March 22, 2010

Facts or Opinions? by Michael Dean

A very large hairy man like species who live in the wilderness who for the most part keeps to himself but is known to raid farms for food at times. Some ascribe mysterious powers to the species claiming them to be a shapeshifter who is also able to disappear at will. Aggression is sometimes displayed but very rarely is the threat carried out, however when it is a human doesn't stand a chance against the superior physical power of this species. Most of the time the aggressive actions are simply meant to scare off anybody who has crossed some unknown boundry.

They are also believed to be able to cross breed with humans and will from time to time kidnap a human for these purposes.

Their physical power is awesome and there seems to be more involved than just their large size. Something in their very make up gives them strength beyond the proportional comparisons of humans. In much the same way a chimpanzee that is two thirds the size of the average man has the strength of several men.

Before I get too far I should mention that the above description was all once used for what we now know are orangutans. Some of it was found to be true and some was not. Some of what we have learned about orangutans fits in with things that are believed by some in relation to Bigfoot.

I use the phrase 'believed by some' because we have so few facts about Bigfoot that they are still relegated to the realm of fiction by society as well as science. I find it interesting that even after orangutans were discovered and studied much of the folklore that was surrounding their existence was still believed even though it was proven false.

There is no lack of folklore as well as strong opinions surrounding Bigfoot. I think it is wise to not confuse opinion with fact although they may intermingle. We all have opinions and I personally value the opinions of some more than others for the simple reason that there are at least some facts presented in support of their opinions. Does this mean that unproven opinions are worthless? No, it just means that they are unproven. They may or may not be true.

What baffles me is why do so many people who express strongly held opinions about Bigfoot work so hard to defend those opinions? The result has been that doing so has created many schisms where people tend to gravitate toward those who have similar opinions. In some cases groups are formed, not only around similar opinions but around strong willed people who assert those opinions. These groups end up having only people who agree with one another and vehemently defend the indefensible to anyone who has a differing opinion. I think we have seen plenty of that activity. I also think that it is a shame that these groups fall into the abyss of name calling, arguing (in the negative sense) , slandering and put downs that more closely resemble a Jerry Springer show, although unfortunately there is an audience for that kind of activity.

Hey, I have my opinions about Bigfoot as well, but for the most part I cannot prove them. I really do not care to get into an emotionally charged discussion about things that I cannot prove and at the same time I know that those who have differing opinions are not able to offer any proof either. Some say "I don't have to prove what I know" to which I agree, they don't. Just remember that can be a two way street until proof is found.

I do not mind, in fact I enjoy, a good conversation that is an exchange of ideas without all of the one up-manship. People who make definitive statements without supporting facts are the ones who are the most closed minded.

Experiences fall somewhere in between facts and opinions in my way of thinking. Our opinions may be based in our experiences. Our experiences are facts in the sense that something actually happened and we form our opinions from what we remember happening, but memory can be tricky also. When we experience something unknown it is as if a whole different set of thought processes kick into gear and our minds do their best to come up with some facts to support what we have just experienced even if it has to distort the experience somewhat to fit what we know to be true or visa versa. This often happens automatically at the time of the experience without a reasoning through what is happening.

William Draginis' sighting is one of the most compelling to me for several reasons. First of all he had two highly trained men with him at the time. These fellows were not in a dangerous area or position yet their combat experience came into play. No doubt having to control their emotions was something they had already learned and being in a situation where they were being stalked was not unfamiliar to them, and you might even say it was second nature. They all saw the same thing and they all knew that it was not someone in a suit playing tricks on them.

It is fun reading sighting reports and imagining oneself in such a situation, picturing the event in your mind, although, some who have actually been there and done that did not find it amusing. The common response to a sighting is to not talk about it, maybe tell a few people who are close to you. Perhaps the person who has seen one fosters a curiosity about what they saw and quietly does their own research, mostly on line these days. Some, once they find that they are not the only ones who thought that the whole Bigfoot thing was a myth, begin to talk to others about their experience. They might communicate with those who appear to know something about Bigfoot. This is where they should tread carefully, but often don't know to do so.

Questions will be asked about their sighting and there is nothing wrong with that. I don't understand why some people equate questions with malicious intent. That may be the case, which is why I suggest that they tread carefully and even try to learn about the person they finally decide to confide in, but even those who simply want to examine what this person saw by asking questions should not be thrown into the same category as someone who wants to ridicule them. It would only be natural to ask questions somewhat like "what were you doing at the time? - Did you see any tracks? Have you gone back to the area? Did you find any evidence?"

It is often through the process of asking questions that one can determine if someone is simply relaying information by answering the questions to the best of their recollection or if they are trying to play some kind of hoax. Questioning them is not the same as calling them a liar, though some seem to be developing the idea that it is.
Perhaps the witness saw the Bigfoot do something that falls outside the norm for a sighting report.

Simply for example, lets say that the witness saw a Bigfoot jump over an elk fence with ease. Mind you, I have not read or heard any such reports so this would fall out of the norm for a report. If you did not know, an elk fence is one that is eight to ten feet high usually used by farmers to keep elk out of their crops and sometimes to keep elk from crossing a road. Since this has never been reported that I know of, I for one would ask lots of questions about this event, I would even ask to see the fence at the same location.

Did the Bigfoot clear the fence like a hurdler or did it place it's hands on top of the fence and jump over like humans often do with a lower fence? After a few more questions I might even comment that hearing about this is a first for me and I'd want to try to find some evidence if I could. Would looking for or asking for evidence be the same as calling the witness a liar? No. Is such a thing outside the realm of possibility? No. What if the witness told me that the Bigfoot used a dead tree like a pole vaulter would? I would ask to see the tree and look for the place where it was gripped. Again, am I calling them a liar by asking to see the evidence? No. Am I beginning to doubt the veracity of the witness? Probably, but since we know so little about Bigfoot I'm not completely dismissing what I am hearing either.

In that scenario what would happen if the witness became upset or even a little angry and started to say things like "don't you believe me?" I would remind them that this is a first for me and I simply want to get a clear picture of what they saw. I would also tell them that there are reports of Bigfoot performing feats that would require a great deal of strength and agility and tell them about some of those reports. I would do so knowing that their agitation may well be coming from their own difficulty in believing what they saw rather than feeling that I am somehow preparing to accuse them of making the whole thing up. If they still appear to be taking my questions as a personal assault then I would move away from the fence jumping and talk about other aspects of their sighting.

Ok, I hope you get the picture by now. A person can be very sure about what they saw which I don't have a problem with. However, if a person is insistent about their opinion, I look at that a little differently. If they claim to have insight and knowledge about Bigfoot beyond the usual type of sighting reports then what they say moves even farther into that 'differently' area for me. I'm not saying that they are wrong, but like I said earlier making definitive conclusions should be supported with evidence even if I am the one making those conclusions. Without the evidence then we are in the area of opinions and not facts, which is also ok as long as they are identified as being opinions. Are opinions worth getting all worked up over? Not for me. I'm willing to change my opinions if and when I am presented with evidence to the contrary.

If you are reading this and you have had a sighting that you have kept quiet and would like to report it to someone or simply talk about it I would recommend the American Bigfoot Society .


  • At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    this is good research

  • At 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i agree


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