September 30, 2006

Sasquatch Legend Meets Science - By Dr. Jeff Meldrum

Dr. Jeff Meldrum's book "Sasquatch, Legend Meets Science" has finally hit the shelves. Order your copy, and tell me what you think. I was lucky enough to get an early preview of this book in San Antonio, Texas earlier this year - and I'm anxiously awaiting my copy now, so I can read it from cover to cover.

You can order your copy on by clicking this LINK .

You can also read the full press release by clicking the link above. I hope you enjoy this book - and I'm sure Dr. Meldrum does too. :)

September 24, 2006

Women in Bigfoot Research - Diane Stocking

*Photos supplied by Diane Stocking*

This next interview was a request. I had heard the name of this next interviewee, but really did not know much about her.

What a good way for us all to get to know her.

So, I fired off an email to Diane Stocking and asked her if she would be willing to answer questions for this blog, and she agreed

There are many researchers out there who seldom, if ever log onto the various message boards or websites - in fact I have only seen Diane Stockings name associated with one message board, so I was very happy when she agreed to do this interview.

So, everyone sit back and read about Diane Stocking.

Women in Bigfoot Research - Diane Stocking

Question: Please tell the readers about yourself.

Diane Stocking: I was born and raised in Cutler Ridge, FL (South Miami), which was part of the Black Swamp back in the 50's when construction of homes began.

My degree is in Forestry, I now live in east Central Florida, I am a single mom, and have 3 great boys (George, Boomer, and Curtis).

Question: How long have you been active in the field of Bigfoot research?

Diane Stocking: I have been researching Bigfoot for 30 years.

Question: What has been your primary focus, in this field of study? Please explain.

Diane Stocking: When I was young, I was simply fascinated by the unknown, and mystery quality of the phenomenon. I would scour libraries and book stores for anything about Bigfoot. Back then, anything archived was on microfilm, and very time consuming to look for. The first 2 books I bought were from Peter Byrne, and B. Ann Slate. I subscribed to Peter's newsletter back in the late 70's. I absorbed anything I could get my hands on about Bigfoot. As the years went by, I had the need to know "what" they were. That lead me into studying animal behavior, habitat, and anything Fossey/Goodall.

As always, I want Bigfoot cataloged and described for it's own protection. The scientific study of any mammal is beneficial not only to that specific species, but to the entire environment. Recently, I have been looking into the possibility that Bigfoot is not an ape. I am of the opinion that Bigfoot is of the genus homo. Study of footprints, track-ways, and the P/G Film is showing me that Bigfoot has many physiological traits that can be associated with the genus homo.

Follow up question: Can you please elaborate on this. What about the footprints and trackways makes you think this animal could be in the genus homo?

Diane Stocking: The obvious is an indication. Bigfoot walks on 2 feet, these feet have 5 digits on each. The size of their feet is impressive, but just indicates that their body mass is greater than ours. Foot structure and size has to support the body weight. Shut fire--my middle son wears a size 16 and has a 51 inch chest. All I have to do is look at him to remember the correlation. Thanks to the extensive research of Meldrum, Fahrenbach, and Chilcutt, we can see dermals and foot structure. Track ways of Bigfoot demonstrate a foot placement that is more characteristic of homo than, say, a chimp or Australopithecus. Chimps walk with a "wabble", their foot placement would have the distinctive angled print. This tells us that the pelvis does not have the same articulation as homo. This is all very simplified, and my suggestion is for those interested to read up on the basics (if nothing else) of this subject. There is an abundance of information out there.

Follow up question: What physiological traits are similar to that of the genus homo?

Diane Stocking: Humans see a Bigfoot and freak out. Why? It's the physical appearance that affects our psycological response. Witnesses are looking at something that so closely resembles them, it's un-nerving. The are 2 major responses that witnesses experience, fear and nurture. The fear aspect is understandable. The nurturing response comes into play because the witness is looking at something, again, so close to them physically, that they feel the need to help or be-friend it.

My favorite example of traits would, of course, be Patty. Just look at her!! She's awesome!! Patty shows us musculature, and skeletal physiology so close to homo it's, for lack of a better word, pro-conclusive. Two things stand out to me when I watch the film. The first and most obvious, she has breasts. Female apes don't have beasts, humans do. The second would be,as she is walking away, and turns away from the camera, she moves her head independently from her shoulders. I know that the long standing opinion is that she turns away in a different manner, but after watching the film ( especially, M.K. Davis' montage) repeatedly, one can see her turn her upper body away first, and then she whips her head back INDEPENDENTLY.

To me, this indicates a skeletal structure more in form with homo than an ape. The way the spine attaches to the skull in a gorilla is different than a human. In humans, the spine attaches to the center of the skull. This enables us to turn our head in a different manner than a gorilla.

Question: Are you active in any Organized Groups, or are you Independent? Or Both?

Diane Stocking: With exception to about 5 years, I have always been an independent researcher. The one experience I had being a member of an organization was very frustrating and upsetting. I will never subject myself to that again. I correspond, and work heavily with other independents. I'm not a "people-person", so I pretty much go my own way.

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

Diane Stocking: It's great to see more women in this field. Regardless of what some people think, men and women are different. I think women bring in a different perspective to the research.

Question: Have you had to deal with any resistance to your being in this field of research, due to your gender?

Diane Stocking: Actually, most of the resistance I have received over the years are from witnesses. Overall, most of the researchers I have dealt with don't notice gender.

Question: Can you give any advice to women who are considering entering this research, but are hesitant.

Diane Stocking: This kind of research is certainly not for everyone. If you are hesitant about the kind of resistance you might encounter--don't even worry about that. Just be honest, hard working, and very skeptical. Read, study, and discuss. Don't be afraid to admit you're wrong, this is an ever-changing study. And, remember, most everything discussed about Bigfoot is supposition.

Question: How did you become involved in the search for this undocumented North American Primate?

Diane Stocking:
Growing up in South Miami with the 'glades out your backdoor made involvement easy.

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

Diane Stocking:
No, I have never seen Bigfoot.

Question: Does not having a sighting ever discourage you? If so, why? If not, Why?

Diane Stocking: No, I'm never discouraged about the research. You don't need to see the Bee, to know that it gotcha. Same principle---I know Bigfoot is around, I don't need to see it to continue my study.

Question: Do you ever get into the field?

Diane Stocking: Yes, as often as possible.

Question: Do you take witness statements?

Diane Stocking: Yes, I do.

Question: Most researchers have one Report that "Stands Out" in their minds, is there a report that still "stands out" for you?

Diane Stocking: Nothing beats the P/G Film for me. In my opinion, it is the most compelling evidence to date.

Follow up question: What is it, about the P/G Film that stand out in your mind?

Diane Stocking:

The time frame.
This film was shot during the 60's.
The technology just wasn't there to produce something of this magnitude. Constant study has shown that the "man-in-a-suit" theory could not have produced anything close to the result we have in this film. It just doesn't hold water.

Question: What do you think is the most important question to ask a witness?

Diane Stocking: More to the point, it is the questions you don't ask that is important. Too many times, witnesses tell a researcher what they think the researcher wants to hear. Don't ask leading questions. Let the witness talk. Encourage expression of thoughts and emotions. Witnesses can remember more detail this way.

It's no different than when we hear an old song on the radio, it always brings back memories.

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

Diane Stocking:
I'm nothing special. I would be considered a grunt. I'd much rather be out in the woods than writing up data.

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

Diane Stocking: Be critical in your research. Ask questions. Don't take someone's word for it, check it out for yourself. Most of the time, the simplest explanation is the truth.

I would like to thank Diane for allowing this interview - and I hope to have more conversations with her in the future. :)


Someone, I respect in this field of research, asked me a question.

One, I really had to think about:

"Would we be doing this undocumented animal any favors by finding it? Would this animal become nothing more than another Zoo exhibit? Have you seen a gorilla exhibit? Do they look happy to you?" "Do you think finding this animal will help it or hurt it?"

Is it possible to document this animal and leave it alone?

The question wasn’t posed in an angry tone at all, but I will say it did give me pause. I did not know what to say. Then just today I read a post on a Bigfoot Message board that basically asked, are we looking for this animal to protect it - or to just satisfy our own curiosity? If we really wanted to help it, why not do what we can to protect its habitat? Hum, another question that made me think, and one which I had no answer to.

I often find I have no answers...

These questions strike right at the heart of what is the most important thing to me, the protection of this animal should it be discovered.

Last year, before my move to Dallas, I went to a zoo with a Lowlands Gorilla Exhibit. I had to see this, as I have never seen Gorillas up close before.
I jumped in a car and happily drove to see this for myself.

When I arrived I made a Bee-line for the exhibit. When I reached the exhibit, I saw massive walls made out of greyish stone and large trees and shrubs with vines, to mimic the gorillas natural habitat (I’m sure it was a far cry from it however). I then noticed an opening in the wall with a ledge and what I am assuming (and hoping) was bullet proof glass. Inside the exhibit there was lots of dirt, some grass and about 4 Lowland Gorillas, all sitting around the large trunk of a tree.

Gorillas are magnificent animals.

I have always marveled at them. They have such power and strength. You cannot look at these animals and not be in awe. I looked through the glass, and a few feet out sat a large male. I could only assume it was a male, he was much larger than the rest and from his demeanor he seemed to be the one in charge.

What a sight to behold. As he sat there with his back to me, the sunlight seemed to bounce off his hair. I never realized how shiny the hair on a gorilla really was until that moment. I could see the muscle definition on his back, shoulders and arms. This was a very strong animal.

I sat down on the ledge next to the glass and watched him, as he sat with his back to me surveying his area, when he turned his whole body around, to look behind him. I instantly stood up (I forgot I was behind this protective glass for a couple seconds). I then slowly sat back down, as I did so, he slowly made his way to the glass and sat down in the corner next to the window, against the rock wall - and promptly turned his head away from me.

Humm - How rude I thought.

I held my place - I wanted to see what he would do. Does he know I’m right here? What does this animal think when he looks at a human? Would he pound the glass? Would he be calm and gentle? Only questions I can ponder while staring at this beautiful animal.

Every so often he would glance over in my direction,

Then slowly look away, as if I was annoying him. I honestly thought to myself, "well, that is a silly thought to be having, this animal doesn’t think like I do, or a human." I tried to stay very still; I didn’t want him to go away. I was really enjoying this. For the first time in my life - I was inches away from a Gorilla. I was fascinated, and I had a thought.

What would he do if?

I took my right index finger and slowly put it up to the glass. For the first few minutes this gorilla would look at me, and then turn away. I think he even turned his nose up at me a couple times. None of the chest beating or vocalizations I would expect from a Gorilla - he just sat there, he looked at me, and then looked away.

My heart almost stopped.

I could not believe my eyes, when this Gorilla, took his hand - and put his index finger on the other side of the glass from mine....... I could see the wrinkles in his fingers, the tough leathery skin, his black fingernails, I was so amazed, I broke out in a sweat. This was the most unreal moment of my life. I could not believe what I was seeing. I then slowly put my palm against the window to see what his reaction would be. It was then I noticed he was no longer looking away. As I looked at him - I noticed something - and it broke my heart and this was no longer fun.

He was sad. I could see it in his eyes.

He stared at my hand and looked in my eyes and I could tell he was sad. He sat there with his finger which became more finger tips pressed on the glass where my hand was. This was very upsetting to me. I didn’t see the fire - that look of power and strength. He then began to look out toward the other gorillas, then back to me.

Do animals get sad?

Do they know this is not where they belong, when they are in a Zoo? If your answer is "an animal has no way of knowing they are not in their natural habitat" - tell me how you know that? How does anyone know the answer to that question?

I then decided it was time for me to go.

I had seen enough. I know what I saw was not in my mind, as I could hear other people behind me saying, "Look how sad he is," and gasping as he kept his fingertips pressed on the glass. I am not an animal rights activist and I’m pretty sure if I had climbed into that exhibit - that animal that had touched my heart, could have done some serious damage to me. This was an experience I had never had before, I never looked at an animal and thought about how they might feel about where they are, or how humans have affected their lives.

Would a Bigfoot end up on display in a zoo?

If documented, I’m sure someone will try, in the name of Science to try and help the species survive. Is that the best thing for this animal we all seek?? I cannot say it is. I think as researchers we should do whatever we can to help document this animal - in its natural habitat - and leave it there. I will not go along with the idea that the best way to help it, is to capture one and put it in a zoo, and show it to the world for the price of admission. I think Jane Goodall is doing fine with her research in the wilds of Africa.

We as human beings can and do change the behavior of animals -- regardless of what we do.

But, why make it any worse? Yes, having Gorillas on exhibit in Zoos around the world has helped in educating the masses about them. I do think there is a better way though - and I think it’s exactly what has been done by Jane Goodall and the late Diane Fossey - study these animals in their natural habitat.

I think we as researchers have a decision to make.

If I were to get this animal on film - and it was good enough to prove the existence, would I show it to the world? Yes. Would I tell anyone where to find the animal (if I knew) maybe a general area, but I would not put out enough information that would give someone the ability to find this animal and kill it - or capture it for study. Will this opinion make me, "Popular," I can’t say it will. But, I will not be party to putting this animal on display, or seeing it killed in the "interest of science".

If hard work, dedication, getting dirty and exposing yourself, to a bit of danger is good enough for Jane Goodall and Diane Fossey it’s good enough for me.

I have asked this question that has been weighing heavily on my mind,to some of the other researchers, I have profiled on this blog. I will be publishing their responses as time goes on. :)