Posted by: Craig Woolheater on January 22nd, 2006
On the front page of today’s San Antonio Express-News is an article concerning a recent research operation by my research group, the Texas Bigfoot Research Center, into the Big Thicket of Southeast Texas.
Overall, I thought it was a good article describing our research operations.
Scattered throughout this section of the woods, sitting silently and bundled against the near-freezing temperatures, are a dozen or so maverick researchers looking for the large, hairy, elusive embodiment of fringe science — Bigfoot.
But there were some troubling quotes from David Daegling.
Critics and cynics abound, and David Daegling is foremost among them. The University of Florida anthropologist wrote “Bigfoot Exposed,” a scholarly vivisection of the Bigfoot story from cultural, scientific and historical perspectives.
“I think we have to be careful not to paint the Bigfoot community with too broad of a brush,” he said. “There are, within that community, people who are more skeptically inclined. And then there are true believers, and there’s nothing that can change their mind about it.”
Daegling said the presence of Bigfoot hoaxes hurt serious attempts to prove the existence of the creature.
“One of the historical failings of the Bigfoot community has been that even though they’ll (investigate and) rule out some report as a hoax, they don’t pursue that question vigorously enough,” he said.
There was, for example, the classic grainy 1967 film of Sasquatch traipsing along a tree line in the northern California woods, and footprints found in the same region 10 years earlier. Both were seminal pieces in the growth of the Bigfoot movement. Both were debunked as fakes years later. Neither revelation changed the minds of Bigfoot believers.
The Patterson film and the footprints found and cast by Jerry Crew were debunked as fakes? I don’t think so.
Daegling said Bigfoot fills in a blank for some people burdened by modern society — it is wild, it is solitary, it can disappear at will, and it can outsmart everyone.
And the legend continues due, in large part, to eyewitness accounts, perhaps the most unscientific of all observational techniques.
“I don’t think these people are lying,” Daegling said. “They remember seeing Bigfoot, but there’s a difference between remembering it and actually seeing it. That’s because memories are fallible.”
Typically, there is a sighting in an area. Then other people, who’ve heard the report, see or hear something they can’t explain. Their subconscious fills in the blank, Daegling said, with Bigfoot.
Anyone have any comments for Dr. Daegling regarding the Patterson film or the footprints found by Jerry Crew and others in that region? Voice them here and I will pass them on to him…