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March 29, 2010

Tracks as Evidence By Michael Dean

Like it or not, the largest quantity of evidence for Bigfoot is the tracks they leave. Many of us are familiar with the work of Dr. Meldrum in relation to tracks and consequently foot anatomy so I will not delve into that here. I would, however, like to lift a paragraph or two from John Napier's book from 1972 which I think predates most if not all of Dr. Meldrum's work.

In review, John Napier was Professor of Primate Biology at the University of London and has done work on human walking and hand function which led him into the study of prehuman and early human fossils from South and East Africa. He also served as Director of the Primate Biology Program of the Smithsonian Institute.

"Foolhardy it may be to reconstruct a life-form from its footprints, but when footprints are the only evidence available, they cannot be ignored. This is the sort of problem that palaeontologists constantly have to rationalize. The fossil evidence for early pre-Australopithecine stages of human evolution, for instance, could be packed into a cigar box and still leave room for a few cigars, but this paucity does not inhibit scientists from drawing provisional and (inevitably) controversial conclusions; and it is right that they should do so. The only alternative is to place the suspect fossils in a drawer and forget about them until such a time as a larger series becomes available. The disadvantage of this procedure, admirable though it is in principle, is that when the drawer is closed on a new discovery, paleontology dies a little: as a science, paleontology thrives on controversy, and without it it would lose momentum. The virtue of an inexact science lies in the fervor of its acolytes."

By way of the number of tracks, some that have been cast and some that have not, together with eye witness reports and some photography evidence, it can be said that we actually do have more evidence available to construct a Bigfoot than palaeontologists have for constructing or reconstructing quite a number of life forms.

John Napier continues in his book to go into a detailed description of how the human foot works. Even in the confines of a shoe our feet are very dynamic in their function as we walk and run. I remember some time ago reading an article in an outdoor magazine about a mountain climber who became stranded on a mountain for some time. I don't recall if he was stranded due to injury, whether conditions or loosing his way but he ended up suffering frostbite on his toes. The frost bite on his little toe on one foot was so bad that it had to be amputated. The mountain climber commented on how much his balance and his stride had changed as the result of loosing a little toe. He said that he expected that there would be some difference afterward but it ended up being a much larger difference than he expected.

John's study of Sasquatch tracks and casts led him to observe that they also had a dynamic foot even though it worked differently than a human foot. He describes seeing more toe actions as well as what appeared to him to be a different "push - off" point. Larger toes are also talked about with less of a size difference in the four smaller toes than those of humans. He also uses a formula for estimating the height of a Sasquatch based on the of the foot. This formula is the the length of the longest foot times 6.6.

The peculiarities of tracks found in a single track way can tell us at least some of the functions and abilities of the foot that made them. The unfortunate thing about this is that finding three or four tracks is difficult enough let alone finding a track way of a series of tracks. If someone is fortunate enough to find a trackway I hope that they take the time to carefully study and document each and every track no matter how insignificant or obscure any single track might be. Casts would also be helpful for further examination by others.

Another aspect about finding tracks and hopefully a track way is the idea that such a find can possibly give some insight into Bigfoot behavior. Tracks found near a pond or a swamp should alert a person to wonder - why did the Bigfoot come to this pond? Perhaps there are other clues around such as the pulled up remains of plants that might be a food source. Tracking is more than just finding a set of tracks and following them to see where the lead. Moose, elk and even bear are known to change their behavior once they get the notion that they are being followed.

Not long ago a privately owned area of forest that is normally closed off to the public was opened for a short time so I decided to take a drive through parts of this area. As I was climbing a hill on an old logging road that lead to a flat area on the top of the ridge I spotted a bull elk that appeared to me to have gone to the opposite side of the ridge when he saw or heard me coming directly toward him at an angle. I had just climbed one side of the ridge and he looked like he was going to get out of there as quick as he could in the direction that I had just come from but on the opposite side of the ridge.
I decided to stop and watch down hill from where I had seen him in hopes that I would catch another glimpse of him crossing the road that I knew was there or traveling through an open area. After watching for plenty of time for him to reach the road proved to be fruitless I started walking back to where I had seen him looking for tracks. I was amused to find that while he initially headed in the direction I was looking, once he was out of my sight he turned going more directly toward the way I came. I don't believe that he was preparing to try to come up behind me, but it was a definite change in direction that appeared to be a behavior that would send me off in one direction while he made his escape going away from me in the very direction that I had just approached. I say I was amused because I knew that this is exactly what they do if they suspect that they are being tracked. I was neither hunting or tracking him, yet he still used this tactic.

Being aware of these kinds of tactics that wild animals use may be helpful. We are far from knowing or understanding Bigfoot habits or behavior and by all appearances Bigfoot is even more cunning, but I think that being mindful of these things could lead to more clues.


Note: Quote taken from John Napier's book "Bigfoot the Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality" published 1973.





March 22, 2010

Facts or Opinions? by Michael Dean

A very large hairy man like species who live in the wilderness who for the most part keeps to himself but is known to raid farms for food at times. Some ascribe mysterious powers to the species claiming them to be a shapeshifter who is also able to disappear at will. Aggression is sometimes displayed but very rarely is the threat carried out, however when it is a human doesn't stand a chance against the superior physical power of this species. Most of the time the aggressive actions are simply meant to scare off anybody who has crossed some unknown boundry.

They are also believed to be able to cross breed with humans and will from time to time kidnap a human for these purposes.

Their physical power is awesome and there seems to be more involved than just their large size. Something in their very make up gives them strength beyond the proportional comparisons of humans. In much the same way a chimpanzee that is two thirds the size of the average man has the strength of several men.

Before I get too far I should mention that the above description was all once used for what we now know are orangutans. Some of it was found to be true and some was not. Some of what we have learned about orangutans fits in with things that are believed by some in relation to Bigfoot.

I use the phrase 'believed by some' because we have so few facts about Bigfoot that they are still relegated to the realm of fiction by society as well as science. I find it interesting that even after orangutans were discovered and studied much of the folklore that was surrounding their existence was still believed even though it was proven false.

There is no lack of folklore as well as strong opinions surrounding Bigfoot. I think it is wise to not confuse opinion with fact although they may intermingle. We all have opinions and I personally value the opinions of some more than others for the simple reason that there are at least some facts presented in support of their opinions. Does this mean that unproven opinions are worthless? No, it just means that they are unproven. They may or may not be true.

What baffles me is why do so many people who express strongly held opinions about Bigfoot work so hard to defend those opinions? The result has been that doing so has created many schisms where people tend to gravitate toward those who have similar opinions. In some cases groups are formed, not only around similar opinions but around strong willed people who assert those opinions. These groups end up having only people who agree with one another and vehemently defend the indefensible to anyone who has a differing opinion. I think we have seen plenty of that activity. I also think that it is a shame that these groups fall into the abyss of name calling, arguing (in the negative sense) , slandering and put downs that more closely resemble a Jerry Springer show, although unfortunately there is an audience for that kind of activity.

Hey, I have my opinions about Bigfoot as well, but for the most part I cannot prove them. I really do not care to get into an emotionally charged discussion about things that I cannot prove and at the same time I know that those who have differing opinions are not able to offer any proof either. Some say "I don't have to prove what I know" to which I agree, they don't. Just remember that can be a two way street until proof is found.

I do not mind, in fact I enjoy, a good conversation that is an exchange of ideas without all of the one up-manship. People who make definitive statements without supporting facts are the ones who are the most closed minded.

Experiences fall somewhere in between facts and opinions in my way of thinking. Our opinions may be based in our experiences. Our experiences are facts in the sense that something actually happened and we form our opinions from what we remember happening, but memory can be tricky also. When we experience something unknown it is as if a whole different set of thought processes kick into gear and our minds do their best to come up with some facts to support what we have just experienced even if it has to distort the experience somewhat to fit what we know to be true or visa versa. This often happens automatically at the time of the experience without a reasoning through what is happening.

William Draginis' sighting is one of the most compelling to me for several reasons. First of all he had two highly trained men with him at the time. These fellows were not in a dangerous area or position yet their combat experience came into play. No doubt having to control their emotions was something they had already learned and being in a situation where they were being stalked was not unfamiliar to them, and you might even say it was second nature. They all saw the same thing and they all knew that it was not someone in a suit playing tricks on them.

It is fun reading sighting reports and imagining oneself in such a situation, picturing the event in your mind, although, some who have actually been there and done that did not find it amusing. The common response to a sighting is to not talk about it, maybe tell a few people who are close to you. Perhaps the person who has seen one fosters a curiosity about what they saw and quietly does their own research, mostly on line these days. Some, once they find that they are not the only ones who thought that the whole Bigfoot thing was a myth, begin to talk to others about their experience. They might communicate with those who appear to know something about Bigfoot. This is where they should tread carefully, but often don't know to do so.

Questions will be asked about their sighting and there is nothing wrong with that. I don't understand why some people equate questions with malicious intent. That may be the case, which is why I suggest that they tread carefully and even try to learn about the person they finally decide to confide in, but even those who simply want to examine what this person saw by asking questions should not be thrown into the same category as someone who wants to ridicule them. It would only be natural to ask questions somewhat like "what were you doing at the time? - Did you see any tracks? Have you gone back to the area? Did you find any evidence?"

It is often through the process of asking questions that one can determine if someone is simply relaying information by answering the questions to the best of their recollection or if they are trying to play some kind of hoax. Questioning them is not the same as calling them a liar, though some seem to be developing the idea that it is.
Perhaps the witness saw the Bigfoot do something that falls outside the norm for a sighting report.

Simply for example, lets say that the witness saw a Bigfoot jump over an elk fence with ease. Mind you, I have not read or heard any such reports so this would fall out of the norm for a report. If you did not know, an elk fence is one that is eight to ten feet high usually used by farmers to keep elk out of their crops and sometimes to keep elk from crossing a road. Since this has never been reported that I know of, I for one would ask lots of questions about this event, I would even ask to see the fence at the same location.

Did the Bigfoot clear the fence like a hurdler or did it place it's hands on top of the fence and jump over like humans often do with a lower fence? After a few more questions I might even comment that hearing about this is a first for me and I'd want to try to find some evidence if I could. Would looking for or asking for evidence be the same as calling the witness a liar? No. Is such a thing outside the realm of possibility? No. What if the witness told me that the Bigfoot used a dead tree like a pole vaulter would? I would ask to see the tree and look for the place where it was gripped. Again, am I calling them a liar by asking to see the evidence? No. Am I beginning to doubt the veracity of the witness? Probably, but since we know so little about Bigfoot I'm not completely dismissing what I am hearing either.

In that scenario what would happen if the witness became upset or even a little angry and started to say things like "don't you believe me?" I would remind them that this is a first for me and I simply want to get a clear picture of what they saw. I would also tell them that there are reports of Bigfoot performing feats that would require a great deal of strength and agility and tell them about some of those reports. I would do so knowing that their agitation may well be coming from their own difficulty in believing what they saw rather than feeling that I am somehow preparing to accuse them of making the whole thing up. If they still appear to be taking my questions as a personal assault then I would move away from the fence jumping and talk about other aspects of their sighting.

Ok, I hope you get the picture by now. A person can be very sure about what they saw which I don't have a problem with. However, if a person is insistent about their opinion, I look at that a little differently. If they claim to have insight and knowledge about Bigfoot beyond the usual type of sighting reports then what they say moves even farther into that 'differently' area for me. I'm not saying that they are wrong, but like I said earlier making definitive conclusions should be supported with evidence even if I am the one making those conclusions. Without the evidence then we are in the area of opinions and not facts, which is also ok as long as they are identified as being opinions. Are opinions worth getting all worked up over? Not for me. I'm willing to change my opinions if and when I am presented with evidence to the contrary.

If you are reading this and you have had a sighting that you have kept quiet and would like to report it to someone or simply talk about it I would recommend the American Bigfoot Society .

March 15, 2010

What are we doing? by Michael Dean

I have been an observer of the whole Bigfoot phenomenon for several decades now and for the most part of the last decade the internet has played a big role in the progress of the phenomenon. Prior to the internet we were all pretty much in the same position. The most we could do was read articles and books and perhaps attend a presentation if we lived in an area where we could attend. If we did any hiking or camping any looking for tracks was pretty much coupled with those activities. In spite of the many claims that are being made now about someone being a long time researcher there were really only a handful of people who were actively investigating Bigfoot reports forty years ago. Perhaps a person who had a sighting felt more driven to do more research, but many of them saw the ridicule that was brought to bear on that handful who were speaking out about their findings and kept quiet.

Before the internet television made some headway in relaying information about Bigfoot. I, like most others that I communicate with, find it rather unfortunate that Bigfoot was thrown into the category of vampires, witches and Jack the Ripper. However, if the TV show that had Bigfoot in it wasn't using him as some kind of evil monster or mocking the idea of his existence the subject did get at least some respect as a living, breathing, flesh and blood creature. So many of the people that I talk too today had their interest sparked by a TV show.

I turned to the internet, as did many others, in the late '90's to garner more information as well as to keep abreast of the latest reports. For the first time the average person sitting at home could not only gather information but he or she could also contribute. This has turned into both a blessing and a curse. Those of us who are seriously interested in Bigfoot have to sift through a much greater amount of fabricated accounts and outright hoaxes as well as self proclaimed authorities with their extravagant explanations about nearly all things related to Bigfoot. Sorting this information out in order to get to those genuine morsels of information or experience is a job I'm sure we all understand. I myself have long ago quit looking at videos of Bigfoot on YouTube unless it is mentioned in a place where I consider it as being more credible.

It is my opinion that this need for a critical eye has morphed into a hyper criticism that is self destructive in many cases. I will use Dr. Meldrum as an example here since he has certainly stepped up and answered the call of many who want more scientific research into the phenomenon. I have heard him speak on several occasions and have been able to talk to him on a more informal basis.

I have to shake my head and wonder why so many who are seriously interested in Bigfoot are so critical of Dr. Meldrum. What sense does it make to cry about not having scientists who take Bigfoot seriously only to belittle the work of the few who do take a realistic approach to the subject? I'm sure that Dr. Meldrum could have had a successful career as a primate locomotion specialist and kept his interest in Bigfoot quiet even if it was his interest in Bigfoot that caused him to choose his field of work.

I have read quite a few who have been more than a little critical of Dr. Meldrum's ideas on a mid tarsal break but I have to ask, how many primate (non-human) feet have they held in their hand? How many feet of primates have they dissected? How much time have they spent studying how a primate walks on their feet? How many of these lay-person critics spent time studying the different ways a gorilla walks compared to the ways a chimpanzee walks? Are you getting my point? Spare me the snarky comments about Dr. Meldrum's work.

I'm not saying that Dr. Meldrum should get a free pass, so to speak. In fact at every event where I have heard him speak he was more than happy to answer questions. Look at his material and ask all the questions you want and having done so if you disagree with his ideas of a mid tarsal break simply say so. If you are asked why you disagree please have a more well thought out answer than "my foot doesn't do that and I can make tracks like that".

Okay, everyone is able to come to their own conclusions, but if someone makes a statement like that after a modicum of reading or listening do they really think that I am going to give them more thought than a person who has spent a great deal more time looking into the issue before formulating their ideas?

I said that I chose Dr. Meldrum as an example. I also choose to be supportive of his ideas based on his knowledge and training and years of hands on work. Dr. Meldrum is not the only scientist who has an interest in Bigfoot, but he is one of only a few who have had the initiative to step forward with his views.

Wouldn't any reasonable scientist know the risks involved in speaking about Bigfoot in a serious way in relation to the position of science on the subject? Wouldn't they also see that the ridicule is not limited to the field of science but also comes from those who they are trying to help find answers?

I see this hyper-criticism in other areas as well. Do we really want to start pitting researchers against scientists? Or how about researchers against those who have had a sighting? I am not advocating a 'believe what ever you hear' approach on any level.

Ask questions, even the ones that may be uncomfortable, in a non accusative way. It is all right to ask something like "how did you get from your truck to 10 miles from any road into the woods in just one hour of hiking?" if that is what someone is expecting you to believe in their account. It may be that in their excitement they never thought about that discrepancy or it may be that they are spinning a tall tale.

In the end it is up to the one who is asking the questions to make up their own mind. If they are interviewing in order to write up a report for a data base then they have more responsibility to make a determination as to the veracity of the person's story.

This can all be done without tearing one another to pieces. Even Bigfoot seems to practice more respect and self restraint than those who are out to ridicule others who have had a sighting or the scientists who are seeking answers.

Don't adopt another person's ideas or theories without listening carefully, looking at their material and asking questions. You don't have to believe another person's sighting story without asking questions or asking about supporting evidence that could help verify what they are saying. They may or may not have any such evidence. If you are asking respectfully, simply asking does not mean that you are attacking them, and if they are doing their best to answer your questions because they want their sighting to be taken seriously and even looked into they won't come across as defensive. They will want to be as informative as possible.

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March 11, 2010

Thinking....


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.

Why?

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.

Why?

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.

Word Games,

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.

Why?

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.