June 2, 2011

"Finding Bigfoot" On Animal Planet

"Cliff will never confront punks who talk crap and distort things. I will though, and I’ll get straight to the point, and you will submit to me." Matt Moneymaker, on Cryptomundo June 2nd 2011.

After 3 full days of fallout over the new series "Finding Bigfoot" on Animal Planet the above quote from Matt Moneymaker is what I read on Cryptomundo while drinking my first cup of coffee this morning.

I would like to thank Matt Moneymaker for sending yet another, of the countless, shots of adrenaline that have been streaming through my veins over the last few days.

Matt, "submission" may be part of the problem here.

I watched the program myself with great anticipation. It's always great to see new shows hit the airways. I hope (and pray) along with the rest of this community that maybe this time someone will "get it right." We all spend countless hours in the field away from our families and our jobs. We spend (in some cases) extraordinary amounts of our own money and fill our homes with technical equipment and load our computers down with software so we can use this equipment. Let's not even discuss the amount of money we shell out for gas, food and various other essentials so we can get to areas with alleged activity or talk to witnesses and take a report.

Many of us do not expect perfection from these television shows. We would just like to see it get a little closer than the last failed attempt.

I too know Cliff Barackman. He is one of the most dedicated field researchers I know. Cliff has always made himself available whenever he could. In fact I have spoken with Cliff many times in reference to casting. Cliff always has good advice.

Bobo. If you have been in this field for any length of time, and you don't know Bobo, I feel for you. Bobo simply - gets out there!! Bobo has a great sense of humor but, like Cliff, he wont send you packing if asked a question regarding field research.

I like both these men. Which makes the bashing of the new show "Finding Bigfoot" so very painful for me. I understand where people are coming from though.

The criticism is not without warrant.

But, we also must understand, these shows are not filmed for the "Bigfoot Research Community." That seems to be the one very important piece of information we collectively forget when mistakes happen or things are said that we do not agree with. I do not, however, think the community should be silent when glaring mistakes or outright fabrications happen.

Renae (I hope I spelled that right). Well, here is an interesting twist. Renae has come out of left field, and turned up on this program. Good for you. So far she appears skeptical which is good, as there should be one solid skeptic on this show who understands what being skeptical is. I don't know Renae. I have never spoken with her, but when she rolled her eyes on the first night I felt a certain amount of kinship. Renae, I have been there before. Keep it real!!

Matt Moneymaker. What can I say that we haven't heard before? When Matt is right I have defended him and his organization. A good friend said to me yesterday:

"when something is the truth it's just true. There is nothing wrong with telling the truth."

Because I was unwilling to add my own list of complaints to the mounting pile already out there.

Yesterday Matt Moneymaker went into a series of long winded diatribes on Cryptomundo defending himself viciously at times. Today has been no better.

Note: I said, defending himself.

Apparently Matt is not aware that his team is under just as much scrutiny as he is. What a shame, as Cliff, Bobo and Renae worked just as hard on this six-episode show as he did. But I should also make note of the fact that many of the "issues" being pointed out by the "Bigfoot Community" are "issues" Matt Moneymaker created himself.

How is that you ask?

For example, Matt states he was asked by the filming crew, I am paraphrasing, "how do you know Bigfoot uses wood knocks to communicate?" Matt responds with:

Just so you know, one of my claims to fame in the Bigfoot world is that I was the one who discovered that Bigfoots do wood knocks, and that figured out that if you make sounds that they’ll respond. No other Bigfoot researcher had ever figured that out or knew that before, because they didn’t really go into the field that often."

Why would you answer that question in that way, if you didn't intended for those words to be taken exactly the way you stated? You looked right in the camera and said it. No one held a gun to your head. You listed it in your Biography on Animal Planet's website, along with other notable firsts you claim:

It's not as if you were casually talking to the film crew, while they were filming without your knowledge. Of course they would use this to their advantage. This show is not his first rodeo and I would think of all people he would know that. Then, Matt can't even admit he was wrong about his own "toot my horn" moment, when confronted with the truth.

I will say this, Matt absolutely brings an element every television producer loves - DRAMA. He says exactly what they want to hear so they can then make his words as sensational as possible. Matt Moneymaker sells lets face it. Matt is willing to say whatever it takes to get himself on the television screens of every family in this country. That sells. In the end as long as the show is making money for the producers and the network - what we as researchers want really is of no consequence to them.

So in the end Matt Moneymaker is willing to provide, exactly what is so desperately desired. He says what they want him to say and he gets the name of his organization into millions of homes. Who is the sucker? Matt Moneymaker or Animal Planet?

I will be honest and say, I was less disappointed with the show as I have been with Matt and his attack responses on Cryptomundo. I do have some issues with the show itself, but I will save those for a later blog.

New Information:

I will say this and let the chips fall where they may. I clicked the link on Steve Kulls site, and read an article written by Sharon Hall, a local reporter who spoke with the sheriff about the "dash cam video" in question. I then looked up this reporters contact information and gave her a call.

The first two minutes of this conversation were the most shocking. I introduced myself, and said, "I bet you have gotten a hundred phone calls about this article you wrote?" She replied with, "Actually you are only the second person to contact me regarding this." I said, "You're kidding?" She said, "No." I asked if she could tell me who the first person was who called her regarding this article? To that she replied, "a woman with Animal Planet." I asked when they called her, and she said, "two-three months before the guys arrived in the area." She also went on to say she requested an opportunity to speak with these researchers about what she knew and the woman with Animal Planet denied the request.

Interesting when you consider there was a "town hall" type meeting with locals to discuss sightings. Animal Planet could have told the reporter to show up for this "town hall" meeting, but did not.

If Matt didn't know about this, he should speak with the folks at Animal Planet. As an investigator, we should always check out every possible source of information even if it is a reporter. If Animal Planet did not tell Matt and the guys about this I can not hold Matt, Cliff, Bobo or Renae responsible but, shame on Animal Planet, for denying them the opportunity to assess the credibility of Ms. Hall themselves.

Ms. Hall told me, without pause or reservation, this video is a hoax. She also told me with no reservation or hesitation the Sheriff did not disclose the names of these two college students because he feared they could be harassed. The area where this "hoax" took place is an area where the tourism dollar is taken very seriously.

I can only guess the Sheriff was worried these two boys might be a target for harassment if tourism dropped off, because of the fear of a large ape roaming the country side, or bad publicity. Let's not forget this isn't the first time a community in Georgia has been hit hard because of a Bigfoot hoax gone amok. Which could account for why the Sheriff did not meet with the Matt, Cliff, Bobo and Renae.

Sometimes, the answer is not "Bigfoot." Like it or not we must accept that when faced with it.

Matt's dismissal of one witness, because this person did not describe a "correct" skin color was appauling. I have read and taken numerous reports from people who discuss a darker skin color. Some discuss a lighter skin color. Some people tell me the animal they seen had big eyes, some report smaller eyes. Why would you ignore variations? If Matt is looking for one specific (for lack of a better word) "type" then fine, say that. To dismiss a witness when their report does not fit a perfect "bigfoot mold" (you have created) is insulting. Matt came across as if he was saying this "skin color" is a known fact.

Truth is, it's not.

I can understand Matt's anger over the response he has recieved from this community, but the viewing public isn't the problem. People who know better, are not the problem. His attitude is almost as if he didn't think anyone in the larger "Bigfoot Community," would be watching the show. I could care less about what Matt Moneymaker says but, what bothers me, is how his arrogant displays reflect on people I know who don't deserve to be bashed and spend more time in the field than he does.

One final thought, if anyone had all the answers the show "Finding Bigfoot" would have been named, "Bigfoot Found".


  • At 3:40 AM, Blogger alnava06 said…

    Great article Melissa, I for one am with you. I met Bobo and Cliff at the AIBR Operation Oddessy 2. I will never question their work. When I saw the dash cam footage, just like Bobo, thought it was real. I feel for both of them because I have seen their work and am envious of their work (Cliff and Bobo). I have seen Matt several times on TV and will repeat myself again. Matt is just a clown looking for the next big hand out! Sorry for my honesty, but that's the way I feel. Thanks again for allowing me into your group. Hope to meet you one day at an AIBR function. Regards, Alberto "Al" Nava (AKA: whooper209).

  • At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hello Al, thank you for your comment. This situation brings up all kinds of "tough topics" within this community. I think questions are a good thing, and I know Bobo and Cliff do as well - but when does questioning turn into bashing or just being obnoxious? I have no answers to that dilema, but I can say some have turned that "fine line" between questions and obnoxious behavior into an art form.. :)


  • At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I always appreciate the fair circumspect way you analyze a subject. This program is for the general public, you are absolutely right, not for the considerably disfuntional bigfoot community. This program will help keep the subject of bigfoot before the general populace and that is the object of the program.
    I am truly sorry that Matt, Cliff, BoBo, and Ranae were not told of the real circumstance of the dash cam video. But still the techniques the four used and their obvious dedication makes up for it, in my opinion.

    Like you I am so grateful to see a program dedicated to bigfoot I simply refuse to pick it to pieces and spend time critiquing the four participants personalities, good or bad. At least Matt Moneymaker got the opportunity and ran with the ball and so far has, working within Discovery's parameters, given us 6 shows. Well done overall.

  • At 11:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The show is a joke and will make the BFRO a joke, more than present reality. Next...

  • At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This is your basic comedy show. The main character whether Moneymaker, Frazier or ?? gets to be the overbearing goofball with an inflated sense of self. The supporting cast can reason, cajole, warn and finally sympathize
    when things finally turn out to be a comedy of errors. We really don't need to take it seriously.

  • At 11:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've watched a number of episodes. I had hoped since it was on Animal Planet, there would be a certain level of scientific authority demanded rather than showmanship with nothing to back it up.
    I found each show to be more disappointing than the last as the cumulative effect of no hard-core evidence twisted into.." Wow ! This is really 'squatchy.." became insulting to the intelligence of a viewer beyond elementary school age.
    Shame on these people for trying to sound so definitive about such a pile of nothing.
    Shame on Animal Planet for giving them an hour long show.

  • At 7:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ok so the finding bigfoot episode on the skunk ape when they are in Florida has a pretty bad mistake in it. Cliff & Matt Moneymaker are in the woods at night and hear a growl on their first night investigation then bobo is back at the house on the deck. They all radio to each other in hearing the growl and confirm it was not Bobo. Later they are about to stop the first night investigation at the house when Moneymaker refers to all the evidence they have experienced that night the wood knocks the growl which they playback and audio clip that is nothing like the first audio clip they played when it supposidly happpened the first time in the episode. Totally fake and edited the sound in... Here is the full episode have a look for your selves.​watch?v=LRslfuNBJQA

    9:22 first growl sound effect.. And the 12:17 is the totally changed growl sound effect. Anyone else catch this.


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