March 12, 2013

What's a Long Timer to Do?

What's a Long Timer to Do? 
As you may or may not know, this author has had a long time interest in the Bigfoot phenomena. It started as a young lad when I became acquainted with Roger Patterson through my father's friendship with him. Roger, a kind man, became a family friend a good five years before his Bluff Creek filming of a Sasquatch. I believe that five years is a long enough time to get to know a person. I am confident enough in my father's integrity on such matters to trust his judgement as to the character of a person as well as my own. No hoaxing or deception was ever detected. Perhaps I'll write more about Roger later, but for now he is not the focus of this article.

This makes my interest in Bigfoot an on going, over fifty year affair. Over those years there were many visits with Roger at his home, often unannounced, as well at our home. I would hear directly from Roger the latest news in his research, he would show us his latest castings of tracks and tell us where they were found and tell us the circumstances surrounding the event.

As I grew older this interest did not wain. I would read articles and have collected over twenty books on the subject. In 1998 when I bought my first new computer and I was able to get online Bigfoot was at the top of my list of topics to read up on. Back then I spent no little time reading witness reports from all over on as many Bigfoot web sites as I could find. Of course this time was limited by the need to put food on the table and a roof over my head. 
Even though there were not many Bigfoot web sites then, it did not take long to weed out the more bogus ones that were obviously in it for reasons other than finding answers. Now there are so many Bigfoot web sites that it is nearly impossible to keep up with them all so for the most part I don't even try, and the range is quite varied, as we all know.

Recently, I attended a presentation by a large, fairly well known group, or representative of that group which is the impetus for this article. The small room was packed full and there was standing room only. I have to give credit to the speaker for being willing to give his presentation and to see that there is now a more open minded approach to the topic than there was in the past. The presentation held the interest of nearly everyone in attendance. A few left early.

My concerns: I was glad to hear the speaker say "There are no Bigfoot experts." I have felt this way for a long time now. We actually know so little about Bigfoot. The usual subject material was presented. Nothing new or groundbreaking for those who have even idly kept up on the subject. I did become concerned about some of the information that was being presented as known facts.

Rather than Sasquatch being presented as a rare, seldom seen creature the presentation left the audience with the impression that they are all around us most of the time. Many events and strange things were being ascribed to Bigfoot without any supporting evidence. Sasquatch were described as being dog friendly depending on the disposition of the dog. A friendly dog that was just being a barking nuisance would be ignored by the Sasquatch, but an aggressive dog would probably be dealt with in an equal or greater aggressive manner. I would have felt more comfortable if this statement had been predicated with "We have some reports that seem to indicate that . . . . ".  I, for one, would not take a dog into an 'active area' thinking that it will be alright because it is a friendly dog.

Another statement that was made, "They will avoid you if they see you carrying a gun or a camera".  My immediate thought was that we have many reports of sightings from hunters, and Sasquatch pretty much avoids us anyway, quite well.  

Yet another statement, "We respect the areas that others are investigating".  I had to chuckle at this. Not only because this organization has a reputation of invading the research areas of others but also because this is a problem in the 'Bigfoot community' as a whole. 
Question and Answer time: Many of the usual questions were asked of the speaker, but here are a few that I would have answered differently. 

Q: Will they harm you?

A: They only attack people if they have been attacked. 

In all of my reading and hearing of reports there are a few that talk about unprovoked aggression. Admittedly, they are few and far between, but the reports are there. Again, I would not be putting out the idea that they will not harm you.

Q: Are they animals or people?

A: We don't know, but I call them the forest people.

While Native American folklore agrees with this assesment, and the speaker did point this out, I would have simply left it at the first part of the answer, we simply don't know. 
Q: You spoke about one being shot and killed, can you tell us more?

A: A basic run down of the Justin Smedja incident.

There is so much controversy surrounding this incident that I would not have made it a part of a public presentation or even alluded to it.

Q: You've told us that you've seen them, can you tell us about your sightings?

A: The speaker described several of his claimed six sightings.

If I would have had a sighting I would probably be reluctant to mention it in a presentation. If asked if I've had a sighting I would answer honestly and give a description. If I would have had six sightings, some unclear, I probably would not have mentioned that. Six?

Again, I commend the speaker for giving his presentation. I do not intend this article as a put down in any way, just a critique.