I haven't posted in a while. Why?
I have been thinking, and frustrated. Why? Well, let me tell you.
Before I do, let me say, this article is not directed at Autumn Williams. I am however referencing some of her comments, and comments of others since her video blog. Autumn spoke from the heart, and was very honest about how she feels. I give her high marks for her level of honesty - it's something very rarely witnessed in this field. But, most of this blog are my own comments,
my own thoughts, and frustrations. Autumn simply tipped the scale for me.
Autumn Williams, was right, and other than her habituation comments, she did not say anything I haven't been saying on this blog, or on other forums for a very long time.
We have been spinning our wheels for the last 40 years. Why is this true? We have nothing new. Sure, we collect casts all the time. Sure, there are unknown hair samples just waiting for a name. Sure, we have all this technology in use out in the field. Sure, we get photos all the time from witnesses, or those claiming to be.
But, we are still sitting here 40 years later, with the mystery no closer to be solved. Why?
I agree with Autumn, it's because we have been doing the same things over and over. Regardless of the fact that those "methods" are not working. We ignore this simple truth. When you discuss that openly, you have a very large target placed on your back.
Why are we ignoring the "truth"?
You can't use the word "truth" in reference to a bigfoot sighting or witness, and now, you better not use that in reference to the enormous failure within this community. That failure being - for the numbers of people out there, for the amount of technology in use, and regardless of the witnesses and habituators - this is STILL a mystery.
Autumn talked about "evidence" and "proof". I think it has been clear to many that for some, "evidence" of this animal has never been a pre-requisite. But, for some of us, evidence is necessary, needed and sought after.
Speaking for myself, that is exactly what the witnesses ask for, that come to me. They want, need, and desire for the truth to be found, and told to the world. Without that proof, they will forever be called crazy, nuts or whatever term used by those around them.
Autumn brought up "habituation".
These are about the only people I have ever come across that don't need anything "proven" to them. Why should they need "proof" when they have it in their backyard? The idea they would need "proof" seems silly to me.
I hear from people claiming habituation all the time. They want to "prove" bigfoot is real
-- to me.
Yet, that never comes by way of actual physical proof. No evidence is ever sent (although there are initial offers to send "evidence"). By definition - you can not "prove" something (in this field of research), unless you offer something physical to support your claim. Without physical evidence there is no "proof" only subjective comments, open to interpretation.
I am simply supposed to take them at their word. That goes against everything I have ever been taught in my life. Why would anyone take someone at their word, when the claim is so grand, it defies belief? Remember, we are talking about taking someones word and believing it, that bigfoot lives on their property. It's not like they are claiming a bear is eating the carrots out of their garden.
If I told you I was the Queen of Fairyland, would you believe me?
Why not? Oh, I know, because it's not a reasonable statement. Who defines what is reasonable, if you are not asking for "proof" of the statement? If I make the claim, it is up to me to supply the proof. No one else made the claim but me. The burden of proof is on me to prove my claim. If I can not - I would be laughed off the internet - and right out of this community, and rightly so.
No, I am not the Queen of Fairyland. But, based on some of the comments I see floating now in conversation, I should be able to say whatever I want, with no worries of ramifications. Don't think for a second, the ones shouting the loudest about this whole "Just believe" thing, wouldn't do a full investigation of my background to determine if that was true or not.. How do I know that? Heck, people involved in this field have already called past employers to "verify" I have the educational background and employment experience I claim to have.
Others are "casual witnesses" one sighting maybe two, They want answers, they want this mystery to end! We can not base all our work on the "proof" that is had by one small group of people, that identify themselves as habituators, but offer no solid evidence. I am very happy the habituators have their answers.
Others do not.
They deserve to know, and they deserve for their torment to end. What the "casual witnesses" experience and go through is no less important, than that of someone who is a self defined habituator. So, why are the needs of a few more important than that of the much larger number?
There are people in this community, who do not want that proof, or evidence to be found. They actively work to make words like "proof" and "evidence" dirty words.
On this answer your guess is as good as mine. I have no answer to this question. Shocking isn't it.
Yet, these same researchers who would make words like "proof" and "evidence" dirty words, are out in the woods actively looking for bigfoot, and taking witness reports, speaking at conferences and writing up awesome little articles for websites. If "proof" and "evidence" are bad things -- what in the hell are they doing? When we go into the woods, I don't care who you are, if you are spending any time at all in the woods looking for this animal, or signs this animal known as "bigfoot" has been around, you are looking for evidence or proof. If you talk to witnesses and actively seek them out for their "story" you are looking for anecdotal evidence of this animals existence.
How else do you define it?
Lets stop playing word games. If you are going into the woods with slightest thought of "bigfoot", you are guilty of looking for proof. If you talk to witnesses, whether it be for your own knowledge, or someone else. You are guilty of looking for proof. If that is not the case, then why are you out there? If it's for fun, then simply be honest with the rest of us and say it. I think "truth" is self evident.
These word games are so confusing, and do nothing to help solve this mystery or in the gaining of personal knowledge about this animal. Can we please stop playing these games? New people to this research are confused. They have no idea what they are supposed to do, say or think. I have tons of emails from people who tell me "I don't know what the people involved in this, want from me". I simply respond by saying "I don't have any answers for you either." Their frustration is palpable, and they are probably more angry than any witness I have ever spoken to. They have every right to feel this way, as the factions in this community tear them in half. That is a sad reflection, and we only have ourselves to blame.
All we can do, is what we are comfortable doing in the field. You can't and will not ever please everyone who is involved in this pursuit. The number of agendas is about as vast as the numbers of those involved.
We should ask questions. No, you shouldn't ask questions. Witnesses are wrong, Witnesses are right. You shouldn't call yourself a researcher, but then what should I call the work I do? Evidence is important, so look for it. No, evidence is not important - just believe what you're told.
Good god, would someone make up their mind, so we can all just do what we enjoy, and have the drama over?? Seriously people. Make a fricken decision!
In the end, will it really matter what I call myself? In the end, does it matter how I work with witnesses, as long as they agree to work with me? Why do you think you have a say in how I conduct myself? When you pass judgment on my work or someone else's, are you being any more righteous?
I could care less what you do in the field, or call yourself and your approach to this research.
Because in the end, does it matter? Will calling myself the "GrandPoobah of Bigfoot Research" get me closer to ending this mystery? Heck no. Will calling myself a "Bigfoot Enthusiast" get me closer to solving this mystery? If you call blast on Friday night, will that end the mystery? If you put out bait, will that be the end to this mystery? If you work with a self described habituator, will that end the mystery? Heck no, it hasn't so far.
Will it hurt anything?
No.. Absolutely not. I don't care if you call yourself a "bigfoot expert", there is no credibility in this field, I can say that because you are more likely to see this research discussed in the National Enquirer than you are USA Today, and no one will take you seriously anyway - it makes no difference, and it wont solve the mystery and the simple use of a title doesn't stop us from solving this either. God, put it in perspective.
Why does it matter???
It doesn't, and those who lose sleep over "titles" are proving the absolute disconnect between what is important in this research, and what is not. Can we find something that is actually worth fighting over? Like how to find this big hairy ape??? Wow, now that is out of the box thinking.
Autumn may be right. We may never be able to end this mystery. I don't know. But, I will keep doing the things I think are right. When witnesses stop coming to me, for answers - I will stop looking. Autumn does not need answers. Autumn had a sighting, she knows this animal is out there. Do I believe her? Does it matter? If I say I don't, will it change the fact that she claims a sighting? Does it make her sighting untrue? No. I will say this though, I think it's good that Autumn is going back into the role of witness. I have always said, if I had a sighting I would stop taking reports. Autumn is doing what is right for her. She has to live with herself. This is her decision. I applaud her for taking a stand and doing what she can live with.
You don't agree with how Autumn does her work? Stop going to her site. You don't agree with my methods, don't read my blog. If you don't agree with the methods of the MABRC, FINE DON'T GO THERE!!!! For the love of god people. What does it matter? Is the work you have done so spot on, that you have the right to tell others exactly what to do? No, we are all giving our best educated guess. There is no formula, there is no "approved method" there is no right or wrong in this. How can I say that?
Got a bigfoot on your mantle?? Got a photo? Didn't think so.
Lord knows, I am even wrong. We are all human at the end of the day. We all make mistakes. This research is a good example of "trial and error". So, until the errors stop, we are ALL making mistakes and our own best judgments. We can only do what we are comfortable doing. That does not make me, you or anyone else right, or wrong. It's just what we are comfortable with. No amount of "cool articles" you post to a website will change anything. Keep lecturing us about the right and wrong - and at the same time, point the finger back at yourself, because you are not helping to stop the confusion and anger within this community by trying to prove you are smarter than everyone else.
Yeah, this "field" is full of bullies.
While you are doing that, I will actually be out in the woods doing something about the promises I made to all the witnesses I have spoken to over the years. You see, witnesses are important to me. When I make promises, I do my best to keep them, and I most certainly did not get involved in this so that every person on the internet could tell me my upbringing and education are completely wrong. I don't care who is right, and so far, none of us are.
This blog is about my opinions. My thoughts. They are not backed by any University or Scientist. Does that make my opinions wrong? No, they are my opinions, and opinions I have formed over the course of 4-5 years of listening to the same crap being spewed by people who can't put forth any more information than I can. Yet, they feel they have the right to shut up people like me, and you. Why?
If I stop asking questions of witnesses - will that end this mystery?
If I stop looking for evidence- will that end this mystery?
If I buy into your arguments and work off total belief- will that end this mystery?
If I stop calling myself a researcher - will that end this mystery?
NO. Stop acting like it will. You are fooling yourself and everyone else, and making this mystery harder to solve by your inability to face the reality of the situation.
When witnesses file the reports that you read, do they check the box saying they would like contact? If so, that witness is telling you, they want to not just give you a report, but they are interested in being involved in the search for their own answers, by allowing you (the investigator) the opportunity to ask them more questions. I spoke to a witness who filed a report, who (at the end of the conversation) thanked me profusely for taking time out of my schedule to call him, and devote more than 2 hours of going through his story, detail by detail. He said "It tells me you are serious about this, and my story." Guess what, following up, asking questions and taking the time out of your life for these people tells them you care about what they seen, as much as they do. You will never get grief from a witness for being detailed in your work, unless they have something to hide. I have spent extraordinary amounts of time, talking to witnesses and gathering as many details as I could, and NEVER not once has any witness said "You know, you are asking too many questions" or "I don't appreciate all these questions". The process of question and answer can actually help your witness to remember details, they had previously forgotten - when done correctly.
Tell me where I am wrong?
When witnesses fill out a report or contact you directly saying "I think I seen a bigfoot", do you think they want to discuss your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe?? Give that some thought, and get back to me.
No, they are willing to give you the opportunity to provide more insight into what they experienced by the use of "questions" (oh, there is that dirty word again). Do you think they don't expect to be asked more questions when you dial their number?
If you are not involved to prove this mystery one way or the other - fine, I can live with that.
I am, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Is Autumn wrong? No. As I said, she is doing what she can live with. That is her decision. It is not my decision. I do agree with her in large part about the majority of the comments she made, but I do not think her way is any better than my way, or anyone else's. I am not a witness. I can not feel the same emotions and to say I can is wrong. I think Autumn is taking the path that is right for her, and that is a decision only she can make. I support her in that decision, and I wish her all the best. Am I angry with Autumn, heck no. I am grateful someone, other than myself, is talking about the mistreatment of witnesses, and how we (in this community) beat up on each other.
We all need to make our own decisions about how we want to handle our own work. No one else should be making those decisions. There are no "approved methods" there are no "standards".
So, lets not pretend there are.
I will do exactly what I need to do, so I am comfortable doing the work I do with witnesses and other researchers. I hope you will too.
I will continue to use my education and experience to help these witnesses the best way I know how, and to educate other researchers who want good, factual information. One style of research is no better than another at this point. Why?
Got that bigfoot on your mantle yet? No? Still? What, you took the time to finish reading this?
But, I am done playing word games.