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Monday, October 15, 2012


Why is it called "Bigfoot Research," when in almost all cases it is simply wandering in the woods and looking around? Shouldn't it simply be called "outdoor exploration"? It seems to me that the presumption of Bigfoot is blinding to the true nature of the context and evidence. It is most valuable just to look and to learn, about everything. If one discovers bear signs, that is a valuable learning experience. If one learns zoology, botany, geology or hydrology, these are valuable keys to understanding a habitat. To see Bigfoot in everything is not only to miss these true understandings, but it is in fact an instance of getting lost in the woods. The sleep of reason breeds monsters. If there is to be a claim of Bigfoot, let us first rule out all other possibilities of animal, natural or human action before we presume. This kind of learning, eschewing the possible desired result for the discovery of whatever the empirical facts really are, and only this, can really be called "Research." When all the facts and context are known, when due diligence has been taken to fully understand, and something truly unusual does come along... then we will be ready.

Critical method and thought should be taught in kindergarten.

Even as a small child I learned about nature and reality by exploring. It is what I still do to this day. If Bigfoot finds me, so be it. I remain happy with the jumping steelhead at dusk, the flying V of geese in early fall, the crunching footfalls in the brush on the hillside of an unknown animal, and to have my daughter by my side seeing these same things through fresh eyes. I don't need to call it "research," and I definitely don't need that animal on the hillside to be a Bigfoot.

The most ordinary things are opportunities for learning. Knowing them well and deeply prepares us to know the extraordinary.

In fact... Nothing is truly ordinary.

True skepticism, besides, is skeptical of itself. The believer questing for proof of belief is usually going to bumble right past the subtle facts and obvious truths. Confirmation bias is perhaps the greatest fallibility of human awareness. It is as a palliative to this, the roots in our superstitious and blinded past, that, thankfully, we have Science, critical thinking and Logic.

I have noticed a pattern. To the degree that one professes to be a bigfoot researcher, to that same degree does one seem to produce low-quality "evidence" and "encounters." Those who are not researchers seem to have predominantly the better sightings reports. How do we account for this seeming disparity? I say it is the Will to Believe, in many, many cases.

"Sometimes, when you want to believe so badly, you end up looking too hard."

---Dana Scully,
"The X-Files," Season Two

This is a compilation of post from the Facebook group, 
October 14-15, 2012. View the full context of the discussions here:


Bigfoot Reality said...

The researchers I spend time with and I do not think everything they see or hear is a Bigfoot. That is not a fair assessment. They are experienced in the outdoors and know what is a bear track or scat, what is a bird call, what is a coyote. You do not know these people because we don't spend our days posting videos and pictures of every non-Bigfoot or undetermined experience on YouTube and Facebook just for attention.

These people spend a lot of time in the woods because this is what they enjoy doing and because this can only increase their odds of having a Bigfoot encounter or getting some legitimate data. We have had experiences that we know to be Bigfoot, and this just drives us to keep going out again and again. And to increase our chances of gathering that data we always go to the woods prepared with the right equipment: voice recorders that are always time stamped and going, parabolic dishes for distance determination, cameras, and video, and night vision at the ready. Journals kept of our time, locations and events.

I think we have a lot better chance of an encounter, and better odds of recording the evidence of that encounter than someone sitting on their computer waiting for Bigfoot to knock on their front door in my opinion.

You have to actually be in the woods for Bigfoot to find you.

Steven Streufert said...

Well, then you are on the right track.

I would still ask, however, how do we know things are bigfoot related, especially when the creature is not seen clearly and fully?

Not all people looking into the Bigfoot issue are blinded by presumption, but it remains a constant psychological factor potentially biasing research efforts.

And as far as being in the woods, well yes... that is one reason I live in the woods myself, right on the edge of Willow Creek.

Steven Streufert said...

Also, I'd argue that one does not necessarily have to be "in the woods" or "doing research" to see a Bigfoot. According to the locals here and the sightings record, there are many sightings that occur right on the highways, on people's back porches and in their yards. There have been sightings reported in very unlikely places, including areas not predominantly of the classic type of northwestern forest, such as the edges of suburban housing grids, deserts, swamps, even out on the ocean. Some people have seen Bigfoot materialize in their living rooms, as well. I'm not too sure where to draw the line in the cases of sightings, between the vagaries of human perception and the possibility of an actual creature. The ambiguity of many if not most of the situations must be considered, constantly, as a factor in possible false perception and assumption. I've had deer walk right past my cabin and sound exactly like a bipedal Bigfoot. Only with further investigation was I able to see that is was a deer. Without this investigation I could easily have become famous for saying a Bigfoot walked past my window. Research must be done honestly, with constant error-checking of oneself and one's assumptions and perceptions. The desire to encounter Bigfoot can override critical distance, especially in the excitement of the hunt under ambiguous nighttime circumstances.

Steven Streufert said...

You could just as easily posit, based upon the sightings record, that the most effective method of "Squatching" is simply to drive along the highways in your car. At least half of the local reports I've gotten from around here have been of this nature. A good portion of the others were had while someone was in one's own yard and saw one. These people, also, tend to have clear, vivid sightings, whereas many of the "researcher" reports I hear are just odd sounds in the night, or stuff that seems quite often to be clearly related to the activities of owls, deer and bear.

Steven Streufert said...

I'm only saying that one should observe everything for what it is, and not always presume it is Bigfoot doing it. I can tell you that I've spent countless hours up in Bluff Creek, with nothing truly out of the ordinary happening. As soon as I get home I hear tales from certain "researcher" types of footprints, howls, wood knocks, Bigfoot moving in the brush. Just the week before or whatever when we were there I had the very same experiences: bear tracks (or finding our own footprints), deer and owl vocalizations, and bear moving in the brush. It never ceases to astonish me how the reports of Bigfoot rock-throwing go on the rise at the very same time of year the tan oaks are dropping their acorns. It takes a full knowledge of one's environment to identify causation properly. I advocate that kind of learning, an approach that does not have "Bigfoot on the Brain," but is open to the possibility of their presence nonetheless.

I am not saying, "Don't do Bigfoot Research." I am saying Do It Rightly, in a way that finds real facts, and not flights of fantasy.

Steven Streufert said...

"Wood knocks" are very often replicated exactly by gravity and branch decay. As the wood breaks, slowly, it pops and knocks. Sometimes trees just lose limbs, and the wood knocks upon itself. Sometimes trees just fall over, without Bigfoot or even the wind pushing them.

Steven Streufert said...

I'd say it is fruitless to presume Bigfoot before the facts, and if one is interested, consider the possibility of their existence in the light of properly interpreted experience. There are many good indications that Bigfoot could actually exist, but there are just as many indications of human delusion and misperception at play. We need to be able to see the difference when entering "the field" to study what might be out there. Some people have had no desire to see a Bigfoot, nor even much of an idea of them, but they claim sightings nonetheless. It is situations like that which intrigue me the most.

Steven Streufert said...

My argument is for an honest investigation of things in nature, in the real world, and if Bigfoot is part of that, well, cool, then. So be it, either way. To me the sightings record is definitely intriguing, and suggestive of something going on in the woods. Whether that something is in the human mind or a real creature is a great mystery in and of itself.

Bigfoot Reality said...

Wow, so many responses to my comment! I guess I should be flattered. I am glad someone is thinking about all this so seriously! I hope you have an experience for yourself so you can think about things with no doubts in your mind. Especially since you spend so much time contemplating the mystery, and seem to have made a profession out of it.