Monday, January 30, 2012

Educational channels?

I've been watching Finding Bigfoot on Animal Planet. Like History Channel's Monster Quest, this starts with the proposition that unknown animals exist in or near populated areas. One big difference is that Monster Quest often admits that the monster they are investigating is a false report.

Find Bigfoot features a group of experts on Bigfoot who follow up on some sort of Bigfoot sighting. Often they admit that the sighting was probably false but investigate the area, anyway after proclaiming the area 'Squatchy.

The most recent episode was filmed at Salt Fork State Park in Ohio. I grew up in that general area which gives me some insight into their findings.

The sighting that drew the hunters was of a Bigfoot (or 'Squatch as they call them) shaking a tree. After duplicating the shot, they discovered that the 'Squatch in question was not very big - certainly less than six feet. Since it was filmed in the winter, it was probably the silhouette of someone in a snowsuit trying to knock down a dead tree for firewood. They admitted this in passing but continued on with their investigation announcing that Ohio is the 4th 'Squatchiest state.

They did gather a large group of locals together, many of whom claimed to have seen Bigfoot themselves. Then they lead their volunteers on a sweep of a forested part of the park looking for traces. The best they came up with was a pile of brush and a heel print that probably came from a boot. They also wandered around in the dark for a while with night vision cameras.

Monster Quest checked out the same area and also found a pile of brush. Both shows concluded that these were shelters built by a Sasquatch.

The one thing that the show did not find was any direct evidence of a Sasquatch - no hair, no droppings, no clear photographs, and no bodies. On several shows the hunters have claimed that 'Quatch live on deer but they have not found any signs of a kill.

On other shows, while wondering at night they have tried making howls or clacking boards together. If they get an answer then they claim that this is proof of a Sasquatch.

A few problems here - how do they know what a Sasquatch sounds like or that one will return a call? Even assuming that humans and 'quatches are the only creatures able to clack two boards together, where does their Bigfoot get his lumber? You can't just tear off a couple of tree limbs and strike them to get that sound. At minimum you have to have fairly short pieces of dry but not rotten wood with no bark or branches. Where does Bigfoot get this in the woods at night on short notice?

I grew up in this general area and I still go out in the woods a few times a year. I have seen coyote, footprints from a cougar and scat from a bear. Cougar and bear are very rare in Ohio. Most of them have wandered in from other states.

So, how is it that I can see traces of rare creatures but no traces at all of Bigfoot in the 4th 'Squatchiest state?

Could it be that Bigfoot doesn't actually exist? These shows will never say so. They prefer to feed the myth.

The problem is that these shows along with Discovery, try to have some scientific credibility. They do shows on real science. That makes it difficult to tell what is real and what is not when they mix real knowledge with ancient aliens.

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