person who had examined the tracks and pronounced them genuine, I would not have made a detour to see him, and when he later found the tracks of a different individual he would not have written to me and I would not have made a second trip the Bluff Creek and seen a set of really convincing tracks. If the events above had not taken place I would not have submitted to a Canadian magazine an article on the footprints and other evidence which although rejected later evolved into an article in a different publication by a different author that someone sent to British zoologist Ivan Sanderson.

If it were not for that article Sanderson would not have done some research and written articles of his own in "True" magazine, and if Roger had not read Sanderson's articles it is unlikely that he would ever have heard of "Bigfoot", let alone photographed one.

Question: Bossburg. A few months ago, I read an article about the Bossburg Cripple foot tracks, this question will be in two parts. Your opinion, real or hoax? and why?

Mr. John Green: I don't know. The circumstances under which they were found were very suspicious, but some competent people have considered them genuine.

Question: I read you phoned Rene Dahinden, but after that, what was your involvement? Did you leave the area or did you stay? If you stayed, what did you do? If you left, why?

Mr. John Green: I was unable to go to Bossburg at that time, but I made several trips later on, interviewing people, looking for evidence, and in one instance spending a day struggling through deep snow on a wild goose chase. I was never able to stay there long, as I had a weekly newspaper to produce.

Question: Is there one Track Cast that you feel could be the best example for the existence of this animal? Which one? And why?

Mr. John Green: Not one, but the several casts of tracks made by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin after they got the movie and by Bob Titmus when he investigated the site several days later. I choose those because there is a movie of the creature that made them and because Bob casts a series of tracks that demonstrate tremendous foot flexibility.

Question: What was your first thought when you laid eyes on the Skookum Cast?

Mr. John Green: I don't recall a first thought. The people who had been there told us how they had worked out an interpretation of the puzzling imprint they found and I and others were trying to check their opinions against the cast they had made --with the handicap that it still had a thick layer of dirt clinging to it.

Follow up Question: And after it was cleaned up, and the scientists like Dr. Meldrum started giving opinions? Then what did you think?

Mr. John Green: That it was unquestionably an imprint left by a very large animal and that no part of any known animal could be responsible for it, particularly one print of the back of the heel and part of the Achilles tendon of a huge humanlike, hair-covered leg.

Question:  Is there one sighting or one report by a witness that stands out in your mind? And Why? How do you view witness reports?

Mr. John Green: There are quite a few sighting reports that rate high for significant observation and apparent witness reliability, but they lack supporting evidence. The one with far the best supporting evidence is Patterson/Gimlin but that was just one individual walking away. The one that combines supporting evidence with significant observation of behavior is Glen Thomas' story of watching a large male excavate a steep, five-foot-deep shaft in heavy rocks to get at hibernating rodents, and share the meal with a large female and a small child. The excavation, which appears to be impossible for humans to duplicate, is still there as to witness reports in general, many nowadays are obvious hoaxes and presumably there are even more hoaxes that are not obvious, but reports by thousands of apparently credible witnesses are in themselves a phenomenon that requires an explanation.

Question: Questions about the Patterson/Gimlin film have been done over and over, but I am curious about one thing, Wasn't the area of Bluff Creek an area Bob Titmus was researching? If so, did Bob Titmus direct Patterson and Gimlin to this area? If not, do you know why Mr.Patterson and Mr. Gimlin headed to Bluff Creek?

Mr. John Green: By 1967 Bob was living and searching in British Columbia and I'm not sure he would even have heard of Roger Patterson. He certainly was not in touch with him. The reason Roger and Bob went to Bluff Creek was because Roger had been notified that many tracks had been seen there a few weeks before, and Roger hoped there might be more tracks show up which he could photograph. .

Question: Do you think Main Stream Science will ever take a serious look into this mystery?

Mr. John Green: Yes, that is slowly coming about.

Question:  Do you have any regrets?

Mr. John Green:   No.


Thank you Mr. Green, for many things. As his family mourns, many others in the world mourn with them. Mr. Green was a great man and I am grateful he allowed me into his world - even just a little.

May 23, 2016

Women in Bigfoot Research ~ Adrianne Brashear Arney


Some years back I used to write articles titled: "Women in Bigfoot Research". Yes, I typed the words, "used to". I stopped because as is usually the case, life gets in the way, and back in the day of these articles there were so few women involved in Bigfoot Research/Investigation. That is no longer the case.
So, I have decided to start writing these articles again. Why? Good question. 
Answer: because there are some damn good women, doing damn good work, who deserve recognition. 
I am starting out my first article with Adrianne Brashear Arney. I've known of Adrianne for quite some time, but only began really getting to know her over the last few years. In the article, she calls herself a "believer," but I know she tempers that with a healthy dose of skepticism. She is a boots on the ground field researcher working side by side with the men of Ohio Bigfoot (formerly Tri-State Bigfoot). 
I'm sure you can guess what state she is from. 
Adrianne is simply one of the many women in this community that make me proud to call friend and fellow researcher.

 Women in Bigfoot Research ~ Adrianne Brashear Arney:

Adrianne Brashear Arney
Melissa: Please tell the readers about yourself. 
Adrianne: I am married and a proud Momma of a Daughter and a Son. I am the owner, creator, designer of Whippoorwill Studio on Etsy (shameless plug). I enjoy doing many forms of arts and crafts, kayaking, hiking, camping, star gazing and sitting around a campfire with good friends. I have spent many years researching the Paranormal and UFO activity and I also go on expeditions in search of the elusive Bigfoot. 

Follow up: What does your family think of your involvement in Bigfoot research/investigation?
Adrianne: My family pretty much supports me except for my daughter who has a degree in Anthropology. She was taught by her professors that bigfoot is just folklore and I get a lot of eye rolling from her when the topic is mentioned. My siblings and parents, cousins etc. are all intrigued and follow my adventures.
Melissa: Are you a "skeptic," or a "believer"? How would you describe your approach to this research/investigation? 
Adrianne: I am a believer. I have had the pleasure of interviewing many witnesses who have told me of their encounters in detail. If you take those interviews along with the thousands of other accounts that have been told all around the world, there has to be something to it. My approach actually starts with the witnesses and investigating their claims to try and find evidence to back up their claims. There are also times I will research a random area that I think has what it takes to sustain such a large creature even if there have never been any sightings reported there.
Follow up: There are people, like myself, who are not "believers" simply because they haven't had a sighting. While I think your thoughts on this are well thought out and you obviously know how to make a well informed decision, others will not agree. They will say, "how can you believe Bigfoot is out there when you haven't seen it."
What would you say to those people?
Adrianne: I have hiked all over the hills in Kentucky ever since I was a child and I have never seen a bear or bobcat while hiking. But because I have never seen one doesn't mean they are not there, because they are! I have seen a Black Panther but according to KY forest rangers they do not exist there!
Melissa: Are you a member of any Organized Group(s) or are you an Independent Researcher? Or both?
Adrianne: I research with a great group of guys, Jay, Bryan and Kelley of OhioBigfoot.com on a regular basis. When we receive a report through our website, we always go as a team to investigate. I also do a lot of research on my own in Kentucky and I work with other researchers when the opportunity arises.
Melissa: How long have you been active in the field of Bigfoot research/investigation?

Photo courtesy of Adrianne Brashear Arney




















Adrianne: I started seriously researching around 7 years ago, but have been interested since I can remember

Melissa:
Have you noticed any changes in this field of research/investigation over the years? 

Adrianne: I have noticed more and more enthusiasts due to shows on TV but other than that not much has changed.

Follow up: Do you think the Television shows help or hurt the research/investigation? I will be the first to say, there are places that used to be pretty good for investigation but now the question I always ask is, "is that the target species or are we recording a human?"

 Both, I think the occasional documentary type shows are sometimes great because they get the serious researchers thinking about new ways of capturing evidence and give us the latest theories as to what this creature could be. On the other hand the shows that are for entertainment purposes give false impressions of how most of us conduct our research. I think some witnesses may shy away from reporting what they have seen for fear it will turn into a circus and they will be ridiculed. Then on the flip side you will have people making false claims hoping to get themselves on TV.

Melissa: What keeps you asking questions?

Adrianne: Witnesses, and my own curiosity.

Melissa: What do you think about the growing numbers of women becoming active in this field? 

Adrianne: I think it's great. More like minded friends for me :)

Follow up: As a woman who does active field work, do you feel women are represented accordingly either within groups or in public venues?

I think it depends on the woman. How she presents herself  will be how she will be perceived.

Melissa: Have you had a sighting? If so please explain.

Adrianne: I've had experiences but no actual sighting

Follow up: Could you please discuss your, "experiences?"

Just the usual stuff like vocalizations, tree knocks, eyeshine. My team also experienced startling something huge when entering the woods. We heard and captured on a recording. It could only be described as a huge bipedal creature taking off through the woods breaking down trees as it ran!

Melissa: One piece of equipment you think is the most important?

Adrianne: Other than my own eyes and ears I think a good evidence collecting kit is a must.

Melissa: Most researchers have one report that "stands out" in their minds. Is there a report that still "stands out" for you?

Photo courtesy of Adrianne Brashear Arney
Adrianne: Yes, An elderly gentleman finally got the nerve to send us a report about an experience he had has a youth. He and his boyhood friends were terrorized by something that he was pretty positive was a Bigfoot. The emotion in his voice was enough to make me a believer. I was honored that he was comfortable enough tell me about his frightening experience.

Melissa: What questions would you like researchers/investigators to ask witnesses?

Adrianne: I usually have my usual set of questions ready when contacting a witness and I find that half of them don't pertain to their experience.  Every report is different and has it's own set of circumstances.

Melissa: If there were one thing about this field of research/investigation you could change what would it be?

Adrianne: The hoaxers, attention seekers and those just in it to trying to score some quick cash, which is not gonna happen.

Melissa: What you would like people to know about you.

Adrianne: I enjoy being with other like-minded people in and out of the field. A lot of them have achieved family status. I don't mind sharing new ideas or theories. I don't think what we do should be a competition. Most of us have the same goal and working together instead of against each other is probably the key.

Melissa:
Do you have any advice for a new researcher?

Adrianne: Hmmm...tread lightly but carry a big tree knocker! Seriously though, don't go into it thinking it's a competition, it's not. Nobody is an expert in this field. You also don't have to have all the latest greatest most expensive toys, they have not gotten anybody anywhere so far!


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May 19, 2016

2016 Creature Weekend


It's that time again folks ~ Creature Weekend is almost upon us! 

2016 CREATURE WEEKEND SPEAKERS:

Ken Gerhard
 Ken Gerhard is a widely recognized cryptozoologist and field investigator for
The Centre for Fortean Zoology as well as a fellow of the Pangea Institute and consultant for several anomalous research organizations. He has traveled the world searching for evidence of mysterious animals and legendary beasts including Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the Chupacabra, enigmatic winged creatures and even werewolves.

In addition to co-hosting the History Channel TV series Missing in Alaska, Ken has appeared in three episodes of the series Monster Quest and is featured in the History Channel special The Real Wolfman, as well as Ancient Aliens (History Channel),

Legend Hunters
(Travel Channel), Unexplained Files (Science Channel), Paranatural (National Geographic), Weird or What? with William Shatner (Syfy), True Monsters (History Channel), Monsters and Mysteries in America (Animal Planet), Ultimate Encounters (Tru TV), True Supernatural (Destination America), Monster Project (Nat Geo Wild) and Shipping Wars (A&E).

His credits include appearances on numerous news broadcasts and nationally syndicated radio programs like Coast to Coast AM, as well as being featured in articles by the Associated Press, Houston Chronicle and Tampa Tribune. Ken is author of the books Big Bird: Modern Sightings of Flying Monsters and Encounters with Flying Humanoids, as well as co-author of Monsters of Texas (with Nick Redfern) and has contributed to trade publications including Fate Magazine. He currently lectures and exhibits at various conferences and events across the United States. Born on Friday the 13th of October, Ken has traveled to twenty-six different countries on six continents, as well as virtually all of the United States. An avid adventurer, he has camped along the Amazon, explored the Galapagos, hiked the Australian Outback and has visited many ancient and mysterious sites, from Machu Pichu to Stonehenge.

Ron Morehead
Challenged by skeptics, but time-tested by science, Ron Morehead’s account of the legendary bigfoot brings an exciting report of unsurpassed vocal interaction between humans and modern day giants.  He has produced two CDs and a book, which have actual vocalizations of bigfoot and their attempt to interact with man.

Science has established that these unusual sounds were spontaneous and made at the time of the recordings.  And, a complex language has recently been discovered.  Ron believes they are sentient and, like humans, have cognizance.  His story provides the reader with a unique insight into the nature of these giants.




Ron Murphy

Bigfoot, UFOs, Thunderbirds, Ghosts, and all things that go bump in the night is scientifically researched and documented in this work, as well as raising unique theories into the cause of such phenomena.

Award-winning author Ronald Murphy takes the reader into the woods and small towns of the Chestnut Ridge in the third edition of Unexplained Chestnut Ridge (Camonica Books, $20.00) Witnesses are interviewed and first hand accounts of actual expeditions are recorded in a conversational manner both the believer and skeptic will find enjoyable.

The Pack
, (Camonica Books, $20) is a novelization of the Dogman mythos, centering on an unfulfilled suburban housewife named Diann who finds herself involved with a merciless pack of female werewolves. Set in rural Western Pennsylvania, this allegorical tale wrestles with the notion of exclusivity and acceptance in the world run by the wealthy and popular. Membership into this elite group has its privileges…and its price. Is Diann willing to risk all that she holds dear to become a member of The Pack?

The Tormented: Ten Tales of Terror
, ($15) is a collection of previously published short stories, many of them horror award winners. Set in his beloved Pennsylvania, Ron expertly weaves his stories of vampires and witches, zombies and wendigos, full of plot-twists and unexpected encounters.

Dave Scott of the internationally popular podcast, Spaced Out Radio, calls Ron Murphy “the cryptozoological guru,” and has Ron as a monthly guest. George Noorey of Coast to Coast AM refers to Murphy as “a world-class expert” in faerie lore. Besides Coast to Coast AM and Spaced Out Radio, Ron has also been heard on the Black Cat Lounge, SquatchWatch Radio, WILK, KTKK AM630, and numerous other programs throughout the US and Canada.


Ronald L. Murphy graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and attended graduate school at Pitt and at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is a professional actor, having appeared in movies, on television, and on stage. He is also a reenactor for the Underground Railroad in Blairsville, PA. Ron has researched the unexplained from Maine to Florida as well as in the United Kingdom. Ron is also a member of the Center for Cryptozoological Studies and Center for Unexplained Events.

Bigfoot Coop
 
The Ohio Bigfoot CoOp was formed on Monday May 25, 2015. Their core administrators and Researchers include Amie Starling, Richard Washington, Steven and Dawna Blair, and Mark and Jeanne Hudak. They have over thirty years of combined research experience, as well as multiple encounters, and thousands of hours spent in the field. The O.B.C.O. is a dedicated group of researchers finding the answers to unravel the phenomenon, behavior, diet, and activities behind Bigfoot. Through patient cooperation with other groups, independent researchers, and ordinary people, they hope to bridge a gap bring everyone together to finally solve this great mystery.......

For more information on Creature Weekend please click the links below!

Lodging 
 ______________________________________
https://www.facebook.com/melissa.hovey 

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May 17, 2016

2016 Ohio Bigfoot Conference

Ohio Bigfoot Conference. by Melissa Hovey-Larsen.

As many of you know I don't attend conferences to listen to speakers. I go to see friends, I haven't seen in a while, sometimes years. Why don't I listen to speakers? Well, personally I hate being trapped in a room for god knows how long. and I hate being the person who stands up to leave while a person is speaking, because I have to find a ladies room. I know the large majority of those invited to speak, so I have either heard their spiel or can guess what they'll talk about.

Conferences (in my humble opinion) aren't really for the "field researcher," their more for those in the general public who see faces on T.V. or the internet and want to meet those people (or faces) up close. They're also for the person who's had a sighting and wants to talk to an investigator face to face.

 For those of you without a sense of humor, buy, or grow one, before reading any further - or simply stop reading.

I absolutely loved seeing my sister, and partner in crime, Monica Frank Rawlins. Hopefully it won't be another 5 years before we see each other again.

Meeting Shelly Covington-Montana was a trip. An absolute pleasure.

Gabrielle Cole is just as nice in person as she is online - see your dentist before spending any time around her.

Sean Forker hasn't changed in all the years I've known him. Someday you must share your secret. Seriously what is it? Creams, vitamins, HGH? Really I wanna know. But seeing him with his pal James Baker (thanks for that hug) was a true pleasure.

Jeffery R. Thomas didn't disappoint and as usual he brought his unique sense of humor along with his wife Tonia who is always as nice as she is funny.

Tom Yamarone: Yams!!!!! What else is there to say? Always, always great to see you!!

Diana Esordi - it's always great to see you and I couldn't be happier for you and Mike.

Sharon Lee. You wore Bella out. She hasn't moved in 2 days. I tried to play with her yesterday and she lifted her head and said - well I can't post that - but she gave me directions. It was great seeing you!

Henry B. May IV. Henry.. Henry.. The only person I know who can walk around with a smile on his face, and a camera in his hand, at these events like it's the first one he's ever been to. One of the kindest and nicest men in this community. I'm so glad I found you on Sunday to say hi. The only reason you got that picture is cause I like you so much! Thanks for posting it so fast.

Fred Saluga - a person I truly enjoy. Why? Because you can vehemently disagree with him, and still call him friend. It was great seeing you again my friend!

Eric H. Altman. What can I say about Eric. Eric your warmth and ability to spread joy to everyone is a pleasure to behold. Yes, I am yanking your chain. But it was great seeing you!

Cliff Barackman. It's been years, but it was really great to see you again!! Thanks for the tape measure - I will use it with pride. I just wish you had handed them out to everyone with instructions.

Lyle Blackburn. It was great to finally meet you in person! Love the hat.

Mike Hall - who let you out of Texas? Whoever did, it was nice seeing you again after all these years.

Abe Del Rio - who else didn't recognize him? I sure didn't. I don't think he will mind my saying, he walked up to me to give me a hug, and I pulled back and said, "Who are you?" then checked his name tag. It was great seeing you Abe - you look great and I wish you nothing but the best!!

Guy Edwards. After finishing this article I will be going into traction after taking a picture with him. How tall are you? 8 feet? Dude! It was great to meet you after all these years.

Dax Rushlow. It was great meeting both you and your wife!! I never would have guessed you would have such a great sense of humor and such a big smile (yah I seen the picture). Seriously though, it was great to finally meet you both.

Now, for my rant. Take it as you will. Again for those of you without a sense of humor, buy or grow one before reading any further - or simply stop reading.

1. There were so many people, I could hardly make it to the bar. It's a good thing I don't drink, but a glass of water would have been nice.

2. Marc DeWerth - could you cram more venders into a 3 foot space? I bet you can. Please make note of that for next year. The doors in front of the bathrooms were free space. No worries, anyone will climb a vendor table to get to the bathroom.

3. People I didn't get to see - Trinetta Brown Jackson and William Dranginis. Seriously? How did that happen? I am sure it was partly my fault for not spending much time at the Lodge - but Bill you were making deliveries to various cabins, and donuts are my favorite food. You are elusive like bigfoot.

4. I finally had the chance to see and speak to Bob Gimlin on Sunday. Was he being hid in a closet somewhere? Geesh let the poor guy out from time to time. I have met and spoken with him before and I know he enjoys sunlight and air.

5. Question: When is the ONLY time a bigfooter doesn't get accused of using photoshop?

Answer: After taking a picture of someone at a conference or in the field. Seriously people. I know most of you use photoshop - could you cut some of us some slack? I know some of you take 500 pictures but that is no excuse for not taking the time to make us all look our stunning best.

End rant.


At the end of the day, or the conference, all that really matters is - did you have fun? Did you meet those you wanted to? If it was your goal to learn something - did you? That's all that matters. We spend such precious little time appreciating those around us - you know, the people we talk to online, as if Facebook is our real world. Anyone who says conferences aren't important doesn't know what their talking about.

Take from conferences what you can, discard what doesn't apply and go away with happy memories. We spend so much time disagreeing and reading about the latest fight or drama - it's a miracle we can even come together in one place at all.

If my rant made you laugh - great - because we don't do enough of that either.

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February 5, 2016

Dermal Ridges and Casting Artifacts Part II

INSERT VOLCANIC ASH AND ONION MOUNTAIN PICTURES (Side by side if possible)














In the first installment of these tests, I used my own foot and Onion Mountain Soil to see if dermal ridges can be captured when the medium capturing the dermals is a soil or substrate. Answer to that question, yes you can capture dermal ridges and flexion creases. The question is still out there however, how do we prevent "artifacts" in casting? In this article will attempt to address some of these questions.

For this round of tests I used soil that had been sifted 5 times to remove as much organic material as possible, and although the soil was reused, it was re-sifted after every experiment.

It has been discussed in order for artifacts to happen, one would need to be casting in a substrate that is fine and very dry, because only these dry, fine soils will produce the needed "wicking" effect. Wicking, some may be asking "what is "wicking"? Simply put, wicking is the water being pulled from the casting agent by the soil - think of the soil as a sponge, sucking the water out of the cast. That is "wicking". Will we have the same "wicking" effect if we cast in this soil from Onion Mountain? Answer, yes it will. The soil from Onion Mountain pulls the water from the casting agent while the cast is setting very nicely.

INSERT PICTURE OF WICKING

I was confused as to how these artifacts happen, as I was not getting the desired results. I had used soil and water temperature to this point from 70 degrees up to 100, and nothing, other than what could be mistaken for flexion creases (which I know are the pour lines). I thought, well maybe its the casting agent itself? So, I decided to call Gypsumsolutions.com. I was able to have a telephone conversation with a gentleman who is an expert in casting agents and has worked with them for more than 25 years, he has also (and may continue) worked with the FBI to help them understand how to properly use casting agents in the field, during the course of their investigations.

Here is a link to the website, and if you scroll down the page you will find a thumbnail picture with the title "Plaster Mixing Procedures, USG Plasters and HYDROCAL® Brand Gypsum Cements IG503"
http://www.gypsumsolutions.com/brand.asp?prod=17

First he assured me, "if you can see what your trying to cast in the soil, you will cast it, if you mix the casting agent properly" (mixing of the casting agent properly was a point he drove home over and over). The water temperature should always be right around the same temperature as the air ( plus or minus 5 degrees) I asked him if organic material or any minerals play a role in the casting process or could various soils rich in specific minerals cause "artifacts" to happen. He responded by saying "No". "Minerals and organic materials will not affect the casting agents ability to retain details or cause details that look like dermal ridges when there are none, as long as your mixing properly". He said the options range from mixing too thick or too thin, or extremes in temperatures. Notice I said "extremes". Here is an example of what he discusses, with the only difference being the amount of casting agent and water.

Cast 1: 1 Cup Water
2 Cups Plaster of Paris
This mix is per the Manufacturers specifications


















Cast 2: 1 1/4 Cup Water
2 Cups Plaster of Paris















Cast 3: 1 Cup Water
2 1/4 Cup Plaster of Paris
All water in these 3 experiments was room temperature, 76 degrees, humidity 25%. This water was not heated.

Notice the gradual change in the cast features. The first cast only shows the disturbed soil in the center of the cast (this does correspond to the area where I poured the casting agent). Cast #2 you begin to see fine pour lines toward the bottom of the cast, which show the casting agent pushing out from the center of the cast. Cast #3, you can clearly see the same effect, only more dramatic. So, what was the reason? Changes in mixing. Notice I only increased and decreased the Plaster of Paris and water by 1/4 cup, but that was enough to show changes. Personally I found this remarkable, who would think adding just a little more plaster of paris or water would create such a change in the finished cast.

After creating these 3 casts I wondered about what the gentleman from Gypsumsolutions.com said about "extremes". I was getting close to creating "artifacts" but this goal was still out of reach. So, I decided to try the next experiment.

Cast 4: Water 105 degrees
Soil baked in oven to 105 degrees
2 1/2 Cup Plaster of Paris
1 Cup Water

Air Temperature 76%, with 25% humidity

INSERT PICTURE OF CAST 4



















INSERT PICTURE OF CAST 4a














INSERT PICTURE OF CAST 4b


Cast 4 shows the very same pour lines in the substrate, again only more dramatic. So, even with the temperature extreme introduced with cast #4, we still do not see dermal ridge artifacts. I then wondered if I had misunderstood the casting expert - maybe it was a matter of Opposite extremes?






Cast 5: Water 105 degrees
Soil Temperature 50 degrees

Clearly this is not the case either.

So, what causes "artifacts". Is it Temperature, and how you mix your casting agent? Yes, but temperature is obviously not the only thing that will cause "artifacts". But, it is clear that if one mixes the casting agent properly and the water temperature is within 5 degrees of your current air temperature, you should only be casting what you can see in the soil. Cast #4 clearly shows what will happen if extremes are introduced into your mixing and temperatures.

November 10, 2015

"Bigfoot Captured," on History Channel














So. Last night, the long anticipated, "Bigfoot Captured," aired on History Channel. I can't help but wonder how many people thought this was a legit capture of a Bigfoot.

Did you?

While I understand this was a 2-hour program that was total fiction there were some interesting moments and comments made.

1. The 3-D printer replication of what, Dr. Meldrum, thinks the skeleton of a Bigfoot might look like. I am going to assume he has settled on this, "Robust Australopithecines," as that is primarily what was used for the 3-D rendering.

If I am wrong about this, I welcome the correction.

2. Drones. You know when researchers first started using thermal imaging in the field everyone thought that technology could never be disputed.

It has. More than once.

I'm not saying I think drones are a waste of time but I just don't see them being technology someone won't find something to argue about. As we could all see from the footage of the drone on the show, you could make out an upright walking, something, but was it a human or was it a Bigfoot?

My guess is human as, Dr. Meldrum, and, Dr. Bindernagel, didn't rush to the scene.

Come on people - it was fiction!! Made you think about it though didn't I?

Is there a use for drones in this research? Yes. But I wouldn't count on footage from a drone convincing anyone of anything. So if you capture footage of a bigfoot from your drone, you'd better high tail it to the location and get some physical evidence.

But, even if you're armed with footage and biological evidence, whether you are believed or not, will still be a crap shoot.

So, good luck.

3. Loved their attempt at bigfoot vocals. Nothing really to add. Just loved it. Yes, I am being sarcastic. I will say this, once they had that Bigfoot in the cage, it started sounding more like Harry from the movie, "Harry and the Hendersons".

4. During the footage of the, "capture", there is talk about how human or not this animal is. One of the characters in the show says, "we will have to wait until it dies to find out." If you think Science is going to wait for a captured Bigfoot to die before they do the, "autopsy/necropsy of a lifetime," I'm willing to bet you have another thing coming. Sure Scientists will take the time to study and watch it's behavior - but I highly doubt they will bide their time and wait for this animal to die of natural causes.

It's just a hunch.

5. Then the statement I was waiting for. Should we even be looking for Bigfoot. Should we allow it to remain a mystery?

If you're a member of this community I know you've had this conversation a couple thousand times. Heck, I've devoted entire blog articles to this issue.

To discover, or not to discover, that is the question.

Talk to a witness and you will have a multitude of reasons for why discovery is important. But is the vindication of witnesses more important than leaving this animal alone to live its life in peace. Granted, this animal doesn't need our help for protection or survival. Although, with the encroachment of man into the wild areas of our country, that may become a more arguable point as years go by.

Humans need things like oil, natural gas, and coal. We need homes to live in. As populations rise we will see the need for more drilling and space to live in. So, while this animal (if out there) doesn't need our help for survival today, it may, in the near future. Lets face it. Drilling for oil, and the like, doesn't happen in cities.

What if we all decided to leave Bigfoot in peace and a mystery - and then it becomes extinct? Then we all lose the chance to at least know something this awesome once roamed our forests. If we know it exists, we can at least try to keep this animal from going extinct. If we can't prove it's existence now, we most certainly will not, if it's extinct.

Yes, I know I may suffer from the illness of thinking man can fix things. One thing's for certain. We will never know if we don't try.

All in all, the show wasn't too bad. Lets just say it wasn't the worst thing I have seen in reference to Bigfoot. The bigfoot costume was pretty good (as long as you didn't look at the face). The show was exactly what I expected.

Rock throwing, angry Bigfoot. They even threw in a running woman for good measure. I will admit, they managed to tug at my heart strings, as the Bigfoot sat in that cage.

What did you think of; "Bigfoot Captured"? 


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