June 26, 2011

Greg Newkirk weighs in on the Sanger Paranormal "Bigfoot" Press Conference

Greg Newkirk weighed in on the "Press Conference", that wasn't. His take is very honest, and he also explains some things that I can say were not heard over the live feed - guess you had to be there to hear it.

I wondered why one journalist stood up and gathered his microphone then promptly left.

Read the entire article. I found new pieces of information that were both interesting, and amusing. "Smear Campaign: The Incredibly Disappointing Bigfoot Press Conference"

June 24, 2011

The Press Conference

People always ask me the same question, "Melissa, why do you care so much about an animal you have never seen?" What many forget is: first came the witness.

I have spent the largest part of my professional career, being an advocate. It's all I ever wanted to do. Being able to help someone, or just be there for them, is more important to me than anything I can ever do. Life hands us some traumatic situations and that does not even include the absolute fear and confusion that can take over a persons life when they have been witness to this animal known as "Bigfoot." I decided to parlay my professional knowledge into this research. Idea being maybe I could put my education and experience to work - with a different kind of witness.

My tactics can be rough. My methods few understand - but I have been blessed to gain the trust of wonderful people who unfortunately are called crazy, all because they seen something, that is not supposed to be there. These people trust no one. Why should they? This world can be a cold and cruel place when you are dealing with something no one understands. I have been invited into the homes and lives of people who have been witness to something extraordinary. I still have no answers for them but I can try and help them by working very hard to answer the questions that still plague their minds.

No. They don't see this animal then forget about it in a week. It stays with them. This is something you can not deny. These witnesses come to this community - for our help, our assistance, our understanding, but most importantly;

They ask for our professionalism.

I have heard from witnesses and researchers alike since this ill conceived "Press Conference". My heart is heavy, and I am at a loss as to how to explain this "Press Conference." I can't defend it, nor can I even imagine why Jeffrey Gonzalez and his group called a press conference to discuss smears on a window, old footage, footprint casts and such. There was no evidence that was possibly as great as the Patterson Gimlin film - because as they stated - they need 5 thousand dollars to get the DNA tested.

I know people who would do it for free.

Jeffrey and his group made a lot of promises, promises they absolutely did not keep. The people of this community were once again taken for a Biscardi like ride with the words, "What could be the best evidence since the Patterson Gimlin Film!!" This community was told there would be more evidence released at this, "Press Conference" that would blow our minds.

How should we feel about that? Should we be angry that great hype was created for something that in the end turned out to be nothing? Once again hopes were built, and people were once again let down. Let down by what, you ask? Here is the awesome "evidence" that led Jeffrey Gonzalez and David Raygoza to think a bigfoot drooled on Jeffrey's truck.

Boot Print being called a Bigfoot Track:

Smudge #1:

Smudge #2:

The enhanced photo Jeffrey put on facebook page is much more convincing. In all honesty if you open the photo titled "Smudge #2" it looks like a bear put its front paws on the windows of this truck, then slid to the left.

Do you feel like your taking a Rorschach test yet? I can't think of one person who would have called for a press conference - based on "evidence" like this.

Is this what we do now? Do we go on a weekend expedition, then call a press conference to show our latest casts and such? If that's the case, I am really behind the 8 ball here. I have asked this before;

"Should we expect more from those within our own community?"

Or, are we okay with smears that could be anything from bear to human, being called "Bigfoot Evidence"? As far as I'm concerned the smear on Jeffrey Gonzalez's window could have been a person checking the vehicle for a stranded motorist. Remember they abandoned their vehicles due to a horrible storm.

It's little wonder what we do, is not taken seriously, outside this field of research.

Has anyone ever stopped for 2 seconds to think about what these "Biscardiesque" shows do to the witnesses? The ones I know feel humiliated. They worry that now they will again be the butt of jokes from the people they know. Because that's what happens. Who's fault is that? Is it the fault of the witness who has been brave enough to come forward? Is it the fault of the researchers who condone this type of activity? Witnesses want this mystery solved, but when so called, "Bigfoot Researchers" go out pimping for money, it belittles what we do. Especially when there is nothing substantial to back their need for money. Lets not forget, this "DNA" was collected a day or two after the Memorial Day Weekend, yesterday was June 24th. So, they had this awesome "evidence" sitting around just waiting for what? To my knowlege they did not approach one person involved in this research to discuss getting their DNA tested. They waited for Press Conference.

This mess sure isn't the fault of the witnesses.

Come on, there were 6 grown men at that table, asking for roughly 5 thousand dollars. They can't pony up the money themselves for a discovery they think they might have? I sure as heck wouldn't go public asking for money, when I had no clue what that outcome might be.

Jeffrey Gonzalez knew well ahead of time what this press conference was really all about. He chose not to disclose this. How do I know that? Jeffrey said so during this interview with a Canadian News Organization this article clearly states and I quote "members of the Sanger Paranormal Society will call upon the public to donate money and resources to their Bigfoot research effort at a Thursday afternoon news conference in Fresno, Calif." So, the hype about this awesome evidence, was really hype for money.

Did Jeffrey announce this during his many interviews prior to this press conference, or was it just this one news outlet in Canada that was able to get this little tidbit of information. Jeffrey built up the hype saying there was so much more that would be revealed - which turned out to be nothing more than what he has already discussed.

Jeffrey, you made promises you did not keep. I rather hoped I would be eating my words, as you personally promised, then laughed. My first thought is always - the witnesses. Without witnesses we have no mystery to solve.

Do you still think this is funny?

June 16, 2011

The American Bigfoot Society Heads to Oklahoma!!

The American Bigfoot Society is coming to a remote area of South Eastern Oklahoma for 8 days, lead by ABS Advisor Monica Rawlins, in the spring of 2012.

South Eastern Oklahoma has a rich history of sightings and encounters with an undocumented primate known as bigfoot. One such report is the "Turkey Hunter Report" where it was reported a Bigfoot grabbed the tip of a hunters arrow.

South Eastern Oklahoma is also the home of the "Honobia Bigfoot Festival."

June 6, 2011

Finding Bigfoot: "Swamp Ape"

Well, right out of the gate, let me say at least this week we weren't treated to another full hour of "expert Matt Moneymaker and his list of firsts".

Overall, I would say this episode was better. The Bridges come across as credible while discussing the alleged activity on their property, but I do have issues with the attempt (by the homeowners) to collect this hand print on their door. But, when faced with an area with credible witnesses, good habitat and (according to the footage shown) a successful night op, I watched as they all climbed into vehicles and drove off to the other end of the state... Such is television folks.

I just hope Bobo is okay after taking that fall. That looked painful, and I do hope he wasn't hurt to badly.

I won't even discuss the "horse" or "deer" footage. I already know, boring doesn't make for good television. Of course that won't make the final editing - but it will make the unaware public more curious about the next episode.

Methane? Bigfoot climbs into Alligator dens? Really?

Okay, Who's bright idea was that? Folks methane is a colorless, odorless gas. Methane can't be the answer for why Bigfoot smells so bad. No, I am not an "expert", I am simply stating the obvious.

Matt Moneymaker responded on Cryptomundo stating the "methane fact" was Animal Planets doing, and had nothing to do with the team. I am going to believe that, because I can't imagine those words coming from Cliff or Bobo.

I had an interesting conversation the other night, and have been thinking about it since. Why do we (the Bigfoot community) get so worked up when these shows air and mistakes are made? Why? We all know it happens.. I have come up with a couple conclusions:

1. Bigfoot Researchers are always, "on".
2. Bigfoot Researchers know, everything done and said on television programs reflect the work being performed by everyone of us.

When I say, Bigfoot Researchers are always "on", what I mean is, we spend so much time online (and off) evaluating video, audio and reports, that anytime we see or hear something we are critical, first. I think that says a lot about the thinking skills of the average "Bigfooter". We are on guard so often we can't even watch a Bigfoot movie on SyFy without recognizing embellishments or misinformation.

What's obvious to the bigfooter, most likely is not obvious to the person who is not a "Bigfooter".

That does not soften the blow however. Why? Well, that leads me to point number two (from above). Bigfooters take the work they do, in the field, seriously. As discussed in the last blog article, "Bigfooters" spend large amounts of our personal cash, spend time away from our families and jobs. Also, a very important fact, which is largely forgotten, many "Bigfooters" are witnesses themselves. Witness or not, the "Bigfooter" knows how important it is to gather any and all information as carefully as possible. The large majority of us seek out professionals in specific fields to help us analyze evidence we ourselves can not.

So, when your average "Bigfooter" hears things like, methane, as being the reason for why Bigfoot smells so bad, we collectively yell, "What??" Call it a silly reaction to a television show if you want - I personally won't apologize for that reaction.

Question to the readers: How many of you cringed after that Fact, and are now just waiting for the first joke from friends, family or co-workers?

Then we have this, on cryptomundo, from Matt Moneymaker;

I gotta say this here: I read some VO lines (transitional explanations) which used the words “overwhelming evidence” at some point … I was reading those out loud the first time I saw the copy, to hear how all the lines sounded to my own ears, before even reading it through quietly the first time. After hearing myself say the “overwhelming evidence” line I stopped and said we can’t use that line because it’s simply not “overwhelming evidence”. I told them to re-record the line with me saying “a collection of evidence”. They recorded it my way and I told them to use that version instead, and not the version of me saying “overwhelming evidence”. But what did they do???

Transitional explanations? Is the show scripted, as in, they are told what to say? Or, was this a suggestion? I would have thought Matt would have learned his lesson after "Mysterious Encounters".

In the end,

I understand why self described "Bigfoot researchers" are upset and angry. I understand all sides of this issue. I do think we have the right to expect more. Why? These shows like "Finding Bigfoot" are an attempt to show the world what it is we do. Argue about that all you want, but that is how these shows are described and that is what the team of "Finding Bigfoot" are doing. This group of researchers were not out looking for bears on thermal.

Television is about making money, and "Bigfooters" are not the targeted "masses". Bigfooters don't have to like that and we should do whatever we can to try and correct the misinformation that is told in the interest of "making money". But we can't stop it. We can only do what we can to make good choices about whether or not as individuals we get involved in the next Bigfoot television show. You know there will be more.....

Make good choices. It could be you next.

June 3, 2011

Spokane Video, a hoax?

Is overlayed video the answer to the mystery of the Spokane Cell Phone Bigfoot?

Read more about this here:

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".